Thursday, February 28, 2013

Update

I had a horrible and heartbreaking knitting fail yesterday. I had been working on a Violet Dress in Knit Picks Felici Sport for 7 days. It was coming out beautifully... the perfect little girl's dress. I didn't have an intended recipient in mind, but it was a labor of love. I had to break and join the yarn numerous times, rewinding skeins in order to get the stripes the right thickness because of the growing stitch count on the skirt. I finished it, but did have the nagging feeling that a few of my many joins weren't strong enough. I tossed it in the lingerie bag in the wash anyway. It came out great. I tossed it in the dryer for 20 minutes, planning blocking it afterward. It did not survive :(

A few of my joins came apart and the dress had huge holes. If they were small, I would've fixed them, but these were giganto holes. I tossed the entire thing in the trash out of frustration and heartbreak and anger at myself for not checking my work. I lost 3 balls of the discontinued yarn and 7 days of knitting, but I did learn to check my joins and to always pay attention to my gut when it comes to knitting!

Anyway, to console myself, I started joining a few squares of my scrap sock yarn blanket. I'm very pleased with how it's turning out...



 
 
I am using KP Stroll in White to join, using a join-as-you-go method. I had to do some figuring on how to join like that since there's no openwork on the final round of the squares. I ended up joining every other hdc stitch. It's a longterm project that I really enjoy. I mostly work on squares on car rides, but it's slow-going because I don't have many scraps of sock yarn left to work with.
 
Other stuff from this week so far...
 

I made this Bitty Bump baby cardi using 2 strands of Ester Bitran Talinay held together. I need to get a ribbon for it.


Here's about 48.2 yards of dk weight angora I spun up. I got a few handfuls of angora from a Raveler in a RAK; it was a fun treat to spin!


A KP order came in this week! They are having a great sock yarn sale (ends 01 April, so there's plenty of time to head on over and get some for yourself!) and I took advantage of it. My mom got a set of sock blockers and I got 4 Felici Sport (Boutique) because it's pretty and discontinued... I'm so glad I did this considering how horribly the dress went! I also got 5 Stroll in White (for the blanket), 2 Stroll in Dandelion (for stash), 2 Stroll Sport in Rouge (socks for me), and 2 Stroll Sport in Mink Heather (socks for me). I just love Arthur's little grabby hand in the top left corner!


I started a Floppy Fairisle Hat using KP WotA. I saw this one and fell in love with the colors used, so I copied her. I'm quite pleased with how well it's turning out.


Socks OTN! Here is the first of My Cup of Tea socks in KP Stroll (Green Tea Heather). I think I have my sock knitting mojo back, finally!

And, an Arthur update :) He is 10 and a half months old now and is a little copycat! So cute... he is learning so much, so fast. I can't believe how big and smart and sweet he's getting. He has turned into quite the daddy's boy lately, but I'm attributing that to the fact that Charlie has been working a lot lately and he's just a novelty (ok, maybe this momma has her feelings a little hurt, but it really is wonderful to see their relationship grow!). I'll have to post some new pics and video soon.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Food



French Toast Casserole, recipe from a friend of mine who now lives in Alabama. Her dad and my dad worked together, but we met through the vet clinic... she started working my last year there and we got to know one another. She has a ton of great recipes on her blog. I modified the recipe a little bit based on what we had on hand; I used regular white bread instead of French bread and peach perserves in place of blackberry jam. It was a great brunch and I'll be making it again (hopefully with French bread next time as that sounds really yummy).


This is the BEST Chicken Tortilla Soup I have EVER eaten! I pretty much followed the recipe exactly other than adding a little more enchilada sauce. The tortillas are baked from some flour tortillas we had that were getting "old." They were good, but got soggy and soft again quickly once they were in the soup. I put a little shredded cheese and sour cream in and it was awesome. Charlie said that it's his favorite meal I've ever made for him. We had plenty of leftovers.


Here's Charlie's second favorite meal I've ever made (both favorites in the same week... I think I've set myself up for failure, haha!). This is Cowboy Chicken over brown rice. YUM! Changes made were to add a little cumin, minced garlic, and onion powder. It is so delicious. I didn't see the need for adding more sour cream on top like it says in the recipe. We had a ton leftover and had it for meals for a few days, with the last of it gone for lunch today.


Since I had so much brown rice left from lunch, I made chicken fried rice for dinner. Sorry the picture is horrible, my cheapy camera is way worse than my iphone (which I couldn't find at the time). Basically, I cubed a chicken breast and marinaded it for about 10 minutes in soy sauce and sesame oil. Cook through in the skillet on medium-high heat. Set aside and add vegetable oil and cook a chopped onion, then add some frozen stir fry veggies. Cook about a minute, then add the cooked rice. Mix it all together, then make a little well in the middle of the rice to kook a few eggs in. Scramble them up then mix with the rice. Add some salt, pepper, and garlic powder, cook untouched a minute or so, turn, repeat until the rice is nice and golden. Add chicken and mix it all up. It was really good, though next time I might add a tiny bit of minced garlic and a little soy sauce and sesame oil to the actual rice.

We also had a steak dinner last week, but I forgot to take a picture of it.The marinade I used was amazing... I just went through the shelves and added what looked good... brown sugar, soy sauce, mustard powder, minced garlic, and salt and pepper. Delicious! It was sweet, but had a little kick to it from the generous amount of pepper I added.

I'm loving this whole cooking thing and have even come to be ok with the cleaning up afterward. It's really satisfying to put a bunch of ingredients together and make something that tastes good and is healthier than fast food/restaurants. I don't mean less calories or whatever, but rather that the food is fresher, I know how it was handled, etc. I really can't wait to move and finally have my hobby farm again... then it will be even better since I would personally grow the veggies and raise the meat. Oneday, oneday...

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Finally Finished!



It only took 4 months to finish, but the Ringwood Gloves are finally finished! They are actually a super-quick knit (I knit each glove in about 2 days), but I started, stopped, then worked on other things before knitting the second glove). I used KP Wool of the Andes Sport in Thirst Heather. They buttons are from Michaels.


I originally cast on thinking that they were for me, then decided to gift them to my mom, but now that they are done, I'm keeping them. I need gloves up here in the cold cold North and they are just so comfy and warm that I can't let them go. I will make her another pair later, maybe as a Christmas gift. Or a birthday gift. Next time, though, I will use fingering weight yarn because they are a bit bulky seeming.

I just remembered, also, that I don't think I ever told y'all about the cats. We are a cat-free household now and we couldn't be happier about that. We gave all the kittens away, then found a great home for Red, then I found the best home for Colt and Bams. It was sad seeing Colty and Bambi go, but it was also a huge relief. They shed too much, the litterbox was a burden, and Bams had started peeing on things which is totally unacceptable. Her new owner hasn't reported that problem, so we think it was just due to having so many pets and the baby (she used to be the baby, but fell a few rungs on the ladder after Arthur was born). I get updates and pics about twice a month on how they are doing and they seem really happy and spoiled, so it was the right decision. We only have 2 dogs now (Gideon went to my MIL's to be babysat for a weekend and never came home... they love him and he loves the good retired life without playful Barrett to bother him), as well as Charlie's 5 pet rats, the 2 goats (which we are having to fight to keep since the city suddenly decided they aren't allowed, when before it was no issue), and a fishtank with goldfish, snails, and crawdads.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Pants on Fire



Charlie seems to accidently ruin a lot of soakers. He has washed and dried two pairs (one form WotA and another from Malabrigo) and then left a poopy one on the windowsill by the changing table, which I didn't notice until it was dried and crusty and unsalvagable (to the extent that I'm willing to go to save poop-covered knits... I'm sure some of you super mommas could've done it, but I have a healthy stash of soaker-worthy yarn for a reason ;)

He has also thrown away a soaker by mistake as well. All this, 4 total soakers gone, and he complains that Arthur doesn't have enough and I need to make more. So, I do.


These pair of shorties (more like capris, really) are made from the Eviepants All-in-One pattern (which is wonderful, by the way!) and Patons Classic Wool. They make me think of the phrase, "Liar, liar, pants on fire," but I don't wanna call baby boy a liar, so these are just the Pants on Fire.

I'm currently working on the second glove from the pair of Ringwoods I started last year. I have a package to send my mom this week and want to have this pair of gloves in it for her to have. I'm already to the fingers, so I should finish by Friday.

In other news, Charlie lost work at the school (he was a LPN for the special needs kids at a highschool, but it was through a home healthcare temping agency and they no longer needed the position), but quickly got on as a nurse at the county jail. I was so happy for him... it's the kind of nursing and work that he wants to do and they are nationwide and have the contract at the prison in Jackson, Georgia... where my parents live and the area that we would like to move to! The plan is for him to work here 4-6 months or so, then put in for a transfer so that we can hightail it out of Michigan. The work is parttime, but he also goes a few days a week to do home healthcare for a special needs kid (one of the students he worked with at the school; he is mostly unresponsive, but does respond and even tries to communicate with Charlie, so the mom got him a job with the service she uses). Money is tight, as always, but we are making it (as always!).

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Long Journey


I think I posted a while back about The Long Journey KAL at the Project: Stash Ravelry group. I wanted to post a progress pic of my giant scrappy granny square here for y'all to see how it's coming along.

I love it! I am bring totally random with the yarn placement, just adding the new yarn as I get it. It's really motivating me to finish my WIPS because that means I have scraps for the blanket! I'm using natural plant/animal fibers only (a few have a small percentage of nylon) ranging from sport to bulky weight. All my fingering scraps are going toward a different blanket and super bulky is just too much for this blanket.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Craft Time!


I found a 2-pack of finger paint at Target for a dollar, so Arthur and I had craft time yesterday. I wish I could say that he enjoyed it... but, I can't. He wanted to eat the paint more than anything, then got very upset when I wouldn't let him. However, it did make for nice artwork since he was beating his paint-covered hands on the paper in anger and frustration :)


He got very messy, but it was totally worth it and cute!


I was inspired by Alisa Burke (blog link listed under Blogs I Love to the right) and cut out a bunch of hearts and a few flowers from some of his paintings.


I then mod podged a few onto my hard wallet so that I could have my little guy's artwork always with me. I have a ton more set aside to be used as inspriation strikes. I saved a few of his better paintings (I didn't cut them up) and will be on the lookout for what can be done with them.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

More For Mikah

I think I'm wrapping up the baby knitting for Mikah. I may try to get another small thing or two finished for him before the shower, but only if I happen across the perfect pattern that goes with the perfect yarn already in stash. I love the kid and I he's not even born yet, but I need to work on some other things now.

Here are some new FOs for him (and the finished blanket):


A Very Basic Baby Beanie in KP Stroll Sport (Baltic Heather). Brooke requested a hospital hat for Mikah and this one is so great! The brim is long enough that it can be folded up to fit newborns like in the picture, or left down to fit as the baby grows. This hat will likely fit until he's at least 3 months old unless he's a monster baby or something.


Steggie Bib in Sugar n Cream. I love these bib patterns!




The completed chevron blanket in KP Chroma Worsted (Elfin). The color is truest in the top picture.

Now it's time to make a few more beard hats (at my dad's request), cast on for a pair of socks, and then search the queue and stash for more to knit!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

A Birthday Surprise


Charlie has been on this goat thing for weeks now. He wanted dairy goats to provide milk for us. Raw goats milk is the healthiest available for human consumption, there are tons of health benefits without the negatives of pasteurized cow's milk, it would make us a little more self-sufficient, free milk for Arthur (who we are not giving cow's milk to), etc etc etc.

I wasn't sure that it would be possible since we live in the city. We have a backyard and that's it. We researched and it seemed ok, but we didn't have the funds for a goat purchase and wouldn't anytime soon. Then the appeal to his mom and stepdad... they said absolutely not, we had enough critters as it was, yadayadayada. Then I get a call later --- they decided to get him a goaty birthday surprise!


I found some fairly-priced Nigerian Dwarfs and made the arrangements. We went yesterday to pick them up. It was an early birthday surprise, but he was SO HAPPY to have his goats.


They were named Choco and Sally, but we are changing that. They are sisters, 4 years old, and Sally is in milk. We fenced off part of the yard so that they would be away from the dogs and couldn't jump on the neighbors' fence.

Ou first milking experience was comical... it was midnight, in the kitchen (!), and Charlie had never milked anything in his life, so there was a lot of laughter!

Friday, February 1, 2013

A Few Meals From This Week



I only have a few pictures, but at least it's something. I need to remember to get pics before chowing down!

The above meal was really yummy, though simple. Queso blanco mac n cheese, sauteed broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots with garlic and cheese, and Italian grilled chicken. The chicken breasts were dipped in following:

3 Tbs evoo
1 Tbs Italian seasoning
1 Tbs lemon juice (I used a little bit more)
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Then I cooked them on my George Foreman grill I got for Christmas. Don't laugh... Foreman knows what he's doing! I love the grill! We can't afford a real grill and don't have a way to store it here (it would get stolen so fast), so this is the next best thing and is actually easier than a real one.


That night, Charlie and Arthur went to bed before dinner, so I made myself some of veggies from that meal. So yummy and I'm pretending it's healthy even though it has all the cheese on it...


This one was our snow day lunch. It's corn chowder and toast. I kind of went through the pantry and had to make due with what was one hand, so this is my version:

1 "sweet onion," chopped (we call them Vidalias in Georgia)
3 cups of corn (I used canned, it was all we had)
a few small potatoes, quartered (I left the skins on some, then peeled others)
almost a full package of real bacon pieces (didn't have actual bacon, but this worked real well)
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 c chicken broth
3 c milk (2% is what we had on hand)
1/4 c butter (I Can't Believe It's Not Butter... the real thing would have been better)

Mix all but the milk and butter and put it in the crockpot. Low for 8 hours or High for 4 hours (I did high because we wanted it for lunch). Then add the milk and butter and cook for another hour.

It was really good and perfect for a snowed in day. The toast was SO GOOD for dipping!

Other meals have included Honey Chicken and Rice (delicious! Will have to make again and share next time), Pizza Bites (super simple and a nice snack), and then I had a lazy day with Hamburger Helper and cheesy mashed potatoes.

FOs


I finished the Chroma blanket for Mikah (pictures to come as soon as we get a decent day around here... been rainy all week), so am now on to the bibs. Brooke (SIL) had originally wanted a airplane-themed room, but my brother won out and they are going with dinosaurs... I'm quite pleased since that was actually what I wanted for Arthur before we changed it to fish, so now I get to make all the dino stuff I secretly wanted to all along.

This is the Dinosaur Bib and it came out great! I used some stash Sugar n Cream in Ecru.


I love that it is reversible! The designer is really great and has a ton of cute designs for bibs and cloths. I'm currently working on the Steggie Bib.


This Coco the Canister Monster in some scrap Malabrigo. I whipped her up one night while we were watching movies on our hard drive, which has to be hooked up to my computer in order to watch them on the TV. That meant no access to my patterns, which meant no working on the bib, which meant resorting to a book for knitting. I looked up small monsters in Rebecca Danger's The Big Book of Knitted Monsters and settled on this cute gal. I don't have felt for the mouth yet, so she's pretty quiet, which is good for when she naps with Arthur.