Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Didn't Rosie Grier Knit?

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!