Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

To wrap up 2008,here are a few random statistics from this year:

I uploaded 658 photos into Flickr.

I used more than 4 pounds of butter in my holiday baking.

I completed 51 knit and crochet projects. This does not include completed afghan squares that are not yet an afghan but it does include:

10 washcloths/dishcloths.
6 pair of felted slippers.
5 bracelets.
4 bunny rabbits.
4 scarves.
3 pair of socks.
2 pair of baby socks.

Do you make New Year's Resolutions? My goal for 2008 was to learn to knit and it was the first time I've ever made good on my resolutions. My resolutions for 2009 include getting back into the habit of exercising regularly, knitting my first adult-sized sweater, and knitting lace.

Here's wishing you all the best in the coming year. Have an enjoyable but safe night. I'll be at home knitting and watching movies, cuz that is what you do when you have a 4 year old, New Year's Eve falls on a weeknight, and grandma is out of town.

Friday, December 26, 2008

A Plague Upon Our House

My baking, and therefore blogging about it, came to an abrupt end early this week when Ethan came down with a nasty stomach bug. Naturally, as a thank you for cuddling him, babying him, and washing his sheets at midnight... he passed the bug on to me. He recovered for a day and then relapsed so we were miserable together, right up to Christmas Day. We were able to spend the day with family, assuming we'd been sick so long, we couldn't possibly be contagious anymore. Though, I suppose I should look at it from the positive side... I didn't gain any extra weight from stuffing myself on Christmas dinner and sweets or over indulging on wine, because I just couldn't stomach it. I was hoping to share a couple more cookie recipes, but I guess this means I can save them for next year.

On the knitting/crocheting front, I did manage to finish all but one of my gifts. On top of the things I blogged about previously, I managed to finish one more pair of slippers, a wrap, a washcloth, bath mitt, afghan, and a headband. The one thing I didn't finish was a scarf for my sister. For some reason, now I'm having trouble getting back to it. It is the day after Christmas and I don't want to knit! My mom ordered a volume of the Barbara Walker Treasury for me as a Christmas gift and Cliff gave me a gift certificate to the yarn shop, so I'm definitely well armed.

The snow is finally melting but the wind is picking up. The snow level is supposed jump up and we're supposed to have flooding by next week. We just can't win when it comes to weather this month.

So, I'm off to force myself to work on the scarf. If I manage to avoid it, I'll be uploading photos from Christmas...

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Blondies, adapted from Great American Home Baking

These are a dense and chewy cookie, technically a blonde-colored brownie. As far as I can tell, GAHB is out of print and I’ve been using this recipe for about 10 years now.

9 x 13 baking pan
Electric mixer
Spoon/rubber spatula
Toothpick/cake tester
Wire rack

2-1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour (yes, when it says sifted, I sift. Not doing so can affect the texture of your cookie.)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2/3 cup packed brown sugar.
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2/3 cup light cream
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 375 and grease a 9 x 13 baking pan.

Mix together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

Cream butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until light and fluffy.

Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in cream and vanilla.

At low speed, beat in dry ingredients, 1/2 cup at a time, until smooth.

Fold in chocolate and butterscotch chips. Spread in prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes. The top should be golden brown and a toothpick should come out almost clean. (If you are using a dark pan like me, watch it carefully because it goes from done to overdone quickly.)

Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Cut blondies into bars when cooled.

Variations: You can substitute peanut butter or another favorite chip for the butterscotch. Add 3/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts with the chips if you like nuts.

Mint Frangos

Mint Frangos are a yummy, creamy chocolate candy that has its roots in a Frederick & Nelson's department store in downtown Seattle in 1927. The current incarnation of the original Frango is sold at Macy's Department Stores in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. Macy's across the rest of the country sell a Frango made from a different recipe. This recipe is a good imitation, though not an exact duplicate, of the original Northwest Frango.

Unfortunately, I made a batch of these before I decided to blog about it, so the photos are limited. As much I would love to make another batch for the sake of properly documenting the process with photos, Frangos are very rich and creamy, and hard to resist... and if I had more of them in my refrigerator, I wouldn't have a reason to resist them.

I honestly have no idea where this recipe came from. My mom has been making it for at least 30 years and for all I know, it could be a family secret... and I'm sharing it with the 6 people who read my blog.


2 qt saucepan (It is best to use a pan that does not have Teflon or any special coatings, because you will be using a hand mixer in the pan and you wouldn't want to ruin that pretty coating.)
spoon/rubber spatula
electric hand mixer
8x8 or 9x11 pan, greased and lined with waxed paper (size depends on how thick you like them... I actually don't have either size on hand, so I use 9x9 and I like 'em thick)


1 cup butter
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1-1/4 pound powdered sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons peppermint extract

As you can see in the photo, my dry ingredients are in rectangular containers. I put most of my staples in containers like this for two reasons... 1) it makes organizing my pantry MUCH easier (yes I'm just that organized) and 2) it keeps out bugs. With that, I'm hoping you can read the labels on the containers and trust me that they contain what I say they do.

Melt the butter in a 2 qt saucepan over medium heat.

Add 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate and 1 cup milk chocolate and stir until chocolate is melted.

Once chocolate is melted, add powdered sugar and combine. You can begin stirring by hand, but it will become very stiff and require a hand mixer to get mixed completely.

Beat in 2 eggs and 2 teaspoons peppermint until creamy. Pour into prepared pan and refrigerate. Be sure to lick the spoon/spatula.

Once set, you should be able to slip them right out of the pan with the waxed paper and cut them up. Store in an airtight container, in the refrigerator, for up to one week. They do require refrigeration because of the eggs.

If you're the adventurous type and have a favorite flavor other than peppermint, try replacing it. Peppermint tends to be a strong flavor so you may need more of your chosen flavor.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Designated Baker

Aside from a pile of holiday knitting, (which is nearly done!) holiday baking is underway at our house. I am the family designated baker... a position I inherited from my mom a few years ago. Basically, this means just about everyone I know wants (and sometimes expects) me to bring an assortment of holiday favorites to just about every social occasion during the holidays. It is a good thing I love baking! I try to do less of it because honestly, who needs the calories? but during the holidays, it just wouldn't be Christmas without tons of homemade goodies to stuff ourselves with.

There are a few staples that are "required" such as fudge and mint frangos, and then there are my personal favorites, which aren't necessarily seasonal but seriously yummy like orange bars, blondies, and mud bars. Ethan's current favorite is chocolate chocolate chip cookies. In past years I've made these with butterscotch chips but he insisted on chocolate. I think the kid is definitely like his momma and grandma when it comes to sweets... can't resist them.

Many of the recipes are not my own, so I'll share links to a couple of my favorites: Alton Brown's Peanut Butter Fudge recipe is a big hit. They are wonderfully creamy and very easy to make. One of my all-time favorites is Paula Deen's Orange "Brownies", which don't have any chocolate in them at all so I don't know why they're called brownies. I usually call them orange bars, because calling them a brownie confuses people. They are rich and sweet, and use real orange in the bar with an orange icing glaze.

Over the next few days, I hope to share some of my favorite recipes and the final results of my Christmas knitting. Stay tuned!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


We have snow! Typically, we get one brief stint of snow in December, and it has arrived. Overnight we received about 4 inches of snow. Ethan woke up about 7:00 a.m. and immediately started bugging me to go outside and play. I managed to fend him off until about 10:00 and he lasted about 30 minutes before getting too cold. (I lasted about 5 minutes.) The snow is actually quite dry, which is unusual for us. Ethan was bummed he couldn't make good snowballs, so he made snow angels.

The sun is coming out now and I just LOVE sunshine when there is snow on the ground. It is still pretty danged cold, but a little sunshine to warm your face somehow makes the cold bearable. (Keep in mind that "cold" here is 25-30 degrees, it doesn't usually get much colder than that.)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas Knitting

I may have gotten a handle on this Christmas knitting thing. This is my first Christmas as a knitter and naturally, I wanted to knit gifts for anyone and everyone (yeah, right!) I did manage to come up with a mostly realistic and achievable list of knitted gifts and I think I'm on track to finish in a timely manner. (I know, I'm tempting fate with that last statement.)

On my list are 5 pair of felted clogs (4 kids, 1 adult), a scarf/stole, a headband, a bath set, and a pair of cabled mittens. I may have gotten in over my head with the cabled mittens, but I have a backup stole that's about 75% done already, just in case. I've finished 4.5 pair of clogs and the bath set. I've designed the headband and will cast on for that today... hoping it'll only take a day or so to do.

I also have delusions of sewing a bib for my new nephew and making beer sweaters and other silly gifts if time permits.

Here are pics of some of the slippers:

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Bad blogger!

I'm a bad, bad, blogger! It has been months since I've written anything and there has been lots going on. My excuse was that it was summer and there is always just too much going on in the summer... well, it is November . I suppose that excuse won't fly anymore. In the past week I've had new insulation installed under my house, so it stays nice and toasty(er) now. To go along with that I also had something DIE in my duct work. My house stinks! In an attempt to find out how/where the thing died, we discovered a LOT of water under the house and a leak in the kitchen drain pipe, which is lead. (Did I mention it rained like 6 inches in the last week?). Tuesday I have a guy coming out to clean out the ducts and dispose of the aforementioned dead critter (and hopefully a lot of dust and allergens) and I have to call a plumber. This will be the THIRD time a plumber has had to visit this house this year. I think we're keeping the guy in business. Add a death in the family, a birth in the family, a new job, and deciding to begin homeschooling my son, and my life pretty much feels like chaos right now.

I'll share a couple of photos while I try to regroup and share more details of the last couple of months.

me in kansasWe spent a week in Kansas (my first time) and this is a photo of me in front of the vast, flat, nothing that we encountered on occasion. I'm too used to all the mountains here... it was kinda eerie.

Baby Shower 006 My sister-in-law receiving the baby sweater I made for my first nephew who was born on October 28.

IMG_1544 My grandmother turned 90 years old in September. And yes, there are 90 candles on that cake.

There has been knitting. Quite a bit of knitting actually. I started my Christmas knitting almost a month ago now and I'm moving right along. I made it a bit easier on myself be deciding to give all the kids in the family (4 total) felted clogs. Its a pretty easy pattern. The girls get variations on purple and Ethan gets camo. I'm sure they'll love 'em.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Ravelympics Update

Well, there are just over 2 days left of the ravelympics and I’m sorely behind. I kinda thought I would be after I added on the Clapotis at the last minute. Oh well. I did finish the baby sweater, and it’s very cute! I have the cuff done of one sock and the clapotis is about 30% done…Fortunately we leave tomorrow for 24+ hours of driving 1600 miles for our vacation. This means about half of that time is knitting time for me. I’m hoping to at least finish the Clapotis.
Mossy Jacket

Thursday, August 7, 2008


Summer is a busy time, which apparently means little time for blogging (for me). I finally finished my Monkey socks for Summer of Socks 2008. So, what happens right smack dab in the middle of SOS? The Ravelympics*, of course! I couldn’t resist signing up. I joined Team Browncoat (if you don’t know what a Browncoat is, check out the TV series Firefly) and signed up for THREE events! I must be insane. It took me almost two months to knit the Monkey socks, but now I’m going to knit Spring Forward for the Sock Put, Mossy sweater for Baby Dressage, AND a Clapotis for Scarf stroke? All in 17 days? My saving graces are the fact that the socks double for SOS and that we’re going on road trip in a couple weeks so I’ll have lots of knitting time on the road.

So far, we’ve had a busy summer of hiking, camping, berry picking, local festivals, and all the great things we love to do in the summer. For my birthday, Cliff surprised me with a trip to Victoria on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. We managed to squeeze in the Royal London Wax Museum, the Royal BC Museum, and our primary reason for going, The Butchart Gardens. I hadn’t been to Victoria in about 20 years, so this was quite a treat. We even found a yarn shop, which is where I bought the yarn for the wavelength scarf and the Mossy jacket, not to mention my first skein of Casbah Sock in the most gorgeous colors.

*For those who don’t know, the Ravelympics is a Ravelry-base self-challenge knitting event that spans the actual Olympics.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Knitting update

Wow! It’s been weeks since I’ve written anything. It’s amazing how time flies in the summer. There is always so much to do. I’ve been feverishly knitting socks for Summer of Socks 2008 and I’ve completed…. ONE Monkey sock ok, so I’m a slow sock knitter. It looks awesome though, if I do say so myself. Monkey Sock
My brother and sister-in-law were up for a visit yesterday and my SIL dabbles in knit and crochet so she can appreciate that I can sit and chat while I knit or crochet and she can appreciate handmade gifts. My brother on the other hand, made a snarky comment about knitting grandmas (to both my mom and me) and I reminded him that family members who make fun of knitting don’t get knitted gifts. I think he got the point.

My Drops cabled bag is still waiting for handles and buttons, and I am sorry to say probably will be for a while. I have a couple of deadline projects to work on, and they’ll take priority right now. Drops Cabled bag

My Fibertrends felted clogs are just waiting to be felted. I am a little apprehensive about felting in my front-loading washer because I have so little control compared to a top-loading washer.

I am finally caught up with my 12-month afghan crochet along. I started my first July square last night.

I have started a Wavelength Scarf, crocheted from Noro Kureyon Sock. This is the first time I’ve worked with Noro and other than being a bit rough on the hands to work with, I’m loving it. We’re taking a trip to Kansas at the end of August and this scarf will be gifted on that trip, so I have about 4 weeks to get it finished and blocked. Fortunately, it’s all chains and single crochet, so it is moving along rather quickly.
Wavelength Scarf

That’s all I’m working on right now (she says sarcastically). I still have a baby sweater to make before November, so that will probably be next in the queue.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Cooking and Gardening

I enjoy cooking and gardening quite a bit but haven’t really blogged about it. Grow Your Own is “is a monthly food blogging event that celebrates the foods we grow or raise ourselves and the dishes we make using our homegrown products.” and has inspired me to blog a bit about my cooking and gardening efforts. I’ve been following a couple of food-related blogs, including Andrea’s and A Year of Crockpotting.

Given the rising cost of food lately, I’m glad I decided to plant my meager veggie garden. My yard is tiny so my space is limited, but my mom has a nice sized garden and she likes to share. This year I planted cilantro, garlic, potatoes, tomatoes, and zucchini. My oregano plant managed to survive the move and the winter, but my chives did not. Mom grows artichokes, spinach, figs, raspberries, strawberries, Marionberries, zucchini, cucumber, tomatoes, basil, and rhubarb and lettuce. I LOVE rhubarb.

Cliff recently went on a fishing trip in the Queen Charlotte Islands in British Columbia, Canada and came home with 43 pounds of fish, which promptly found its way into *my* freezer. Included were Red Snapper, Ling Cod, Sea Bass, and Halibut. Lots of Halibut. So, my challenge has been to find new and interesting ways to prepare all this fish. Last night, we had the first of the halibut. I made Grilled Halibut with Cilantro Garlic Butter. I used fresh cilantro from my garden. I served it with steamed green beans. A nice hearty bread would’ve been good too, but I just wasn’t that ambitious. It tasted quite good. The sauce was not too heavy and allowed the flavor of the fish to come through. Ethan only had 2 bites, but I’m hoping that by the end of the summer he will love fish.

Friday, June 13, 2008

I'm published!

I am SO excited! One of my photos of Whidbey Island has been selected for inclusion in Schmap, an online, interactive map guide. If you click on this link: Schmap, the photo that comes up in the upper right hand corner should be mine (or scroll through until you see mine). Its pretty exciting for me! Some of my photos are starting to be recognized. Some time back, I received an e-mail that a forestry exhibit was being developed at Northwest Trek and they planned to use another of my Whidbey Island photos in the display.

These photos are all ones that I have uploaded to various stock photo sites that can be used free, as long as my name is attributed to the work. My goal in allowing my photos to be used in this manner is to get my work out there. I’m still very new to photography and will probably think these are crap 10 years from now… but in the meantime, I’m a published photographer!

I promise some knitting stuff soon! There just hasn't been much to tell. I've been working very slowly on just about everything. The knitting portion of my Drops Cabled bag is complete and the rest is all finishing work. I'd really like to have it completely done for "show and tell" at my knitting group next weekend. I promise photos when its TOTALLY finished!

Saturday, June 7, 2008


Who would've thought that knit or crochet could be used to explain and visualize theoretical mathematics? Thank you to TECHknitting for posting this link: Making Math with Yarn

I love that these scientists are using craft and applying it to their field of study. However, if you aren't a mathematician, the article might make your brain hurt just a little.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Our Town Our Park

Over the past 5 days, I had the opportunity to participate in something amazing. Our Town Our Park is a community designed and built play area at Storvik Park in Anacortes. Knowing I was able to be part of this is something I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Never before have I seen first hand a community of people come together for a singular purpose, to build a safe, fun place for our kids to play. Kids designed the nearly 15,000 square foot play area with the help of Leather & Associates of New York. Community members and businesses volunteered their time, tools, and skills not to mention providing food, day care space, and helping in other less visible ways. To build this park outright it would cost the city more than $500,000... This park was built with 100% donated funds totaling more than $150,000 plus equipment and supplies.

Wednesday was the kick-off with the kids parading down M Avenue to the park, followed by a groundbreaking ceremony including a time capsule. Shifts of volunteers worked from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday to build this park. Meals were provided. Childcare was provided. I worked Thursday morning from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. drilling pilot holes for lag bolts that support the structures. It is Sunday night and my shoulders still hurt, but it was worth it. On Saturday, I brought Ethan down to the kid’s work area where he soaped screws (it makes them easier to screw in) and painted a tile. The tiles will be placed throughout the play area. Then Sunday evening at 5:00, they held a “grand opening.” The plan was to use a paper chain made by the kids as a “ribbon” around the park. The kids carried the chain around the perimeter and were quietly waiting for what to do next, when all of a sudden they went for it! 200+ kids converged on this play area at once. Unfortunately, that was not part of the plan. I was so caught off guard, I didn’t even get a photo of all these kids suddenly running for it. Eventually, the appropriate people were able to make their speeches, though to a much smaller crowd, and the Washington State Poet Laureate Sam Green (an Anacortes native) read the poem he composed specifically for the park. Ethan enjoyed playing in the new park for about an hour. He only got hurt once (a minor cut lip) when he got too close to the “big kids” swings.

Throughout the last 5 days, I’ve seen many examples of the joy and pride this project brought to the community. On Thursday morning, I met a young man (about 11) whose mom let him out of school to participate in the build. He told me how excited he was to be involved and I could see the pride in his face. Another girl, upon seeing the completed park for the first time, stopped short and just stared mouth agape. I have lived in this town for over a year now and today, for the first time, I really felt like part of the community.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Painting, playing, and pain

This past week, we’ve finally managed to put my family room walls back together. After the mishap with the paneling, it took multiple skim coats of mud, a couple coats of primer, and spraying texture to get the walls looking normal again. I expect to pain the ceiling and 2 walls next weekend and then we can get back to fixing the floors!

This weekend was the 2008 LYS tour. I didn’t have a lot of time, but managed to visit 3 stores, Wildfibers, Knot Just Yarn, and of course my own LYS Ana-Cross Stitch. Each store offered a free one-skein pattern and lots of fabulous yarn. I did buy something at each store, but I was good and spent less than $100. I bought mostly sock yarn, specifically non-wool sock yarns so I might have some summer-weight socks to wear.

This weekend was the Anacortes Waterfront Festival. After texturing the walls Saturday Morning, Cliff, Emma, and I went to the marina for the festival. We had ice cream, looked at boats on the dock, and Emma got to “build” a model boat. There was live music and typical fair-type food. We only lasted a couple hours before being completely exhausted and walking home.

Sunday, my mom & I hosted our knitting group for our monthly meet. It was a beautiful weekend and we decided to knit outside on the deck. Well, I sat in the sun and forgot to put on sunscreen. Yes, I do it just once every summer, but I fried my poor fair skin. My arms are burned pretty badly and they hurt. The burn has a funny shape at the elbow because my arms were bent while I was knitting. My face is burned, but not so bad. Even my scalp is burned!

While at our knitting group, I cast on the Drops Cabled Bag (98-54) that has been in my queue for quite a while. I remember when I first saw it I loved it, but didn’t think I’d ever have the skills to do it. So far, I’m finding it pretty easy (other than the math for the increases) and moving along pretty quickly.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day

Ahhh, Mother’s Day. My son made a card for Grandma, at my suggestion, and Grandma enjoyed it very much. I was finally able to put a photo of my Needle Cozy up on Ravelry. Since it was a Mother’s Day gift for my mom and she is on Ravelry, I didn’t want to spoil the surprise. I put 2 sets of needles in it for her, and now that she is getting more into knitting I’m sure she will use them.

My sister and her SO and my brother and his wife and kids drove up and we spent a beautiful sunny (though somewhat windy) day on the deck enjoying each other’s company and lots of good food. Brilliant photographer that I am, I FORGOT my cameras… both of them! So, there is no photographic evidence of the day, but we had fun. I made rhubarb crisp! The rhubarb came out of my mom’s garden. To me, rhubarb crisp is a signature of spring/summer. I’d share the recipe, but it’s a family secret.

I received my deposit from the IRS on Friday… $600 for economic stimulation. Too bad I have to send it right back to them for self-employment taxes.

Friday, May 9, 2008

My Favorite Things

This morning I was able to do one of my favorite things; sit outside in the early morning sunshine and drink my coffee. It is the first time it has been both sunny and warm enough early in the morning that I wouldn’t freeze to death. The marine layer was thick over the Guemes channel so I couldn’t see the water, but I could feel its presence and smell it in the air. To me, getting out on a morning like today is worth 6 months of rain, clouds, and dreary weather. There is nothing like an early sunny morning.

I was itching to cast on something last night but most of the projects in my queue require needles that are due to arrive in my eagerly anticipated KnitPicks order. I have leftover worsted weight sock yarn from my first socks, and there is a baby expected in our family, so I cast on baby socks. They aren’t particularly good baby colors, but they’re neutral since we don’t know if said baby is a boy or a girl. I have already finished the first one; it took only about two hours. Plus it gives me good practice turning a heel, working a gusset, and toe decreases. The pattern I used is Jimmy's Baby Bootie Set by Jimmy Beans Wool and the yarn is Järbo Garn Raggi Multi. They are so small! Sometimes I forget how small babies really are. Was my baby ever that small?

Monday, May 5, 2008

My first socks!

They’re done! I finally finished my first pair of socks! I photographed them, but now I’m putting 3D paint on the soles so I don’t slip and kill myself on my hardwood floors. The yarn is Järbo Garn Raggi Multi in a green/blue/brown and the pattern is Cable Twist Socks by Adrian Bizilia. It took a little over a month to complete them (with many other projects going on in between). It appears that I knit socks *really* tight… Just socks, not all DPN projects or all round projects, just socks. Since this was my very first pair, that could change…

I placed a big ol’ Knitpicks order today. My mom decided we should go in on a set of Harmony Needles. So, since I already had free shipping with that, I decided to order some yarn, Harmony DPNs, and a book, and… and… and… so $200 later, I have all kinds of goodies that’ll arrive in a week or so.

My mom & I (I’m blaming mom for ALL the money I spent today) decided to go to our LYS today where I bought the Spring 2008 IK, some Happy Feet sock yarn, and finally picked up my pattern for the Fiber Trends Felted Clogs. I think the clogs are likely to be a big Christmas gift this year.

Ethan & I baked oatmeal chocolate chip cookies yesterday so I’m off to give some to my neighbors to thank them for mowing my lawn after I hurt my ankle.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

My Handmade Swift

Thanks to some help from Cliff, based on these instructions, I made my own yarn swift. Swifts have gotten very expensive and when I saw the instructions I knew it was something I could do myself and for little money. For the base, I used some scrap oak wood flooring my mom had in her garage. The remainder of the supplies cost less than $10. I already had all of the necessary tools in my garage, with the exception of a wood chisel. The only thing I wish I had in my garage that would've made this project much easier is a bench vice. I managed without it, but if I ever do a project like this again, I will be buying one.

The only problem I had was that the directions state to cut a 1" notch in the center of each piece for the arms. What I forgot at the time is that dimensional lumber is not a true 1" and therefore, my notches were too big and my arms did not fit together snugly. Cliff came up with this modification, using a scrap of paneling I had removed from my family room.

In all, I found this to be an easy project for someone who is comfortable with basic power tools (i.e. a drill) The chop saw made cutting the legs much easier, but could've been done just as easily with a hand saw.

A day of days

Yesterday was quite a day… I think I managed to re-injure my ankle slightly. While stretching I felt a pop and then could barely walk until I loaded up on ibuprofen.

I had to call a plumber for the second time in a month, at $400 a visit, because my shower and toilets backed up. Apparently, there was a blockage in the main line… again. I do not understand where this is coming from because Ethan is not flushing things down the toilet. The first time it was apparently caused by a 20-year accumulation of lint. This time, we never found out what it was.

Ethan had his first day of Peewee Baseball. Basically, they spend an hour corralling 30 four to six year olds while attempting to teach them baseball skills. He had fun and was very excited, but I think he needs to work on his listening skills.

After all that, I came home and found a surprise waiting in my mailbox. On Ravelry I am a member of a group called Random Acts of Kindness. Each month, members post their “wish list” and one of the items I wished for was knit and crochet magazines. Katalina sent me a surprise package with 5 knitting magazines and some tea. Thanks Katalina!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Well, Saturday was a beautiful day here. Despite my sprained ankle, I did manage to get out and enjoy it a little bit. I weeded my garden, planted my zucchini, attempted to mow my lawn, and visited the Garden Art Fair at the Depot. I only managed to get through about 1/4 of my lawn before I realized that it was going to be too much for my ankle and quit. Later that afternoon, my neighbor was out mowing his lawn and asked if I had run out of gas since mine was only partially done. When I explained about my ankle, without even hesitating he said, “Oh! I’ll do it then!” and finished mowing my lawn for me! I have the best neighbors!

Saturday night Ethan got to stay at Grandma’s house so Cliff & I could enjoy an evening out. We went out to dinner and a movie (The Forbidden Kingdom). Dinner was great, as usual and the movie wasn’t bad… I don’t think I’ve seen the inside of a movie theater in over two years! Most of the time if I can get out without Ethan, who I think is still too young for the theater, a movie isn’t worth the money. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE movies. I have hundred’s of DVDs. It just it’s usually worth $30 for tickets and snacks for two people when I can buy it used at Blockbuster for $10 three months later. There are always exceptions to this, of course… certain highly anticipated movies like the new Indiana Jones or the Hobbit I’ll gladly pay full price to go see.

I did get quite a bit of knitting done this weekend. Sunday my knitting group met and I managed to finish the cuff of my second sock. I also am now over half done with a gift I won’t go into details about until after it’s gifted.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Talk about Karma, I complained that I have nothing to write about on my blog, and the world gives me something.

Last night I decided to go ahead and take the wood paneling out of my family room. The pieces were not unmanageable for one person, though they were a bit big. As I was taking the paneling out to the garage, I misstepped, slipped, or something, heard a “pop,” and next thing I knew I was lying in the sidewalk and my shoe was on the top step of my porch.

My first thought is that I broke my ankle. I crawled into the house and made it to the couch. I had to have Ethan bring me my phone and an ice pack. I called my mom and Cliff, who both rushed right over. Mom took Ethan to her house while Cliff took me to the emergency room. Turns out it isn’t broken, but I sprained it pretty good. I’m not allowed to bear weight on it for two days, but after that it should be no big deal… Hopefully.

It is my right ankle so I can work, but I can’t drive. Why did I have to choose a profession where an injury could make working nearly impossible?

I suspect I'll get a lot of knitting done this week since I won't be going much of anywhere...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


It has been a week since I've said anything... probably because there isn't much to say. Last week was pretty uneventful. I managed to get a little bit of knitting done on my sock (I am only 3 pattern repeats into the cuff) and finally got my second March square for the monthly CAL done.

The weather last weekend was completely crazy. There was wind, rain, sleet, hail, snow, sun, thunder… You name it; we saw it over the weekend. Since the weather was so unpredictable, it made it impossible to actually get out and DO anything. I was hoping to get in a short hike, but no way.

I did obtain all the supplies to make a swift over the weekend. I’m actually pretty excited about this… When I’m done, I’ll have a wonderful tool that cost me less than $10 rather than the $60+ for a commercial one, plus I will have made it myself! Now I have to find the time to actually build it. I'll be sure to write about the adventure when I get to it.

In my family room I have this lovely wood paneling on two walls. We decided that while the floor is in a state of repair, we might as well redo the walls too. On Sunday I removed all the trim pieces. The paneling is glued on, so it should make a lovely drywall mess when it comes off. Then we'll be in for lots of patching and texturing. And while we're at it, we're doing the floor of the entry too, so next weekend I'll be removing trim there (the new stuff we put in back in September) and pulling up vinyl to expose the hardwood underneath. I'll keep you posted on our progress.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Great Weekend!

This was a great weekend. I finished my first sock! It is a bit pointy at the toe, but it fits. Hopefully, I can learn how to fix the toe issue for the second sock, which I have to get started on right away or I'll lose interest.

This weekend, Ethan was at his dad's. Saturday was a beautiful day, so Cliff & I went hiking. We hiked up Sugarloaf Mountain, only about a mile each way, but it was just steep enough that we got a good workout. Here's a photo Cliff took of me at the top:

After our hike up Sugarloaf, we decided to drive to Deming. Apparently Ed had oysters. When we got there, Ed was nowhere to be found, but I did get to meet Cliff's aunt and uncle and see where he grew up. Now, when Cliff said his uncle grew blueberries... I thought he meant he had a couple bushes in his garden but no, he grows them commercially. There were acres and acres of blueberry bushes! We walked down to the river, and I got a couple of photos of Mt. Baker. On our return from the river, we picked mushrooms! I've never picked wild mushrooms (Morels) before but Cliff apparently used to pick them with his mom. They are at his house, waiting to be cooked up.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Ravelraiser 2008

I am in awe. Ravelry, an online community for knitters and crocheters, is the brain child of a couple from Boston, funded mostly by specialized affiliates and advertising. A group of Ravelry users decided to start a fund raiser because a new server was needed to host the database... Ravelry is growing so fast! The goal was to raise $10,000 in the month of April. As of today, April 9, more than $29,000 has been raised. The initial goal was met in a mere 4 days!

This just reaffirms my belief that knitters and crocheters are some of the most generous people out there and that a lot of people doing just a little bit can add up fast. Casey and Jess have worked so hard to create this wonderful resource for knitters and crocheters, they deserve this. Congrats!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Socks and gloves

I've been making great progress on my first sock. My only complaint is that I should have knitted them on 4s rather than 3s. They seem VERY tightly knit. They look like they are going to fit fine and make great house socks. I must remember to get some puffy paint or something similar to put on the soles so I don't slip and fall on my hardwood floors! Turning the heel on a sock is MUCH easier than I expected it to be. Like I've been told many times, just do what the pattern says and don't over think it! Now, here's hoping I don't end up with second sock syndrome.

Now for gloves... Ethan broke the laces on his brand new baseball glove, the one Auntie Casey and Jon got him for his birthday. It came with a ball attached and apparently he wanted them separate. Rather than asking for help, he just pulled it off, breaking the laces. When I told him that he broke it, he was VERY upset, apologized, and started crying. I felt bad, because he didn't even realize he had broken it. I told him I would try to fix it, but I needed the right tools. So now I have to try to find leather lacing that is strong enough and re-lace the fingers of the glove. Hopefully I can do it in time for him to start PeeWee in three weeks.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Unusual BBQ

Last weekend, a friend of Cliff's hosted a BBQ that centered around unusual and exotic meat. He made mini burgers so people could try any of the various meat they dared. The menu included Kobe beef, buffalo, wild boar, ostrich, llama, alligator, antelope, kangaroo, and a few others that I'm sure I forgot. Buffalo and ostrich were two that I'd been curious about so I tried them along with alligator. The buffalo was, not surprisingly, very much like beef. The alligator didn't taste like much, but the texture was not particularly enjoyable...not bad, just nothing special. The ostrich I did not like at all. Cliff claims it is because it was undercooked, but I'm not sure that was the only reason.

One of the women at this BBQ, Kris I believe her name was (I'm horrible with names!) commented on my "My So-Called Scarf" and asked if I had knit it myself. At first I thought, oh no! It looks hand made! It wasn't as bad as that. She is a knitter and we had a lovely conversation about knitting. As I was talking with her about it, she was curious about the stitch pattern and complimented me on how even my stitches are for such a new knitter.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The mind of a child

So, I've been kind of out of commission with a cold this week, but had to share a funny from yesterday. Ethan was playing baseball on the Wii. He pushed the pause button, and the game said, "Time Out!" From my office, I heard him get upset and run out of the room. When I went to find him, he was sitting in his time out chair, very upset! I couldn't help but laugh and though I tried to explain that "Time Out" means pause in baseball, he hasn't played the game since.

Ethan is all signed up for PeeWee Baseball and he is so excited! He loves playing with the plastic T-ball set he got for his birthday (Thanks Jan & Cookie!) and wants to play with other kids. Casey and Jon got him a ball and glove for his birthday, which he is patient waiting to use until practice starts April 30.

On a knitting note, I've started my first pair of socks. I'm trying to be better about working more, which means less knitting time but it calls to me!

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Now that I finally got the Easter photos off my camera, I can put them up to share. However, since I don't have permission from parents to post pics of their kids online, they will be in a private set on my Flickr page. What this means is that I have to recognize you as family or friends and grant you permission to look at them. If you have a flickr account already, please let me know! If not, please consider opening one (its free) so I can share our family photos with you! You can find photos of Easter here.


I finished my Fetching fingerless gloves finally. This was my first project knitting in the round and I learned a new cast-on for the project. I also picked up stitches for the first time, though had limited success. There are small holes where I picked them up because I picked up the wrong thread. This was a fun project and I learned a lot in the process.

Today, I started my first sock! It should be easy until I get to the foot... then I'm going to be scared...