Saturday, November 29, 2008

weekend thoughts

I just saw this for the first time: Matt dancing. Have you seen it? Guaranteed to make you smile, I promise.

I am not sure what happened to the time! I have not done much but lollygag at the computer today. Guess I needed that.

Time to walk the doggy and settle down for a warm night's knitting in front of the tube :) Maybe some laundry too, so I don't have to worry about it tomorrow.

I am seeing and bookmarking all kinds of fun things to make, and etsy yarn shops to visit after the holidays....I'd love that, deep in january's cold. Soon, soon.

I just had a long discussion with my brother on the Atlantic coast, regarding the tightening of the belts we've both done in the past couple of months. It is good to talk with people about this, it kind-of props you up to continue your efforts. There are so many reasons to be mindful of our spending habits.

On that note, thought I'd share something cool that happened. We got a fake tree gratis from someone at my DH's workplace. It was a pre-wired, lighted fake tree that no longer lit up in one section. DH brought it home and removed the lights, but left the central extension cord and now we don't have to buy a real tree again. We are going to find some pine-scented candles to put out, though, cuz we'll miss the scent of a real tree. I feel very happy about this; for years I have wanted to get a fake tree we can just store, but it has never happened (usually they are too pricey before the season, and afterwards I don't want anything to do with buying more Christmas stuff!!!)

Isn't that just peachy?! I'm so excited about our free tree :D It's nice looking--I'll post pics when I get it together. I really don't have it together right now!

Wanted to point out the beautiful Christmas tree that Raining Sheep has posted. That is probably the most stunning tree I've ever seen! Now I wish my free tree was white! (Nah.)

Look at these beautiful mitten patterns! So great, I love them. Can't wait til my knitting time is my own again, I <3 these mittens. happy knitting.


Friday, November 28, 2008


The HOLIDAY SEASON is in full force, and I am so happy to be "in" for the weekend. I'm done running around; we had our little trip for Thanksgiving to Grampa's, and drove home the same day, then I had to work 2 hours this morning (not bad, I know) and do some errands. One and one-half hours after entering the grocery store I came out with a huge cartload of goodies, and now we have a pumpkin pie and a cherry pie in the oven! Yay.

Because we ate out, (actually out of state), there is no such thing as leftovers, nor next-day turkey sandwiches here. And we couldn't stand the idea of no pies....

I hope those of you who go to the crazy shopping malls this weekend are safe. Did you hear about the Walmart employee who was trampled to death when the store opened? That is just crazy, what an awful thing. You will never catch me fighting with the crowds for the sales. That is not something I have ever done! Uh, uh. This one's holiday shopping is going to be accomplished on-line this year. Yeah!

Remember back a couple of months when I panicked and said I thought I didn't have enough yarn to finish the Summer Sampler Lace project? Well, I was right. I just ran out completely while knitting on it during our 4-hour drive, and I still have half the edging to go. Sigh. This will be put aside until after the holidays, when I can go about ordering yarn to (hopefully) match.

Other knitting from the bottom of the bag was then pulled out, the Jaywalkers sock I started in Maui in June. Half the stitches were off the needles, and since it had been about 7 months since I put them down, I had to concentrate to figure out where I was (it was just after the heelflap). By the time I got done fixing and studying it,and was able to knit one round, we had just gotten off the main road and started to drive the country lanes and I got really car-sick from looking down. I had to open the window and look forward till we arrived, and it was a while before I felt right again. Sheesh!

I am going to crank on gifts this weekend. I am knitting and crocheting furiously on two gifts (that are currently too large to take in the car). That is all the gift-knitting I planned on this year. But I am also planning a great load of other home-made stuff for gifting. And that's all I should say for now!

Hope everyone's knitting is moving right along. And I hope all your holiday plans are filled with special times and lots of family. Now, to go tackle that pumpkin pie....


Friday, November 21, 2008

Turkey Day Approacheth....

Preparations for Thanksgiving Day are being made. Shopping. Cleaning. Looking forward to family getting together and a day of rest. I love the anticipation of this time of year! We also have 2 birthdays in our family this week, one bro and one DD. And then the whole Christmas time holiday preparations thing starts, too. People at my work are talking about who is decorating already for Christmas. Radio stations are playing the Christmas-only playlist. And sometimes there's snow! Football games are being played in earnest....

That's my list of things I love about November. I hate having to work the day after Thanksgiving, but I guess it could be worse--I could be required to work the actual holidays themselves. But that is not the case, so I am thankful for that.

Busy, busy. That is my mantra lately. Though you have not heard from me, I have been busily knitting away. Mostly on Christmas gifts. Moderne is about 45% done, and I haven't touched the other gift yet. Yikes. And today, I had to be at a CME conference all day, so I worked on my Summer Sampler Lace project all day under the table. Of course, I sat in the front row (cuz I got there late), so I know all the speakers saw me knitting, but I also took notes, and turned the pages of the handouts in keeping with the pace of the slideshow. I hope no one was offended!

Summer Sampler is the only project in the works currently that is so portable. Moderne feels like a behemoth to lug around, and the other is grannie squares essentially, so I'd have to bring a whole bunch of yarn, and scissors, etc. Not so portable. I am not spending any time on Ravelry either--just too much to do. On Saturday nights you can find me watching the week's worth of Young & the Restless soap opera (yes, 5 hours of concentrated TV knitting), and on Sundays, I try to knit during at least one football game! I have begun to bring some knitting to work for lunch hour too, as it is intermittently too crappy outside to come home for lunch now. Another way to squeeze in more knitting time.

(Tooting my own horn: today at the conference I was wearing the Meinstein Coat and got a nice couple of comments from total strangers! That was fun.) And, go figure, there was a really nice knitter sitting next to me who asked about my lace knitting! You meet knitters everywhere! I bet she was wishing she had brought her knitting too. I gave her the link to the Summer Sampler Lace instructions--thanks Black Cat Knits!

So, here's to an increase in holiday knitting time! Woo hoooooo! And cranking out the wooly, cashmere-y goodness in bulk :D

If'n I don't post again before the big Turkey Day, Happy Thanksgiving to all you Americans out there!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Great finds....

Look how cute this sweater is....

but, I don't know, I think I'd look like a circus clown in that. I like the style of it, the lace adds a great flare. Just maybe without the stripes, or maybe if they were more subtle like a tone-on-tone. Wouldn't that be nice in taupe + tan?

Look at these--the cutest knit animal toys I've ever seen! What a great collection of patterns she has going!!!!! I could make one for the new nephew. She also has some free patterns here. My fav is the love-bug!

This is the screwiest thing I've ever seen--a sampler of stitches used in medicine! What a crack-up, in a fascinating kind of way!

My cheese soup was a total flop yesterday, I was winging it with velveeta and beer, onions, potatoes and roasted garlic, but then at the last minute I added in some "beef base" to give it more flavor; it's sort of like bouillion but in a paste form. I forgot how little I was supposed to use and I ruined the soup. It was so salty it was caustic, even after I diluted it 100%. Sigh. I hate cooking mistakes! Luckily they only happen rarely anymore....I might try again today, only I think I lost my taste for cheese soup for a while, bleh >:'p

I think I might try making ricotta gnocchi today. The only gnocchi I've made before were potato. I think ricotta would be wonderful and I have some homemade sauce in the freezer to serve it with....Also my no knead bread mentioned yesterday is ready to bake today--that would all go well together. Must add a salad in there, too.

I found some great free online recipe cards and shopping lists you can print out. Very cute, and would be fun to give with a homemade mix as a holiday gift.

This could be dangerous: I could see getting into trouble surfing there--it's not like I even sew much anymore. I have an outsized stash of fabrics from when I WAS quilting--can't be adding to that. But just in case any of you crafty peeps out there want a good fabric source. Ya know. That's why I mention it ;)

I like this blog not quite vintage--nice crafty, make-do suggestions. I really love this bag she created....makes me want an embroidery machine, Lord help me.

And a link to browse Simplicity patterns from your home!!! I love the internet! I never tried that before. I especially love the jacket in pattern 2938 (scroll down)that she posts about--look at the cool sleeve vents! Love that detail.

I recently saw CookieA's free pattern BFF socks knit up in a solid yarn--very lovely cable-y pattern. I really want to get back to knitting socks, but I have blanket mania going on right now.....

Look at the cute origami pouch you can make to use for wrapping small gifts! It's a nice tut....

I miss the simplicity of a non-rushed life. Carina's Crafblog entry about drawing and sketching reminded me of how much I like to do that. Keep in mind, y'all, that I am not an artist. Drawing is just fun and elemental, like breathing and eating. It MAKES you slow down. I haven't done it purposely for quite a while. I doodle all the time, but that doesn't really count!

Look at the lovely website Dreamfollow. Her handpainted items and embroideries are really cute.

And finally, a really funny idea. This is a non-crafty, send-a-message kind of project. I think it's hilarious. Just my cup of sarcasm....

Happy Surfing :)


Saturday, November 8, 2008


I LOVE FOOD! I love to prepare different things varying with the seasons...I made those spring rolls I mentioned a couple months ago. Did you know how easy it is to make spring rolls?! What a great hot-weather munch!!!

This morning I made the "Homemade Kitkat Bars" from Paula Deen's Christmas easy to make. And they smell delicious. Haven't tried one yet....

I made AfricanKelli's version of granola I mentioned in a previous post. It has peanut butter in it, but I used a jar of cashew butter that no one would eat (go figure, they all LOVE cashews!) That recipe makes a huge batch, and though it is not as sweet as my other fav granola recipe, but tastes great with milk. Mmmm mmm. I have large Tupperware containers where we always keep our breakfast cereal, and I filled one to the brim with that yummy concoction! Next version will use almond butter!

Today, I'm trying no-knead bread from a recipe here. Nice cold day for bread baking, with snow flurries outside and gray skies.

Maybe some crockpot cheese soup, too. Yes, I think I will ;')

On knitting, I finally made it back to Friday night knitting group after about 7 weeks away. I missed it a lot. It was so much fun to see everyone's projects. I was inspired to buy a pair of these--my friend bought the size 50s and has made 3-4 scarves for gifts in about 2 hours each!!! That's a fun way to use up the wacky hobby yarns that are so cheap out there, and get a really pretty scarf or rug out of it! So I caved...can't wait til they arrive!

Also I met an old friend there, it was her first visit to the knitter's group! So cool to see her again, we used to work together at a govt clinic, and used to talk about all things crafty. I remember once I even brought in some of my quilts to show her ...She is very talented, makes bobbin lace, and was just learning to knit last night! Another convert :D

Slogging through Moderne. It seems like very slow work, but I'm liking the wool sitting on my lap in these cold days! Wool sure makes winter much more enjoyable, in my mind!!! And now, to bake, knit and be generally cozy and warm.

May your weekend be the same!


Friday, November 7, 2008

Learning to Love Asymmetry

I voted for the turkey...

I have always loved symmetric design. In clothing, furniture arrangements, floral arrangements or hand made items. Symmetry gives items a sense of full-circle completeness. There is something so pleasing about exactly matching something from one side to the other....And I could never understand the draw of asymmetry. Even through my fashion design classes, I didn't get it. Then, 20+ years later, I started seeing patterns like Eastlake:

where asymmetry is the showcase for a fantastic motif.

Now I love asymmetry also, thanks to Norah Gaughan! Norah's designs definitely have it going on, often deriving their impact from the beauty of asymmetry! Norah has done it again!

I'm gonna go now and flip through my copy of Knitting Nature....Happy Friday Night/Saturday morning :D

Sunday, November 2, 2008

No More Weekend Warrior ....

Uh uh. I learned my lesson. Still having back issues, go figure. DH took care of the remainder of the cut down tree yesterday--it took him hours and hours to deal with the branches and brush. Whew, at least it's done. But now HIS back is hurting!

Getting old sucks ;-|

I worked on the Moderne Log Cabin blankie for 5 hours last night, while I watched the week's worth of The Young & The Restless on Soapnet. What a way to spend an evening! I laugh at that show--everytime I've had enough and don't watch for weeks or even months, if I do come back to it, everything has been interchanged, each character now has a new sexual partner or an evil twin, or someone has died, or someone has come back from the dead, or some other nonsense. What a hoot!

I know I'm slammed/busy when I haven't even been on Ravelry but twice in the past month! Wow.

I indulged in the new Mason Dixon knitting book this weekend. That is going to be a lot of fun to delve into. I leafed through that one and the new Nicky Epstein book 'Knitting On Top of the World', and decided the Mason-Dixon book was the one for me. Nicky's book looks like a good read though, with lots of info regarding the history of knitting in different cultures. Maybe I'll get it from the library soon!

I have been surfing in the wee hours again when I can't sleep. There are so many new recipes I'd love to try: Butternut Squash Spring Rolls, Easy Pumpkin Brownies, Pumpkin Polenta Cake, Chocolate Fudge Cherry Cake (what's with all the cakes? I'm not usually a cake person--must be that nesting/cozy time of year thing....), Simple Sorbet, Halloween-Candy Bundt Cake, Empanadas (one blogger used this empanada dough and spooned pumpkin puree into it with a slab of butter and pumpkin pie spices, then served them for dessert~! clever), AfricanKelli's Bean Dip, and her version of Granola (made with peanut butter!).

That was wierd. It just rained for all of 15 seconds. Hard. Now it's quiet again--very strange.

Anyway, at least my train of thought (regarding non-stop munching) has been broken! Onward and upwards!! Keep Calm and Carry On. And all that.

I saw a really simple and cute shrug pattern here. Looks like a winner, just the sort of thing I'd like to wear. Must. Make. One.

Gaaaaaah! did I mention how sick I am at blanket-projects dragginess?!!! I wanna move on already ;0)

Time to go back to bed. See y'all later.