Friday, February 15, 2008

Picture-Palooza!

As Promised. First we have assorted knitterly goodness.

My purse. I love this. I won a skein of Noro from another blogger, and this is what I did with it. I had some silk in a very light pinky purple and that is what I used for the bottom and edgings. I get many compliments on it - when I do manage to leave the house that is ;).




Two swatch purses. They are NOT lined yet and have no straps, but they have been blocked and dried. The Turtle has a basic triangle flap and will have a large button when done. I chose a texture for the back so that it is pretty from both sides. The Peace purse has a plain back, but then I added a heart to the flap. I really like this. I might make more, but I plan on adding loopy fringe to the flap and the bottom. DD wants this one and didn't want any fringe.

No, this is not some odd stingray. This is the bottom point of a beaded shawl. No pattern. And no pre-stringing of beads either (praise the lawd!). I increase one row by adding a yarn over after the first and before the last knit of a row. Beads are added to the stitch right before or after the yarn over. Then knit back. The next row, the increase is made at the mid-point by doing a yarn over, attaching a bead and knitting the middle stitch, then another yarn over and knitting to the end. Knit back. This way you get increases (holes) along the sides and increases (holes) along the middle. It was starting to look plain, so I added some beading to the flat areas as well. It is very organic at the moment and I am not sure where the beads will take me.

Is this a new Hip Hop queen? No, it's my DD modelling the brimmed winter hat I made her, and the fingerless mitts she begged me for. As for the lips? Valentines gift. It's a sucker LOLOL.








This is a shrug I made for myself. Even though I bought more yarn than what the pattern called for, I still ran out. And of course I couldn't find any more in the same colour. So what did I do? Meh. Finished in other colours. No biggie. It is soft and keeps my arms warm when I am on the computer or reading, and that is what it is for.

Some pictures of the animals. Xena is always peeking around something. That is because she is always being sneaky and getting into things. She loves to hide and peek in at people, then run like a mad thing when you catch her at it. She also does odd things like scuttle around things, so sometimes we call her squirrel.












Jasmine is the queen of naps. No, I don't hold the title, believe it or not! She has a way of making sleep look so GOOD. She doesn't just settle in for a nap, she crashes so hard she has to HOLD ON.






This is Ruby checking out my eyes after I had put drops in them. Some people say that pugs don't have a developed sense of smell because of their flattened snout. I say they are spun, because ANYTHING new and Ruby is onto it and sniffing it intently and at close range. I wanted a pic of her on her carpet, but every time I grab the camera she gets up and looks at me. So how about a pic of her tail in the general vincinity of the rug I made her?







And last but not least, let's add some Sparkle to your day. She's a little grumpy here because I opened the lid of her apartment and snapped a picture. Wook at those widdle cwumply eahs!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

I hate feet

Another visit to the Doctor, another appointment trying to hold down a screaming and crying DD who needs to get her tootsies frozen off. Well, not exactly. She has plantar warts on her feet and they bother her, so we keep having to go back and get them frozen. She WANTS it done. But then she acts like a crazy monkey on speed when we get there. Sigh. I know what the doctor and the assistant think of me, I could see it in their eyes. All I could do was shrug and say "So she is hyperventilating and screaming and stuff. Just do it while I hold her down and get us out of here before every client out in the waiting room decides to take a run for it". I needed a new lab form, and they took my blood pressure after all the drama. And they were amazed it was still nice and low, even after all that. I said "some days I think I am actually dead". Then I did this nervous laugh that made them exchange a look ROFL. I knew it was going to be a trial so I made sure I did all my important things today. I ate a good breakfast (baby spinach leaves scrambled with eggs and cheese and toasted home made bread). Then I took a nap. Then I took a pee break (Ruby too. Only one of us peed outside in the snow. I'll leave it up to your imagination as to which of us it was ;). Then I took another nap. Then I answered the phone and had a tea and read a canning book. Then I did the MOST important thing - I took another nap! Yes, I basically slept all day and it felt WONDERFUL. I am finding it hard to sleep at night because I cannot get comfortable. My legs ache and ache and ache and my hip hurts so much. I toss and turn and fidget. I am much more comfortable a couple of hours at a time on the couch. I might have to try sleeping there at night and see how it goes. I am tired of going through the day looking and feeling like dog doodee. Nice way to spend Valentine's Day. Naps all day then traumatizing the kid in the evening. Fast food for dinner too. Woohoo, the romance is flying!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Getting closer....

I have knitted a rug for Ruby to lie on under the desk. She doesn't like to lie on things like that. She will lie on the couch, and knock down a throw pillow and perch on it. She sleeps on my pillow in bed and prefers my side with the feather bed to DH's flatter side. But in general, she is not one of those pugs that burrows into blankets or likes cushy dog beds. If I put the same pillow on the floor that she sleeps on in the bed, she will avoid it like the plague. When the computer desk was in the other room, it was on carpet and she was just fine laying underneath on that. But in this room, the floor is cold and hard linoleum tile. So I started by throwing a blanket under there. It took a while for her to even set a paw on it, but eventually she laid down (as long as my feet were down so she could put her chin on my foot LOL). Once she started staying down there even with my feet up (I sit cross legged in a computer chair or else my butt and legs fall asleep) I started folding the blanket. First in half, then in thirds until it was like a little sleeping mat. I knew there had been success when it got moved from under the desk somehow and Ruby would still go lie on it if I was in the computer room. The next step? Place the rug I made underneath it. If she is fine with that, I can put it on TOP of the blanket so that the blanket part is the padding underneath. Seems like a lot of work to get a dog to lie on a rug, doesn't it? I made the no-knead bread again today, this time I preheated the pot for as long as was originally called for. I also placed it overnight and then to rise in a better, warmer place and got a better rise. For those that have asked for the recipe: I would love to give it out. However, it is not MINE to give. I have a paid subscription to Cooks Illustrated Online, and I also buy the magazines. I feel it would violate copyright to post it here. However, I am sure a million people have posted it on Recipezaar, and if you were to look there and find a recipe that calls for a dutch oven, some Budweiser beer, and white vinegar then you have found what you are looking for. It is very easy to make, although it does take some planning because the dough sits overnight then has to rise. Other than that, I find it as easy to make as using a bread machine. Yesterday we had spaghetti for dinner. Sometimes, after browning the meat I like to deglaze with just a touch of red wine. Not enough to really taste, and I let it evaporate before continuing with the sauce. I find it deepens the flavour without making it "winey". It makes a sauce that cooks for about 10 minutes taste like a sauce that simmered much longer than that. I am out of dry wines to cook with, then saw the bottle of balsamic vinegar I had out to make salad dressing. Hmmmmm. I added about a couple of teaspoons worth to the meat after browning and let it cook off, then added my spices and seasonings and stirred for a bit, then added my tomato sauce. Right away I could see a difference in the colour of the sauce. Instead of the bright red of tomato sauce right from the can, it had the deeper brick colour of sauce that has simmered a very, very long time. A quick taste confirmed that while there was no taste of vinegar at all, the flavours of the tomato and spices had deepened and were better rounded out, and there was a distinct savoriness that really tempered any acidity from the canned sauce. No discernable sweetness either, which I was afraid of since the vinegar itself is so sweet. Now mind you, I did not use the $22.00 bottle of balsamic, but rather a cheapo version (which has mellowed nicely in the cupboard over the years incidentally LOL), but at a couple of teaspoons I would use the good stuff in a pinch. DH and DD both confirmed that the sauce was very very good. In fact, there were no leftovers at all - which is always a good sign! I have been knitting a LOT lately. See, I sat down with some wool I had sitting around, and decided to try out a few samples from the Barbara Walker books that had intrigued me. My intention was to try them out, then maybe decide if I wanted to use them again in some actual item. In other words, I was going to rip out the samples when I was done. I chose the turtle, and the peace sign cable charts. Well, they were so cute and turned out so well, there was no way I could rip them out! Then I got an idea. Why not pick up around the edges, and make a reverse side (picking some texture pattern that looks interesting from the same books)? So that is what I did. Then I added flaps. The last thing that needs to be done is washing and blocking (they need some shaping because cables tend to pull in), lining, and deciding on straps or handles. Now, don't fret. You will see pictures, I promise. I want to finish them first however. I have had a lot of people offer to buy them already, even when they were just raggedy pieces of pulled in knitting with millions of ends hanging off everywhere ROFL. I think I have found something I LOVE to make! I get to try some textures and cable techniques I have always wanted to try but the pieces can be finished in a couple of evenings. Of course, blocking and lining take longer but that can be done en masse when I have a few finished. And piecing them together appeals to my artist side because it is very organic, and is completed based on what the sides are like and the final shapes and so on. No pattern, no technique. I crocheted these together (single crochet along the edges making sure the counts match, then go along and slip stitch the inside loops of the crochet stitches together. I doesn't look crochet at all, you would swear they were knit together some how). Little purses, pocketbooks, cellphone or pda bags, you can use them for so many things. I like to follow patterns, but sometimes I find it very relaxing to let something take it's own shape. Like my newest purse I made from Noro (pictures to follow of that as well, I PROMISE). I crocheted an oval, then picked up around the edges and knit a tube. When I felt I was getting close to the end of the yarn I bound off in two spots then cast on again when I came around to them the next time to make handle openings, then finished the skein. Add some applied I-cord in the same colour as the bottom, and voila. I haven't shown it yet because I was playing around with liners and stiffening pieces and so on. Now that I have been using it I have pinned it down to something that works well, I just have to sew the parts in permanently (they are just basted in right now and aren't very sturdy. I would love to make another one to give as a gift, but I want to knit the oval bottom instead. I haven't quite figured out how to do that yet ;). So how about I make a promise. I promise that this Friday will be "Picture-Palooza". There will be pictures of bread and knitting and animals and just about whatever else I can get a picture of within the laws of decency and copyright. Deal?