Thursday, November 29, 2007

Gone Again...

Well, she's left me again! I can always tell when she's getting ready to leave because she starts making piles all over the house. And then she takes these piles and loads them into the car. And then I get 'the look'. You know the look. The 'Sorry, Sumo, maybe you can come next time' look. Sigh. I never get to go anywhere. Instead she leaves me here with the guys. Now, don't get me wrong, they're great guys and all, but they don't understand me like she does. She gives me a little extra food in my bowl each morning. When she's in the kitchen, she throws me a little treat. She understands my fear of the garage floor and opens the back door just for me. I know she'll be back in a few days and all, but I really think she just needs to stay home for awhile! I really thought when I saw how excited she was about the spinning wheel that she would cancel her trip to stay home and spin. But no, she still left (and took lots of knitting with her!) Just a few more days, I keep telling myself. That's a long time to go without a treat. I guess I'll survive somehow. Sigh. Maybe I'll just take a little nap........


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Hurray for UPS!

I have had a visit from the UPS truck two days in a row! And both times were very exciting packages!! Yesterday I got my Knitters Coffee Swap package from Michele! It was full of coffee goodness! There were two kinds of coffee beans and a grinder to go with it!! A fun book on how to create coffee drinks; Pumpkin Biscotti; Trader Joe chocolate covered espresso beans; a hand knit ball band dishcloth; lots of 'Coffee To Go' candies (more than what are actually pictured, but some disappeared...); a snowman ornament and some very yummy DK weight sock yarn from DIGI-TECH. I anticipate some highly caffienated knitting in the near future!

Today the UPS truck brought my SPINNING WHEEL!!! It has a little assembly that needs to be done when Steve gets home and it will be ready to go. It came with 2 large bundles of white wool to practice with, which will also be fun to dye after it's been spun. I'm really thinking that I could use a visit from the spinning guru's Alice; Wendy; L-B; Julie and Sheri right about now!
I'm not sure when I'll actually be able to sit and really play with it as I am leaving Thursday for Minnesota for a long weekend away.

I did have a chance to finish up the Vintage Bubble Bag I'm working on. Just need to do the straps and felt it. I'm planning on casting on a Sophie Bag next for a special order I need to get done before Christmas.

I've been busy wrapping Christmas gifts for our family Christmas in two weeks. EVERYONE is going to be able to make it, which will be lots of fun. (There will be 33 of us!) We don't exchange gifts, but we do bring stocking stuffers for everyone. I just about have mine done and wrapped. In lieu of exchanging larger gifts, we all donate money and give it to a family who is experiencing some hardship during the Holiday Season.

This past week, K was taking pictures of R & M for their wedding announcement in the local paper. Thought you would enjoy this series of pictures of the two of them and their surprise visit from a llama!

Well worth the laugh!

Well, today I was suppose to be at a tax seminar all afternoon, but my friend who I work for called and told me I didn't need to go. So I've been given the gift of time this afternoon. I think I'll curl up with some knitting and enjoy!!

Until Next Time...

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Well, this has started arriving in my mailbox in anticipation of my Christmas present. It is roving... waiting to be spun into beautiful yarn. (I guess I should say it is waiting for me to attempt to spin it into something resembling yarn... that might be closer to the truth!) I'm getting pretty excited!

I also received the yarn I ordered to start the Bubble cardigan that I want to make. I know I should wait to cast this sweater on until I've made more progress on the first sweater, but I am itching to try the k5b stitch that had me so defeated earlier!!! Maybe tomorrow during football. I haven't done any knitting these past few days. I have just totally been enjoying the time with the kids, playing games, shopping, hanging out etc... It's sad to think they all have to go back to school tomorrow!

Our neighbor has been gone the past few days, and K was taking care of the llamas and the kittens while she was gone. The kitties have gotten so big!! Here's the little calico that we picked up for her in Galena. Isn't she a cutie?

It's been very cold here lately. We got some snow a few days ago which has lasted this whole time! Sumo loves to be out in the snow, but I really have gotten to kind of dread it. Must be my age! Winter used to be my favorite season when I was a kid. Now I dream of the day I can fly south for the winter!!

I've been so enjoying hearing and reading about how several of you have been trying the recipes I've shared and been enjoying them! Some have even added them to their own family favorites! I LOVED seeing the Swedish Tea Ring on Danielle's blog! It made me smile. The Tea Ring is a staple around our house during the holiday season!

Until Next Time....

Thursday, November 22, 2007


- Turkey makes you tired.

- 29 % of women will take a nap after the Thanksgiving meal

- 56 % of men will take a nap after the Thanksgiving meal

- 100% of dogs will take a nap after the Thanksgiving meal

Sumo invites all of you to join him for a long nap after your Thanksgiving meal!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Dance Lessons!!

That's right! Last night we started our Beginning Swing Dance lessons! It was a lot of fun! We are taking it with some very good friends of ours, Karen & John and Denise & Randy. It is a 5 week course, which is a good thing because we have a lot to learn! Now I have to make sure that R & M play lots of swing music at their wedding so we can show off our new skills!

We were told to practice the steps we learned as much as possible during the week, so Steve taught K what we learned when we got home. She caught on right away!! Now I just need to download some swing music from ITunes! I'll keep you posted on our progress!!

I have zero knitting to show you today. I've hardly been able to pick it up over the past couple of days. In lieu of knitting, I've been doing lots of cooking and baking and cleaning, as well as playing games with the kids. It's so nice having them home!! (Oh, and I've been ordering Christmas presents online! Wait until you see what I got to order for myself!! I'll show you as soon as it arrives!)

I do have a 'recipe' to share with you. I hesitate to call it a recipe, because it is so simple! Here it is: Our Favorite Chip Dip. One can of Mexican Stewed tomatoes, pureed in a blender. (Or mini food processor). One pound of Mexican Velveeta, cubed. Put the two together and microwave until melted and hot, stirring occasionally. Put in a small crock pot to keep warm and serve with chips.

Sumo has been watching us dance and thinks we could better use our energy taking him for a nice long walk or something! Sigh.

Off to see if the lefse is ready to roll out. I'm excited to have the first warm lefse of the Holiday Season. I have to say it is about my favorite holiday food. My mouth waters just thinking about it!! What is your favorite holiday food? It's always fun to hear what everyone else likes!!

Have a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving!

Until Next Time....

Monday, November 19, 2007

Monday Again!

Well, another Monday. Looking back over the weekend, I would say it was a very fun, productive time. I was able to get 2 Swedish Tea Rings made and put in the freezer for our family Christmas. I have two more almost ready to roll out this morning. That gives me a spare, as I only need to bring 3.

I did some knitting as well. I finished the first of the Cabled Fingerless Mitt from my last post. I really like this pattern, for the most part. A few things I will change on the next pair I make. I LOVE how they work the thumb gusset on this pattern and will modify the fetching pattern to use it next time around. I didn't like the ending rib pattern, because I ended up with 4 knit stitches together, which broke up the 2X2 rib pattern. Next time I will either increase or decrease by 2 stitches to have the pattern work out correctly. But I definitely see doing more of these!!

I also made good progress on the bag. I continue to be amazed how fast knitting goes on size 15 needles compared to using the 0's -2's that I use with the socks. A rather nice break!
I will be adding a gray top and I-cord handles and possibly a red tab to close the bag with. Should be ready to felt later this week.

'A' came home from college with a new game to teach us. (We LOVE to play games!) It is called Hand and Foot and uses 6 decks of cards! Here you see the kids shuffling the cards getting ready to play.

One of the highlights of the weekend was watching Steve paint K's nails for her! She really can get him to do anything for her! (And I have to admit that he is MUCH better at it then I am!!)

Well, time to roll out the Tea Rings and start wrapping the Stocking Stuffers I am bringing to our family Christmas as well.

Until Next Time....

Saturday, November 17, 2007

A New Set Of Wheels...

Well, you will be happy to know that DD's little socks have a new rearview mirror to call home! We made our final choice yesterday and picked up the car last night after we got home from picking her up at school. We looked on Carsoup; Craig's list; (Thanks Marianne!) and finally bought one from a local business who we've dealt with in the past.

We settled on a used Toyota Camry. We've had GREAT luck with our other Camry. (Well, until it broke down last week!) They run forever; get great gas mileage; have a smooth ride etc.. It should last her through college and beyond. (See the llama in the background? This is PERFECT llama weather!!)

I've been working on my sweater, but won't post a picture until I can 'WOW' you all with how far I've come. (It's not 'WOW' material yet!!) You will be excited to know that I started another set of fingerless mitts in a different patten!! It still has a cable in it, but only one that goes up the back of the glove. It has a different technique for doing the thumb which I really think is going to work well. I wish I had done them on slightly smaller needles, but they will be great for driving. Thank to Michelle for sending me this link which had a whole list of free fingerless mitt patterns! This one is called Cabled Fingerless. (It's a PDF download from the side of that link).

I continue to have the problem of wanting to cast on projects faster than I can get them knit up!! After recently doing a few more felted bags, I remembered how much I enjoy knitting them. So, I went through my stash and pulled this out to make a Vintage Bubble Bag. (From the book Pursenalities) I modified the pattern some and have to say it's one of my favorites to knit. I hope to cast it on during football tomorrow!

Sumo seemed a little sad yesterday. I can't help but wonder what he thinks about sometimes when I see him laying like this. Does he miss Nikko? Does he think she's coming back? Is he afraid I might get a kitten?

I'll never know, I guess. I just give him all the attention I can. It just never seems to be enough!! (Edit: Steve says he's thinking about when he's going to eat again....)

It is nice with the kids home, because they are able to love on him as well. And I'm pretty sure that we'll all bundle up later and take him for that coveted walk. He really does have it pretty good!

Well, today I start my Christmas baking. I'm going to try and get 3 Swedish Tea Rings made for our family Christmas which we will have in Minnesota in a few weeks. (Which comes with the side benefit of a pan of caramel rolls!) Will make Lefse on Wednesday. Busy week. But I have lots of help, both in making it and eating it. What does your weekend hold? Whatever it is, I hope you all have a wonderful one!

Until Next Time...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

It's Inevitable...

Winter is going to come. It always does. I think it is one reason why I don't enjoy the Fall as much as I could. Because winter always follows!! I just hate to be cold. And I'm always cold. But, each year I finally resign myself to the fact that it is indeed going to come again and I might as well be prepared. So today I got out my winter sweaters and packed away my summer shorts and T-shirts. I fixed a cup of hot cocoa and said...'I'm Ready!!'

Speaking of sweaters, I do have some progress to show you.. but it is not on the Bubbles pattern. After getting help at the yarn store, I still was having trouble with the stitch. After pouring over magazines and the internet, I ended up back at the beginning and cast on the 'Gracie' pattern which was my original plan! I was feeling a little defeated, but better a little defeated than totally frustrated!! As a last resort, I went to the website of the company that publishes the sweater book (Ella Rae Queensland collection Book 7) and sent an email off for 'technical support'. And do you know what? The next morning I awoke to a personal email from their technical advisor who had found a blog that gave a pictorial tutorial on how to do my stitch in question!!! I was so excited. I understand now! So I went online and ordered yarn and am going to cast on that sweater as soon as it comes in. I can't wait to try the pattern now!!

I finished my pair of Fetching mitts that I made for myself with the Wool Bam Boo. I love the feel of them. (As you can see, I really like this color!) I'm thinking I even have time to make a few pair of fingerless mitts for Christmas presents. I may need to try a different pattern, however. (As is evident by my Monkey sock pattern addiction, I do tend to stick to something once I get the hang of it!)

Sumo decided he really likes the feel of these mitts as well as he laid down for a good rub down. He would be happy if someone would just sit and pet him all day long. He seems to have an enormous love tank that needs to be filled quite often. He does settle for sitting at my feet while I knit, however. (Or begging at the kitchen while I cook!)

Remember these? They are the little sock blockers I knit for Kirstin to hang from her rear view mirror in her car. They are temporarily hanging from the lamp I knit by as they are awaiting a new home. So far we haven't found anything, but have several possibilities we are looking at. I think we are going to go with a Toyota Camry. They are such great cars and run forever.

Well, I think I may just make another cup of hot cocoa and grab my knitting, have Sumo sit on my feet and 'practice' for the cold snowy nights that are sure to come. Hmmm, I wonder if I can knit with my new Fetching mitts on?? I'll have to try it. Are you ready for winter?? (Those in sunny, warm places PLEASE do not rub it in!!)

Until Next Time...

P.S. Sumo seems to think I'm knitting the sweater for him! I don't think Steve will let him wear a doggie sweater, but he sure would be cute in one!

Monday, November 12, 2007


Today is my mom's birthday!! Happy Birthday Mom!! Thanks for being such a great mom! Thanks also for being my #1 Blog fan! Wish I was there to help you celebrate! Have fun shopping tomorrow! (Buy her something nice, Dad!)

See you in a few weeks!

Your Favorite Daughter

(Ok, ok, your only daughter)

Sweaters and Shut Outs

Well, the weekend is over. I watched lots of football and did quite a bit of knitting. Knitting was great; football was painful! The Vikings had their first shut out since 1991! And it was against the Packers. Ouch. Sure was hard to watch as Adrian Peterson was injured and helped off the field. Maybe they'll have a winning season next year.....

I've 'started' my sweater so to speak, but it is still in the swatch stage. I did 2 swatches to get my gauge right (Thanks Alice for your help!) and am now working on a swatch of the pattern. I realized there is a stitch I totally don't understand, so I am going into Fiber Wild in a bit to ask Amy for some help. As I mentioned, I decided to make this cardigan instead of the cabled pullover. I think I'm really going to like it once I get started!! (The pattern is 'Bubbles' from the book Ella Rae Queensland Collection Book 7)

In the meantime, I finished and felted Monica's pattern for the Ball Band bag. This is a fun pattern to knit. I made just a few modifications to it. One thing I do is double strand the yarn (Ella Rae Classic) and I end up with a very large, sturdy tote. I'm not sure yet who this bag is for. I want to make one for my niece so I'll see if she likes these colors. Otherwise I'll cast on another one for her and keep this one for myself! :-)

I also started working on another pair of Fetching Fingerless gloves out of the Wool Bam Boo for myself. I have the left glove done (except the thumb) and have started on the right. This yarn knits up so soft and works great for this pattern!

Well, off to the store so I can keep plugging away on the sweater. Hope to have some real progress on my next post!

Until Next Time...

Friday, November 09, 2007

Packages Plus...

What a fun week of packages for me! My Monkey socks from the Monkey Sock Swap I was in arrived from Beck and I absolutely love them. The colors are perfect and they feel great on my feet.
She also included a beautiful skein of Hand Maiden yarn to knit up my Mona Cookie A sock pattern that she included as well. I haven't tried this yarn yet, so it will be a real treat.

Speaking of treats, there were many that accompanied my socks and yarn. Lots of yummy dark chocolate (some of which is gone now!); monkey key covers; monkey page clips; a handmade paper journal; 3 pair of the work socks that make the famous sock monkeys and a little can of Junk Yard Dog grass for Sumo!
Thanks so much, Beck!

Then today I received my Football Along Swap Package from Kris. Boy did she spoil me as well!!
Look at all this footbally goodness! There are snacks a plenty; cups, napkins and plates for a football party; a baked cookie candle (Yum!); 2 knitting magazines and 3 skeins of wonderful yarn.

Again, Kris included yarn that I don't have in my 'collection' yet! 2 skeins of purple Koigu and a beautiful skein of Fleece Artist Autumn with yellow in it's colorway. (GO VIKINGS!) Good thing I have some knitting time planned this weekend with all this new yarn!!

I spent a good part of the day today cooking. I made a batch of Penne; Chicken Broccoli casserole; White Rolls and Peanut Butter Kiss cookies. I was inspired to make these when I found this bag of UNWRAPPED Hershey Kisses at the store this week. I've been waiting for them to do this for years. It's especially nice now because I don't have kids at home anymore who are anxious to help mom make cookies by unwrapping all the kisses. Thought I would share my cookie recipe with you.

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
Hershey Kisses, unwrapped

1. In a large bowl, cream together peanut butter, butter, sugars and egg.

2. Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Blend thoroughly and then stir in vanilla.

3. Roll 1/2 Tbsp of dough into a ball and roll in sugar and place on cookie sheet. Flatten slightly with palm of hand or small glass.

4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

5. Lightly press a Hershey Kiss into the center of the cookie.

Helping me today was my constant companion, Sumo. He sits there with his paw under the rug (something he always does for some reason) and kept me company while I worked in the kitchen. (He was rewarded occasionally with a small piece of chicken.. shhhh, don't tell Steve.) His big reward, however, was the 2 mile walk we took after the cooking was all done!

With the cooking and cleaning done for the weekend, I hope to spend lots of time knitting this weekend. (We also have a few cars we're looking at to replace the one totaled by the deer last weekend). I'll keep you posted!

Until Next Time...

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Deer Season

Yes, it is deer hunting season. Each year my four brothers place their $5.00 wager as to who will get the biggest buck and then spend the weekend trying to earn their money back and get their name and picture put on the trophy for the Biggest Buck Award. This year my youngest brother got the honor with his 10-point buck. Here he is making fun of my other brother's mere 7-point buck. My two oldest brothers had to settle for just taking pictures!!

What we learned this past weekend, however, is that there is more than one way to get a buck! Late Sunday night K's roommate was driving K's car and ran into a large deer. We are very thankful that her roommate walked away without a scratch. The car and the deer were not so lucky!! The car is totaled and we are now in the process of trying to find a good used car for her.

Between that, and my tax seminar Tuesday and babysitting today, I haven't been able to do much knitting. I'm excited (and nervous) to cast on my sweater. I think I may be changing my mind on which one to do, but I'll let you know. I'm casting it on this weekend. Promise.

In the meantime, I am pushing hard for a new kitty. Yes, I think this is reason enough to get one. A mouse. A mouse in my house. This is the time of year they always come in. And when you live in the country like we do, it is a fact of life. But it doesn't mean I like it!! I'm thinking a cat would remedy this situation...don't you think? Does it REALLY matter that my children are allergic? I mean, it is very possible they are allergic to mice as well and this would help them out!

Oh, by the way, as a self-proclaimed expert in the mouse catching field, I truly believe that the mousetrap you see in the picture is The Better Mouse Trap. I've tried them all. This one works best. Now you know.

Well, I think I do have a little time tonight that I can get some knitting done, so I think I'll do that.

Until Next Time.....

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Graves Mountain Part Two

Just thought I would share a few more of the highlights from our trip this past weekend to Graves Mountain Resort.

We spent Thursday night with Wendy and her beautiful (and famous) cat Lucy.

Lucy even had a gift for us. A 2008 calendar full of beautiful pictures of herself. I can't wait for January to have it up in my computer room!

When we arrived at Graves Mountain, we checked in and headed up to Hilltop Lodge where we stayed. We had a beautiful view of the Mountains and a lovely hill to hike down to the main lodge for meals. I can't say we ever made the hike UP the hill... we always hitched a ride!

Meals and most of our knitting was done in the main lodge. Meals were served family style, and always included apples prepared in at least one way. (It is apple season after all!) But I think it's the fresh Rainbow Trout they serve Friday night that keeps these girls coming back!

Most of our knitting and spinning was done in a large room in the main lodge with a large fire going in the fireplace. This was a good place for a large fire. Large fires in other places (like cabins) can cause some concern... Right L-B?

Speaking of L-B, she joined us Saturday and brought Maggie with her. I LOVED Maggie and would loved to have brought her home with me, but I think she would have needed her own seat on the airplane!

Spinning lessons were taken in both the lodge and in Wendy, Alice and L-B's cabin in the evenings. (Where there was also a fire going... sometimes a quite large fire! Sometimes a quite smoky fire! Sometimes a quite stubborn fire!) Anyways, here is Wendy helping Sheri with her drop spindle spinning. Sheri took to it quite fast but couldn't wait to graduate to the wheel!

Wendy, Alice, Julie and L-B all made spinning on the wheel look so easy and so relaxing, and I think it is... eventually! But it does take time and experience. More than 20 minutes or so, I think! I plan on looking into the local Weavers and Spinners Guild here and maybe taking some spinning lessons and possibly getting a wheel. If you have a wheel you love, let me know.

Well, there are just a few more highlights of our trip. This past weekend was also deer hunting season around here and in my next post I'll share a few different ways to get a buck. And, the number one reason why I think I need a cat. Stay tuned....

Until Next Time....