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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Day 7 Knook Blog & Facebook Tour

Visit designer Amy Gaines on Facebook for Day 7 of our Knook Blog & Facebook Tour! Be sure to post a comment on Amy’s page for a chance to win a Knook!

Before you go, check out Amy’s amigurumi books: Little Knitted Creatures, Cute Little Animals to Crochet, and More Cute Little Animals to Crochet!

Sunday Mornings…

I’ve discovered over the years that I sort of like Sunday mornings, early Sunday mornings when it’s just me and the cat. I feed him, and he’s happy. I get coffee, and I’m happy. The rest of the family’s still asleep, which I think they’re pretty happy about, too!

And I get to do what I want—stare out the window at the birds, read, crochet, learn to purl with the Knook, research depression glass, play on the internet…

This morning, I’m doing a blog post ’cause I discovered the most amazing picture that I wanted to share with you. It’s actress Katherine Hepburn knitting on the set of a 1930s movie. How much fun is that? Wasn’t she gorgeous?

Now, I may have to add a Hepburn movie to my Sunday morning routine. What’s your favorite? I’m feeling the need to see Bringing Up Baby.

I also just found this old photo of black cats waiting at leash end in line to audition for a movie. My black cat regarded this photo with disdain when I pointed it out to him. He definitely does not approve of such behavior—most certainly not!

Happy Sunday Everybody!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Day 6 Knook Blog & Facebook Tour

Drop by designer Kim Guzman’s blog to celebrate Day 6 of our Knook Blog & Facebook Tour! Leave a comment with her, and you might win a Knook!

Watch for Kim’s Tunisian Crochet book coming later this year!

Christmas in July Pendant Pincushions

To wrap up this month’s Christmas in July celebration, our in-house designers, Anne and Becky, dreamed up some Christmas-themed pincushions for you. You can wear them around your own neck or give them away as gifts. What fun!

Gingerbread House Pincushion
(Don’t the multi-colored pins look like candy?)

Supplies:
• scraps of tan, white, green, & red felt
• tan, white red, green embroidery floss & needle
• white pom-pom
• red & white twine
• red felted wool ball
• green grosgrain ribbon (We used a 30" length.)
• batting
• fabric glue

Instructions:
(Use 2 strands of matching color floss for all sewing.)

1. Draw patterns for a House, Roof, Wreath, and Door. (The photo shows the patterns I drew and basic sizes.)

2. From felt, use patterns to cut:
• 2 tan Houses (for Front & Back)
• 1 white Roof (I used scallop-edged scissors for the pattern on the inside edge of the Roof.)
• 1 green Wreath
• 1 red Door

3. For House Front, use running stitches to attach Roof, Wreath, and Door to Front. Glue white pom-pom to Door. Glue red & white twine to Roof, folding ends to wrong side of House Front. Glue red ball to peak of Roof. Use white floss to create a cross stitch in center of Wreath.

4. Use blanket stitches to join House Front to House Back, leaving an opening for stuffing. (You might also want to tack your ribbon ends inside as you go, or you can simply tack them to the outside of the House Back as we did…’cause we forgot to tack them inside…)

5. Stuff your pincushion, close the opening, and you’re done!

Pincushion/Scissor Pouch
(This simple little project serves double duty as both a scissor holder and a pincushion!)

Supplies:
• Teal, green, & brown felted wool (or regular felt if you like)
• Teal, red, & gold embroidery floss & needle
• 30" length Green twill tape
• fabric glue

Instructions:
1. Cut a 3" wide x 9-1/2" high rectangle of teal felt.

2. Draw patterns for a Tree and Trunk. (The photo shows the patterns I drew and basic sizes.)

3. From teal felt, cut one 3"w x 9-1/2"h Rectangle.

4. From felt, cut:
• 1 green Tree
• 1 brown Trunk

5. Embellish one short end of Rectangle with 2 strand gold floss Blanket Stitches and 6 strand red floss French Knots.

6. Use 6 strand gold floss French Knots to join Tree to Rectangle about 3/4" below embellished edge. Slip small end of Trunk under Tree and glue in place.

7. Fold the Rectangle to the back at the base of the Trunk. Use 6 strand teal floss Running Stitches down both sides of the Rectangle to create a pocket.

8. Knot ends of twill tape and tack knots to top of pocket.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Day 5 Knook Blog & Facebook Tour

Check out Leisure Arts Quilt & Craft Director Cheryl Johnson’s blog for Day 5 of our Knook Blog & Facebook Tour! She’s been playing with the Knook and is anxious to give a couple of them away!

National Lasagna Day!

Happy National Lasagna Day Everybody! I love lasagne. Any kind of lasagne…Wish I had some right now! But I don’t…What I have got is a free recipe for a great lasagna from our Family Living: Our Best Cookbook Collection. This is the lasagna recipe that my kids would eat when they were little and picky and wouldn’t consume anything touched by tomatoes, ground beef, or onions. (I also left out the artichoke hearts, and I made it with canned chicken ’cause I’m kinda lazy.)

Chicken-Mushroom Lasagna

2 cans (10-3/4 ounces each) cream of mushroom soup
2 cups milk
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
1
container (15 ounces) ricotta cheese
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1
egg
1
package (8 ounces) uncooked lasagna noodles
1
jar (6 ounces) marinated artichoke hearts, drained and coarselychopped
1
jar (4-1/2 ounces) sliced mushrooms, drained
2
cups chopped cooked chicken
2
cups (8 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a medium bowl, combine soup, milk, and white pepper; stir until well blended. In another medium bowl, combine ricotta cheese, spinach, and egg; stir until well blended. Spoon 1/2 cup of soup mixture over bottom of a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Layer half of uncooked lasagna noodles over soup mixture. Layer half of artichoke pieces, half of mushrooms, 1 cup chicken, 3/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese, and half of spinach mixture over noodles. Spoon 2 cups soup mixture over layers. Repeat layers with remaining lasagna noodles, artichoke pieces, mushrooms, chicken, 3/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese, and spinach mixture. Spoon remaining soup mixture over layers. Sprinkle top with Parmesan cheese and remaining 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese. Cover and refrigerate overnight to allow lasagna noodles to absorb liquids.

To serve: Bake uncovered in a 350-degree oven 55 to 60 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand about 15 minutes before serving. Serve warm.

Yield: about 12 servings

Enjoy! I may have to make lasagna for dinner tonight if I can’t talk the Love-Of-My-Life into springing for dinner at this romantic little Italian place that we like.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Day 4 Knook Blog & Facebook Tour

{Our very own Leisure Arts Knit & Crochet Director Lindsay Glenn is our guest blogger today for Day 4 of the Knook Blog & Facebook Tour!}

Lights, Camera, Action…

Happy Knookday! For those of you I haven’t yet been introduced to, my name is Lindsay Glenn, and I’m the Director of Knit, Crochet, and now Knooking at Leisure Arts.

The Knook is our latest and greatest. Just think?! Now you can knit with a crochet hook!! It’s a great tool for everyone…knitters…crocheters…and newbies to the craft scene, too!

We’ve been very busy picking great new projects to showcase the Knook—like these drink cozies. You can support your favorite team with these cuties. I did! Let’s just say I picked the colors (go Pearson Panthers…and Gilbert Yellowjackets...I threw in the Packers for all the Green Bay fans….heheh).

and these…

Who doesn’t have a little someone in their life to whip up these leg warmers for?? Shootie.

We’ve also been working hard to film video content to support our patterns and all the fancy knitting techniques.

This is our camera. Very technical.

That’s me (in the specs…or lensies) and Sarah Green. Sarah’s one of our knit and crochet writers and tech editors. Very smart and very spunky. We’re waiting to film the intro and checking out my mani (I think she approves).

This is Katherine Laughlin—our “Girl Friday”. Need I say more?

This is Mark Hawkins, our camera guy. He’s upside down and very, very patient with us (did I say very?). This is what he really looks like:

Okay seriously, this is him.

Yeah…it may all look like fun and games, but it’s really hard work. See?

I’m not sure what Sarah’s doing here, but she seems quite focused.

I’m smiling while I’m swatching (I’m a multi-tasker). Sometimes I sing, too, “I’d like to teach the world to Knook, and make some cutie things…” We are working furiously though, as usual.

Here’s the part where I give you a little sneak peek at some of the new techniques you’ll learn in our next videos.

Ohhhooohhhh…….

Ahhhhahhhhahhhhh…..

And now, for the good stuff—the GIVEAWAY. Yay! We are giving away two Knook kits! Whoohoo!

To enter, leave a comment below with your favorite pet’s name.

Like this:

“This is Lindsay from Little Rock, and my dog’s name is Winnie Mandela Rockefeller Esmerelda Glenn.”

Yep, that’s really her name, but we just call her “Winnie” for short.

We will announce the winners at the end of the tour. If you just can’t wait, then head over to your local WalMart and pick up a Knook (if you haven’t already). Then, stop by our website at LeisureArts.com and click on “The Knook” for more fabulous patterns and instructional demos. See you there!

A Peek at The Test Kitchen

The other day, Celia (our food editor) invited me in for a sneak peek at the Leisure Arts test kitchen. I think she’s got the best job in the company ’cause she gets to play with food all day!

The day I visited, Celia and her assistant, Nora Faye, had all kinds of goodies going for an upcoming photoshoot.

They were whipping up some fudge…

Here’s the finished product. It tasted as yummy as it looks! (If you follow us on Facebook, I may have teased you with this photo before!)

And, yes! They made loaves of beautiful bread. I love bread. The smell of baking bread is one of the best smells ever! (Though it is sort of tortuous to work at Leisure Arts when there’s bread in the oven!)

The ladies were also baking some whole wheat spice bread and some apricot nut bread. Love the heart-shaped pans!

For the apricot bread, they zested an orange and chopped up some dried apricots. Pretty colors…

Mixed it all up…

And baked it, just like you would at home.

And, just like at home, they had dirty dishes to wash. (My least favorite part of food prep…)

Unlike home, they also had paper work to fill out—documenting the measurements, ingredients, cooking times, and all sorts of other stuff.

Thanks, Ladies, for letting us take a peek into your kitchen!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Day 3 Knook Blog & Facebook Tour

(Stuff happens…Kim Kotary, the designer scheduled for Day 3 isn’t able to play today, so you’re stuck with me.)

Have you looked at The Knook yet? Did you know that you could actually knit with a crochet hook? Leisure Arts has made it easy with our Knook kit!

Here are the details:

A Knook is a specialized crochet hook that has a cord threaded through a hole in the non-hook end. The cord holds the stitches while you work, allowing you to create a true knitted fabric.

Our Knook kit contains:
• 3 bamboo Knooks—These new and unique specialized crochet hooks replace traditional knitting needles and come in sizes G (4.0 mm), H (5.0 mm), I (5.5 mm). They look like regular crochet hooks on one end with a hole for holding a cord on the other end.
• 3 – 36" long cords to hold your stitches
• Step-by-Step Learn to Knook Instruction Book—It’s easy to learn to knit with The Knook. (We‘ve included both right- and left-handed instructions!) The book also includes four beginner projects—Infinity Scarf, Spa Cloth, Baby Blanket, and Diamond Lap Throw.

Be sure to check out our Knook Page on LeisureArt.com! It features:
• kit components
• how-to videos for both left- and right-handed Knooking
• how-to video demonstrating the technique for combining knit and crochet in one project with the Knook
• 6 free project downloads for Knooking—Drink Cozies, Ear Warmer, Ladybug Dishcloth, Scarf, Cat’s Butterfly, and Sampler Scarf (This design combines knit & crochet in one project using one tool. How wonderfully versatile is that?)
• 4 paid project downloads for Knooking—Baby Legwarmers, Hot Pad & Pot Holder, Fingerless Mitts, and Man’s Scarf

The Knook is currently available at Walmart. It is not available on our website, Walmart’s website, or in other stores—yet. Watch for it in October!

And yes, I really have been playing with the Knook. Since I’m one of those folks who couldn’t seem to master knitting because I couldn’t seem to manage two needles, I’m pretty excited about it. I’ve been experimenting with the Ladybug Dishcloth to get me started. I think I’ve figured out the knit stitch, but now I face the challenge of purling. Wish me luck!

Are you hooked on the Knook? Wanna be? Wanna win one? Just leave a comment here for a chance to win ’cause I’m going to give away two complete kits!

And here’s our entire Tour Schedule if you’d like to follow along for more chances to win:

• Monday, July 25 Drew Emborsky http://bit.ly/Day-1-The-Knook-Tour

• Tuesday, July 26 Karen Ratto-Whooley http://bit.ly/Day-2-The-Knook-Tour

• Wednesday, July 27 Everyday Life at Leisure http://bit.ly/Day-3-The-Knook-Tour

• Thursday, July 28 Lindsay Glenn http://bit.ly/Day-4-The-Knook-Tour

• Friday, July 29 Cheryl Johnson http://bit.ly/Day-5-The-Knook-Tour

• Saturday, July 30 Kim Guzman http://bit.ly/Day-6-The-Knook-Tour

• Sunday, July 31 Amy Gaines http://on.fb.me/Day-7-The-Knook-Tour

• Monday, Aug. 1 Marly Bird http://bit.ly/Day-8-The-Knook-Tour

• Tuesday, Aug. 2 Melissa Leapman http://on.fb.me/Day-9-The-Knook-Tour

• Wednesday, Aug. 3 Cari Clement http://bit.ly/Day-10-The-Knook-Tour

• Thursday, Aug. 4 Kay Meadors http://bit.ly/Day-11-The-Knook-Tour

• Friday, Aug. 5 Marty Miller http://bit.ly/Day-12-The-Knook-Tour

• Saturday, Aug. 6 Shannon Mullett-Bowlsby http://bit.ly/Day-13-The-Knook-Tour

Customer Creations

This is just a fun post to share some of the great photos that Leisure Arts customers send to us—great pics of their projects!

Check out Janie’s Great Grandson Braden holding a tissue box cover made from a Leisure Arts pattern! Too precious!

Take a peek at the pretty designs that Giggi created.

Look at the afghan Shirley made to send to Warm Up America! Do you know about Warm Up America? Since 1991, this charitable organization has donated more than 250,000 afghans to battered women’s shelters, victims of natural disaster, the homeless, and many others who are in need. For more info, visit the CraftYarnCouncil.com.

Thanks for the photos, Ladies! Keep up the good work. We’re always glad to see what you’re up to, so send more pictures! If you like, just post them directly on our Facebook Page, so everybody can see.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Knook Blog & Facebook Tour Schedule

Thought you might like to see the whole schedule for our Knook Blog & Facebook Tour. I wouldn’t want you to miss any of the fun! Every stop is giving away a Knook or two!

Monday, July 25 Drew Emborsky http://bit.ly/Day-1-The-Knook-Tour


Tuesday, July 26 Karen Ratto-Whooley http://bit.ly/Day-2-The-Knook-Tour


Wednesday, July 27 Everyday Life at Leisure http://bit.ly/Day-3-The-Knook-Tour


Thursday, July 28 Lindsay Glenn http://bit.ly/Day-4-The-Knook-Tour


Friday, July 29 Cheryl Johnson http://bit.ly/Day-5-The-Knook-Tour


Saturday, July 30 Kim Guzman http://bit.ly/Day-6-The-Knook-Tour


Sunday, July 31 Amy Gaines http://on.fb.me/Day-7-The-Knook-Tour


Monday, Aug. 1 Marly Bird http://bit.ly/Day-8-The-Knook-Tour


Tuesday, Aug. 2 Melissa Leapman http://on.fb.me/Day-9-The-Knook-Tour


Wednesday, Aug. 3 Cari Clement http://bit.ly/Day-10-The-Knook-Tour


Thursday, Aug. 4 Kay Meadors http://bit.ly/Day-11-The-Knook-Tour


Friday, Aug. 5 Marty Miller http://bit.ly/Day-12-The-Knook-Tour


Saturday, Aug. 6 Shannon Mullett-Bowlsby http://bit.ly/Day-13-The-Knook-Tour

Day 2 Knook Blog & Facebook Tour


Head on over to designer Karen Ratto-Whooley’s blog to celebrate Day 2 of our Knook Blog & Facebook Tour! You might win a Knook of your very own!

But while you’re here, check out Karen’s book, I Can’t Believe I’m Crocheting Socks!


Words To Stitch By

Since I’m a quote freak, I’ve been looking forward to this book—Words to Stitch By from Lori Markovic, ever since I heard the rumor of it. Then, I saw the goodies our photo models were stitched with—

These beautiful primitive samplers were stitched using hand-dyed flosses and fabrics! Pretty, pretty...

Take a peek at the projects—

By Her Hand

Mares Eat Oats (Of course, now this song is running repeatedly through my head...“Mares eat oats, and does eat oats, and little lambs eat ivy. A kid’ll eat ivy too. Wouldn’t you?”

The Tie That Binds (Love is the tie that binds.)

My Friend (Like a kite feels the wind. You are my friend.)

Roses Are Red (Love the roses and poem, “Roses are red, violets are blue, sugar is sweet, and so are you.” I’ve got a sweet friend who has been making things for me lately. Maybe I’ll stitch this for her.)

Nice Matters (I just like this sentiment. My family makes fun of me when I, evidently naively, ask, “Why can’t people just be nice to each other?”

My Sunshine (You are my sunshine, my only sunshine...”

Merry Sunshine (Good morning merry sunshine. Why did you wake so soon? You chase all the stars away & shine away the moon.)

I really had planned to start stitching some of the projects in Lori’s first book–All Creatures Stitched and Small. Now, I’m wanting to work on these, too!



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