Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Waterproofing...

more like waterlogged.  Last summer we were begging and pleading for even just the slightest little drizzle.

I am now convinced, that somewhere in the cosmos, all of the requests for rain got backordered, and now Mother Nature has finally caught up on them.  Kinda sorta similar to the answer I received as a child when I would question why my sister and I are 6 years apart...I was told that I was backordered from Sears!...but that is another story altogether.

So, here's a little ditty we need to collectively sing over and over and over:

Rain, rain, go away
Come again later in May...

or how about:

It's raining, it's pouring,
my yard is a lake this morning.
The covers on the bed
are close to wet at the head
and I want it to stop by morning.

Can you tell that someone who was typing this is in dire need of some sunshine?

You would think that with all the rain, I would have nothing to do but sit inside and knit.  Unfortunately, things keep demanding my attention...trivial matters such as laundry and other people in the house wanting food to eat.  Yes, I tried the put it out and let them figure it out mode, but that did not go over very well.

But, there has been some progress on the Ruched Yoke Tee...



Paddle your canoe, or kayak, or ARK over to Tami's and take a peek at other WIP's.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Families are weird...

Hope everyone had a wonderful Easter. We had a great time...also celebrated Wes' birthday on the same day. We had discussed that he did not think his birthday had fallen on Easter that he could remember. A quick web search revealed that the last time it happened was in the 1800's (pretty sure he wasn't around then, but he IS older than me, so can't be totally sure. The next time it happens will be in 2095, and pretty sure he won't be around then either.

As the day went on, laughter echoed throughout the house. Every family gathering seems to generate silly things being said that get repeated from then on and everyone remembers the silliness of the original comment.

Growing up, my family had tons of little things that one of us said that would be repeated constantly. These "-isms" are a main staple of family memories.

Here are just a sampling of old time family-isms, thrown in with a bunch of new ones:

"Don't blow in my ear, you'll make me go blind!" From my Granny Grammer when my sister and I would blow in her ear when we were piled in her bed for a nap.

"I saw that star fart" My Great Grandfather was trying to say "I saw that fire start"

"I get all the butter"

"That's not nasty" (insert visual of a little girl holding up one finger at a time...)

"Looks like crap, but tastes good"

"Coffee does not go with strawberries" overheard after comments that the coffee being served with the dessert of strawberries tasted funny...later it was discovered that it is usually a good idea to take the power cord out of the percolator before making a pot and having to use the spare cord.

"That happens ALL the time...at least once a year"

"Where are we gonin? You're dropping your g's. Where???"

"Don't think I haven't had coffee!"

Embrace the silly things your family says. It is only a small part of memory making. With each repeating of the silliness, that history remains alive, fresh, and celebrates the uniqueness of your loved ones.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Hope you are able to find all the gishes the Easter Bunny hid and they land safely in your gup.

<translation:  Alex, as a toddler called eggs...gishes and his Easter bucket/basket was a gup>

This is killin' me!!  Miss those curls...and those chubby little legs...




Wesley on the right...


Chris doing the "shy boy"...


Awwww...those cheeks...


The two goobers...Chris on the left and Wesley on the right rockin' his awesome fashion sense!


Think I need a Kleenex now...or maybe a trip down the baby aisle at Target to sniff the sweet baby smells...

Friday, April 22, 2011

It's Holly's Fault!

Seems to me that the world keeps getting more and more strange.  You see "interesting" things all over the place.  


So, today, here is a little detour along the path of some odd things seen and experienced in the not so distant past.

A happy house...



The irony cracked me up...



New meaning to shoe tree...



Must be one biiiiggg bathroom...



And back to why it is Holly's fault... Today's post at Hoosier at Heart  and her recount of Jesus in the trash reminded me of what I spotted on a shopping trip late last Fall...





It's a crazy world!!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Hatching Yarn

As far as Bella is concerned, my knitting bag was made for her and her alone.  Why I insist upon putting things in it is beyond her comprehension.  Most every night that I am sitting on the couch with my bag, she comes along and either curls up in the bag or sits on my ball of yarn.  (She must think she is part sheep/chicken...)

Last night was no exception:



I don't care if you ruffle my fur, if I keep my eyes closed, you don't exist...



You can try all you want, but I still DO NOT SEE YOU!...



What's on the needles for this week?

The Ruched Yoke Tee by AnneLena Mattison as featured in Spring 2011 Interweave Knits.   Yarn in use:  Touchdown (colorway 1020) by Alpaca with a Twist.





Once past the humongous number of stitches on the needle for the yoke, the body is scooting along quickly.  


The past couple of nights there have been some fairly intense storms pass through.  We have a front row seat to all the atmospheric spectacles from the sleeping porch.  Last night, sometime after midnight, when we finally decided to go to bed, the sky was ablaze with a light show to challenge that of the 4th of July.  As we lay there watching and listening, we could smell the rain coming, feel the air temp dropping, and could hear what would have been horrifically damaging winds were we not protected by the hills surrounding our cove.  At one point, as the lightning drew nearer and nearer, I pondered the safety in sleeping outside in an iron bed behind the "shelter" of stainless steel screens, but then I fell asleep.  Wes swears that for the past two nights I have sat straight up in bed during the early early hours of the morning exclaiming about the ferociousness of the rain.  But, as I did not hear myself, and I have no recollection of this, then surely he must be making it up, because "hail" no, I don't talk in my sleep (HA!)...  The jury is still out on that one...


Over at Tami's, folks are not "yoking" around, but they are storming through some wonderful WIP's. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Kitchen Chemistry and the Importance of Measuring Twice, Cutting Once

I had such high hopes for this past weekend.  Sadly, they were dashed by the trifecta of allergies, rain, and a friend still out of town.

Saturday morning found me huddled on the end of the couch, covered with a blankie, snoozing and sneezing and miserable.  As the day progressed, vertical positioning became possible and with the assistance of some heavy hitting chemical intervention, I managed to actually get dressed and sit upright...but still on the couch.  (with knitting in hand...simple no brainer knitting)  By evening, my hands and my brain reconnected enough to allow for some concocting in the kitchen.  Soap...

Saturday's experiment was with Honey Almond Oatmeal soap (milk based).  While Wes ran out to pick up some more coconut oil and lard for me, I prepped the other ingredients...put the milk in the freezer, measured out the lye, got the shortening and olive oil heating, honey measured, oats ground and fragrance measured.  My head was still in a bit of allergy fog, so after mixing the soap up and getting it to trace I remembered that I had forgotten to put the lard in.  Ooops, no clue what was going to happen, but since it did get to trace, I just kept cooking it and figured whatever happens happens.

Somehow, it worked...it has a fabulously creamy feel and a great lather, plus it smells like a granola bar!


On the heels of Saturday nights' accidental success, I awoke Sunday morning feeling a bit more alert and daring, so after convincing myself that going for a run would make me feel better, played around with a couple of other combos.  May I present:  Ghiradelli Chocolate and Mint Soap (yes, it really does have an ounce of Ghiradelli Chocolate drizzled in it!)


and Lavendar Basil Soap (played with some antique gelatin molds and muffin tins for molding this batch)


In the face of delayed yard work, I broke down and started a bunch of seeds indoors.


And, since the yard projects were delayed again, Wes worked some more on the floor.  Yay!  The wood floor throughout the entire house is now finished!  This has been no small task....we're talking around 3000sq ft of wood floors (the 5 kids rooms are carpeted and the bathrooms are tiled).  The wood used is reclaimed Douglas Fir from a 1940's Port of San Diego warehouse.  The planks are all 10" wide, have all the dings, nail holes and marks from their history.  Fastening was done with square topped face nails.  To say I love this floor would be a gross understatement.  Wes has personally brushed, sanded as needed, applied 3 coats of tung oil and custom cut every single board used.  We chose to not put a gloss coat on it...leaving it in all its glory yet still protected by the tung oil.  It slowly is taking on a lovely patina befitting its age.  It is smooth, yet still slightly rustic, and ridiculously easy to take care of.  The great thing about using reaaaalllly old dinged up wood floors is that you really don't have to worry about more dings or scratches...a little more tung oil fixes everything!  I am very proud of all the hard work he has put in this project.  Plus...when it was all said and done...he did some fancy/perfect measuring...there was only 1/2 of a 16ft board left.

 
Overall, a productive weekend...gotta roll with what the day brings you...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Dear Mother Nature...

it's snot funny anymore!  Uncle...I am screaming UNCLE!!!

For close to two months now,  you have tormented me with the teasing pollen and other allergens of Spring.  The first couple of weeks, fine, I can handle this.  The next few weeks, bleccchhh, and now, would someone please teach me how to blow my eyes.  My nose has it figured out, but the eyes are not that bright.

Does food still have taste?  Don't ask me, I wouldn't know.  Is it possible to sleep without drooling because you can only catch some zzzz's as a mouth breather?

Please say that swollen, red, blood shot eyes that attempt to water themselves right outta my head when they are assaulted by contact lenses are the latest fashion trend.  After all, they match the red, drippy nose!

So, despite faithful medicating, nose blowing and sitting in an allergy stupor I am now waving the white Kleenex flag and have now resorted to begging....bloom and leaf out already!  After all, you can come back for a visit around Labor Day and field combining season...

Sincerely,
Little Miss Snot Bucket

Friday, April 15, 2011

Construction Junction

<Trumpets blaring>  Juliet has entered the blogosphere:




And to think, just a couple of weeks ago she looked like this.


As it is a bulky yarn, all I did was spray block the bottom to flatten out the edge.  Really a fast knit and fun to do...even if it does have lace in it.  The weather is supposed to cool down quite a bit this weekend, so it is going to get broken in.  


Tentatively planning on working on the never-ending house remodel this weekend...outside portion.  We hope to have use of a friend's dump trailer to finally get rid of the ginormous sassafras stump that has been uprooted but left in the backyard since the foundation was dug and poured for the addition close to four years ago.  The chunks of patio (also from when the foundation was poured) complete with rebar in them will also hopefully be leaving at the same time.  It has been a long process (always is when you do it yourself) but all that is left is the tedious trim/finish stuff inside before a couple of reno's to the old portion of the house.  The activities to begin this weekend will allow Wes to bring in a front end loader to push around/rearrange the backyard dirt.  All of this has to be done before the boulders can be placed at the lake edge or the stream from the pond dug/rocked or the dock work started or even more importantly before my raised beds can be put in.  Once the beds are in place access to the backyard with equipment larger than a riding mower will essentially be blocked.  Slowly, but surely, we are getting there!  Sadly, though, you never really are done!


Construction phase is finished for a lot of people and their masterpieces are on display at Tami's.  

Thursday, April 14, 2011

This little piggy went to market...

This past weekend I had the opportunity to take a field trip to Cincinnati and hang out with 3 other fabulous ladies.  Originally, I had planned on making stops at Ikea, Jungle Jim's and at least one knitting store.  


But then, I got sidetracked.  No!  That never happens!  


First stop, Findlay Market.  The flowers, the produce, the breads, the meats, the EVERYTHING!  Could have easily and happily spent the whole day there.


My view while standing at the counter waiting to get some metts and pepper bacon:  It is from this spot that the "Rodeo Princess Wave" may have been demonstrated to my friends standing around the corner. 



The place is packed and makes you feel like a fishy swimming upstream.



Just a couple of the outside produce booths...



A return trip or 40 are definitely in order.  On our way to find some fiber, snapped a pic of this interesting building. It was raining, so the raindrops created a neat effect, plus don't know what is going on with the exposure, but looks cool.


After a much deserved late lunch break, we made our way to Main Street Yarns in Mason, OH.  Found a great pattern for a longish cardigan to make for the Fall, buttons for the Ruffles Cardigan, and some sock yarn.  Cuz, ya know I just fly through making socks.  Stop laughing!  You know the rule:  See pretty sock yarn, buy pretty sock yarn.  






After a full day of fun, food, and fiber, this little piggy went WEEEE WEEEE WEEEEE all the way home!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks?

It is the east, and Juliet is...not done.

After the great unravel of the Garter Stitch Jacket, the yarn told me it wanted to be reborn as JulietSwatching began last Friday, and by Friday night it was well underway.


The top portion is garter stitch.  One of the things I love about this pattern is that it is written for top down construction which results in essentially NO seaming.  


Enter the bottom portion of Juliet, and I am cursing the fair maiden.  It is my fault...the bottom is L.A.C.E.  And we all know how much I loooovvveee knitting lace.


Not much accomplished with it on Saturday or Sunday, but by Monday night I was into the first lace repeat.  Then my stellar counting skills reared their ugly head.  The first three rows were fine, then something went haywire and by the end of the repeat it was visibly off by appearance yet my count seemed right.  Rip, rip, rip.  Start over.  Still wrong...rip, rip, rip.  One more time and still off.  By this time I was cursing Juliet and thinking it was a good thing she took the poison!  Surely this was a matter of undocumented pattern errata and certainly not me!


Tuesday, still convinced that there had to be problems with the pattern, I shot off an e-mail to the writer (who hopefully will just think I am just some nutjob that can't read).  Sitting at The Cottage with my gal pals, I started, ripped and redid three more times before just ripping it back to the garter edge and starting over.  Finally got what appeared to be the right count and had it double checked by another set of eyes.  




Juliet is now, once again, a fair maiden.  Into the third repeat and all is well in Verona!


Taketh thyself to the land of Tami's  from whence objets d'art will spring forth upon this earth on the day of finitus.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Let's spoon...



What did you think I meant???


Aren't they so so so pretty?


I admit it.  I have a problem.  If you let me loose in a kitcheny store with an unlimited budget, I would have to have an entire house just to store the gadgets and serving pieces.  Fortunately for someone, NOT ME, I do exercise restraint.


Rainbow Striped Spoons have entered my life and the world is now in order.  Mackenzie-Childs has a large assortment of some seriously cute stuff for the kitchen, dining room, house in general, garden...  Some of it sort of reminds me of Alice in Wonderland a la Johnny Depp version, but it is so stinkin' cute!


The Forest Fish Chair really needs to come live on my back porch.  Since that is not very likely, perhaps I could persuade that man of mine to assist with the fishy part and I could handle the chair and painting part to create our very own version.  After all, he did custom make the porch rail (ok he actually has custom made the ENTIRE remodel of the house), so I know it is possible...




Yeah, I'll get right on that the day after I'm all caught up on every other little Crafting ADD project going!


P.S.  Mackenzie-Childs has no idea who I am personally, but they do seem to have an intimate relationship with my debit card.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The sides and just the sides...

Tonight's dinner was just that...just the sides.  Last week as our evil plan for the "social experiment" was unfolding, a discussion was overheard in the kitchen that went something like this:


"What are we supposed to eat?"


"Food"


"But there is NOTHING to eat in this house!"


(enter derisive snorting here, cuz if you have seen my pantry, fridge, and freezers, you KNOW that a'int
the truth!)


"Well look around you can find something"


"All there is, is stuff you have to cook and I don't know how to cook, why don't you get Lean Cuisine...they are good for you...and you can just stick them in the microwave...OH wait, we don't have one anymore..."


"How about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches?"


"I only like them on store-bought GOOD white bread, not that freaky homemade sourdough stuff! and besides all that is in the pantry is sides, I can't eat just sides can I?"


You get the idea.  Don't know about you, but I sure do love going to diners and getting the vegetable plate, you know, the meal that is ALL SIDES!


Anywho, that was what dinner was tonight and the world did not stop revolving because there was not any meat.  Okay, granted, tonights' dinner is a tad bit heavy on the starchy side, but it was just me and my baby tonight and it was dreary/rainy today which totally justifies carb overload.


But the best part of a vegie plate in my book, is the stop you in your tracks fluffy, buttery, BISCUITS.


And because sharing important information that can help complete your life is the right thing to do, let's make us some biscuits!  (at this point, I am smiling and waving at the computer screen using my very best Rodeo Princess wave...I may or may not have been guilty of executing same said wave on Saturday while standing at a meat counter at Findlay Market).


How to make biscuits that will blow your dress up:


All you need is 3 ingredients:




2 cups self-rising flour




1/4 cup shortening (I like Crisco, cuz my Granny did and well, she could cook like a fiend, so there you have it)




Use a pastry blender and cut that shortening into the flour until it resembles coarse crumbs.  To that add, 2/3 cup milk (you may need a little more depending on how dry the dough is)




Stir it around until mixed, but use a gentle hand.  Over mixing and kneading it will make the biscuits tough and unless you have a child that plays hockey, you really won't have any use for tough biscuits...hmmm, you could use them for skeet practice...  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead about 6 times.  Roll the dough out to 1/2 inch thick, fold in half, roll out again, turn clockwise, fold in half, roll out...do this four times...helps increase the flakiness factor...of the biscuits not you.




Cut them there biscuits.  You can use a cutter, a glass, whatever,  you can even sorta square up the dough and cut it into squares with a knife.




Lay them in a greased pan (this pan was one of Granny's, boy the culinary stories it could tell!...well, if it could, um, talk)  If you spread them out a bit, the edges get a little crisp.  Tuck them close together and they stay soft and purty.  I always feel sorry for the last little scraps and twist and turn them into just one more little biscuit.  Scrappy is sitting there in the middle all happy to be part of the party.




While we are talking about rolling out dough...this glorious weapon is my rolling pin.  It was custom made for my former Mother-in-law, is stainless steel, and weighs right at 5 pounds.  It packs a punch!




Bake the biscuits at 450 for about 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from the oven and brush them liberally with butter.  Yes, you heard me B.U.T.T.E.R not oleo or margarine or whatever you wish to call that fake plasticy stuff.




Dinner is (was) served!


Friday, April 8, 2011

Be glad...

you don't have Smell-a-vision!  It's a quiet Friday morning on the workfront.  Wes has gone fishing for the day and the guys are taking some time off, but I am at the shop knitting, surfing, goofing off working my fingers to the bone catching up on paperwork.  Ahh, the joys of being your own boss!  Jack came with me today.  He loves to come up here and, ya know, it's always good to have a watch dog around when you are here alone.  Wait, did I just imply that Jack would actually "watch" or "protect" me?  He does a great job of keeping my feet warm, and let's just say it's a good thing I still can't smell much of anything!


It's not exactly a finished object, so to speak, but the yarn from the Garter Stitch Sweater is almost totally dry.  Some skeins are, so I have started swatching what it is to be reincarnated as (hint hint...can you tell from the pic what it said it wants to be?)  Before I go further with this project, need to clarify a point...I made this sweater over 2 years ago, so no, I did not just recently knit it up and change my mind. 

Over the weekend, there was some sort of ball-based event that loads of people had their panties in a wad about, so I excused myself to my craft room for some sewing time.  The Partridge Family/Brady Bunch Bus/Station Wagon tunic got finished.  Forgot to make note of the pattern, but do know it was Butterick.  Instead of elastic at the waist, I made a casing, put in tiny buttonholes, and made a drawstring from the fabric.  It is cool, comfy, and funky-fun!

The Ruffles Cardigan is off needles and ends all woven in.  Now all she needs is to be spritzed and blocked, buttons put on, and the ruffles tacked down just a bit more.  Sorry about the crappy pics, but it is raining so no good light in the front of the shop, and my office has no windows!


Made a medium using Cascade Yarns Ultra Pima for the whole garment (the pattern calls for 2 different weights)  I used Sizes 6 and 7 needles.  After getting over half the button band on and discovering I was no longer in Twisted Rib Pattern, ripped it out and re-did it 3 times before discovering there was an error in the written pattern!



As Spring keeps teasing us, I spent some time last weekend straightening and cleaning up the back porch.  Finally got around to stuffing the log cabin pillows.  So far, the "social experiment" has been going well,  neither Wes nor I have missed the microwave.  For that matter, don't think anyone else has either.  The next step would definitely  create a murderous mutiny, and don't think I am up for that!  As we are still at the "DC" (during children) stage, the cable tv access will stay, but as soon as we officially reach the "AC" (after children) stage of life, we both plan to eliminate the brain cell sucker and focus more on the big screen that can be seen reflected in the windows below.


Have a great weekend and make the most of it!


But, before you go off the grid, visit Tami's to see what other fiber frolics are being wrapped up.

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