Thursday, November 30, 2006

Baby It's Cold Outside....

Well, winter is here. It is freezing out and the wind makes it extremely cold. I know it is almost December and all, but I always dread the coming of the cold. At least this year I will have my knitting to curl up with and keep my mind off how cold it is outside.

I have been doing some more knitting. Here is my second Gelato bag. This is a quick, easy
pattern to knit up and I love how it turns out.

I used Knit Picks WOTA Heather and Malabrigo.
(And, yes, it needs a button!!)

My Daughter had made a scarf out of the Malabrigo, which she didn't like, so I tried to FROG it, to no avail. I then just decided to felt the whole mess and plan on making roses and/or a strap with it.

On my needles now is this bag that I am trying for Kirstin. Here is a picture of it. It is called 'Kristin's Carry-All'. It is my first real attempt at Fair Isle knitting (knitting with two or more colors at one time). It is slow and go, but fun.

Here is what I have done so far... (remember I said it was slow and go.....) I am using yarn that Kirstin had left over from some afghans she wove a few years ago. If I 'pass' on my first attempt, I am going to order some fun yarn to do a second bag with.

I will keep you posted with progress.....

In the meantime, I have to decide what else to knit next. I have about a dozen projects I'd like to do. I have a pattern I am designing in my brain for a bag, so I may start a proto-type. But then there are the clogs I need to do. Oh, and I want to learn to knit socks on 2 circular needles. Another felted hat or bowl would be fun. Ok, I guess I have enough to keep me busy through the cold, winter months!!

Even Sumo is trying to catch a little of the sun's warmth today!! (Yes, I have wimpy indoor dogs) He has many 'issues'...all of which crack me up. One is his need to have his paw under a rug when he is laying down. (The rugs are everywhere because another one of his 'issues' is being unable to walk on our tile or wood floors.....) I don't think he minds me telling you this. He's comfortable with his doghood. He just has issues.

Well, off to do a little baking and some knitting.

Until next time....

Monday, November 27, 2006

Back To 'Normal'

Well, Thanksgiving break is over; the boys are back to school; Kirstin is feeling better and went to school as well; Aliya is back from a visit to her parents in Chicago; so I guess you could say that things are back to 'normal'. It was great having the 5 of us together for a very long weekend.. it has been awhile. Ryan studied in England last year so he was not around for any of the Holidays. It felt so good to all be together.

We worked on taking some family photos for a Christmas card... We got a couple that could work, so I hope to have them in the mail next week. I have been a bit delinquent in sending out Christmas cards and want to be sure to get them out early this year! I love hearing from family and friends from around the world during the Holidays.

I was very proud of Nikko and Sumo for how well they did in the photo. They usually don't like to sit and have their picture taken.. especially Nikko. (The one on the left). They have been the greatest dogs!! They are brother and sister from different litters. Nikko is 11 and Sumo is 10.

I did get some knitting done over break as well. Two bags actually. (Well, almost two bags. Ran out of yarn on one of them. Bummer)
Both bags were new for me, which is always fun to try a new pattern. The first is called the Romantic Ruffle. (The pattern can be found here in PDF format)
I need more yarn to do the handle, but the rest of the purse is ready to felt. I used Lambs Pride Bulky in Pistachio.

The second bag is the Fiber Trends Gelato pattern. This was a fun pattern to knit and I can't wait for it to dry. I can see many more of these in my knitting future!! (Knit with Galway Highland Heather and Plymouth Outback Mohair)
Here it is before felting:

And here it is after a date with my washing machine:

Needs a button. Story of my life.

I leave you with this fun picture of me and my boys. They are becoming such fine young men. I'm very proud of both of them.

They make me smile :-)

Until next time.....

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Well, Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!! We are especially thankful for the twinkle that is back in our daughters eyes today after several weeks of being ill. As you may know, she did end up in the hospital after I took her in Monday morning. I was told that we had 'failed outpatient home therapy'. Ouch. We failed. (The doctor did reassure me we had not failed parenthood in general... and then did go so far as to say that our daughter 'had failed to respond to outpatient home therapy', which somehow made me feel better!!) Anyways. She was admitted for 24 hours where the IV pump became her new best friend and pumped her full of fluids and strong antibiotics. She came home Tuesday and has felt better every day. Thanks for all your prayers and concerns. The flowers and balloons she recieved really brighten up the family room where she has been parked on the couch recovering!!

Today is one of the eating days that my family looks forward to every year. The eating of the lefse. My oldest son Ryan and his friend Mallory came Wednesday morning to roll out the lefse. It was a huge help. They did great for the most part...

...until they started using the sticks as weapons. Time to intervene and take away the sticks!!

They did manage to finish rolling out the dough and made quite a nice stack of lefse.

Mallory took some home to share with her family. Interesting to hear what they think!!

I did tell you that I would document our unique way of eating lefse. Tried to do that today. Here you see the triangle shaped piece on my plate with a little bit of everything from my Thanksgiving meal on top. (The key to it being really yummy are the cranberries...)

Next it is folded so that melted butter can be poured into the pocket. (I never said this was non-fattening, did I??)

Here you see my son demonstrating this lost art of lefse eating from across the table.

And, finally, my first bite of the season. Mmmmmm... Yup. Just as good as I remembered!! (I went on to consume three of these food filled lefse pockets.. which about does me in!!). Pie will have to wait!

On to the knitting front. I was able to felt my son't clogs. Here you see them on his feet pre-felted.

And here they are next to my clogs. I am liking the black and gray combo. I am thinking of doing the same colors on my hubby's clogs.. only maybe adding a stripe of some sort.

It is amazing how much they shrink!! Once they dry I know Aaron will love wearing them.

Been working on a purse. Switched patterns right before I cast on because my daugher was thinking she may like the colors in a bag like my lazy daisy one. So here it is pre-felted. (I used the S-cord handle from the KnotSewHobo bag>)

Here it is felted. Will add a stone button to the front. Maybe a lazy daisy or two in brown. Now to decide what to cast on next.....

I leave you with this parting shot of my family singing Christmas songs around the piano. Kirstin is feeling well enough to play for them. It sounded wonderful to me... (not that we are making a CD or anything). It is just wonderful to all be together. I am so thankful for the family that God has blessed me with!!

Until next time......

Sunday, November 19, 2006

What A Weekend!!

Well, we made it through the weekend, but it was not a real fun one for my daughter! She continued to spike fevers; get the chills etc.. Took her to the hospital Sunday afternoon and it turns out she has pneumonia with a very low white blood cell count. I'll take her in Monday morning to my hubby's office and they will give her a couple of bags of IV fluids and some IV antibiotic... (that was her alternative instead of spending the night in the hospital....) Hopefully in a few days she will be feeling lots better. A friend of Kirstin's stopped by with these beautiful Gerber Daisys (which are my daughters favorite flower) and a stack of movies to pass the time. A wonderful bright spot in a yucky weekend!

In the meantime, I didn't do much but sit with her; watch movies and knit. Boycotted the kitchen (dear hubby ordered in or cooked all meals :-)!!)

Here's what came off my needles:

The monster clogs. They are as big pre-felted as I thought they'd be!! Here they are next to my clogs.. which are a women's medium!

Felting these should be fun. Next clogs to be cast on will be for my oldest son, who wants brown and pink ones!! (He claims to be a 'trendsetter'. I think he just likes to be different!!)

Also finished and felted my second RunAmokKnotSewHobo bag. I did the small one; added a flap and a couple of Lazy Daisy stitches. Just need to put a snap on the bottom of the flap and it will be ready to carry. I think that I will enjoy this one!

I had started a Ballband Headband awhile ago from the book Knit One, Felt Too and decided it would be a good weekend to finish that up. Need to pick up some velcro and attach that and it will be totally finished. (but, at least it's off my needles...)

Next to get off my needles was a scarf that I started quite awhile back but had run out of yarn. Found more on sale at JoAnns, so got that finished as well. Sumo volunteered to model it for me. OK, so he wasn't exactly a real happy volunteer, but he loves me, so he did it. Doesn't he look handsome?? I would make him a doggy sweater if he wasn't so darn big. (Plus my husband says it would humiliate him!!)

Last thing to be cast off was the second of my Irish Hiking fingerless gloves. This was a first for me to cable and to use the mattress stitch to seam. They are not perfect, but they are done and I know I will wear them quite a bit this winter.

As I said, I boycotted the kitchen this weekend, but spent quite a bit of time thinking about the yummy Garlic Chicken Pizza recipe that I saw on Sheri's Blog over at the Loopy Ewe. (Didn't know which part to link.. so I linked the whole thing!!)

As soon as things settle down and I lift the boycott I am going to make the Garlic Chicken Pizza!!!

Sadly, my poor sock still sits in my knitting bag waiting to be finished. No progress this weekend. It's the only unfinished project I have on my needles after this weekend. I am inspired by The Yarn Harlot who is knitting a sock a day. Quite different from my current goal of a sock a year!!

There is hope. I will be a sock knitter someday. I just know I will!

But I am still a bag-lady at heart. And so, I think I will sign off and go cast on another bag.

Nikko was feeling a bit jealous of Sumo being featured earlier.. so here she is with the yarn for my next bag. It is some Aran Paton's with a Noro colorway that I think will be very beautiful done up together.

Until next time.......

P.S. For those who are interested... The big bowl of cookie dough tipped the scales at 17 pounds 8 ounces. I didn't keep track of exactly how many cookies it made, but it was close to 200!!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

News of the Day...

Well, it's been quite a day here. Woke in the middle of the night to a daughter with a high fever. So I readied my ammo and settled in for the day to fight the fever and administer plenty of TLC!! She slept much of the day. Still has a high fever as of tonight. Weekend plans have been changed and we will now have a low-key weekend at home, watching lots of movies and getting some serious knitting done. Not much fun being sick but we'll do what we can!!

Had to mix up some cookies to send on the youth retreat that she was suppose to go on this weekend. (Which she was actually suppose to cook at!!)

A double batch of Monster Cookies should do the trick. Here they are, all mixed up in my 'That's A Bowl'. Just for fun I weighed it! Thought I would take guesses as to how much you think this bowl of cookie dough weighs???
So far I have baked 150 cookies and still have dough in the fridge!!!

Also decided it would be a safe time to make the Caramel Rice Krispie treats I had last weekend, because I can send a majority of them up to the retreat. Several of you have already asked for the recipe, so here is is. If you cannot resist them, do not blame me. You may blame my friend Sharon if you'd like!!

Caramel Rice Krispie Treats
WARNING: Highly Addictive

8-9 Cups Rice Krispies
6 Tbsp butter
16 oz. Marshmallows

50 Caramels
1/2 can Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/2 cup butter

Melt 6 TBSP butter and marshmallows together. Stir in Rice Krispies. Divide mixture evenly between two buttered pans. Melt caramels, sweetened condensed milk and 1/2 cup butter together and spread over one pan of Rice Krispies. Refridgerate for 30 minutes. Remove second pan of rice krispie treats and place on top of the caramel layer.

In between caring for my daugher and mixing up cookies and bars, I have been working at winding all of my skeins into balls. My neighbor has loaned me her swift and ball winder which makes quick work out of cumbersome skeins! I wind everything!! I now am the proud owner of my very own ball winder, but will continue to use her swift.

While I was at the store picking up a couple of needed baking items, I saw Josh Groban's latest CD. Had to have it. If you are not familiar with Josh Groban, he has the most AMAZING voice. Haven't had time to really listen to the whole CD.. but what I've heard so far is wonderful.

I cast on my son's clogs and am pretty sure I'll have them finished over the weekend. I really do enjoy this pattern!! I especially love creating something that is so functional and comfortable. I'm sure they will all get loads of wear. This pair is going to have black soles and cuff with the main body gray. It will be interesting to see how big these things are before I felt them...

Hoping tomorrow is a better day for my daughter. Our son Aaron comes home tomorrow for Thanksgiving break! Will be great to have him home! He's the one the clogs are for, so hopefully he'll be wearing them by the end of the week. I need to get out of the kitchen and get busy knitting!! Hopefully tomorrow!

Until next time....

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Home Again, Home Again....

Made it home late Monday afternoon after an incredible 5 days of food, fun and friends. Poured myself a cup of coffee and decided I would do a quick post before I finished tackling the mounds of laundry; bills etc.. that awaited me when I got home. Wish I had pictures to share with you, but the camera I took refused to turn on! The only other person who had a camera has not yet figured out the fine art of emailing digital photos. So... you will have to take my word on what a great time we had.

The primary purpose of the weekend is to crop. The mess created by 8 women and all of their scrapbooking materials is a sight to behold! I made an album of the trip my husband and I took to England last April to visit our son who was studying abroard. What a wonderful way to keep the memories alive. This is the title page to the album. A fun way to use the extra pictures that didn't make it into the rest of the album.

Food is always in abundance at our get-togethers. I always go with the intention of 'being good'. And really thought I meant it this year. That was until I saw the Rice Krispie Treats. Now, anyone who knows me, knows that I LOVE them. And, I thought, these really aren't that bad for you! Then I cut into them. There was a layer of caramel in the middle. I am not kidding. I couldn't leave them alone. The ONLY willpower I was able to exert was to wait at least an hour between bars!! I finally decided just to eat the rest of them so they'd be gone once and for all (ever done that??). Needless to say, the jeans are a little tight this morning!! I don't have a picture of them. I do have the recipe (but am trying to 'forget' it) But if you want the recipe, let me know. I just will not be responsible if you can't leave them alone.

As I mentioned in my last post, I did sneak my knitting in amongst my cropping stuff and actually spent quite a bit of time curled up on a very comfy recliner knitting away. There was a washing machine at the cabin, so I was able to felt my bags as I finished them. My friends were amazed to see the before and after results!!

Here is my first RunAmokKnotSewHobo bag:

I LOVE this bag and know that I will make several more! The S-cord handle was new to me and I am so thankful that the designer, Betty, walked me through it via email. (All I really had to do was 'trust the pattern'!!!)

I finished a bag for a friend at church and am hoping that it is what she had in mind. If not, my daughter fell in love with it. It is the same pattern I used on my VERY FIRST felted bag, only 'this one is pretty' (quoteth my daughter!!)
Need to find the perfect button and add a lining.

Cast on another RunAmokKnotSewHobo bag (boy that's a mouthful!!). This one will be the small size in the Paton's denim blue color. Will probably add a few lazy daisy stitches onto the front when done.

Besides sneaking in some knitting, I also snuck into town to The Gallery Of Dreams yarn shop. Lots of fun felting yarn and so much more. There was sale yarn that I had to have and there was non-sale yarn that I just couldn't leave there when it so desperately wanted to come home with me. I can't help it. I'm a softy!!

Also swung into Michaels on the way through Minneapolis 'just in case' their Paton's Classic wool was on sale. It was. Several skeins also wanted to come home with me.

All of this homeless yarn created a problem in that my small corner of my stash closet just wasn't big enough. So, in the wee hours this morning I started purging my computer room and closet to make room for my growing stash. (I told my husband I was trying to make more room for his books... which there may be a few inches of shelf space free he can use!) Hopefully by this afternoon I'll have a tidy computer room and an organized stash closet.

Well, off to finish what I've started. Hopefully I'll even be able to squeeze in a little knitting time. May even cast on the clogs for my son Aaron.

Until next time.....

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Hi Ho... Hi Ho... It's Off To (KNIT) Crop I Go.....

Well, my bags are packed and in just a few hours I will be on my way to my annual fall scrapbooking retreat in Minnesota!! Each fall, I travel north to a friends cabin where we spend 5 days working on scrapbooks; laughing; eating; talking; eating etc... THIS YEAR I have snuck quite a bit of knitting in amongst my scrapbook things!! I imagine I will divide my time between the two. (What we DO is not as important as the laughing; eating; talking eating part!!) My family is wonderful in encouraging me and my weekends with my girlfriends. (I do this again in the spring as well.. lucky me!!)

As far as knitting goes, I am hoping to finish my RunAmok KnotSewHobo bag for my Bag-A-Holic KAL as well as several other projects.
Here it sits outside of it's home, my wonderful knitting bag from Green Mountain Knitting bags.

I absolutely adore this bag and have it in the car with me almost all the time for my 'emergency knitting' moments!! (You know the moments... Had one just today when I was getting my haircut and highlighted....)

When I am not knitting, I will be working on my photo album of our trip to England in April. I was hoping to work on my daughters album (since she is graduating this year...) but couldn't get everything ready, so I will save that for my spring getaway.

Wanted to leave you with probably my most requested recipe.. my calico bean dip. (Which I have made up and ready to go for the weekend) It is one of my favorite snack foods. MMMMM, can't wait to dig in!

Calico Bean Dip

1 can Black Beans
1 can Blackeye Peas
1 can whole kernel White corn
2 cans petite diced tomatoes

1. Drain and rinse all. Mix together.
2. Cut up 1-2 bunches of green onions. Add to bean mixture.
3. Chop up about 1/2 bunch of cilantro. Add to bean mixture.
4. Pour in about 8 oz. of fat free Italian dressing. (I like Wishbone Fat Free Italian)
5. Mix all together and marinate overnight (or at least 4 hours.)
7. Serve with Tostito Scoop chips.


Until next time....
(which may be awhile....)