Monday, November 27, 2006

There's nothing like a long holiday...

...I feel recharged and ready to take on my Christmas tasks!

Thanksgiving dinner was a hit. I tried a new appetizer of sauteed mushrooms and melted brie in a sourdough bread loaf. It was very tasty. The turkey was wonderfully flavored from the spicy brine (I used the Williams-Sonoma brine mix) and everything else turned out great. I tried an apple galette for dessert -- aside from apple juices spilling over into my oven, it was pretty painless to make.

On Friday, we took our annual trip with friends to a Christmas tree
farm. They have been making this trip for over 30 years. We tag along to enjoy the company and the munchies, but don't buy a tree because they don't have a large selection of Douglas firs (which we prefer). We'll probably get our tree next weekend from our favorite place.

The rest of the long weekend was filled with knitting or quilting while watching movies. Since our daughter was visiting friends, going to her HS reunion, etc., she needed a car. Needless to say, I was sans car for most of the time. Not a big deal since I really didn't need to go shopping. LOL!

So, I made progress on the left flip-top mitten:

Advent Calendar
I am using the pattern in Not Just More Socks by Sandi Rosner. I thought it was going to be difficult to make the finger portion of the mitten, but it wasn't too bad. (Of course, you can't see them in this picture because the grays just blend together.) The biggest problem was the thumb -- I kept getting a big hole at the base. I finally figured out a way to close the gap. (I hope I can remember what I did for the second mitten!) I had my daughter try it on and it fits perfectly. And she loves the color...Whew!

I'm knitting the ribbing for the "cap" portion now. Here's a picture of the palm side of the mitten:

Left Mitten

I've slipped in a piece of paper so you can see where the cap is detached. This will be the part of the mitten that flips up. You can see the outline of the fingers in this picture.

I also worked on an Advent calendar for my daughter:

Left Mitten - palm
I'm at the quilting stage, basically just outlining some of the motifs. I should finish the rest of it pretty quickly.

I'm starting to feel "Christmas-y"...I love the holidays! Soon it will be time to start baking!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thanksgiving eve...

...let the cooking begin! Of course, the most important thing that happens today is that my kid comes home! I pick her up at the airport (ugh) this morning.

On tap today is making the stuffing (well, dressing; I never stuff the turkey anymore), the desserts, and prepping the yams for the casserole tomorrow. Oh yeah, and getting the bird in the brine.

I'm making a variation of my wild rice and bread dressing. I'm using more brown rice plus the white and wild rice mix I usually use, and I'm using some whole wheat bread with the white and sour dough breads. I can't vary it too much because the family likes it as it is. The dressing has sauteed apples which give it a nice flavor.

I also need to do the final mop and cleanup in the kitchen, but that won't happen until tonight.

As promised, I have a photo of the mitten, such as it is.

Mitten 1

It's hard to take a picture of something gray, so you don't get the full effect of how wonderful this color is -- take my word for it! LOL! I'll be able to get back to knitting this on Friday.

Off to cook now....Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!

Monday, November 20, 2006

T-day countdown... is cleaner; the turkey is defrosting; cranberry sauce is cooked and chilling; and I only work one day this week!

I took Tuesday and Wednesday as vacation days, partly to unwind after the last big project and partly to just have some extra time to prepare for Thursday.

My husband and I both decided that some purging was necessary in the kitchen, so I spent a good part of going through cabinets, setting aside stuff for Goodwill and dumping out-of-date food, spices, and the like. We always seem to acquire 3 or 4 glasses from Art & Wine Festivals every year (that we don't need), so we got rid of about 30 glasses, plus some cups we never use, and so on.

I unearthed my daughter's bedroom, so she can actually sleep in there. The cats were thrilled that I had given them a clean place to hangout...

My husband requested new towels and rugs for his bathroom, so I got to go shopping for that...such a hardship!

Since most of my time was spent cleaning, I didn't do a lot of knitting, but I have made it past the cuff of the first mitten and am working on the thumb increases. I'll get some pictures posted since I think I'll have some time tomorrow.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Sky for Eye Candy Friday

...and you get two pictures because I missed last week and I couldn't decide between the two of them.

Yesterday, this is what greeted me when I went out to get the morning paper. Fortunately, I had my camera close by and was able to get the picture. (I'm sure my neighbor thought I was nuts...)

Morning Sky 1
When I left for work around 8:30, this is what it looked like:

Morning Sky 2
I'm really surprised that my little Kodak camera took decent sky pictures -- I haven't had much luck taking pictures outdoors.

On tap this weekend: Clean the house and get the turkey! My daughter comes home on Wednesday and I thought it might be nice to unearth her room from all the extra stuff that seems to find its way in there. If I have any spare time, I'll work on her mittens or Christmas presents.

Monday, November 13, 2006

She lives!

Yes, I'm still here! Finished my big project--the major milestone was last Friday and I delivered an update today. Now, I'm pretty much done and I can move on to some smaller projects.

I spent a nice Saturday shopping and relaxing. I needed a few things from Sur La Table and Williams-Sonoma for Thanksgiving dinner (I'm doing the cooking). Plus, I wanted to check out Full Thread Ahead to see what their Alpaca yarn selection was like. I'll be making a couple of scarves for my daughter's friends and I wanted to find a sport weight alpaca for the flip-top mittens she requested.

I had a blast shopping for Thanksgiving stuff...actually, I had a great time shopping, period! I'd forgotten how much I loved shopping for holiday stuff! I bought the kitchen stuff, a Christmas present, and
I treated myself to the new JD Robb book "Born in Death" (I've already finished it!).

And, you know I found's my alpaca haul from Saturday and a couple from the week before:

Alpaca yarn!!
  • The camel-colored and light & dark gray yarns are Baby Alpaca Brush from Plymouth (bought two of each).
  • Left to right: red yarn is Baby Alpaca Grande also from Plymouth (bought 2); gray is Misti Alpaca Sport (3); purple yarn is Baby Twist from Alpaca with a Twist(3); red on the right is also Baby Twist from Alpaca with a Twist(3).
  • At the bottom is Road to China in Lapis. This is a cool yarn that's 65% alpaca, 10% Cashmere, 10% Camel, 5% Yak, and 10% Soya Fibers. It is soft and yummy, but a little on the expensive side. I'm not sure what I'll do with it yet.
The Alpaca with a Twist and the Road to China yarns I bought at Purlescence a week ago; the rest I got at Full Thread Ahead.

I started the flip-top mittens in the gray Misti Alpaca sport. I'm still on the ribbing, but so far so good! The yarn is soft and easy to work with. I love the charcoal gray color, too. SO it just remains to be seen whether I can follow the pattern and make mittens that look half-way decent!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

no time for blogging...

...or being very crafty. Once my work project is over, I'll have more time (and energy!) to get back to it. I need to work on those Christmas presents and a pair of mittens for my daughter.

OK, back to work!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Eye Candy Friday...a little late

I was too busy during the day to do this earlier. So, here's my Eye Candy Friday entry a little late.

silk box
This is the silk embroidered top of my new file box. I'm using this box to store my shawl and sock knitting patterns.

I don't have a lot of plans for the weekend...a little knitting, a little quilting, a lot of rest.

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Happy November, and October recap...

..first, goodbye to October. Here's my Halloween pumpkin. Not the best one I've ever done, but at least it was "done!" I took the picture last night, so the white "ray" at the bottom is really a reflection of the lit candle in its holder.

Halloween 2006
Next, here's a picture of the latest installment of the Blue Moon Fiber Arts Rockin' Sock Club. Isn't it pretty? (I don't know when I'm going to get to this one!)

Rockin' Sock Club - October
So, the October recap:
  • Kitty Pi bed ( still need to post a picture of this)
  • Purple Alpaca scarf
Worked on:
  • Central Air socks
  • Hydrangea socks (still!!)
  • Paint It Black quilt (I'll probably rename this quilt...just haven't come up with anything better yet)
  • Organizing my soap recipes and materials
  • 2 Christmas presents (can't say what they are or for whom!)
  • Sangria lace shawl
Didn't finish much, but at least I finished something! Considering that I haven't felt overly crafty lately, finishing two things is amazing!

Now that it's November, I need to work on Christmas gifts and get as close to "done" as possible. Once December hits, I go into full baking mode and there won't be any time for crafty stuff until 12/26!

WIP-it Wednesday...

...and another week where I don't have a true WIP photo to show. However, here's a photo of the Apricot Orchid [ Ravelry ] fiber f...