Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I made it!

Whew!  A whole month of blog posting every. single. day.   That was fun.  And kind of a lot of work.  Luckily, there is usually something going on around here so I didn't really have a lack of things to blog about.  Today, however, was a long day so all you get are some more emerging-spring pictures:

New garden gate. (we didn't have one last year)

New shed doors.  The old ones warped.  These are better.

Bleeding Heart blooms

Rhododendron starting to bloom.

Maple tree getting fuller.  And our view starting to fill in and leave us.

That pretty green spring haze on the birch trees.
 I'm taking a blogging day off tomorrow, but I'll be back later in the week to show you some knitting.

But lastly, a couple of quotes from Mark Twain that seem appropriate for this year in particular:

In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours. ~Mark Twain

It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so! ~Mark Twain

Monday, April 29, 2013


Yesterday, Paul and I were side by side at the kitchen counter making ham sandwiches for lunch.  I was paying attention to my cheese-ham-mayo placement, anticipating his hand-off of the mustard, when I suddenly heard him giggling.
Paul + Liz
He thought it was so funny, he couldn't stop laughing.  And I thought it was funny that he thought it was so funny.

Later, we had this for dinner:
Mmmm.  Roast chicken and veggies (carrots, onion, sweet potato), Stove Top cornbread stuffing and broccoli.  It bears repeating:  Mmmmmmm.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Travelling Socks Take 2: Return to Sender (and Part 2)

The start of my travelling socks hit a small blip:

My toes got sent back to me from Oregon!  Apparently, the address I was given had a small mistake so it couldn't get delivered.  I contacted the recipient and she corrected the address so my toes will be back in the mail to her tomorrow.

Along with part 2 of the round robin!
Left sock shows pattern on the top of the foot.
Right sock shows stockinette on bottom of the foot.
These are my friend Lisa's socks.  I put a little basket-weave-y type pattern on them and knitted for two inches.  I just have to weave in my ends and put the socks on waste yarn and they will go to my newly corrected Oregon address with the toes from my socks.  Then I will wait for the next pair to come from Lisa.  So far, so cool.

And here is my attempt to get a picture of the red winged black bird that was sitting on the shed.  Through the glass.  And the screen door.  Ha!

Saturday, April 27, 2013


Who doesn't like pie, right?  Well, me, actually.  Did I already talk about this?  Am I the only one in the world that doesn't like pie crust?

Yesterday was my mother-in-law's birthday so we all went to my brother-in-law and sister-in-law's (and the doodlebugs') house for dinner.  She does not like a big fuss made for her birthday and does not like us all spending any money on her for a present, but usually gives in to our pleas for something that she might like for her birthday.  And that something is usually very practical.  This year it was a shower head.  At Christmas is was a 10" nonstick pan and a fireproof box for important papers.  She also didn't even want us to have a dinner for her but gave in saying she wanted hotdogs and hamburgers (so it would be easy) and not cake, but an apple pie.

So, I decided I would try to make the apple pie myself.  I had tried to make a pie many years ago but let's just say it didn't work out.  Not sure what went wrong but a person in the know (someone who liked pie crust) didn't think it worked out either.  Needless to say, since I don't like pie crust, it was not high on my priority to try and perfect my recipe, so I haven't made it since.  And yesterday, apparently, was no different.  I chickened out.  Since I only had one shot at it, and had no way of testing if the pie was fine once it was cooked, I ended up buying a pre-made Pillsbury crust.

I used Martha Stewart's Old Fashioned Apple Pie recipe (minus the pate brisee - fancy schmancy term for pie crust dough).  As an aside, I love Martha.  Some day I will go on and on about her and Ina Garten in one blog post....

The recipe said to use "12 granny smith apples".  Didn't say how big.  Didn't say how small.  I bought 12 apples and only cut up 9:
The avocado and the vanilla are apparently there to
see if you are paying attention. No, they didn't
go in the pie.
....because only 9 seemed to fit in the dish. 

Sort of.  It was tall.  I know it is supposed to be tall to begin with because the apples cook down, but this looked really tall.
I have to say that refrigerated pie crust works out pretty well:

It certainly looked really pretty.  Most everyone liked the pie, although it was a tad on the not-sweet-enough side.  Not sure if that was because I really had too many apples so the sugar ratio wasn't right, or if it was because it said to put the juice of one lemon and the rind of one lemon in there and that made it too tart along with the Granny Smith apples being pretty tart to begin with.  Sorry for the run-on sentence. 

The crust turned out fine, being nicely browned on the top and the bottom and the bottom not being soggy.
There was that huge gap between the top of the dough and the apples, since the apples cooked down, but Mrs. C fixed that by doing what her mother always did:  smashing pushing it gently down onto the top of the apples so it would be easier to cut.

And now, because it was a relative success (Ha!  See what I did there?  "relative" success - since I tried it out on my relatives?),  I'm a tiny bit obsessed with trying my own pie crust again.  Even though I don't like it.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Begun and Finished

A vest for my other doodlebug friend.  The pattern has the very colorful and intriguing name of Sweaters and Slipover Vest.  It's not much to show you yet.  I had to do some figuring with the numbers since I changed it to knitting it in one piece instead of two.  And I had to undo and redo a couple of rounds to figure it out.  Hopefully it will all translate well when I get to the part for separating for the arm holes. Stay tuned....  riveting stuff, I know.

In Book News:
Just finished Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford.  Loved. It.  Bitter and sweet - as the title says - hearwarming, heartbreaking.  The story takes place in Seattle during WWII when Japanese families were rounded up and sent to internment camps. This book was recommended to me by a couple of people and at first that description just didn't reel me in.  But I read it anyway. While it is certainly about that, the main focus is on the relationships of Henry and Keiko - friendly, romantic and familial - during that time, and how these events of the war affected them.  Forty years later, we again see how these have affected them.  So. Good.
From Amazon:
"Set during one of the most conflicted and volatile times in American history, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet is an extraordinary story of commitment and enduring hope. In Henry and Keiko, Jamie Ford has created an unforgettable duo whose story teaches us of the power of forgiveness and the human heart."

To leave you on this Friday, some spring pictures:
Sunset last night.
First of the season at our local spot.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Done and About to be Begun

 Wow, that was a fast knit.  Started Sunday, finished the final two rows and the bind off today because I was too tired to finish them last night.   Still needs to be blocked which is why some parts look wonky.  Again, this is Milo and I used Cascade UltraPima (100% cotton).  I would totally make this again. It's so cute, has several different options for that cable detail, AND comes in sizes newborn to 6 years.  So, if my doodlebug likes it, I can make it for her for the next 4 birthdays.

About to be Begun:
 This will be for my other little doodlebug friend.  The pattern calls for it to be knit with a front and a back, and seamed together.  I'm going to attempt to knit it in the round until the armholes, then separate for the back and front.  Ha.  Messing with the pattern.  I'll let you know how that goes....

Gorgeous, gorgeous day here on Tuesday.  73 degrees. Sunny and comfortable.  Finally.  And finally the daffodils near the crocuses are starting to bloom and they look beautiful near each other:
 The daffodils in the other bed came out days ago.  I think these didn't come out because the car house (trailer) was parked in the way, blocking the sun.  That got moved two days ago -- and now big time racing preparations have begun.  More on that later...

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Holy Salted Caramel Brownies Batman!

Oh. My. Gosh.  These.  Are.  So.  Good.  You.  Have.  To.  Make.  Some.
Unless you are at The Spinning Room yarn shop tonight, and then you don't have to make them because I am bringing these there.

These are the Salted Caramel Brownies I referenced a couple of weeks ago.  I love Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, whose tv show I saw these brownies on.  I love most of the things she makes and have a couple of her cookbooks.  These are from-scratch brownies so there are a few steps like melting the chocolate and the butter over a water bath, then letting it cool.  But, it is so worth it.  They are incredibly chocolatey. And carmel-y.  And salty.

So hurry up.  Go make.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Doodlebug attire

Look at this cute work-in-progress:
And here are a few more views with me trying to work the camera to get an accurate picture of the color:

The last one is the most accurate.  Raspberry.  But is used the flash and I hate using the flash.  It washed out the cable detail and there is a big flash reflection.  Some day I will actually sit down with the book I have and figure out how to work this camera.  But not today.

So, this is Milo , an adorable vest that has 4 different cable options.  It is knit top-down so it is easy easy easy!  And pretty quick too - even Paul commented that it seemed like I had just started and I'm almost finished.  I'm making it for a little friend of mine for her birthday.  I decided to use cotton (Cascade Pima Cotton) so she can wear it for a few seasons -- as long as she doesn't outgrow it...

Monday, April 22, 2013

Bloody Mary Update

During the drive home from Virginia, I got almost a whole front done on my Bloody Mary Cardigan:
As I was nearing the top, almost done, I noticed something several inches back.  Can you see it?:
Here, let me point it out to you.  Look what's in the yellow circle and compare it to what is in the pink circle:
Argh! A messed up cable cross.  I purled some stitches off the cable needle, instead of knitting them, and it left a little "blip".  And here is what I'm going to do about it: nothing.  It is on the front and near the top and in a spot most likely seen, so these would all be the exact reasons to fix it.  But I just can't stand the idea of ripping back all those rows to re-do them.  It's just not important to me to have a "perfect" sweater.  I think in the grand scheme of things, no one will realy notice.  Except all of you who are reading this.

And here are all my sweater pieces thus far:
Almost done with the first sleeve.  Which leaves one sleeve, the button bands and the collar. And then my all time favorite part, the seaming.  I totally can't wait for that part. (insert sarcasm font here)

Finally, this guy/girl was back the other day:
We think it is a common snapping turtle and read up a little about them.  It's likely it was disrupted from its other home and may be looking for a new home.  We had no idea where it could have come from, but there is a little stream that runs across the street, then under our street and along our property.  Maybe it will be setting up it's new home in our pond.... then it could eat some of the million salamanders and frogs that are in there.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

DIY Project #1

Remember this?:
An easy little project for our patio table!
A ball jar, the top of a solar pathway light, a piece of plexiglass and some superglue.

Pretty neato huh?  Luckily, Paul had some plexiglass in the garage.  You know, just on hand in case he needed it.  He cut out the circles for me with a jig saw.  For those who don't have this handy guy, I think you could use thinner plastic and cut it with an exacto knife or sturdy scissors.  The solar lights were $3 at Target.  I had the Ball jars in the basement from doing some canning several years ago. 
And, since I dropped the ball on my DIY start-your-own-seeds this year, my sister-in-law Anita gave me some of her tomato plants to bring home from Virginia (thanks Anita!):

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Travelling Socks and a Book Review

I listen to the Yarn on Tap knitting podcast.  Wendy is one of the hosts and owns the online yarn shop The Knitter's Brewing Company.  She started this really fun thing called the Travelling Socks.  Eight people from all around the country participate in knitting a portion of a pair of socks.  Each person starts their own sock by knitting the toes.  Then they send it on to the next person, and receive toes from another person, to knit the next part and then send it on again. They use whatever yarn or stitch pattern they want for their portion but follow a basic knitting pattern for the sock in general.  It goes through all eight people and by the time it gets back to you, you (and they) have a completed pair of socks!  How fun is that? (I sound like Ina Garten there... I love her.)

Here is an example of a finished pair (picture is from Ravelry):
You can see that they look pretty funky and, aside from suggesting colors that you like, you have no idea what they will look like.  Some may not like this but I thought the idea of it was fun.  And a fun way to connect with other knitters around the country.  In our lineup, I send my socks to someone in Oregon!

So, while in Virginia, I sarted my toes on the porch:
And here they are finished, on waste yarn, ready to send to Oregon:
Oh, and we also include a little notebook so everyone can write about the yarn they used and maybe even a little tidbit about where they live.   Each time I get a pair of socks, I'll be kitting the next further along portion of the socks from the previous pair I knitted.  Get it?   Am I describing this well?  I'll try to get a picture of each pair of socks that I get and the portion I've knitted, so I can put it here on the blog.

On to A Book Review!
Hour Game by David Baldacci:  I love his books.  Always fast paced and exiciting.  This one involved a serial killer who is copying famous serial killers.  Two ex-secret service agents, who now have a detective agency, are hired to help defend a man accused of burglary of a wealthy family.  They end up involved in more than they bargained for, including the serial murders, with lots of twists and turns and family secrets revealed. The story line did not disappoint.  My only criticism is that because there were so many twists and turns, the end of the book involved a lot of explaining of why who did it, did it, and it got a tiny but yawn-y.  Just a tiny bit.

On page 273 - don't ask my why I remembered to note the page - I absolutely knew who did it.  I was not quite half way through the book.  I tend to have a knack for guessing who-done-its early on, especially on tv shows like Cold Case and Monk and Blue Bloods.  And with this one?  I was completely wrong.  That should teach me a lesson because I spent the rest of the book, after I was completely sure who it was, looking for clues as to back up my sure-ness.

And because I'm sure you were wondering, I have now read 14 of my 45-books-this-year goal, and goodreads says I am one book ahead of schedule!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Light Speed

Since getting home from Virginia, spring seems to being coming along at light speed!

Green grass and more buds on the maple tree:
Crocuses up and open:
Daffodils almost open:
One of the turtle family in the pond was out sunning himself:
He's over there on the right.
Then, yesterday, Paul saw this guy trekking across the yard:
The shell was about 8-10" in diameter and he was very muddy.  And its head is huge.  I think it might be a baby.  Anyone know what kind of turtle?  It took about two hours to go past the pond and into the woods.

And we hear all the peepers at night!  I love that.

Also, on our way to Virginia, I finished my LightSpeed shawl:

My Aunt K. wondered how the colorwork got into the shawl, so I took a picture of the back to explain:
It's actually a very simple pattern because for each row, you are only knitting with one color and slipping stitches for the other color.  For example, I would knit (or purl) two navy blue stitches, then slip the next two light blue stitches.  "Slip" meaning just passing them from the left needle to the right needle without knitting them.  You do have to be careful to then carry that navy blue yarn behind the light blue stitches fairly loosely so you don't get puckering.  That can take a little practice, but ultimately very simple!  Then the next row reverses the process and you knit (or purl) two of the light blue and slip the navy blue.  The yarn being carried behind the slipped stitches is what you see in the above picture.

I love it! I love the colors, especially the light blue. I have a lot of that left and may try to make a pair of short socks.