Monday, November 30, 2009

Brother Dear's Hat

Greater love hath no sister than she will use some awesome RED wool tweed chunky yarn that she's been hoarding to make her brother a hat instead of one for herself. But (and it's a very important but) I do have enough left to knit one for myself if I use a different yarn for the edge and braided ties. Can do.

I love this hat pattern and the way this one turned out. It looks very elegant but toasty.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Finally! Yarn Stuff!

I'm sorry I haven't been very yarn-ish lately. I've been really busy writing every day because I signed up for NaNoWriMo again and that means I have to write 50,000 words this month. Have to. Not because there's a big prize or some sort of award, just because I said I would and I want to keep my promises. I'm having a blast just pounding out the story and not worrying about continuity or grammar, although I am appeasing my innerHitler by running spellcheck once before I quit for the day. Once. And no editing. No going back and replowing the same ground (which is my worst habit) before I get the entire story on the page. I'm into the home stretch with 48,597 words written, only 3 more writing days left, so I allowed myself to play with yarn a bit yesterday. Ahhh.

I added a few rows to Brother Dear's hat,

and I cast on a hat for me just because I wanted to (gloves to follow),

and last night at Friday Night Knitting Circle at the Harmony Cafe at our neighborhood Goodwill store, I cast on a purse that I plan to felt for my beautician for Christmas. I'm loving the yarn. Look at those colors! Yummy.

I did finish Stealth Knitting Project #3, but you won't get to see that until after the holidays. Sorry.

But look up there! Yarn!

Not Exactly Wintery

It hasn't been very cold here. We've had little frost, and no snow. I know! No snow in Wisconsin in November? Let me tell you, the deer hunters were not pleased. But it has allowed us to give free rein to our procrastination skills.

Last Tuesday I finally managed to pick all the leeks from the garden and rinse off the main dirt with the hose. I put them in the bucket and brought them in for Durwood to clean and chop up for freezing. He likes cutting onions and he's great at it. Now we will have bags of lovely pale green and white onions all winter. Thanks, dear!

Thanks Giving

I give thanks for this lovely meal with my beloved Durwood on Thursday. We had cornbread and sausage stuffing with a Cornish hen half, carrots and chocho glazed with crispy bacon and onions, homemade orange cranberry sauce, and a sweet potato half. (Pumpkin pie with Reddi Whip not shown) It had very little, in fact, no relation to the guidelines laid out in the food plan I've been following fairly faithfully for 6 months now, other than a fact that it was food.

Now I am paying for it with increased numbers at the scale. Grrr. Sometimes I feel like the universe is punishing me.
It tasted good, really great, though.

I suspect I'm good for a while now, so the numbers will slowly diminish again. Oh, I complain about the "slowly" part at times but I'm happy with what I've been able to accomplish with Durwood's excellent cooking and meal planning, and my just-about-daily working out on the Wii. He is a keeper, you know. And I guess one big, huge, gigantic food freak-out in six months isn't bad.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Backyard Follies

I put out a new feeder last weekend, a shelled peanut feeder for the nuthatches and chickadees. Naturally the squirrels discovered it and are doing everything they can think of to get some of those peanuts.

Last Sunday it was a gorgeous day and there was a home Packers game. When we have a home game we also get a military fly-over. That's the only part of football I like, so I am always in the backyard because they fly right over our house. I wish I could take video so you could hear it. My ears buzz for about 10 minutes after they're gone. Zoom! I love 'em.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

It Doesn't Feel Like Winter's Coming To Me Either

I looked out the kitchen window yesterday at the leafless honeysuckle and couldn't believe my eyes. Flower buds! A couple of yellowish leaves and flowers just as bold as brass.

So I walked around the yard this morning to find other indications that Mother Nature is a teensy bit confused as to the season. The forsythia is budding and the sedum is sprouting. See the tiny green shoots way down in there?

There's one tiny flower no bigger than my thumbnail on the shrub rose.

And one very small mum plant is just a festival of flowers.

The crocuses are confused--again. They spend all their energy sprouting in the warm autumn and have nothing left for spring when I really need them. Foolish crocuses.

Only the rose hips have it right. They're growing big and plump, orange and gorgeous, just the way they're supposed to.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

And A Good Time Was Had By All

Lyn brought info about a holiday fiber and yarn sale at a woolen mill in Valders about an hour away from Green Bay to Friday Night Knitting Circle a few weeks ago. She and I and Dusty decided to go last Friday, and we had a blast. We stopped for lunch at Luigi's outside of Manitowoc for a fabulous Italian lunch. (Thanks again, Tanya!) Then we drove to the Hidden Valley Farm & Woolen Mill where the sale was held. It was a lot smaller than we had anticipated but I managed to find some yummy yarn to bring home.

First, though, a few pictures from the sale. As soon as we went in Dusty found the baskets. She loves baskets. Upstairs was all the yarn, roving, and other vendors.

There were balls of roving made from sheep living right across the yard, and baskets of hand spun, hand dyed yarn in a rainbow of colors, and a man weaving rugs on a loom.

There were knitted and felted fish for sale.

Here's the yarn that I snapped up and brought home.

I plan to convert the gray marl 50/50 merino and alpaca (buy 4 skeins, get 1 free--what a deal!) into hats and mittens with the creamy white 50/50 Shetland lamb and mohair as the brim and cuff edge. I don't know what I'll do with the 100% Coopworth black sheep wool but I have the feeling that this will all be used in "selfish" knitting. It's just too dreamy to let it get away.

And here are the sheep that grew the walnut brown "black" sheep wool I bought, with a whole flock of their paler pals. I had to laugh at them. As I walked toward the barnyard to take their picture, they all turned and started into the barn. I yelled, "Hey, you guys" and they all turned and looked at me as if to say, "what?" and I got their picture. Sheep.

Oh, one more thing... on the drive home I mentioned that I had always wanted to try snowshoeing. (I don't remember how that came up.) Dusty and Lyn want to try it too. We brought it up at FNKC and it turns out that everyone wants to try it. So, if we have enough snow this winter, there will come a day when four middle aged women (old enough to know better), one 30-something woman, and one 20-something woman will be lying in the snow tangled in snowshoes and poles, laughing their asses off, and scaring wildlife in three counties. Don't you think we'd get smarter as we got older? Maybe we can get adjoining suites at the rehab center...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Our New Addition!

There was a delivery at our house yesterday afternoon.


was replaced by...


An improvement, wouldn't you say? The new one still has that acrid smell of burning chemicals but that'll go away soon. It's real pretty, isn't it? It even has a warming drawer. (I'm storing cookie sheets in it right now, but it's there if I need it.)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Now I Can Show You

Here's the Quickie Knit project I talked about a couple weeks ago. It was some slippers for my DS's birthday. I debated about putting the pompons on for a 31 yr. old man, but I did and he likes them. That's my boy! I used three strands of Lion Brand Wool-Ease in black, cranberry, and natural heather, and a free pattern I found on the web. They're crazy looking but warm.

Most of my time has been spent writing on my NaNoWriMo manuscript. I hit 25,000 words last night so I'm halfway home. I think I have been having so much luck silencing my innerHitler (I call her Aunt Mame, which is a story for another time) because I stuffed her in a canning jar and tightened the lid. Now I can't hear her squawking quite as well.

When I'm not writing or working on Stealth Knitting (shhh), I've been working on a Thorpe hat for my little brother. I made two similar hats for his teenaged son and now Brother Dear wants one for himself. What big sister could refuse? I know it looks small, but it isn't, it fits my dome.

Yesterday I fired up the Weber in the afternoon and grilled some sliced eggplant, green and yellow zucchini, and portobello mushrooms. We had some with our lovely grilled chicken last night but the real reason I wanted grilled veggies is for this sandwich. It consists of half a pita round, sliced apart and lightly toasted. Then I spread on a bit of Koop's Honey Mustard, topped with one thin slice of turkey pastrami (1 oz. total), one layer each of zucchini, eggplant, and mushroom. Over that went a slice of Swiss cheese (1/2 oz. per sandwich half). I slapped it all in the micro for a minute to heat up the veggies, then I slid it into the oven at 350 (because the broiler's busted and the new stove doesn't come until tomorrow) until the cheese melted. It was to die for.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


It was a beautiful day, and when I looked out in the backyard I saw all the apples that had fallen from the eye doctor's tree that overhangs our yard, I couldn't let them go to waste. Many of them had been nibbled by bunnies and squirrels but more of them had not.

I went out in my sweats and bedhead, picked up the non-nibbled ones on the ground and picked the few I could reach that were still on the tree.

I washed them, quartered them, simmered them, and made them into six quarts and one pint of applesauce.
I used Splenda to sweeten it t
his time. We'll see how that holds up as a sweetener. It took a lot more time than I thought it would to make that little bit of applesauce. It is yummy though.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Writing Time Is Overtaking Knitting Time

It's November. Once again I am committed to writing a 50k word novel first draft in 30 days. I know, it's nuts, but this is my fourth time doing it and I think I've finally got the hang of it. I can just write and my innerHitler stays fairly quiet. I can just write and I don't care if what I'm writing today links up in any way with what I wrote yesterday. I can just write which is something I haven't been able to do easily for the last year. This is good. I feel great.

I didn't get very far with Andy's earflap hat before I realized that it looked way too small for an adult. I tried it on and it perched on my head like a tiny clown hat. Not good. So I frogged it, untangled the two skeins I was holding together, and decided to make a Thorpe. It doesn't look very hat-like yet but I'm only 10 rows into it. It'll look better, more hat-ish soon.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Indian Summer

As crummy, chilly and dreary as it was early last week, that's how fabulous it has been this weekend. The leaf collection squad came by yesterday and two neighbor couples decided to go on their last motorcycle ride of the season. I couldn't resist taking their picture riding off between the piles of leaves waiting for the picker-uppers, which is lead by a truck towing what is essentially a baler that picks up the leaves, bales them, and drops them off the back to be forklifted up into dump trucks for transport to the yard waste disposal place. It always looks to me as if the big truck leading the parade is pooping.

I sat on the front porch in the sun with my Alphasmart and wrote until my bum got cold from sitting on the cement. No one was home to take my picture so I did my best.

Last night I had to start a new project. I'm really all about thick yarn and big needles. I worked on Stealth Project #3 but it didn't satisfy so I dug out some chunky red Cascade Tweed 128, wound the hanks into cakes, and cast on, on size US15s, for an earflap hat for my baby brother. (The pattern is from the Fall 2007 Knit Simple)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Charity is Finished!

At least my 2009 charity knitting is finished. I completed Foster Hat v.3 (made with a manly charcoal yarn) tonight at Friday Night Knitting so I can find a box, ask Rochard her address (again), and get the Foster Hats and Foster Felted Purses mailed off to Mama Elf so they can be wrapped and delivered to the foster teens they are intended for. I think they all turned out well, if I do say so myself. In fact, once I'm done with Stealth Knitting I intend to make myself a hat with that pattern. They are thick and warm, just the thing for blustery winters in Wisconsin.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Stuff You Learn on the Road...

We stopped in lots of bathrooms on our way to and from Lexington, KY last month. Since everyone's in a twist about not getting the H1N1 flu, hand washing is a big thing. There were new signs in many of the bathrooms, reminding staff and patrons to wash up after toileting. The best one has stayed with me and will, I fear, be stuck in my brain forever. It suggested that you need to wash for 2 minutes, and the way to make certain you wash long enough is to sing one verse of "Old MacDonald" in your head while you soap your hands. Now every time I wash my hands there it is:

"Old MacDonald had a farm, e-i-e-i-o,
And on that farm he had a pig, e-i-e-i-o,
With an oink oink here,
And an oink oink there,
Here an oink,
There an oink,
Everywhere an oink oink,
Old MacDonald had a farm e-i-e-i-ohhhh."

Seems like more than 2 minutes, doesn't it? Now you've got it in your head too.

Wash those hands! Stay healthy!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Christmas Wish List, part B

I thought of 2 more things I'd like so I thought I'd post them before I forgot them--again.

DD, I'd love a cellphone squid like the one you have. Any color will do.
(I stole, um, borrowed your photo off Ravelry because I don't have one of my own to post. Hope you don't sue me for copyright infingement.)

I'd also like to have some of those golf club, tennis racquet, steering wheel doodads for the Wii controler. I like the driving range on the Wii Fit Plus but I can't seem to hold the darned thing right. Maybe those thingies would make it easier.

What a Difference a Week Makes

(I hear from Mom that my Aunt Barbara wishes that I would keep on posting every day because she likes to read them, but doing that takes a surprising amount of time and effort to think up things to put on here, and so this is to say that I'll try to post every couple of days, Aunt B, just for you.)

A week ago the leaves on the maple trees lining our street were bright yellow with touches of vivid red. In seven days the view down the street changed dramatically. Yesterday Durwood and I went out to corral the fallen leaves and send them down to the curb to await the city leaf collection squad. Durwood had the leaf blower and I had the rake and tarp. Our neighbor saw us and came out with his own leaf blower to help. I give you--Men Blowing Leaves One-Handed!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Christmas Wish List, part 1

I realized this past weekend that I've been working on making Christmas gifts for my loved ones, but I haven't really given any hints. This post is it.
***I'd like the 2010 Art Gallery Page-a-Day calendar. I'm reluctant to leave it to chance that Goodwill will have them for $3 again because I really like using the art for daily prompt writing.
***Mom made aprons for DD and DIL a couple years ago; I'd like one or two. I have one apron that I wear all the time and it is disgusting, even after I wash and bleach it.
***I like unlined, spiral bound notebooks to write in. The cover can be plain or fancy but I especially like unlined pages.
***I like mechanical pencils in bright colors. I can't have enough.

That's it for a beginning. Please share your lists with us. I will state right now that Durwood and I would rather have something you made than something you bought, and one something is just fine. Piles of presents don't mean piles of love.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Cutest Trick-Or-Treater

And we didn't even have to give her a treat. In fact, seeing her and her mama were our treat for the day. Sometimes a girl just has to cry but it'll all work out in the end. (She was having a little trouble getting out some pesky gas.)