Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sweater Body

I told you the sweater was moving quickly, for a worsted weight adult sweater, and then I was silent about it for a week. Well, that's because the sleeves are not actually part of the pattern. This pattern had short, very short, sleeves.... and my friend wants long sleeves... and she did paint my upstairs... magically, without me having to do any work on it. So, I bragged that I only had to rip out one sleeves - I was punished for bragging and I think we're on attempt 4 now, but looking good. I'll show you the sleeves once I've finished one and it's been declared good, but for now I can show you the body of the sweater.

The way this sweater is constructed I need to stop the body there and make sure both sleeves are ready to go and then I knit them in and decrease during the yoke to form shoulders and and the top of the sweater. We're going to have to examine it later to make sure it's long enough, but for now it is the length the pattern told me to make it and I'm not looking for problems until the sleeves are done.

Another close-up because it's just so pretty:

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Ten on Tuesday: Movies

Ten new movies I want to see:

1. The Hobbit

2. The Vow

3. Star Trek

4. The Avengers

5. Hunger Games

6. The Secret World of Arrietty

7. The Bourne Legacy

8. Brave

9. The Odd Life of Timothy Green

10. Skyfall (Bond movie)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Gingerbread Wrap-up

I know it's been a couple of weeks almost, but here were the completed Gingerbread Houses

(front and back views)

Some of these are still a little bare, as a couple of the students were not done decorating, but I had to snap a picture before I forgot. For the record, none of them collapsed and much candy was enjoyed by all.

As a tip for anyone making gingerbread houses in the future - please, bake and then let all the pieces cool - and then wrap and FREEZE all the pieces. Then, at your leisure, buy candy, prepare a foil covered platform, make icing, and put together frozen houses. They stay sturdy and come together much quicker if they are frozen solid.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Food Friday: Book Club Treats

What I decided to bring to bookclub:

Chocolate Cherry Cake
(the only changes I made was to use just a fork to mix it so the cherries stayed together more, make it as a layer cake and put a can of cherry cake filling between the layers, and then make sure to cool and wait for the icing to thicken before you pour it on)

Apple-Berry Baked Oatmeal
(This is a new recipe for me, I got it from someone else and made it once recently and loved it! It was good warm, but I really liked it cold. The only changes I made was to use a mix of pecans and walnuts, as I was running out of pecans, and I used whole milk and greek vanilla yogurt, as that's what I had in the house!)

A Veggie Ham Quiche

My pie crust recipe is to take 2 sticks of butter, melt in microwave, add 1/2 cup hot water and then 2 Cups of flour, 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp salt. Use a fork to mix these together and then wrap the dough in plastic wrap and put in the freezer for about 30 minutes, or fridge for at least 2 hours (up to overnight). Usually if I stick this in the freezer and start making the filling for the quiche I'm ready to roll out the crust about same time it's ready for me.

The filling varies slightly depending on what I have on hand but usually it is: 2 onions cooked up in olive oil. Once those look nice I add a large drained can of mushrooms and a bag of frozen pepper strips. I cook those until the liquid is mostly gone and the peppers are thawed and slightly cooked (not mush). I then add some cut up ham - let that cook for a minute and then pull the pan off the burner and add a bag of frozen spinach. Once that has thawed I add any cheese. Crack 12-15 eggs into a bowl and then add them to the now warm, but not hot, mixture. This will go right in to the pie crusts and then baked for about 45-60min at 325-350 (depends how full you fill the pies). You can tell it's done when you cut into it a bit and it gives clear liquid (instead of eggy liquid). I figure each pie has a stick of butter in it, as the crust recipe makes 2 crusts, and about 6-8 eggs - cut into 8 pieces it's less than an egg per slice, and lots of veg!

And I also brought some cut raw vegetables and dip

Now those of you who have moved away can pretend, between yesterday's post and today's post that you were able to attend bookclub!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

My pick for bookclub

About once every 9-13 months over the past 8 years I have picked a book for bookclub.

My choices have varied over the years

The book I picked this month is definitely not for everyone, but it was an interesting suspenseful book. It was 'Before I go to Sleep' by S.J. Watson, and here are two quotes from it:

“We’re constantly changing facts, rewriting history to make things easier, to make them fit in with our preferred version of events. We do it automatically. We invent memories. Without thinking. If we tell ourselves something happened often enough we start to believe it, and then we can actually remember it.”

“I cannot imagine how I will cope when I discover that my life is behind me, has already happened, and I have nothing to show for it. No treasure house of collection, no wealth of experience, no accumulated wisdom to pass on. What are we, if not an accumulation of our memories?”

Choose one of the quotes and tell me what it means to you!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

This past weekend

So, although I don't have photographic proof, I spent this weekend being very productive. In no particular order I did the following over this past long weekend:

Made 2 hearty veggie and ham quiches

Enjoyed a fire in the fireplace (finally burning the last of the Christmas wrapping paper)

Went to church

Had a nap

Helped my husband clean his workshop (small square room, randomly junked with stuff from finishing our upstairs - now the floor is clear and most of his tools are findable!)

Cheered him on while he undid pipes and fixed our clogged bathroom sink

Planned a lesson for Tuesday (5 kids, 105minutes: intro to our new science unit and review of geography bee information from the fall unit. We also ended up taking a mile walk in a big loop and having them draw a map of it since the first section of our new science unit is on maps. We only ended about 7 minutes early!)

Typed up a schedule of what's due when for this new science unit (hopefully having our last class the end of May)

Wrote up a shopping list (and thanked my husband profusely for taking two kids and doing the shopping trip)

Watched my husband play with his new technology toy and decided I wanted one also with some of our tax refund money

Finished a book (and started two new ones!)

Played Plants vs. Zombies with my three year old boy

Knit more on a sleeve (that isn't quite right and will be ripped out, more on that later this week)

Watched more House on Hulu before it expired

Watched more Once Upon a Time on Hulu with my girls before it expired

Enjoyed getting more flowers from my Sweet Husband

Gave my son a haircut

It was a busy long weekend!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Ten on Tuesday: Tips to Write a Letter

10 Tips for Writing a Great Letter:

1. Write a letter on paper (rather than email)
2. Make sure you spell their name right
3. Long is good, but quality is better
4. Send it! (don't just let is sit on your desk!)
5. Proofread! (and now I need to look over this post again!)
6. Double check the address
7. Make sure your tone is appropriate for your relationship with the recipient
8. Know why you are writing before you start and make sure you achieved your goal at the end
9. Reread the letter looking for any wording that could be misinterpreted
10. Date the letter - the future thanks you!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Starting Sleeves

I have now started sleeves for the sweater that I am making. I only had to rip out and restart one of them... This also means that the sweater is done up to the yoke and as soon as the sleeves are done I'll be ready to join them.

Pictures later this week, stay tuned

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday Explained

I'm going to be trying something new, every Friday post is going to fit into one of the following topics, depending on what is going on with my life:

Fiber Friday - about new fiber I've gotten or fiber I've spun or am spinning
Fiction Friday - about what I'm reading, whether fiction or nonfiction
Food Friday - obviously something yummy I ate, made, or want to make

So look for that new feature next week!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sweater barter

My friend who fixed up and painted our upstairs to make it a bedroom earned herself a barter for three projects. One was the fingerless mitts, the second is this sweater, only with long sleeves.

So we start with a pile of yarn:

and this is where it was about a week ago:

a little bit better visual of the pattern:

Just wait for the update, this project is going pretty fast! (That is, fast for an adult sweater of course)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Trip to Webs

Almost a year ago I bought a groupon to Webs and gave my husband the same deal also. ...then at Christmas I was given a gift certificate to Webs. Since the groupon was going to expire at the end of the month we finally packed up the family and went (since these had to be used in person it had to be a time when both my husband and I were both able to go). My husband got a cool cloth yarn bowl/box that he let me break in while still in the car (as I was finishing up the dark blue wallaby). Everything else is in the picture below, except two tins of hard lotion (I got the Ginger Blossom and Yarn Bar)

Pictured here:
a braid of fiber for me, dark blue chosen by little tomato, sparkly cream chosen by curly, cool blue chosen by lily, 2 skeins of noro sock yarn chosen by husband, and 2 small skeins (purple and blue on the bottom) that I snagged while checking out the clearance rack with the kids. Actually, the girls have two skeins of each of theirs, as they were also from the clearance rack, but I could only find one for the picture!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Ten on Tuesday: Chocolate Treats

My 10 favorite Chocolate Treats

1. Klondike Bars

2. Weight Watchers Frozen Fudge Bars

3. Lindt Truffles

4. Some of the chocolate Lara bars (I haven't been able to try them all yet)

5. Homemade Chocolate Cherry Cake (except I like to make it as a layer cake or cupcakes and have to cool the glaze a bit before I use it)

6. Frozen brownie bites (make them, cut them SMALL, and freeze them on plates, and then once frozen store them in a gallon bag, watch them disappear)

7. Chocolatel Scones (sorry, it's a ravelry link)

8. Flourless Chocolate Cake from Gus and Paul's

9. Molten Chocolate Cakes (also homemade, but available at many restaurants now)

10. Chocolate Cream Pie (especially with homemade whip cream on top!)

Monday, February 13, 2012

My Valentine

My husband and I talked about Valentines Day and didn't really have any ideas or things we wanted to do - so I suggested that we make sure we go out on a date *sometime* this month and call it good. He then did some shopping for me on Friday and brought home flowers:

and then Saturday we went on some walks - me with the boy, and he with the two girls... they stopped by Gus and Paul's on the way home and he told me this one was just for me:

So now I've got chocolate(s) and flowers. Thank you my sweet husband. I really do enjoy getting semi-spontaneous expressions of love! :)

Hope your Valentine's Day is excellent, because, as someone put it today at church, even if our life is not the way we want it, we all have love to give.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Fiber Friday: Grey Skein, the second

Earlier this week I finished the last bit of the second skein of grey. I then plied it, washed it, and hoped it would dry quickly, as people were going to be in the house the next day. It was sufficiently dry to take off the cumbersome rack and leave on a towel on my bed. Once dry I labelled it as the second skein (and the other as the first, since of course, I hadn't done that already), and snapped a picture to compare them.

Only one more left to turn from fiber to yarn before I start figuring out what I can make with it!

Thursday, February 09, 2012


For our homeschooling co-op this year we decided to try something new. Instead of breaking the year into three units, we would break it into two slightly longer ones, with a break in the middle. We planned that the break would fall during Christmas and New Years. After taking those three weeks off half the co-op decided to do 5 or 6 weeks of field trips, while my part of the group decided to do a unit on Gingerbread Houses.

We've spent many weeks having classes about architecture, folk and tall tales, angles and how to use a protractor, foundations and structural support. Now all 6 kids have now designed their own gingerbread houses, built models and are ready to build and decorate their buildings.

Yesterday we made soap (that was the other teacher and went along with a folk tale they had read), and cut all the pattern pieces out of gingerbread. I had made 3 batches of dough, and was worried it wouldn't be enough, so I had my two girls go last. It wasn't enough and I had to make more dough and help one of them cut and bake today.

Of course, another batch of dough was plenty for her house pieces and we had a lot left...

So I let her open up the cookie cutters she had gotten for Christmas (a barrel of 101) and she got to make cookies for dessert tonight. Do you like her Valentine theme?

Wish me luck, next week, on Valentine Day, the 6 co-op kids will put together their houses and hopefully, after lunch, get to decorate them. If they remain standing then maybe I'll take some pictures. Luckily I won't be the only adult helping them...

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Promised Wallaby Pictures

I normally don't put pictures of my kids out on the web, but I couldn't resist how excited he was to have me take his picture. The green sweater has been cast aside for a couple of days now (since I finished this dark blue one over the weekend).

He was willing to jump for me...

...and put the hood on (with his hands in his pocket),..

...and then turn to the side...

...but then he was done and requested no more pictures, and ran off to play mini ninjas.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Ten on Tuesday: Things I Can See

10 Things I can see from my favorite knitting spot:

1. Windows (and therefore green, blue, and white if the curtains are open)

2. The TV

3. My oldest daughter's desk

4. My computer desk

5. The door to the upstairs (and kids' bedroom)

6. The living room couch

7. My yarn baskets

8. My pile of books

9. My spinning wheel

10. My bed

Monday, February 06, 2012

Status of Blue Wallaby

I finished!!!

He wore it last night.

Pictures to follow later this week.

That is all.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Dark Blue Wallaby, part Two

As you can see, since starting this over the weekend, I have now finished both sleeves, and done the first 3 1/2 rows of the shoulders. In the sweater construction this is known as the yoke, and I have another 20 1/2 rows or so before I start knitting back and forth instead of around. At that point I will have started a center placket of garter stitch. After I finish the yoke and placket then I will just have the neck and hood left.

I am really enjoying how fast this sweater is moving - but that's what happens when you get a decently thick yarn and a kid who is still small (although he's getting bigger every day!). Hopefully you'll get to see a finished sweater sometime next week!

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Dark Blue Wallaby

When I finished his most recent sweater my son wore it for days straight. Well, we made him take it off to eat and didn't let him sleep in it, but otherwise it was constantly on him. E-v-e-r-y day!

So I decided I needed to make him another one. Maybe one that was a bit bigger, so it would last a bit longer. The green one was superwash (which means machine wash and dryable) but this yarn is not, so it will be a bit more worn and then handwashed.

He is very excited about having a dark blue sweater...

So this past weekend I started this:

He checked with me today to make sure I'd be adding a hood, and sleeves.... I also let him know it will include shoulders.

(I just showed him this post and when I turned away to talk to someone else he got my attention again 'mom, mom, mom, mom, mom....' and then asked me to please knit some more on his dark blue sweater)

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Finished Pink Socks

They are done!

The socks were finished at the end of the week and delivered on Sunday.

I am always amazed at how much faster the second sock gets done (once started of course)! I knew exactly what row to start increases (instead of having to try it on a bunch of times), then after working the heel I knew exactly how many repeats to do up the leg before switching to ribbing. Just knowing how long something will last seems to make it easier to get through.