Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Leftover Christmas Ideas

I know, it's too late this year. But it seems like every year I find a great pattern for something just after the holiday is over (I did that with the Easter Peeps, remember?!) But I can plan ahead for next year, yes?!

Here's an owl ornament tutorial--these are very cute. I may have to make a couple of these for the tree next year....It would be really cute to up-size this and make some throw pillows for a bed in the same manner!

This is one of the best scarves I've ever seen. What a cute thing, I love it totally! Must see if I can reproduce that myself =D (I really love that Anthropologie inspires so many knock-offs!)

Love this pattern for a fabric basket. I'd like to make something like that in the future, when I have more time!

Here is a recipe for easy and yummy sounding eggnog--though it should be mentioned it has raw eggs in it. I think there's a way around this, you can very slowly soft-cook the eggs in a double boiler or something to eliminate the possibility of food poisoning. I'd have to google that....

Look at the cutest felted bunny you ever saw! I like this blog....

I'm loving this great vintage humor stuff. Really want these christmas cards ;0) Check it out....

I also found an interesting idea/recipe/method for brining your Thanksgiving turkey prior to roasting. I know that is what restaurants do with their fried chicken prior to cooking it, but home-brining a turkey hadn't occurred to me. I may have to try that next year (we'd need a big big fridge).

Anyone interested in origami? This website is cool: it has some printable downloads for rhombicuboctahedral world globes you can fold....

Well, that was more random than not. And though I actually published it on New Year's Day, I kept the date the post was started as my publishing date. I just want to start off 2009 with a clean slate!

Happy happy!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Just Another Poo-flingin' Day in the Jungle


Yep, that's what my job seems like, lately. It wouldn't be so bad if my boss wasn't always a pisser. Because, I really love what I do for a living. But, for the past 2 months he has been grouchy, fault-finding, snippy, and difficult. He did this last year about this time--maybe he has SAD?! I can deal with it as long as he doesn't cross the line like last year.

I'm so relieved that Christmas is over. The gift-giving craziness is behind me for another year. And, I am so done with this climate. I am imagining christmases in hawaii in the near future, with nice weather, rains, ocean, and family visiting....if only I can afford a big enough home there for visitors to stay!

The title of this post came from t-shirts I purchased here for Christmas presents! Heh.

Look at this cute hat on the winter issue of Knitty:
Soo clever. I love it.

And I definitely want to try making a pair of cabled socks in this Celtic looking pattern published in the same issue of Knitty! And reversible lovely cables in a scarf! And look at the cute Musk-Ox Slippers....I love Knitty. Such a great resource! (One more--love this.)

Check out this poncho/capelette, called Undertow. How beautiful is that?! I love it

Onward into 2009, with new knitting goals =D

Saturday, December 27, 2008

New fibers

Seagulls on New Buffalo Beach in October.

New fibers are going to arrive for my spinning pleasure soon. I visited Shell's Etsy Shop and bought 2 colors of hand-dyed BFL to spin. That is going to yield some marvelous socks I'm thinking =)

I went to the bookstore today and stocked up on knitting mags. I am really excited about a couple of them; one I ended up not purchasing was the current issue of Verena. I didn't see one pattern in there that interested me.

I also bought the second book in the "Twilight" series. Where has this great series been all my life?! I must be living under a rock, since I just now heard of this from a coworker. I loved the first book, and for a Christmas gift, DH will be taking me to see the movie and then going out to eat. Maybe tomorrow!

This book has actually reinvigorated my desire to write fiction. I mean, if someone can take something like vampires, and write them into a love story fraught with danger, and make it enjoyable and engrossing and somehow believable...well, it's just inspiring to me. After years of non-fiction reading as part of my job and training, it feels great to return to fiction!

It may be a few days before I post again, though there is one post scheduled for Monday. Happy New Year everybody.

Friday, December 26, 2008

WOW fun links

Cool, look at this website about lighted Christmas balls! There are instructions there for all different types of balls, some made with cups, some with chicken wire...I have a neighbor who hangs another couple lighted cup-balls every year in his trees, and it is just glorious! I have thought about making some myself, but haven't had time to look for the instructions. (Hot dog, now I have them linked on my blog!)

Look at this cute Polar Bear in crochet...free pattern if anyone is interested. I love the blog this came from, full of really inspiring tatting projects (I haven't tatted in a couple of years...)

Ooooooh, squeal! Look at the cute free Seahorse tatted motif! There are a lot of tatted patterns for free where that came from....I never knew this =)

Sigh, wish I had time for all this! Here's a tatted parrot motif, very colorful and pretty!

More free tatting patterns here. Really fun ocean motifs, I'm going to remember these for the future.

There's a tatted dragon motif too! This rocks!

On a different note, this blog is by a very talented decorator/painter lady who is very inspiring! I'm blown away by her attention to detail....

And this blog shows photos of the above mentioned lady's cottage, with painted stair risers, and beautiful rooms everywhere!

A fun and crafty blog I just found...check out this cute idea she had.

Look at this beachy blog (sorry, I had to post this, I'm surrounded by gray fog, gray skies, gray melting snow and bitter gray cold lately)

Happy Weekend to you all =)

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Free at last, free at last....!

I am freeeeeeeee! Sooooo excited to be FINISHED with the 100 mile long blanket! The Moderne Log Cabin blankie is finished, it's on DS' bed, I don't have to work on it any more, and life is good =D

I finished it in a marathon knitting session at 2 AM Christmas morning!!! Boy, was I glad to be done! It is pictured on his double bed, somewhat stretched out after he was holding it up by one end. It is huge, woolly, and warm; I hope he likes it :)

Now my guilt is assuaged (I'm guilty for starting a quilt for him when he was 5 years old. He is now 20, and the quilt was never finished, while his sister has had a finished hand-made quilt for 14 years.) But the surprise blankie I started for her this year is unfinished--it's just about as far along as his quilt! Heh. Now I can blog about it, b/c it is no longer a surprise:

"Flowers in the Grass."
Maybe it'll be done in time for next Christmas. (I can't believe I just said something about knitting for next Christmas, have I gone mad?!)

Here's Aim's list of things she is free to do now:
1. find additional yarn to finish the Aran Wrap Cardi
2. finish ballerina wrap cardi
3. find additional yarn to finish Summer Sampler Lace (or find a narrower edging to make what I already have work....)
4. make some mittens and hats (fair isle +/- cables of course!)
5. make DD's flowers in the grass blankie!
6. finish my Maui socks (I have 1-1/2 socks done)
7. reap the benefits of my Yarntini Sock Yarn of the Month club which starts in January. Can't wait!!!

I think that's plenty. I'd love to get working on my Hanne Falkenberg kit, too; I must sit down and really chart out the instructions so I can follow them.

Here is one of my ornaments, crocheted by me about 25 years ago :)Pattern from a Leisure Arts publication in the early 80s. Here are the other ornaments I made back then (oh, and I added a pic to the last post like I promised):

Do NOT laugh at the twisty candle....

Nor this tiny, furry wreath!

Happy Christmas, all!


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Busy in the Kitchen

I have been. In spite of being overwhelmed by the things I need to do, I just got up early this AM, and took stock of my situation and I'm farther along than I thought! Panic was setting in, as I have to work today and a half-day Christmas Eve, I have no time, and I'm still not done with Moderne!!!! But I'm close!

All the gift items I was busy making in the kitchen are finished. I feel really good about that. This AM I made up lots of yummy cocoa mix for giving. And I feel good enough to take time to share my recipe with y'all:

Aim's Deluxe Hot Cocoa Mix
(makes about 7-1/2 cups mix)

2 cups nonfat dried milk
2 cups non-dairy creamer (flavored if desired)
2 cups sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
4 oz sweet chocolate bar, grated (I used Baker's)

Mix all well. To make, add 4-5 spoonsful to a mug of hot water.

What I love about this is all the possibilities...if you use powdered sugar instead of granulated, it's a lighter color mix. You can use flavored creamer, I suggest vanilla. Or, if you're fancy, you could use a flavored sugar that you made yourself (like vanilla bean sugar). You can add a dash of cinnamon to each mug for Mexican Hot Cocoa, or add 2-3 tablespoons cinnamon to the overall mix. You can stir it with a candycane, unless, like me, you like to add a shot of Peppermint Schnapps to your hot cocoa! Yeah, adult cocoa!

I read somewhere that you could add a packet of raspberry or cherry koolaid mix, to make black forest hot cocoa! Interesting, but I haven't tried it (might taste too much like cough syrup I'm afraid!)

Anyway, here's a photo (I'll post it later, I still have to reinstall my camera software >:)of my hot cocoa, two batches bottled up and ready for gift-giving. They just need labels and ribbons!

I also have packaged up several batches of Spice Granola, made from variations on this recipe. I LOVE this granola, and so does DH. (That says a lot, he's not a real granola fan.) I've made several different versions, each with a different dried fruit; one with minced figs, one with diced apricots, one with golden raisins. Next I'm gonna use chopped dates....

I bought fun jars from Ikea, washed them, and filled them with my gift recipes. Nice gift, when you can re-use the container!

And now, the wrapping fest begins. Aaaaaaah! I really need to get 2 more hours of sleep before work. Wrapping must wait until after 5 pm. Sigh.

Buenos noches, buen natale.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Clean Slate

I am so glad I've logged my surfing escapades here. I just lost everything that was on my computer. All the cool places I was gonna blog about next, as well as all my files, photos, pattern downloads, and weblinks (and my resume, among other things) are all gone. I spent all of Thursday night re-formatting my hard drive, and re-installing Windows, and keeping my fingers crossed that the hard drive was salvageable...luckily it seems okay now. But, oh! The things I lost.

A word of advice...if you've been thinking that you should back up your files onto disk lately, DO IT! Don't wait :(

The flip side of this trauma, is that I get to start the new year with a clean slate. I have my blog's links to keep me happy and busy for a long time. I stored 99% of my digital photos on Flickr (thank God the Maui pics are safe!) And, I have Ravelry and all you wonderful bloggers out there to keep me well-supplied with more inspiration!

Next, I must do some other slate-cleaning....b/c I'm inspired now, you see! It actually feels good to start anew.

One thing I'm sorry I lost is all my Paper Panache downloads. This is a paper-piecing website that hosts a new free quilting pattern every couple of months. The patterns I collected over the past year are lost. They are only available free for a short time. Sigh. Well, it's not like I'm doing much quilting or sewing anymore, so I can let it go...(I'm still reeling, can you tell?!)

But, I can still use the computer, and 2009 is rolling in! We have our health and prosperity intact, so there is a lot to be thankful for!!! I hope everyone out there has the same.

Have a lovely holiday season! (Hope you like the blog's new look!)


Sunday, December 14, 2008

To waste the day surfin'....

Here is some surfage from the net:

1. Look at the cute palm-tree granny square! I'm not a fan of knitting or crocheting a motif to SEW onto a background, but this might change my mind....just too tropical and cute.

2. I like the look of this cardi--and the pattern's free! I found out about it via RosaP's blog, which I love in it's own right for the photography and minimalist feel. You should check out her version of this sweater, very cute.

3.I like this blog, she has a lovely photography style and her french inspired style is lovely.

4. I like the look and the idea (and pretty sure I'd like the taste too) of Sur la Table's chocolate crock you heat up and dip your fondue dippers into. What a cute item! Found via the speckled egg blog....

5. My new favorite shop (also from the speckled egg blog). All things lovely and French inspired....Not too pricey, either!

6. Need a moss tablecloth?! Here's a lovely one, not expensive if you don't buy the largest size....;) And how about placing one of these on top of it: Found also at bell'occhio. what a cute woodland party you'd have with both those...!

7. Look at the fun cupcakes website! I love their Christmas tree cupcakes, how cute is that photo?!

8. Oh! Look at this cute towel bin! I love this shop, my new favorite shop! How great is all that lovely merchandise!?!

9. Did I mention I love woodland? I love acorns, oak leaves, pinecones, moss, mushrooms, birdies, faux bois, any camping or Smokey the Bear related, National Parks themed items, fish (kinda woodland, right?)...well, I think you get my drift. Look at this really cute scarf with a mountain ranger bear on it! I'd love a print of that illustration to frame....OH, they sell that too!

10. Speaking of woodland: look at this really cute charm necklace! A little cabin in the woods! Love it :)

11. Last but not least...the recipe for Girl Scout Cookies "Samoas", Oh, yeah, I want to make these!


Saturday, December 13, 2008


Yuck. Yucky yuck. DH and I drove around all day in cold damp sleet and ice and rain and snow. If it weren't for the holiday spirit and the goal-oriented stops we made, I would have been a grumpy, grouchy soul under the dull gray sky.

Now the rain/sleet is changing into big fluffy snowflakes. My dogs came in from outdoors looking like frosted cupcakes =D

And I sit here with a glass of Two-Buck Chuck Merlot, eating Almond Roca (did you know those go together?) enjoying a happy buzz. I love being indoors in the winter, being cozy and warm and with a full tummy, and having some free time.

Gift knitting drags along. Unfortunately one gift will not be even half done by Christmas. Oh, well. Best laid plans, and all that. But the Moderne Log Cabin blankie is in its final quarter. I'm gonna get that sucka done on time!

I am not nearly done shopping for gifts. I wish I had all the time in the world to make things for people. But I also love my job. There's just no easy way for me to adjust it seems. Sigh.

But, reminding myself what this season is about will keep the worries in their proper priority. We are healthy, and safe this holiday season. DD has not yet been deployed to the middle east. For this I am heartily thankful.

May your Christmas be very special, a time to be with family and forge the links of love. May the Light that is Jesus shine upon you, and bring you and yours peace.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Great inspiration!

Wow, look at this lace! It's a knitting daily video--have y'all seen this shawl pattern? It was recently published in Piecework magazine. I would love to knit a lily-of-the-valley shawl, either rectangular or triangular. I think it is the most lovely lace pattern I've ever seen! And, it reminds me of my Nana, who had a billion lilies of the valley growing in her side yard and let me transplant some to my new home. I miss you Nana....

I am going to try to wait until I finish summer sampler stole to knit this lovely piece of lacework. I also have my eye on the Forest Path stole, but I don't get Entrelac. Best do a scarf in plain stockinette entrelac before I attempt lace!

Other cool finds while surfing the last couple of days are:

1. Yarntini's Happy Hour Sock Club. I asked for this for Christmas, as I totally love her yarns. I can't think of a better surprise to await me this winter, than a package of yarntini yarn each month. So I quietly waited until signups began, and jumped in....because DH said he would buy me that for Christmas! =D Yay, something to look forward to for the next three dreary months!

2. Recycle your grocery bags into great gift wrap accessories!!! What a cool way to use up that annoying plastic from the grocery store. We usually end up putting it in the recycle bin, but I love the way this looks as a pom pom!

3. Cranberry body scrub...hummm, I have lots of little jars I could put to good use. Maybe I'll try this!

4. Hexagon crochet grannies tutorial here. What a beauty that blanket would be....

5. Have you ever heard of a tantrum-throwing shrimp?! This is very interesting, with cool pics!

6. For seamstresses, these free croquis from Threads magazine can help you sketch your designs over an actual body shape. I used some similar things in my fashion design classes.

7. These are cool for gifts(don't look family)

8. I love this: Crechemania, just joined so I can participate in this papercutting activity! I so love Nativity scenes...I think collecting paper ones is a lot more space-saving!!! What a cool site, make sure your volume is turned on too!

Merry Christmas!


Sunday, December 7, 2008

I can't help myself....

Really. When I see stuff like this, I have to laugh. Found on Etsy yesterday, here are some great vintage styles:

You've gotta love the 70's. Mm,hm. I just think granny shorts over-alls with tights is the best outfit EVAH!

Could I wear that to work?

And here's a "vintage" sewing pattern from the 70s:

Wait. This is an apron?! What is it really? Chaps. Ha ha haaaaaaaaa! Chaps with lace. AND, removable potholders. Hoo hoo hee hee heeeee!
I NEED this pattern!

Or how about this cool hippy cape? It could be yours for $30:

Someone put an awful lot of effort into looking like a psychedelic musketeer....I almost want one. (P.S. It has a zipper!)

Here's one, from inside a knitting magazine from the forties or fifties:

This one creeps me out. Sorry. I'm just a heterosexual.


Saturday, December 6, 2008

White Christmas!

It's snowing outside, while I sit here in my jammies, on the computer. I had a whole list of things to do today, including getting my oil changed, and a Christmas party to go to, but somehow the idea of staying in when it's snowing over-rode all my good intentions. Imagine that :)

DH and I decorated our tree this morning. That was really fun, pulling out homemade ornaments from our kids, and ourselves. Our first Christmas together, we made ornaments, including woodburned ornaments, painted ornaments, sewn and knitted ornaments and crocheted ones. I'll have to photodocument those soon :) The knitted ones are from a Leisure Arts Leaflet that is long lost. But the memory of knitting those when we lived in a mobile home in California our first year of marriage--well that really makes me smile. That was the year I learned how to knit! Hard to believe I've been doing it for 26 years! (I also remember being in the Air Force at that time, and crocheting on my lace during down-time on-duty, heh!)

Ah, reminiscing about a loved one who gave you a particular ornament, or trying to figure out which of our kids made which dough ornament was a great way to spend Saturday morning. I plan on continuing the Christmas spirit with some baking and some knitting progress on Moderne.

Good thing I went to knit night yesterday! I had to force myself to go; I knew if I went home from work, I'd be in bed by 6:30 like I had all week (from a draggy cold I caught.) At least I went there and got 4 hours of solid knitting done! And, it was Main Street's Christmas Celebration yesterday, so we had lots of foot traffic, and two groups of carollers! That was really fun. A lot of people popped in to see what we were about, and I even had some teen carollers ask about Meinstein Coat (I was wearing it while I knit--it was cold with all that door-opening!) Molly had a special store window display: kids knitting in the window! It was a fun night :)

I spent this AM doing some cybershopping. I refuse to go into the crowds at this time of year. Yuck. Some of my shopping is done, but I'm starting to run out of time for the mail-order stuff. ~panic is pending~

I will try to post some pics soon. I'm overwhelmed with time management lately! Computer trojans with adware and keyloggers are sucking away all my time (trying to get rid of them so I can on-line shop safely.) Sigh. It's always something.

Have a happy week everyone! Knit onward!


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Say Thanks to the Troops

Send a postcard to the troops! These designs are awesome, done by schoolkids. What a great program Xerox is running, to do this for our military!

This is cool--check out all the great designs the kids have made! Imagine if you were a soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan and recieved one of these cute cards!!! I want to send one a day :)