Friday, December 30, 2011

The FO's that should have been...

but didn't quite make it.  In keeping with Wednesday's post about making a resolution to finish some WIP's that have been stuck, I thought I would share some of the WIP's that never made it to the finish line.  They got ripped out and blocked from my memory.  In my book, that counts as being finished, done, kaput, over and out.  (This is where you proclaim my brilliance and shout from the rooftops about the delight of FO's real and imagined.)
1.  Five Way Cable Shrug
This only managed to keep my attention for a very short period of time before I realized, not only did I not want to make it, I reeeeaaallly did not want to make it!

2.  Echo Mobius  
Sounded like a good idea and I was going to use some of the first yarn I spun and dyed, but, well, blecchh. 

3.  Falling Leaves Mohair-Silk Scarf
Laceweight?  Really now, what was I thinking.  I am not sure why I bought either of the two yarns I planned on holding together to make this.  At some point you have to come to grips with the realization that there really are some impulse yarn purchases that you regret.

 4.  February Lady Sweater, Tubey, Amused
The Lady will likely not ever be seen on my needles again.  My dearest one has noted that I have a tendency to always knit the same styles (one button cardigans and cardigans with floppy, drapey fronts).  He may have also made note of my love of round toed ballet or other type flat shoes, but what does Mr. Sweatshirt Over My Regular Shirt Every Stinkin' Day know?  Tubey...I really have no explanation.  Ditto for Amused.  Neither of those are sweater styles that I would even purchase ready-made.  

Now, I realize that loads of people have made and like/love each of the above pieces, but they were just not me.  If I do not completely love something, why would I want to invest my valuable time to make it?  This is just the short list of started and stopped projects.  Things change, moods change, preferences change.  Gotta love a craft that allows you to start, or even complete a project, and then if you change your mind, all you have to do is rip it out, give it a little soak and spend hours perusing pattern after pattern until you find the next "that's the ticket" idea?

Jack doesn't care about any of this.  Then again, this is a dog that likes to lay down while he eats.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011


so very subtly veiled as determination and perseverance. 

For the last several days, the concept of resolutions has been on my mind.  Normally, I don't make New Year's Resolutions, but rather, take stock of what I have accomplished over the last year and how those achievements fit in with the direction I desire for my life.  Anyone that knows me well, knows that I ALWAYS have multiples of multiple projects all going at the same time and that I rarely settle for "good enough".  Honestly, it is beginning to wear on me.  It seems as if, as I normally do, I get a whole lot of things accomplished and they are usually well done, but right now in this current time of my life, I feel the need to slow down and stop the crazy train of activity that typically feeds my soul.  Getting older? maybe that's it.  I prefer to view it as getting wiser and realizing that going through life at warp speed ALL the time causes one to miss things.  Does this mean that I am suddenly going to turn the corner and stop being the over-achieving, uber-organized, driven, perfectionist with scattered attention, not likely.   I hope that it does mean that I make better choices that are centered around being true to me and not a creature of habit that merely raises her hand for every challenge/craft/need/volunteer opportunity.  It is going to be a challenge to get this "Ado Annie of Volunteers" (as in I'm just a girl who cain't say no when asked to volunteer for this, that, or the other) to change her spots.

How does this apply to the yarny world?  You know that drawer/box/basket that has projects stuffed into it that you had to start RIGHT NOW, but sort of fizzled because,  OOOOH look at that pretty yarn/pattern/fabric/fiber/craft jumped into your hands?  Well, I resolve to purge the yarny ones before I start anything new on needles (okay, going to have to make an exception for one thing...I have to make a baby gift, the yarn is wound, the pattern picked, I just haven't cast on yet).  My mind is bursting at the seams with project ideas for my home remodel, personal projects, and my Etsy store.  The problem is, I keep getting side tracked by each of them.  

So, in the spirit of ridding my craft room of WIPS, here is the first one that I resolve to finish.  An Entrelac scarf.  It was started, I think, in February of this past year.  It wound up stuffed in a cabinet and would come out to play once in a while, but anyone that has done entrelac, knows that if you forgot to mark your place (or more accurately, your sticky note lost its sticky as more and more yarn and fiber got slid across it until it fell off the pattern) it can be a booger to pick right back up again.  Now, really, it only requires 2 skeins of yarn (Noro in my case) and is not on teensy needles, get with it Dina!

Coming soon (hopefully next week as I am travelling this Friday and probably should not knit and drive, although how great would that be???) to an FO Friday near you: The Entrelac Scarf:

Truthfully...entrelac:  been there done that (okay, almost done that), made the scarf. 



Tuesday, December 27, 2011

First Snow

Yesterday, the temperature was 53 when I went for a run. The sun was shining and conditions were perfect to abandon the treadmill in favor of the open road.

Today, not so much...

Back to the treadmill and views of falling snow and cardinals playing in the forsythia bushes outside the window (trust me that is way better than summertime views of the neighbor in his hot tub!).

The morning has not been without adventure though. Yesterday we bought a hunky dory fabulous countertop convection oven. We have been meaning to get one for some time but I refused to until the toaster oven died. It is still living, darn it, but I caved in. Guess what is going back?

My English muffin was happily getting it's toasting on when a strange sound followed by a nasty smell and shooting flames stopped the process. The muffin was fine (actually it wasn't even cooked) but the element on the top seems to have shorted and decided to spit fire. Oh well, I'm not too crazy about countertop appliances, except for my mixer, as they are ugly and take up valuable real estate and just make for a cluttered look.

Now, off to the shop to take care of a few chores while we are shut down for the holidays.

Y'all stay warm!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Wishing everyone a wonderful time with friends and family...

Meowy and Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Sweet Dream Torte

Like so many others, there are some recipes that only come out on holidays.  Today, I thought I would share a dessert that I have made for many years...and only at Christmas.  I first found this dessert recipe when I was in college.  As a Food and Nutrition/Dietetics major, I was required to take some basic cooking and experimental cooking classes to understand the chemistry of cooking.  Somewhere along the way, this one found its way into my repertoire of recipes.  Its a keeper.  

Sweet Dream Torte

1-8oz package cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1oz square unsweetened chocolate, melted
3/4 cup whipping cream
1-10 3/4 oz frozen pound cake

1.  Combine cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, and vanilla.  Mix until well blended.

2.  While cheese and sugar are mixing, melt chocolate.

3.  Blend chocolate into cream cheese mixture.

4.  Beat cream until soft peaks form.  Gradually add remaining powdered sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

5.  Fold whipped cream into cream cheese/chocolate mixture.

6.  Split cake into 3 layers and spread bottom layer with chocolate mixture, stack next layer on and repeat.  

7.  Frost top and sides with remaining chocolate mixture.  Chill before serving.  I also grated some chocolate onto the top.


Friday, December 16, 2011

That is one fat tree...

In previous years we have gone to the tree farm and cut down our Christmas tree.  Two weeks ago, plans were dashed by the vast quantities of rain.  No one felt like sloshing through the field in a downpour and plopping down on the ground to cut the tree.  With the amount of rain that fell, my thought was that, perhaps, we could just pull one up!  

Last week, it was still a bit damp, but the skies were clear.  Unfortunately, none of the slave labor kids were around to do the cutting for us.  But, but, but...time was ticking and we  My dearest and I took off for the tree farm and lo and behold there was a forest of trees all lined up waiting to be cut down.  Which is exactly what we did.  (that is the official version of what happened...aka a loose interpretation of choosing a pre-cut tree at the farm and cutting it down from the holding frames they were on.  Cutting down is cutting down, right?)

Back at the house, little touches of decorating had already been done.  Not as much as in years past, colds tend to knock a lot out of you, including decorating spirit.  But, Santa Claus is definitely coming to town!

Many moons ago, a friend and I had a little crafting business and sold at a few local craft shows.  This is one of the things I made that still shows up every year somewhere in my house.

My Daddy has done woodcarvings for as long as I can remember.  He made the star Santas and the taller, skinny Santa with the long beard.  What is amazing is the little, tiny angel rocking horse ornament has been in my possession since I was around 6 or 7 years old. 

It should be obvious that I like Santas.  I freely admit that I might have some hoarding tendencies when it comes to these Santa mugs.  My first set of six of them came to me as a gift when I was in first grade.  Requirements for me to purchase them are strict.  They have to be very old (stamped with Japan on the bottom) and must be priced at $1 or $2.  It's getting harder and harder to find them.  They can be found stuck in odd places throughout the house during Christmas season.

The countdown is on!  Remember, Santa's watching!!

And now, back to the tree...  Excuse the poor lighting, I never think of taking pictures until way late at night.  Yes, I know the star is wonky.  Yours would be too if you had five cats chasing each other under you, drinking your water, and pulling ornaments off you.

Ho, ho, ho...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Eatin' Mousies

I am a true child of the 70's.  Kliban cats were an obsession of my mother's.  We had a few coffee mugs and other little odds and ends, but the best of all were the bed sheets.  There is something so cute and oddball about them that keeps them on my brain.  

A little over a year ago, my kitties were given some toy mice as gifts.  They loved them, played with them, chewed on them, stalked them, and lost them to the netherworld known as under various pieces of furniture.  Recently, while cleaning out and rearranging my dressing room, I found one and tossed it out to them.  Gifts from heaven above could not have been more well received.  

Ashley is my shy kitty and is only now, at two years old, beginning to come out of hiding to socialize with us in the evenings.  She has developed a routine of going to the family room, after a stop in front of the big dog to talk to him (seriously, she stops and chatters at him and then walks away), and sitting on the couch for a bit and/or playing with the climb on cat toy.  When she discovered the "rescued" mousie, well, game on!

After last night, I think it is safe to say that my kitties may be channeling their inner Kliban-ness as it appears that they, too, like to "bite their heads off and nibble on they tiny feet."

You be the judge...

Now, if I could just find those sheets...

Monday, December 5, 2011

Maybe with chocolate gravy...


Fun, food, family...

And another story for the family history.

My father does not tolerate milk/milk products.  He does not do a lot of cooking at home.  But when everyone is together for holidays, there is cookin' in the kitchen!  

They look normal don't they?

Have a bite.  

Let it be put on record that vanilla flavored soy milk does NOT taste good in mashed potatoes.  Salt doesn't help.  Margarine doesn't help.  Turkey gravy  

Maybe some chocolate gravy?

Wes had the job of doing the actual mashing, while I was adding all the "doctoring up stuff".  Normally, I would load them up with oodles and oodles of real butter and sour cream.  That won't work for Daddy.  I was getting a little flustered trying to get everything on the table and reached in the fridge and grabbed a carton (gimme some credit for not accidentally grabbing the real milk!) and started pouring.  Put the carton away and let Wes finish his task.  When taste testing them I realized  what had happened (also...please note that upon further investigation there wasn't any plain soy milk anyway) and started laughing.  Everyone wanted to know what was so funny, but all I said was that they would find out soon.  

So, now Vanilla Potatoes joins the family archives and will be retold along with "I get all the butter",
"Coffee doesn't tasted good with strawberries", "I saw that star fart",  and "Don't think I haven't had coffee before" to name a few.  

***please note that this post was not in anyway endorsed or approved by any HGTV, Cooking Channel, or Food Network star because not only do they have no clue who I am, but they would likely die laughing.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Festival of Lights

Time for the annual Christmas parade.

Nice night for a cheery parade.

The Coca-Cola truck...always my favorite.

And an appearance by Tony Stewart the town's Golden Boy. Seems he may have won a big race.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Ding Dong the Dahlia's Done!

Join me in a chorus or two of celebration.  The Dahlia Cardigan has been a labor of love, hate, and patience.  What have I learned in this process?  1)  I still love the look of lace, but am still not overly fond of making it...although, this project allowed me to greatly improve my lace knitting reading skills.  2)  I hate mind numbing, stab your eyes out monotonous rows of stockinette.  3)  My patience has been tested (see #2) even in the midst of doing that truly stupid move and using math skills to calculate exactly how long it is going to take to get from row 28 to row 90 when it takes 6 minutes to travel one side to the other of the purl row! (a little over 6 hours, if you must know).

Was it worth it?  Yeah baby!!!

My knitting tension is pretty spot on for gauge and I am pretty darn consistent, but my math skills are not always the best.  It has been so long since reading the first part of the pattern that I do not recall what yarn it called for, but I subbed in some stash busting Reynolds Sunday Best (which is, of course, discontinued) for a couple of reasons:  it was sitting there in all its red glory and being cotton and viscose should hold its shape.  When it was all said and done (late last night), the fit is perfect, it drapes and hangs beautifully but still has enough stretch while springing back into shape.  For whatever reason...maybe referencing the above mentioned math wound up being a little bit longer (fine by me) and the sleeves are full length...without being too long...instead of the 3/4 length shown.  

Wanna see the bloomed out beauty?

Overall, it is a pretty well written pattern.  Once I actually re-read it to figure out what was going on, it made sense.  Hush up, friends who are giggling about my pattern trusting problem!

Can't wait to wear the only question is what color shirt underneath to really make the back pop.


Thursday, December 1, 2011


Yay it's officially time to change the seasonal decorations. At the first of October all the Halloween and Fall things go up then the Halloween comes down.

This year it looks as if a few real leaves may make it into the tubs.

In the next few days I plan to catch up on some activities from the past week. Boy do I have some stories to share!

Tomorrow, rumor has it that a certain sweater may be revealed. It is officially off the needles and just needs two seams and a few straggly ends woven in. It may wind up being a late night but it will be worth it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


At this point in time, we have been on the road for seven hours and still have about three to go. Thus far I have managed to completely finish the baby bootie brigade and have done a few more rows on the Dahlia cardigan. (trust me and DO NOT time yourself doing a row so you can calculate how much more time it us going to take to finish the current 90 row nightmare!)

Thankfully this year's trip is much better than last year. Just a year ago this journey was plagued by a tornado, raging thunderstorms with hail, flooding, and a flat tire in the middle of it all.

There is not a car trip that I take that I don't remember how my Mother would travel on vacations. There was always a straw bag she packed and kept in the front floor board. In the bag were little tupperware containers of sugar, some plastic spoons, the funky Solo coffee cup thingies that you popped a triangular plastic disposable cup into, the reddish/orange plaid thermos filled with coffee and some kind of cookie. I hate coffee but often it smells good...with one exception...the smell of thermos coffee in a car will make me nauseaous every time. Bleccchhhh

Safe travels to all who are on the road to loved ones. But please, don't have a cup of coffee for me!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Snotrags and Dove Soap

Over the weekend, I had an extreme case of allergies gone bad.  It started in earnest on Friday, but in reality has been going off and on for the last several weeks.  Fall is a bad time for my allergies with the leaves, goldenrod, and farmers combining the fields.  

After a fun day with friends on Saturday, during which I sneezed/snorted/sniffed the whole time, I came home and collapsed on the couch in an antihistamine fog.  You know you are at your prettiest when you are  lying on the couch curled up in a quilt, with your hair all a mess and tissues scattered around you and stuffed up your nose to try to dam the drip.  But, you KNOW your husband loves you no matter what, when despite the glam you've got going on, he kisses you and brings you your pillow and tucks you in.  

Snotrags...this is what we have always referred to tissues as.  My sister has horrific allergies and was/is always sniffing and carrying around tissues.  A funny from when we were very young occurred at our cousin's house.  We were there for a family Christmas get-together and my youngest (at the time) cousin came up to her and looking very solemn and sincere said "You need a Kleenex" as she sat sniffling.  From that point on, any time someone sniffed that is what they were told by one of us.  

Dove Granny Phillips always seemed to have tissues with her.  She stored them tucked away in the sleeve of whatever shirt she was wearing.  Granny was always at the ready on the tissue front and she always smelled the same.  I don't recall if she actually wore perfume, but it would not have mattered because there are four things that I always associate with her:  hidden tissues, the sweet smell of Dove soap, lemon drops, and graham crackers that are slightly soft/mushy because she kept them in an iron teapot in the kitchen.  Graham crackers just do not taste good to me unless they are mushy. 

So, today, I am wishing for some mushy graham crackers and lemon drops.  Perhaps as soon as I can smell again, I will have to take a trip to the store and sniff the Dove Beauty Bars.  Smells are free but provide a link to priceless memories.  

Have a great Monday!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Pardon the mess...

but Five Cats is trying on different clothes and cleaning/rearranging house.  Bear with me...

Straight out of H**L and back again

Finally!  Was beginning to wonder if this day would ever arrive.  The dratted 90 rows of stockinette h**l are over. 

Or are they?

Here is the Dahlia after finishing the right side (okay, fine, I cheated and took a picture before doing the last inch of seed stitch and binding off, but my overwhelming joy/relief of being done with the 90 overtook all sensibility).  I did a brave, and so unlike me, thing and re-read the first part of the pattern where it explains what will happen to the floppy things on the top and bottom.

Happy happy joy joy!  The live stitches on the bottom have since been finished out to where it will be added to the left side and the top portion has been started.  The reprieve shall be brief since as soon as the top blob is finished out, I get to pick up all stitches currently being stored for later use and do a few rows, make the afterthought armhole and...then..."oh no, Mr. Bill" say it isn't so...90 rows again!

Think I might need a glass or two of wine to get me through this. 


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Chicago with Da Boys

(two out of three anyway as one was not on Fall Break)

A couple of weekends ago, we took off on an adventure.  Alex wanted to visit Chicago and hit some of the landmarks, sadly no shopping landmarks :(

We went...

We saw...

and we walked and walked and then walked some more. 

We could not have asked for better weather and had such a fun time exploring as many of the city's highlights in the time we had there.  

Da boys...Mama loves all three!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Guard Kitty sweet kitty named for Grizzabella.  She's a funny one.  

Miss B is intent upon making sure that my "sewing to be done" basket stays hidden and protected.

I am always trying to wipe that freckle off her nose.

Sorry Baby Girl, I'll let you get back to your napping guard duty.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Baby Brigade and Freaky Finds

First, I apologize for the even less than stellar crappy photography than normal.  My only excuses are: 1) I have a horrible headache likely brought on by the vast clouds of dust being stirred up by my dearest as he guts the garage and creates his dream fishing/woodworking/car tinkering/actual car parking/storage garage...I keep going out there and talking/helping so it's my own fault.  2) I forgot to take pictures last night with the real camera.  3)  Had to resort to using my cell phone camera on the less than awesome desk surface with the unforgiving light <read that as too lazy to go outside and stage the pics>. and 4)  My best attempts are not that stellar on a good day!

With all the "life" getting in the way of knitting lately, my fingers have been churning out little baby bits since they are relatively fast and easy (assuming the knitter follows the directions instead of trying to out-think a bootie).  In case you were wondering, Dahlia is still on the needles, but am currently in stockinette hell due to being on row 58 of 90 for the first side.  Plus, the baby stuff has a deadline...I promised to make these items for my sister to use as a gift.  We agreed upon 7 pairs of booties and I got sidetracked with a little sweater and then stuck in Indecisive Land trying to choose JUST 7 different bootie patterns.  Oh my, they are all so cute!

With all that said, here's my show and tell for the week...

Sweet and easy sweater that started out in blue, that sad tale is found here.  All it needs now, is a little soaky and blocking...

I decided to try Christine's Stay on Bootie (even though the drawing sorta scared me into thinking they would be uuuuggggllllyyy).  Used some Socrates (same as below) and I have to say that, personally, I like this pattern even better than the next one.  

The famous Stay on Baby Booties.   It is an easy and fast pattern that also provides you with directions for 3 different gauges.  Yarn used: Socrates in Natural.

Thennn, I got sidetracked by some scrap yarn.  Don't know if these are "boyish" enough to go with the rest of the gift pile, but they are kinda cute.  Sorry, I totally forgot to remember what the pattern is, but they are made out of some scrap Himalayan Duke Silk yarn and are soooo soft.  

Thennnnnnn, because I am avoiding Dahlia and I ruined my favorite slipper socks sometime last winter (thanks a lot face nailed wood floor), these had to be made (yep, Mini Mochi again because I did not learn the first time!)  Turkish Bed's what's for feet!: 

These totally count in the Baby Brigade since I am being a big baby!

And now for the Freaky Find.  On Wednesday I refilled the ice trays at our shop.  Yesterday when I went to dump them into the ice bucket this is what I found...

How, exactly, do ice stalagmites form in ice cubes that are in the tray on the top of the stack???



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