Sunday, July 29, 2007


..and a quirky contest! Yes, here it is. My one hundreth post. I had hoped to stretch out my posts so that this would land on my one year Blogiversary (which is August 7th)... but I just couldn't do it. So who knows... I may have to do something special for that as well!

Anyways, as I was thinking about what kind of contest to have, I reflected back on some of the reactions I have gotten when friends and family have found out I have a blog. Namely, that I am kind of 'quirky'. So, I decided that I would list 100 quirky things about myself for my 100th post! Ok, ok, maybe not 100, but a few. The contest is this: Leave a comment listing a 'quirky' thing about yourself. Something that makes you laugh at yourself (or causes others to laugh at you!) and I will draw a name from all of those that do, and will send you this fun prize that Sumo is so handsomely modeling for us. Now, I know that I have many 'lurkers' out there who have never opted to leave a comment. Nows your chance.

Here is what is inside the bag. Most of the items I got from Barn Happy, which is just about my favorite gift/coffee shop ever. There is a Barn Happy mug; some Barn Good coffee; some candy coated Soy Nuts (M&M's from the Heartland!); one felted bowl I made and 2 packages of M&M's for your microwaving pleasure. (See below).

On to my quirks. I've chosen 4 to share. Promise to laugh.

1. I micro- wave my M&M's. They are so delicious this way. About 20 seconds is usually enough. You want the shells to just start to crack and the chocolate to smoosh out the sides when you press from top to bottom. Do be careful. It is easy to cook them too long and then they are nasty and need to be thrown away.

I will only use toilet paper that feeds out from the back of the roll. It totally drives me crazy when it comes up over the top and I will change it around wherever I am before I use it. There is a member of my family who thinks it's funny to load it the wrong way! If I ever find out who it is.........

3. I always park in the same spot when I go to my common shopping spots. (Walmart; Target; Hyvee; etc..). I have to do this so that I remember where I left the car. If I don't, it is very probable that I would spend a good amount of time trying to remember what car I drove; where I parked; what door I came in etc... This does worry Steve just a bit..... (It doesn't help that he purposely uses different spots and different doors when he goes with me! Hey.. I wonder if he is behind the T.P. roll as well!)

4. I don't know if this qualifies as quirky, but it does create a response when I tell people that my VERY FAVORITE lunch/snack is a Tomato- Potato Chip Sandwich.

2 pieces of bread; a layer of Mayo (NOT Miracle Whip.. yuck!); Lays potato chips and fresh tomatoes out of the garden. (I usually use larger tomatoes, but these are what were ripe today from the garden!). And, of course, my drink of choice, Diet Pepsi. (This was actually my lunch today!)

Ok.... there they are. A few of the things that make me me. I will take comments for one week and draw a winner on Sunday August 5th. (Make sure to leave a name with your comment. It is easy to comment with 'other' or Anonymous' for those of you who haven't commented before!) Looking forward to hearing about your quirks. I know you have them. We all do! Thanks for celebrating my One Hundreth post with me!

Until Next Time.....

Friday, July 27, 2007


That's right! I finished another pair of socks. I'm not sure if I can really 'count' these because of their size, but I think I will. After all, they are socks and there are two of them that match.. thus making a pair!! Actually, this was a knitting swap that Kirstin and I did. She wanted a mini pair of socks to hang from her rear view mirror, and I wanted some new dishcloths. This is the yarn she chose: Perchance To Knit in the Sheri Baby colorway. Aren't they fun? I can't wait to make myself a pair in these fun bright colors.

And here are the dishcloths that she made for me. I love the colors! I prefer to just look at them and let someone else actually USE them, however!

The mailman came yesterday and brought me the FUNNEST package from Allison!! Allison knits hats for those undergoing Chemo and challenged us to knit some hats and send them to her to donate to Relay For Life. Out of those who sent in hats, she chose one lucky knitter to receive a prize package that she had put together.. and I was that lucky person!! Several of the items she had collected on her recent cruise to Alaska.. including some amazing yarn from Sitka! Also included was this very fun tote; some wonderful smelling soap from Alaska; an Alaska pen and an LED Ear Lite similar to what she and her mom used when knitting at night for Relay For Life. (Click on picture to enlarge and get a better view!)

I had to show a close up of the yarn from the package. The colorway is fantastic! A great blend of purple; blue and black. Attached to the yarn was an explanation of how those who live in Alaska use the long dark winters to catch up on sleep and their hobbies (like knitting), and then by the time summer comes they are rested and ready for lots of activities. Then as the dark of winter comes, they are ready for that season etc....

It's interesting, because we had looked at living in Alaska before we came here, but I didn't think I could handle the long, dark winters. (I wasn't a knitter then!!) It still would be tough, but knitting would help!

Well, you all need to stay tuned. My next post will be my 100th and I'll be having a contest. It will involve chocolate. That's all I'm saying.

Until Next Time.....

Wednesday, July 25, 2007



And that is exactly what we did this morning! It just so happened that RAGRAI was coming into Cedar Falls today, so a group of us decided to join the riders and ride with them into town! It was great. I'm not saying I won't be sore tomorrow, but it was a fun way to spend part of my birthday!

We actually rode in support of Marriage Matters, which is a federally funded Iowa program to strengthen marriages. We are in the middle of taking training and working with other couples to provide counseling and support to couples... from those who are newly engaged to couples who are just in need of a tune-up!

We are thrilled that our dear friends, Rick and Tracie (the middle couple in the above picture) are mentoring Ryan and Mallory as they prepare for marriage.

We had quite a welcome as we rode into Cedar Falls. They had created a HUGE yellow bike in honor of Lance Armstrong (who is riding all of RAGBRAI to raise support for cancer research).

(I had kind of thought the big party and all the hub bub was for my birthday, but I guess not.)

We did stick around a bit to grab a bite to eat before we rode the final 5 miles home. I came across deep fried sweet corn. Only in Iowa!!

Of course we had to buy some!

It wasn't too bad. I prefer my corn cooked the regular way and dripping with butter and salt. But it was good!

Steve got a teriyaki turkey tenderloin sandwich which looked yummy! He also helped me finish the corn.

Then we headed for home!

Kirstin had been busy and had some wonderful scones and flowers waiting on the table for me. Yum!

As you can probably guess, Sumo was very willing to go along this morning, and even had his helmet on and was in the trailer ready to roll. It would have been just a tad too far for him, so he stayed home and was part of the welcoming committee when we arrived.

Now to decide how to spend the rest of my birthday. Hmmm... I think there will be some knitting time involved!!

Until Next Time.....

Sunday, July 22, 2007


Yes, I got to go to the Midwest Fiber and Folk Art Fair yesterday and had a great time!! The weather couldn't have been more beautiful (sunny and 78 degrees!) and the location was perfect. They had 5 large tents set up FULL of vendors with amazing yarns; fibers; spinning wheels etc.. There was another area set up with tents that had workshops going on all day; a food court area and then several areas where they had musicians playing and chairs set up if you just wanted to sit and enjoy the music (and knit!)

As I said, yarns were everywhere! In all colors; all weights and available just to fondle to your hearts content! I set a budget, however, and only brought as much cash as I wanted to spend. Good thing. I could have done some serious damage!!!

I had my first spotting of the new Harry Potter book! Some young girl who normally would have probably HATED having to go with her mom to this, was happily absorbed in her book.

Kirstin and Ryan have both bought the book. I can't wait to get my hands on one of their copies. In the meantime, I'm going to read book 6 to get ready. Any of you read the new book yet???

(My real hope is that someone would read it TO me so I could knit and listen!!)

At one of the vendors, they had a place set up where you could learn how to make felted soap bars. I've wanted to know how to do this. They are just so fun. I think I have seen Arleta show these on her blog from time to time. I did buy a bag of multi-colored roving to try a few bars for gifts.

Other purchases. Yes, there were others. My first 'find' was this wool that is similar to Galway wool and will make some fun felted bags to sell for Luba. (And the price was so reasonable!) If it felts well, I have this vendors card and can order more.

The pink I am going to cast on today and make the cutest little purse with beads on it that I saw here. The rest will be added to my future bag stash.

I kept my eye out for sock yarns as well. (Specifically for ones that maybe Sheri doesn't carry..) The first that grabbed my eye was this Gypsy Girl Creations by Stone Barn Fibers in Blackberry Bramble. It is gorgeous. (And, it turns out, Sheri DOES carry this! Yeah!) It looks like great yarn to knit with.

And I HAD to have a skein of 'Socks That Rock'. I keep hearing so much about it. So I grabbed two skeins in the colorway Minestone. (One for me; one for a friend.)

Speaking of Socks that Rock or Socks on Rocks, here is my first sock using the Cider Moon Glacier. It's a little snug (I probably should have used more stitches) but it feels wonderful. I must cast on the second sock. I must cast on the second sock. I must.... (Trying to avoid SSS*, which would be easy to succumb to with all the yummy sock yarn that now is in my stash!)

(On a funny note, Steve picked up this sock and said "Wow this looks like a REAL SOCK". There was much amazement in his voice. I wonder what kind of socks he thought I was knitting???)

I am most excited, however, about my finished Circle Tote. Yippee!! One is done! This yarn (Ella Rae Classic) felted amazingly well. A nice firm fabric and I only used one strand of yarn. I'll be using more of this in the future. Now I must cast on the back to the second tote; I must cast on the back to the second tote; I must.... (Trying to avoid SSS**... hmmm, I see a pattern here!)

Until Next Time...

*SSS - Second Sock Syndrome
**SSS - Second Side Syndrome

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Socks and Such...

Well, I can say that I am extremely excited about my latest pair of socks. It's like 'I get it' and now have the confidence to pour over some sock patterns and dream of making all kinds of yummy socks for my feet!

Here is the sock I am working on now out of Cider Moon Glacier. It is wonderful to work with and I love the richness of the colors. I am doing the alternating cable pattern out of the Sensational Sock Book.

Came home from running errands today to the delicious smell of Kirstin's scones. (Thursday is scone-baking day for her!) She made a new recipe today for us to try and they were amazing. She found the recipe here. Yes, this is the only scone that remains after just a short time out of the oven. Sigh. No wonder the scale won't seem to go down!!

Kirstin says that the secret to scone making is that they need to literally be mixed by hand! It's a bit messy, but oh so wonderful.

I don't know if you noticed my Rockin' Girl Blogger button, but thanks to Kristin and Marit for nominating me!! I've noticed alot of the buttons as I've been blog surfing and it's fun to be a part of this distinquished group! Not sure who to nominate as I can't remember who has and hasn't been.. but I think that if you're a blogger girl, than you're a rockin' and should consider yourself nominated!!

Thought you would enjoy this photo of what Sumo would consider to be the highlight of his day. And that is to leave the property and go on a walk. I'm not sure why he gets so excited about this, but as soon as he sees the leash he starts bounding around like a little puppy. We don't go real far. Maybe 1/2 a mile, but then they start to slow way up. We even have to take little breaks for the old girl. (Nikko, not me!!)

I picked up this leash at a flea market in Palm Springs and it is the greatest for walking two dogs. It has a ski-rope type handle and some stretch to the leash to absorb some of the pulling action. I got it from Xtreme Pet Products.

Well, off to try to finish up my sock and then start packing. I'm heading to Galena in the morning and then to Crystal Lake on Saturday for the Fiber Festival!!

Until Next Time.....

Monday, July 16, 2007

Hail The Size Of...

...TENNIS BALLS!!! That's right. A storm blew in tonight and we could watch as the hail came towards us from the north. The hail was huge and bouncing like tennis balls on the grass. I have never in my life seen anything like it. I was a little worried about the kids' cars that have no garage to take refuge in, but there was only a small dent on Kirstin's car. 'Character' she calls it!!
After the storm, we collected these two hail balls to put in the freezer!

Today has been a special day, in that it is Kirstin's birthday. For one of her presents, she wanted a copy of the cookbook I am working on. (It's been a SLOW process!) It's basically copies of all of our 'Tried and True' recipes, put in a big binder in top loading sheet protectors. So far, I have about 145 recipes in there with 50 or so more I still need to type and format. (There's always dozens of other things I rather be doing, however, like knitting!!) (And yes, those are M&M's on the cover!!)

For her birthday dinner, Kirstin requested Roly Polies. I love when the kids request these, because it's one of the meals that Steve makes. I can honestly say I have never made them. (I do this on purpose!) I thought I would share the recipe, although I have to tell you they are tricky!! (At least that is what I am told!!!) (Larger batch size in parenthesis)


2 (3) eggs
3 1/3 (5) cups milk
2 (3) cups flour
1/8 (1/4) tsp. salt
1/4 & 1/8 (1/2) tsp. baking powder

1. Mix eggs with milk, then mix in other ingredients.

2. Heat pan, (use a well-seasoned cast iron pan) but not so much that it smokes.

3. Melt a little dab of Crisco on pan.

4. Ladle about 1/4 cup batter onto pan and spread out fairly quickly with large spoon.

5. Cook until the edges just start to appear dry. (Steve says this is a crucial step!)

6. Turn roly polie over with a long narrow spatula and cook a few more minutes.

7. Prepare like regular pancakes with butter and syrup . Or roll up with sugar. (My favorite!)

8 If you can, make batter the day ahead..they cook better.

8. Batter freezes well.

(Birthday girl likes to unwrap hers and eat it by the strip. Sigh.)

On the knitting front, I finished another pair of socks. They also have 'character'. Hopefully no one will look too closely. They'll be perfect to wear with blue jeans this fall!

While I was in limbo deciding what socks to cast on next, I pulled out my little kit I got from Sheri to make a little mini sock. It turned out so cute! I ended up just making a miniature of the Fluted Bannister sock, since I had that pattern memorized! It's about the cutest little thing I ever saw. I need to buy a Sock Blocker Key chain so I can hang it from my knitting bag!

Sumo offered to model my little sock, just to show you how little it is. (Of course, Sumo does have big paws!!)

Well, I am off to cast on another pair of socks. I think I will use some yarn given me by the gals from Cider Moon after we met them at the TNNA convention. I'll keep you posted on my progress. Oh, and is any one going to the Midwest Fiber and Folk Art Fair in Illinois this weekend? It looks like a blast. Still trying to work on how to get over there....

Until Next Time....

Saturday, July 14, 2007

How Sweet It Is!

I don't know if you remember my post on Luba, the woman in Russia who I donate any profit I make with my knitting to? Anyways, after my post on Luba, my friend Sheri asked if it would be helpful to have hats and fingerless gloves knit for the girls Luba works with. Since their classroom they meet in is unheated, I thought this would be a great idea. Sheri sent it out as a quarterly challenge on her blog. The response has been unbelievable!! 52 pairs of fingerless gloves and 37 hats were sent in to send to Luba. I know the time involved in knitting these and I am overwhelmed at the generosity of all those who took the time to knit for Luba!
(Here are some of the fingerless gloves... see more on Sheri's blog, here)

I continue to enjoy my sock knitting. I finished the second sock of my Fluted Banister pattern and only had to bind off twice before it was loose enough! I then received the nicest email from Karen who expained her method for binding off toe-up socks so that they are not too tight. I am excited to try it on the sock I am knitting now.

That's right, I immediately cast on another sock and am working on the mate to the very first sock I ever knit. It's a thicker yarn and I am doing them on size 3 needles, so it is going quite quickly. I will then have two complete pairs. Yippee! These socks are going to go perfect with blue jeans!

I did have one other sock that needed a mate, but I hadn't swatched to check my gauge (I know better now!) and it was way to loose and big etc.., so I decided to FROG it and start over. The only problem is it is not unraveling! I thought once I got it going and got my loose end that I could just pull and wind it up into a neat little ball and start over. What I have is a mess. Any suggestions or tips? (I could just hang it on my wall of shame......)

Yesterday we spent the afternoon staining the deck and hot tub. It is something that Steve really wanted to get done this summer. My job was the miles and miles of railing. (Ok, maybe I'm exagerating, but it seemed like miles....) He is especially pleased with how the hot tub came out. He built the shell of this a few years back and did an AMAZING job. (We were given the hot tub, but it was originally an inground tub and needed a case). It is nice to have done, I admit!

Stands of sweet corn are now open on several corners around town. (Sweet corn is pretty much one of the main reasons to live in Iowa!) Kirstin and I bought a dozen ears and quickly got it ready to cook for supper.

Yum! Nothing like that first bite of sweet corn for the season.

Today we are off to Des Moines to spend some time with Ryan who is working down there for the summer. He's a little lonely right now because Mallory is in Africa on a 7 week missions trip to work with children in an orphanage. She did this last summer as well. It's an incredible experience and she has such a heart for the children there. (Most are orphaned due to AIDS). Here is a photo from her trip last year. I love it.

Until Next Time...