Monday, November 30, 2009

Yeah, I missed Eye Candy Friday...

...things were just a little off-kilter last week. So, to make up for it, here are some pomegranate pictures

Some arils...

Pomegranate Arils

The left side of the pomegranate...

Inside a ripe pomegranate

..and the right side.

Another view inside a pomegranate

The Husband has already seeded a bunch of the pomegranates and we have about 2 cups of arils at the moment. There are still 3 more to seed. We'll eat them as-is or put them in salads. Some are a bit more tart than others, but they are all yummy!

The new refrigerator was delivered yesterday. Yay! It took a couple of hours for it to get cold, but it's humming along now. We got a French door version this time and it will take some getting used to...we have to figure out where to put things with a little less door space and a lot more shelf space.

Very little crafting happened this weekend. I just couldn't get into it. I did manage to wash and block the mermaid, so she's ready for beading. I also spun a little and knit a couple of rows on the Rusty Dahlia socks, but that's pretty much it. Since this is the last day of November, it doesn't look like I'm going to finish anything else this month. And starting tomorrow, it's all about the cookie!

I'll be back on Wednesday with pictures of the Rockin' Sock Club November installment...not enough time today to get the picture!

Friday, November 27, 2009

I survived Black Friday...

...well, not exactly! We made a trip to Sears this morning, but only because we had to buy a refrigerator.  Why? Because my refrigerator croaked on Thanksgiving...the refrigerator side died, but the freezer is still working.

It managed to keep everything in the bottom of the refrigerator cold, but stuff on the top shelves was hosed. The turkey was fine, but the turkey broth I made for the gravy went bad over night. Eventually the entire refrigerator stopped keeping things cold, so we started putting ice and frozen things inside to keep it cold. My biggest worry was the leftovers. Rather than lose all of that, I froze half of the stuffing and everything else that was critical went into a large cooler with plenty of ice.

This is the second time this has happened with this refrigerator. The first time we had it repaired because it was only about 5 years old. This time we decided not to repair it.  So off we went to Sears to take advantage of their sale. The earliest they could deliver the new one is Sunday, so we have two days without a refrigerator. :-(

Other than that little hitch, dinner turned out fine. The oven on my new range is a dream and it was very cool to be able to cook the stuffing and the yams at the same time. Heaven!

Sorry about the no picture Friday...just couldn't find anything I wanted to take a picture of. It's raining on and off, so even a sky picture is out!  Next week will be better!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

WIP-it Wednesday, Thanksgiving Eve...

...and I actually have something to show you!

The Queen Mermaid had a minimal amount of backstitching to do (compared to other projects I have stitched) and I was able to finish it in dribs and drabs this week. So here she is, before washing, blocking, and beading. I'll get the washing and blocking done over the weekend.

Queen Mermaid, almost there

The little purple ties on her body are where I will attach the larger beads. I filled in the unstitched areas around them and needed a way to mark the placement so I wouldn't confuse them with the small bead placeholders.

While I'm beading, I'll take care if any stray missing stitched or places where the linen shows through and it shouldn'f. All in all, I'm really happy with the way she looks!

I'm madly writing away on the first draft of a book for a client—it's due at the end of today. I should make it, but I need to get to it!

I'll post over the holidays when I have a little more breathing room.

Monday, November 23, 2009

blog and run...

...working at home for a bit until I go to the airport to pick up the Daughter.

Short hits:
  • Got the kitchen floor done, but not the rest. I need people to be gone for at least 1.5 hours so I can do them all. 
  • Bought the turkey and did the first run to the grocery store. There will be at least two more trips because I always for get something.
  • Made the cranberry sauce. Yay!
  • Made the brine for the turkey.
  • Put away part of the craft stuff. At least, it's looking better!
  • Did very little on the mermaid. The stitching is almost done, though!
That's it for now...if I catch  minute I'll upload a picture of something!

I feel time slipping away today already...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sky Candy Friday...

...there's a storm coming in, at least that's what they say. It was one of those windy mornings where you could see the clouds flying across the sky. That made it a little difficult to take pictures, but I got a couple.

Light and dark clouds

There's something about being out in early morning when there's hardly any traffic in the neighborhood and things are quiet. This morning, the air was clean and crisp and there were a few birds gliding by. It's about as peaceful as it gets in Sunnyvale, CA. Someday, I have to write about the "real" quiet I experienced living on the coast off Highway 1.

I've finally finished the cross-stitching part of Queen Mermaid and have started on the back stitching. I've fixed a couple of errors along the way, reminding myself why I do all of the back stitching at one time. By focusing on placing the back stitches in the proper place, any missing or uncrossed stitched tend to stand out.

Up this weekend: finish cleaning my house and prepping the Daughter's room for her arrival! (I can't wait to see her!) I also need to do the first grocery run for the turkey, buy the stuffing ingredients, and any other items that can be purchased ahead of time, I need to clear the refrigerator so I can fit the turkey in for defrosting and then brining.

I need to clear my craft stuff out of the living room so people will be able to sit in there without knocking over piles of cross stitch, spinning, and knitting tools! In between, I will work on whatever crafty things I can. I would like to finish something else this month, but it's not looking good right now!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

WIPs are not whipping along...

...they seem to be moving at a glacial pace.

I'm not done yet with the cross stitches for the mermaid. I had some issues with the last section of seaweed and had to rip it out at 10pm last night. [Sigh] I almost had it done.

No progress on the Rusted Dahlia socks—I seem to have lost my knitting mojo somewhere. And forget about my spinning mojo. I was hoping to regain that last Saturday, but that didn't happen. At least work is humming along.

Oh look, pomegranates, and they don't cost $2.00 each like at the grocery store!


OK, that will have to hold you until Friday...back to work for me!

Monday, November 16, 2009

cruising along until I hit a detour...

...I was all prepped and ready to go to Spin-In on Saturday when life happened. Nothing we can't handle, I just needed to be home for the afternoon. Oh, well. I have the biscotti I made to take to Spin-In as consolation! :-)

Speaking of baking, my oven worked great for the biscotti! They were perfectly done. (Yes!) I do have to be careful with the microwave because it is more powerful than the old one. Chocolate does not take as long to melt, so I have to reduce the amount of time to avoid having it seize on me (ask me how I know...).

One thing about staying home unexpectedly was that I got a lot of cleaning done. I got all of the vacuuming done, did my kitchen floor, and dusted everything on the wall unit! I went through all the junk mail and did the shredding. And I prepped a load of stuff for the Husband to take to Goodwill. My kitchen is pretty much back together, except for one drawer that is still being reworked, and my dining room table is back in its place.  I still need to finish the Daughter's room, but I have another week for that.

On the weaving front, I finished all of the twisted fringe for the River Rocked Shawl, washed it, and blocked it. It needs a little steam press, but I'm calling this puppy done!

River Rocked Shawl

Close up:

River Rocked Shawl, close up

Started: 10/13/09
Finished 11/14/09
Warp: Rowan Purelife Organic Wool in Onion; 10epi—95”L x 19.25”W; approx 520 yds
Weft: Blue Moon Fiber Arts, Socks That Rock in River Rocked; 8-9ppi; approx 304 yds
Finished size: To be measured
Basic weaves, with a row of Leno lace at row 21 and at row 3; repeated on the other end.

The edges are a little wavy at the Leno lace transitions, so I need to work on that. Overall though, I'm happy with the way it turned out. Woo hoo! I finished something!

The only other craft thing I worked on was the mermaid. She's getting close now. I'm finishing up the second arm and then I need to finish her treasure box and the final strands of seaweed. After that, it's back-stitching...ugh!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Eye Candy is in the eye of the beholder...

...and here's mine for this week:

Another new toy

A new Cuisinart Elite 12-cup food processor! This replaces my old Cusinart Pro food processor, which has been put through its paces for the last 20 years or so. Over the years I have replaced the bowl and the blade, but it's beginning to really show its age. I'd like to thank the Husband for working so hard that his client gave him a gift card as a "thank you" and then he let me use the card for this. What a guy! (Thanks, J! Heart you!)

Just so you won't feel cheated, here's a more standard Eye Candy picture:

Peach Hibiscus

This hibiscus plant has flowers of different colors, some are peach, some pink, and some yellow. Last year it had only peach flowers...go figure!

Up this weekend: Spin-In on Saturday. I won;t be able to go if there's one in December, so I want to make sure to go to this one. I'm going to finally get my floors and the dusting finished. And, I need to start unearthing the Daughter's room because she comes home in 10 day! Yay!

In between, I'll finish the fringe on the wrap and get is washed and blocked. Any other craft stuff beyond will be a bonus!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

oh,'s Wednesday...

...the day has obviously gotten away from me. Another blog and run...

Today's WIP is an update on the Queen Mermaid:

Queen Mermaid, as of 11/10

She has one arm and the beginning of the second. I've started the treasure box that she holds just to get a little variety in the colors I am stitching. I'm getting really tired of the flesh-tone colors!

That's all I can show you...I have a couple of things in the queue that are for Christmas so I can't show them right now (no hints, Jane!).

Monday, November 09, 2009

Not quite what I planned for the weekend...

...but it's all good.

First off, my Loopy Ewe Sock club installment was waiting for me when I got home on Friday. Click the spoiler picture to see what was in the package.

Spoiler--Loopy Ewe Sock Club

This is the last installment for the year. I have thoroughly enjoyed this club and will definitely sign up for the second year. The yarn and patterns have been a treat and the swag just puts the whole club over the top. Very happy club member here!

I spent much of the weekend focused on kitchen stuff.

I was still struggling with where to store my baking sheets and racks since I have lost the use of half the cabinet space above the stove. I finally decided that my cookie cutters were taking up too much room and if I culled out the cutters that I don't use and store the remaining cutters elsewhere, I'd gain enough space for the sheets and racks. (And yes, I have that many cookie cutters...)

I spent a few hours going through the cutters and divided them into 3 piles: recycle, give-away, and keep. The recycled cutters fit into 2 large Ziplock bags; the give-away cutters fill a banker's box; the keep cutters fit into 4 photo boxes and 2 large Ziplocks. (This doesn't count the copper Noah's Ark cookie cutters by Martha Stewart that I have in their original boxes stored elsewhere.)

I took another look at our cookware and decided that a few more could go. I figured if we didn't use it in the last year or it was getting tired looking it was Goodwill or recycle, whichever was appropriate.

I cleaned the hanging pot rack, but cannot replace the pots until we move the chopping block island back in place. While I'm short enough to walk under the hanging pots, the Husband is not. I don't think he'd take kindly to banging his head every time he walks through the kitchen!

The Husband finished resizing one of the drawers and I was able to get the rest of the utensils put away. I'm still not sure with what to do about the utensils that used to hang about the stove.

I went shopping to look for a new, larger roasting pan. I really didn't want to spend $200.00 on a roasting pan, but I looked at Sur La Table and Williams-Sonoma anyway. I bought a couple of cookie decorator things at Sur La Table and bought my turkey brining mix and gravy base at Williams-Sonoma. I looked at Macy's, which had a very reasonably priced roasting pan, but it was way too light—I might as well stick to a foil pan. I finally found a roasting pan at Target. It has a nice weight, holds 20-25 pound turkey, came with a non-stick rack, and was $40.00! Yay!

Needless to say, there wasn't a lot of crafting done. I put in a couple of hours on the mermaid, but didn't work on the quilt at all. I fringed half of the River Rocked shawl, but can't wash it until I'm done with the fringe.

Once we get the kitchen back in order, I'll be able to spend more time on my crafts. I have some Christmas gifts that I need to start RSN!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Eye Candy Friday...

...a random collection of pictures.

November morning sky...

November morning



Rocoto chile peppers...

Rocoto Chile Peppers

And a preview of the shawl I took off the loom last night...

River Rocked Shawl, preview

I still need to do the fringe, wash it, and block it. I'll do that over the weekend. These are totally different colors for me and I love how it turned out.

Up this weekend: I want to put away most of the kitchen cabinet items that are still sitting in boxes. I still don't have the modified drawers yet, but I can get the rest put away. Then I can attack the rugs and floors...boy, do they need to be cleaned!

Craft-wise, I want to fringe the shawl and get it washed and blocked. I want to finish the machine quilting for Paint It Red so I can start working on the binding. And, of course, work on the mermaid. She has a face now (well, the main stitching of the face...the features are backstitched and I haven't done any backstitching yet) and I'm working on her arms. Knitting seems to be on the back burner for now, but I plan on making some stuff for the daughter, so I'll get back to it soon!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

no-WIP Wednesday...

...because I have no significant progress to show. [Sigh]

The only WIP that's shown any progress is this:

Every year, I wait for the holiday cooking and baking magazines to come out so I can look for new recipes to use at Thanksgiving and Christmas. All the interesting ones are flagged with Post-Its. So far, most of the flagged recipes are for cookies (big surprise!), but some are for potential Thanksgiving side dishes. I can't begin to tell you how excited I am to cook the Thanksgiving meal on the new range!

It's the little things in life that make it enjoyable...

Monday, November 02, 2009

October 2009 recap...

...yeah, not a lot done this month.

  • Nothing!
  • 10/4 Rusty Dahlia socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  • 10/10 Simpatico Falkland yarn (spinning) [Ravelry]
  • 10/13 River Rocked Shawl (weaving) [Ravelry]
Worked on:
  • Happy Pumpkin Scissor Fob by Shepherd's Bush (cross stitch)
  • Paint It Red (quilting) 
  • Queen Mermaid by Mirabilia (cross stitch)
Works In Progress, did not work on:
  1. Wisteria Angora-Merino top from Tactile (spinning) [Ravelry]
  2. Sea Foam Wrap (knitting) [Ravelry]
  3. February Lady Sweater (knitting) [Ravelry]
  4. Corrugator scarf (knitting) [Ravelry]
  5. Morning Surf Scarf (knitting) [Ravelry] 
  1. Black leg warmers in Caron Simply Soft yarn (knitting)
  2. Angora Cottage 70% Merino and 30% Silk 4 oz.roving in purple [Ravelry]
  3. Cascade Fixation anklets (knitting)
  4. Central Air socks (knitting)
  5. Chasing Rainbows Heather--one Merino-Bombyx (2 oz) and one Merino wool (2 oz) (spinning)
  6. Dogosaurus Rex sweater (knitting) [Ravelry}
  7. Flower Power quilt; top finished, need to sandwich and quilt (quilting)
  8. Hopi by Susan Portra (needlepoint)
  9. Jungle Songs quilt; top finished, need to sandwich and quilt (quilting)
  10. Montego Bay wrap in Walking on the Wild Tide yarn, using Montego Bay scarf pattern from Interweave Knits Summer issue (knitting)
  11. Peacock Majesty by Just Nan (cross stitch)
  12. Sangria shawl (knitting)
  13. Stranded Hearts socks (knitting) [Ravelry]
  14. Twinkletoes slippers; just need to make one (knitting)
  15. Violet Needle Roll (cross stitch)


...that's all I can say at this point. We cooked our first meal in the new oven last night and it worked great! Nothing burned...yay! And things were done all the way raw spots! Heaven!

After 38 years of dealing with a dinky oven that wouldn't hold a 17-inch (read: standard) cookie sheet or a standard size roasting pan and eventually developed a temperature problem (350 degrees = anywhere from 250 to 450), I get to cook in a real oven. See:

The Whoa! moment

The roasting pan on the left barely fit in my old oven—as I recall, I looked all over to find one that would fit! I always had to cook my Thanksgiving turkey in a large foil pan so I could mold the pan around the turkey to make it fit in the oven. No more! I am beyond pleased!

We got a lot done this weekend. The Husband ran a new water line for the ice maker, did some tile work, painted primer on the modified cabinets, and got the new range installed. I spent most of my weekend cleaning the kitchen and starting to get things back into the cabinets. The Husband still has to finish the modifications of the drawers, so I am down 2 drawers for a few days and there is a little tile work to do. But I can live with that!

I still have a lot more cleaning to do as I work my way out of the kitchen. The living room still has a layer of sawdust and the rugs need to be vacuumed...let's not even talk about what my floors look like!

Craft-wise, I did not get a lot done. I think my "Finished" list is going to be pretty pitiful this month. While I waited for trick-or-treaters, I worked on the River Rocked Shawl. Plain weaving is very interruptible, to it was the perfect thing to work on. I also spent a couple of hours working on the mermaid. But that's it. I better get busy and finish a few things in November, because, as you know, December is all about the cookies!

Eye Candy Friday...

...and rolling into a long baking weekend. I'm completely loving the skies and clouds. 11/30/18: 12/5/18: Today was a co-w...