About The Country Wife Blog

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Adult Surprise Jacket: Finished!

My Elizabeth Zimmermann "Adult Surprise Jacket" is now finished!  Considering the gigantic nature of this particular jacket, it is amazing that it is completed so soon.  The class which I took at Country Woolens in West Lebanon, NH began in November and ended early in December. I was NOT done at the end of the class, but finished up this morning.

The sweater was constructed of many different colors of Hilda Yates' farm Bartlettyarn worsted weight from her sheep fleeces which she gets spun and dyed in Harmony, Maine.  The colors all go together so well.

While making the sweater I made a few alterations in the pattern, and found that one of them was a real mistake.  (There is a spot where you are to take off 3 inches of stitches for what will be the neck drop.  I thought I needed more of a drop, and used 4 inches.  Turns out I was wrong, so I had to knit in some filler, which was not particularly lovely, but did do the fill in.)

Another alteration/change in order of knitting, was that after a while I began to tire of the never-ending knitting for the girth (having QUITE a bit of girth to cover) so I decided to stop that part and and finish the sleeves, knitting down to the correct length.  Another mistake!  Because the girth was not completed, when I folded up the sweater to gauge how much longer the sleeves needed to be, I overestimated how long they needed to be.  SO...now I have sleeves with a lovely thick inside cuff of about 3 1/2 inches.  If I had just continued on the girth until finished the sleeve length would have been correct.  Oh well.  Extra warm wrists  I do have in mind to pick up stitches along the inside of the wrist back up perhaps 5 inches, knit about two inches plain then knit about two inches of K2,P2 ribbing, which will close up the kimono-like sleeves around the wrists so snow and wind will have a harder time coming inside.  Since this is going to be my winter coat, this seems like a great idea!  We shall see.

Finished Adult Surprise Jacket--ready for snow, which is arriving as I write this caption!
The final thing I did differently was to make some after-thought pockets.  Being rather a short person, I wanted the pockets up high where I could insert my iPod when walking outside, so I needed to make after-thought vertical pockets.  I was concerned about the logistics and sent a note to Schoolhouse Press for suggestions.  Meg Swansen herself, wrote me back!  She (and they all) is such a lovely person.  Truly she and her whole family and family of helpers are so helpful to anyone with a knitting problem, especially with Elizabeth Zimmermann patterns.  Thank you, Meg, Cully, and All!

Outside pocket detail.  Just the thing. Thanks for your help and encouragement, Meg!

The Stork!

A couple of weeks ago M H sent me a photo he took with his cell phone in the middle of the night on the OB floor at the hospital.  It was  a darling mobile of a stork holding a cute baby bear in a blanket.  I had been invited to a baby shower and thought how delightful it would be to make this.  I went onto Ravelry and put "stork" in the search engine.  There were MANY stork patterns, including the exact one that MH sent me, so of course I downloaded it immediately.

Thinking cap on, I decided that a nice wool stork would not be the thing for a new baby.  I also had thought not to make a mobile, imagining that the nursery was all set up and another mobile would be redundant, so a toy stork for the baby was what I decided would be just the thing.

Starting in immediately with some soft white washable acrylic yarn, I made pretty quick progress.  As I arrived at the head, I had to hold off because the pattern required stuffing the head before moving on to the beak, and I did not have any conveniently located stuffing (not in workroom, not in cellar, not in garage, maybe in attic but being too scared to go up the tiny pull-down stair and not wanting to involve others, I decided to pick up a new bag at the store...) so I had to stop for the weekend. 

As I was thinking over the weekend I decided to make some alterations in the pattern, particularly the wings.  Because the original pattern is intended to be a mobile and have chopsticks to give it stability, I realized that I really did need to make changes, so after acquiring the stuffing, using the stuffing, and completing the project, this is the final result--a little silly, but just the thing for the baby to hold in her hot little fist (by the neck, which I decided not to stuff for just that purpose):
Stork lying on the MacBook, ready to deliver!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Dishwater Soup

OK!  Well, today I really did it!  It was getting toward supper time and I was busy with other good things...such as folding tons of clean laundry, watching a Cheryl Brunette YouTube video on knitting  mitered-square afghans, mending clothes, picking up the workroom, taking care of...you get the picture, nothing particularly stunning, but busy with this and that.

SO, supper time was rolling around and I needed to do something rather quickly.  Because we had a number of small dibs and dabs of leftover goodies in the refrigerator I decided to make my mother's "Refrigerator Soup"--taking all the leftovers, putting them into a large pot, adding broth and giving it a taste.  In this case it did not taste like much, since things have been a bit bland lately, so I added some of the leftover broth from the Christmas ham, some potato/onion broth and a packet of onion soup mix.  NOW it has some taste, though a bit heavy on the salt side.  It really does taste pretty good.

Unfortunately, it looks like dishwater.  Dear one ate one ladle and called it a day.  Because I did not want to have hurt feelings over this, I moved upstairs to do some last picking up, and a few more stitches on the reupholstering project (remember that wingback chair I started on in June?  Still going.  Need a pneumatic staple gun, or to sew on the piping by hand.  I am currently sewing it by hand.  Kind of grim work, that...!) then got sucked into the computer...finished some installations on the Windows side, and now am ready to go for broke on the verifications of family history data.

There, you see, no hurt feelings here!  It really was icky-looking soup.  When you make refrigerator soup,  you had probably better not put so many things into it because: 1. it may not look good, 2.  it may not taste good, and 3. you may have a HUGE pot which you either need to eat up yourself or feel guilty about throwing out...and it is my considered opinion that the birds at the bird feeders will not help you out...nor with the squirrels who rob the bird feeders instead of eating their own summer's supply.

No picture today.  It would probably put you off your feed for some little time!

Monday, December 24, 2012

2012 Mitten Project: Completed

Saturday night before going to bed, the local mittens were completed!  It was with a sense of real satisfaction, delight, even, that I finished these mittens.  I had started the red and blue mittens  first, way back in October, but put them on the back burner so I could complete the five pairs of traveling mittens and the hat.  (I was so happy to put those travelers in the mail on Wednesday and was assured they would arrive at their destinations on Saturday...though so far I have not heard of any of them arriving! Since everyone is expecting them, I suppose they do not need to be under the tree on Christmas, but I had hoped they would be waiting for the little girls and boy.)

Now it remains to be seen if the recipient is still happy with color selection.  E asked me yesterday what colors his were to be as he did not remember what he had requested. 

Merry Christmas to all!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Miso Soup...what a surprise!

When I was visiting in Utah a couple years ago S, T, and A took me to The Blue Tuna or some name like that..The Blue Something, anyway, where we had miso soup.  I was much taken with it.  I purchased the ingredients and tried it on my own.  My own was not that great.  The first few times...

Fast forward to Vermont this fall:  soup time is on!  Fall and winter soups are wonderful.  We often have soup for supper.  While looking on YouTube for miso soup recipes, I learned that often Japanese people eat miso soup for breakfast.  Light bulb goes on here!

So, now I am having a cup of miso soup broth for breakfast, and other times a day.  It is delicious, and filling.

Here is a picture of my ingredients and the mug of soup:

For my actual recipe, go to Grammie's Kitchen and Bedtime Stories.

Braided Knit Ball--FINISHED!

About a year ago I saw a very clever braided knit ball online. I wanted to make one for the grandchildren.  The pattern called for six strips of stocking stitch knitting that were 20 stitches wide by 68 rows long in worsted weight yarn.  Since I happened to have a little yarn around the house (!!) I knit up the strips really quickly then put them together.

Well....putting them together was a somewhat discouraging project...1. because I could not follow the directions and 2. because with six different yarns, the 20 by 68 rows produced different lengths--four were alike, and, surprisingly, the other two of different yarns with MUCH more drape to them came out  way longer so the ball did not work

Enter Cheryl Brunette on YouTube with her Braided Ball instructional video.  Since I had kept the dismantled ball on the table by the computer for months, thinking I would figure it out sometime, I immediately pulled out a needle so I could do the braiding and grafting of stitches.  In no time at all I FINISHED!!  I am so thrilled.  The children will love it when they come to visit. I might even make another one.  We now have a grandkitten.  I am wondering if she would like a braided yarn ball...?

Here is a video of the completed ball:

Friday, December 14, 2012

Selbu Modern: FINISHED at 1:05 AM!

For more than a month I have been knitting furiously on Christmas mittens (nine pairs) and one hat.  Just now I have finished the knitting and weaving in of ends and have put the hat to block on a plate.  To me it looks beautiful.  I think G will like is.  She knits and will recognize the effort and love that went into it.  Don't get me wrong...the mittens are also filled with loving stitches, but they are much more pedantic, though enjoyable to knit.  As soon as the hat is dry, I will mail off the western packages...well, as soon as I find the one missing mitten...hopefully on Saturday.

Here is a picture of (both sides)  Selbu Modern in green and blue Baby Ull yarn which I purchased at Country Woolens in Lebanon, NH, a thoroughly wonderful shop run by a great lady:

The crown of the hat worked out beautifully---62 rounds of pattern stitches.   Lots of ripping out and re-knitting when I was visiting with people!

Notice that the cast-on round was done in contrasting color.  It makes a huge difference...at least to me!

Now, on to the next projects...

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Great Family History Food News!

Today after washing yet another sink of dishes (I am so grateful to have a sink, running hot and cold water, and dishes to dirty with plenty of good nourishing food) I started thinking again about what I was going to make for treats for the young people's meeting that will take place here tomorrow night. 

First I thought I would make Ooey Gooey Chewy Cookie bars and Apple Streusel Bars which I made as a template for the family dinner yesterday.  They were okay but not stunning by any means.  I base that assessment on the fact that there are still quite a few cookies in the clear treat container...

My next thought was to make some pumpkin cheesecake bars but thought people might have had enough pumpkin pies on Thanksgiving.

The next idea was to make four toll house pies, but I did not have enough shortening for the crusts and I did not want to use up all the butter in the house on pie crust, so...

Finally I decided to make brownies and chocolate chip bars. Easy and tasty and usually very popular with kids.  Of course, I just purchased orange soda and cranberry juice for punch, which will have to do as I did not get enough milk for 30 plus or minus people.

ANYWAY,  when I went to my recipe box, I found a treasured recipe from my mother, in her own handwriting.  It is for Peanut Butter Cookies.  I am almost certain this is the same recipe my grandmother (Mary Marjorie Read McIntosh) made for us called CrissCross cookies.  I will be making it soon and posting the recipe to Grammie's Kitchen and Goodnight Stories.  I am so excited to have found the recipe again!

When I have more time I will reference all the recipes mentioned in this post as online storage is a great thing!  Readily available any time and any place...as long as internet is available.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving Morning!

So...last night was a good thing, and now this morning is even better!

The stuffed turkey, which I put in the oven around 2 AM at 300 degrees instead of the 325 degrees called for, finished cooking at 10:30...at least the pop-up thermometer indicated it was cooked, so I pulled our instant-read thermometer probe from the pantry and checked--just under 180 degrees.  Since the package said to roast until 165 degrees, I shut off the oven, then, after putting hot pads down, moved the roaster pan to the marble slab.  Looks good enough to eat.

A few minutes later I checked the stuffing (that I had been worried about last night) and found that it tastes really quite yummy...though the texture might be a little slimy for some palates.  I have not compunction about eating some things that are a tad slimy, though I cannot think of any others at this moment...!  I think people who like stuffing will be able to stomach it.

As far as the other stuff, now at 10:47:  the smoked roasted sweet potatoes have been brought up to temperature so they were able to be whipped with butter, cream and freshly-ground black pepper and put in an oven-safe bowl for final heating at mealtime; the regular green bean casserole has been put in its casserole and is ready for its 30 minutes at 350 degrees; the from-scratch green bean casserole is in the refrigerator waiting for its 20 minutes in the oven;  the holiday scalloped potatoes are in the heavy red-enameled Dutch oven ready for their last 20 minutes on top of the stove to bring up to temperature (note to self:must be VERY WATCHFUL about that heat-up project!); the red potatoes have been washed, chopped, and put in the Dutch oven for cooking when the people arrive; ALL the dishes in the house are clean, though many of them are on the counter waiting to be dried and put away; and the table has been emptied (mostly) and dear one has washed the glass so it is shining and the house smells like turkey and clean.

Things that have not been done:  there is a smallish pile of my stuff at the end of the shiny clean table to be relocated and there is a good-sized pile of books and other important stuff on the swamp oak hope chest which sits behind the green couch in the runway between dining room and living room. I do need to take care of them, as well as the two loads of clean clothes that have just finished cycling through the machines.

Happy note!  Dear one told me our Mr. Cardinal is back in town!  He was on the ground eating sunflower seeds dropped by the chickadees, nuthatches, and a lovely gray crested bird whose name I must find in our bird book.  He is so beautiful.  Wait!  Mr. Cardinal is back!  This time he is on the feed on the porch! YAY!  I have such warm feelings for those cardinals.  Well, the chickadees, too, the phoebes, well...I love them all, though I am a bit less enamored of the loud scary bluejays, and further down the scale of bird love comes the red squirrels who rob the feeders and scare away the other birds...but as A says,  squirrels need to eat, too, so we have a truce.  Most of the time!

Have a happy day with family and friends.  We surely shall.

The Turkey is In....

the oven, that is!  When I went to bed last night I set the alarm clock on dear one's TracFone to ring at 3:30 AM but since I awoke at 12:44 AM I arose, made the stuffing (i.e. sauteed the onions and celery, produced some chicken broth, melted the butter, etc), stuffed the bird (quite large this year--27 pounds), and finally just now have placed the whole caboodle into the oven at 300 degrees.  We will see it that turns out to have been a good idea.

Things that went wrong:  1. the heavy foil pan for the bird that I bought at the Dollar Store was just slightly too big to set perfectly into the roaster pan (I had thought putting that inside the roaster pan would make it easier to take the bird OUT of the roaster pan when cooked...) and one side went down first; 2. the chicken broth I reconstituted from water and chicken base was a cup or two over the amount actually needed for the amount of dried bread I had made for the stuffing so the stuffing was quite sloppy; 3.  there were about two cups or a little more stuffing for the bird's cavities which may have unpleasant repercussions smoke alarm-wise...it would be rather unpleasant to be finally sleeping soundly again and to have the alarm scream us awake; 4.  after putting the too-much, too-sloppy stuffing into the bird I discovered the melted butter still in the skillet, so I poured it over the top of the turkey and smeared it all over the outside; and 5. as I am sitting here typing I remembered that I had not put the foil tent over the turkey to keep it from turning 'chocolate-y' before it cooks.  I had better remedy that while I am thinking of it.

Okay!  That is fixed...now we will see (around 11 AM if our oven timing works) if that did the job.  I have to remember to take the foil OFF around 10:00 or 10:30.

Things left to do...make mashed and scalloped potatoes, cut the celery sticks for dipping into French onion dip (1 packet dried Lipton's onion soup mixed into 2 cups sour cream and left overnight, or at least two hours, in the refrigerator), heating the smoked (by J in his wonderful homemade smoker) roasted sweet potatoes then mashing with butter and cream and put into casserole to pop into the oven so they will be served hot, potentially make some creamed onions (which I am the only one who loves them, but don't need them so...), make up the green bean casserole ( and try out a homemade-with-real-onions-and-sauteed-mushrooms green bean casserole), finely dice half a green bell pepper to mix with the frozen sweet corn to perk it up just a bit and add some color, and then the last of the kitchen wash-up.

Oh, and set the table and rinse out the punch bowl for the orange/cranberry punch ( one 2- or 3-liter bottle orange soda pop mixed with 1 64-ounce bottle of 100% juice cranberry juice poured over an orange juice ice ring into the punchbowl.  Always VERY well received, and so easy as to be laughable.  A is bringing the juice since I failed to purchase it.

Now I can go back to bed and sleep unconcerned about the day and meal ahead because it is very do-able during the morning since guests will not be arriving until after the baby's morning nap...and I have totally decided not to stress about the condition of the house.  It looks better than it does sometimes, and no worse than can be expected when the homemaker is often out and about instead of home with nose to grindstone where nose should be.

So many things for which to be grateful, most notably: family and friends and understanding of my place in the eternal scheme of things.  I thank our dear Father for them all and acknowledge His blessing hand in our lives.

Happy Thanksgiving to all who may read this post, whenever that may be.  Gratitude feels so good that I hope you will choose to have that goodness in your own life.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Grandchildren are the BEST!

Yesterday I was scheduled to take care of two of our grandchildren while their mom had an appointment.  Because they were going from one appointment to another, I met them at the second appointment.  The baby had fallen asleep so I stayed in the car with the kids.  L had a LOT on her mind and jabbered in great shape the entire time.

We had a great time.  L told me it was ok for me to talk in a loud voice because baby brother would stay asleep even if I did not whisper.  Well, he did for ten or fifteen minutes then woke up with a start and a smile.

L requested that I read a few of her books, which I did, then asked me to read some of the baby's books.  At that point she must have felt some rumblings in her belly because she asked for her Cheezits.  We looked in her backpack and I pulled out a bag of Wheat Thins.  No way!  She wanted her Cheezits and those were not Cheezits...so, being the nice grammie that I try to be, I started searching on the floor, under the seats, etc, then went around to the other side of the car and opened both doors to look there.  Finally I picked up their mom's gray Time-Out-For-Women bag and there were the Cheezits safely in the bag. L was VERY happy and thought I was a wonderful grammie.

As we were talking, I was knitting on a two-color hat for G.  L knew I was knitting and told me she wanted a hat with pink hearts on it, and could I make one, please?  THEN she said baby brother had a nice warm jacket but he needed a hat and mittens, too, and could I make them for him.  He wanted a green and black and orange hat.  Well, maybe not black, but green and orange would be great, and maybe purple...!  Well, we shall see.  I am pretty sure I have a ball of Paton's Classic Wool in a variegated scheme that has green and purple and orange so...

A Less-than-Agreeable Start

Today was another day...beautiful sunshine, quite cold out, but glorious.  Usually I ease into the day but today I popped out of bed, threw on a house-dress and went out to start the day (mainly because I had left so many kitchen things undone last night.  Dear one mentioned that our birds were disappointed. Blamm!  I had totally forgotten I was going to re-fill the feeder before bed since they are hungry as soon as dawn breaks...so I quickly filled the feeder, spilling only a few dozen seeds in the closet at the same time...and as soon as I replaced the feeder on its bracket along came some chickadees and a bluejay.  So nice to see them back.  I would be so sad if they gave up on my inconsistently filling their feeder and moved off to the neighbors.

This week so far I was out six hours both Monday and Tuesday and today I am so glad to be home, didn't get out of bed until 7:30 (up for quite a while at 2 AM, though) and went right to work instead of earlier mentioned easing into the day.  Have now filled the dishwasher after breakfast, sliced bread that I made on Monday so you know it could be better than it is, but put it into the freezer...will make great toast, then emptied all the compost from the refrigerator. I am sure you never have  furry friends in the refrigerator, but unfortunately I do.

It always makes me crabby to waste that food, which then makes me crabby that my clientele would not eat up the food when it was fresh, which THEN makes me crabbier still that I made more food than we would eat in one meal.  Vicious circle...just because I wanted to clean the kitchen totally today...!  R-r-r-r-r!  So I am sitting at the computer trying to calm down, which is why there have been several posts in a row today!

While getting ready to go to the upper regions (where the computer is, as well as my workroom) I remembered I had purchased some upholstery tacks yesterday so I could try using tacks and my tack hammer to complete the re-upholstery of the chair I started in June.  I had tried using the electric stapler to put on the welting and the cardboard strip to make it firm.  COULD NOT DO IT!!  The staples would only go partway in. I tried laying the chair on its side and really leaning into the stapler when ejecting the staple but that did not work either.  I sent out an email to see if anyone had a pneumatic staple gun with a narrow nose (there are some on Amazon for about $100, though the one I would really like is $250) that could be used.  Mike Amsden in West Rutland posted some wonderful YouTube videos on re-upholstering a wing back chair, which is what I have -three of them, in fact--to re-do)  but no one had one available, SO I thought I would go back to the tacks and hammer.  Well, I have the tacks, but the hammer seems to have disappeared.

On my trip to the cellar to try to find the tack hammer my eyes glanced out at the wall unit and I saw glass pie plates I thought I had given away.  YAY!  I need those. I want to make some quiche for lunch with some nearly-compost spinach.  Maybe I should close up shop on this complaining post and get to work on lunch.  I DO like quiche so lunch will be better than breakfast, for sure!

Lesson Learned From Yesterday

So, still on the healthy-eating kick today even after yesterday's disaster, I decided to try again with the apple/oatmeal.  This time I put the water into the pan along with the two chopped apples and let the water come to a boil.  When boiling I put the cover on and set the timer for 3 minutes.  At 3 minutes I stirred in the pinch of coarse sea salt and one cup of old fashioned oatmeal and stirred it well.  I did NOT put the cover back on but set the timer for 3 minutes and stood there stirring with a wooden spoon until the timer went off, then spooned into our bowls, after topping with a tablespoon of chopped walnuts in each bowl, and put them on the table.  Unfortunately, I was the only one ready for breakfast at that time.  Forty-five minutes later we sat down to eat.  Ick-er-ino!!

So...the lesson is, while a watched pot never seems to boil, it also won't burn, so STAY IN THE KITCHEN WHILE COOKING ANYTHING YOU REALLY WANT TO EAT!  Though I am really not at all fond of cooked oatmeal.  I remember the days of my youth when my mother made us sit at the table until we finished our breakfasts...even my sister who used to bark up something in the hopes that she could be excused...

Scorched, again!

Do you ever wake up in the morning and almost immediately know it is going to be a bad day?  Well, I did yesterday, and it has spilled over into today.

On Monday night I had decided to try going the healthier-eating-route....yet again, so when I got ready to make breakfast yesterday I made apples and oatmeal cereal.  Now you would probably think this was not a problem, but for me it was.  I put 2 cups of water in the saucepan along with two cored and finely chopped skin-on apples (Honey Crisps this time) and put the cover on to let them come to a boil.  When they were boiling I put in a small pinch of coarse sea salt, an eighth teaspoon of apple pie spice (which I had made from a recipe on the internet last week), and one cup of old fashioned oatmeal.  I gave it a stir and put the cover on for it to come back to a simmer.

The phone rang and I ran to answer it.  It was someone who needed something from my computer so I went upstairs to get the file and emailed to her.  While there I noticed a few messages I really needed to address, so I did.

All of a sudden I remembered our breakfast and raced down the stairs (picture that one!) to pull the pot off the stove.  The top three-quarters of the cereal looked fine so I served the very top 'layer' to dear one and took the next bit for myself.  Served with chopped walnuts, brown sugar, and milk, it was not bad, but dear one mentioned the scorched taste.  Now I really object to that!!  How can he possibly know it was scorched because there was not a bit of off-colored bits in his bowl, PLUS he cannot smell worth a fig, AND he was not in the kitchen when this was taking place...

So the pan had to go into the sink for a good soak before scraping it out and washing it with a stainless steel scratcher.

The day did not improve.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Colorful Baby Surprise Jacket done!

Just a quick note today to show the resulting Baby Surprise Jacket which I started years ago using Lion Brand Microspun yarn.  I had nothing but trouble with the yarn splitting and other things so I put pattern, yarn, needles, and started project away in my "knitting trunk".

A month or so ago I pulled said project out in preparation for taking a class at Country Woolens in Lebanon, NH on the Adult Surprise Jacket. I thought making a little one first might make the gigantic one easier.  We shall see. I have now knit two Baby Surprise Jackets:  one in the microspun yarn with size 5 needles which makes a sweater for an actual baby, and a second one using Bartlettyarn from Hilda Yates' farm sheep using size 8 needles with a gauge of about 3.5 stitches per inch and 3 (or maybe 4, I don't have the sweater and my tape measure nearby...) ridges per inch.

Here is the first, what I call colorful, Baby Surprise Jacket finished and ready to put in the mail.  It was originally started for one baby, who now has had a second sibling born for a family of three children.  I am thinking that if the newest baby has already outgrown the sweater that perhaps the big sister can use if for a large doll that she might have.

Colorful Baby Surprise Jacket finished October 2012
If you like this sweater, which is knit all in one piece in garter stitch and has two seams, you can find it at Schoolhouse Press, where they have a pattern for baby to child to adult sizes.  If you choose to purchase and knit this pattern, you will have fun.  It knits up pretty fast, too.  For me, it took several evenings to complete the knitting.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Baby Surprise Jacket 2, main knitting completed

This morning I was up early, not cooking this time, but knitting along on L's Baby Surprise Jacket.  Dear one came upstairs to join me (showing me the fine points of Roku operation, thank goodness, so now I can knit while enjoying media...in this case a family history podcast then some wonderful scriptural conversations on BYU-TV) which encouraged me to keep on knitting until I had finished the major knitting of the sweater and then did the purl bind-off.  On the first Baby Surprise Jacket I knit up I used the regular knitted bind-off. I will have to notice which I prefer.

Today I will hope to get all the ends woven in ready to try it on L tomorrow and see what I may need to do with the sleeve length.  I think she will want a little more length but not sure.  I will then go see Debbie at Country Woolens for some suggestions as to the best, most attractive way to do the sleeve lengthening.  I have some ideas but why re-invent the wheel when it is unnecessary.

Baby Surprise Jacket laid flat to see the weirdness of its appearance 'before'

See the yarn ends waiting for weaving in?!
Baby Surprise Jacket folded before yarn ends woven in.

Breakfast was sort of interesting today.  It was scheduled to be oatmeal. In the interest of making it more fun to eat I cored an apple then finely sliced/chopped it and threw it into 2 cups of boiling water to start cooking.  A couple minutes later I added one cup of old-fashioned oatmeal and cooked until done.  Two days ago I had made some applesauce (cored but not peeled then cooked the apples that were beginning to be less crunchy) by putting it into the Cuisinart when they were completely cooled then pureeing in great shape. I had thrown in three handfuls of sugar, but found that the applesauce was disgustingly sweet and very baby-food-like.  Really too nasty to eat, SO I took a cup of it and put it into the oatmeal/apple mush and stirred well, then tossed in a couple tablespoons of chopped walnuts.  It was pretty good!  Enough sweetener so no more sugar was needed and enough nutrition to feel virtuous, plus the added bonus that a cup of oatmeal mush for breakfast really holds you over well until lunchtime...unlike some breakfasts which leave you wanting more within an hour or so.

Another thing I made for my breakfast (as opposed to 'our' breakfast) was some miso soup.  This stuff looks like dishwater so you really cannot look at it, but it tastes nice,  is filling, since it is mostly water, and is cheap to make.  Simple:  bring 3 cups water to boil, stir in one teaspoon Hon-Dashi then put a little strainer into the pan with 1-2 Tablespoons of miso paste and stir it in through the strainer.  Add some chopped scallions and pour it into your mug to sip.  Very satisfying and comforting.  If you want to go a little more authentic,  you can add some wakame (seaweed) to the boiling water.  I did that the first time and went a little overboard.  Next time I will crumble up the wakame AND not put in as much. It is not really nasty but it takes some getting used to.  I think perhaps chopped fresh spinach might give you the same idea.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Book Group and Apple Pie Jam

Book Group is an important part of my life.  I don't always get there.  I don't always get the book read even when I do get there.  What I do always do is love being with the sisters who are there, whether I am there in person or in spirit.  Each time the hostess has some sort of refreshments to enjoy after the discussion.

In September the book was Still Alice.  This book was very difficult for many of the ladies as some have or had family members with Alzheimer's disease, or find themselves forgetting things and imagine the same disease becoming part of their own lives.

Being one of the latter ones, I dissolved in tears too many times, but did love the discussion and the sweet sharing that took place throughout the evening.  When it came time for refreshments, Melissa had put out a fabulous spread of comfort foods, like lighter-than-air crescent rolls, cornmeal muffins, poppyseed muffins, and a variety of toppings for them including the best honey butter you ever slathered on bread, fresh strawberry jam, rich dark apple butter, and the apple pie jam I brought.  (I brought something else to put the apple pie jam on, but cannot for the life of me remember what it was--note comment above--and figure it was probably not that spectacular if I cannot remember...). 

The jam is like thick quite sweet applesauce. 

How to Succeed Feeding Young People Early in the Morning..

Yesterday dear one told me he had found a recipe for cinnamon buns.  Online.  And handed me the recipe. It looked really good and was a knock-off of CinnaBon's classic cinnamon buns.  Dear one was hoping I would make them for a Monday morning treat for Seminary, and, of course, for himself, who loves all things baked.  Well, not millet loaf, but...!  So, I looked through the recipe and discovered two essential ingredients did not happen to currently reside in our refrigerator, so, not a Sunday shopper, I had to pass on that recipe but DID find another overnight cinnamon bun recipe.

This is what they looked like thirty minutes ago after I took them out of the oven, glazed them, and plated them:
Overnight cinnamon buns, plated...with three more still on pan...

This is what these buns looks like now:

It is a good thing they helped themselves because they will not be as good tomorrow!  When I told the kids I was going to put out a "rating system" paper, they immediately told me these were "11".  That made me happy.  Particularly since many of the things would rate about 1, or less...!

Millet Loaf, Take One!

Barb, a friend from Maine, goes to Parkview's Lifestyle Choices program.  Before she went to the program this fall she was regaling us with how wonderful it was, how much she learned, and how many great vegan recipes the program binder contained.  Since she knew I was trying to improve our eating, and thereby, my health, she very kindly sent me one of her binders.  What an angel!!

So many wonderful-sounding recipes.  The first one I made was a pot of millet porridge.  Well, I did not actually use it as porridge.  I took a bowl of the cooked millet and inadvertently put it into a bowl that had a little butter in the bottom.  With butter in it, I thought, "Why not put a little salt and pepper on top?"  Well, it was very nice...so the second time I ate millet I ate it the same way.  Another time I think I will put chipotle seasoning on.

The first way I used millet in a recipe was Millet Loaf.  My recipe is sort of like the one in the Lifestyle binder but enough different that I feel confident sharing it.

Millet loaf ready for the refrigerator.
To eat this loaf, I sliced a thin piece, put a little mayonnaise on a slice of whole wheat batter bread, and ate it as a sandwich. It was really good!  Surprisingly good.

The next slice I ate I decided to dispense with the mayonnaise (not because it wasn't good...it really was...but I don't need that much fat.  Don't know where I got the will power to avoid that devil mayonnaise that time, but I am happy about it!) and instead I put the slice of millet loaf on a small plate and covered it with cottage cheese and sprinkled on a lot of chipotle seasoning.  Now, THAT was REALLY good!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Baby Surpise Jacket, One, or maybe Two...

Elizabeth Zimmermann is a wonderful fabulous woman and knitter.  She has inspired thousands and thousands of women to knit, one of whom is me. I  had already started knitting but when I read her book, Knitting Without Tears, I fell in love with Elizabeth, and with knitting all over again!  Since then I have acquired all but one of her books and several DVDs which she did with her wonderful fabulous daughter, Meg Swansen, and continue to be inspired by them on a regular basis.

When my friend Laura was expecting her first baby (little Freya) I decided I wanted to knit up a Baby Surprise Jacket because I wanted a challenge and felt sure I could follow the directions and do it.  Another friend suggested I get the Lion Brand Microspun yarn because it was "awesomely soft"...so I purchased six or seven colors and started in on BSJ.  WELL, that darn yarn WAS soft;  it was also very split-y.  It drove me crazy and eventually I stopped altogether and threw the whole project in my knitting project trunk (which I got from my Grandmother Corwin!!--well, from her estate, anyway...) and felt sad that I had not made a gift for Freya.

Fast forward to this fall when I received a flyer about fall classes at the Country Woolens yarn shop in Lebanon.  There, among many other lovely sounding  classes, was a class for the Adult Surprise Jacket!  I flew down to the shop to look at Debbie's sample.  Oh. My. Goodness!  It was just what I wanted, and in the yarn I wanted to use:  Hilda Yates' Bartlettyarn.  I already had half a dozen colors but knew I just had to go to Hilda's yarn sale weekend again this year with a plan!  AND Hilda's yarn sale weekend is coming up NEXT WEEKEND!!! Perfect timing, Debbie!  Perfect timing, Hilda!

SO, up to the workroom I went to see if I did really have the previously started and yanked out BSJ.  There it was, so I sat down and went to work.  I had no trouble at all and in about three evenings I finished knitting it up.  It looks nothing like a sweater until you fold it:

The red strip is the cast-on edge of this BSJ and the purple/yellow strip with holes at the right and left is the buttonhole/button band in the front of the sweater.
For some reason I had NO TROUBLE with splitting stitches this time.  Perhaps it is all the knitting I have done since the sweater went on vacation in Great-Great Grammie's trunk!  Be that as it may, the sweater knit up really fast:  knit every stitch with a few decrease rows and a few increase rows.

Here is the BSJ folded and ready for the seam...
OK, well, rotating the photo is not my strong suit, but I think you can easily see this is a great little sweater.
Last Monday J and A and family were here for supper and the evening...such a treat as they have not been here for ages and ages...and when I showed the sweater to A, she thought it would be great if I made one of those for L, for whom I had already planned a sweater, though my original thought for L's yellow sweater (to use up some yellow Bartlettyarn I had) was to knit it on my Bond America Incredible Sweater Machine.  WELL, the idea of hand knitting a BSJ for L really hit the spot with me because not only would I get her a sweater made, it would be a giant gauge swatch for my Adult Surprise Jacket which I will be knitting in class in November and December!  Done!!!  Cast on immediately!

Well, I did cast on immediately and on two long trips I did a fair amount of knitting.  Today after Church I did another four garter ridges and have now started the increases....not quite half-way done. I hope to finish this week, though it is a pretty busy week.

This is the beginning of L's Baby Surprise:
As you can see..yellow was the cast on row and every time there is a change in pattern instructions I have used yellow, since this is supposed to be a yellow sweater, BUT  "I like pink and purple, too, Grammie!"
At Church I measured L (for the first time) to see if there was the remotest possibility that this sweater would fit.  I do think it will happen.  Last Thursday I sent an email to Schoolhouse Press to ask about sizing with worsted weight yarn and size 8 needles with 3.5 stitches per inch gauge and CULLY wrote me back.  CULLY who was the recipient of the very first Baby Surprise Jacket ever knit by Elizabeth Zimmermann!  It was so lovely of him to take the time himself to write back.  He gave me the information I needed plus some wonderful advice.  I am so grateful.  It is making my mind much easier.

Well, the cinnamon buns are now on the 2-hour rest so I will move to the upper regions where I will sit beside my love and knit on L's BSJ for a while.  I will postpone kitchen cleaning until later!

New Purse-Simplicity Pattern

In the middle of everything, I wanted a new hands-free purse.  Simplicity has a pattern which I had purchased some time ago.  A kind person on Freecycle gave me two bags of fabric scraps a month or more ago in which was a lovely piece of tapestry upholstery fabric.  I thought the two should be married.

WELL, it was not all hunky-dory but I did get a purse made.  Here is a badly-Photoshopped picture of the completed project:

The brown is where I was trying to knock out the public restroom where I took the photo.  For some reason, without doing any funny stuff, well, except the magic wand tool used erroneously, there was brown all over the front of the purse and my skirt.  Oh, well, I think you can see the purse.

A little tip:  multiple layers of upholstery tapestry make for a VERY thick fabric.  Thank goodness I did not listen to the directions and put on the fusible fleece layer, too!

You cannot tell but there are two pockets on the front (you CAN see the little velcro strip on the right side which is for the iPod pocket, but I use a nice thick little case for my iPod so, while the encased iPod fits in the pocket, I cannot velcro it shut...so I tuck in the flap around the iPod.

On the left is a nice cell phone pocket, which works really great, except that I may be cell-phone-less pretty soon, unless the TracFone people come through.  The nice TracFone I purchased (and received) last week is one with a nice sliding QWERTY keyboard, a 2.0 mp camera, etc, PLUS a SIM card, whatever that is, and TracFones with SIM cards do NOT work in my neighborhood, unless I go outdoors (which is what the nice TracFone customer service representative told me....no SIM card phones work inside houses in our area--which is one-half mile from a cell tower...figure that one out!), and outdoors anywhere near our house there is no signal at all, either!  Of course, I did not walk down to the end of the driveway, or out to the road, because somehow that sort of takes away the joy of a cell phone.

TracFone is kindly sending me a refurbished cell phone which is supposedly in transit now.  I will be sending back the semi-expensive phone we purchased last week, for sure!  I wonder what the phone will have for attractions.  I told them I wanted the sliding keyboard (because I am old and not great at text messaging...but want to do it!!) but could live without the better camera, since I have a digital camera that goes with me everywhere.

OK...this post has gotten way out of control!  Time to call it a day on this one!

One (or two) last note on the new purse, because I did not have a magnetic closure devise in the first place, and in the second place, because the fabric was too thick to make it work,  AND because I don't do well with open purses, I made a little zippered bag to hold all the stuff that was going to be in the purse part and not in all the pockets.

By the way,  notice the cool zipper pocket in the strap...perfect place for money clip and credit cards...really tough for a thief to grab them...also, the black vertical strip between the cell phone and iPod pockets is a zipper for a pocket behind those pockets, PLUS there is another zippered pocket inside where I carry the camera and charger.  I love this purse.

One drawback with the purse is that the purse itself is heavy, then adding camera, phone, iPod, chargers, handkerchief, etc makes if VERY heavy on my shoulder. I may become stoop-shouldered!  If you see me wearing the back, remind me to stand up straight!

One other (and really the last thing I am going to say..)cool thing about the purse...I wear it in front of my belly like a belly pack when I am walking around (think security!) but when I am driving, I can just slide it to the left side so I can slide behind the wheel, something which would be impossible with the purse-as-belly-pack routine.  It must add at least a foot to my already considerable girth.

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Fabulous New Recipe!!! In the middle of pickling...

This morning I got up early enough so that by 10 AM I had finished canning the tomatoes that I started yesterday; cooked and processed the last batch of bread and butter pickles; and got the last of the zucchinis prepared for Easy Zucchini Relish.

At one point I went to my computer to check email and there was a message about a blog post from Melanie at Mel's Kitchen Cafe.  This one was about chicken pita bread sandwiches but a ways down in her message she referenced Soft Wrap Bread.  I followed the link and thought I should add this recipe to the day's activities!

That was a VERY GOOD idea!  The bread is wonderful just plain.  Bob ate three of them while they were still warm.  I ate one as a yummy sandwich with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, new bread and butter pickles, sliced turkey, and honey mustard.  One was enough but I had already torn off some edges which were a tad too "chocolate-y" for giving someone else to eat.  I put butter on my burned edges.  Just the best, even slightly burned.

It was a nice change from pickling.  Now we are down to only green tomatoes left on the porch to pickle. I have a mind to make a hot dog relish recipe but have to purchase peppers and onions to make it work.  If I was not afraid they would spoil, I might just leave them to ripen and use in tomato sauce...

A lovely pile of soft flatbread.  The top one has had an edge torn off, as you can see..
Happy day!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Piccalilli Relish

It has been another busy week!  Watching the local grandchildren two mornings was such a joy.  Some funny times, but sadly, I did not write them down so they are lost...memories of fun, though.
Bags and BAGS of cucumbers, zucchini, and green tomatoes!

On Wednesday our friends, the Foggs, gave us TONS of produce to turn into pickles and relish. You can see all the bags lined up on the porch where we are storing them in an effort to keep the fruit flies at bay.  (Sadly, that did not work...there was a banana peel left in the kitchen while we were away for two days.  Rats.)

Finally today  I got to the first batch.  Piccalilli relish is what I made.  It is 9:23 PM on my computer clock and I believe I just heard the 7th jar ping!  Bob has just walked by and said it was cool everywhere else in the house but hot out here in the kitchen/dining room.  Huh.  Wonder why.  I am broiling myself. I should probably go stand on the porch to cool off before going to bed.  Usually he is the hot one...

Seven quarts of piccalilli relish, first canning of 2012

Friday, August 10, 2012

Another doll blanket

Leah wants a doll blanket.  She has many babies that need blankets.  She wants a purple blanket.  This is the blanket I knit on the Bond Incredible Sweater Machine, then picked up and knit on a garter stitch border.

Knit on Bond, picked up and knit garter border...

Better detail on the icky picked-up-and-knit stitches
Things I learned while knitting on the border:  the live stitches from the Bond are much prettier to knit from than the edge stitches where your have to pick up and knit the garter ridges;  the picked up stitches, besides not being pretty, can throw off my garter ridges' appearance,  it is possible, when using up scraps ends of yarn to totally make nasty the garter stitch border.  Perhaps Leah will not notice, but I know I will have to make another blanket and do it better.  You can see along the right side of the photo above the picked-up-and-knit stitches.  Totally not nice.  I do hope Leah will be happy enough for her babies to have a blanket all their own and not borrowed from Leah's little brother that it won't matter that it is awful.  The next one will be better....

First Doll Blankets on the Bond and Sawtooth edging pattern

Several weeks ago a very kind gentleman offered a grill on FREECYCLE.  When we went out to pick it up, he had decided to keep his old grill (the one he originally offered us) because the newer one he was using to replace his old one turned out to be missing a part.  He thought we would be able to find the necessary parts at Home Depot.  (Turns out he was right, and we have a lovely grill now for the first time ever....just in time for a dinner we were having here...)

While we are at his house his two darling little daughters came out to chat with us and watch us.  They reminded me so much of Taylor and Addison both is looks and personality that I decided to do a little knitting for them.  The little one was holding a doll very tightly to her and the older one had a bigger doll whose name she told us, but which I forgot almost immediately...so what to do by make blankets for the dolls!

Eyelet lace around the edge, knit on Bond Incredible Sweater Machine, KP3
Knit on Bond, hand-knit sawtooth border
Using the Bond Incredible Sweater Machine I cast on 70 stitched and knitted 100 rows, I seem to remember.  The first one I did a minor lace eyelet pattern around the edge.   I then hand-knit on a garter stitch border.   For the second one I knitted it on the Bond as well, but made it totally plain then added a sawtooth edge border with dark purple yarn.

To make the sawtooth edging, after finishing and binding off the blanket, on another set of needles:

Cast on 4 stitches.
Row 1: Knit 4, pick up and knit one stitch from edge of blanket. Turn.
Row 2:  SSK, YO, K3, Turn.
Row  3, 5, 7 knit to end of row, then pick up and knit one stitch from edge of blanket.  Turn.
Row 4:  SSK, YO, K4, Turn.
Row 6:  SSK, YO, K5, Turn.
Row 8:  SSK, YO, K6, Turn.
Row 9:  Bind off 4 sts, knit to end of row, pick up and knit one stitch from edge of blanket and continue on in this pattern until you go completely around the blanket.  At corners, adjust by adding a few more stitches in the corner stitch.

Several Cast-off/Bind-offs

This week I have been working on some samples for Joann Fabrics and Crafts as a potential instructor.  So far no one has signed up for the classes I have been assigned so Joann's is way ahead of me financially!

The Ladder Drop Stitch block AFTER the Jenny Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-off.  Can you tell which is bind-off edge?
The items I have knit are an easy knit cap/watch cap which is knit flat then seamed up the back,  a honeycomb stitch of the month block and a ladder drop stitch block of the month/stitch of the month.
FRONT of the Ladder Drop Stitch of the Month block!
 The cap was quick and easy.  The honeycomb took quite the most amount of time.  The ladder drop stitch was quick and easy once the learning curve was over.

Honeycomb Stitch block with previous ugly bind-off.
When doing the bind-off for both the stitch of the month blocks I was quite dissatisfied with the results.  At Elsie's yesterday, and via email today,  she made some suggestions for improving the look and function of the blocks...SO...I pulled out the cast-offs of both blocks and tried the Estonian Bind-off.  That was pretty good but not  perfect.  I then tried Lucy Neatby's Modified Conventional Bind-off.  That was also quite nice but also not perfect for these applications....SO...I went to YouTube and found Jenny's Surprisingly Stretchy Bind-off as done by Cat Bordhi.  Bingo!  It was fabulous for the Ladder Drop Stitch block.  It was almost as good for the Honeycomb Stitch block.
Honeycomb stitch block AFTER new bind-off.  Much better but still not perfect.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Wingback Chair Saga Continues

It has been a couple of weeks since I did any work on the first wingback chair re-upholstery project.  Yesterday I took two pictures of it to show an in-progress.

Inner part of chair mostly done with piping materials waiting to be used and the original cushion in the seat.

There are many pieces involved in re-upholstering a wingback chair.  I am enjoying doing this and give acclamation and appreciation to Mike Amsden of MJ Amsden Furniture of West Rutland, Vermont for putting a fabulous series of video tutorials up on YouTube.  The print tutorials I found on the net were great but his videos were FABULOUS.  He would be the man I would hire if I ever had a precious chair to do.

Wingback chair with the deck, inner arms, inner wings, and inner back mostly done.
This is an enjoyable project and one I can hardly wait to finish.  Maybe next week!  I have to make the piping and sew it on next.  That is going to be a project!  To make it easier,  I would love a pneumatic staple gun such as Mike Amsden uses, however he has told me the one he uses is around $250.  Probably won't happen.

The Spiders

When I was a girl on the farm I had two brothers that bracketed me age-wish.  They were very active and creative boys.  On more than one occasion I was sucker enough to have been caught by them and tied up with hay string in the calf barn, which was upstairs in the cow stable next to hay mow.  It was a very bad thing which caused lifelong phobias with which I still struggle.  If you know anything about barns in the country, at least the barns on Jigger Hill, you will know that barns are homes of barn spiders.  They are big, fat, ugly, gray things and they move VERY fast in their webs. I was stuck next to them and could not move.  It was so traumatic that I cannot remember how I ever escaped, but, well, I must have because I am now into older age.

Anyway, so I have a great horror of spiders.  Every year or so I try to talk myself into coming to grips with spiders, and other awful things, and begin to look at them as if they are part of God's beautiful creations.  This summer was no different.  Bob moves hornets, moths, and other things, like spiders, if he can back to the outdoors where they belong.  If they are in the house I take a broom to them, if I can bring myself that close.

Well, this summer we had TWO HUGE UGLY SPIDERS on the front porch, just outside the front door.  Outdoors I tell the awful creatures that they can have their space if they let me have mine, so when I looked out the door and found them sitting there, I would make a lot of noise, and stomp my feet on the porch. Well, that is enough to scare anyone and it did it for the spiders.  That being said, we have had a rather symbiotic relationship this summer...I gave them their space and they gave me mine.

About two weeks ago I noticed that I had not seen them for a while.  I was about to ask Bob if he knew anything about the life cycle of spiders to see if they had just died off or if perhaps they were sitting on a nest under the porch getting ready to hatch out a million more of them.  I didn't ask him fearing that he would think I had lost my mind, not a totally unreasonable thought,  but instead asked Robbie.

He had killed them!  No wonder I did not see them anymore.

No...I can hear you ask...Charlotte's Web does not do it for me. I do not think I have been able to get all the way through it even once, even with all these children and grandchildren.

And, no, I don't miss the spiders but I always check to make sure they are not there.

Also,  horror of spiders and claustrophobia are still here.

Hot for Gardening

It is July 12.  Memorial Day weekend is the traditional start of gardening when planting here in Vermont is likely to avoid frosts.  This year, again, we had an early spring and people were already eating lettuce, spinach, and other goodies by Memorial Day.  We were not.

When Bob was gone on his Appalachian Trail hike in early June I went out to the growbox to see what I could do.  There were so many weeds and so much brush coming up through the hardware cloth (or whatever it is called that is guaranteed to prevent weeds from coming up), that I could not do a thing with the garden.

Finally the stars aligned and we had tools, equipment, and personnel all in the same place at the same time and yesterday Bob roto-tilled up the grow-box.  If we were really smart we would have thrown on the Mittleider fertilizer, roto-tilled in into the soil, let the garden rest a week, then roto-tilled again, but...I just could not be that patient so out I went today in the brutal heat of mid-day after Bob left to help Ben with his house today.

Growbox rototilled and ready for PACC  5' by 30'

Last year I had a very simple tomato support system, but it failed due to the fact that Jacob Mittleider used 4 by 4 or 6 by 6 posts and we did not have the money nor did I have the expertise nor the strength to do it myself added to which I was stupidly too proud to ask for help...SO, I made my own duplicate system using PVC pipe.  It did not work, however,  I only spent about $17.00 on the parts.  What a bust.  Oh well. Live and learn.  Hopefully I have learned.

So this year I decided to use the same parts to do a different sort of tomato support system.  My thought is that it is important to put in the supports before the tomatoes go in...so I did pound these uprights in with a sledgehammer to the best of my ability.  The string support will follow later if the tomatoes make it up a few inches.

Rebar and PVC uprights from last year's disaster plus drip hose that also failed last year when I forgot to shut off the hose and drained the well dry.  Dumb.  Note attached to my pocket as I type to remember to shut off the water in another half hour.
There are actually two rows of projected produce---about 24 plum tomato plants and a row that includes zucchini squash, collards, and green onions.  Judging from the packets, there is some likelihood that the zucchini have time enough to produce a harvest before the frost.  The collards may possibly make it as well as they are supposed to be "improved in flavor after a frost".  That remains to be seen. (I fell in love with collards in North Carolina last year...even without the pork added to the cooking process.)  The green onions need 4 months to grow to harvest.  I am sure that won't happen but maybe they will be mature enough that I can bring some into the house and put them in the planter that has one benighted tomato plant in it on the porch currently.

North end of tomato row where tomatoes are planted about a foot apart and which I hope will have begun to stand upright by next Tuesday when I need to go out and put the Mittleider fertilizer on them again...twice a week.  If they are upright, I will start in with the string supports at that time. If not, I will wait until next Friday.

Having sat here at the computer for half an hour now my heart has stopped pounding like a jackhammer,  the blood has stopped shrieking through my veins, and the water has stopped dripping into my eyes. Now the heart is just thump, thump, thumping loudly, the blood is swish, swish, swishing at a somewhat breakneck speed, and the dripping has stopped and I am just soaked from the skin out.  Working this body hard in the heat of the day has repercussions!

Really I was only out there in the garden for a little over an hour and not working fast...just plodding along but  I WAS wearing my Bug Baffler which is black, and keeps the bugs at bay but is very hot.  When I came back into the house I drank a full glass of water THROUGH the Bug Baffler in about 3 seconds flat.  Since I am feeling a little headache-y and nauseous I think I will go pour in some more water and maybe eat a couple green olives then lie down.

Happy harvesting to all you gardeners who put your gardens in at the appropriate time.  One tip I am reminding myself is that before the snow flies, or certainly before the ground freezes, I want to yank up all the garden refuse, compost it, and roto-till the garden, really putting it to bed properly.

We will see...

Sunday, June 24, 2012

What a week!

 The weeks just fly by so fast.  The week was mostly spent in the temple and was wonderful, except I managed to hurt the feelings of a wonderful lady when I mentioned how much I like her beautiful hair since she has let it go to its natural silver-y white.  "How sharper than a viper's tooth" is an unthinking comment.  I am so sorry but words said cannot be un-said.  I really meant that she was beautiful just the way she was, that she was enough, and didn't need any extra help to become beautiful.  She already was.  Well, maybe I will just keep quiet in future...at least I hope I won't hurt any other person, particularly one as nice as she is.

Late during the week we agreed to host a farewell/celebration dinner for one of the original Indexer/Arbitrators before they head west for their mission.  It will be on Saturday night.  This future event will make this coming week REALLY fly if I am to get everything done that I would like to do before the friends arrive at 5:30!  I will not humiliate myself by posting my hoped-for completed tasks, but let me say that if I get them all down, mingling task completion in between visiting teaching, meeting with ILEAD mentor, attending ILEAD fall teacher orientation, defunct chainsaw pick-up, knitting class at Joann Fabrics and Crafts, and multiple other items...by the time the dinner happens, I will probably be just this side of a basket case and may have to just lie down instead of enjoying the party. I hope not, though.

My plans for the dinner are to make the artisan bread I have posted before, some gazpacho...because there will be people to help me eat it as I don't imagine husband will even try it, and a cool noodle salad which is somewhat like Orchid's Cool Tangy Noodles.

Yesterday I started knitting on my Bond Ultimate Sweater Machine (which has been having problems ever since I bought it) to make a projected felted knitting barrel to use in the living room corner where I sit and knit when I am downstairs.  The corner is a disaster and not at all in keeping with our plan to have the main level of the house guest-ready at all times.  With this felted barrel I can shove all the projects I am currently working on into one container, and in a real pinch, actually pick it up (I am planning I-cord handles) and move it into our bedroom when knitting barrels and projects in the living room would be unacceptable.

So, I hung the cast-on rag I made from lavender yarn two weeks ago and started knitting.  The first two rows went beautifully and I breathed a prayer of relieve that the machine was finally knitting properly after so many headaches.  WELL, the very next row was nothing but trouble.  Missed stitches again and again.  I pulled them out at least three times, then stopped and took a picture. I am posting it here in case anyone reading this blog post notices and can tell me what I am doing wrong.  I also posted to the Ultimate Knitting Machine group on Facebook.  Someone will be able to help me.

We went to a glorious voice recital last night by our dear friend and sister, Elissa J.  The music was fabulous.  I closed my eyes and just reveled in the beauty of her voice and the music she presented.  Afterwards we enjoyed a reception prepared by Trisha S who had, among other things, made tiny whoopie pies with absolutely perfect filling.  Cream cheese, confectioner's sugar, butter.  How can you go wrong with those?!

On to a new week.  I hope I can share good news the next time I write.

Monday, June 18, 2012

New week, new post!

So, the AT hike concluded last Wednesday.  After a few mix-ups (mine) I picked up Bob and Al, dropped Al off in Brattleboro, and arrived home around 11 PM.  It was not 19 hours of straight driving as in the trip home from North Carolina last year but 8-plus hours was about all I could handle. I was probably asleep within minutes of arriving home.

Many of the things I wanted to get done while Bob was hiking are still undone, but I DID get all the outer covering off the wingback porch chair and the deck (seat parts) stitched together. I reviewed the MJ Amsden Furniture YouTube segment on working the deck and was reminded of something I had forgotten.  Hopefully next week I will finish that part, which is a combination of staple-taking the deck fabric to the frame just behind the arms, then hand sewing the fabric to the chair.  After that is done, then the fabric is pulled under and down and stapled.  Watching Mr. Amsden staple makes me hanker for a pneumatic staple gun!

Now a new week, our temple week, and we are back at the "temple motel" .  A funny thing happened: when we got to the motel, checked in, and were just getting back into the car to go to our room, down the road came two Canada Goose families...Father Goose with 6 or 7 pretty much grown-up babies, followed by Mother Goose (I base the gender of the guards on their size) and then along came a family of three geese behind them.  They were all just slapping their black feet on the pavement, slap, slap, slap, really going to town.  It took them no time to approach us from the far horizon then go by and head towards Margaritas.  Really funny.  Well, I guess you had to be there, but Bob and I both laughed out loud to see their slapping feet and total concentration on their road trip.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

AT Hike, Home Alone-Day Three

Awakening before 6 AM I decided to work on Cynthia's genealogy data entry.  Worked until 7:30 when I heard  a text message arrive on my phone downstairs. Yay!  A second message from my love.  All is well with the hikers again today.

This time I started the back of the cabled purse for Joann (they are having their open house from 1-3 on Saturday afternoon and I would like to get these items ready.  Perhaps that will make lots of people want to take the classes which will give me the satisfaction of helping people knit something beautiful and maybe bring in a little play money for me...

Worked on that until almost 11 when I stopped for breakfast and kitchen cleanup.  It is really satisfying to clean the counters off and get the dishes washed and have a nice clean shiny sink.  Breakfast was more of the burned-beef barley soup.  I threw in a few queen olives today.  Nice addition. I might not do it again, though.

After cleaning the kitchen and moving the marble slab to the dining room table I lowered the legs on the island/table so I could bring in the chair for re-upholstery.  When I brought the tools up from the cellar I noted that there had been moisture in the clear plastic container that held the little sharp tools.  So aggravating.  Will have to think of some smarter way to store them. I do NOT want them rusting.

This is the bottom of the chair showing the dust ruffle attachment.

Cambric bottom, chair leg detail

Cambric removed and showing the good condition of the webbing under the springs

Chair back: BEFORE

Chair back showing the beautiful blind stitching along the top welting

Chair back after fabric removed showing the cotton underneath.  I think it is in good enough shape to retain that cotton.
This chair was last re-upholstered in the days when they only used tacks.  I am going to be using staples when I do it.  This is going to be more of a job than I imagined, I think.  I forgot that I needed masking tape and a Sharpie pen to mark the parts so I can put them back on in the correct order.  I only removed the cambric bottom, the dust ruffle, and the chair back. 

It is now evening and I am ready to wind the Bartlettyarn for the Lean to Knit Afghan project and knit up the Block of the Month block, which is a double-cable design, also for the open house at Joann this weekend.  I am happy this happens this weekend because I will be out and about and will be more likely to remember that Eldon has a piano recital at 4:30.