Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Boys will be boys...

It's true, once that magical age of 16 hits, they become obsessed with their cars and toys for them.  My boys are particularly concerned with ensuring that they are as obnoxiously loud in their vehicles as is legally possible.  


Help me, I foresee loss of hearing, rattling windows and a steady thumping sound in my head in my near future...




Down the hallway to the garage, progress is being made with trimwork!  The trim is all up in the laundry/craft room and I am now in the midst of caulking and final painting details.



Scarves seem to be the fibery topic for me lately. 

Number two of my contribution to Super Bowl 2012 scarves.  This one is done in granny squares.  Still need to weave in ends.



Cathi from Cottage Knits had sent out directions each day for the 12 days before Christmas to create a surprise scarf.  Now it just needs to be finished off with a 3 needle bind off, a few ruffles added, and spend some time on the blocking board.



Back to work on details for the craft/laundry room.  I want a cafe curtain for the window and a teensy tiny lacy valance from which to hang my bead rods.  The first pattern chosen came close to driving me to drink.  Close to 2 years later, this seems to be working out much better.  Well, except for the whole 198 stitches of a lace pattern...maybe a little drinky poo might be in order anyway.



And back to the world of scarves.  After the Butterfly Pullover was finished, I had quite a bit of the Silkindian Duke Silk Yarn  left.  So, the Very Braidy Cowl sounded like a yummy choice for this softness.




Haven't had much  time the last several days to catch up on everyone's projects, but hopefully I can sneak in a peak soon.  Unfortunately, Chris has to have his wisdom teeth cut out tomorrow...poor guy.  A trip to Perfect North may or may not be in our future depending on his pain and what happens with the weather here.  


Ya'll stay warm!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Back to the real world

Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas weekend.  We had our dinner with Wes' family on Friday.  It is always fun to get together with them.  My boys are currently with their Dad for part of the Christmas break.  Saturday, the three of them went to the farm for "Christmas Spaghetti" with my Father, sister, and brother-in-law.  Any adventure at the farm would not be complete without shooting at targets on the pond bank.  Daddy got a new "toy", so he and the boys had to play with it.  The boys will be back here in a couple of days.  

Yesterday, we went to Indy to have the truck and Explorer tuned up by one of my in-law's renters.  He is a mechanic and we swapped the tune ups for some shirts he wanted printed.  While that was being done, off we went for a little bowling.  First, let me say that my father-in-law and brother-in-law bowl every Tuesday night in a league and use Sunday mornings for practice.  Does this give you any idea of how this activity goes for me?  I tried to convince them that the REAL rules/object of the game was to see who was skilled enough to hurl a ball "straight" at pins and see who could leave the most standing.  My opinion is that it takes real skill to do that, however, they did not agree.  MEN!


Since Saturday was a holiday and quite frankly, Sunday was a do nothing day, the cleaning schedule got set aside for a couple of days (with the exception of simple straightening up).  That is the great thing about this schedule, if you miss a day, no worries, it is going to come back around pretty soon.  Today, I will be back on track on the weekly cleaning program, and will be starting Zone 4:  The Great Room.  We have two living areas.  The first being the room that was the original house's living room, but is also part of the kitchen.  We now use it as a "hearth" room/office, as that is where the kitchen/fireplace/desk are.  I like to plop onto the couch in there while I am cooking dinner or turn on that TV.  As there is a separate surround sound system in that area (attached to the computer), sometimes I crank up music. 


Here is Zone 4: Great Room schedule:


Monday:  Straighten bookcases, cabinets, drawers


Tuesday:  Vacuum and mop


Wednesday:  Remove cobwebs
                      Dust windowsills, baseboards, furniture and ceiling fan


Thursday:  Clean windows, switchplates, and doors
                    Vacuum under and fluff/rotate sofa cushions


Happy Monday and HAPPY BIRTHDAY LIZ!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Stripping in public

Finally, time to share some FO's that have been under wraps so to speak...

Project bags (8) made from sari fabric that was used last year for needle roll cases...


Reverse-bloom flower washcloths (13) from this book...


Brown Sugar Scrub (12), recipe from here.



Circular needle row counters (8), tutorial found here.




Wishing everyone a warm Christmas Eve!  Wonder what the elves have been up to at Tami's?

Now, to go work on the lonely sock...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Organizing Alert!!!

OMG!!!


I have totally found my organization soul sister!  


LISTS glorious lists...


Makes my heart sing and my brain dance.


Life is complete with a list, people.


Trust me, Penelope has not a clue in the world who I am, but my fellow "organizophytes" (oooh, just made that one up) will understand...


Add this to your list of places to surf to.  If you don't hear from me for awhile, it's cuz I am in heaven---heaven I tell you!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Welcome to the Island

of Misfits/UFO's...




Well, maybe it's not that bad,  but the poor sock is still a WIP and feeling a bit like a UFO/Misfit :(



Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Terrific Tuesday

Just a short list of what made today a day to remember:

1. Starting the day with wonderful ladies to stuff goodie bags for kids in Group Homes.

2. Perusing pattern books at the fabric store plotting projects to sew.

3. Lunch with Liz.

4. Gift exchange with the girls at knitting. WOW! I am seriously blessed with the friendship of some amazing women.

5. Tuesday knitting, duh.

6. Cooking a couple of dishes for my son to take to his work party...AND getting a heartfelt thank you from him.

7. Homemade stuffed shells, fresh foccacia, and arugula salad with my darlin'.

8. Baking cookies to decorate with Group Homes.

9. Finally getting to sit down and just sit quietly.

10. Life is good.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Shameless Knock Off

I am a fan of Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa).  Yesterday morning, while avoiding getting my day going, the "Barefoot in London" episode was airing on Food Network.  These looked so simple and fun to do.  


In keeping with my plan for keeping things super simple (HA!) this year, stuck with crushed candy canes and Heath bar bits for my toppers.  Or, you can always stick to the original.






In true "Ina-ese"...how fabulous is that???

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Raindrops on roses,

And whiskers on kittens,








 Meat sales at Krogers,




and cute labels for printing,
FoodSaver packaging makes me sing,












these are a few of my favorite things!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Clean Sweep

As I was doing my weekly cleaning this morning, I was reminded that the topic of my insane cleaning and need for organization tendencies has been a source of flat out green eyed jealousy cause for concern from many of my friends.  Although, those that really know me, know that I just like to be organized as my life just runs better that way.


Over the years, I have tried many a different household organization technique ranging from index cards to notebooks to spreadsheets to some insect themed female.  Finally, I have found a system that incorporates points from all of them but has been tweaked to my liking.  The best thing about this system is that my daily cleaning activities only take at most 30 minutes (except for the hour on the weekend) and because one particular area of the house is focused on each week, I NEVER have to deep clean.  


So, thought I would share my system.  I have a weekly plan consisting of:


Saturday or Sunday:  1.  Laundry
                                   2.  Cleaning Hour
                                   3.  Water plants
                                   4.  Menus/Grocery List
                                   5.  Change Litter Box

Monday:                    1.  Clean out purse/car
                                  2.  Clean out fridge
                                  3.  Straighten

Tuesday:                   1.  Gather trash
                                 2.  Vacuum (just a quickie hit the high spots)
                                 3.  Errands
                                 4.  Grocery/Supply shopping

Wednesday:             1.  Dust
                                2.  Pay  bills/file
                                3.  Change litter box
                                4.  Swish all toilets and wipe down all bathroom counters

Thursday:               1.  Vacuum 
                               2.  Straighten



The weekly (zone) detailed cleaning is divided into 14 different areas of my house.  Currently, I am starting on Zone 3 this week, but will catch you up.



Zone 1:  Front Porch
              Monday:  sweep down cobwebs
              Tuesday:  sweep walkway
              Wednesday:  deadhead plants in front beds and pots
              Thursday:  wipe off light fixtures


Zone 2:  Entrance and Hallway
              Monday:  straighten coat closet and boot trays
              Tuesday:  deep vacuum and mop these areas
              Wednesday:  remove cobwebs/dust window sills, baseboards, and furniture
              Thursday:  clean windows, switchplates and doors


Zone 3:  Kitchen
              Monday:  deep clean fridge and microwave/ clean fan, vent, hood
              Tuesday:  deep vacuum and mop/ clean stove and oven
              Wednesday:  clean cabinet fronts, straighten drawers and under sink
              Thursday:  clean light fixtures, doors, switchplates


I have two zones printed on a 4x6 cardstock that is slipped into a clear acrylic magnet frame (7 total).  The weekly plan is also in a frame.  I keep them on my fridge and rotate the zone ones every other week.  As I complete a task, I mark it off with a wipe off marker.  


Yes, I realize this is a bit obsessive to some, but organization often appears that way.  I never have to worry about getting things done and I get satisfaction from crossing off a task.  Plus, I have more free time to do what I want to do, not just what HAS to get done.  I will share the upcoming zones as I come to them.


Of course, this approach is not for everyone.  Some people function quite well without lists (gasp...what a horror!), while others (hmmm, maybe my sister?) have even MORE detailed lists.  As they say, to each his own. 


Sincerely,
Martha-freakin'-Stewart

Friday, December 17, 2010

I beat my chicken, please don't call PETA...

Yesterday, we had the second snow day of the week.  Madi and Chris eventually got up and went to the dam to sled.  It appears that necessity really is the mother of invention...

  I am 99.9% sure that we really do have sleds and that they are either in the garage or up in the attic.  In either case, attempting to find them would take longer than the patience a teenager can endure.  But still, they had to navigate their way through the garage and up into the attic to get these.  


Last night got away from me, what with the chicken drama and projects I suddenly decided I had to do RIGHT NOW!


So, without further ado, here's the 411 on what happens after you massage chicken.


We love the teriyaki chicken at Sarku Japan and after much googling, found a recipe at Chef Talk.  


If you recall, it started out with massaging my chicken in a marinade (see Wednesday).  I used chicken thighs and pulled the big chunks of skin off, leaving random bits of fat, then cut the bone out and chopped it into bite size pieces.  


For the marinade, I tweaked a bit and did:


1 cup water
1/4 cup cooking sherry
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp white pepper
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil


Mix well, and dump the chicken in.  I am too much of a chicken to actually massage it with my hands as suggested, so I smashed it with a spoon.  This needs to marinate AT LEAST overnight...with frequent massages.  


NEXT!


The forum states that the next step is critical and absolutely must not be skipped.  You must beat the living daylights out of your well massaged and relaxed dead chicken, for, are you ready...30 MINUTES.


I threw it in my mixer with the dough hook and let 'er rip.


At the end of 30 minutes you have a nasty, goopy, pukey looking slop.  This is perfect.  


Meanwhile, chop up some veggies to stir fry (I used bok choy, cabbage, and carrots), start some rice and I also made some noodles.  





Now, while you are beating the fowl, stir frying the veggies, steaming the rice and boiling the noodles, you must also be multi-tasking making the brown sauce that shoots your taste buds over the moon.  


Let's get my version of saucy...


2 1/2 cups chicken stock or broth
3/4 cup teriyaki sauce
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 sliced garlic clove
a sprinkle of ginger powder
3/4 to 1 cup brown sugar


In a saucepan heat the stock, garlic and ginger to just under boiling, then remove the garlic.  Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a light boil.  Verrrrryyyy slowly, drizzle in a cornstarch slurry to thicken just to the point that it glazes the spoon.  




While all the steaming, boiling, slurrying is going on, heat a griddle to abso-freakin-lutely smokin hot.  Toss the chicken slop on and let it cook away.  Let it get nice and caramelized...drizzling with a little of the sauce along the way.  Do not smash it with the spatula, using the side of it, sort of chop and spread.


Throw it on a plate and spoon more of the brown sauce. Sit down and gobble it up.


I would be remiss if I failed to mention that whenever I try a new recipe, the kitchen gets totally, horribly trashed.  Should have taken a picture of the cookware carnage, but after eating promptly shifted gears to another project.  (yes, the dishes got done...thanks to the team effort of me and my darlin')


The cats love the Christmas tree water and have a bad habit of dunking the tree skirt into the water reservoir.  Until last night, the tree base was nekkid.  Popped into Hobby Lobby yesterday, picked up some burlap and decorative edging.  After a little cutting, serging, sewing and attaching velcro, now the base has clothes and the cats are confused and frustrated.




Don't remember if I ever shared a pic of the finished Poppy sweater (and I am too lazy to backtrack to look)...




Have a few more FO's to discuss, (they have previously had teasing pics posted) but since they are gifts and the last 2 have not yet been given, my lips are sealed.  


If you go visit Tami, I am sure you will find people doing things that they are able to show and no chickens will have been beaten.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

WIPW #7590817395

Maybe not, but it feels like it!

Where to start?  How about the kitchen...


This is dinner for tomorrow night.  Looks yummy, huh?  Pardon my hand, but the recipe says to "massage the chicken", no way am I putting my hands in THAT!  Have faith, it will be fall on the floor yummy and I will share details tomorrow.



Elsewhere in the world of fiber, fabric and fur...


Norman.  Who else?  What a camera hog!


The pretty pink and green is being turned into the adorable hat below.



Cathy at my LYS is hosting an on-line "12 Days of Christmas" knitalong.  She is sending out a set of instructions for each day. So far, so good.  Still have to do today's set, but that is what commuting time when your hubby is driving is for.



Sad sock.  It is feeling abandoned.  



One of my friends that I knit with on Tuesday has an adorable travel teacup/saucer tote.  Another friend and I have been searching all over the web looking for another.  It is discontinued...bah humbug.  So, this past weekend, I borrowed the original, made a pattern and whipped up the very very rough mock up shown below (no handle on top, no zipper, etc).  I used some old shower curtain fabric and some extra batting to "quilt" it.





The practice run was approved by my peeps, so off I went to the fabric store today to get the supplies to make 5 totes for them. The decorator fabric I chose is pre-quilted and has lovely coordinating fabric on the reverse side.  Guess what I'm gonna be doing this weekend?



Gotta run, time to massage my chicken again!


There is bound to be less disturbing sights but equally busy crafters over at Tami's.  Pay her a visit, and try to remove the whole concept of Fowl Massage from your mind (until tomorrow anyway).

Happy Birthday Mama/Marmie/Mother

 Aunt Janelle and my mother (Maxine)


Helen Maxine Grammer (1957)
Dee Gee portrait


Nana and her boys

Today would have been my Mother's 72nd birthday.  I miss her  and think of her every single day.  Some days I catch a whiff of her...which is odd since the most intense smell memory I have of her is the perfume she wore for years and years and it is no longer made.  Other days I hear her laugh, and on other days I will say something and if I close my eyes, my own voice sounds like her in words, tone, and inflection.  I love you Mama.  

Helen Maxine Grammer
December 15, 1938 - July 24, 2007

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Naked No More

Sunday and Monday...




Lights on and a MINIMAL amount of ornaments thanks to kitties that play way too much.  Still a few more touches to make.

Monday, December 13, 2010

It's Official

Winter is here.

It is going to be a long one.

Last night before we went to bed they announced a two hour delay for school today. This morning...changed to CANCELLED. Cover your ears to protect them from the eardrum shattering hoops and hollering from short people. This does not bode well for end of the year snow make up days if snow cancellations are starting now. Somehow I doubt that when they are still in school in the middle of June that they will be so happy. Heaven forbid Spring Break get cancelled or worse yet, one bad winter back in the Dark Ages when I was in school, we missed so many days there were makeup days on SATURDAYS!!! Oh the humanity of it all, how dare they mess with cartoons and American Bandstand!

And now off I go to get ready for work and the slow trek north but not before I liberally dose with headache stuff. You would think I could remember that I am allergic to pine trees but I keep getting caught up in the excitement of it all. Oh well, I can suffer through the next few weeks with tissues stuffed up my nose and gorked out on allergy meds all for the sake of a purty and wonderful smelling Christmas tree. (sorry about the mental pic)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tree Time!

Yesterday was too rainy and today started off snowy and was threatening to not improve, so off we went in search of our tree.  The last few years we have gone to Tower Family Christmas Tree Farm.


Almost ready...







How about that one?

Or that one?

Nooo...this is the PERFECT one!




Timberrrrrr...








Back home, Amos and Ashley were snuggled up ...

And now it's time to play in my "Craft Cave"

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