Category Archives: Day Old Pastries

Recess 24/7 this weekend

I was going over my upcoming weekend with DH, and he turned to me and said, “Your life is like 24/7 recess!” Well, it is a pretty sweet extended weekend I’ve got lined up. Knitting, music, celebration…

Friday is the RCYC MKAL cast on party at Twisted, 5 to 8 p.m. Refreshments and prizes! Come knit with me!

MKAL banner

Saturday I’m teaching Tink Drop Frog, how to fix mistakes at Twisted, from 1-3. I love teaching this class; it’s very empowering to new-ish knitters. There’s still space in class, if you want to register.

My baby turns 21 on Saturday, too. Where did the time go?

Sunday I’m singing with my music besties (The Pie Birds, aka the Divas) in church. Monday, even more of us (The Day Old Pastries) are singing at this MLK Day Remembrance and lunch packing event. The NE Portland Backpack Program provides weekend lunch sacks for children at risk for hunger who don’t have the school lunch program on the weekend. During the 2012-2013 school year we are providing about 5,000 weekend lunch sacks (11,000 lunches) to 164 children at four locations. Come sing with us, and pack lunches with us! The event is free, but bring a can of chili to donate. We’ll be at Maranatha Church, NE 12th Ave between Skidmore and Mason in Portland, from 1-3 p.m. Details here.


Tuesday, the Thrumbelina KAL begins! Two more days to enter to win a copy of the Thrumbelina pattern. Check out the blog post for details.

And now the moment you’ve been waiting for: The winner of this lovely Knitted Wit single fingering yarn (silver lining and madge)

mkal yarn

is…Samantha from Eugene! Go check out her blog here. Congratulations, Samantha!

I hope you’re with me for part or all of this weekend fun, in person or via the interwebs! Looking forward to it all.

MLK Workday for Backpack Lunch Program


The fifth annual MLK Remembrance and Work Day for the Northeast Portland Backpack Lunch Program is coming up on January 21. Last year’s event saw 160 volunteers packing 593 lunch sacks for needy children who are at risk of hunger on the weekends, when school lunches aren’t available. At two lunches per sack, that’s nearly 1200 lunches, all provided by donations and volunteer labor. This program is now serving children at three Northeast Portland schools and continues to grow. How many lunches will we pack this year? The 2013 event is Monday, January 21, from 1 to 3 p.m. at Woodlawn United Methodist Church, NE 15th and Dekum Street in Portland. All are welcome; there are activities for all ages. Come do a good deed, and have some fun, too.

The Day Old Pastries will again lead the music for a singalong opportunity during the short program that follows the lunch packing. Who are the Day Old Pastries? We’re a group of friends that get together to make music. We’re a little crusty, but fresh enough! We sing and play the guitar, and we’ve added mandolin and piano and some song writing, too. We have a lot of fun for a bunch of amateurs. If you look at the word amateur, you’ll notice that the root of the word is love; amateur musicians pursue music out of love for it. I won’t say we’re ever perfect, but we love what we do. I love that we’re part of this workday and celebration every year.

Before recorded music, the only way to hear music was in real time. You could go to a performance, or you could get together to make music. It was perfectly natural. Now that we have recorded standards, it’s much more intimidating to make music; we think we have to be as perfect as the music we hear. But music is so ephemeral. At the end of a song, do you remember a fleeting wrong note, or the overall feeling that was conveyed? At last year’s MLK Day event, we had 160 people singing, happy and in community with each other. Perfect! I hope you can come join us this year.

MLK Day service opportunity

Monday, January 16th, is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in the United States. How will you be spending it? Do you get the day off? I’ll be at a service workday for the Backpack Lunch Program. The program provides weekend lunches for children who are at risk of hunger on the weekends, when no school lunch is available. If you’re in PDX and looking for something to do, come and help us pack lunch sacks for the kids we serve at Woodlawn and King Schools. After packing lunches, there’s a short program with folk singing and honoring Dr. King. The Day Old Pastries, my music group, will be leading the singing, so I’ll be there with guitar in hand. Last year we packed about 580 weekend lunch sacks for kids at risk of hunger — just about equal to a month’s sacks that we need for the two schools. The event is at Woodlawn United Methodist Church, NE 15th and Dekum Street, from 1-3 p.m. Hope to see you there!

(backpack logo copyright Jill Penney)

So what’s up, knit-wise? I’m working on a little project. Yesterday Lorajean dropped off these colors, and I’ll be picking one for this project. I’ve already knitted a sample with some yarn I had here, so I know where this is going. I love it when the knitting cooperates with the vision the first time around…


Coming up for air…

It’s been graduation/guests/music chaos around here, but we’re finally getting back to normal.

Last week’s 18 rows of Zen Rain at graduation?


Frogged. I made it to 24 rows while chaperoning the All Night Graduation Party, and realized I didn’t like how firm the fabric was. This yarn is single ply Rambouillet, and it’s interesting to knit with. It’s a bit thick/thin in places. It felt thinner than the yarn I was knitting with previously (Alpha B Luxe B, and I still need to finish binding that one off), but it knit up way more firmly on a size 6 needle. I was afraid it wouldn’t be loose enough to block out to the gossamer texture I want. Hence, the frog. I started over with a US 7 needle, and am much happier. Yesterday I was on row 44.


And today I’m on the ruffle.


My basement has been a blocking studio! I have a futon sofabed down there, and it’s great for blocking shawls. I can stab pins into it to hold the blocking wires, and it doesn’t hurt anything. It’s also away from the cat, so she doesn’t “help.” This week I blocked Lorajean’s Octavia shawl, and Christina’s Zen Rain.


It was a busy music weekend, too. The Day Old Pastries sang in church. It was Pentecost, and we sang a new song; I wrote the lyrics and a friend wrote the music. Come Holy Spirit, Come.

I also wrote a song for the Teen for graduation, and sang it for him just before. It’s called Graduation Day. Caution: it’s really sentimental! Can you tell I’m having empty nester issues?

I think we’re caught up…

It’s beginning to smell a lot like brisket…

Sorry, but that always sings in my head when I’m cooking for Hanukkah dinner. We had it on Saturday, and it was a lovely gathering. Mmmm, brisket and latkes.


We celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas at our house, so there’s a little of everything going on. I haven’t had a big Christmas tree in several years. DH and the kids don’t care if we have one, so we don’t! I like my little music tree on top of the piano; I put up my favorite ornaments and I’m done. I guess I’m a minimalist at heart.

The stockings are up in their usual knitterly glory.


I like streamlining my decorating so I have more time for fun with friends and family, and for knitting. But not gift knitting; I abhor deadlines. That doesn’t mean there are no knitted gifts, just no gifts on deadline! The first knitted gift has gone out in the mail…(a Pippi hat, if you must know).

Yesterday I had a discussion group for new parents about keeping and making holiday traditions. I started with a story about CollegeGrad. He was 3 or 4 when we started talking about the Christmas story. One day he came to me, talking about how much he loved Little Baby Jesus. Yesss! He understood the Christmas story! Well, maybe yes, and maybe no. He was actually talking about little baby cheeses, which were one of his favorite things to eat. Indeed. I brought some of this cheese to class as a prop and a snack. Becky (fellow Day Old Pastry) decided she would use the wax wrappers to make a real Baby Cheeses creche.


The story has come full circle…

How’s your holiday preparation going?

bsj update

Last weekend I was over in Sisters again, this time with some of the Day Old Pastries for a music retreat. It was really nice to take some time for music. I played more over the weekend than I had in all of September!

While I was there, I finished knitting the body of the Baby Surprise Jacket.


I love this yarn. My friend Kerri spun it up. It’s Blue Faced Leicester, Crayon colorway from Gale’s Art (etsy link).

bfl pdx


Doesn’t look much like a jacket, though, does it? But a quick fold yields this:


Elizabeth Zimmermann was an absolute genius. It’s like knitted origami. I added a collar, according to instructions in the BSJ dvd from Schoolhouse Press. (I highly recommend this dvd and instruction set. My instructions in an old Knitters’ magazine were quite cryptic.) I picked up the stitches for the collar from the inside of the jacket so the pickup would be hidden under the collar turn. You could do it either way.




All in all, a cute knit. Now it just needs some buttons…

While I was in Sisters, I made wonton soup for the Pastries. They wanted a recipe, so here it is.

wonton soup

Wonton Soup

¼ lb peeled deveined shrimp, (frozen thawed is fine, and size doesn’t matter since it will be ground)
¼ lb ground turkey breast
6 medium to large shiitake mushrooms (3 for filling and 3 sliced for soup)
1 can sliced water chestnuts (half for filling and half to go in soup)
1 stalk green onion
3 to 6 stalks bok choy (half goes into filling; other half goes into soup) I like baby or shanghai bok choy. If you use the smaller bok choy, 6 stalks; if you use the really big long stuff, 3 is plenty)
snow pea pods, amount of your choosing

1 egg
¼ tsp five spice powder
½ Tablespoon oyster sauce

1 package wonton wrappers
1 48 oz box reduced sodium chicken broth
2 cups water

Start your broth, water, 3 sliced mushrooms in a large soup pot. This can heat while you prepare wontons; when it boils bring it down to a simmer.

I have a small food processor, so I chop things sequentially. This also lets me avoid chopping the vegetables too finely; we want some crunch!

Chop and place into a large bowl: the shrimp, turkey (already ground), 3 mushrooms, ½ can water chestnuts, half the bok choy, green onion. Combine eggs, 5 spice, and oyster sauce and add to bowl, Mix all ingredients well. (does it need a little more 5 spice? give it a sniff; it should smell divine. I tried to measure but had to guess because at first I had too much in my measuring spoon)

Fold wontons! I put a little less than a tablespoon of filling in each wonton. Fold on the diagonal, then use the back of your spoon to put a dab on the fold next to right side of the filling (on the outside), give a little twist and fold to bring the underside of the left side of the filling mound to the dab on the of the right side of the filling mound. Sounds confusing, I know. You can google it, but my way is different than the ones I found there. They all work.

Bring broth back to a boil. Add wontons and remaining water chestnuts. Cook for 4 minutes, reducing heat to medium when soup begins to boil again (don’t want to jostle the wontons too much and have them fall apart!). After 4 minutes, add the remaining bok choy (sliced in 1 inch pieces on the diagonal) and pea pods. If you have extra shrimp, now is the time to put them in the soup, too. Stir occasionally to get the vegetables down into the soup. Soup is ready in about 3 more minutes. Don’t overcook; it gets sloppy!

If this is more food than you need, you can store the extra filling in the fridge for a couple days, and make fresh wontons again.

Virtue is its own reward

That’s what they say. But it’s pretty sweet to get an additional reward.


Dez over at Knitting Asylum had a drawing for people who donated to Doctors Without Borders for Haiti. I won a prize! Pen and tape measure, and a beautiful stitch marker necklace made from Czech glass and shell. These are really pretty, and what a great way to keep track of them.


Thanks, Dez!

I was away for the weekend up at Menucha Retreat Center, working at our annual women’s retreat. This one was filled with music! We sang through the Holden Evening Prayer Service on Friday evening, which was lovely. Some of my Day Old Pastries were on hand to help with the music for the rest of the weekend. I love my Pastries.


I did get some knitting done. See my prototype shawl on my knee, and the new one in my hands? The new one is coming along swimmingly; I really like it. I’ll show it to you, soon. Check out the handknit socks, too.


My favorite thing at Menucha, besides the view…



…is the labyrinth. It’s a good place to be silent and meditative.


It’s always interesting to discover a new epiphany when I reach the center.


This beautiful garden is across from the dining hall.


There’s a hidden space up there, with a rock bench facing this.


I love spring, in all its glory.





How was *your* weekend?

Franken-tar, redux

Spring is coming, and that makes us a little bouncier around here. Off the wall dreams seem like good ideas. And perhaps they are. What if we take those ideas one step further? You may remember the Teen’s Franken-tar.

I had a lesson the other day with Jim Loewenherz. He’s a local musician and luthier. We worked on some strum patterns for Irish reels and jigs. Near the end of the lesson I asked him about bass runs and fills for a song I’m working on with the Day Old Pastries, but all of that was pretty much over my head because I’d have to learn where the notes actually live on the guitar neck first. I’m a pretty rudimentary guitar player; I love my open cowboy chords, strummed or picked!

So we discussed ensemble play, and he talked about each instrument having its own sonic space, each doing something a little different. The Day Old Pastries have five guitars and a mandolin. The mandolin has its own sonic space by default. But the guitars can each have their own space by having one of them strum, one pick, one capo up for a different voicing. And then Jim asked if we have a 12-string. Nope. an extra guitar? Sure! So he suggested high string Nashville tuning, just for something different. Basically, you string a six string guitar with the extra six strings that you’d find on a 12-string guitar. The lowest four strings are an octave higher than normal, and the top two strings are the same as usual.

I just had to try this to see what it sounds like. I decided to try it on the Teen’s Taylor Big Baby, because he doesn’t play acoustic guitars much, and it’s a comfortable size for me. I poked around on the web and found that D’Addario sells string sets for high string tuning.

high strung

What a cool sound! (Listen to the video on the link.) I’m going to take it to practice tomorrow, and we can play around with it.


And now I’m about to go pick out some mis-crossed cables on my Heather Hoodie, ten rows back…ouch! That last “O” isn’t an O.

Here’s a sign of spring that I saw on my walk this morning.


Crocuses are blooming here! Is it winter or spring in your neighborhood?

A whirlwind…

But there hasn’t been much knitting this last week!

Last Monday I participated in a service day for the Backpack Program. We packed 420 weekend lunch bags, which means 840 lunches. This program provides lunches for low-income children who are at risk for hunger. The program began in the fall of 2008, serving 10 children, and quickly grew to 30. It now serves 60 children, and the current goal is to serve 100 children for the entire school year. It’s a cooperative effort of four local United Methodist churches, and has grown to include community volunteers and school groups.


I love that people of all ages volunteer for this program.


The Day Old Pastries led some singing after the lunch packing. We’re a group of friends that like to play and sing together, 6 guitarists and a mandolin player. Occasionally a guitar gets swapped for an accordian! We were all acoustic that day (no amps, no mics), and it was folkie fun. I recorded it with my Zoom H2. (This little stereo digital recorder is fabulous; it’s easy to use and works well.)

Down by the Riverside

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

Wade in the Water

I’ll Fly Away

Blowin’ in the Wind

The week blew past, and DH celebrated a significant birthday. Happy birthday, Sweetie!


We had family in from out of town, and ended the weekend with dim sum before they headed back to the airport. Who got the last piece of shiu mai?


Back to knitting this week! Here’s a little yarn for this post:

Hat tip to the Twist Collective Blog.


So close, and yet so far…


I can see that I’m not going to get 56 more stitches out of the remaining yarn. I bought another 50 gram skein, and I’ll figure out what to do with the 48 grams I’ll have left!

In the meantime, I made these.


They’re just those gingersnap cookies that show up this time of year. I used our mini ice cream scoop and filled them with peppermint ice cream. Then I drizzled them with chocolate truffle sauce (recipe here). They’re back in the freezer, firming up.

And the Day Old Pastries sang Mary, Mary in church yesterday. I love singing with my Pastry friends. We’re not perfect, but we have a lot of fun.

Busy, busy, busy! Knitting and shopping not done. But I’m off to a party…