Let the Knitting Begin

Some of you may know sparrow is exactly one half of the folk-blues duo, The Wallings Jr.  We've been working on recording an album with a great Nashville producer, Vince Emmit.  Last year we raised some significant funds using IndieGoGo, a site that provides fund raising space online for charities and artists.  As part of the efforts we offered various gifts in exchange for certain levels of donations, two of them involving a knitted something from sparrow.  Naturally, the "Knit and Caboodle" level totally sold out, so now sparrow has 16 knitting projects due this summer. Les sigh.  At least knitting is fun.

Yesterday, the first knitting project began:

The Baby Sack, aka The Baby Snuggie

This is for a lovely couple from OKC who are about to head out to Europe as missionaries (thus the first on the list status).  They have a friend who is very pregnant, so they wanted a handmade gift to present to her before they leave.  Here is what they initially sent:
Cute, right?  Sparrow set out to find a (hopefully) free and fun pattern to match.  This is what came up:
Very cute!  This is called the 'Owlie Sleep Sack' from a great site Comfort Wool.  Here's the sack sans bebe:
 Notice the little scallops on the top that form the stretchy band?  Those are little owls that go all the way around the top.  This is a nice addition because (A) it provides a little give in the top to help hold the baby in and (B) it gives the knitter a little something extra to break up the monotony, otherwise you're basically knitting a hat.  Win!
This was started yesterday in grey (as requested).  So far, the project is about 20 rows in, and that's after about 6 hours of work.  The sack is 85 stitches in the round on size 3 needles....this is going to take a while.


Welcome to Spring

Spring has sprung in the nest.
Here, you see our seedlings.  Hopefully, with tender care, these little seedlings will grow into this year's urban garden.  Gardening in small spaces can be tricky, so sparrow has been relying on a few handy blogs and books for tips on container and small space gardening.  If you're up for the urban garden challenge, here are some helpful links:

Sparrow will be updating you periodically on the state of garden throughout the season.

Happy Gardening!


The Backlog

Hey folks,

You may notice posts popping up from the last months here in the nest.  There are around 30 posts backlogged from the past five months that sparrow just didn't have time to put up.  Now that there is a plethora of time to devote to all things crafty/cooky/cleany/painty/planty, expect lots of new things.

Check back often.

much love,



I Can't Believe I Made Real Butter!

Sparrow saw something on Pinterest today that brought up sweet (cream) memories of a childhood in Pennsylvania- making home-made butter!

The ingredients are so simple:

-heavy cream (best if raw...good luck finding that)

That's it.

The directions are almost as simple.
  1. Add the desired amount of cream to a mixer or bowl.
  2. Salt the cream to taste, if desired.  For unsalted butter, leave the salt out.
  3. Whisk or beat until the cream separates into milk fat and buttermilk.
  4. Separate the butter and buttermilk (the milky water in your bowl) using cheesecloth, a strainer, or (like sparrow did) a thin metal kitchen utensil. 
  5. Refrigerate until use.
Note: there is a point where you'll see a familiar sight...whipped cream.  Keep whipping!  You're not done until you have a big ball of butter stuck in your whisk and pool of buttermilk in the bottom of  your bowl.

You can make any amount of butter and buttermilk like this.  Sparrow used a pint (16 oz) of heavy cream and came away with roughly 8 ounces each of buttermilk and butter.

This experiment brings up so many options for the future- add herbs for savory herb butter, or sugar for a sweeter breakfast option.  Stay tuned for future butter ideas.


White Chocolate Creme Brulee: Easier Than you Think

Monday nights in the Nest are typically family nights.  With having two full time ministers in the family (Father-in-law and Husband), its schedule those nights or lose 'em to rehearsals, meetings, or who knows what else.  Mom-in-law (she's sparrow's favorite!) always makes a fabulous dinner and we top everything off with a movie or cards.  Its a great night to relax and catch up on everyones' week.  This past week, Jeff attempted to talk sparrow into making a few creme brulees for dessert, which did not go over well with anyone else (we made brownie waffles instead).  Last Monday,  Jeff was surprised with White Chocolate Creme Brulees for family night.
Brulee has an undeserved reputation for being finicky.  Most custards are a little challenging, however, creme brulees are surprisingly easy to make and even easier to customize. The recipe comes from an adapted creme brulee recipe found online.

White Chocolate Creme Brulee
Modified by paper sparrow


  • 8 tablespoons white sugar, divided (6 tablespoons and 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 5 oz white chocolate bits, chopped   

  • Directions
      1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and assemble all the ingredients.
      2. Beat egg yolks, 4 tablespoons sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl until thick and creamy. Set aside.
      3. Pour cream into a saucepan and stir over low heat until it almost comes to boil. Remove the cream from heat immediately.   
      4. Slowly add the white chocolate bits to the hot cream, whisking until completely melted and combined.                 
      5. Pour a little of the hot cream into the egg yolk mixture and whisk briskly.                     
      6. Pour the cream/yolk mixture into the rest of the cream and whisk. DO THIS SLOWLY to avoid cooking the egg mixture.                 
      7. Skim any foam that has collected on the top and toss.
      8. Pour the hot mixture into shallow ramekins and place in a large, steep sided pan.  Carefully pour boiling water into the large pan, avoiding the ramekins.  This is your water bath to ensure even cooking. The water should come about halfway up the ramekins.
      9. Bake 15-30 minutes, or when the centers jiggle slightly in the middle (like a jello jiggle, not a liquid jiggle).  Remove from the oven and let cool in the water bath for 20 minutes.  Chill until serving.
      10. Just prior to serving, dust the tops lightly with the remaining white sugar then torch until the sugar caramelizes.  If you don't have a torch, place the brulees on the top rack of the oven and use the broil setting.  The sugar should melt in  a matter of minutes.  Serve.
    Makes 5 individual brulees