Friday, October 28, 2011

Good Granny!

Here's a fun link to some cute Granny Squares in 3D! There are videos to make each of them, but they are in German. The good thing is, if you watch what they are doing, you can figure it out.




There are some very unique blocks there. My favorite one is this:




Here is a cool tutorial for a caston and also a bindoff picot edge. Very cool!

Aim's knitting update:

I finished Klaralund about 2 weeks ago. It was a speedy and easy knit! I am very happy with it. In this photo it's unblocked, and I just pulled it on over a baggy t-shirt, but you get the idea, happy sherbet colors!




I started another blanket, based on this one on Ravelry, called the Rambling Rows Afghan. I have a bunch of beautiful variegated bulky wools to use in yummy colors!


Last weekend I got a lot done, in spite of being sick again. I am starting to think all the illnesses and fevers I have been having the past couple of years are due to dental problems. I think I need to have the tooth I had crowned last year pulled. Yikes.

Aim's outdoor update:

Miraculously, our weather here has been mild for so long, I was able to get the front yard raked of leaves, and the window frames painted before the first frost. Woot! Now the back yard's leaves will probably not be down for 2 more weeks. My rosebush in front is blooming away still.

I gathered all my green tomatoes last week, and they have been ripening slowly on my kitchen counter. I also brought in my rosemary potted plant for the winter, and just in time! That very night was our first hard frost. And the next morning the drive to work was amazingly beautiful. Frost on the ground, a thin layer of fog over the fields, and a gorgeous sun-dog in the sky.

I have continued to walk to work, but earlier this week I got extremely chilled when I misread how cold it was going to be on the way home. I had to sleep in a wool sweater with wool socks under a wool blanket with the heat turned up! It is hot apple cider weather now :)

Stay warm,

Aim

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Happy Saturday!

I made soap today! A second type of soap that was fun and fast.


These are for gift-giving this Christmas, along with others I made earlier this summer.

I walked my dog in the breezy sunny day, and raked the leaves out of my front yard again.

I put all the light-switch covers back on in the living room which I finished painting 2 days ago. I'm liking the new look very much!

I decluttered some areas of my home today, and also roamed the garden photographing late-blooming flowers. My Carefree Wonder roses are still blooming profusely! I have had roses on that bush as late as Thanksgiving, but this year I have not pruned it, so there are mostly rose-hips. I will pick them this winter I think, since they are high in Vitamin C. I have to find out how to process them....

I didn't get around to painting the outdoor woodwork--hopefully I can do that before this week is over, or it will be too late this year. And, I didn't warp my loom yet; that may be a winter project that has to wait.

Yesterday, I made mini donuts in my mini-donut maker. I'm not usually a big fan of goofy electric kitchen appliances, but this one is pretty fun! I froze some of them. Then, I baked Tirali, an Italian cookie also known as Lemon Knots for you Starbuck's fans. I only iced half of them and took them to church; I froze the other 3-1/2 dozen.

I am gearing up to watch the Chicago Bears whoop the Vikings tonight, with some knitting on my lap and a cocktail of some sort. Just my kind of evening :)

Soon winter will be here, and I don't think it'll be as hard as previous winters on me. At the risk of sounding mysterious, I'm being set free from a lot of psychological baggage, and I look forward to the cold weather.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Day 3 of Fall

We got early fall weather in August, but it is really only the 3rd official day of the season. I love autumn!

Klaralund is about 50% finished, I am into the first sleeve and the whole body is finished in the round like I wanted. The yarn is Jojoland Rhythm, and I love the overall color palette of this.

I absolutely love the electric grill my brother gave me last year for Christmas! I turn it on and cook and then turn it off. No messing with propane tanks or charcoal briquets (I hate those things) or lighter fluid! What a great idea! I am enjoying grilled chicken, grilled vegies, grilled steaks, kebabs, pork chops, even tilapia...

Now the weather has turned cool, I'm still grilling, but my taste is changing to different fare: baked goods, beef stew, chili, crockpot goodies that cook all day while I'm at work! Heavier eating, heavier coats, and heavier socks are all in the near future....but hopefully not a heavier me, heh. I continue to lose weight: I have lost 19 lbs. Only 30 more to go!

I now share a recipe for Sauerkraut Salad my friend at work told me about, it is like a sweet and sour cole slaw that is fantastic with grilled meats. A yummy summer side-dish that is very easy and delicious. I never thought sauerkraut could be so good!

SAUERKRAUT SALAD (SWEET & SOUR COLE SLAW)

Boil 1 c sugar with 1/2 c vinegar until clear.

Pour over:
1 can sauerkraut
onion, chopped
green/red bell pepper
1 tsp celery seeds

Stir and refrigerate.


Happy knitting, eating, and walking in the fallen leaves.

Aim

Monday, September 5, 2011

It's Fall!

Wow, turn the calendar page, and the weather magically obeys! It is frigid here today; given that 2 days ago it was 99degrees outside, today's 65 degrees has me bundled up shivering in a wool sweater. DS and I are crying about it today, because it feels so SHOCKING to our systems!

Fall used to be my favorite season, but I have to admit that the past several years it has been harder and harder to adjust to the temperatures dropping. I never used to think about it when I was younger--I'm beginning to feel like a geezer!

We had a lovely bon voyage party for DD, who is deploying to the Middle East later this month with her Reserves unit. We are sending her off with style!

So, because of the party yesterday, I actually have photos of my Shrugalicious that I finished a month ago:

Pay no attention to that belly roll--I'm workin' on it!


Too bad I didn't get any photos of the back of the shrug, it is lovely the way it drapes down with its circular hemline.

I have spent the day so far recuperating from the party =) Been surfing, and I found something really cool: needle felting to darn a sock! What a cool idea!

Been walkin' to work as often as I can--weather permitting. Don't know how long I'll remain at this job, I'm getting the sense now is the time to begin putting in efforts to relocate somewhere WARM! Anyway, I'm trying to make the most of living close enought to walk to work--I've lost 10 lbs since April when I started, and that is not doing any other aerobic exercise but the distance walking! Yay, 30 more to go....

Today's breakfast was chicken salad sandwich and an Italian sub with my hot coffee. Then lunch: a bowl of cheddar broccoli soup with an Italian sub (guess what I had leftover from yesterday's party!) I need to get outside in the sun, this cold air is making me crazy.

Hope to show some weaving results soon! And, today I plan on casting on Klaralund--I need wool to work on, and rather than pick up old hibernating projects, I want to start something new (and easy)!

Happy Autumn!

Aim

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Summer Fare, continued

I was discussing summer eating in a recent post, and the food fest continues :)

Check out this recipe for Chinese Chicken Salad, it sounds so easy, and there are no weird ingredients:



I might be making that dressing this weekend for a similar version! I really hate iceberg lettuce, but this recipe might make it palatable. I think I hate that lettuce because it was the only lettuce we ever had when I was growing up; I don't think there were other lettuces available at the grocery store back then, but if there were we never bought them. I love lettuce that is green (go figure), so all the wonderful lettuces available in today's stores are like candy to me. Boston Lettuce, Green Leaf or Red Leaf Lettuce, Spring Greens, Frisee, Mesclun, Baby Spinach--all yummy. (Not a big fan of arugula, that bitterness is disgusting). I think my all time favs though are the leaf lettuces I have grown in my garden, called Butter something, Salad Bowl, and Oak Leaf. I LOVE OAK LEAF lettuce, so sweet and fresh and easier than stink to grow. You walk out the door with your scissors and snip off at ground level the amount of leaves you want! So yummy!

I am interested in trying to grow lettuce in my basement this winter, really want to invest in the plant stands that have lights mounted on them, but it is a bit pricey for me currently. Plus, now I have kitties that might like to dig. So this is likely going on the back burner for another few years :)

I found another recipe, this for citrus vinaigrette(scroll down), which sounds like something I want to try on my summer salads--even with chicken.

While on the topic of salad, I had a great salad last night, I put leftover taco meat over tossed mixed lettuces salad, and topped it with taco sauce, shredded cheese, and crumbled taco chips. MMMMM.

Next food topic: cottage cheese! I recently rediscovered that and how yummy and filling it is, delicious with summer fruits!

Aim

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Best Laid Plans



You can only do so much planning in this life. We were discussing this at work today; how these days you can only do so much about your investments, and there seems no hard/fast rule or safe way to do anything! I think that is true of life in general.

I love Dave Ramsey's take on this: stuff happens, and when you budget your money, you need to put something toward the 'stuff happens' category (i.e. emergency fund). There is only so much planning you can do b/c you can't see the future, but one thing is for certain: STUFF HAPPENS!

So, how do you deal with uncertainty? I do what I can with the knowledge I have, and give the rest to God. You could worry yourself sick trying to plan for everything, but you will NEVER know in advance what will happen. In that sense, faith in God is easy!

But even with that down-to-earth approach to faith, it is still so easy to get caught up in the what-ifs. Then the anxiety begins to build again in a subtle manner. I think that is why we are encouraged to begin each day anew with God; because if we don't, we will try to shoulder all the burdens ourselves and the worries of the day become too heavy when we do that. Give it to God, and rest in Him.

Blessings,
Aim



p.s. a great idea: online audiobible--I like to have Psalms playing in the background while I am surfing, or doing bills, etc.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Web photos and summer eating!

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I've always wanted to be a model. This is why:




I am yarnivorous today, can't get enough of Ravelry and my stash. I frogged back one whole sleeve of the Shrugalicious (see last post) in order to widen the garment across the back. No biggee, right? Usually, but guess what? I frogged from the wrong end. DUH!!!

So I had to be very creative in order to secure the DC stitches that were flying in the wind after I took out what I cut off. I think I did a decent job though, don't think you can really see the fix. Now it fits much better across the back, and doesn't dig into my armpits. I LOVE the way this garment is shaping up!

Here it is, one sleeve and the back....

Summer is all about cranking out lace, especially doilies. I guess I do that naturally, working with cottons in the summertime, but winter finds me working with wool. I just printed out this pattern and this one, and should be 2 doilies richer by the end of the month :)

A new hotpad I'm going to make is here. Doesn't look like much in that photo, but the versions on rav are multicolored and lovely, starfishesque. It might even work as a washcloth.

Today I eat yummy summer bounty: I have organic cherries and freshly picked Southern Michigan blueberries (thanks Claudia!)I am thinking about making this recipe--what do you think? I love ricotta cheese like that, and recipes that do not require turning on the oven are preferable this time of year.

In fact, here's my favorite microwave brownie recipe (it came with my first Tappan microwave circa 1986), great for summer snacking:

MICROWAVE BROWNIES

1/2 c. butter
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla extract
3/4 c. flour
1/2 c. cocoa
1/4 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. nuts (or ground flaxseed meal, yum)

Melt butter in microwave 45-60 seconds. Add sugar, eggs, vanilla. Beat til creamy. Stir in dry ingredients. Fold in nuts; pour into 9" square baking pan; Nuke on high for 8-10 minutes, until top is dry & springy. Turn pan halfway through cooking if your microwave does not have a turntable. Cool & cut into squares. YUMMY AND FUDGY AND CAKEY!

Happy yarnings!
Aim

Friday, August 5, 2011

Summer's Best

Latest movies:

Saw "Cowboys and Aliens" tonight with my son. What the---?! It was quite a different movie, but being the huge Harrison Ford fan that I am, I had to see it. It is worth seeing.

Last night, DS and I watched "300" on DVD. That movie was excellent, though the gore was akin to Braveheart, making me squirm in my seat. We had homemade pizza while we watched (funny, that).

A couple weeks ago I went with my brother to see "Larry Crowne" and it was a very cute movie, enjoyable and made you feel good.

In addition, I just polished off John Grisham's latest novel, am halfway through "The Painted Cave" by Jean Auel (I have waited 20 years for this sequel!), and waiting in the wings is "The Scent of Rain and Lightning".

No wonder I don't have time for knitting :D

My favorite seasonal stuff: sweet corn soon--I have to pop by the farmer's market tomorrow and get some. Also, tomatoes right off the vine: caprese salad with my homegrown basil is a meal in itself with chewy bread! Warm weather and sleeping with the windows open, now with a kitten in every windowsill (it does seem like that!) I love all the burgeoning gardens, and even my pathetic patch of poorly cared-for and late-planted tomatoes are going like wild!

Yay for summer and BLTs! Gotta go do my budget now (it's not a FAVORITE thing per se, but I am beginning to enjoy it).

Rock on!
Aim

p.s. did I mention that my all time favorite movie is "Babe"? There is no movie that tops that one, I'm sorry. It is the best and I have to watch it yearly :)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

August Update


Not much has been happening with yarn. Life has been happening, however.

I have found a wonderful supportive group of women that meet for Bible study one evening a week, and go out for food after evening church service on weekends. They are all range of ages, and all range of wisdom. I think their support and presence in my life is what I have been missing. God is good.

When I have time, I try to work on the Shrug-a-licious, but it is a bit snug and I think I need to unravel the second sleeve back to make it wider across the back. I am using yarn from Hobby Lobby for this, called Omega Sinfonia; it is 100% cotton and nice to work with.

Don't know why, but it seems like every time I start a sweater, it gets stopped because some part of it isn't working, then I put it down and it languishes for months--or even years. I have to get over that hurdle somehow, but right now my life is extremely full and finding yarn time is difficult.

Kitties are going in for surgery later this month, and I'm going to Stitches! Both things are a big yay, SOMEONE has started spraying around the house so that has to get FIXED soon!

One more Rav link: have you seen the new Matroyshka pattern? So cute! I still like that motif, so I may try to make a couple. That seems to be more up my alley lately, fast and fun.

Hope everyone is keeping cool this summer!
Aim

Monday, July 18, 2011

Garment Summer


I have 2 new sweaters finished this past month!!! I made a Granny Cardigan only following the basic initial construction info, so it is an oversized boxy sweater. Cracks me up, and used tons of random balls of yarn....yay!



The other one I finished about a week ago, the Chevron Lace Cardigan with random ugly clown-barf wool I had on hand. I plan on overdying it with a brown, so it will not look like a pastel leopard!

I like how fast this one was to make, and pretty simple, I just need to dye and block it....

Kitties are growing big!
They are the light of my life lately, and make me laugh constantly! All you cat-lovers out there, I have forgotten how much fun kittens are!

Happy summer!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Life Has a Way

Life has a way of changing your course unexpectedly. How easily we fall into a routine, and how surprised we are when something changes without warning!

We have kitties! My spring and summer has been taken up with caring for and adjusting to my new pets. They are now 13 weeks old, saw the vet for the first time yesterday. I guess they weren't 4 weeks old (like we thought) when DS and I rescued them from our nasty garage/shed--they were apparently 7 weeks old at that time. No wonder they were so stinking hungry when we got them, they'd been still surviving only on mom's milk, and possibly anything she might have hunted for them. Given that the only way out of the garage was through a broken window pane, I don't think they had been out yet.




Monkey is a super intense ninja-kitty, and does everything at 150% energy level.

He is larger than his brother and immediately developed the hang of shouldering Gibbs out of the food bowl when eating, and ate so fast he ballooned up his belly within a couple of days of rescue. He is slowly becoming okay with being petted, but only when he decides it is time (like when he is sleeping)! He is gray and short-haired and woolly, with a sloping nose profile.

Gibbs is sleek and black with longer hair and no undercoat, and an upturned tip of the nose. He has the biggest eyes I've ever seen in a cat. He is very sociable and lovable, the first to welcome being touched and petted. He is nowhere near as rowdy as his brother, and likes to lay stretched out in silly poses at rest. He loves the yarn in the bowl, kneads it and purrs.

In contrast, his wild brother loves to take a ball of yarn in his mouth and run into the bathroom with it, making mama retrieve her yarn from behind the stool again and again. Monkey is a naughty kitty :)

God sent me these gifts to help me deal with an extremely difficult time in my life. I can honestly say I have not laughed so much in the past 3 years as I have in the past 5 weeks!



Healing comes through unexpected pathways. I have not had a cat for 30 years. What a lovely blessing!

No knitting or crocheting going on these days. I am too busy keeping the house running. I did try my hand at soapmaking, and it was successful and quite fun! I should do some yarning today...but there are tomatoes to tie up, weeding to do, and laundry. Hmmmmmm.

Garden update: I never did plant my huge garden. It is enough this year to get the tomatoes in only 2 weeks ago! It is hard to plan big gardening jobs and carry them out when you are not sure if you will continue to live here. And we had the weirdest abnormal weather this spring that I never could get outside to plant.

I am snowballing my debt. So glad to be paying off lots of bills. Things will be getting very tight within the next 6 months, so I am really trying to get it off my plate by then. Wish me luck! Step one was to sell off the Mini Cooper--let me just say one thing:

NEVER BUY A MINI COOPER.

Don't even be tempted. They are the worst car on the planet. Rated 7 out of the 10 most unreliable used cars ever, by Consumer Reports. Mine was only 3 years old, and in the shop 6 times in the 9 months I owned it (luckily still on manufacturer's warranty so all repairs were covered). I sold it 3 months before the warranty was due to expire: no way I would continue paying top $$ for a luxury car that requires premium gas only, gets awful gas mileage (?20 mpg), and breaks down constantly! Instead, I now own a 7 year old Toyota, I put 2000 miles on it within the first 2 weeks and it has not been in the shop once! Gotta love a Toyota. I love that it is pared down, no bells and whistles, gets great gas mileage and I can use the cheapest gas out there. Can you say, R-E-L-I-A-B-L-E? It may be lacking in style, but what good is a cute car that doesn't go?!


I hope to get back to blogging and surfing blogs soon, but re-arranging my life has taken precedence. Thanks to all my supporters and readers for being so responsive when I WAS posting. I have great memories of that and hope to get back on the bandwagon soon :)

video

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Dedicated Butt Scissors

Guess.


Alright, I'll tell:
My GF and I were discussing how we have to intermittently chase our hairiest pets around and wipe their butts off and trim their butt fur because of their fur carrying lingering doody after potty-time. After all, you don't want doody all over the house and the furniture. We both noted that we have 'dedicated butt scissors' just for that very purpose and that those scissors are kept well away from normal daily activities. But that once, her mom used the scissors marked food to cut kitty's hair....At least it wasn't the other way around!


Okay, nuff said.

We had a nice crocheting and knitting time together over a glass of wine. She brought me a Yankee Candle called Cinnamon Toast--Oh, YUM! It smells wonderful. I'm gonna go light it right now....

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Go Cubs!

Okay, y'all have to see my family here, my s'prise nephew is 3 and interviews well, methinks! (at the end of the clip)

Cubs Opening Day Can Bring Unpredictable Weather: MyFoxCHICAGO.com




Yay, Spring is REALLY here! Flower buds, baseball (not that I am a big fan, I admit), sunshine and more sunshine. Ahhhhhh. My camera is calling!

I am in search of this pattern booklet, I believe it was published in Australia....

Anybody have a clue where I can get this? I'd love a copy, and have been on the lookout for several years for it on Ebay without success. If anybody has a copy they'd like to sell me, please let me know!

The hunt goes on (that's half the fun!)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Amateur Biologist Speaks

ON MASS DIE-OFFS


I cannot believe that mass animal deaths in huge quantities are "common", as the officials quoted in these articles are stating (follow some of the linked articles within). What kind of dummies do we look like? And what happens if the human species begins to have an unexplained "mass die-off"? Will we say that too is 'not uncommon'?

I postulate this dying-trend may be related to the manipulation of the food-chain's genome. Genetically modified grains/vegetables/fruits that are being foisted upon the world by large corporations are bound to have some repercussions; whether it be vitamin deficiencies, or alterations of the very DNA of the higher organisms that eat them--You Are What You Eat. There have been documented cases of genetic plant modifications 'jumping species' and spreading like crazy into nearby wild species once they are released into our environment, threatening many species of insects. Will that not eventually affect organisms higher on the food chain?

Maybe something basic like cell-senescence is being changed in these species' DNA. We don't know everything--that is science's great pitfall. We know a little so we think we know it all. So let's play with the genome some more, and maybe we can open Pandora's Box.

Some may say that because of the age of information we inhabit, it only seems like a lot of mass animal death is happening, that we just didn't know it was happening before; it wasn't as readily compiled. Really? Millions of fish dying?! All at once, in a big swarm, and only within one species. In isolated random-seeming locations throughout the world, these massive death counts have been seen frequently in the last decade. Has this been documented so pervasively, in such numbers in the past? Call me a doubter, if you will.

Evolutionists may point to survival of the fittest as the cause. Then why only one flock of red-wing blackbirds, not the whole species, or multiple flocks within the same species throughout the land? Herd-kill seems too frequent lately, yet none of the investigators can find a cause based on known science! No viruses, no bacteria, no parasites or diseases, no toxins or signs of poisoning! Huh?! Were the fish and crabs scared to death by fireworks too? I wonder if any research is being conducted into the very genetics of the decimated flocks of birds or schools of fish?

Other expert theories mention cold-water stress on the fish/crabs as cause of death. What happened to the theory of global warming? Why would there be cold-water stress if the planet is actually becoming warmer? Which theory should we latch onto? (Which basically should serve to remind us, they are only theories.) And what about the dying coral in the world's oceans--another sign of 'cold-water stress' vs global warming?

MY OWN LITTLE PLOT OF EARTH

On the heels of that discourse, let's get back to our own gardens, our own yards, our own lifestyles that may be participating in the demise of our environment. Being attentive to our own actions, being purposeful in our lives can make a strong impact. We as Christians are called to be good stewards--this means all God has given us, not just $$$. I am planning a garden this year, and will be starting heirloom vegetable seeds soon to transplant when the time comes.

I found great instructions for how to make transplantable pots out of newspapers! I will definitely be making some of these, likely this week, in preparation for the seed-starting I have planned. How cheap, earth-friendly, and virtuous in a recycling sort of way! Let's go plant!

Here's my garden list for 2011 (ambitious, we'll see how much actually gets done):

Tomatoes: Hillbilly Potato Leaf, Long Tom, Black Sea Man, Rose, Ukranian Purple
Flowers:Empress of India Nasturtium, California Poppies, Grandpa Ott's Morning Glory, Painted Lady Sweet Peas, America Sweet Peas, Curiosity Nigella, Night-Scented Stock, Amado Coneflower
Herbs: Grandma Einck's Dill
Vegetables: Snack Face Pumpkins, Moon & Stars Watermelon, Red Peter Peppers, True Lemon Heirloom Cuke, Beer Friend Soybeans, Fingerling Potatoes

I have never planted more than peppers or tomatoes before, so I am really going to be jumping in with both feet!

To end this post: an amazing twig artwork display,

of branch-woven sculpture!


Addendum to post: Or, maybe the birds and fish dropped dead of something similar to the giant CO2 bubble that arose from a lake bed in Africa, and, because of its density, hugged the low ground, asphyxiating every mammal in its path! Maybe there is a correspondence in mass animal deaths along fault lines? Or, some other noxious fumes? Hmmm. You'd have to think they'd be researching things like: did the fish asphyxiate?

Obviously this is a puzzle I can't wait to see the answer to--hope I'm still alive when they figure it out, could be a long, long time!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Home-made and Cheap


I AM LOVING THIS! Check out these "recipes" for home cleaning products....let's see I think I'll make soap first :)

I went to Ikea 3 weeks ago with DD, and bought a dedicated large spaghetti pot for soap making. When the weather warms, I will be doing this project outdoors, so as not to be using caustic chemicals (lye) in the kitchen. I need to also get a hotplate I can use outdoors....wonder where I can find one of those? I am looking to get a picnic table this summer also, and another yard swing...As if I'm made of money! Oh well, there's always something!

This year for christmas I am giving homemade soaps that I will make throughout the warmer weather. That is a do-ahead kind of project I'm thrilled about. And, I was thinking of knitting a washcloth for each bar I give. I have a million washcloths now, and I cannot knit any more for myself unless I wanna be Crazy Washcloth Lady (which I don't), so the next ones I make will be for gifts! I still have crap-loads of leftover cotton yarn to use up!

St Patty's Day is around the corner, I should make up some decor....Let me check on Ravelry and see what is there, I know I'd queued several shamrock designs in past years. I want to Irish up my house this year!

I am on a super-tight budget this month, after having to pay up front for the wisdom tooth to be pulled. Hope the insurance will reimburse me quickly. I love a challenge, though :)

If the weather behaves a bit, I may walk to work one day, and just plan on staying through lunch. I burn a bit o' gas going home each day for lunch, but I really can't stand staying there through my whole lunch hour if I don't have to. Soon, I may be biking (I know, I said that a couple years ago. This time the cost of gas may make me actually follow through)

Menu possibilities for this week: crock pot 15-bean soup, homemade chocolate chip cookies, cheese/sausage & crackers antipasti, penne pasta with homemade sauce (I made it already this week with huge chunks of meat), chicken spinach wraps, naan sandwiches with hummus.

Happy almost-Spring, y'all!

Aim, the impatient

Monday, February 21, 2011

Winter Reading

DS brought me this beautiful bouquet of roses at work for Valentine's Day! Isn't he a sweetie?! I love my kids, they rock!

I have spent my looooooong winter reading this series of 12 novels:


I have enjoyed the whole series immensely! I like that these 12 novels have been reprinted in collections of 3 novels per volume, so that I only had to buy 4 books total. The best part of getting the books like this is that as soon as you finish one gripping book in the series, you can move on immediately to the next one without having to wait! I like that!

This has truly been the winter of reading for me! And I feel well-rested because of it! I am ready for spring, and lots of hard work in the garden!

Drum roll, because I said I'd show you the Aran Wrap Cardi, so here it is:













For knitting now, I am currently working on Shiri Mor's lace cardi from the Vogue Fall 2010 issue. I am really enjoying working on this, I love the yarn color, the feel (wool!), and the way it locks into place as it is blocked. I'm loving it! I hope to have this cardi finished by April, though there is no rush. I am just focused on it right now and enjoying the process, except when the charts make no sense. Arrrgggh!

I have begun to walk the doggie again, now that it is melting outside and there are clear patches and it is not dangerously cold! The pooch is happy about that, and I am too.

Wanna hear my large garden plans? Maybe next post.....! Spring is coming!!!!!!! Woot!

Aim

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Lovin' the Links

Can't wait til the earth looks like this around here again....


Been surfin' yesterday--nothin' else to do after having a wisdom tooth pulled! I've been not much good for anything else.

But wow, I found some great recipes I want to share! And great websites--did you know that Gooseberry Patch has a website, and also a blog?! SQUEEEEEE! I never knew this. I am enamored of their recipes and cookbooks, in fact I think I have 8 of them! They are my go-to cookbooks for great, well-tested recipes.. I am so excited, I printed out a couple of their dip recipes from the December 2010 archive, looks delish!

I like that they have downloadable artwork too on their site!

I found this interesting and simple microwave popcorn recipe! Whodathunk?! Make it plain and then add whatever you want! And on the same website, a really great idea for hot cocoa sticks to give as gifts! LOVE that one! And Rosemary Bread! And biscuit donuts!

And, I found a new fav Indian foods blog to love! I'll be watching this one! Must try her Naan bread, that TK blogged about! I plan on trying that recipe today.

Nutella recipes are always welcome--I just don't have enough daylight in 24 hours to make all these great recipes! Can't believe I missed World Nutella Day on Feb 5 (or was it 6th?)!

These links are not food, but the cutest crafts for the holidays! I know, I'm a bit behind, but there is always another Christmas lurking around the corner!Paper-craft wreath for the holidays. Great idea! And I'm really liking these natural Christmas ornaments--woodland themed and cheap! I also like the technique in this pinecone garland. That's different!

Oooooh, and look at the lovely reindeer penny rug made out of felt! This is too cute, I should make one for my table centerpiece for next christmas....

And I want to make these really sweet herb pots! I LOVE chalkboard paint! And, for next christmas, some great printable gift tags from gooseberry patch!

This morning's Chicago Tribune featured a local home that is passive-built, and it was very interesting reading. I'd love to learn more about green living and eventually adapt the changes that I can to my own homw, so I went on over to the Four Thick Walls blog to see what it's all about. This looks like something very very doable.

Spring fever is upon me, though we still have weeks of winter left. I can't help it, it was 60 degrees 3 days ago and I went out and planted some pink daffodil bulbs that had been chilling in my fridge since I bought them in January. The remaining winter temps should be enough to activate these puppies--can't wait. It was fun to get my fingers muddy, too! And 99% of our snowfall from the blizzard is already melted, I can seen green grass, green moss, and buds all over my star magnolia! The springtime countdown is on!

Here's hoping you all are enjoying good food and good family times this winter! I'm off to church, then to spend my Groupon at the local bookstore, woot!

ETA: the naan bread was very good, though my kitchen filled with smoke! Tends to do that every time I use a dry skillet!
Manana, pics of the Aran Wrap Cardi....

Aim

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Digging Out

See why I dream of moving to Hawaii? (p.s.-- there are 2 cars in this pic.)

Poor puppy can't find a place to pee....




I spent an hour getting to my car from the front door.





And yes, there is a car under there....

The drifts along the 6 foot privacy fence reach 5 feet outside the kitchen window.

The back yard is not so bad drift-wise.



Very thankful the power did not go out. DS said his girlfriend in Chicago walked down to the beach near her apt, and saw 20 foot waves and lightning over the lake during the blizzard! Wierd.

All the people across the street have minimal snow on their cars b/c the wind has been drifting snow toward their back doors instead of the front doors. Only their side of the street has been plowed also >:\

This is as far as I got. It's DS's turn to shovel next! Why didn't I think to park my car at the street end of the driveway?! Now we have to shovel the whole thing. And it needs to be done by tonight, with overnight temps expected to hit -5 to -15 F!


Interject some color:

Whoa! I was a bit iffy about this after I painted it--I wanted cottage green, and thought it was intensely minty instead. Yikes

Better with some floating shelves and my Yellowstone photos. I'm still not sure about leaving the wallpaper border up (it has been up for 15 + years, on a light pink room.) It's growing on me. The color is a nice change.

BTW, don't know if I've posted since I finished my Aran Wrap Cardi? Pics to come. I am loving this cardi like no other. Have worn it to work several times when the temps have been below zero, and I have gotten a lot of comments. I also love to wear it in the "green room" pictured above, as that room tends to be cooler than the rest of the house. It's like wearing a cozy wool blanket!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

One WIP down....

(Here's a post I'm publishing back-dated. It just never happened in January when I initially wrote it)

So. It took me a little over 2 years, but I have finished the Aran Wrap Cardi. Woot!!!

I wore it to work the past 2 days in the -8 degree F weather. It has been the best thing to cuddle up in--early this morning when I had a bit of a fever, and couldn't get rid of the chill, I put it on OVER my fleece bathrobe, and got in bed under the down comforter, with wool handmade socks on, and slept for another couple of hours. Deliciously warm, yes!

I am so happy to have finished that project, now I can devote my creative time to other WIPs! Right now am still working and almost done with the Noro sock-yarn kitchen curtain I have been making! Crazy color for a drab cold winter.

I am basing my new kitchen color on a vase that we received from Edible Arrangements; after all the wonderful fruit was used today in a lovely smoothie, it was washed and will accompany me to the paint store later. I really want that color in my home somewhere, just not sure how the living room gray that is planned will coordinate with that yellow-orange!? I really have to be careful here! I'm thinking just an accent wall under the cupboards when they get raised) will give enough of that happy color to the room. Since my kitchen-living-dining room is all one open area, I don't want to chop it up with colors that don't coordinate. Hmmmm

Well, my LYS closed. What a sad event for the social knitters in my area! Molly has moved on to have more time for her grandchildren, and who can blame her?! Too bad no buyer was found for the store, though. I am sure there will be lots of satellite knitting groups that form from this dissolution. There are other LYS around, but none with the warmth and acceptance of The Gifted Purl. Sigh.

I am proud I could wear my new sweater to the last night of her store--I bought the yarn from her as my first purchase in 2006!

One bonus about this awful cold snap--the sun has been shining full force. Thank you God! I needed to see the sun, it has been a lot of gray overcast and snowing days around here!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Plans for 2011, Plans for the Day

Maui vignette


ON COOKING:
Ah, the weekend. It has been majorly cozy around here--snowed last night, just a little, and when I picked up milk on the way home, I got a broasted chicken too, ready to serve. That solved dinner easily. My doggie and I loved it :)

Earlier in the week I made a crockpot of split pea soup. It was bubbling along all day while I was at work. It was so piping hot after I walked my dog, I didn't even care that it was not pureed. It was fantastic and warmed me up well! That will be dinner today, too.

I want to try making these too, don't know why sauerkraut sounds so good to me these days, but I had bought a large jar of it at the store that has been sitting in my fridge without being used.

ON THINGS TO DO:
I have been looking on Ravelry, and saw I have 6 WIPs listed as incomplete. This next week I am going to seriously work on getting some of them finished. Two of them are completely done, but just need the loose ends sewn in! It'll be easy to get those off my list!

One that is very easy to finish is a destined for the frog-pile sweater. I finished the body a year ago then realized it is both too big, and the designed neckline overly large. Here I document it B4 I frog:

(someone on Rav made one with a reduced neckline by about 5 inches and it looks much better.) I just don't want to try this pattern again--I restarted about 4 times total. We're done. I can use that gorgeous silk yarn for something better. I love cardigans....

ON NEW SKILLS:
I also have a small pile of mending to do, including mending a pair of shoes! Do any of you have a favorite pair of shoes that have done this to you?!--I was wearing them at work in late August or September, and toward the end of the day, all of a sudden the sole was flapping when I walked! What the?! It has come unglued from the insole! I'm off to the hardware store to find a glue suitable to put that back together. Geez, I've never had to cobble before....

While at the store, I am going to look for citric acid and rennet. The latest issue of Hobby Farm Home has instructions for making your own mozzarella cheese, with good photos. I have always wanted to make my own cheese! If I can find those two ingredients, I should be on a roll!

The local community college always offers jewelry making classes which I want to take this winter. I usually try not to do anything extracurricular in the deep winter b/c I hate driving in the bad weather, but the college is only about 7 minutes from home, so I should take advantage of it!

And finally, the library is going to be starting a writer's group later this month. I have not forced myself to write since NaNoWriMo2009, but I really would like to get in the habit again. I think belonging to a local writer's group would be a good thing! I write fiction and poetry, but it has been a while!

ON COLOR:
I am going to be repainting my living room, at least one of the bathrooms, and my back room before spring. I have been attuned to color lately, and so here is a photo I snagged from this blog's post, that is from a Pottery Barn catalog:

I want one of my rooms that color, how gorgeous! I really love the black and white accents. Another paint I want to get a hold of is Rustoleum 'Heirloom White' that I saw on a blog where someone repainted an old piano bench. What a lovely color and easy if it is sprayed!! I could use that paint on a myriad of furnishings I want to change. And a third color I LOVE and that may become my next generation green living room is called 'Grazing Field' by Sherwin Williams (see painted dresser here). I am hunting for that color at the hardware store today....My living room has already been 3 different shades of green since we moved in 18 years ago, first a dark forest green, then sage green, then a very light pea green which I am heartily sick of now. If I paint it yet another green, my sofa slipcover and the other furnishings will continue to go with it, and I like that idea. Plus, I love green!

The other option I was thinking about was going with a nice gray or silver color in the living room, that would be very new for me. I love this pic on the Glam Lamb, that room rocks! That's the darkest gray I think I could do, but it is very calming, no?

ON GARDENING:
I have been looking at seed catalogs. I LOVE planning my garden. This year I am going to plant some of those hull-less seed-bearing pumpkins (Snack Jack, SnackFace, etc) to make roasted seeds out of. Yummy! I expect a large harvest of those. I may set up a new garden patch in the back yard to accomodate them--the creeping jenny has been taking over the grass anyway, so I might as well plow it under. Thinking about getting a couple of chickens too, but I have to look into the city rules for that first. (My doggie would love them!)

ON SURFING:
Check this out: cool idea to make a moroccan style lamp, what a great idea!
And, I love all the brackets for shelves that The Glam Lamb put together!

Happy Happy January to all my blog readers!