My only little dog sweater that is strictly aimed at the canine fellas out there got the nod to be featured in an Etsy Treasury. CorkyCrafts put this Puppy Love Treasury together from member of the Etsy Texas Crafters Team. Take a minute and check out the fun, whimsical stuff in this grouping.
I have great resolutions to get a real doggie model for these. Pickles, a tiny, precious Yorkie, has moved in next door to me. I am talking to her agent to get her booked, hopefully very soon.
Yes, I have a devotion to Apple now that I crossed over from the PC darkside. I love my MacBook and my IPhone ( on my second one of these). So, I am so tempted buy the IPad. Scott Kelby, photographer extraordinaire, has a great blog on it. I find Mr. Kelby to have lots of good photo advice, so I listen when he speaks. I think he is going to buy two. I don't think I can justify even one right now. I am quite happy with my new Kindle. But, down the road, I can see justifying it for a travel notebook. Also, I want t0 see if Apple tweeks it a bit after a few months. Who thinks they are going to buy one? What do you think?
I think I got it from my sweet mother. She loved pretty plates and lovely china pieces. When she had filled up their house, she started outfitting me. Quimper pottery was my drug of choice. She bumped my collection exponentially.
In that vein, I love French pottery. Last week at a birthday dinner for a old friend, the hostess had the "Epanuel" plates for our entre'. I flipped it over and scurried to Anthropologie to get some for my house. I mean, how could I not? Trinket would never forgive me, with her being the most precious Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in our neighborhood. Even hitting two Anthropologie stores, I could only score six. Ok, that will work. But, if any of you see these at your local Anthropologie store, let me know.
Nathalie Lete is the artist. She lives and works in France. I love all her stuff, dishes, shopping bags, art, you name it. Check out her stuff.
I had to make myself step away from bringing home this "Francophile" one. And you thought fiber, food, and flowers were my only passions??
No, it's not some sort of Sunday School or Christian Fellowship affair. No, m'am! It's CHICKEN-FRIED STEAK night. The call doesn't come too often, but when Jerry and Annie fire up the skillet for this carb heavy feast I come running. It's a southern fried blowout. I sat down this restrained plate of what I like to call the "hot fudge sundae" of entree's.
It starts with a platter of Jerry's pounded, breaded and fried steaks.
You pair it with cream peas the Fosters buy by the huge bagful from Sides Farm. This is like sharing gold nuggets. See the bacon in the pot? Have to cook peas with pork fat. I used to put a big nasty piece of salt pork in mine back 35 years ago.
When you push back from the table you have to walk around for a bit to make room for the pies, yes, plural, pies. Eleanor brought a brownie fudge pie(blogger only let me use 5 photos, so no pic). We got to put a piece of that decadence on a plate with Annie's chocolate cream pie, below.
Both pies were slathered with fresh whipped cream. I am a devoted fan of Annie's pie crust. She is a master. Says she uses the "Cook's Magazine Cookbook" recipe. I hope to have a tutorial over spring break when she's not teaching to see if it's true: it's never too late to learn a new skill. But then can my jeans really afford for me to have dreamy pies on the kitchen counter beckoning me?
Do you "heart" Noro Silk Garden yarn? I have an on-going obsession with this yarn. So, when a friend wanted a hand knit scarf for a guy friend, I scoured the Noro colorways and found this one on sale during the Woolie Ewe annual sale.
Subtle "man" tones of camel and grey vary through out with out one perceptible repeat even though I used four skeins of the same dyelot.
The darker grey area you see once never reappears. Noro does a masterly dye job.
Here it is again folded in half. Finished dimensions are 8+ a little inches wide by 65 inches. long. I knit it in seed stitch on size US#9 needles.. It is so simple. I might write it up as a free pattern on Ravelry.
Today is Texas Twisters weekly spinning day. It has become a much anticipated event in my week. I get to spin, share and clear my head of other concerns. This group has talent, generosity, kindness, acceptance, and reassurance to share in a most unthreatened way. I think it's my version of the '50s sewing circle. We share fiber, equipment tips, techy computer stuff, and along with business and family concerns. And, some days like today, we will even share homemade pies, this time by Laurie. Wish I knew which flavor she is bringing.
Fat Bottom Bags caught my eye while I was doing the Facebook generated Link Love where lots of sharing of blog, Facebook, Etsy, and shop links were posted for mutual sharing. Super great way to be exposed to all the great artists, crafts, fiber farmers out there. Oh, and I might identify with the name just a tinsy bit.
Today Fat Bottom Bags showed up on my Facebook Fan Page. All FatBottomBags are handcrafted with loving care and attention to detail. They are all made from 100% post consumer recycled plastic shopping bags. Christi has a great giveaway going.:
Get your own free Mini-bag! Trade in 60 colored shopping bags and get your own original free Mini-bag by FatBottomBags.com.
Aren't they Cute!
And the other bags are tempting me. I love pink:
Or how about a tote the groceries:
This one looks like a great one for cruising flea markets, or for all that stuff I take to the pool in the summer.
But Trinket and I love the great burst of sunshine in the top one with the extra sturdy handle. I'm off to place my order.
I was drawn to her posts on crusty Brit, Ruth Stout, who mulched her garden to 8" heights, piling hay on decomposing vegetable matter without digging. See, I love this method, so it's reassuring to see this method is ok and successful. I HATE digging. I'm off to the feed store for hay. Next, it's a call to Cindy at Jacob's Reward Farm for some of her "alpaca gold" compost and I'm off to make my own lasagna mulch, layer by layer.
It looks like my blog is evolving into topics: fiber stuff, food stuff, garden stuff and a tiny bit of family stuff. I suspect that my popcorn brain likes bouncing around topics so please bear with me and continue to follow.
Cooking is creative, right? I tell myself that right now as I am absurdly into my kitchen and cozy food. That frigidly cold two weeks Dallas had kicked it off. I dusted off my shiny red Crock-Pot. I think it's less that 6 quarts but just a nice size. Got out the slow cooker cookbook.
The result: this Coc Au Vin Stew that was way beyond what I though Better Homes and Gardens had to offer. Here's the recipe: Coq Au Vin Stew Recipe.
The kicker is you serve it over mashed potatoes. I kept the skins on, added garlic, loads of butter and half and half (non-fat). Did you even know they made it that way? I think the flavor of the 1/2 cup of red wine, tiny onions, and mushrooms meld slowly and make you feel something French. I have that whole Julia thing going on right now, so I loved this.
Ok, that was such a hit, I went in another chicken direction, and tried this white chili mix I found on the grocery shelves. Wow, another score. I made it "mild" so the grandkids could try it (their dad , the family fire-eater, added cayenne pepper to his bowl), added 2 cans of diced tomatoes and two cans of cannelloni beans to stretch the two pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Laripin' good, mama!
Boerne, Texas and the Kid and Ewe Wool Festival back in November was the beginning of it. I bought the lusciously dyed mohair locks from Kai Ranch, then found that merino bump of roving in pale, pale peach and started learning from Laurie, a spinning maven friend. Well, I am in love with the lock spinning.
I ended up with three skeins spun on jumbo bobbins on my Kromski wheel. These are big fluffy skeins wound on my 2-yard kniddy-knoddy.
I plied it with correspondingly pale mercerized cotton thread so as to let the full craziness of the locks be preserved.
I'm still deciding if these are going into my personal stash or if they will go into my Etsy shop. I've been posting lots of newer hand-spuns there for fun. If I keep these lock-y skeins, I'm thinking one of my lacy triangle shawls with ruffle edge or maybe just a simple rectangular shawl to let the yarn stand on it's own.
Meanwhile, all kinds of ideas of how to incorporate locks into to my spinning are tumbling around in my complicated head. Using the locks keeps the spinning interesting for me. Beautifully painted rovings are lovely and all, but I do get a little bored sometimes. Hmmmmm, bet I could ratchet that up a bit with my new
Ok, that's a corny title, but at first it seems like playing the Wii and working out to the Wii IS corny, but then you realize, "Wow, I'm winded" or "I really feel that". Promise this is not going to be a testimonial on the Wii, just my rededication to working out with this crazy piece of electronics. I got my Wii over a year ago mostly for the family to enjoy at Sunday night suppers. We laughed hysterically at Zoe learning bowling, Charley madly boxing, and the adults getting quietly more competitive in their tennis matches. That competitive thing seems hereditary.
I gave each of my kids' family one for Christmas last year. Jen's group wore their's out once and had to send it in for repairs. Reports started coming back about the workouts with Wii Fit being effective and fun with lots of variety.
Bottom line is, this winter the procrastination is over here. I am hitting the Wii Fit platform regularly doing bits of balance, yoga, and aerobics so for. This is the brutal stuff that this little Mii tells you. I have yet to bust out the new Wii Active that has the strength bands in it.
For me with this severe cold spell curtailing the length of my walks with Trinket, the Wii is a good answer.
Feedback: anyone else out there doing the Wii thing?
Sunday night means supper at Mimi's (that's me). I was laid up a bit with some silly something in my back so I asked SIL, Chuck, if he could get some shots of the ice on our little lake. We are having record cold here in Dallas and I wanted to document what was happening to our little lake. Here's what he brought back. I think there's an artist in there somewhere. What do you think?
I do and I love it. My big kids gave me one for Christmas. I had been lusting after one for a year. I am a total convert. Don't get me wrong. I still love real books and having real books around me. There are stacks of them around the house to prove it. I can't imagine not having a real cookbook to cook from, for instance, or a real picture book for children. But, the size and portability make my Kindle my new best book friend. I am in a Julia Child phase and am currently reading My Life in France, by said maven, on my Kindle. It goes to bed with me, hangs out at Starbucks with me, and travels in my capacious purse with me.
My friend, Martie, has started this discussion on her blog of real books vs. the Kindle. It is a conundrum for sure. I personally don't think they are mutually exclusive. I will still read "real" books. I just love the idea of the Kindle . It may be part of my techno-geek conversion over the last 5-10 years. Martie and I have, between us, moved each other to Tivo, IPhone, and Macs. In some worlds we are barely above ludite status, but for "women of a certain age" we are most certainly "geeks".
This is a great site for kindle reference. He covers all the features. So, back to the question: Do you Kindle?" Let me know what you think. Julia is waiting for me.
I posted this picture of the WIP sage green afghan in August. This week I finally finished this monster. Don't get me wrong. It's beautiful, soft and warm. I am so pleased with it. BUT, I had to wait for cold weather to stand having it on my lap as I knit it. I knit it on chunky size 15 needles to accommodate the lofty handspun merino I plied with sewing thread.
I had a jillion skeins of it, so an afghan seemed indicated. Guess what, I still have a huge skein and 1/2 skein left. Geez!
We are having a doozy of a frigid cold winter here in Dallas so now I have a new cover for those naps on the couch in front of the fire. I might even let Trinket share.
Ok, I'll start with the dreamiest part first. I wish you could dig your fingers into the complete bunny-softness of the roving bump above. I know, bump is a funny term here but in spin-speak that's what it is called. This big, bright strawberry roving is huge. I hope you can tell the scale of it from the collection of things below. I think I will use some of it on the carder to blend with goodies in my fiber stash bins. All this came from the Wednesday Spinners, Texas Twisters, gift exchange two weeks ago. See, I promised you I would share! I also got two Stephanie Pearl-McPhee books. For those not in the know, she is best known as the hilarious Yarn Harlot. I am an avid follower of her blog.
In our family, to have a sense of humor is to survive. My brother Steve got my Dad's sideways wit. This Christmas, we agreed to not share gifts. Ok, then this box arrives from New Canaan. Really, Steve? You are cheating on our agreement. Then out popped these insane, fur-cuffed, bejeweled (see the ring finger?) rubber gloves. I guess he was channelling a Dallas Diva me. Sure! After all the fingerless mitts (about 15-20 pair) I have knit this winter, this seemed like the perfect GLOVE ending
Then Vicki, who seems to be a caretaker for my ridiculous sweet tooth, arrives with
six of the chocolate beauties above. Melt in your mouth is a cliche but, wow , was it appropriate as far as these cupcakes were concerned. Notice I said "was". They are history.
To carry on with the whole chocolate theme, FedEx brought a box holding these hot chocolate mixes done by Crate and Barrel. These babies have chunks of chocolate in them. I choose to put two spoonfuls in the bottom of a cup and then pour my favorite steaming hot Buckies blend coffee over it. Stir, and you are in chocolate/coffee heaven.
I chose to OD and do it with one of the deadly cupcakes. Oh, the cute strawberry mug was in the box too. I have such great friends.
Ok, enough with the sugar rave. Dia, my fabulous potter friend, gifted me with one of her clay yarn bowls. I love it for taming crazy rolling balls of yarn and as a prop for my Etsy shop. All her info is on the card above. Check it out.
I'm a sure enough Dallas native who spent a good part of my life in northern New Mexico, where I learned the arts of spinning, weaving, and dyeing. Combining those skills with my long time love, knitting, is what I do best these days.