April 29, 2013

Home Sweet Home in Upstate New York

After a week in Ohio it was time to hop a plane and head back my homeland of upstate New York!
Because I was flying from small city to small city I ended up on one of those itty bitty propeller planes.

And before I knew it I was home.  My mom being the wonderful woman with a similar love for food we stopped at Wegman's on our way home.  If you don't know it, Wegman's is seriously The Best grocery store.  It was started in Rochester, and I've been going there forever.  It's so great Cher demanded to go there when she came here to perform.  It's that good.  We got all stocked up for a delicious grilled dinner to take full advantage of the warm and sunny weather- steak, girl scout potatoes, corn on the cob, and salad.  Every item was cooked on the grill and totally scrumptious.  Next time we'll have pictures, I promise!

After dinner we settled in with a glass of homemade Limoncello made by my very own Dad.  My parents went on their honeymoon to Capri, an island off of Italy.  To celebrate their 20th anniversary we all went on a mediterranean cruise that was the trip of a lifetime.  While there we fell in love with limoncello- a lemon liquor.  This year he decided to try his own hand at it, and from what I hear it's pretty simple.  And I can vouch that it is very very good.

 my petite glass

April 28, 2013

Ohio Dreaming

After the weekend's festivities I made my way to Joe's house for a week of working in different medical settings to get nursing experience for school.   Joe's dad was kind enough to set up a couple different opportunities for me to shadow nurses.  On my way to work, I had a lovely drive through the country.  It's perfect for putting the windows down and turning the country music up.

April 26, 2013

Saturday Shenanigans- College Flashback

Okay, so this took a little while for me to post a follow-up to the Friday post, but I have been crazy super busy this week, so hopefully I'll fill you in on that later today.

So we last left off with us being slightly over-served on Friday.  I am a firm believer that a big greasy diner breakfast is the prefect cure for a hungover tummy.  We met back up Saturday morning at Jack & Benny's diner on High Street and had an incredible breakfast.  Joe and I have always been diner-enthusiasts, so I became familiar with the midwestern breakfast that is slathered in gravy but never tried it since I'm a late-comer to the meat party (read more about that here).  Now that I don't live here I try to take advantage of Ohio's best features (more on that soon), and one of those is gravy-covered everything.  So I finally tried it!  I don't remember the name on the menu, but I had hash browns, bacon, and fried eggs smothered in bacon with toast.  It was seriously amazing.  Hannah was equally pleased with her choice of eggs Benedict.

We split after breakfast, and Hannah and I headed up to Denison to meet up with some old college friends from the rugby team.  On the way was one of the best, most delicious Italian markets America has to offer (they also have a restaurant, which is obviously scrumptious).


 Hannah stocked up for her trip home- big jars of sauce with a free pound of pasta with each jar!

April 23, 2013

Friday's Festivities: Roomie Reunion!

Ellie, Kimbrey, Milo, me, and Hannah

My trip started with a trip to Indy on a Megabus.  Being a nervous Nellie, I showed up twenty minutes early afraid it would leave without me.  This was a great decision as it was 35, snowing, and very windy.  Obviously, the bus came over an hour late at the exact time I was paying for a coffee across the street, necessitating a panicked run with my excessively large suitcase and backpack.  But I made it!

And I had coffee and a donut, so I was a happy camper, even though I was very awkward trying to juggle these things while getting out my kindle for the long ride.  Somewhere around this time I realized I forgot my toiletries, iPod, headphones, and stuffing for my little hexagons which had seemed like the perfect project to work on during my travels. I'm not the best packer.  I had a traumatic incident as a kid when I was too embarrassed to tell anyone I forgot to pack underwear for my week long trip, so I learned that it's okay to admit you messed up and took a few trips for toiletries already.  One day I'll grow up, I swear.  But now that I have a toothbrush (did I mention I forgot my replacement on my first night in Columbus?  ... geez), toothpaste, mascara, and hair clips I should probably survive.  I'm in a house full of ladies, so I should be able to hunt down the rest.

Hannah was gracious enough to pick me up in Indy so we could drive all the way to Columbus together (thank you again, beautiful!).  We could definitely tell we were in Ohio when we parked behind a car sporting this ridiculous magnet:

April 18, 2013

Double-Box Dessert

This is literally one of the easiest desserts ever.  And it is freaking delicious.  

My family was never huge on sweets, and my mom was never big on baking them.  But one thing we often make and always love is brownies.  We have never made them from scratch.  In fact I can't possibly fathom why anyone would when brownies made from a box are PERFECT.  Just don't even try to screw with that.

A while ago I came across the Slutty Brownie, a drool-worthy concoction of chocolate chip cookies + oreos + brownies.  And if that's possible, then pretty much anything is possible.

Being a great lover of the peanut butter and chocolate combo (who isn't?!)  I created this version which I am tentatively calling the Double-Box Dessert - peanut butter cookies with brownies on top!  Delicious.  

If you want to get crazy, throw some chopped up peanut butter cups in between those layers and you'll have a gosh darn masterpiece!

But before I go one making up new exciting adventures, let's just get going on the basics:

A Hot/Cold Pack for Katie

My semester is finally over!  Which is such a relief and excitement that all I want to do is take is take a nap.  I don't know if it's the weather (incredibly wet and dark) or the fact that I haven't really slept in weeks but I am honestly ready to crawl into my nice warm flannel sheets and sleep for about 14 hours.

To kick of my spring break I am headed to Columbus, Ohio tomorrow to meet up with my incredible roommates from college.  I could not be more excited to see these ladies!

One of these fine women is Milo- you may remember I briefly mentioned her as the soon-to-be recipient of this TARDIS.  This lady and I go way back.  We were both deejays at our college station, and she shares my obsessive affection for James Taylor.  Milo is also a very adept craft-ster herself!  She even made a spectacular slip cover for a stolen ottoman in our apartment that was seriously perfect.  She is a marvel.  

One year at our Christmas present exchange she gave me this homemade heat pack and it is one of my favorite things.  It's filled with I-don't-know-what (barley, maybe?) but it's nice and heavy and totally soothing.  I almost always study laying down on my stomach, so I can just let it rest in the small of back and it is oh so very nice.  And all you have to do to heat it up is toss it in the microwave! Super easy.  Joe leaves his in the freezer and it works well as a cold pack too.

Inspired by Milo's lovely hot pack I decided to make one as a gift for a friend of mine who I owed a hefty thank you too.  Katie has been giving me rides to and from our clinical throughout the quarter, and usually with very little warning on my part.  This clinical is on one of the most crime-ridden neighborhoods in Chicago, so I was very very pleased when I could avoid the bus and train combo.  So along came this project to pass along the love.

You will need:

- 2 bags of lentils (or beans, barley, etc.)
-  heavy fabric
- needle and thread or sewing machine

April 16, 2013


Congratulations to myself because today I have reached over 1,000 views!  
And not only that, but Sharm Hour has been seen in over a dozen different countries- from Canada, France, Germany, Czech Republic, and Poland all the way to India, Australia, Russia, and South Korea.  I truly never imagined that would happen!

I started Charm Hour becuase I literally have projects going constantly.  I'm even known for bringing many of them to class, which reasonably leads to people asking me what I'm working on.  I often get asked how things turned out, and I thought, "Well, I like taking pictures.  Why not take pictures of my projects and put them online?"  I felt very silly about it at first, and didn't even tell anyone about it except Joe.  I kept thinking, "who would care about what I'm doing?"and get all self-conscious that having a blog would make me seem narcissistic.

BUT, I myself love looking at other people's blogs.  And I love seeing the truly creative things people come up with.  And I figured that you never know, maybe one of my projects would encourage someone else to try a new project, or figure out how to do cables, or just pick up that scarf they've been working on for what seems like ever but never finished.  Crafting brings me so much joy and relaxation.  Stressful day? I reach for that yarn (and a glass of wine, but hey it's all in moderation). I love creating something new, especially when I get to see someone's face when you give them something totally unique and special.

Thank you to everyone who has stopped to look at this humble little blog.  

I truly hope that you enjoy looking at the pictures and trying out the projects as much as I do.

To celebrate this exciting day Oy and I went on a long walk to enjoy the spectacularly warm weather (hey, I'm from upstate NY, 55 is totally warm to me) and take pictures of all the flowers starting to come up!

It would be a little unreasonable to put up all 115 pictures I took, but I'll put up a few of my favorites:

you can barely see it, but there's a little honeybee in the upper middle!

 daffodils!  they always make me think of those very old fashioned phones.

 even Oy stopped to smell the flowers

a TARDIS for Milo

I don't know if I've gotten into this yet, but I am a total nerd.  I mean spending the better part of my spare time surrounded by a couch full of yarn, and that fact that I named my dog Oy might hint to that, but it might not have been that explicit yet.  (For the record, Oy is an amazing character in Stephen King's Dark Tower series, it starts with the book The Gunslinger and will be the best thing you've ever read).

I will readily admit it- I love Doctor Who.  I'm fairly certain that Clara is already my favorite companion, I cried like a baby at the end of Angels Take Manhattan (both times I watched it), and do not like choosing a favorite doctor because every time there's a new one I hate it and then learn to love him, and let's be real it's all the same time lord, so why choose?

I'm actually quite astounded that this is my first Doctor Who themed post!  I'm in the process of working out some wonderful charts and patterns for washcloths with different characters on them which I love.  But this post is a magnificent crocheted TARDIS!  This stands for Time And Relative Dimension In Space and is the time/space craft of the Doctor.  It looks like a police box because it's camouflage broke one time in 1960's England, but it's much bigger on the inside, as they are so fond of pointing out.

This one is a gift for my dear friend and college roommate, Milo.  She is a fellow sci-fi enthusiast and very good friend, and I am quite excited to pass along this little cutie.

April 15, 2013

My heart goes out to Boston.

As with everyone else across our nation, and across the globe my thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this tragedy in Boston.

I am thankful for all of those helping out in Boston today- first responders, EMTs, police, the National Guard, and of course all of the nurses, technicians, and doctors working hard throughout the day and night to provide compassionate care to those wounded today.  Rather than become angry and disheartened by these events it's important to think of all of those who acted not with fear or anger but with bravery and kindness.  While many ran out a brave few ran in to risk their lives to care for strangers.

In the coming days it's important to take everything coming out in the news with a grain of salt.  It's best to keep our minds open as so much is still unknown about what led to the attack today.  This attack affects people of all nationalities and an act of terror can be perpetrated by an American or foreign individual. A person of interest is not the same as a suspect or a convicted terrorist and we need to stand by the American value of innocent until proven guilty.  Again, trust in the officials to identify and persecute these criminals and instead focus your energy on improving the lives of others.

Take that heartbreak that we all feel and use it to create something positive.  Care for your neighbors.  Find a way to give back in your community- donate blood through the Red Cross, give your time at your local food pantry, or bring cookies to your fire department.  There are so many ways to help out those around us and to simply bring a smile to someone's face.  I urge you to find a way to do that this week, and every other.

I hope this finds you safe and in good health.

Peanut Noodles

Due to the great success of Joe's last entry, we're in for another delicious and exciting edition of Joe's Cooking Corner!

And because we still had half a box of snow peas left we opted for another asian dish- this time a Thai influenced peanut noodles dish.  This originally came from Joe's mother, Sarah, who is a magnificent cook. You can dial up the heat by adding red pepper flakes, but I am a total wimp when it comes to hot and spicy, so Joe took mercy on me and made it nice and mild.  But as with most things this can be easily adjusted to be more sweet or salty or spicy, depending on how much you add of each ingredient so don't hold back from tasting as you go.

April 10, 2013

Knit Hexagons

I have this thing where I don't buy knitting or crocheting patterns.  I don't understand why I should pay for one when there are so many amazing patterns for free on the internet.  I get really irritated when I find an adorable picture, click on it, and find out they want me to pay $5 for it on Etsy or Ravelry.  It usually ends up in a little bit of cursing like a sailor as I attempt to peruse the World Wide Web for a comparable version that's free. And 9 times out of 10 I find one.  Or at least one I can alter enough to make it work.

It's not just that I'm cheap.  And for Pete's sake I'm in graduate school and am living off of loan money so I seriously need to be cheap. It's also that I don't understand why a PDF should cost that much money.

Those 1 out of 10 times when there is no better alternative I get super disappointed.  But I haven't given in yet and I am damn stubborn, so I'm thinking I'll hold out until my pattern-making skills catch up to my desires.  My inner biologist is obsessed with realistic animal stuffed animals (like this iguana) on PlanetJune and by jove one day I will make my own.

Just this week I was riding home from school and sat next to a lady knitting something itty bitty, so I asked what she was making.  She told me all about these little stuffed hexagons (or "hexipuffs") she was making from scraps and how they very neatly get put together to make a puffy little quilt.  I have tons of scraps! and I love projects I can do in class or on the train! Perfect!

But then I came home and found it on Ravelry and realized that the very cute Beekeeper's Quilt pattern costs $5.50.  I got very grumpy and spent two days mulling over whether it was worth buying it.  Was this pattern really worth caving in for?  And seriously, over $5?!  It's very small and simple.  Plus from what I read on the few blog posts I read (there are hundreds) many people ended up modifying the cast on, the increase/decrease, or the bind off.  I'm definitely not paying it if I'm going to have to change it anyways.

So my decision was made- I was going to make it up.  And if I'm  making it up then I can change it!  So I made mine a little bigger so that I can make fewer of them. Because 450 of those little buggers for just a lap blanket is insanity.  It should be easily changeable for those who want to make it smaller or bigger.

April 08, 2013

Modern Bobble Baby Blanket

I was hooked on baby blankets this past winter.  This one was actually made a few months ago for one of the cutest babies around, and I have finally found time to post it.   This ended up being more long and skinny than I intended, because I ran out of yarn, but I'm still pretty happy with the final product.

Also, this is not my original pattern, just one that I found online and loved.  It came from Moogly Blog, and was called Blackberry Salad Striped Afghan, for the bright colors they alternated between.

For my version I opted to do a more modern take and use high contrast colors.  The yarn is Loops & Threads Impeccable Solids in Chocolate and Aran.

Plus, all those little bobbles seem fun for little grabby baby hands.

Beef Teriyaki and Heart-Shaped Carrots

Joe and I were fortunate enough to have his parents come up to visit this weekend!  And even better, we didn't have an imminent school work so we could relax and enjoy their company without the pressure of looming deadlines.

Joe is from what he would call suburbs, but is really very much the country of central Ohio.  One of the many benefits of living in the country is that the food is seriously amazing.  There is nothing as good as getting all that meat, fruits, and veggies as fresh as is physically possible. Add to this the fact that Joe's family is Italian, and therefore cooks at least double what you need and you end up with a mind blowing amount of food.

So back to this most recent trip- we made out like bandits with an amazing freezer full of meat flash frozen from the butcher's.

And a box full of thin mints for good measure!

(Thanks again for all the food!!!)