Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Under the influence...

Of heavy duty cold/allergy meds and incapable of anything more than sitting, sneezing, nose blowing and being pitiful. Yep, that has been my day in a nutshell.

Sat at the shop all day and managed to, well, sit at the shop all day complete with falling asleep in the car on the way home.

Sad to report that not even the comfort food of all comfort foods (Mac n cheese the way my Granny made it) did nothing for the situation...might have been the lack of the other part of the comfort food dynamic duo...sliced peaches in heavy syrup.

Amos demonstrated how much he loves his Meowmy by taking pity on me and turning himself into the "feline heating pad".

Knitting report? Pointy sticks while sneezing? HA! Sewing report? Sharp electrically powered needles with swollen, red and raw eyeballs? Yeah, right! Anything else? I can safely report that I completed the "make sure the corner of the couch doesn't feel neglected project" went off without a hitch.

And now, as the night-time version of nasty tasting stuff kicks in, I'm off to the sleeping porch where hopefully the night sounds will lull me into an antihistamine induced slumber!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What's the Story?

After the exciting rocket launches on Saturday, the boys and I set off for more adventures.  Chris and Wes have always enjoyed poking around flea markets and antique shops looking for treasures.  From the time they were little, but big enough to walk around, they have gone with me and/or my parents on these treasure hunts.  


We headed out of town and stopped at one of our favorite places outside of Gnaw Bone (yes, you read that right) and then did a drive through Nashville.  By this time we were starving and sorta thinking about heading home.  


So where do you go on a Saturday afternoon in March when it is sooooo cold, you are starving and pretty much out of ideas?


You go to the most inconvenient location you can think of...The Story Inn located in Story, IN.




Brotherly love...




After a totally yummy lunch we went upstairs to look around in the rooms that were not in use.  The Blue Lady Room was open.  Despite hanging around for a bit and calling to her, she did not make an appearance.


That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Just how many engines can you put on a rocket?

Saturday, my boys and I spent part of the morning launching rockets with the boys at a local group home.  


A couple of weeks ago we were there assisting with the building of them.  When my boys were in Scouts, one of the most fun activities we did every year was to camp out at Natural Falls (in Arkansas) and launch rockets that we built.  You never knew what was going to happen...mainly because the amount of "boy-ness" necessitating using the abso-freakin-lutely biggest engine you can possibly get away with for your rocket.  Sometimes they launched straight up, sometimes straight into the woods, and sometimes they entered outer space...I am sure of it!


That being said, here are the rockets after building...




And after addition of firepower...




Four of them have yet to be found.  You will note, rocket on left has been majorly altered to increase its firepower.  (rest assured, safety precautions were taken).  The first time it was altered, it just spun around.  The second, pretty much the same thing.  Clearly, balance is important to a vertical launch, but try telling that to a boy that is more intrigued with the idea of MORE firepower.  The one on the right got turned into stick rocket.  


March in Indiana, did not disappoint us with a surprise weather change for the launch.  Can you say COLD?  Nonetheless, fun is fun no matter the weather.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Not an FO, but definitely a DWI!

...done with it, that is.  And by that, I mean this awful cold, allergies, whatever you want to call it, I am soooo done with it, but it is not done with me.  This week has been exceptionally bad.  You know it is bad, when you would rather just sit on the couch and listlessly look at a magazine or attempt to read a book, because your eyes are so itchy you can't focus, your head is about to explode and your nose could seriously use a plug...and this is assuming you can remain upright, however I kept finding myself lying down, then waking up with my mouth open and drool running down my face.  On the bright side, my boys were smart enough to not draw on me, poke me, or pick on me in any way...they did (after being handed my bank card) go pick up dinner one night since I sat down for a couple of minutes and woke up a couple of hours later!


I did work a little more on the cardigan last night and today, but :( not finished.  


Today, Wes, Wesley and I went on a food adventure.  Wesley had watched an episode of Diner's, Drive Ins, and Dives (on Food Network) that featured a local eatery.  Please Mom, can we go, can we go, can we go?


Our destination?  The Steer In located in Indianapolis.

You will notice, please, that my knitting is safely on my lap.





Lookie, it is a menu!



Beef and noodles...



Turkey Manhattan...



Double Decker BLT...


Wesley wanted his picture taken with Guy Fieri's  picture, but, well it was kinda high on the wall...




Pretty darn good.  Now, I think that he needs to do an episode at Neal's Cafe in my hometown...Springdale, AR.


At Tami's, people have been driving to LYS's and diving into their craft.  You should pay a visit and feast on their FO's.  (Sorry, I think the cold/allergy meds are making my warped sense of humor even more so!)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tiny bubbles...

soap, soapy, bubbly, lathery.


I did it and did not blow anything up.


This past Sunday, I mustered up my courage, gathered up my supplies and just did it!


I. made. soap.   Not grating up and reforming store bought stuff, not doing melt and pour, but honest to goodness fat and lye real deal soap.  


I chose to do Hot Process Method Soapmaking, which uses a crockpot and eliminates the need to cure the soap.  Its basic premise is more like how it would have been made by our ancestors (minus the crockpot, the digital scale, minus the stir stick, but you get the point).  This 2# batch took just over 2 hours to make and at the end, I had soap that was ready to use.









For the 411 on what I did, visit Chickens in the Road and look up the Soapmaking tutorials in the Crafts section. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

That's just peachy...

or coral, whatever you want to call it.


The second Ruffle Cardigan (scroll to the top of the linked page to see a pic of the sweater) of the season is moving along nicely.  With any luck, the sleeves will be done and the ruffles started by Friday.  Not gonna hold my breath that it will be done done by then, that would be tempting fate.  It has really grown in the last week!


In other needle news, I am back in sewing mode.  My fascination with funky designs and patterns is carrying over into this arena.  Wes likes this fabric also, but said that it sorta makes him think that maybe the Partridge Family bus ran into the Brady Bunch station wagon.  He may be right, but I don't care!





It is a great voile-type fabric and is destined to become a loose drawstring waist tunic.  Great for wearing with a skinny tank top over linen capris.


Remember the tulips from yesterday?


Well, Bella thinks the vase is a salad bar, so off I go to clean up the sneeze guard (tablecloth).  


The WIPs at Tami's are nothing to sneeze at, so I'll "leaf" you alone to visually graze. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Froggy went a courtin', and he did ride

uh huh!


You can tell Spring is here, the frogs have been singin' up a storm.  


Wesley requested that we have a fish fry for dinner tonight, and for some reason, I have been humming that song all day.  It conjures up thoughts of being outside, fishing and seems summery to me.  This song also sends me back to Westwood Elementary and sitting in music class with Mrs. Lawler.  Thoughts of Mrs. Lawler then shift to Mrs. Chambers that took over when she retired and Mrs. Chambers leads me to thoughts of the 6th grade musical presentation and someone being cast in the role of Daisy (maybe me, but will deny it unless you provide the photographic evidence which I hope can only be found at my parents' house!), standing on stage in some ridiculous Gibson-girly type dress and twirling an umbrella while Michael Baker sang Daisy Bell to me.  


Where was I?  Oh yeah, fish...


So, fish fry it is.  And what goes better with fish than cole slaw and cornbread (not a big fan of hushpuppies so cornbread is the winner around here).


There is cole slaw, and then there is COLE SLAW.  The best tasting, lip smackingly wonderful recipe for cole slaw was taught to me by my Granny Grammer.  There is only one way to make it and you can only mix the dressing in a coffee cup and you can only measure ingredients with a soup spoon.  Failing to meet these requirements will disassociate me from any lack of success.  I am sure (if you insist) that measurements and mixing can be done in other ways, but this is how Granny did it and how she taught me, so it is the Gospel of Cole Slaw. 


First, you have to chop up the cabbage.  Granny (and me) used a chopping tool that resembles an oversized knifey biscuit cutter looking thingy--also used for chopping strawberries at Granny's and here, too.  No carrots, no red cabbage, just plain old green cabbage.  



Glop about 4 spoons of mayo into the coffee cup.




Add 3 or 4 spoons of sugar (okay okay you caught me, I was too lazy to turn around and get another spoon from the drawer, so I winged it!)



Give it a little stir.



Add a couple of spoon splashes of white vinegar.



Stir it up and taste test it with your pinky.  Other fingers may be used, but that's not how Granny did it.  Slowly drizzle over the cabbage.




Stir it up and gobble it down.  For a wonderful taste sensation, put the slaw on top of your fish and eat them together.  


For the cornbread, love me some locally ground corn meal.  This came from Metamora.  Canal Days in Metamora is loads of fun, and also the place where my darlin' likes to buy me jewelry from a silver craftsman.


Blue Gill and Crappie caught by Wes in our lake, fried up to perfection and mounded up on a platter.  Come and get it!



Happy Spring!





Friday, March 18, 2011

Asymmetrical Symmetry is Crucial

I will be the first to admit that I really find comfort in symmetry and even if something is asymmetrical, it needs to be symmetrically asymmetrical.  Get it?


Just one of the many quirks that make me, well, me. 


Case in point with today's FO.  The Montparnasse Sweater is asymmetrical in its design.  I love that it is funky and different.  The yarn I chose takes the funkiness off to another level.  The pattern calls for welted seams, but due to the nature of the yarn in question and the way it stripes and puddles, I opted for regular seams so as not to compete visually. 




Yarn used:  Andes/Ester Bitran Hand Dyed in Colorway 30 Purple Sky Dark Lavendar and Light Blue.


Last night I made the "Sarku Japan Knockoff Teriyaki Chicken".


After dinner, Wes was cleaning up the kitchen.  We work well together,  he usually cleans up the kitchen after I cook or more often than not we work together on it.    Last night it struck me that we have an asymmetrically symmetrical relationship.  We always work together and our individual strengths balance out the other's weaknesses.  When it comes to cooking, one of my biggest weaknesses is making ginormous messes, although I make feeble attempts to clean up as I go.  Wes' strength is that he never fusses about the mess, but always compliments the meal and seems to understand that sometimes messy is a prerequisite to yummy.  How is it asymmetrical?  Unofficial and unsubstantiated research has led me to the conclusion that there is something about the stove that is repulsive to him.  He always, always, ALWAYS cleans up the dishes, pots/pans, rinses out the sink, wipes down the counters, puts away the leftovers. and all that jazz...but there must be something about wiping down the stovetop that stops him.  And this is where we flip back to symmetry, I come along and sprinkle it with baking soda to get any burned on bits off and wipe down all the nooks and crannies of it.  It's no big deal, just one of those funnies of life.  Obviously, he needs me and I need him...we're symbiotic that way man! (and I wouldn't have it any other way!)  He's my helper and I'm his.  


Hop over to Tami's to check out all the FO's that balance out the WIP...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A poem for Pandora

Dear Pandora People,


This is for you:



Dear Pandora

I don't wish to bore ya

But I wanna know

(My knees can't take the blow)

When I select Pink

one would think

that my need for running speed

would be met indeed 

and not cause me pain

from a tempo change to Train



The End. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I'm off.  (stop saying "duh! tell us something we don't know!)


It is the time of year when the dreaded...by many strange folks...time change occurs.  Does not bother me.  I am NOT a morning person.  Much prefer staying up all night.  Many is the night when I just can't sleep, so I stay up all night.  Fortunately for my husband that does not happen all that often, because it is usually during these manic insomniac nights that I get the uncontrollable urge to rearrange all the kitchen cabinets/drawers and pantry RIGHT NOW because they surely can be arranged better.  Guess that explains why he says he can never find anything in the kitchen.  So, when Daylight Savings Time arrives I am thrilled to have more daylight hours later and later. 


My only complaint about the change is my own fault.  It takes me several days to get around to changing all the clocks through the house and at the shop.  As a result of this blatant laziness, I have been in a state of time confusion.  


Clue number 2 is a dead giveaway for my weekend plans...  If you hear an explosion or get a sense of intense heat you will know that I did not follow the mantra of "snow falls on the water".




What's on the needles?  Hmmm, which set of needles and in which bag or drawer or cabinet?  The project currently receiving my multi-directional divided attention is this:




The pattern is Ruffles Cardigan from the January 2011 issue of Creative Knitting.   I initially wanted to make it for an event I was attending in February, but well, I might have gotten distracted.  Then, one afternoon, I was shopping at Kohl's and saw this sweater and thought "hey, I could make that!"  Never mind that it would be faster and cheaper to just buy the silly thing, but not nearly as much fun.  Then, I went on a search for a similar pattern.  This looked like a pretty close match, but I got a headache reading the directions and decided that, ya know horizontal ruffles are probably not such a great idea for me.  After all this messing around, I came back to my first choice, but instead of the original idea of red it is being knit up in Cascade Yarns Ultra Pima colorway 3752.  Have chosen to deviate slightly and do the whole thing in this with only needle size changes.  The color is almost a dead on match to my original inspiration, and let's face it...more vertically placed ruffles will be sooooo much better for everyone involved!


Clearly, I have ruffles on the brain as this is now the second ruffly thing in a row.


There is something hiding out in my laundry/craft room.  Shhhhhh, it is taking a nap after having a bath and won't come out to play until Friday.




The folks at Tami's  are more "timely" with their posts and would be thrilled if you would give them the "time of day" to check out what they are up to. 


As for me, it is still early, there is laundry to be done, lists to be made (numero uno is give Jack...aka the dog that for some unknown reason has smelled like Doritos for the last few weeks and is sabotaging my ability to resist evening snacks...a bath PRONTO) and I think I see a drawer that is begging for some upkeep.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Can you guess?

Can you, can you, can you?


Besides spending Saturday driving to St. Louis, stopping at a predetermined exit, picking up a kiddo, turning around and driving back home (about 9 1/2ish hours total), guess what I am going to do this weekend?

Here's a hint, but ignore the goat cheese pizza behind it which, while insanely delicious, has nothing to do with my plans...






BTW, wore the ruffle coat today and Wes praised its beauty saying it is the prettiest thing I've made so far.  Then again, he says that about everything I make!   Hmmm, wonder what that means.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Where do I put my head?

If you have ever knit something that starts as a rectangle, gets folded in half and seamed up then picked up and knit in the round you know what I am talking about.


The Easy Ruffle Coat, once finally off needles, rather resembled a bag with legs.  My only excuse is it was late at night and I was tired, so a little bit "fitting impaired".


Anywho...


here is the beauty...


and OH MY, it is waaaaayyyy better than I expected!


Sorry for the pitiful lighting/exposure and all that technical nonsense...


The first picture shows a more accurate representation of the color...



After twisting some knobs on the top of the camera (um, yep I'm a button pusher/knob twister with no clue what I'm doing), the next two exposures resulted and I rather like them as you can see a bit more of the yarn/textural/color changes.




Would have to say that in the final product, the only complaint I have was totally my fault...yarn choice.  I LOVE Feza, don't get me wrong, but I do.not.care.for all the knots where the yarn is joined.  Would I do it again...Oh yeah! in a heartbeat!


While my photographic exposure may leave something to be desired, the people at Tami's are exposing some awesome FO's.  Go check them out, you know you want to.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Cutting up

How many pattern or idea books do you have?


How many times do you try to use them and get frustrated because the book won't stay open?

During a class I recently took, the instructor mentioned that she has her pattern books re-bound with a coil binder.  


ATTENTION:  Dear Publishers, please take note of this and make our lives a little easier.  It is not that difficult of a thing to do.  We would gladly (okay I would, for sure) pay a teensy bit more to have a book that was easy to open and work from.  


Until then, it only costs a couple of dollars to take the book to a large office supply store or other printing business and have them whack off the unyielding stiff edge and put in a nice user friendly coil.  


Well worth it in my book! (sorry)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

It's the final countdown...

60ish inches of 1x1 rib...check


Seam together 18 inches on each side of the folded rectangle...check


Pick up 150 stitches around the center section...check


Increase each stitch to a total of 300 stitches...check


9 inches of 2 x 2 rib...check


Increase each stitch to a total of 600 stitches...check


5 inches of 1 x 1 rib...check


Finish casting off...almost check...



Easy Ruffle Coat pattern details found on Ravelry.


Check out Tami's for other "almosts".

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Got dirt?

The mailman left a lovely little package yesterday.


I am ready.


I am beyond ready.


I love dirt (unless some canine brings it in the house upon his massive body then shakes and leaves a dust cloud like Pigpen from Peanuts).


It is that time of year when I dream of digging, prepping, planting, and reveling in the feeling of the sunshine on my face, dirt under my fingernails, and the body aches from days spent working in the yard/garden.  




Oooooh, can't wait...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Truisms

Just a few random thoughts/musings...


1.  Cars run better after they have been washed and interior cleaned (preferably by someone else)...it makes them feel pretty...the automotive version of a mani/pedi or hair-did.


2.  Cars run better for the first five minutes after having their tanks filled.


3.  Water, tea, coffee or basically any zero calorie beverage really can offset any "other" caloric intake.  


4.  The length of time the dryer takes to finish a load of towels is increased proportionately by the number of people that are complaining about needing something that is still wet and in the washer.


5.  The amount of mud Jack will roll in will increase according to how tired I am or how clean the floor is. 


6.  The speed at which you try to finish knitting a row is related to how much yarn is left.  (Duh...if you knit faster when you are about at the end of a skein, you might actually be able to beat the end of the yarn to the end of the row)


7.  The stuffier your nose is, the more cats will want to sleep on your face or head at night.


8.  The number of school group projects that I financially back either in full or by hefty donation is directly related to a certain son's ability to sweet talk his mom.  Darn it, he got me AGAIN!!!


9.  The number of "houseworky" things that absolutely HAVE to be done right now is directly related to the running schedule that says I should be on the treadmill instead of the computer.


10.  The desire/need to play in the dirt, planting and gardening will increase exponentially during rainy late winter/early spring days that hint at what is to come, but mud interference is a cruel joke (see also #5).

Friday, March 4, 2011

The case of the boat and a missing coat...

Why does this stuff pop into my head?


Typed that and started thinking about The Maltese Falcon.  Read it years ago and saw the movie as well.  Must be the magazine I was looking at the other night and reading the article about "vintage" style hair do's.  


Which reminds me it is time for Hair Did Day.  Supposed to have gone on Wednesday, but life happened and had to cancel the appointment.  <well, actually what happened was I chose to cancel so I could furiously work on the Boat Blanket>


My Dearest left this morning with 400 rods, 2000 reels, 12 dozen boxes filled with lures and 2 cases of line.  Really, I swear. 


Not to mention that he took off with my batter box, the fish seasoning, and the deep fryer.  Woe is me.  Not that I was planning on having an Epic/Katy Bar the Door/Humongo Fish Fry this upcoming week, but I get a little anxious being separated from my kitchen stuff for any length of time.  What if in the middle of the night I HAVE to have something deep fried or I will DIE (stop snickering that it will happen if I eat to much fried stuff anyway!) 


It's going to be a long week.  :( 


Finished the Toy Boat Blanket last night around midnight and promptly set to pseudo-blocking it.  This morning it was gifted and was well received!  Yay!



The Easy Ruffle Coat is still on needles...1x1 rib is only slightly less boring than stockinette.


My favorite long black sweatercoat and black t-shirt have been AWOL since my trip to Little Rock.  Kept trying to convince myself that they were hiding somewhere in my suitcase, but alas, no.  


Know what that means?


Should I?


Why not?


Maybe, because there are already at least six other sweaters on needles and in my mental queue.  Plan B...shopping...


I wonder what mystery objects have morphed into Fantastic Friday Finished Objects.  Tune in to Tami's to find out!

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