Monday, July 30, 2012

My basket runneth over...

Saturday's trip to the Farmer's Market provided some valuable information.

There is a point at which the basket on the front of your bicycle can hold no more.
 Doesn't loooook too precarious...
But looks can be deceiving...
Turns out that my cutesy little basket's max load is:  2 pounds of frozen grass fed/antibiotic & hormone free ground beef, 1 very large and fragrant cantaloupe, 6 ears of organic Bt-free corn, and 10 pounds of pickling cucumbers.  It might just be that my packing of the basket could have been improved.  What I learned is that little cukes, stuffed into the top of the basket, will shift and roll around in the bag which throws the balance off thus requiring this accident prone individual to have to ride the whole way back in low gear because my left hand was stretched between the handle bar and the back corner of the basket to keep it from listing too far to the right over the wheel.  

Yes, I am aware of all the preventive maneuvers that could have helped, but hey, sometimes you just gotta roll with it and hope for the best...and band-aids.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Cake and Pickles

What do you get when you cross 10# of pickling cucumbers and a yummy skein of Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Pima Silk in the lovely lovely Tangerine Fizz colorway?
A WHOLE bunch of jars of pickles and a yummy cake of yarn waiting to be transformed. 

Friday, July 20, 2012


Is there some point at which a yarn says, "Uncle! I quit! Stop making me into different things!"?  If it could talk, I'm pretty sure that is what the Alpaca with a Twist/ Touchdown would be saying right about now.

Guess what?  Do believe it is going to get its wish...maybe.

Two weeks ago I got a little cocky with my progress on the Rocky Coast Cardigan and went so far as to mention to a commenter that it would surely be done by the weekend and ready to unveil for the next week's FO.  Ha!

What really happened?  One sleeve was done down to the spot where I needed to switch to ribbing, when it occurred to me that I should probably check the fit.  Yeah, I have learned nothing.  The body of the sweater was knit in size small, so surely the arms would be okay also, right?  If I had TOOTHPICKS for arms!!!  There was no way on earth that any amount of aggressive, severe, intense, or even belligerent blocking was going to fix this problem and the likelihood of my arm circumference shrinking drastically any time soon was even more remote.

<hanging my head and smacking my forehead>  Yep, rip and redo the sleeves in the medium size directions.  This little alteration required some tweaks that I had the forethought to write down in order for the second sleeve to resemble the first one.

You know what this means don't you?  I have made yet another sweater in size Smedium.  The only difference is this time it was sort of intentional.
 And in keeping with the cocky attitude, I was soooo proud of myself for keeping the cable repeat in pattern.  Until...I looked closely at a picture of the back that was about to go up for the whole wide bloggy world to see and judge.  Hmmm, what to do now?  At present, my hair is so long that you would never see it and perhaps if I constantly wiggle and thrash about my antics will distract from what jumps out at me in an evil taunting way.  

One final word on this situation:  RATFARTS!!!


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bella says "Hey"

Love this picture of my itty bitty Grizzabella Bella. 
Giving credit where credit is son snapped this picture of her either mid-yawn or mid-meow.  Either way it's a keeper.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Seafoam and Cotton Candy

I'm on a re-do kick lately.  The sweater you will see on Friday's FO post is made from yarn that took three FO's to decide what it wanted to be.  Today's WIP is no exception.  What originally was truly a beautiful sweater turned out to be something that I wore only once and was not happy with.  It lounged around in my closet taunting me with its lacy edge and silky softness and then being downright mean with its a little shorter than I'd like/belly baring viciousness.  (there really was not some weird v-shaped discoloration on the front of it, that is merely more evidence of my mad photography skills) 
When in doubt, rip it out. 

So now, the Louisa Harding Yarn (Mulberry) in colorway 07 Seafoam is trying on a new pattern.

 Let's try the Miley Tee.

At present, I have lost count of the number of things currently on needles and am only sharing what's in the bag.

Fuzzy Wuzzy was a beret?

 Yarn?  Lana Grossa Baby Kid colorway 006.  Man oh man is this stuff soft, and stick-to-itselfy.  Sort of what I imagine knitting with cotton candy would be like. 

That's all for now, I have no more and frankly am more interested in running outside and watching for rain.  The sky is dark, there's some rumbling going on...

OOOOH...guess what?  It's raining, pouring actually.  Adios!


Monday, July 16, 2012

My Baby's Baby...

My oldest son:

was here for a visit last week.  He is an awesome guy (not that I am biased in any way).  One of the things that defines him is his passion for skateboarding.  He has done this for many many years and is currently on the team at his local skateboard shop.  Currently, he is in school, working, and skating as much as time will allow.  One of his goals is to figure out a way to make the activity that he loves become a means to the end of supporting him.  A few years ago, he and a friend created a skateboard and apparel idea line and they have held onto with the dream of expanding it and marketing their goods locally and who knows from there.  My dream is for my son to be able to make a living doing what he loves and not be stuck in the mindset of have to do X, Y and Z or you are not successful.   

So, while he was here, we birthed that baby!  He supplied the art and we provided the goods and the use of our shop to do the screen printing.  I'm a Grandma, sort of, not really, but I am a proud Mama!!

So, here goes with the birth of a dream...

Prepping the art:

Burning the screens:

Striking off the first test print:
Here we go:

Top print:

Bottom print:

Final product:

The ironic thing that occurred was that we did not specifically plan to print on Friday, July 13, it just worked out that way.  If you notice, the name of his company is Seven Thirteen (because you have to take the good with the bad in life) and we happened to print on 7/13!  It's all good...

Monday, July 9, 2012

Char-co-late Cake

A few days ago I made one of my all time favorite cakes.  It is soft and yummy, but has a texture that is more dense than a regular cake, but not as dense as a brownie.  In a word...perfect.  Unless, you ask my husband or brother-in-law, but what do they know, right?? (their complaint would be the chocolate part)

This cake is super simple and traditionally has a glaze on top, but that is the only part I am not completely in love with.  Powdered sugar instead...can't go wrong...OOH and don't forget some heavenly vanilla bean ice cream.  

The directions say to use a 13x9 cake pan, but mine broke (it was a Pampered Chef pan that I had for ages and ages) so I improvised with a couple of what I call biscuit pans that were my Granny's, and divided the batter between 2 of them.  

TWO chocolate cakes.  Never mind that it is really only one that was divided, be happy with me people!!

First one...devoured.  Aaackk, not by me alone!!

Second one...I stole a corner piece out of the pan and gobbled it up and then hid the pan in the oven.  You know what is coming don't you?  

Friday evening as I went my merry way making homemade fried chicken/onion rings and biscuits all was right with the world until I opened the oven door to slip the biscuits in.  <insert woefully sad face>  The knife was even stuck to the top of the cake.  The pan was pulled out and set on the grill top to cool until I could decide if it could be salvaged.  This is where it is important to note that if a blogger has intentions to photograph something she should probably tell other people not to move, touch, throw away or clean certain things.  

Gonna have to trust me on this was Char-co-late Cake.  On the flip side, it is such a darn good recipe you should really give it a try.  Try it, you'll like it. Really. I mean it.  Just don't put it in the oven to hide it.  

Here ya go:


3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups hot water

In a large bowl, sift all the dry ingredients together, then make a well in the center.  Pour in the oil, vinegar, vanilla and water.  Stir gently with a spoon, then switch to a whisk and GENTLY mix together with the whisk until the majority of the lumps are gone.  Do not use a mixer (I have no idea why not, except that is how I've always done it).  Pour into a 13x9 pan and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes.  

Once the cake is cool, you can glaze it with this...or just use powdered sugar on your plate, or drizzle with chocolate sauce, or caramel sauce or ALL of the above:

1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix the sugar and cocoa together in a small bowl.  In small saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer, then add the sugar/cocoa mixture.  Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes at full boil.  Remove from heat and let it cool for a few minutes, then stir in the vanilla.  Use a fork to poke holes over the entire surface of the cake, then pour the glaze over it and spread it around as needed.  Let it cool until the glaze hardens.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Pinch Me

The last time I spoke of my knitting while travelling problem, the straw seemed to be my savior.  

Not so much anymore.  

This spot is still my nemesis:
But now...(insert evil laughter):
BAM!!! Car Bermuda Triangle you have met your match!!!  One day while we were wandering around Menard's, Wes found this beautiful tool that should be a required part of any knitter's car tools.  It lives in my glovebox.
 Shove it down into that little bitty spot that only needles and stitchmarkers fit into then push down on the button top and little pinchers poke out and grab whatever has been lost.
It's magic I tell ya!
  Just proves that you never know where you will find knitting tools!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Hot and Sweatery...

Triple digits...yup.


Only the beginning of the summer heat...yup.

Let's make a winter sweater...okie dokie!

An alternate title for this post could be:  "Third Time is a Different Sweater".  I have had this Alpaca with a Twist yarn for a few years and it can't seem to decide what it wants to be.  A few weeks ago I picked up the wonderful book "Coastal Knits" which is absolutely stuffed with things I am itching to make.  The Rocky Coast Cardigan caught my eye as a potentially great casual and comfy sweater.  
Here's a fabulous photography tip for ya, seeing as how I'm all not a professional and all that...when preparing to take a picture of said work in progress and you are moving it from one room to another, it helps if you remember that there is a giant ball of yarn attached to it.  Not that I know this from experience or anything, but I may have overheard the cats snickering amongst themselves and whispering about how stupid Meowmy is.
 Cabling has not made me crazy...yet.

Last night, our lake had its annual 4th of July fireworks show.  Our house is at the back of a cove across from the dam where the pyro show is launched.  We have a great view from the bug free zone of the screened in porch.  Here's some more totally awesome photography from She Who Knows Not What She is Doing With the Camera:

Happy Independence Day!
Whatever Goes Wednesday
Look What I Made

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

I'm a Basket Case

Given the opportunity, I will organize, then reorganize, then do it all over again.  As far as I'm concerned you can never finish organizing.  

My laundry/craft room has loads of space for storing all my crafty stuff, but let's face it, yarn and un-spun fiber can be a tad bit awkward to get stored.  My stash is a sight to behold and frankly sometimes I forget what I have and where I put it.  
 The top of the cabinets is prime storage space.  Last week I popped in to JoAnn Fabrics and hit the mother lode of baskets that were originally $29, but were on clearance, and THEN were on extra special mark down of another 50% off the lowest clearance price.  After all that marking down, I got the 3 large baskets for $3.75 each.  SCORE! 
Add a few cutie pie label hang tags and I am a happy girl!


Monday, July 2, 2012

Tour de What?

The Tour de France has begun, which of course translates in the fiber world to the beginning of the Tour de Fleece wherein spinners worldwide set goals for their spinning to be met during this very specific time frame. 

Have I signed up?  No.

Would I have liked to?  Yes.

Another time, maybe.  In the meantime, Minerva has been staying fairly busy (not as much as I would like, but there is only so much available time and I can only sit comfortably in a hard straight chair for so long...don't ask, just understand that I am the only person on the face of the earth that can get injured on a bicycle even when it is not moving).

I have been flipping back and forth between the last 4 ounces of brown suri alpaca and 4 ounces (split into 2 sections) of a hand-dyed braid of 83% kid mohair, 15% nylon, 2% fine merino that I picked up at the Fiber Festival.  
The first 2 ounces are done.  After plying, it should be a lovely, lofty fingering/sport weight.  What should it eventually become?  A hat, gloves, scarf, shawl...?


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Etsy Updates

A few new things added to Five Cats Creations.

Here's a sneak peak:

Relaxing on Sunday

The heat may be oppressive, but it certainly gives one reason to stay inside and enjoy the pretty things...

Saturday, my darlin' hubby and I rode our bicycles into town for the Farmer's Market.  Among other goodies, I picked up a potato masher basket that I had custom ordered last week:
Have to get a bunch of pretty flowers every week:
Last week, one of the vendors had the most adorable selection of china teapots and pitchers that were being re-purposed as planters and displayed on shepherd's hooks.  Naturally, my first thought was "I can do that!"  I would have hung it outside on a hook, but then I would have to go outside to water it.  The counter looks like a better location to me:
Happy Sunday to all!

Oh, and by the way...Happy Birthday to my favorite sister!  



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