R & R

We'll be very very busy next week :-)

Our destination profiled in the issue of Cookie (God, knows why I continue to receive this totally insane magazine) that arrived in my mailbox Saturday! They do have some good articles, recipes, and crafts.

But the shopping is completely over the top.

As is the "cool" factor.

I say embrace the frugal geek factor. Who's with me?


Shrug and Snacks

C'est fini! I may add a little more embellishment, some flowers or bows.

You'll also have to imagine the sweet babe occupying that space.
Everything is cuter when it's wrapped around a kid :-)

Have to say that I don't LOVE garments knit mostly in garter stitch.
Maybe I'll make another and *gasp* amend the pattern.

Alas, perhaps not as "fini" as I thought :-)

Chocolate Oblivion Truffle Torte. A recipe for certain demise.

Reminder: It's only 1 lb. chocolate, 1/2 lb. butter, 6 eggs. "Only"!

One of my favorite things about baking cakes for folks (besides baking cakes for folks) is delivering them is this luscious carrier gifted by the famed Miss Julie.

Used to have another vintage carrier that lacked an effective securing mechanism.
The blasted thing had the habit of unleashing its contents in transit.

Many cakes were traumatized.

As was the baker.

Banana Walnut Muffin Magnetism - one of the strongest forces known to boy.

This recipe from the America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook.
Highly recommended (both the muffins and the book).

Chinese Five Spice Kettle Korn. Traditional stovetop popcorn adding a little salt and couple tbsps sugar to the oil and kernels, straight in the pan before popping. Sprinkle and stir in Chinese Five Spice powder when popped.

I'm embarrassed to admit I got this recipe from Rachel Ray.
Luckily, the snack has no residual perkiness.


Dishcloth Frenzy

1. Tiny Cables
2. Thick and Ribby
3. Not Quite Authentic Turkish
4. A textured Pattern from the Big Book of Knitting by Katharina Buss

All for Karla and our mini-swap. I'm way ahead of my self-imposed deadline here!

These knit up so quickly and I enjoy having a reason to try some new stitch patterns.
Very little commitment, very big payoff.
She'll be sending me some in return.

Now, if I could only convince Hubby to use dishcloths instead of buying those little scrubby sponges.

Can't wait to hear from her so I can mail these out. As INFJ as I am, I really need that final step :-)


Hearty Heartkins

Beautiful flowers from Hubby yesterday. I heart him.

We three traded cards and candies. The card Hubby gave me plays "Wild Thing" and Z enjoys an accompanying interpretive dance. A real showman.

If I figure out how to get the blasted videocamera onto the computer I promise to share. A veritable living room moshpit/Martha Graham.

Some Knitty Gritty Goodness from Keri. See that touch of pink in the roving? Notice the sinful alpaca yarn? Adore the lovely little lined bag (of which I was unable to get an interior shot showing the perfect contrasting fabric and pockets)!! What a total joy!

A little post V-Day mush here: What a great community this is...

Thank you Keri - shipping a little something your way tomorrow. :-)

Now - who has advice on hand dyes and spinning? Think I need a drop spindle and would like some recommendations. And dyeing - before or after spinning? I need your knowledge, please.

Swatches of YOTM complete. All knit to projected gauge this time.

(reporting clockwise from bottom left)

The Aurora 8 is very tubular, which I like. Super soft but I'm not wild about the colors in the variegates. Lots of choices in the solids, though.

Soft Tweed by RYC is delicious for a chunkier knit. The most complex composition. Beautiful, subdued colors.

Country by Rowan. Superchunky. Knits so quickly. The colors are subtle, to say the least, but I think that's a Rowan thing. "Birch" is a beautiful colorway.

And lastly, the come-from-behind-kid. This Smooth DK by King Cole really surprised me. Don't usually go for the "un-naturals" (call me a snob if you must) - but this stuff was great. Would be perfect for someone with wool sensitivities.

All four had wonderful stitch definition and I enjoyed swatching them. Not sure I'll be using them in the future though. All in all - good learning and good fun. I really do recommend the YOTM club.

Bottom left here is the baby shrug on which I posted last go-round. Love the vintage patterns. Have made good progress and anticipate finishing this weekend. Think I may add some embroidery along the collar or bottom edge. Again, advice and/or opinions welcome.

Also got the yarn to make the little cape in the middle. Light green for MC and the light brown for the CC. These Plassard patterns are adorable! Made the little kimono sweater on bottom left last year and it was dreamy.

Just pulled a Chocolate Oblivion Truffle Torte from the oven. My Firm holds a fundraising auction during the Holidays and I offered up a cake. Delivery is tomorrow.

Seriously, this thing is built from 1 lb. of bittersweet choco, 1/2 lb. butter, and 6 eggs. God help us all.


Tractor cake success! One happy boy, one yummy cake, another year passed!

Added 3/4 cup of pureed strawberries and 6 drops of Wild Strawberry Essence to the America's Test Kitchen (aka Cooks Illustrated) All-Purpose Buttery Yellow Cake.

Rather than icing, which would have obscured some of the "tractorness", I used a glaze made from milk, powdered sugar, and food coloring followed by sugar sprinkles.

When we asked Z what he wished for when he blew out the candles he said "Candles."
You're in luck little man!

Yarn of the Month - February Edition
(clockwise from bottom left)

Aurora 8 Spaced Dyed by Karabella
4.5 st/inch on US 8
100% Wool

Soft Tweed by RYC
3 st/inch on US 11
56% Wool, 20% Viscose, 14% Polymide, 10% Silk

Country by Rowan
2.5 st/inch on US 13
100% Wool

Smooth DK by King Cole
5.5 st/inch on US 6
100% Acrylic

with a pattern for a little XOXO cardigan. No newsletter this time.

I really love this club - I get to try yarns that I would have never on my own. This month has more range in terms of both composition, color, and gauge. Have a few gaps in my needle collection so off to the LYS today for some 11s (which I never had) and 13s (which the short one disassembled :-)

Swatches to follow shortly.

Check this out! One seriously DOOMED Sock of Doom. This is the sock that killed me in the Sock Wars tournament. I'm sad to have returned the favor (please no comments on the equally sad state of my rough heels :-)

Lots of WIPs - this the most recent. A sweet little shrug for a tiny new girl. Setsuko arrived on January 30 (the day before Z's bday) at 7 lb 9 oz. Can't wait to meet her in person!

This is a vintage pattern and so sweet and quick. All these photos make me realize that if I posted more regularly I could share incrementally.

Ah... another goal :-)


90 degrees

90 degrees is what I gained in one 3-hour flight from Minneapolis to Phoenix. You've got to love a well-timed, well-located business trip. Fool husband declined the invitation to bring the short one and tag along.

Upon return a report on:

Success of a tractor cake.
New Yarn of the Month Dispatch.


No Sleep Till...

Remember when that ended with shouting "Brooklyn!"?

Now it ends with "Strawberry Tractor Cake".

The short one turned 3 on Wednesday. We had presents (of course) and a small cake for just the three of us on THE DAY.

The REAL party is Saturday.

The tradition is a lovely party with Z's godmothers - the illustrious (how DO you pluralize that word?) Miss Julie and Anna Nanna.

They've requested (as Z frequently does) blueberry pancakes. My specialty :-)

Can't believe how quickly these three years have passed or that we'll do this a meager 10 more times and suddenly he'll be 30. Heart-breaking and -warming at the same time.

Here's my goal - live in the moment.

Our current moment involves the ever patient Hammie who loves Z even as he's being decorated with stickers.

Makes him a less intimidating stalker of small woodland creatures.

Mice are lulled into a false sense of security by the piglet sticker and then WHAM!

Reminds me a little of Roberto Begnini's character in "Down By Law" demonstrating his Mothers approach with the rabbits.