Trying a New Online Recipe: Banana Walnut Bread (sans walnuts)

With bananas being a staple in this house, making banana bread is nothing new. I’ve made various versions of it as long as I can remember and still am up for trying new ones. This time via a tweet from Healthy Living Blogs, I found Banana Walnut Bread by Sara Runs, which was a loaf recipe rather than the muffin versions I’ve made more so recently. Muffins are great for both weekend mornings and “grab and go” weekday breakfasts but a still warm loaf cooling in an amazing smelling kitchen just screams weekend. I chose to make it on a snowy lazy day version of a Saturday and so ended up warming up the house a bit and making something delicious at the same time.


Here is my breakdown of this recipe.

  • Ingredients shopping: Easy. I “shopped” my own kitchen since the recipe included basic ingredients that are staples. I omitted the walnuts since that was the one thing we don’t keep on hand all the time.
  • Prep: Easy. As long as you have enough bowls for the steps, it is super easy. I used my KitchenAid stand mixer and so there was very little effort needed.
  • Cooking: Easy. I set the oven timer to the full 55 minutes and only  checked on it twice. I ended up adding an extra two minutes to the time.
  • Make it again: Absolutely. The banana bread turned out so delicious that we almost ate half of it within ten minutes. I can see myself making this to give away as well.
  • Modify it: Since I didn’t have walnuts in the pantry, this was a modified recipe to begin with. When I do have walnuts, most likely when the holiday baking season has been around a bit more, I will try making that version/the actual recipe.
  • Works for leftovers: Yes but this didn’t last long.

Life in a Photograph – Fast-forward & Rewind

I’ve long believed that the universe gives a bit of a push when it is needed. Fate, destiny, the ever so grand pedestal on which things that are meant to happen happen, all set up to change things because of some sort of event, a certain person or persons, or in this case, just what seemed to be a simple photo.

Yes, a photograph.

I was recently reminded of that photograph as part of a social media “remember when” that usually reminds me about things like that I talk about music, pets, and knitting quite often which isn’t really groundbreaking. Having that photo version of me starting back, however, was different. I don’t call it a tipping point since I know now that things had started changing a short time prior but it was part of that. It was part of the slow shift, a grain of sand that wouldn’t have registered if I had stepped on it alone. I saw the tired eyes, though happy to be among friends, that had started in frustration at my closet just a short time before, just one of the many frustrations that I was holding on to and had held for too long. Too long, I had decided, it had been too long.

I try to keep some sense of positivity in my life even if it is just making sure that the music surrounding me makes me happy but I am only human. There are times that range from feeling bothersome to overwhelming, be it warranted or not, and I know that focusing isn’t good for me nor the people dealing with the grumpy cloud I’m dragging around. At least, my heavier than normal heavy footfall gives warning.

Now the heavier footfall is one that I try to pace to keep up with all that I surround myself with, pausing when needed for extra breath, grinding my heels in an attempt to crush what is against me, and running forward as much as possible and away as little. When I look at that photo, I see it differently now, rather thinking of the year that followed it than the night it was taken. There were many photographs of me with tired eyes that could have been taken during that time but it would have been because of good things. It could have been due to a late night filled with great people or fantastic music or trying to get one more row knitted or one more chapter read. It could have been because I was catching up having a good day after a bad one.

The timing of this all works with this being a week when people are expressing a concentrated gratitude for things. Think of the use of the word “concentrated” like coffee, being generally thankful for things is your daily coffee, or tea or juice if you prefer, and this week is like doing shots of espresso.



BWAHAHA….er ha?

BAHAHAHAHA. There, that is a bit less comic book villain style but that is how I will look at that photo if it appears from the shadows again. If it appears again and if I notice it. I’d rather focus on the things that I am thankful for in my life like the opportunities ahead of me, the people who part of my life who are there for me when I’m in good moods and bad, surrounded by a flurry of crazy creative ideas, shared laughter and shared words, and the art and music that adds beauty to it all.

On Repeat: True Rivals

Having song lyrics running through my head is nothing new since music is a general default in one way shape or form pretty much at all times. Lately I’ve found that accompanying that fantabulous post concert rush a specific song lyric has been sneaking in no matter what band I had just seen live.

“The feeling at the show
No, you can’t take that from us”

That line, from “Can’t Take That From Us” by the LA punk band, True Rivals, was one that made me stop and think “YES! THIS!” when I first heard it. The other lyrics in that song are about a band being out on the road on tour, or at least that is how I read it, but I’m a firm believer that music is about connection as a whole and tying it to your own experiences.

Though I wish I could say I discovered this band at an actual show, I ended up finding them last fall via one of my favorites on YouTube, Cherry Dollface. Cherry had posted videos with Trevor and Derik and shared some music as well. One song turned into checking out others by the band and I was immediately hooked. I loved the music so much that I even got the LP from the international sale since the domestic set sold out. Getting the limited edition with a screen printed sleeve was worth the extra shipping.

I know saying “punk band” can mean almost anything these days but to me this is that excellent “LA/CA” punk sound that I’ve loved for a long time. I truly believe region does affect music. (Midwestern/Chicago punk has a certain element that ties it together as well.) Think bands like Rancid, Bouncing Souls, Distillers (but without female vocals.) The music makes me want to go to a show and jump in the pit though my serious moshing days are over. (My last was a Rancid pit and I want to end on a high note.)

Since a trip to LA is on my “Hopefully Someday” list, I’ll just be blasting their music with fingers crossed that they’ll end up playing in Chicago before then.

So I get this post all set and ready to go for when I had it planned to post.

Then this happened: wears punk band shirt worn to a multiple punk band show.

Rocking @truerivals at #FatWrecked in #Chicago #HOB! #truerivals

A photo posted by Krista (@yarnalone) on

And then THIS happened: meets band member of band of punk band shirt worn to a multiple punk band show.

That last sentence was awkward on purpose. Please note that the goofy grin was since Trevor was at the same show in Chicago, and took the time to come down and find ME. I was in a crazy good mood because it was the Fat Wreck 25th anniversary show and this just amped it up more. He was super cool about it all. I usually manage to not fully music geek out but this time I couldn’t help it.

And since it is still relevant, I will end this revised post with the same closing as initially intended since it still rings true, pun intended…

Since a trip to LA is on my “Hopefully Someday” list, I’ll just be blasting their music with fingers crossed that they’ll end up playing in Chicago before then.

That GIANT Knitting Project Continues: Ten Stitch Blanket

My current knitting project is one that has been on-going for several years. While that does include numerous starts and stops while working out in as well as at least one good hibernation period but still, that means I’ve been working on it a long time.  If you follow me on Instagram, then you have probably seen pictures of it mixed in with the usual mix of cats, concerts, more cats, the occasional dog since we do have two, flower photos, and whatnot. Though It is a long term project, it has never gotten words like “doom”, “evil” or “wretched” attached to it in moments of extreme aggravation.

The pattern, Ten Stitch Blanket, is from Frankie’s Knitted Stuff and created by Frankie Brown. I first learned about it from Nikabee who had found it as a free pattern on Ravelry. For those who don’t know, Ravelry is a fantabulous site for knitters & crocheters with things like patterns for free and to buy, forums, and within your account section, places to organize your projects, needles, yarn stash,etc. This pattern was a stash buster and great for leftover yarn from prior projects. This was what Nikabee was doing and the blanket was looking great.

I, of course, then wanted to make one too. After working on knitting projects for others for awhile, I wanted to do something for me and something that was a giant project. This wasn’t going to be my first blanket since the first finished project I did ages ago was a teal blue mashup double bed sized afghan. Yes, for a newbie knitter that was a bit insane but it turned out great in the end.

The current insanity I’d be tackling with this project would be my yarn stash. Oh my. I haven’t put my yarn all in one place but I know there is a lot. While I did give away about a dozen skeins years ago that had been living in the trunk of my car (yes, I’m serious and fellow knitters understand) there has been yarn somewhere in pretty much every room in the house. Darth Husband just shakes his head and walks away for the most part.

Then the boxes came.

The BFF’s mom and grandmother were crafty ladies and after they passed away they left behind oodles of crafty items including yarn. I had the opportunity to get some yarn that was leftover and of course, by some I mean I ended up taking all that was left. All meant two good sized boxes with one once containing a small file cabinet.  Darth Husband was thrilled and by thrilled I mean the combo of the raised eyebrow and the “WhereTF is that going to go?” face.

The boxes were shuffled about for awhile and after my explaining how much it would cost to replace aforementioned yarn, Darth Husband begrudgingly mellowed out the WTF face and even helped me vacuum bag the majority of the yarn. What was left out was the 50 skeins for the ten stitch blanket.

Yes FIFTY since I’m clearly insane. The thing is, giant projects are relaxing to me and this is exactly what I had been needing knitting wise. No deadlines. No one paying me for a project. Just me doing something for me. Now, it has gotten big enough to be at the point where it registers as a blanket to the cats, non-knitters seem quite impressed, and Nikabee has asked me more than once when I’m planning to stop working on it. We shall see but that won’t be definitely won’t happening anytime soon.

Creativity + Inspiration

Of course, I talk about the end of gaps being back and then the universe starts mocking me. In the past there were too many times I’d throw something out there and then it would stutter or fail. This time it is more so the opposite since on top of my prior list new things have been heaped on as well. More ideas, more scribbles and sketches, and whatnot are fueled by a random day that I now know was the catalyst for this all being kicked up a notch.

I have always considered myself a creative type, be it art, writing, or music. That is the default, the norm, that cozy comfortable cocoon-like feeling. With it though, there are always ebbs and flows. Though it never goes away, it does end up not quite dormant and settles on the regulars – music and knitting until I end up at some sort of live show.

A concert is one of my happy places. Be it dancing on the lawn or pavement of an outdoor venue or standing just beyond the stage lights of a concert hall, if there is music that I love, or possible could end up loving, it puts me in a good place. It is just plain re-energizing. I always catch myself talking faster, and often slightly (hopefully just slightly) scaring people, after shows and wanting to do more of creatively myself.

Though I frequently go to shows and have been since I was in high school, the last year or so has seemed to have had more on the calendar. I know it is a mix of overall bands I enjoy touring more and me actually being able to make that particular date. That goes along with local music as well. It was a mix of the two that first started this uptick – Meg Myers (major label/touring artist) and Mighty Fox (a then new to me Chicago based band) – that led to even more Mighty Fox shows until I became one of those in their crowd singing along to songs I now love, and after a quick hello or a short chat, adding yet another great night to the concert books.

The Chicago local scene is something of which I’ve always remember fondly. Many of the bands are just a memory with lineups changing, disbanding to start new projects or just deciding they were done. Others pop up in venue listings at varying frequencies. As I have mentioned before, the nostalgia factor pulls hard but it doesn’t need to be stuck in the past. I’ve made it a point to get to Lucky Boys Confusion shows as much as we can after I had so much fun last July. It wasn’t that we hadn’t gone before then since Darth Husband once surprised me with LBC tickets as part of a road trip to Champaign to visit a friend who had gone back to school. It was just that timing wasn’t working for one reason or another.

Timing. This brings it all back around to where I began and where the most recent kick in the creative pants (metaphorically of course but if they were real they’d be covered in paint, pencil  and ink, bits of yarn fuzz, and band patches) that has put me in one of the best creative mindsets I’ve been in a long time. If you follow me on Instagram, you know I knit. The name of this blog refers to it, as does my online handle, but I don’t just knit but that is what I’d been doing the most. I’d pull my sketchbooks out now and then. One of my guitars or my flute might be freed from their case. Darth Husband’s bass might be taken off the stand in the living room. (Yes, it resides in our living room but we do have concert posters, album covers, and misc music stuff throughout our home. Think of music things as our version of that “Live, Laugh, Love” or whatever other three line word art that is all over.) It just all went back to knitting and the other ideas staying as part of that “ok, later I will do xyz” list.

Well now that that list has had the word “later” removed from it after chatting with someone I first met back when we were kids, and I’m not talking high school kids, though I would end up knowing him then and seeing his bands play from high school and onward. I hadn’t had a chance to be on that same kind of creative wavelength for some time and didn’t realize it until afterward. It was like figuring out which way to tug the yarn to make it untangle and the knitting needles start flying even faster or the headphone cable turning the right way and the volume shoots up making me jump in my seat.

My creative idea list is on hyperdrive and I love it and hate it at the same time. Since there isn’t an extra day when being creative is only allowed and I have to balance it with everything else in my normal life, I’ve been trying to get as much as I can down ideas wise using more of the notebook stockpile I have for that exact purpose. Lines and lines have been written, scrawled, scratched out and redone. I’ve been making it a point to at least sketch every night (though I am hesitant to post things online since I know people’s art gets stolen. Instead I’ve just decided send it to those who I trust would actually ask if they wanted to use something.) Redoing the header of this blog finally clicked and not surprisingly the image it features is me standing on the floor of the House of Blues in Chicago.

I ended up a few lines of some recent writing to Nikabee since she was one that I would share with years ago, and even still has a small notebook of poems/lyrics that I gave her over a dozen years ago. (Seeing it, as well as my old handwriting, was quite amusing.) She liked the new stuff and responded about how it must feel good to connect to that creative part of me again. She’s right. That part. It feels absolutely fantastic. It is like the creative energy from concerts piled up back to back to back to back to…

I’m not wasting this or taking it for granted either because I do believe in signs. Things work out for a reason when they haven’t been before especially in terms of timing. I’ve had to miss out on things as we all do. This time it is two-fold. I have tickets for the next State and Madison show after not being able to see them play for way too long and I can tell Nick “thank you” again but this time in person.

Throughout my life, I’ve spent many hours, if not days or even months in total probably by now, surrounded by creative people – ones with minds buzzing with ideas or paint and ink stained hands, ones with fingertips drumming or feet tapping to the rhythm in their heads. The artists, the musicians, the writers. With social media and the overall digital world we live in now,  I might not share the same air space but I can still share the same creative thought space and learn, grow, and continuously be inspired.

To all of those who have inspired, thank you.

Easy Everyday Rockabilly: Just Add a Scarf

Having an eclectic taste in music as well as in terms of personal style makes getting ready for concerts a lot of fun. Sometimes I don’t have a specific focus and just wear what I feel like wearing but other times I just take the style of music and run with it. That is what I did last weekend, though it was more of a fashion fast jog, for the Social Distortion concert at the House of Blues.

Social D’s music makes me think punk rock, rock n roll, old cars, tattoos, guys with slicked pomps and ladies with retro curls but with a rockabilly spin to it all. With Social D celebrating the 25th anniversary of their self-titled release and playing to a sold out crowd, I knew that the House of Blues was going to be packed and that meant that it was going to be HOT. No matter how hard the AC would be pumping, the crowd would be rocking out even harder, myself included since I cannot sit/stand still at a show. Knowing I’d be bopping around, singing along to lyrics of songs I played over and over again for a good two decades, I needed something comfy and something that I wouldn’t overheat in. This plan could have easily been checked off with a tank top and a pair of shorts but what is the fun in that?

I skipped the retro hairdo since I knew it wasn’t going to survive the humidity and become a nuisance during the show but I channeled a mellower rockabilly vibe with a circle skirt and a wide neck short dolman sleeved blouse. I added my excellent for dancing mary janes style Keens and overall I was happy with the look.

Looking back I could have easily added a scarf to my hair and been fine as well. Adding a scarf is a very easy way for me to add a bit of retro/rockabilly without having to really change up my wardrobe staples. It is also a great time saver when my hair decides to revolt against the humidity, or just because it wants to be ornery… so at least once a week. Now I don’t actually wear a scarf in my hair once a week but when I do it is something similar to these.

Easy Everyday Rockabilly