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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