Tuesday, March 31, 2009
He has a buddy. Another smart, funny, dad. Together they preserve the sanity of their respective wives by taking the children away from us for various lengths of time. They also have aspirations of escaping into the wilderness together and having scary adventures that make me glad he has life insurance.
They meet for coffee every Monday morning. It's become their Christian men's retreat of sorts. They share hopes, fears, dreams. They listen, help, pray. It's like MOPS for fathers, only there's only two of them and no children, speakers, or crafts...or estrogen (which is probably why there are no crafts).
The Businessman may have let it slip that this meeting is also the only opportunity they have to determine whose wife is crazier. I wasn't sure how to properly process this information. All I wanted to know is if I win the title more often. The answer? It's a dead heat.
So, as payback, over the next couple posts I will narrate a tale of two men. Two men who, on the same day yet totally independantly of each other, won the "Crazy Husband" contest. Hands down.
It's a dead heat.
What I Made:
I was concerned there might be an intervention if I made muffins again, which is silly really since I don't have a problem. So I made Cinnamon rolls.
They are wonderful. But I still like my recipe better (so sorry PW). After I get done with the 2376 cinnimon rolls this batch made, I'll dust off that old recipe and make it again. A back to back judgement is only fair, right?
Does anyone want any? Seriously. I have 2352 rolls worth of dough living in my refrigerator right now.
Monday, March 30, 2009
"I did it!" He proudly proclaimed. "I don't have porn in my Yahoo mail anymore!"
He had been complaining of this for some time and I always mentioned I was surprised. I get those emails too, but most of them filter into my spam folder. But this night, he told me it was the advertising all over the page that had sexually explicit content. Ugh! He didn't feel comfortable reading his email at work, home, Starbucks, anywhere, because X-rated images were plastered all over his screen.
"So what did you do?"
"I marked that I was a woman!"
What I Made:
Here's a picture of my soap. After that post you might feel the need to scour yourself virtually.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Let me back up before you send me comments about standing up for myself and not putting up with his jacka$$ ultimatums.
The Businessman wants a vacation. One that involves palm trees, sand, and frosty beverages. Okay, he wants to escape for fourteen days into the wilderness with nothing but his backpack and knife but he thinks we might have fun together with palm trees, sand, and frosty beverages. He knows me so well.
I am too cheap to let him take a vacation. I do the finances and I would rather save any excess pennies we have (and miss the days when they were excess dollars) than blow them on a trip to the beach. So we agreed to disagree and I hid the knife...and the backpack.
I ran 4.0 miles one day (with a .1 mile cool down). The next day he told me if I ran 4.2 miles he would take me to Hawaii. See number 39. I can't go back on my blog now, can I?
I ran 4.3 today.
We're leaving early November. Hey, if we could afford it when we were poor newlyweds, we can afford it now as poor parents. And I need a vacation...
With palm trees, sand, and frosty drinks--no knife.
The gist of this is to take a lesson from the fabric stores--It benefits them to have their patterns in a small organized space so they have more room for
To organize your patterns this way you'll need:
manilla file folders
three ring binder(s)
something set up for file storage (drawer, box, etc.)
A movie, preferably corset drama.
A beverage of your choosing
Look at your sewing patterns. There are several manufacturers and most of them identify each pattern with a number (Vogue V1838, McCalls M5467--these numbers are off the cuff and may or may not correlate to actual patterns). You should evaluate how many patterns you have, but you don't need to sort through those errant pattern pieces now.
Start with something that can hold file folders: A file cabinet, plastic file box, dusty exercise equipment, etc. This is where knowing how many patterns you have is helpful. I discovered quickly that my dinky little plastic file folder wasn't gonna cut it. I found bank boxes that matched the paint on the walls of My Sewing Room. It was fate I'm sure, to find pretty bank boxes in a soft green.
Now, put in your movie and sit yourself down with your manilla folders, page protectors and patterns. Don't forget your beverage of choice. Snacks are optional.
It goes like this:
Write the pattern mfr, and pattern number on the tab of the file folder.
Put the contents of the pattern sleeve in the folder then put the folder in the file drawer.
Put the pattern sleeve in a page protector. Put the page protector in your 3-ring binder.
Look up at movie occasionally so as to give the impression of multitasking.
Take a sip.
See how pretty center-tab files line up? See the degradation towards the back? I learned about center tabs from a supervisor who was raised in a military family. Her upbringing resulted in her being rather
Since fabric stores organize their patterns by mfr, then number I decided that was the smartest way to store my files. But my binders are sorted by garment type: dresses, pants, kids. Just like the pattern books at the fabrice store.
This one is filed under "eye-candy":
Once the system is set up, you can go through all your stray pattern pieces--the ones that never made it back to their sleeve and possibly are still pinned to fabric. I know you have them because you're still here and not reading about calf testicles. Here's the beauty: 95% of those pieces are labelled with the pattern number on them. You just have to walk your little fingers down those
Also, most patterns have everything you need to buy written on the sleeve. If there's a massive sale you can grab your whole binder, which will be smaller than the filing cabinet (and if it's not, why are you still reading this?).
That's it. That's how I store my patterns.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
*imagines matching green chip clips on the 10,923 different bags of grain, nuts, and flour in her pantry*
I did find an item that I couldn't resist. It was a small box of package tags.
Sort of boring actually, but there are hundreds of great uses for these:
And, of course, you should always be prepared:
After checking into their bed and breakfast (newly engaged, remember?) they decided to hit the French Quarter immediately. They fell prey to Pat O'Brien Hurricanes, hot dog carts, and scam artists. The evening left their meager cash reserves substantially lessened. They lost heart and worried they wouldn't be able to last a week.
The next morning, they dined on their breakfast (thankfully already paid for) and headed back into the Quarter.
They discovered Mecca, Zen, and Enlightenment.
What I Made:
I used a coupon and got a fryer yesterday just so I could make these (they were awesome). This morning I made beignets. Recipe from Joy of Cooking. While mine weren't like the ones at Cafe Du Monde (theirs are more like a fried dough and these were more a pate a choux), they certainly tasted great with coffee.
This one was my favorite. I named him Octi.
Now that I got the deep fat frying out of my system (and need to run a few on the treadmill) I have put myself on an oil-buying freeze. But I think my kids loved 'em.
If I had any technical skill I would make a mini movie of these two pics repeating. Because that is exactly what happened.
As for the New Orleans trip, we got smart, did a driving tour and found a local at a cigar shop who gave us all the insider tips we needed. It was a great trip.
Yes, I'm happy to announce the Tooth Fairy has included our home in her list of MapQuest stops. Though the Businessman assures me that she uses Google Maps. I've also learned the going rate is four quarters. Twenty-four dollars over 6+ years seems reasonable--we did recently open a savings account.
What I Made:
Another sock. What can I say? I'm on a roll. The yarn is Mirasol Hacho (again, if you should have a Ravelry sign in, you already have it) and Mountain Colors Bearfoot. Vish picked out the Hacho, but I didn't think it would be enough to make two socks, so I alternated rounds with some scrap Bearfoot from my stash. You can see the pure Hacho in the heel and the ribbing on top.
Neither yarn is machine washable. Any bets how many times these will be worn before I destroy them?
Thursday, March 26, 2009
The school decided to stay open. Until all the kids got there and had an hour of class. Then they decide to close, and request 300+ parents to drive and pick up their kids.
And that was just one school. Every school in the city did this.
Is it just me, or wouldn't it have been safer to cancel school in the first place rather than put every parent on the road at the same time, when poor driving conditions are the reason they are putting hundreds of parents on the road?
It's March. It's not like we're anticipating three more months' worth of snow days.
What I Made:
Sugar (1/2-1 cup)
Milk (until it's the consistancy you want)
Rum (when your husband comes home and decides it could use a "kick")
It's not the tastiest thing in the world, but kids LOVE it.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
The whole DB group is undergoing an overhaul. There's a new website, new forums, new groups (Daring Chefs!!!)and it looks great. I'm just having trouble ironing out the kinks.
Do consider joining us.
The water table projections are scary low. And the pine beetles...Those little buggars have killed thousands of trees in the mountains.
Dead trees + Low water tables = Horrifying Forest Fires.
I have a bad feeling Colorado is going to make headlines this summer.
***edited*** School has been cancelled (after the kids were already there). Probably up to six inches now. But, Mrs. nature, I have hot chocolate! Hah!
I'll believe it when I see it.
In the meantime, I'm going to the library and stocking up on hot chocolate fixin's. On second thought, maybe I'll forget about the hot chocolate just so Mother Nature has a reason to snowbind me.
What I Made:
Soap. I created a recipe (there's thousands on line--I didn't actually use just one), bought the caustic chemical and set my little organic chemistry lab in action. It was fun, but a little intimidating to mess around with lye (NaOH for you other nerds out there).
I'll take pics when it's done curing. Right now it looks and feels like bricks of soft butter.
Please bear with me while I try to figure out what's up.
I started by trying to decide my color scheme. Everytime I went to a hardware store, I grabbed five paint chips that appealed to me. After amassing about 50 of these (you go to hardware stores a lot when you're buying and selling a house) I dumped them all on the floor and looked for trends.
Then I got a sturdy notebook and glued my new color scheme into the cover. I resolved to not purchase anything unless it coordinated with those colors. This didn't mean eveything had be those colors, it just had to look good with those colors. This became my Home Notebook. It holds paint chips, fabric swatches, catolog clippings, etc. Every room has a section.
After some paint, and a few key pieces of furniture I decided to take the art stituation into my own hands.
What I Made:
I found scrapbook papers that appealed and basically made a patchwork quilt.
Then I washed some paint on a canvas and glued some silk flowers.
This one isn't my favorite. While making it the businessman told me it looked like the 70's (you can see it in the upper left corner). Then I went crazy with the string and thought about a cat playing with yarn. It's distorted, but the joke is there: the Businessman does everything he can to pretend cats don't exist.
They aren't art, but they fill my blank walls nicely. It was much cheaper than true art.
And they're me. Which is what interior decor should really be about.
Monday, March 23, 2009
He tried reading them, but he claims I do the voices better (?!?). I also mispronounced Hermione's name for a good 1500 pages, but didn't we all?
So now I want to know...of the five Olympic rings, which one is your favorite? I told you some would be ridiculous.
What I Made:
It's always noteworthy to finish two socks
Sunday, March 22, 2009
My mom saw the gray one and thought she might like to borrow it. Permanently. This of course made her B-day very easy this year.
I gave her my sweater.
What I Made:
Black Forest Sandwiches:
Chocolate peanut butter
Perfect for a picnic at the zoo.
Saturday, March 21, 2009
*controls desire to do happy dance*
Today the weather report predicted 75 degree weather so we did the obvious...
...and went snowshoeing.
And if you are ever in the situation where you have been on the trail for an amount of time that can be counted somewhere between seconds and minutes but your children are already whining because they are too tired/hungry/cold/hot/big/little to go any further you can do what I did.
Every time you touch a tree holding one of these:*
...you get an m&m.
See how effectively it works:
That's Yummy and Vicious, who spent the first leg of the trail in a sled the Businessman had to drag. In this picture they are trekking as quickly as they can to the next blaze. We went about a mile like this (snowshoeing miles are very different from hiking miles).
And hello Miss Silly, I did think of you today. Did I win the lichen contest?
What I Made:
It was my mom's birthday, so the kids and I made cupcakes.
*We called them "Blazes" which may or may not be the correct term. The Park People put them on the trees to keep people from getting lost. In theory, you can always see the next one from the one you're at.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Being neither Irish, nor Catholic, I usually end up wearing green today because it is 90% of my wardrobe and I don't want to be pinched like I was back in third grade when a first grader pinched me and drew blood and when my teacher asked me what was wrong she told me that I couldn't have been hurt that badly (she didn't see the blood)--I was even wearing green. (Wow! Where did that suppressed memory come from?)
I really do appreciate a man who can drive all the snakes off an island though. He's practically my patron saint because of that.
I used to celebrate by making Reubens, but those are off the menu this year. I can make a vegetarian corned beef, but it's work and I have knitting tonight...where I might start my mom's sweater.
What I made:
More muffins. I'm starting to get addicted. My kiddos serve themselves and I get that many more minutes of sleep. I followed the recipe but I subbed blueberries.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Not even when he wakes up bright and early and behaves as though he is the healthiest child in the world.
Not even when you have to chain yourself to the washing machine all day.
Not even when you have a deadline to knit a sweater for your mother in four days.
At least now I know I have a conscience.
What I Made:
A big pile of clean laundry. I'll spare you the photo.
I love letting my kids make things, but I have to resist the urge to "help", "fix", or "do it faster" (sound familiar Mom?).
Which leads me to:
What I (We) Made:
Cookies. The simplest cookies ever (recipe at the bottom of this post). Yummy wanted to make them "swirled" (where he comes up with this stuff...) so we have a batch of regular peanut butter and a batch of chocolate peanut butter--I found a peanut butter that has no mystery ingredients, no hydrogenated fat, and is chocolate. What? Like the idea of Black Forest PB & (sour cherry)J has never occured to you?
Yummy did just about everything, except the oven stuff. He cracked eggs (onto the counter), he measured ingredients (onto the floor), he stirred (slowly), he scooped out cookie dough (in misshapen, irregular lumps) and you know what?
They turned out just fine.
The recipe is one my Mother-in-law gave me several years ago. I've come across this recipe a few other places so forgive me for being skeptical if anyone declares a copyright on it.
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
Bake 350 about 12-15 minutes until they collapse a little and look done. They may need to cool on the cookie sheet a few minutes.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Yummy: "Mom, we really should use newspaper. It's recycling and better for the earth."
I'm so proud. *wipes tears of joy* My little boy is becoming an environmental activist.
I chose to run with it rather that mess with his little head about how the paper probably won't be recycled, the toy he chose is cheap plastic junk, and most of my wrapping supplies are Second-hand/reusable. Small victories people, small victories.
What I Made
Last year I came across this pattern which is one of the most popular patterns in Ravelry, and rightly so. The chart is so simple and effective. Perfect little Jolly Rogers in 13x11 stitches. Amazing.
I've made numerous versions of this hat for my kiddos. This one fit my son for a year and then I donated it to an auction. It was my best color combo (so far) and used up leftovers--always a bonus.
Friday, March 13, 2009
For you non-knitters, picture a paper-cut that you keep stabbing a pencil in, about 80 times a minute.
So I'm knitting with a band-aid on my finger. Much to the distress of Vicious who thinks band-aids are only for serious wounds, like bumping his head on the table (again).
What I Made
First I shall make it clear that just because I post it today, doesn't mean I made it today. I do have young children and a house full of toys, dust and men of various sizes and species.
I call this my newsboy hat. Whenever I see this style I'm reminded of a kid selling papers on a street corner. It's made from an embroidered corduroy I found on clearance (there are sequins in it too) and a Vogue sewing pattern (7619). I just noticed the pattern is out of print, which surprises me since I see this style of hat everywhere.
I'm not sure what's up with the mouth-breathing on Yummy. We'll just assume modeling isn't in his future. It's a hat for me and I think I look kind of cute in it--though the pics my boys took were contrary to that.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Skipped a row...that seems ominous. Of course I didn't skip a row. There's no way. To prove it I'll count 1,2,3...
15 minutes later (and asking Vicious if I have my counting numbers right) I had to admit it. I skipped a row (and had lots of practice counting to 12, 24, 15 and 27).
So it is now a pretty green circle with a huge glop of ramen noodles hanging off it. It should be all sorted out by tomorrow.
BTW, the yarn is Brown Sheep Cotton Fine in Peridot, An acquisition from my field trip.
What I Made:
Simple napkins. Seriously easy. I have made napkins before and even have some fabric lying around simply for the purpose, but I hadn't gotten around to hemming or surging them. Then I dined at a restaurant where they had cloth napkins; they simply left the edges raw.
This batch is from a cotton print I found in the clearance section. A $2.00 a yard, I can't pass up fabric with cats on it.
Item: I have a friend who spent some time in Europe getting her Hotel & Resort Management degree. They were graded on table setting and the students with the fancy folded origami napkins--not so hot. You see, when you fold a napkin in a complicated manner, you touch the napkin more--it becomes a health issue. Think about that next time you're at a fancy dinner.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
There is a glaring error staring at me. My SnB friends assured me no one will notice it but these pics make it plain as day. There is clearly a row in the lace panel that has gone awry.
And that is what I made yesterday.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
I am going to try something a little different on this blog. In addition to the usual blather you are still reading (for a reasons that escape me) I will insert a "PS"-a picture (hopefully) and description of something I have made.
To that end:
What I Made:
Muffins of Power!
I got the recipe here but this is the second time I made it so I subbed millet for the quinoa and raisins for the blueberries. A combo of apple and lemon juice for the orange juice and some palm sugar for some of the agave.
Can you tell I am trying to clean out my pantry? It is so nice to have a change from cereal on school mornings. Especially since the time change has my boys 'sleeping in.'
Sunday, March 08, 2009
Hey look, it's snowing! Yay! Maybe it'll stick.
Oh. It stopped.
It's sunny. Is that a rainbow? Tell me that's not a rainbow. It is. It's a flipping rainbow!?
I'm tempted to pull out my summer clothing just to encourage winter to stop by. I hear it's visited the rest of the country already. It's our turn.
Saturday, March 07, 2009
All of you feel you are creative (with one of you being smart about mind altering substances). I'm glad to see this. In my experience with the real world, most people claim no creativity whatsoever and this frustrates me.
In my MOPS group this week, we had an interior designer guest. She was a great speaker and had great suggestions, but she didn't have "rules." I loved this; it seems no one else did. Rules are too limiting. You should just do what you like. The problem being we don't know what that is.
When someone asked what we can do about art when we can't afford it I finally butt in and said MAKE IT YOURSELF! Seriously. Go to the craft store, grab supplies in colors you like and slap it on a canvas. Most of us can't interpret abstract art anyway (including me). You can have something on your wall in an afternoon for less than $10.00. I have been in the homes of "collectors" and often they don't even enjoy the art on their walls (though some do)--it's an investment meant to be sold in the future. At least slapping some paint or other media on a canvas you'll know you like the colors.
But few people think like this.
How can you break into a mindset and extract ideas? How can you convince someone that creativity isn't about perfection, it's about trying?
Friday, March 06, 2009
Curious, I listened to the culprit episode. Toward the end, Mo Rocca mutters about handknit sweaters being itchy.
Okay, knitters, come on! Do you honestly think you serve the cause by griping?
- WWDTM mocks everything. That's why it's funny. If anything, this is free publicity.
- I have a number of handknit sweaters. Most of them itch. I also have a collection of layers to counteract this.
- Yes store bought sweaters can itch too, but I usually can't afford those. Perhaps Mr. Rocca has the same problem.
Seriously? We're griping about this? Is it really such a travesty? Are we so concerned about NPR listeners getting the wrong impression about knitting? If we're going to stereotype, I'd say NPR listeners are smart enough to see through it.
Now we are simply the oversensitive demographic that makes itchy sweaters while huddled in a rocking chair, drinking tea and wishing for more grandchildren to practice our intarsia on.
Sunday, March 01, 2009
So I stopped buying sock yarn and started knitting socks for my kiddos. The idea was, I would knit for my oldest and then it would be handed down to the youngest. But I felt bad and decided to knit my youngest a quick pair. He loves them. As soon as they are out of the dryer, he puts them on. If they're in the wash, he pesters me until they're clean again.
How can I ignore this sort of gratitude?
So, I bought some rainbow yarn (rainbow being the favorite sock color around here) and found this pattern in a book I have (you need a Ravelry ID to see that link--if should have a ravelry ID you already have it) and voila:
One sock. One of the most adorable socks I have ever seen, much less knit. I cast on for the second yesterday but the first one is so darned cute!
It's also big enough to take him into next Fall, as I (hopefully) won't make him wear them with sandals this Summer.
I haven't begun trying to make my own soap...yet. But I do have a bar of handmade soap that smells like mojitos. I try not to use it too often because it smells so nice (I have a 'standard' bar in the shower)--I also had a mocha bar that smelled yummy but I used it up. If I made my own...