Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Poisonscarf Bible

This post is for theadnostic.

Your scarf will tend to curl lengthwise and you will need to know how to "block" it. It's easy but I want to give you thorough instructions

You can wet the thing and gently squeeze out the excess water. Lay the scarf out on a clean, carpeted floor (or on a clean sheet on the floor), coax it into shape and let dry completely.

Or, you can use the steam from your iron. Lay the scarf on the floor or ironing board and steam the snot out of it (DO NOT PRESS--Hold the iron about an inch above it). The wool is very subservient when steamed and will obey you (which will appeal to you I'm sure). Let cool/dry completely.

I recommend hand washing. If you're daring, use the gentle wash cycle and dry as above. It's Superwash wool so it should be able to handle a washing machine.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sow's Ears and Silk Purses

For years I have heard of people who poke through garage sales and thrift stores and find these wonderful treasures. I go through them, and I feel like I'm looking at junk. There are no finds, no steals, just a lot of dirty laundry and broken junk.

So a new Goodwill opened in town and we popped in just to look around. I finally found a gem!

I found a pair of children's Gortex Elefanten boots for $3.99! I had never heard of Elefanten, but I know Gortex and the treads had no wear. I could tell I had a boot that would survive two children and I knew I needed to get my 4yo a new set of boots anyway, so I got them.

I knew they were European and I asked a friend from my SnB if she was familiar with them and this was how I learned I had a treasure.

Who knew?

Monday, November 05, 2007

Face Book

Recently, I have been receiving a lot of mumblings from Facebook. A freind invited me, then another friend sent some request, then a few other people came out of the woodwork.

I have to say, I am confused by facebook. What is it exactly? The pages I visit seem to be disorganized blogs and/or photo galleries. There are various comments from other people and overall, it just doesn't seem organized.

I don't get it. It confuses me. So if you do happen to tag or poke me or whatever, don't be offended if I don't get back to you right away. The closest the cyberworld will get to being inside my life is right here.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Camera Status

The camera is fixed. And it was still under warranty.

I should explain why breakage of said camera was so annoying. Let's start with a list of things that have broken since May:

Digital Camera 1
8 month old washing machine-out of service for two months!
Laptop computer (okay, I dropped it)
Waffle iron
Crock pot
Toaster oven
Digital Camera 2
Light fixture
Car headlights
Garlic press
Comcast Modem

Just when I think I can take a little bit from the budget to make headway with a home project, I'm stuck replacing or fixing something. It does not seem to end. Granted, some items are small, but we didn't realize how much we liked our garlic press until it broke.

And, I can say that Comcast and BestBuy are on my happy customer service list. Sears Customer Service is so high on my poop list that I still won't go in their store and DH and I will never consider them for any future appliances.

At the rate we're going, this could be sooner than later.


Before we married, my DH and I started the tradition of making eachother's Birthday cakes. I usually spend a month thinking about what I might want and reading cookbooks and finding a tricky recipe--half the fun is watching him bumble around the kitchen. My husband buys a box of cakemix and a tub of icing and begs me to make it with oil (instead of the applesauce I usually use) because that's what the box says. I did trick him one year because the box actually had the applesauce as an alternative recipe.

This year I chose tiramisu for my cake. In general, I'm not a huge cake fan. I like gingerbread but that was a disaster the year DH made it and I had to make a second one for myself. I usually choose cheesecake, or ice cream cake or some such concoction and this year I want tiramisu.

Bday is tomorrow so DH said he'll make it today. I laughed because liquor stores aren't open on Sunday. so I had to settle for Rum we had on hand and grocery store marsala.

With the heavy cream and marscapone I'm sure I'll have no problem, regardless of the substitutions.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Pirates of the CarriPoison

An old college roommate of mine found a scarf pattern on the Internet and asked if I would knit it for her. I sent her the link to Knit Picks and we're off.

The scarf is an illusion skull and crossbones design. From straight on it looks like a badly garter stitched scarf, but seen from certain angles, a blood red skull and crossbones jumps out.

My 4yo calls it the pirate scarf. The mom in me thinks of it as the poison scarf.

Anyway, I have a project with a deadline (albiet a loose one). Someone wants a scarf and it simply wouldn't do to get it in the heat of Summer.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Technology and other Scary Monsters

Last May we realized that our camera was dead. It was almost four years old and it wasn't entirely shocking that it was kaput. So we bought a new one. My husband spent more time researching cameras than he did when he made the decision to quit his job and move his family across the country (oops, did some bitterness slip in?) and decided on an Olympus. Whatever. we are not shutterbuggy people and the point was simply to have a camera on hand if our kids ever manage to be cute.

The stupid thing is broken. I think it happened when my 4yo dropped it about 2 feet. I didn't think a drop that small would affect it, but it is broken. The screen is black unless I give it a good shake and the pictures are blurry.

And this just makes me mad.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Golden Fleece

I was at my alma mater's Homecoming game last week and was eyeing the mascot grazing on the field. It dawned on me that the mascot is a ram and that sheep produce fleece every year.

So the thought popped into my head--"What happens to that fleece?"

Wouldn't it be fun to take a fleece and work at it until it was a completed garment. Talk about unique.

So I have done some hunting online and have sent out some emails to see if there is anyway to get my hands on a fleece.

Just when I decided to give up spinning.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Vogue Knitting Holiday 2007

I was at my SnB last night and came home to a sort of clean house and both kiddos in bed. I sat with my DH and chatted about our days then got ready to jog on the treadmill.

DH: Oh, I thought you'd want to take a bath.
Me: *sigh* I'm about to work out, I'll take a shower later.
DH: I thought you'd want to lock yourself in the bathroom with your Vogue Knitting and some chocolate.
Me: Don't even joke about that! It's too early for the next one...I think.
DH: Oh. Well then I guess I'll eat the chocolate and take the bath. The knitting isn't my thing.

Neither are baths if we're tallying.

So I compromised. A true and legit compromise. I only ran two miles of my three mile workout. I read the mag afterword.

I'm a trifle disappointed. There is only one pattern that catches my eye and I don't know if it's because I want it or because I want to knit it. Knitters will understand. It's an Alice Starmore Fair Isle. I can KnitPick it for less than $50. It looks like the challange it is. But will I wear it?

Anyway, the other patterns are uninspiring to me. There's lots of intarsia, which I neither like the style nor the knitting. There's a whole section honoring a model and dressing her in plain looking patterns. The cover pattern is one of these.

I hope the Spring edition is better.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Lace Shawl I

This one started out as some yarn I got from my LYS. They hand-dye a 50/50 silk/merino and have several gorgeous colorways, but dye lots are hugely different. I got the yarn as a gift from a gift certificate a year ago and have been playing with it but nothing transpired until I started this pattern. Unfortunately, I knew about 3/4 of the way in I wold not have enough yarn. A friend was knitting a sweater with the same yarn, from the same dye lot and I traded her the left overs for my roving and started the border. When you start the border on a shawl like this you think "whew! almost there" and then you realized you have to knit about 40 stitches just to bind off one. I had about 600 stitches on the needles to bind off. The border took as long as the shawl.
Anyway, it ended up being a little less than five feet across, with extensive stretching and blocking. I would have liked it to be larger but there is no way I'm undoing my work. Other than that the shawl is perfect--it's pretty, it's soft and drapey, and has just enough weight to feel substantial.
I have another shawl on the needles. It is in a very fine, threadlike yarn and is on sixe 0 needles. I've one almost 100 rows and the thing would block to about the size of a handkerchief. And every row gets longer. It will be a three year project.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

They're Small and Fast

I discovered I had a large quantity of worsted wool scraps and decided I could knit a couple small sweaters for my boys. They may even be done before the first snow! The brown one is completly original. I used the EZ percentage system and made the hybrid. The green sweater is inspired by a jacket from Dale of Norway. This one was EZ's raglan and then I steeked the front.
I love steeks. It is terrifying to cut your knitting. Yes you take scissors and slice right down into your work. But it makes the knitting so much faster knowing you don't have to purl stranded knitting.

I still need to weave in ends (really?) and block them both. I also think I will knit hems for the sleeves of the green one and I need to add a zipper but I think they're so cute! And I used up lots of my scraps. I did however order too many extra balls of brown and green.
Too bad the cat doesn't look good in brown.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Cursed Yarn

Most knitters have heard of it. Knit long enough and you will become intimate with it.

Cursed yarn.

I was reminded of cursed yarn recently at my SnB. A fairly new knitter had finished her project and had brought in a couple new skeins of yarn. She said her friend had discovered her new hobby and had given her this yarn so she could knit a scarf. These skeins had been purchased "a while ago."

That should have been our first clue.

One was a pom pom yarn. The strand was fine with a large slub every inch. The second yarn was a fat, tweedy bloucle. The intention being to knit both together. It looked promising.

Our knitter, as I said, is relatively new to the hobby. Novelty yarn is not the way for her to go yet. But we assured her we could get her into this. We gave her lots of advice and helped her as best we could. The store wound the two skeins into one chubby ball and the cast-on started. After fighting for five minutes to cast-on 10 stitches we pulled her needles and cast on for her. Then she was having problems pulling the slubby yarn through her needles. Another lady took the needles and tried to help by showing some tricks. After doing about four rows she handed the needles back.

This was when someone stood up and accidently tripped over the trailing yarn and pulled the thing completely off the needles. There was no realistic way to pick up these stitches (the yarn was just that weird) and the only option to start over.

Our new knitter put the yarn back in her bag and decided to go shopping instead. Smart. I'm guessing this yarn misbehaved for the original owner too. It just refuses to be anything and at least it was discovered now.

It was a turquoise color, should you happen to be at a thrift store or a garage sale. You have been warned.

Tension Issues

I have discovered a tension issue with my knitting and I can't figure it out.

The deal is: When I switch from knitting to purling, there is an excess amount of yarn used in the process. It is most noticable in k2p2 ribbing when all the leftmost stiches in each knit column are larger than the others. I'm finding it also shows up in my cables.

I hold my yarn in my right hand and I suspect this has something to do with my trouble.

For now, I am wrapping that first purl stitch tightly in the wrong direction and this helps, but it's annoying.

Does anyone else have this problem?

Aran Swatches

While in the middle of all my other projects--some with minor timelines--I have been swatching for DH's Aran sweater. I got a ball of KnitPicks Cotton/merino blend and it doesn't seem right. It creates a very thick and heavy fabric and the cotton simply doesn't have the "give" that I really want if I'm going to be knitting this.

The problem is the DH preferred the feel of the cotton to pure wool. I may consider and alpaca wool blend for the softness but I am concerned how warm alpaca can be. DH definately won't wear a sweater that will overheat him.

What to do, what to do?

Monday, August 27, 2007

Going to Run Some Arans

I have been thinking sometime about a sweater for my husband. I've been taking note of his wardrobe and shoving all manner of patterns under his nose. Of course it's quite infuriating to be told the reason he doen't like that pattern is because the model looks "embarrassed." But I don't want to spend time on a sweater and have him hate it.

Now, for some reason, he is quite proud of his irish heritage. He has a whole 16th of it in him (The 100% German rolls her eyes). Anyway, I stumbled on a website that knits clan arans and his family name happens to be on the list:

I could do this. He would never wear a 100% wool sweater but he would wear a wool cotton blend. I showed him this picture and he liked it. The only thing I'm concerned about is that he liked it because it looks like it "has muscles."
Yes honey, you too will have muscles just by wearing this. Just don't forget to workout with me.

Rumplestilskin Need Not Apply

I have made a decision.

I will no longer call myself a spinner. I made a five month go at it. I was preetty good too. I was spinning thread so fine I needed to four ply it to get worsted weight.

And I just don't enjoy it.

So rather than forcing myself to keep at it, I will use my spindle as decor, stash my fiber and move on with my knitting.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


This is what happens when you spend five years knitting a masterpeice:

The cat decides it's worthy of his attention.

This purse is a pattern from knitpicks using their bulky Wool of the Andes. It uses the pooling of the variegation to create the swirls of color.

This is a purse from Vogue knitting. It's felted with two plys of knitpicks Worsted Wool of the Andes (at 2 bucks a skein you can't go wrong). I'm lining it with some leftover fabric I have--A bright metallic red with gold embroidered roses and I love it. It's more a peice of art than a purse.

On the Needles-August 2007

The gray lace shawl
An adorable rose basket purse (pictures soon!)
A felted gray purse
The Summer game day sweater
The rowan cardigan
a randon stole in some yarn I got at LYS sale.
A cape from VK Fall 2007

Foodie notes from the South

I'm back from my trip to South Carolina and Georgia. We visited family and friends and had a great time.

Alas, our budget is tight and we only ate out a few times but let me share my two great discoveries:

Kudzu Bakery's Key Lime Pie-It's not gelatinous. It has a great chocolate and perhaps nut crust. It had little shavings of lime peel. It was heaven. It didn't have whipped cream or merangue and it didn't need them. I heard their peach pie is also wonderful.

The River Room's Shrimp and Grits-South Carolina on a plate. Yummy grits (how much cream and butter need to be added to grits to make them yummy?), yummy sausage and shrimp mixture smothering the grits. So many miles to jog to work this off! But worth every step.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Crab Status

I cleaned my son's hermit crab tank today. I kept waiting for all six crabs to come out of their hidey holes but it never happened. I felt the need to do a status check anyway to make sure they were still alive.

All six are alive and well. All have new pointy toenails which indicates they have all molted successfully. And all now live in a newly cleaned tank.

Lace knitting

In my opinion, and I know several people would agree, the ultimate test of your knitting skills is the wedding ring shawl. An ethereal knitted concoction made of the finest yarn and the smallest needles that can pass through a wedding ring when completed. The are examples of such work that use over 22 Miles of yarn.

To me, this is a dare. Do I have the skill to produce such a product? Yes. Do I have the attention span? Provided I find the right pattern, maybe. Do I have the ability to complete this endeavor? That is the dare. I lack stick-to-it-iveness.

But I have found a couple patterns that appeal (Meg Swanson's A Gathering of Lace). They are not true Unst lace but one has the fine gossamer quality I want, while the other has the pattern changes I need to keep me interested. I already have plenty of laceweight yarn. I have many, many small needles.

My LYS is having a big sale today and I expect I will own a book or two after my visit.

But in order for it to be a true challenge, I need a goal. Let's say by the end of 2007 I will have one lace shawl to call my own.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Vogue Knitting Fall 2007

I got my VK. I got it a week ago but I am still in leaf through mode.

Sixty patterns. Gorgeous yarns, Decadent garments...sigh...

I love my VK.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Dale of Norway Cardigan

I started this sweater five years ago. It's a Vogue Knitting pattern and Dale of Norway Heilo. It's not finished yet, but it's so close. if I had started it this year, it would have been done now. I have learned so much in the last five years.

This thing was knit as six different pieces that had to be sewn together. Yes those are raglan sleeves. Yes that is stranded knitting. Why didn't the directions have me knit in the round, add the sleeves, add the hood and steek the whole thing? That would have saved me the hundreds of little ends that I have been weaving in the past few weeks. I still have to finish the front edges, attach a zipper, block it, and do some embroidery. But it's so close.

And yes, when it's done I will wear it.

What I'm Knitting-July

A Lace Experiment
A Sock in BearFoot yarn
A sock in Trekking bamboo yarn
A sock in Top of the Lamb
The Denim cardigan
A lacy stole for someone who demands a little black in everything
The Summer gameday shell in Cotton Fleece

And my Dale of Norway Cardigan is in the finishing process. I would have done this thing differently were I to knit it now. But that is a whole 'nother blog.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A Really Great Day

Today, my Dad, my kids and I went up to the airshow in Cheyenne. My dad was USAF and currently has a pilot's license and airshows are definately his thing. He could sit for hours watching aircraft and has no idea how to interact with kids.

My children are four and 21 months, they have the attention span of granola and one is super clingy and the other would rather be anywhere than your arms or lap.

Recipe for chaos? Probably.

It was a great day! We watched the airshow and then schlepped to another parking area to wait for a shuttle and take us to the plane show. So many opportunites for breakdowns and tantrums.

They were angels. No really, I couldn't believe it. 4yo was excited and chatting away and 1yo was amazed by the huge planes and wanted to sit in all of them.

Opa bought us all ice cream at Little America (which has jumped up to the exhorbitant cost of $0.50!) and we came home and put the kids to bed where they are currently taking a blissful nap.

And the best part of all? My Vogue Knitting was in the mailbox.


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The 'Burbs and the Bees

Two weeks ago, my 4yo informed me that there was a bee nest in the back yard. He proudly pulled me out to the back gate and showed me his discovery. Sure enough, there was indeed a wasp's nest in our fence, right by the gate. DH was out of town and I told 4yo that daddy would spray it when he came home.

And I forgot.

When DH got home three days later, he was immediately informed by 4yo about the bee nest.

And we forgot.

Last weekend we were in Home Depot and happened to be in the grill aisle, which also happens to be the bug spary aisle. "Daddy! Are you going to get spray to kill the bees?" Of course we are.

And we forgot to use it.

This morning, 4yo found the bug spray and informed me he was going to spray the bees. I told him Daddy would do it, but he could watch.

After lunch, he got stung.

I can't even say this was a well intentioned mistake. Our 4yo did everything he could to get us moving and he got stung. I'm thankful he's not allergic.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Harry Potter

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows came out at midnight July 21st. I had the book read by noon.

I discovered Harry Potter in the Houston airport five years ago, on my way to Cancun. The Sourcerer's Stone was the best part of that trip.

I have read all seven books, repeatedly, and I have disected nearly every line and phrase. On the rare occasion that I met someone as obsessed as I (Carrie) we would debate Potter predictions for hours.

And now it's over.

Thank you, Ms Rowling, for writing such a wonderful series. When my boys are old enough, I hope to rediscover the magic with them.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Ho hum

My washing machine has been broken for over a month.

My husband is away on a business trip.

My achiles tendons are acting up and it hurts to walk.

I lost my credit card yesterday.

Life is just peachy.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Brown Sheep

I can't beleive I forgot to blog my fieldtrip!

My DH took last Thursday off to be with the boys while my mom and I and several other ladies from my LYS drove to Nebraska and toured the Brown Sheep Wool Mill. It was so much fun.

We got to see yarn made from roving to spinning to plying to dying. Fascinating in itself but the second to last stop was the pile of roving seconds (spinners know what I'm talking about) at $5.00/lb and then the store, which sells all it's seconds by the pound. We're talking three sweaters and two pairs of socks worth of yarn and a pound and a half of roving for less than $60.00.

Who knew you could find heaven in Nebraska? Only a 2.5 hour drive away.

The Spark

So my energy is up, my weight is down a little, my waistline is down 2 inches.

SparkPeople seems to be working.

Again, if you're looking to do an online program I highly recommed you try this one. It's free--which was the most important criteria for me--and I'm still enjoying it.

What I like most is the gradualness of it. Phase one was simply logging what you eat and logging exercise. You are given guidelines but it's more just an introduction to the site. I'm in phase 2 and each week I'm given a specific goal to work on: last week was portion sizes, this week is focusing on getting enough complex carbs. Next week is exercise.

My motivation is the points. I don't win anything, I just like them.


I was never an athlete in high school. I loved the coordination stuff-cheerleading, dance, colorguard, etc. But I am not an athletic sort of girl.

Until my husband (fiance at the time) needed someone to catch his practice pitches. I was being the dutiful gopher when I spyed a bat. Jokingly I picked it up and jokingly he pitched--being fully aware of my non-athletic ability.


Another pitch


Hmmm. Coed teams seem to always be short women, but they have far too many men. A man who brings a spare woman will likely get more play time.

And a softball player was born.

Anyway, we played a game tonight and the next team up was short a woman, so I volunteered and got a double workout.


It feels good to be needed.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

And the needles

I've started some socks.
I've been weaving in a million little ends from my Dale of Norway sweater I started five years ago.
I finished the first sleeve of my denim cardigan.
I've spun a bunch of fiber.

That about sums up June.


I made a decision to enhance my sock skills.

Whenever I tour a new Yarn Store, I buy a ball of sock yarn.

It's perfect. The project is small. There is only one ball to buy. And it's a great souvinier.

I'm already working on a pair that I got in Estes Park a couple weekends ago and I have another ball waiting for me that I got in Denver.

Now I need to start wearing socks.

Maybe I'll just develop a socks as art theme in some desolate part of my house.


Have you heard of Sparkpeople?

It is very similar to other online diet tools I know of, but it is free.

Seems this guy made a mint selling his business to ebay and decided he wanted to help people lose weight as a service.

It seems to be a great site.

Anyway, I joined obviously, and part of the membership includes a blog, which I simply use to refer people to here.

So welcome all you SparkPeople.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Ugh...a weather rant

I don't know if I'm homesick for Washington, or if I'm just a pessimist, but I have come to a conclusion that worries me.

I do not like Colorado's climate.

Washington is rainy 8-9 months of the year. The rain is more like a heavy mist and has this amazing ability to suck all color, or at least the memory thereof, out of everything (which I'm sure is why Starbucks was started in Seattle). The standard Winter low is 40 degrees and any Summer temp over 80 is newsworthy. It is surprisingly not a humid climate, though it certainly isn't the dessert clime of the Southwest.

I loved it. I am not a sun-worshiper. I don't enjoy being hot. I wear sunscreen religiously. I hate sweating without physical exertion. I feel like I'm melting when the temp is over 79.

I know I am in the minority. I know the vast majority of Americans would think "you think 80 is hot!!!"

Yes I do.

The Anticipation

My new computer comes today.


The printer arrived about a week ago. It's this tiny little thing. I wanted a laserjet because I don't print very often and in this climate the inkjet cartidges dry out too quickly. At first I was thrilled to have my new printer until I realized I needed to have a CDRom drive to install it. The printing will have to wait for tonight, after I spend the usual hour-plus setting up and registering all the other new computer stuff.

Oooh. I can't wait!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

June is Busting Out All Over!

I cannot believe it's already June. Yikes.

It's Saturday morning and I've snuck away from breakast with the kids and cartoons. I'm hoping to find a larger chunk of time this weekend because:

I finally got a camera! Which means I need to upload some photos of my projects.

Also on the new list: I have a new computer on the way. I broke down and started assembling a beefy little monster notebook from Dell. Then realized I could get even beefier and about $500.00 cheaper if I went back to a desktop. So, my stellar little desktop is arriving sometime next week. With the strongest processor I could get and a better hardrive and extra memory. And it's all mine! I'll be able to upload CD's and Software, watch YouTube, order iTunes, burn things. And it still has XP.

Sigh, I am very excited.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The Party

I'm planning a birthday party.

My ThYO will soon be my FYO and we will be having a party.

There is a rule of thumb-Only invite as many kids as there are years. In our case four. I love this rule. It keeps the party simple and easy.

However, each child has two parents (with the exception of the twins) and there are siblings. And now we live close to family.

Don't get me wrong, there are huge benefits living close to family, like thay can be here for occasions like this.

But my guest list has 24 people on it, including ourselves.

What have I gotten myself into?

Proof of my Existence

When I was in highschool, I had a friend who refused to be in pictures. When asked she would say, jokingly, "I don't want proof of my existence." Though I also hate having my picture taken, it's for different reasons.

First, I hate posed pictures. Look, here's the two of us staring at a camera in front of Disneyland. And here's the two of us standing on a trail. Oh and here's the two of us standing at the beach, you're on the left side there.


I am all for candids. And shots where no one is looking at the camera. They appeal to me.

And alas, my camera has been broken for a few months. Not a big deal, we are not picture taking people, but it hit me today that we have no proof of our baby's last three months. That's a sixth of his life!

So the shopping for a camera has begun. I would go into a store, tell the clerk what I want, listen to the sales pitch, filter through the commission-raising lingo and buy. DH has clipped all the camera ads from the paper, looked online at side by side comparisons, and researched all possible features. He will do the research and buy a camera that fits our every need.

And in two years the complaints will start: It's too slow, it's an old person's camera (???), it won't keep a charge (okay, he was right about that), blah, blah, blah.

And it will start over. I know it's smart to research, but I really don't feel his research will save money and it certainly won't save time.

But it's his time. And maybe soon I will post some pictures of my recent projects.

Friday, May 11, 2007


I would love to get into some aspect of costuming. Not likely to happen in Fort Collins, but the dream is pleasant.

I mentioned before that I watch many movies simply for the costumes. Here is a list of ones I particularly enjoy.

  • The Count of Monte Cristo--His burgendy robe when he comes out of the hot air balloon especially
  • The Mask of Zorro-Just about every dress she wears, and the clothes he doesn't.
  • Dangerous Beauty-!!!
  • Dangerous Liasons-Swoon
  • Valmont-Same story as above, slightly different costume interpretation
  • Narnia-That gorgeous dress of chain mail.
  • Pirates of the Carribean- No, women in England don't breathe. I would consider giving up oxygen to spend the day in that dress and her wedding dress in II.

There are more, but these are the ones I admit to renting repeatedly. My husband knows that these movies are the way to really turn on the romance.

Oh yeah, Knitting

My sticks have been moving. It's just been at the slow, languid pace that heat brings on. I miss Washington. If it hit 80 in Seattle, it was worth comment. Seattle was much more condusive to year 'round knitting.

So I'll list the projects I remember working on this month:

The mitered cardigan (Vogue Winter 2003 #21) in a Tiara Silk boucle that I got at my LYS Spring Sale.

A linen eylet tunic from the newest Vogue Knitting. I have had this linen yarn for years--since Minnesota--and this Summer I finally found not one, but two tops I can knit with it.

I haven't touched anything else. Heat is not condusive to knitting with wool.

I have been sewing. The Hancock Fabrics in my town is going out of business and the sales are great. I've made:

An oriental brocade peplum jacket
A simple Bias-cut sleeveless top
A peasant blouse with a gorgeous embroidered concoction
A blue and beige "June Cleaver meets Gap" dress that I may wear on Mother's day.
A Corset. !?! or two !?! Okay, it's not what it sounds like. The fact is, I love costumes. I watch many movies just for the dresses and historic is my favorite. I have always wanted to make a corset and when the fabric plus notions (14 yards of boning for $3.00!!) was less than ten bucks...

I have no camera. I'm sorry. I know it would be so much better to have pictures, but the camera is broken.

On Molting

Those of you familiar with Hermit Crabs will understand.

I just had my first molt.

It was Tom. He is now a pale, soft-shell version of his former self.
Granted, we aren't out of the fire yet, but he is still alive and eating his exoskeleton. As all good hermit crabs do.

I'm so proud.

Who were these crabs for again?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I Have Crabs

Hermit crabs. You know...pets.

And they are so cute!

I'd done my research when last I wrote. I had decided to set up a tank to make sure we could regulate the climate and when DH came home he said "what's the point of having an empty tank?"

So we got our friends: Tom, Jerry and Louis. They are all buried in their crabitat "destressing."

They could be there for a month.

Then I saw a petstore today and stopped in "just to look"...and came home with three more: Thomas, Pinchy and Vladimir.

But, unless I get a bigger tank, I am done now.

By the way, there are a couple great websites out there with tons of info on Hermit Crabs: This is where to go to learn great basics--better than the slip of paper the petstores give you. This is the forum where you can ask questions. I've had a ton and they have been great vats of knowledge. Check out the vivariums. These crabitats are amazing!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

To Crab or Crab not

There is a four year old birthday coming to our house soon.

After some discussion, I thought it might be fun to get a small pet, something easy to care for, but not a fish or a rodent. Definately not a snake.

Enter the hermit crab. I took my son to two pet stores and we looked at the various displays. We got two books about hermit crabs and I have done lots of research online. It seems, there is more to hermit crab care than I thought, but it's pretty much making sure your set-up is adequate. After that it's seems easy.

The first hurdle: you should have more than one. Easily leapt. ThYO gets two and I get one (hey, come on, who is really going to provide care?)

Second hurdle: The stuff--10 gallon tank, humidity guage, temp guage, heating device, marine salt, substrate, lid, toys, food, etc. We can leap this too.

So right now, we have a "Crabitat" set up in ThYO's room. I found temp and humidity guages that are color coded so I can teach him how to tell if the climate is okay (needles should be pointing to yellow, not red or blue. We have gone through all our meals with quizzes about what crabs can eat (surpisingly a lot, they're scavengers). He has even named them (though the names change each day). He looks through his books and seems very excited. I even started a journal for him.

In about a month, there should be three new additions to our family.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Pasta, Pizza and Polenta

My foray to Italy has been quite fun. I'm getting better at making pasta. We are all enjoying polenta. And I have come across a recipe for manicotti that is sooo good!

I've made carbonara so well that it has been decided as a family to keep it on the permanent menu rotation (the same could not be said of my stuffed frittata). I'm not sure when the menu rotation will be back into our house. Farmers market season is coming and we might be traveling to South and Central America soon, sfter stopping in Greece of course.

One thing that surprises me is that I have been reading so many cookbooks these past weeks, yet none is so outstanding that I want to buy it. My favorite is Ciao Italia by Maryann Espozito (already owned).

The other weird thing is my husband (okay so maybe the fact that he is weird is actually normal). The standard at our house is that if dinner isn't at least prepped when he gets home, he can step in. Historically this is about once a week. What has shocked me is that those days he gets to choose the meal, he has been choosing...Pizza.

I have been making pizza--the dough from scratch. We've had margarita, pizza bianco, focaccia, and good ole pepperoni. The family has vetoed anchovies and I am the only one who will eat asparagus now (it made an awesome focaccia!). So it is very confusing why my husband wants pizza.

Come on honey! How about tacos, or stir-fry?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


We are living in Italy this month.

The inspiration:
Have you heard about the blogger that decided to make every recipe from Julia Child's French cookbook over the course of a year? This person now has a book deal (I'm not in the market for a book deal).
I was listening to my Splendid Table Podcast and a caller was talking about how he wanted to spend a year cooking one cuisine. He had several regions in a hat and he was preparing to pull a name and live with it for the next year.

What a fun idea!

So I told my husband we were going to Italy.

Why Italy? The kids like pasta. I already have most of the ingredients. I have Ciao Italia by Maryann Esposito. And above all, I would love to really eat my way through Italy.

So, I have reserved every Italian cookbook at my library, stocked up on various Italian ingredients and we are underway. Rissoto, pasta, polenta, fish, eggplant, zucchini, here we come.

Did you know that Italians eat biscotti for breakfast? Cookies...for breakfast.

I'm brilliant.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

I Have Met My Match

I will admit that I have some natural artistic talent with knitting and most other fiber and fabric crafts. My mathematical mind is a surprising asset for most of these and I have always viewed my hands as my best feature.

Therefore, when I started spinning on my drop spindle, I was not completely surprised to find that it took me less a week (less than an hour?) to master it. My yarn is smooth and even. The twist is regular and there haven't been any breakage issues while knitting it.

Then I went to my Tuesday night SnB at the yarn shop. Being curious, I asked the owner to show me how to use a spinning wheel. She willingly obliged (how else would she make a sale?) and I had my first spinning wheel lesson.

I must admit, I knew I should have expected the resulting yarn that I produced: Thick as robe, fine as floss, slubby, fuzzy, extra twist here, no twist there. It was the saddest yarn I had ever seen. This was what my usually capable hands produced? Ugh!

There was this part of me that hoped, no, expected to have beautiful handspun coming from the spindle. Just call me Rapunzel. But no, it seems I am only an average spinner.

Not a prodegy, not even a savant. Only average.

I must find a way to change this.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

In Vino Veritas

In case you haven't noticed, I've been waxing sentimental. It happens. I pop in to I poke through the photo albums. I eat the last box of girl scout cookies.

I like Colorado, but I loved Seattle.

So I must write about one other thing I miss.

You could buy decent wine in the grocery store. Heck you could buy it in the 7-11.

I'm not saying there isn't access to wine here, you just have to go to a liquor store to get it. But, there is definitely a difference between buying your weekly staples: milk (skim and whole), eggs, bread, diapers, WINE and taking your kids into a dusty liquor store with the cigarettes prominently displayed and the signage telling you that you too could have a bikini clad model. It just feels shadier.

But go I must. Our supply of Washington wines is dwindling and Summer evenings are coming. If there is one asset our new house has (besides my closet), it is our deck. The perfect place to sit and watch the kids at the playground and sip a glass of wine.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Ode to Trader Joes

Oh, Trader Joes, how I miss you. Yes I have found a reasonable repacement, but I am still planning that road trip to Sante Fe just so I can walk your aisles again. What will I get? How have you changed since I left? I must get a case of the Three Buck Chuck everyone outside of Colorado is raving about (Two Buck Chuck in California). I hope you still have your chocolate clouds. My 3YO loves your clouds. I would indulge in your macadamia delices. Do you still have the ginger lemonade? How about those unsweetened banana chips? And your frozen entrees? Do you still have that fabulous Greek salad? Or the chocolate tea. I'm on my last box of tea and I'm afraid to open it.

Oh how I miss you. Please come to Colorado for a visit. You'll like it here. Maybe you can settle down and have a couple branches. I would willingly sacrifice my husband's hard earned cash if you would just do that for me.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Twilight Years

My computer is sick. It is a fairly inexpensive laptop that I have had for almost three years. It has served me faithfully but I will need a new model sooner than later.

For one thing, I dropped it on our Pergo (I refuse to call it hardwood) and the CD Rom popped right out. This is the only disc drive which means I can't back-up, install new software, or import music.

It's getting sluggish. In a drastic moment I went through the install/uninstall command to see if there was any software I didn't need anymore. This is when I doscovered that RealTek is not photoshop software like DH suggested, but all audio and video controls. There is no speaker or video functionality. No YouTube, no music, no iTunes preview before I buy, no free movie watching from netflix...

And I can't reinstall, because I have no CD Rom.

And it's soooo sluggish.

So should I break the budget and buy a new one before the final death throes so I can back-up all necessary info? Do I buy a cheap CD Rom for now, knowing I will still need a new computer sometime in the next year or so? Do I sit and do nothing?

What to do? What to do?

It's Raining It's Pouring

It's raining!

Most people would look at this day as a huge downer, but I love it!

Granted I spent six of my favorite years in Seattle, but I don't remember enjoying the rain. I know I didn't really mind it (until months eight and nine). But I am thouroughly enjoying this.

I am a natural homebody and I like the idea of being forced to stay in the house with my family. There are no obligations and we might even be able to get things done around the house.

Well, I do have one obligation. A friend of ours has published a magazine and I offered to help canvas a neighborhood, but this is Colorado and I fully expect to get a call to postpone. Coloradoans are not rain loving creatures and it really wouldn't make sense to drop off magazines on soggy doorsteps. Seattle, on the otherhand, cannot afford the luxery of cancelling due to rain. Were this the Pacific Northwest, the magazines would be printed and wrapped in plastic.

But I ramble. It's raining and we get to stay home and work on the honey-do list. And maybe go to Starbucks for old time's sake.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

I had lunch with my mom this last weekend for her birthday and saw some people I knew in the restaurant. I don't know them well enough to go over and chat, so I didn't.

Me: I know those people
DH: You should say hi
Me: Nah
DH: Why?
Me: Because their son (who lived in Fort Collins) is cute and he helped me use his cuteness to get even with another guy I was dating in highschool and then I dated him while I was in college and he may still live in Fort Collins and I don't really want to accidently on purpose run into him.
DH: Um, we met the first week of college...

awkward pause

Yes, but by October I knew I wanted to date you exclusively? I love you.

This conversation actually only occured in my head. Of course I have told my husband about this guy, but like most men, he chooses to forget such things.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Because I Need Another Hobby

I knit. I sew. I can crochet. I'm crafty. I can do Origami. I read. I do just about all the needle arts. I walk and hike and rock climb. I cook.

However, until two weeks ago "I toil not, neither do I spin."

Well, now I spin.

It all started at my knitting group. Almost all of them spin, and my LYS specializes in spinning fibers. But I was able to convince myself that there was plenty of yarn out there and the last thing I needed was another hobby.

Until I watched the store owner spin some fiber. It was mostly pale blue, with some yellow and pink. As fiber, it looked a little bit like a tie-dyed sheep gone bad. As yarn, it was beautiful.

The yellow would spiral around the blue and hint at green, then it would change to a soft pink with a hint of lavender spiraling around it. Just gorgeous.

The next week I got a drop spindle (if you get a spindle, make it--it's easy and cheap) and I let my 3yo chose a color (Red merino with accents of yellow silk and orange camel).

And I was off. Once I managed to get a fairly even, slub-free yarn, I started to look for a pattern that could utilize my handspun. I found one in Vogue Knitting (really, do I look at any other knitting mags?)

I haven't figured out why, but I naturally spin a lace-sock weight yarn. When I try to make it thicker it get very slubby. I found out a week later that people can spend years trying to acheive an even laceweight yarn, which leads me to believe that were I to try a spinning wheel, I would have no problem achieving sport or worsted. I may have a spark of natural talent, but I don't think I could produce professional quality in a week on a drop spindle.

And no, I will not buy a spinning wheel. I have sources I can borrow from and if I were to buy one now, the only way to advance is to buy sheep. Which means I would need a llama to keep out coyotes, which means I might as well have alpaca, and an angora goat...

No no no, I do not need a spinning wheel.

The Elusive Cardigan

A few years ago I lived in Minnesota. Between the bitter winter and the brutal A/C in the Summer, I was always freezing at my desk at work.

My mom sent me a care package (it was my first place out of College). In it was a very pretty wool cardigan. It was a soft, pale green with white, blue, and brown fair isle motifs on the sleeves and around the hem. I loved that sweater even though it was--dare I say it--readywear. Mom found it on a clearance rack for less than $10.00. What a deal!

I kept it at work and wore it almost every day. The color coordinated with almost everything I owned and it fit just right.

I brought it home about every two weeks for a washing. Then, tragically, my newlywed husband decided to help out with the laundry. The honeymoon was over.

The fair isle bands shrunk so small I couldn't even get my hands in them. It had become a shapeless, horrifying thing.

I have spent the past seven years trying to find the cardigan that will replace it. I have a WIP that may suffice, but I'm not sure.

DH hasn't washed a sweater since then.

Spring is in the Air

It's now officially Spring--per the groundhog and the astronomers.

Typical of Colorado, the weather is very warm and sunny. People are digging their gardens, bare legs are everywhere, joggers and cyclers are finding their favorite trails.

It almost makes me want to put away all the Winter clothing.


Colorado is very good at bringing a whopper of a storm this time of year. Four years ago, in mid-March, there was a glorious weekend of warm and sunny weather that was immediately followed by a snowstorm that shut down the state for a week. My parents had six feet of snow. What good are linen pants and cotton tank tops in six feet of snow?

So I am patiently waiting for the real Spring to arrive.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


I feel the need to clarify something.

When I started this blog, I really thought the only people who would read it were friends from other states who might want a quick peek at what I was up to. I am now realizing that other people have been perusing. Of course this doesn't bother me--I wouldn't blog at all if it did--but I must admit one small transgression:

I reserve and have exerted my right to enhance the truth a little. The basic jist of my stories are there, but sometimes I enhance or omit things to emphasize the humor.

My husband was not a complete ass while I had the flu. He cooked and took care of the kids and made my week as easy as he could. He himself started a new job that week and we both agreed the need to prove himself superceded the desire to have him more involved on the home front that week. Even when he was sick he went to work because he had to.

If you know me and chance to meet my husband, he is not the scum of the earth. I am very happily married and very much in love with him.

Oh, and also, the Ciabatta from Whole Foods didn't really talk to me either.

My Closet

I have a thing about closets.

I think all standard closets are useless. What good is one pole for hanging and a small shelf that is usually to high to be servicable? I also feel that if the doors are always open, the walls should be painted (I get this from my mom who actually wallpapered my closet). My mission in every house I've moved into is to redo ALL the closets.

It's what I do.

This has been on hold, like so many other projects, because of funding. However, we paid the piper too much last year, and he sent us a nice little check to make up for it. So I splurged on the smallest room in the house that I spend less than 15 minutes a week in.

I went to Home Depot and checked out their laminate tiles and paint. When DH came home I showed him my swatches and told him my vision. He approved thinking this might be my five year plan. He came home the next day to the carpet ripped out to the subfloor and all the junk hardware removed. In for a penny in for a pound.

I trekked though the project. I painted and refloored and installed really pretty Closetmaid organizers. All that's left is the floor molding and a couple power saw strokes on some shelves. There were a couple snafus--HD no longer carried the closetry I have always used and one of my drawers doesn't quite slide in all the way--but it's done and it's gorgeous...

...and now the rest of the house looks a little ghetto. We must now fix up the rest of the house to match the beauty of my closet. At least I didn't redo the bathroom only to have the rest of the house aspire to be as nice as the toilet.

Oh and to give my DH his credit, he did help me. He cut the edge around the light fixture with paint so I wouldn't have to take it down. And he carried the boxes up the stairs.

Household Status

We are all healthy again. It took a full two weeks for the bug to complete it's tour through each of us but we are all feeling groovy. DH spent the second week mad at his body because a "cold" shouldn't last that long. I tried to explain that colds don't last that long. We had the flu and the sooner he admitted it, the sooner I could feel sorry for him.

Ah yes, we are back to normal. DH loves his new job. It's amazing to see the difference it makes. We still have the same income, even less because now the taxes are pulled before we get the check, but his happiness makes penny pinching easier. Now we just sit back and wait for time and talent to adjust things accordingly.

Spring has entered Colorado. I'm sure there are still a few Winter tricks left, but the residual snow is gone.

This means, I need to start Spring Cleaning.

What is it about this phenomenon? I look around my home and every speck of dirt and clutter (more of the latter than former) disgusts me. I would love to have the kiddo's sent to a relative for the day so I could do a good and thourough job of it. As it is, I must do my de-cluttering during naps. With this schedule, I won't be done until next Spring.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Beware of Karma

My DH has the flu. If you read my previous post, you know that I'm torn between feeling bad for him, and being smug. Smug is winning. He's being very good about my smugness--probably because he deserves it. My ThYO and I are almost fully recovered--just an annoying lingering cough. DH should cross the hump today and the Baby...well he has a nasty runny nose and a cough, but no other noticeable symptoms.

I don't want to be housebound anymore!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Nothing can undermine the kinetics of a stay-at-home mom's home like the flu.

This was the week that the youth did their performance. Two dress rehearsals and three performances of Narnia. My job with costuming was done, but I was needed to help with make up--it seems I was the only person who actually had heard of Spirit gum. Anyway, I started the week with some guilty thoughts because I was going to be absent five nights. My husband would have to take on the childcare duties 100% in the evening (though now that I think about it that was only 2 hours a day)

My kiddos had been battling coughs and runny noses the previous week, so it came as no surprise when my throat started tickling on Tuesday. I felt fine, I just had a tickle. I watched the dress rehearsal, helped with costume changes and wondered why my back hurt so much. And why I was so cold. By the time I got home, I knew I was running a fever.

The next day was a blur. The kids are still alive, so I assume I fed them. I know I went to the grocery store, so they must have been dressed. No practice that night. When DH got home I had such glazed eyes he granted me his royal permission to escape to bed.

Thursday: Took ThYO to preschool. He complains of stomachache but whatever he has doesn't compare with my battle for consciousness. He goes anyway. When I pick him up at lunch, he is crying and saying he's sick. Since he hadn't even eaten the cookie I put in his lunch, I know it's bad. The heat is radiating off him. The baby is tossed in his crib and ThYO and I take a nap together, gleaning warmth off eachother and hoping for someone to knock us out until March. I have to get to the church for opening night, dragging the kids with me (DH started a new job so they have to be with me for a half hour or so). ThYO is a trooper and just huddles on the floor next to me hoping no one talks to him. I wish I could do the same.

This is when I find out that the flu has been spreading through the youth. Purex and kleenex are everywhere. Knowing I was already sick, I took extra precautions with my make-up apps, but I am lining many glazed eyes and coughing lips.

Husband picks up kids and asks if I really think ThYO is sick when he sees my drug instructions. He's lucky the pastor is in the room.

Friday: I had previously arranged to not go to the play today. It's datenight for me and my ThYO. We have tickets to a circus performance. I give them away. No possible way we will feel good enough to go. Instead we huddle on the couch together watching a Disney movie while dad cooks a meal we don't eat and whines about how tired he is because my coughing and sneezing are keeping him up at night. He offers to go to the store and asks what I need. I need Nyquil. We've had none and I haven't been able to get to the store. He tells me he always has some in his Dopp kit. The thought crosses my mind that if he's had it all this time, then why the heck didn't he offer me some. He had plenty of opportunity with my keeping him up all night.

Saturday--I'm over the hump. I can see light. I'm not quite able to reach it but I know it's there. I discover that my baby is still alive and happy, despite the extra naps "he's" been forced to take. I climb the mountain of laundry, dishes, and kleenex. I am able to go to the show with a brave face and learn that two of the leads are sick. We all push through and the show is over. When I get home, Husband tells me he took a mini road trip with the kids because he has had too much childcare this week, oh, and the baby seems warm. I ask my husband how he's feeling. He says "I'm fine. I just have a tickle in my throat, but I'm sure it will go away."

Yes Honey, I'm sure it will. Eventually. Remember to buy more Nyquil.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


My needles are flying. I'm at the point where I am almost finished with a couple projects and past the halfway point with others. I'm in stash reduction mode these days. I'm finding super quick knits so I can plow through those random stash skeins that I don't love. And I am brainstorming ideas for the skeins that I do love. Shockingly, I haven't purchased yarn yet this year.

On the needles:
  • The VK corset-take 2
  • Hot pants (everything has a story)
  • The Denim sweater
  • Dale of Norway cardigan
  • Dale of Norway snowflake sweater
  • sock monkey sock
  • random halter top I may or may not submit to Knitty
  • EZ Raglan sweater in boucle
  • Summer Gameday sweater
The above are the first ten that came to mind.

  • Sweater for ThYO
  • Berry blue socks
  • WA to CO stole (deserving of a post in it's own right)
  • A couple hats

Not a bad month.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Knead help

I enjoy cooking. I read cookbooks like they were novels and I especially like to find a complicated recipe and spend several hours preparing it. I also love recipes that have an air of experimentation about them.

Enter breadmaking.

I would not consider myself a breadmaker. I enjoy making bread and I especially like eating good bread, but I wouldn't consider myself an expert. But I do have fun experimenting.

Yesterday I went to Whole Foods out of curiosity and while I walked past the bread racks I heard something. "Psst. Look at me. You need me. Take me home."

It was the ciabatta. Well, obviously this bread already had superpowers so it was not a surprise to me to find that this same loaf ended up in the car with me. My kids and I splurged on this spectacular, chewy creation with a wonderful crust. What was left of the loaf met my husband and even he, Wonder-White boy, enjoyed it. Oh if only I could make this at home.

Can anyone help? When I make bread the interior tends to be full of tiny air pockets of uniform size, not the large, uneven holes this bread consisted of. This bread had a chewy texture that rivaled the best crumpets. What is the secret? Sourdough starter? Have it. A different combo of flours? I'll try it. I just don't want to end up baking hundreds of unimpressive loaves in order to achieve this perfection.

Common Courtesy

I went to my knitting group earlier this week and pulled out the project I had decided to work on that evening--a sleeveless pullover (from Vogue Knitting of course) worked vertically in a seed stitch pattern. I selected green, yellow and beige easy-to-clean (translation: crappy acrylic) yarn. I intend to wear it to early Fall football games.

Anyway, one of the ladies there took one look at it and said "Wow, that's really ugly!"

Is it just me or was this rude? There are several character traits about this woman I appreciate: she is a productive knitter, she has some really great hints and tips, (wooly nylon to reinforce socks? Genius.) she doesn't concern herself with society's standards...ahh...this could be the problem. While it is commendable to march to the beat of a different drummer, there are some aspects of society that should be if not obeyed, at least respected.
  • People should always be treated with dignity.
  • Please and thank you should be habitual
  • IF YOU CAN'T SAY SOMETHING NICE, DON'T SAY ANYTHING AT ALL. But try to find something nice to say

You can still be an individual and make room for some common courtesy. Opinions are great, but why hurt someone needlessly? (okay I wasn't exactly hurt) I'm smart enough to know that if anyone simply comments on how nice my stitches look that they really don't care for the entire effect. But that's fine. It's what makes us interesting.

***and she steps off the soapbox***

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Spice Rack

I love my spice rack.

A few years ago, Real Simple magazine had an article about the best spice rack. Their solution involved purchasing watchmaker cases from Lee Valley Hardware and using them for spices. The medium aluminum cases hold fifteen watchmaker cases each. I have four of them, plus one case of twelve larger cases for larger whole spices (cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, star anise, etc.).

Of course they are in alphabetical order (I'm an organizer) and the whole stack of them can fit into a kitchen drawer. No pilfering in a dark cabinet, or wading through a million identical jars for me. I simply find the proper case, open the needed spice, and I am good to go. As for he frequent spices. I buy in bulk, keep them in a dark corner and refill as needed.

To my delight, a Penzey's Spice Store opened in the Denver area. It's not close, but I do end up in Denver on occasion and it's as convenient as anything else. I'm pleased to say my spice racks are full.

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Man I

The Kool-Aid socks. I knitted the foot using EZ's arch-shaped stockings, and the legs are a small feather-and-fan pattern.

Hell Froze.

I was knitting a pair of socks in my improved Kool-Aid colored yarn and when I finished them and showcased them for my husband he asked "Are you going to knit me some socks now?"

I almost fell over. Granted I was standing on one foot with my other foot fairly close to his face, but does he actually want me to knit him socks?

I still wonder if he may have been kidding, however, I have a bunch of wool he chose for his stocking and nothing better to do with it. And I can use the practice.

Resolution Check-in

So I feel obligated to share with the public the progress I have been making in weight loss.

All of the bad food is out of the house, with the exception of a couple snacks that only my husband will eat (I am not a salty snack fiend). I cleaned out some stuff at the beginning of the month, and anything I caught myself snacking on after that was immediately thrown out (pudding snacks).

I have walked thirty minutes a day everyday this month but 2. I walk extra to catch up on days I miss. LOVE podcasting! The goal is to increase my activity level a notch and make it a habit.

After reading O magazine, I hid my scale. I cheated on the 15th and weighed myself. The result of which made me put the scale in hiding again and berate myself for doing such a thing.

I have not focused on portion control (February's goal). Which I assume explains why...



Earlier I had mentioned my lust for knitting was waning. A phenomenon that was about one year late in coming. I have several other hobbies (how will I ever motivate myself to join the workforce again?) and one or another is always on the forefront.

So I decided to volunteer my sewing skills for a youthgroup's Spring play. They are doing Narnia and needed more that just the standard blue bathrobe, three crowns, and fifty+ angel costumes that usually fill a church costume closet. I have made furry pants, a hat for Father Christmas, four coronation cloaks, a lion tail and a lion mane (that one I knitted). I'll also help with some make-up.

I love costuming and I probably would have volunteered anyway, but my main motivation was to use my other talents intentionally and see if my knitting muse came back.

I think it might have worked.

The Best Dressed and Beast Tressed

  1. Baby-After haircut
  2. Baby before haircut
  3. ThYO wearing new sweater

My babies hit a couple milestones this weekend:

I managed to knit my ThYO a sweater with some leftover yarn. I had some bulky stuff lying around and several worsted wools that happened to coordinate. I doubled up the worsted and pulled out my Size 13s on Friday, and Sunday afternoon my son had a new striped sweater. He's not into choosing his own clothing yet, so we're still able to make him wear it. It also used up FIVE balls from my stash. Yeah!

My baby got his first hair cut. My sweet, angelic, goosedown-head got all his fluffy locks hacked off. My husband has been nagging me to do it for several months and I did it last night for DH's birthday. Now his heritage is very evident and I can't help but think he resembles his WWII German ancestors.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Electric Koolaid Acid Test

When I think about it, I spend alot of time knitting things that are not actually "projects." If I see a technique or tip, I'll knit a swatch to try it.

So enter They have good quality, good variety and some great fibers, including silk blends, alpaca, and cashmere. And they are CHEAP!

My only problem with Knitpicks is their colors. I always feel the colors are a little more 'vibrant' than I envision. Such is the nature of online purchases.

Needless to say, I went on a spending spree about a year ago and ended up with several skeins of Knitpicks. Some of it is sock yarn and I decided I wanted to make socks this month.

After knitting almost an entire sock I realized I did not like the color of this yarn and I seriously debated whether I continue wasting my time knitting these things that I would never wear, and what should I do with the other SEVEN skeins (don't ask) of sockweight merino.

Inspiration struck. Knitpicks has an article about dyeing yarn with Koolaid. What would another buck or two matter, right? I tried Berry blue for one skein and Blckcherry for another skein. I love the results. I would actually wear (socks in) this color.

Koolaid. Who would have thought? I wonder if the faint smell of artificial cherry will go away.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A New Hobby

I have discovered Podcasting!

My DH got me an iPod Nano for Mother's Day last year. He had just purchased a new car that was "MP3 equiped." We thought it would be fun to have it in the car and hey, if it got me on the treadmill more power to it.

I liked my iPod. It was a fun little toy and I dutifully spent a few days setting up iTunes. And I would listen to it while doing my walk. But I only would listen to music. I assumed Podcasts were simply radio shows and didn't understand why I would even want to listen to them. You know, sort of like blogging.

A couple weeks ago I was at my knitting group and one of the women there had recieved an iPod for Christmas. She was talking about how she wasn't really a music person but she loved podcasts. What? Why? She said one thing--NPR--and my mind was off and running.

Whaddya Know?, The Splendid Table, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me. I can now listen to all the shows I love but don't often get to hear. Why didn't I discover this before? I also discovered so many other options. Want to learn a new language? There's a podcast for it. Have a hobby? There's probably a podcsat for it. Books in the public domain? The list goes on and on.

Now my only problem is this: I can't listen to The Splendid Table on the treadmill. I need a pad of paper next to me so I can write down all those foodie notes. But that's what knitting is for. I can have paper next to me while I knit.

Friday, January 12, 2007

My Muse

There is a disturbance in the force.

I can slowly feel my motivation to knit waning. To be replaced by some other creative endeavor.

Now this is by no means unusual for me. In fact this knitting trance lasted over a year and a half--a record in itself. I'm simply waiting for my next inspiration to strike.

The knitting will always be there. It will be the background noise until it feels like stepping out again.

On vacuuming

A little less than a year ago I got a new vacuum cleaner.

Seven years previously, I got my first vacuum cleaner as a wedding gift. I used it a couple times in our apartment. That was before kids and outdoor hobbies and when we were almost never actually at home, so an occasional once-over of the carpet was adequate. Perhaps I would have done it more often but this particular model had this noise. It seemed about twice as loud as an ordinary vacuum and there was this underlying tone that irritated me. By irritated I mean I was filled with anger when I used it AND I had that sort of pain that really isn't pain that comes when your ears have a momentary high-pitched ringing. You think "ouch" but you don't really hurt. I realize now, I could have taken it in and replaced with a model that worked correctly, but at the time I just dealt with it.

So the years passed by, we moved to a state that encouraged us to play outdoors. We had children, we had mud and leaves and dust. Our floors demanded more attention, but I didn't want to use our old machine.

Finally I broke down. There was a great sale and I had a coupon. I got the kind that lets you see exactly how much dirt you have in your floors. There was no bag and it made a normal noise while in use.

I loved it. I still do but it took me a full week to get just my main floor in decent shape. I was sucking enormous amounts was nasty. The bags I would empty the canister into actually had heft. YUCK.

This is what we had been living in.

So now I have a different house. A house that has been occupied by a bachelor for seven years.

He must have had the same crappy vacuum I had.

Monday, January 01, 2007


Happy New Year.

I have started to follow Dr Oz's You on a Diet. One of the suggestions is that I have a buddy to share my new, healthy lifestyle with. My SIL is my buddy. And we're off...

My goals for January:
  • 30 minutes of walking EVERY DAY
  • To not purchase any food with trans fat, processed sugar or white flour.
  • To take my multivitamin every day

February will bring more changes, I'm starting with these.

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