Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Elle gets Attitude

Dear Mom,
I promised a photo of the latest Color Addiction  Aggression Affection Shawl. Elle was agreeable (she has nothing else to do) and the day is pleasant, so out to the back yard we went.

"I always stand like this," pouts Elle.

"Can't we please try something different?" she whines.
"How will I ever make it to the pages of Vogue or Rowan Knitting magazine if you keep taking the same old boring shots?! YOU are holding ME BACK!" she shrieks.
(I think she may have even rocked to the side a little in an effort to stamp one of her three wooden feet.)

"Much Better."


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Bird Brains

Dear Mom,
Lots of finishing happening here. Over committing myself in the knitting department will do that. And of course those projects that have been limping along are somehow suddenly more appealing than the projects demanding my immediate attention.
Freshly checked off the list:

 Bird saw these Brain Hats on the internet a long while back and asked if I would make one for her and one for her Colonel.  I had plenty of time. Deadline: Halloween.

This is a more accurate color.
Nothing about these hats was difficult. Stitching the icord to the hat was daunting at first, but breaking it down into small bites made the process manageable. If they occupied my kitchen table for much longer I was going to have to give them names and start setting places for them at dinner. Bird, the hats are on their way to you! Send photos!

Also off the needles recently, a baby blanket for a neighbor's soon-to-be first grandchild.
This is Oat Couture's Prairie Blanket. This may be my new go-to baby blanket pattern. I used Encore Chunky for this one and was able to start and finish the blanket within a week. Oh. Yeah.

Hot off the needles last night and currently blocking is another Color Affection Shawl. I'll have to show you that one another day- it is not ready for the camera just yet. I'll try to post a photo tomorrow.

In the mean time, Olive's Cone of Shame is making all of us NUTS. The staples and stitches come out on Thursday morning at 10:30. The Cone is now embellished with DUCT TAPE. Little Miss Bludger just plows through anything and everything, cone be damned. The backs of our legs may never be the same.
Here we see Olive and Cone caught between the couch, trunk,  and My Hero's legs. Notice the pretty bow is now missing. Notice the lovely the duct tape. And the general beat up condition of the cone. Notice we are not helping her move. Moving means bumping into something else. Two. More. Days.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Bumper Joseph

Rest in peace, Mighty Dog. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Cone of Shame

Dear Mom,
IF a Girl is forced to wear the Cone of Shame.... might as well be accessorized, right?
It's been a long week.
Let's just say that I may be awarded with a personalized parking spot at the vet.


Friday, August 17, 2012

One Child Left Behind

Dear Mom,

After dropping the Young Man off at IU on Monday morning, My Hero and I took a spontaneous detour on the way home and treated ourselves to a wine tasting at Oliver Winery. It was the perfect, even though accidental, way to transition from leaving our oldest and coming home to a Half Empty nest.

One of the wines I tasted was their Black Cherry Honey Wine. DELISH. I brought home 2 bottles. One for me and ONE FOR YOU! I don't know what goes into making Honey wine, but you and Bonnie Jo certainly have the honey.....

Tuesday morning I woke up excited and motivated to clean the Young Man's room, knowing it would Stay That Way. I won't go into the detail of how full the trash bag was, how many empty PowerAde bottles I found, how many little scraps of paper and wrappers I picked up, or how full the vacuum canister was when I'd finished. Let's just leave it that I haven't seen that much carpet in his room for years and that I get a THRILL every time I walk past his room and look in to see that it is just as I left it. (and I KNOW! I get IT! I deserved to have a child with a sloppy room... I earned that. I admit it. Except in my case, my bedroom floor was littered with record albums and guitar music, not dirty tee shirts and socks..... Paid back in full.)

The thrill of clean and organized is spilling over into the rest of the house. It might be the promise of Autumn, with the crisp evenings and mornings we've enjoyed, or knowing that school is starting soon and I am gladly saying Goodbye to Summer and giving it a good hard kick in its backside on its way out.

We are enjoying the bounty of our harvested tomatoes from the garden. The corn and beans are done. Keeping up with the tomatoes is going to be a challenge. I took advantage of the abundance of fresh Roma tomatoes, and the basil growing in my herb garden, to make and freeze a batch of Roasted Tomato Soup. It occurs to me that I prepared this soup on a warm summer day, from tomatoes and basil grown in my garden under a hot summer sun, with the promise of enjoying it on a cold winter afternoon while thinking of warm summer days ahead. A sort of circle of life here on the cul-de-sac.

And another sort of circle of life...In May we faced the tragedy and heartbreak of losing Patsy (I am still not over that)  And today I brought a spayed Olive home. Bless her sweetness.

All is well.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Disappointment to Delight

Dear Mom,
I took that stubby woven scarf disaster and turned it into a lovely cowl!

I could almost pretend I planned it this way, it turned out so nice.

Using a length of the warp thread, I hand stitched the ends together into a flat felled seam. (Thank you Mrs. Roos and high school tailoring class!)  Actually, the first thing I did was add a twist to the scarf so that it would become a moebius ring when the ends were stitched together.

The nice thing about adding that twist is that the scarf/cowl will hang flat when worn under a coat.

And the cowl had just enough length to allow me to wear it doubled around my neck, too.

I now have plans for those single skeins of hand spun, hand dyed yarns I've been producing!


Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Successfully Finished Knitted Object!

Dear Mom,
Just so you know it isn't all clean ups and failed weaving projects around here....
I started and finished this shawl in about 10 days. It is the Stitch Sampler Shawl, and I succumbed to this one after seeing too many pretty ones at the Village Yarn Shop. I must have been in there at a weak or highly suggestible moment, because this is not something I would normally find myself knitting. Still, I enjoyed it; it was simple and quick; and I could knit most of it while reading a book I didn't want to put down! ( The book was Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon, the 4th book in her Outlander series).
I used Mountain Colors Twizzle, a beautiful merino/silk blend, in three color ways- Cedar, Harmony Woods, and Red Tail Hawk, and I modified the pattern instructions to repeat rows 43- 70 to give the shawl a little more length and to use up as much of the yarn as I could.
I seem to be on a bit of a shawl kick right now. Two more on the needles- one requiring some attention, and the other is another Color Affection Shawl. With all that has been going on around here this summer and in these last days before we take the Young Man off to college, my knitting once again gives me solace and something I can still be the boss of.... ( and reading about James Fraser isn't hurting anything, either! noooo sirrrreeee.)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Donna Reed

Dear Mom,
Donna Reed hasn't had much attention lately. It pains me to admit that she has been sitting naked since January.
Last weekend I corrected that. My plan was to use some of the wool that I'd spun and dyed to weave a scarf. I dug into my stash and found a perfect lace weight yarn to use as the warp. I wound the warp and dressed Donna Reed on Saturday afternoon and started weaving. I was happy that I remembered all the steps in that process since it had been so long. It felt good to be back at the loom. ( Even if my back ached the next day. And the day after that.)

Sunday night I ran out of the handspun yarn.
And the " scarf " is only 4 1/2 feet long.

Clearly I have a lot to learn.

The little stub of a scarf is pretty, though. I want to figure out something to do with it. Maybe felt it and cut it into coasters? Any ideas for a 7 x 44 inch swatch of hand woven wool?


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Dear Grandma

Dear Grandma,

I pooped next to mom's side of the bed and she gave me her angry look. Then Mom got sad eyes and said something about canine dementia and poor old dog.
But that was before she found the garbage in the kitchen.

Mom says she knows I did it because Olive was in her crate. I guess I should have thought of that.

Olive does these things sometimes and they still think she is CUTE, so what's the big deal? Plus mom has had a lot of practice cleaningitup and she is RealGood at it.

I am sick of Olive. She won't share her toys, gets PUPPY CHOW, and keeps pestering me. She can't even open the door to let me out like Patsy did. 


p.s. I pooped in the guest room, too. Wait til mom finds that one!

Monday, August 6, 2012


Dear Mom,
A new recipe. A success! From the Gooseberry Patch Summer in the Country  cookbook. ( I am a total sucker for those Gooseberry Patch cookbooks.)
This one is called Summer's Best Berry Bars.  With fresh fruit and oatmeal it has to be good for you.

Summer's Best Berry Bars
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, melted (I used smart balance 50/50 blend)

Stir together dry ingredients.
Stir in melted butter until well blended. 
Reserve 1 cup of mixture for topping. 
Press remaining mixture into an ungreased 9x9 baking dish. 
Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

While that is baking.....
Combine into a saucepan over medium heat:
2 cups blackberries, raspberries or blueberries (I used blueberries)
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons water
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 8 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring frequently.
Remove from heat.

Spread the berry filling on top of the baked oat mixture when it comes out of the oven.
Sprinkle with reserved oat mixture and lightly press into the berry filling.
Bake at 350 for another 20-25 minutes, until topping is set.
Cool in pan on a wire rack. 
Slice into bars.

Best eaten on a screened porch, listening to the birds sing, with a cup of hot cinnamon spice tea.



Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Turn up the volume for this one.....