Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

Yes, I know it's still 12/31 but I plan on doing some geocaching with the kids and some knitting later before I get tipsy on the one glass of wine I'll drink during the Annual Clue-Nanza. It's our tradition to invite friends and family over to play "Clue" and drink cheap wine. Dave is always Colonel Mustard and I'm Miss Scarlett. Maybe this year will the year Miss Scarlett won't be the murderess. The drunken floozy. Miss Scarlett is the floozy, not me. But the wine will go to my head.

This year, I'm adding chicken and dumplings to offset the wine.

Next year I plan on continuing my diet, expand my knitting skills, learn to quilt, find more geocaches and generally not get arrested or be a suspect in a crime. Oh, try to be a better mommy and wife by exercising more patience.

May your New Year's Eve be safe and your New Year's Day be hangover free. Visit me often in 2008.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Soap Really Tastes Gross.

Last week it was decoupage. This week it was soap making. I love scented things so I thought, "Hey, this would be neat to make my own signature scent." Little did I know my signature scent would be burnt plastic.

It started off innocently enough. I used a double broiler to melt some glycerin bars. Once it melted, I add some aloe and vitamin E oil. Then I took it off the burner to add the fragrance. Once I did that, it was ready to pour into the molds. Easy peasy as pie. Oh, but nooooo, not to Queen Klutz. As I positioned myself and the double boiler pot over the soap mold, I reached for my spatula. I didn't want to take my eyes off the mold and soap for a second.

And then a faint whiff of burning plastic reached my nose. It got stronger a half a second later when I spied my spatula smoldering on my new stovetop. In a two seconds, I went from master soapmaker to soap covered, lavender scented klutz clutching a smoking spatula.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Geocaching Virgin no longer

Dave gave me a GPS handheld for Christmas. I wanted something active that the kids and I can do together. When I read about geocaching, I thought this was perfect.

Yesterday, we loaded up the coordinates for our first cache. I picked an easy one in Loganville about 10 miles away. And we found it after only 5 minutes of hunting. This was so fun and the kids had a blast too. I highly recommend it. We're off to an old cemetery today for another hunt.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Dracula meets the Dominatrix

I thought it would be cool to give my sister in law (who loves candles) something different. When Vickie Howell from the DIY network suggested knitting a cover for a candle with wire and beads. I thought--this could be the item.

Last time I knit with anything other than yarn. It looks like something out of Count Dracula's Brothel. I did everything the directions said including measuring out the length of wire.

Dave, in his quest to be more tactful, said, "It's kind of nautical looking." PUH-lease. Only if Elvira got drafted into the US Navy.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Blue Cheese Dip

Blue Cheese Dip
I stole this from a friend in my knitting group. Thanks, Susan, for bringing this to our get together.

1 package precooked bacon, heated per package directions
1 bar cream cheese, softened
1 container blue cheese
2 tsp minced onions
1 tsp garlic powder
dash worschestire sauce
salt/pepper to taste

Crumble up cooked bacon and mix well with remaining ingredients. Refrigerate if you have any left over.

No, I've not done this yet...

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Decoupage--the Devil's Medium

Ick, ick, ick.

$14.98: Wesley wanted a new poster/coloring page. Ray, the diabolical four year old, grabbed a beginner's decoupage set.

$42.99: The cost of replacement Levi's for me after I attempted to help Ray with our first decoupage project.

Seeing my husband's face when he realized I glued my fingers to the fireplace hearth: ANNOYING.

Why have I not learned that I do not possess the craft gene (except for knitting of course)? It's the vain hope that one day I might be able master the art of applying glue without bodily injury.

Why hasn't Hobby Lobby put a Wanted: Dead or Alive poster of me in their windows? They make too much money from me.

Why hasn't the federal government passed a law prohibiting decoupage? They've passed laws for everything else.

Have a Safe and Merry Christmas!

I won't be posting for several days due to Christmas and the baking I need to do. Unless of course, there's some knitting news that I can't wait to share b/c I'll pee in my pants if I don't.

I hope everyone has a blessed, safe and love-filled Christmas and New Year's!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Turn out the lights--the party's over...

We had our annual Christmas get-together at our house last night. We refuse to call it a party because party implies we need to clean the house.

We had Kelly Rosebud's brisket, Popeye's spinach salad, baked potatoes, corn on the cob and apple crisp cake for desert. Wines, sweet tea, beer and vodka completed the menu. It was one of the biggest spreads I personally have ever cooked. I hope everyone had as much fun as I did.

Today as I type this, I am popping Maalox. Brisket, several different kinds of wine, and apple crisp cake is not a mix I'd recommend. Aaaahhhh.

Barrow Holiday Connection is winding down. I've coordinated (and not without an increase in swearing and hair pulling) 700 or so family applications (about 1650 kids) within a 6 week period. I've matched families with private donors and gotten a holiday "store" ready thanks to the work of seven or so very dedicated volunteers.

Three more days and I can rest and enjoy my Maalox in peace.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Knitter's Night Before Christmas

Stolen from Knitmom.

Knitter's Night Before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas and all around me
There was unfinished knitting not under the tree,
The stockings weren't hung by the chimney with care
'Cause the heels and the toes had not a stitch there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
But I had not finished the caps for their heads.
Dad was asleep---he was no help at all.
And the sweater for him was 6" too small.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I put down my needles to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash.
Tripped over my yarn and fell down in my stash.
The tangle of yarn that lay deep as the snow
Reminded me how far I still had to go.

When out on the lawn I heard such a noise,
I was sure it would wake up both Dad and the boys.
And although I was tired--my brain a bit thick,
I knew in a moment that it must be St Nick.

Yet what I heard left me very perplex-ed
For nothing I heard was what I expect-ed.
"Move Rowan! Move Patons! Move Koigu and Clover!
Move Shelridge! Move Starmore! Move Spinrite!
Move over!

Lopi, don't circle around, just stand there in line.
Pay attention you sheep and you'll work out just fine!
I know this is hard as it's just your first year
But I'd hate to go back to 8 tiny reindeer."

I peered over the sill. What I saw was amazing:
Eight wooly sheep on my lawn all a-grazing!
And then in a twinkle, I heard at the door
Santa's big boots stomping on the porch floor.

I rose from my knees and got back on my feet.
As I turned around, St Nick I did meet.
He was dressed all in wool from his heat to his toe
And his clothes were hand knit from above to below.

A bright Fair Isle sweater he wore on his back.
And his toys were all stuffed in an Aran knit sack.
His hat was a wonder of bobbles and lace
A beautiful frame for his rosey red face.

The scarf on his neck could have stretched for a mile,
And the socks peeking over his boots were Argyle.
On the back of his mitts was an intricate cable.
And suddenly on one I spotted a small label:

"S.C." in duplicate on the cuff.
So I asked, "Hey, Nick, did YOU knit all this stuff?"
He proudly replied, "Ho, ho, ho, yes I did.
I learned how to knit when I was just a kid."

He was chubby and plump, a well dressed old man,
And I laughed to myself, for I'd thought up a plan.
I flashed him a grin and jumped up in the air,
And the next thing he knew, he was tied to a chair.

He spoke not a word, but looked down in his lap
Where I had laid my needles and yarn for a cap.
He began then to knit, first one cap then 2--
For the first time I thought I might really get through.

He put heels in the stockings and toes in some socks,
While I sat back drinking a scotch on the rocks.
Quickly like magic his needles they flew,
Good Grief! He was finished by two!

He sprang for his sleigh when I let him go free,
And over his shoulder he looked back at me.
I heard him explain as he sailed past the moon,
"Next year, start your knitting sometime around JUNE!"

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Knit of Passion Winners

Since I had so many responses, I decided to have a "best answer" winner and another drawn from a hat. The Knitorious Mrs. B had the best response as voted by my knitting group.

Her answer:

Why do I knit? You might as well ask "why do you breath'? I'm driven to knit every day, every where, any where and any time I can! I think the motivation to knit continously is an internal mechanism hardwired in my brain that provides me with a sense of peace, power, pleasure, and fullment in the knowledge that I am creating, receiving and giving all at the same time. It is not merely hobby or craft to me. I view knitting as a philosophy with this core belief: Yarn plus needles equals productive tranquility! I would have knitted through my last PAP SMEAR if it were possible to work my cables without running the risk of dropping a stitch!

Thanks for asking!

I think I would also knit during my yearly exam also.

The other winner is a non-blogger, Malisa. Her answer was:

Reason 1: I knit to stay sane! I am a 6th grade school teacher and mother. My daughter is 12 and my son is 8. When I knit something beautiful I have a tangible item that will stay complete and can be used. As a teacher and a mother my other tasks are NEVER complete. There is always more laundry, homework, laundry, shopping, laundry, paperwork, sorting, laundry, planning, laundry, grading, laundry, grounding, soccer, laundry, concerts, doctor and dentist appointments and did I mention the freeking laundry! My knitting is always with me. As soon as I figure out a way to fold laundry and knit at the same time I will be sooo content!
Reason 2: I knit in memory of my dear friend, Kaye Peck. Kaye lost her battle with cancer on Oct. 25 this year. Kaye taught me to knit four years ago. She was an incredible music teacher at my school who made scarves for almost every new faculty member each year. I knit her a prayer shawl and she took it to every cancer treatment. Her husband gave me her stash and I intend to keep up the tradition. I miss my friend and I feel her with me when I knit.

Thank you to all who entered. I had so much fun reading your answers. I may do another contest early next year!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Felony KUI

A new law--Knitting Under the Influence. I started my second sock set. Okay say that three times fast while drink a glass of cheap wine from Wally World. But a word of advise, never knit a sock while drinking wine. It adds up to a misshapen wad of wool and a major headache. I actually handcuffed myself with my magic loop. The picture above is pre wine sock. I'm too ashamed to pose the post-wine sock.

Plaid, Plaid everywhere

I'm surrounded by plaid. Dave, God bless him, loves plaid. I don't mind it myself. I'd love to stare a good lookin' Scot with a plaid kilt. But good grief, Dave has taken plaid apparel to a whole new level. Red flannel plaid shirt with a blue plaid flannel pajama bottom. A green plaid coat. He looks like a demented elf! To make matters worse, he's passed the plaid gene on to Wesley who thinks it's perfectly fine to wear red plaid bottoms with yellow striped soccer shirt.

What brought this rant on against plaid? Zack's new collar for Christmas is plaid. ENOUGH!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Hot Cocoa Swap!

Two of my favorite things--and I won't scare you with my Julie Andrews impersonation. Chocolate and yarn!!! Is this a perfect swap or what? Go here to get the rules to enter. Tell them I sent you!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Zack--Before and After Growth Hormones

We actually didn't give him hormones but when we got him, he was about five pounds. Now three years later, he's of gargantuan size and appetite. He's seventy pounds and is about three feet tall. He's all bones and fur and muscle. Not one ounce of fat. He's also very good at squeezing between me and the edge of the sofa, stretching out and a) pushing me off my own couch or b) pressing a paw into my bladder, making me have to get off the sofa to pee. Either way, he gets the sofa.

Love the big goon but why does he think he's a lap dog. Technically, he's a smooth haired collie mix but we call him a Colli-yote (Collie plus coyote). Dave says his mother was a collie and his father was some wild animal like a wolf or coyote.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Pecan Caramel Pralines

I stole this recipe from Southern Living and tweaked it. Regan tried to lick the pot but she would have burned her tongue. Right now, she's fussing at me for it. I'm "Mean Mommy" but I guess the trade off would have been a run to the ER for a burned tongue.

1 stick of butter (of course, butter, what else?)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup of caramel (I used the new caramel chips but next time I'll try the caramel ice cream topping)
3 tsp corn syrup
1/2 cup milk
1 large package of pecan pieces (The SL recipe calls for them being toasted--I was lazy and didn't do it)

Combine the butter, sugars, vanilla, corn syrup, and milk in a heavy saucepan. Mix and melt butter. Make sure the sugars melt. There'll be no graininess when you touch it or taste it. Add caramel and melt. Stir it constantly as it will scorch and stink your kitchen up.

Make your husband or significant other line a cookie sheet with wax paper b/c you'll be stirring the praline mix. When the caramel is melted and there is no grainy sugar bits,remove from heat, add the pecans and mix well. Dump into wax paper and refrigerate to harden. It will not completely harden. You won't be able to cut it like brownies because it's too soft. You can hand out these candies wrapped individually in Saran Wrap.

WARNING: DO NOT LET YOUR CHILD REACH INTO THE PAN (or yourself)! Trust me on this one. It's a very sticky candy. See above picture. Regan had to be hosed down.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

My yarn stash is taking Viagra and fertility pills

It's the only explanation. I'm knitting as fast as I can but yet my lovely stash is expanding.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I'm a Polygamist...

Not in the traditional sense, no but I'm in love with SOOOOO many yarns, it's ridiculous. My new current fave is Paint Box yarn in Thistle. Reminiscent of Noro, it's 100% wool, great potential for felting and the colorways are amazing. The colors bleed seamlessly into the next. It's almost hypnotic. I must buy more... I must buy more...My kids don't need food...I must buy more. Lacy, delicate scarves for all. Spread the message...You must buy this yarn.

Gig 'em, Aggies and Go 'Boys

Not gonna be overbearing on this one but what kind of Aggie fan would I be if I didn't post the score of yesterday's great football. Texas A&M 38, UT 30

My first opportunity to watch the Dallas Cowboys this year and they win! I sincerely hope the game between the Boys and those cheese people get televised.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Mighty Banana Muffins

Regan named these. She just saw an episode of Curious George. I found a basic recipe from Allrecipes and "juiced" it up a notch. They're really good hot with melting butter over them.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar (plus 2 tablespoons)
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas (about two large bananas)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Caramel chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Melt butter in microwave and add to 3/4 cups brown sugar in bowl. Mix well. Add eggs and vanilla extract. Add bananas and then flour and baking soda.

Pour one teaspoon of batter into large muffin tins lined with cupcake holders. Sprinkle a few caramel chips and gently pour another teaspoon of batter over chips. Lightly dust a bit of brown sugar over the top. You'll be about 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 12-15 minutes until firm.

You can use a bread loaf pan if you spray it down with Baker's Joy (kind of like Pam plus flour). Bake until it firms up about 35-45 minutes.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Hello Cindy!!

This is my big super secret knitter/agent reveal from Secret Pal 11. Cindy was the recepient of my strange (sorry) greeting cards and bizarre taste. And to think she actually answered my emails! Visit Cindy's blog--she's hilarious. And living in Texas, she can't help being cool.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

My first sock!!!!

So what if only Bigfoot can use it. I don't care. I've done it! I've even cast on for the second sock because, of course, you need both socks to make a pair. Although I am so proud of this sock, I may just frame it in a shadow box for posterity.

The Kitchner stitch was interesting. I think it's a horrible sobriety test for knitters. It's not hard. It's need to be focused and not exchange recipes with your neighbor while doing it. Or the very least, not watching a movie with Hugh Jackman in it.

Is he a hottie or what? But I do have to add--Hugh has nothing on my teddy bear hubby.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

"Come into my web", said the spider to the fly....

Yes, my cobweb shawl is growing by leaps and bounds. It is so light. I feel like like I'm knitting with thread but it is surprisingly strong. I so love Fleece Artist. If I could only win the lottery....

Kolaches That Dave Only Gets Once A Year

I make these once a year at Christmas. Dave will eat these until they come out of his ears. My mom made these--once again learned from someone in her family. Kolaches are really popular in southeast Texas. My momma's family came from Germany and Poland. According to the dictionary, kolache (also spelled kolace, kolach, or kolacky, from the Czech and Slovak plural koláče) are a type of pastry consisting of fillings ranging from fruits to cheeses inside a bread roll. Some people will argue my family's recipe is not a true kolache. To them, I say, take it up with momma because she will win an argument against anyone.

2 tubes of biscuits (Mom made her biscuits from scratche but I use butter-flavored biscuits)
1 small block of smoked cheddar cheese (or the cheese of your choice)
2 packages of Little Smokey Sausages

Preheat oven according to biscuit package directions. Roll out each biscuit on a floured surface with rolling pin. Place two sausages in middle of flat biscuit and throw a small slice of cheese on top. Wrap the biscuit with the sausage and cheese and pinch the corners to seal.

Bake on cookie sheet according to biscuit packages. Sometimes the cheese oozes out from cracks and bakes onto the cookie sheet and gets crusty. I have to chase Dave out of the kitchen because he sneaks in to eat the cheese. His excuse? My food presentation would be off if he left it alone.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Student of the Month

Where Wesley gets his manners is beyond me but I've never been so proud of him. His teacher said that Wesley is a positive role model who tries to help his friends make positive choices and he is extremely polite.

I also feel Regan needs to be chosen Student of the Month but they don't do that in Pre-K so she is my Girl of the Month.

So here's to my Monster Boy and Muffin (their nicknames). You two are always my Kids of Month

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Hippie Dye

I space dyed this yesterday. It came out, in my son's words, "Snap, it's the bomb." Six years old and already I can't understand him. I can only assume it means he approves.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Up to My Garishly Dyed Hair!

Sit back and let me vent. I, in a weak moment, agreed to coordinate Barrow County's Holiday Connection. What is Holiday Connection? It's a countywide clearinghouse to provide Christmas assistance to needy families. Last year 1,100 children were served. I just picked up 250 applications from the school system, Department of Family and Children Services and other social service agencies. Want to know how I feel right now?

Picture yourself on the edge of the Grand Canyon looking down over the safety bar, snapping pictures and suddenly the bar gives way. In a split second, you start to fall, pee on yourself, scream for help and flail your arms in attempt to fly. Then a second later, a hand latches onto your shirt and bra (thank God, you wore one today) to pull you to safety.

Doesn't work for you? Try imagining that icky, throw up feeling you get when you realize that you don't have enough scarce and no longer made yarn to finish a sweater you've knitted and cabled for the past two months? Then after scouring your stash for an hour, find one last skein.

Or how about looking at a single pink line on the pregnancy test three years after you've had your tubes tied? Then you read the directions and you find out that two pink lines indicate you're pregnant.

Basically, I'm panicking. All these kids needing help for Christmas and not enough donations. I don't want children to wake up Christmas morning to an empty tree. Everyone keeps telling me--it'll all come together but good grief, does it have come together at the last minute?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Knit of Passion Contest

Happy Blogiversary to me! It's been about a year and 100 posts later. I'm now making less sense than when I started this blog. To celebrate, I'm hosting a "Knit of Passion" contest. The prize? Two skeins of Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool (new and still in wrapped in original tags and from smoke-free home) in an eggplant color (Color Lava--005 and dye lot 158). Really beautiful color and luxurious feel. It was reviewed on the Knitter's Review. Incidentally, the color I'm giving away is the same one on the KR site.

To enter the "Knit of Passion" post a comment on this post. Tell me what drives you to knit? Why is yarn your passion? Contest ends 12/10. I will have my Knit Wits knitting group vote on the answers during our December meeting and I'll ship the yarn to the winner on my dime. If you want to win, you cannot post anonymous comments. You don't have to have a blog but I'll need a way to contact you.

Ready? Set? Type.....

Mocha Skor Cake

Best darn thing you've ever put in your mouth! So good you'll slap yourself!

1 box of chocolate cake mix
1 1/2 cups of cooled very strong coffee (I used an instant coffee chocolate mix like suisse mocha)
1/3 cup canola oil
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large tub of whipped cream, thawed
1/3 cup cooled very strong coffee
5 Skor or Heath candy bars, cut up (it's okay to eat some pieces before you use them)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour two round cake tins or you can grease a 13x9 pryex dish. For a two layer, of course, use the round tins.

Mix cake mix, 1 1/2 cup coffee, oil, eggs and vanilla. Mix well until smooth. Pour into cake tins or pyrex dish. Bake for 30 minutes or until it gets springy on top. A tip I learned was that take it out a little early even if it looks almost done. It will continue to bake while it's cooling.

Cool completely (about 30-45 minutes)

Mix whipped cream and 1/3 cup coffee well. The cream will turn a lovely shade of mocha.

If you using the pyrex dish, spread cream mixture over top and sprinkle with Skor pieces.

If you used the round tins, put one cake on cake plate. Spread 1/3 of whipped cream mix on top. Do not go around the sides. Sprinkle a little bit of Skor pieces on the cream. Place second cake on top and spread rest of whipped cream on top. Again, do not go over the sides. Just leave cream on top. Sprinkle remaining Skor pieces on top. Refrigerate if your family doesn't demolish this immediately. You will be too full of Skor pieces to eat it so save yourself a piece.

A heel can't stop me!

The end of my first sock is in sight! I tried it on and it's a little big, well for me at least but not Big Foot. It wants to be a smooshy bed sock.

I had a couple of mistakes. I accidentally picked up two stitches from like four rows below the current. How? Beats me. I didn't slip stitch knit to the end of one row--just slipped the first stitch and then knit. It's a wonder my teacher, Anita didn't throw me out a window. Lots of patience that girl has.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Sock Knitter In Training!

The low wattage light bulb that is my brain flickered to life. I took a Magic Loop class offered by Main Street Yarns in Watkinsville. Anita, my instructor and a complete knitting genius, explained what made the Magic Loop method, well, magic.

I have started my sock and next class is the gusset. For those who are leery of knitting socks, let me tell you---I was also intimidated. I read the Magic Loop book and nothing. I watched an instructional video--zippo. I looked on the net--nada. But hands on instruction is the way to go. I understand the basic construction of socks which was my "a-ha" moment.

Don't be afraid of messing up. I did lots of things--I knitted with my tail. I only knitted one side of the loop. Dropped stitches. You name it and I did it. But as the lead sentence said--somewhere in the middle of fumbling with the cord, it clicked.

And don't get me started on the new yummy sock yarns. I'm knitting my first pair with Lorna Laces Sportweight Sock yarn in this incredible colorway (Watercolor)

My Kind of Government Program.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Knitting with Spider Webs

Another Fleece Artist yarn added to my stash. I just can't get enough of their colorways. I don't know how they do it but their colors are the most incredible. Some are muted and some are jewel-toned. My secret swap partner gave me a beautiful colorway (Glacier) in their Camelspun line and I've got a seasilk skein in their Rose Garden. This month, I bought on eBay a shawl kit in their Ivory silk line which is the same color above.

It's a dream to knit although it is extremely lightweight like a spiderweb. The shawl will not be used for warmth but a wonderful accent piece. A pattern for the shawl comes with the skein but of course, I tweaked it. I slipped all first stitches and did the increases in the second stitch. Here it is in the beginning stages of the triangular shawl and the skein.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Teaching Kindergartners about dyeing

To honor our early settlers (both Pilgrims and Indians alike), my kids' elementary school has asked me to dye yarn like these people did. At first, I was disconcerted--am I that old--do I look like I was part of the Plymouth Rock gang? I was looking particularly ghoulish that day with a bad home dye job.

Then I realized it was compliment. So I'm off to the library to brush up on natural dyes. And then it's to the forest behind my home to find some suitable tree bark. Stick a feather in my strangely colored hair and call me Pocahontas.

I need a fix! Royal Milk Tea from Japan!

My KTS4 partner Tiffany who lives in Japan introduced me to this drink. I don't know who makes--having never learned Japanese and of course, high school French is no help--this wonderful tea.

It's not tea in the traditional sense but is tea. There are no tea bags just individual packets of powder which look like Nestle Quik. Mix the bag up with hot water and voila, love in a mug.

The taste is sweet, milky, and tea-y all at the same time. It's definitely different but oh my goodness, so delicious. I'm feverishly hunting the net looking for a supplier. I sound like some sort of junkie trying to find a stash but the four packets Tiffany sent were downed in two days.

Help me before I started stalking Asian markets.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Learning the Magic Loop method!

I'll be heading off to Main Street Yarns in Watkinsville for the next three Sundays for two hour classes to learn Magic Loop and sock knitting. I'm stoked! For $45, I get the instruction, a set of circs (although nothing can top my Knit Picks Options Set), sock yarn and pattern.

Wish me luck in Sockland.

At least she'll be insulated.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Darth Vader and the Regan Princess Step Out.

It sounds like a horrible romance novel gone awry on the Death Star. But in fact, it's Halloween night at my house.

Wesley was bound and determined to be Darth Vader and with some divine intervention, we managed to find the last Darth costume in his size at Walmart. The earlier Darth was mislabeled as a medium youth but in reality was a medium adult--thank you Party City for adding to my stress level.

Regan knew from the get go that she wanted to be a princess so we bought her costume two weeks ago and now it was too small. But that was okay with Ray. Throw some cheap flashing tiara on her head and she was ready to rule us minions.

As usual, they got candy galore from our neighborhood. Wesley said thank you in his Darth Vader voice (which was a scratchy version of his whiny voice) and Regan kept forgetting to thank her "subjects" for the candy. By the time we were ready to go home, she had the funky royal wave down. You know, picture Queen Elizabeth waving like she's screwing in a lightbulb.

The pumpkins were a challenge to carve. Every year Wesley thinks up new ways to showcase our meager carving skills. This year one jack o'lantern was an imitation of Dave's (and my) college days. The pumpkin was throwing up pumpkin goo. Oh, those were the days.

Ga Ga's Flour Tortillas

My mother has made these things for years and years. She learned from my paternal grandmother who learned from an elderly woman from New Mexico during the Great Depression. There's never been a written recipe and when I asked for one, Mom just shrugged and said to figure it out.

So here goes my mom's version of her recipe with measuring estimates....

2 cups all purpose flour (if you use self rising flour, you don't need the baking powder)
Fistful of shortening (about 2 tablespoons)
dash salt
4 tablespoons warm water
1 1/2 tsp baking powder

Make a well in the flour. Add salt, baking powder, shortening, and water. Mix it together until it is stiff and smooth and you see no chunks of shortening. The dough should be like bread dough and not pie crusty.

Knead it for about five minutes on floured countertop. Take a fist-sized amount and roll it out into a circle (or if you're me, a strange looking blob resembling an egg). You will do one at a time while you cook one tortilla. The dough doesn't need rise.

Spray small skillet with some Pam and heat skillet over medium heat. Make sure the skillet is hot. Add tortilla and (this is the weird part), using a hand or spoon, twist the tortilla around in circles while it cooks. Also press it down while it cooks. Flip it after a couple of minutes (it crisp slightly and brown) and cook other side. Take out hot tortilla and place on cloth towel and cover.

Before you cook the next tortilla, fold a paper towel into fourths and slightly wet it with shortening. Clean out the skillet with it before you add next tortilla. Don't add Pam again.

Try these suckers hot with butter melting over it. OMG--my favorite non-chocolate thing in the world is my mom's homemade tortillas.

If there are any left over, reheat in microwave with a small glass of water (so the tortilla won't harden).

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Who needs DIY?

Apple Crumb Cake

I found this recipe in a newspaper and again "tweaked it".

3 large apples, washed, cored and diced--leave skins on--they're great
2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 cup sugar (or Splenda)
1/2 stick of butter
1 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Walnuts pieces and raisins optional

Preheat oven to 325. Spray pryex dish with Pam. Lay apples on bottom and sprinkle with cinnamon and white sugar. Add walnuts or raisins on top. Set aside. Partially melt butter in microwave (where is softened but not melted completely). Add flour, brown sugar and vanilla extract to butter. Mix until sort of crumbly. Sprinkle on top of apple mixture and bake for about 45 minutes until top is brown.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Homemade Black Bean Soup

I NEVER really follow recipes. I tweak them, patterns and everything. I came across a basic recipe for bean soup and here is my version of it. Warning: It makes a lot so invite friends over or freeze it.

3 tbl butter (of course, the real thing)
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 cans of black beans (drained)
1 can of diced tomatoes (or you can dice fresh--just make sure you have about 2 cups)
1 cup chicken broth
1 small can tomato paste
Garlic powder to taste
1/2 tsp of Goya seasoning (you can find it in the Latino section of your grocery store)

Melt butter in saucepan and saute onion until brown. Add beans, tomatoes, tomato paste, broth, and seasonings. Stir together and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. Soup will thicken. Serve with tortillas (My mom makes them from scratch--ooh so good hot with lots of butter) or crackers or cheese on top. My mom said to add diced potatoes and grilled chicken to make a bigger meal out of it.

Monday, October 29, 2007

If Einstein was a Knitter....

My KTS4 pal is wonderful!

Tiffany, my Knitters Tea Swap 4 partner is, well, incredible.

My box from Japan contained some fantastic things. Enclosed was several goodies. A super soft skein of Noro in a luscious green, a box of Twinings Lemon and Ginger, two boxes of goodies from Japan, a cafe au lait can, a Japanese drink treat, two sets of bamboo DPNs, a bag of chips from Japan, a sample bag of tea (oolong, roral milk, puerh), Japanese paper and a pattern book. And last but not least ceramic tea cup with a nice note from the Bomb herself!

Thank you, Tiffany!!!!!!!

Geocaching anyone?

What the heck is geocaching you ask? Basically it (and I copied this exactly from the website) is this:

Geocaching is an entertaining adventure game for gps users. Participating in a cache hunt is a good way to take advantage of the wonderful features and capability of a gps unit. The basic idea is to have individuals and organizations set up caches all over the world and share the locations of these caches on the internet. GPS users can then use the location coordinates to find the caches. Once found, a cache may provide the visitor with a wide variety of rewards. All the visitor is asked to do is if they get something they should try to leave something for the cache.

Go to the Geocaching website and find out more.

Wesley needs to earn a navigator badge for Tiger Scouts and I was researching on how to get it in a new and fun way--well besides dumping us off in the middle of the woods with a compass.

As I read Southern Living (like any good Texan girl should do), there was an article about geocaching. Then a dim light bulb inside my head started to flicker (most of the time the light bulb shorts out) and then somehow in the tangled roadmap inside my head, I connected Wes' badge requirements and geocaching. An added bonus is that it may wear Regan out enough for her to sleep past 6:30 a.m.

So Dave has an easy Christmas present for me--a portable GPS unit. Wish me luck and a continued immunity from poison ivy.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Space Dyeing Tutorial

My friend, Darilee, from Main Street Yarns had come out to my knitting group a few months ago and demonstrated dyeing both submersible and space dyeing. I've already listed the submersible one several posts ago and here is her space dyeing method. I use Wilton Cake Dye for my dye and found it to be pretty reliable.

Space Dyeing Protein Fibers (wool, alpaca, etc)
According to the Guru of Color (Darilee Nelson of Main Street Yarns)

Supplies (once used for dyeing, do not use for anything else)
• Water
• Vinegar
• Salt
• Dye Solution (made from dye stock which is made from dye powder from
• Face Mask
• Rubber gloves
• Saran Wrap
• Salad shooter
• Plastic bowls
• Measuring spoons and cups
• Tongs
• Vegetable steamer
• Dutch oven with lid
• Paint brush or turkey baste tool (Optional)

Soak fiber for 45 minutes in a salt, vinegar and water solution (1tbl salt and 200ml vinegar per 100 g of fiber) in sink

Spin or squeeze excess liquid out. Too much water left in will cause runny colors. On the other hand, it may be a cool design feature you want to incorporate.

Lay out plastic wrap and then lay fiber on wrap.

Make dye stock. Using rubber gloves and face mask mix very slowly 1 tsp dye powder and 32 oz of hot water. You will not use all the stock so store in airtight container.

Make dye solution (2oz of dye stock to 6 oz water equal 8 oz dye solution).

Pour on dye solution. Using rubber gloves, press down to spread dye evenly. You may want to pour the dye on directly or use a paint brush or a basting tool (the kind you use on a turkey)

Package up—honey bun style. Fold in a tube lengthwise end on end. Fold again lengthwise and wrap like a big cinnamon bun. If you fold it any other way, the colors will mix together. On the other hand, this may be another design feature you want. But this defeats the purpose of space dyeing. If all your colors combine to make one color, use the stove top pot one color dye method.

In a large Dutch oven, place a platform of some sort (like a vegetable steamer) in the bottom of the pot. Add one inch of water to pot. Place honey bun wrapped yarn onto the steamer. Cover and steam on low for 15-20 minutes.

It’s okay to open package to let cool but do not shock fiber by using cold water to cool.

Rinse very well and dry.

Spring Green in Fall

For the first time in my dyeing experience, I matched the color I wanted exactly. There is a large rosemary bush growing near my front door and the color is a sagey-minty green which is truly one of my favorite colors.

After trying different color combinations, I hit on it but I don't remember (because goofy me, didn't write anything down) how I got it.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

An Official Bobcat

Wesley started Tiger Scouts a couple of months ago and officially is now a Bobcat. I'm still a little hazy about the promotion and bead/belt slide thing but Vickie, our fantastic pack leader, says it is an honor. Popcorn sales started and Wesley with his wonderful Daddy trekked the neighborhood to sell popcorn for their spring camping trip. Not many people could say no to my blue eyed Tiger Scout. He filled up his popcorn order form.

Regan is very impatient--she wants to join Girl Scouts but can't until next year. When I told her I was a Girl Scout (technically a Brownie but I got thrown out for beating someone up for cheating at musical chairs), she was doubly excited. Great--cookies to buy and eat--not a good thing for my diet.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

My Antuco Cotton Shawl

I finished it! It's now blockied and it is so cool to think that I made this. AND it's something that I'm proud to wear. Once again, gotta say--love this yarn.

Master Yarnda and her trainees

Clara Parkes' Knitter's Book of Yarn is teaching all yarn to "just get along".

The Noro yarn is such a suck-up, always asking if she wants some Skittles (actually she likes Dove chocolate) or if she would like another pillow.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Knitter's Book of Yarn and other knitting books

I just got this book in mail from Amazon. I briefly drooled over it at a Barnes and Nobles but had no money to buy it. My apologies to the person who buys the spitty book.

Clara Parkes from the Knitter's Review (great site, BTW) has written a masterpiece of yarnology. She actually explains the entire yarn making process from how the raw material (and divides the raw material in catagories) starts out to how it's harvested to how it's spun into yarn. She included patterns that teach you how to bring out a yarn's pluses and minimizes it's bad traits. Love it!!

I also bought my annual children's Christmas books. For ten years, I buy three children's books that tell different stories. This year was "The First Christmas Stocking", "Room for a Little One", and the "Christmas Donkey".

My fave is the "Christmas Stocking" because it's about knitting and the spirit of giving--something knitters are known for.

It's Raining. It's Raining.

Music to my ears. Love rain anyway but this summer in Georgia has been horrible. The entire northern third of the state is under "extreme drought" conditions (or is extraordinary drought?). Whatever the name, our lakes are drying up faster than the skin on my face.

Rain is in the forecast for FOUR days this week. Yippee! Kids are out of school which means more time for knitting for me since I'm not subbing. I mananged to finish my Antuco cotton shawl and I must say, it's pretty darn nice. Off to block it now....

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Beach Yarn

Typically, I am not a fan of cotton yarn. It snags and splits on my Knit Picks. But this Antuco 100% Cotton is soooooo fun to knit. You can find it here. It's a thick/thin type yarn. Once again, not liking the thick/thin but this just slides off the needle like butter. I'm using colorway 10 of pinks, taupes, orange, blue, greens.

Basically, picture the beach in your mind and those are the colors of this yarn. It's like someone at Antuco reached inside my little, overworked brain and pulled out this color combination. I bought this in Charleston at the yarn store there as a souvenir of my trip (beside the sunburn.)

It was begging for a simple lace shawl. I'm using a pattern from "Knitting to Go" by Kris Percival with size 11 circs

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Cookies Easy Enough For A Tiger Scout

I made this for Wesley's school especially the very wonderful front office personnel.

As you guessed from the recipe's title, Wesley helped me with it.

Feel free to experiment with extracts.

1 box of white cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegatable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 bag of dried fruit (I used the cherry flavored cranberries but you can use dried blueberries, raisins, etc)

Preheat oven to 350. Mix cake mix, eggs, oil until smooth. Add extracts and mix until combined. Add fruit and mix.

Drop teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet and bake about 10 minutes. The tops of the cookies will not brown so check the bottom for a light brown color. It makes about 48 small cookies.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Pushing Daisies

OMG--Wonderful show. Pushing Daisies is fantastic. Very funny, crazy storylines and best of all, Emerson knits! On the second episode, he was knitting stockinette for stress relief, knit some gun cozies and money holders. He also used what looked like a size 10 Boye pink metal needle to poke his way through the body bag he was trapped in.

Watch this show. It should never be cancelled. Of course, once I say that I like a show publicly, it gets the boot.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I'm in KTS4

Yes, I just got my partner, Tiffany! Cannot wait to start exchanging emails and packages.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

How Do Kids Know...

when to be on their worst behavior? For an hour while I was reading and my two little biological spawns were watching TV, it was quiet and peaceful. But the moment the phone rings with a very nice person wanting to donate toys to the Christmas charity I'm heading up, Wesley and Ray proceed to scream at each other at the top of their bottomless lungs.

Apparently, Ray got in front of the screen and did something which resulted in Armageddon for Wesley. He ran into the kitchen screaming about the unfairness of his life and how miserable he is. Ray, in turn, reciprocated by yelling at Wesley.

Fortunately, the very nice lady understood since she has children of her own. But good grief, can my children pick a time to misbehave or what?

Friday, October 5, 2007

My Mojo Returns!

Many, many thanks to Super Secret Knitter X for her tasty gift of chocolate. There was one bar of white chocolate with fruit in it. As I was wolfing it down, I thought how cool if I could dye a hank of yarn like it (white chocolate with strawberry, raspberry and orange).

So I pulled out my Wilton cake dye stuff and proceeded to dye a Knit Picks 100% wool hank, pinkish, orange and cream. It was so neat so in your honor, X, I named this new color combination creation--White Chocolate X yarn.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

A Mommy's Toes Are Never Healed

That's right. Never, ever wear sandals while cheering your children on at soccer games. My toes will never forgive me. In short, cleats and sandals do not mix. Take it from me!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Knitter's Tea Swap 4 Open!

Go to the blog to sign up!

It's a blast!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Dear X: You're Wonderful!

Yes, that's right. The best secret pal in the world is Knitter X from City X. DH, the kids and I were driving off when DH spotted an innocent little package on my front stoop.

Straight from Rococo Chocolates in London came my second package. Read it and weep--a package of Frutti di Bosco (white chocolate bars with fruit--already gone b/c my kids opened it immediately and ate most of it), one Cranberry and Nutmeg White Chocolate Artisan Bar, one Orange and Geranium Dark Chocolate and one Morello Cherry Dark Chocolate (I predict my favorite).

Just the thing to get my knitting mojo back--chocolate.

Thanks X and to all you who don't have a great pal, na na a-boo a-boo.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Knitting Slump

I feel blah. I'm in a knitting slump. I mean, I still love to buy yarn but I can't bring myself to cast on. I tried to knit a simple triangle shawl in a sparkly mohair blend But half way through, I discovered I hated the yarn and bound off b/c frogging this yarn would have resulted in a rat's nest or worse, something kin to my daughter's bed head hair in the morning. So now I have a shawl that would only fit a Cabbage Patch doll sized pimp in a yarn I hate.

Any suggestions to get me out of this slump? I just feel no enthusiasm for a new project. Please help! Is there a Knitter's Anonymous in Athens? At this point, I'm willing to get road rage in Atlanta traffic for help.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Kelly Rosebud's Brisket

This brisket is melt in your mouth good. My sister Kelly Rosebud (Rosebud is not her middle name--just a nickname) has been perfecting this over months of Sunday cookouts. It cooks on low heat for ten hours. Yes, you've read right--ten hours

Do not substitute seasonings or meat (like a london broil). It will not be the same. Go ahead and buy the Tex Joy seasonsings online here. You will not be disappointed and use them all the time.

To my utter surprise, many people east of the Mississippi have never eaten brisket. In Texas, it's like a required meal at least weekly otherwise you get deported somewhere. It's also a pretty inexpensive cut of meat. We just bought one 14 pounder for $24.

Kelly Rosebud's Brisket

1 large beef brisket (we typically buy a ten pounder but my other sister Pam buys a fifteen pounder, cuts into thirds, cooks one section and freezes the other two sections)
Tex-Joy seasonings (bbq and steak seasonings each)
Garlic bulb--separate and peel cloves
Oven bags

Preheat oven to 250.

Bore holes into the meat and put peeled garlic cloves. I use two per five pounds of meat. Rub every side of meat with bbq seasoning and steak seasoning. Sear every side on grill or stovetop until it looks dark brown. Place brisket in oven bag, twist shut and put into pyrex dish. Poke one hole in oven bag so steam can be released. Cook at 250 for ten hours. Enjoy!!!!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I'm taking the plunge.

Into Cat Bordhi's Moebius cowl. She used the cashmere blend from Hand Maiden. Dave and I both watched the Knitty Gritty recording when Cat was on demonstrating the cowl. Dave thought it was a really cool looking technique and I just fell in love with it. You can find the free instructions here.

The picture above is from Colorsong's website. I love the Hand Maiden and Fleece Artist yarns especially the Camelspin Knitter X sent me.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Big Giant Kntting Lies

Some pretty big whoppers...

"It's supposed to be there." I told my friend that the hole in my son's new afghan was not a mistake but rather part of the "Hole in the Wall" afghan pattern. Zack our dog slept with Wesley on the couch back then. Zack would have an air hole during the nap.

"Yes, it was very difficult to knit." This was particularly effective with the added martyr sigh. The scarf was a fan and feather pattern and easy peasy. It just looked difficult.

"Sure I'll make you a scarf, hat and matching mittens once I finish all my other projects." That was two years ago.

"No, it's not that bad." I grimace as I said this. A kid had ripped out ten rows of knitting.

"I watch it for the knitted costume pieces." I tell everyone when I watch a period Colin Firth or Hugh Jackman movie.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Scarf Extravaganza

Once again as Christmas rolls around, my son has volunteered my knitting to the masses. The list lengthens daily but here's just a few...

2 Georgia Bulldog red scarves for his teachers
2 hats for the aforementioned teachers
3 more scarves for assorted people I've never met.
4 washcloths and homemade soap for his Sunday School teachers and Ray's
1 afghan for his best friend
1 set of mittens for himself (he has a couple already)
1 shawl for me (at least I'm in there somewhere)

If history is any indication, this list will open up to include Clifford the Big Red Dog (Wes was two at the time) and his favorite baseball player, Lance Berkman of the Astros.

Ready, set, reach for the Tylenol, and knit.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

What is a hissyknit?

Someone asked me to post the story behind "hissyknit" so here goes...

One month after I learned how to cast on, knit and bind off, I was knitting a basic garter knit scarf for my mother in law. I wanted it to be perfect so I only worked on it at night after the kids went to bed. I was almost done when I pulled at it to untwist it. Right there in the middle was a huge honking hole. I had inadvertently created an eyelet stitch by knitting two together and doing a yarn over.

I had no idea how to repair it and my only recourse was to frog back to the middle. So before I did that, I (and I was 35 years old) threw the biggest tempter tantrum I've ever done. My kids could not have exceeded the decimal volume of my screaming. To this day, I blush at the Korean, Spanish, French and ASL swear words I used. In short, as Dave put it, I had a royal "hissyknit".

It stuck since it was the first of many hissyknits while I learned to knit.

Friday, September 14, 2007

I'm a Pattern of the Day again.

Yippee!! My Junk Yarn Dog Afghan was yesterday's Pattern of the Day by the Daily Knitter! How cool is that?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Stupid Hurricane!

I went to bed last night and woke up this morning to find my hometown (family and friends are fine back home--it takes a lot more storm to scare Texans) being pummeled by Hurricane Humberto. Freaky storm! I've never heard of a storm developing so quickly.

For Sale: Shawl, Model Not Included

A felted shawl made from wool, hand dyed roving! Modeled by a very crazy but great friend, Jenn. Darilee from Main Street Yarns makes these and you can buy them! I don't usually advertise things but these are unique and they are gorgeous.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

SP11 X is the bestest!!

Sorry Handmaiden Seasilk in Rose Garden. I have a new favorite. Say hello and I love you to Handmaiden Camelspin in Glacier. My camera does not do this colorway justice so I copied it from a retailer's website.

Knitter X from SP11 is the best! She nailed me perfectly from the exotic fiber (silk/camel) to the colors of the beach of browns, blues, greens and even some gray. I don't know whether to knit with it or just gaze at it lovingly. Thank you, X--you rock!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Popeye's Spinach Salad

This is my favorite thing to eat (except for chocolate of course).

1 package of spinach (washed and stems pulled off)
3 Roma tomatoes, diced (can use any other tomatoes)
1 small red onion, diced (can use yellow, sweet or other)
1 large package of feta cheese (or 1 cup shredded cheese of your choice)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Italian seasonings
Garlic powder to taste
Optional: Bacon Bits or grilled chicken strips or a couple of cups cooked corkscrew pasta

Mix spinach, onions, tomatoes and cheese in large bowl. In separate bowl, whisk olive oil, vinegar, Italian seasonings and garlic powder. Pour over spinach salad and toss well. You can add optional ingredients. Referigerate for about 30 minutes before serving. Very yummy and what a surprise--somewhat healthy.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

The Evil One Starring Zack

Dave took this picture and I feel like I should be tossing holy water on the dog. It looks like Zack is slowly being sucked back home to the seventh layer of hell. He's phasing out of our existence. I'm sure the UPS lady will be grateful.

He was running from me and his monthly flea drops. Dave calls it Pest A Palooza and finds it endlessly entertaining as our seventy pound dog flees (or is it fleas?) in mortal fear from the three drops of flea treatment with me in pursuit. I finally got him this month with switch and bait. I held out a Puparoni treat and when his snout was sniffing my left hand, I grabbed him with my right to apply the treatment. Dave snapped this picture as Zack tried to shake of the drops.