Monday, December 29, 2008

Pimento Cheese

Okay, we love homemade p'mento cheese.
One of my favorites, is the "homemade" (in the store) pimento cheese
from Conrad & Hinkle's Market in Lexington, NC.

The smooth & creamy, yet slightly lumpy spread is unlike any store bought.

I've always strived to make a batch just as good as Conrad-Hinkle's.

Most recipes have too many ingredients. And are too dry, and well, just not right.

So, Here is how I make pimento cheese.

Velveeta (2-4oz)
Duke's Mayo
Shreadded sharp cheese (about 1 cup)
Shreadded 3-4 cheese blend (about 1 cup)
Sugar (no more than 1 Tablespoon)
Salt (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)
Diced Pimientos, reserve juice (2-4ounce jar)

In a food processor, blend until smooth: the Velveeta, half of the cheeses, the sugar, and a touch of the reserved juice.

In a large bowl, stir together the processed cheeses, the pimentos, the remaining cheese and seasonings.
Add additional mayo to reach desired consistency. (It will absorb some of the mayo if you get too much the first day.)

Refrigerate overnight & add additional mayo to again reach spreading consistency.
This will about fill a 2-pound yogurt or sour cream container.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays!

We made it to the Mountains. I had to leave the office at 1:15 pick up the kids & we were on the road by 2:10. We made excellent time. I stopped for gas in N. Wilkesboro and then back on the road. It was cold & windy & the temps were dropping.

But we were a mere 30 minutes from our exit off of the highway & onto mountainous back roads. Then traffic S T O P S. We were in a stand still. (Fatal head-on- with 2 small kids involved.) After a little over two hours we were going again. But, remember I mentioned that the temperature was dropping? Well, during our wait, it sleeted a little, rained a little & got a L O T colder.

Meaning ice on the roads. Because the salt trucks couldn't treat the roads because of the stopped traffic. We slipped a little & the kids were nervous as the white 4 wheel drive SUV in front of us slipped & slid around. We were rolling at a mere 20-25 mph. And the kids were fussing about being trapped in a slow moving car. I kept reminding them to be thankful we were alive & to be considerate of my concentration while I was driving through less than idea conditions(aka -- be quite!)

So, a little over 3 hours after getting gas we were heading up the back "road" to the house. Imagine a dirt path, full of big rocks, natural springs that trickle over the way, and tree limbs. It was actually better than it had been in past years. I guess most of the people have been using that way up the mountain, as the state paved the steep way (regular way up) and the switchbacks are not possible to maneuver, even with chains and 4 wheel drive.

Oh. I also want to mention the wind we had up here after our adventurist drive. 110 mph gust. I didn't sleep a wink.
I'll be traveling home Saturday, to start the major clean-out/redesign of my house. The kids will be staying here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

To-Do List leading up to DEC 24

The dreaded LIST...
1 cover letter! PRONTO
2 find battery charger-- camera needs fresh batteries!
3 pay power bill
4 pay daycare
5 get secret gifts from C's
6 pack holiday gifts into trunk
7 order thumb drives-- dad, C & me (total #??)
8 pack away extra sheets
9 WORK: Billing for W & MB

1 1-2-3 dough crust
2 Grand Mariner Bars
3 Red Velvet Cakes
4 Prep: S.Pot topping, Cream Cheese frosting ingredients
5 Pack kids clothes
6 Pack yarn projects (maybe just hooks & patterns??)
7 Thank Cleve

1 WORK: Billing for MB
3 Finish packing
4 PILLOWS & Woobies in car

Cream Filled Chocolate Cake with Fudgie Frosting

Cream Filled Chocolate Cake with Fudgie Frosting

Last night I had to make a chocolate cake for my niece's 15th birthday.
She likes chocolate cake. Chocolate frosting.
I don't like chocolate cake. AND I still haven't discovered the perfect formula for a yummy chocolate buttercream.

I made the most yummy (looking- I can't taste it until tonight) chocolate cake, a rich & creamy pastry cream filling & tried a new chocolate frosting.
This chocolate frosting is fudgie & smooth. ♥ I LOVE IT! ♥ The formula makes a rather small batch- about 2 cups- but I think it will become a new staple for my recipe collection. It's right off the back of my cocoa powder-- I just can't believe how good it is. And a simple recipe too!

I topped the cake with a fine layer of grated milk chocolate, bordered the top with chocolate curls & chilled the cake overnight. This morning, I piped more chocolate to add "Happy Birthday!" I even remembered to take a photo- I'll add it soon- once I get the card downloaded.

{I've tried twice to upload the picture. All the way through the click "DONE" to add your picture & then it sends me back to the post but the photo isn't here. =( I'll keep trying. I wish I'd remembered to take the camera tonight, so you could have seen the thick layer of yummy pastry cream inside. It was almost as thick as the cake layers!}

PS- the cake WAS SOOOOOOOO yummy. One of the best chocolate cakes I've ever made. The fudgie frosting was thinner than I normally use on top of a cake, but it was SO rich. More would have been overkill.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Peppermint Cookies

I made these peppermint cookies.

they look yummy.
they taste like toothpaste.
maybe I need a new toothpaste.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Double Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Last night I was inspired after drooling reading through some yummy blog entries. I had a hankering for oatmeal cookies and chocolate. I have a favorite oatmeal cookie recipe (its Quaker's Famous Oatmeal Cookies) that has just the right soft-chewy consistency. I like adding white chips & dried cranberries it that recipe, but chocolate chips in a plain oatmeal cookie wasn't what I was craving.

I turned to one of my favorite cookbooks that doesn't feature pictures. (I HATE cookbooks without photos.)It's Best Recipes: From The Backs Of Boxes, Bottles, Cans And Jars and compiled by Ceil Dyer. All of these recipes were published by name brand companies and printed on packaging or advertisements. I've used this book so much! I love the fact that there is a little history with each recipe.

I ended up making Double Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies, featuring Gold Medal Flour. (I even actually used Gold Metal Flour!) It is a good recipe although I tweaked it a bit. I used 1/2 Crisco shortening, because I like puffy oatmeal cookies, and I followed basic creaming procedures instead of just dumping ingredients together as the recipe indicated. Which, I'm sure would still make a satisfying cookie, but much money was spent so I could obtain a pastry degree, so I might tend to make things more complicated. (Whoa, complicated, like this paragraph's structure! But that's the fun in blogging-- ) I also used my special blend of cocoa powders and milk chocolate chips.

Anyway- I didn't take photos last night- but these are good. I also must mention to WATCH THESE COOKIES while they bake-- as chocolate cookies can fool ya. The first pan is a bit crisp, although still quite edible, the 2 & 3rd pans are the perfect chewy-ness & I have more dough in the fridge for later. I must admit, I don't like them as much as Quaker's Famous with the added cranberries & white chips. Maybe the dark dutch process cocoa over did it? Hmm. I think a big pan of brownies would have been just the thing-- but the brownie blogs I read yesterday might be swaying my focus a bit! I'll take pictures tonight-- Right after the Kindergarten's' Christmas Program. (oh. fun. do I really havta go?)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas vs Yule

I was raised in a house where we celebrated Christmas.
Throughout my childhood & adolescent life, I went to church. Through college I tried to find a church that I wanted to attend regularly, but I did not succeed.
I've been attending the same church for the past (almost) three years. Even being a regular in Sunday School.
My current series of lessons in class has really brought forth a reoccurring thought to me. I'm not sure that I believe all of this stuff. Parts of it- yea. But some parts, big parts-- I might add, Nope.

So, here is my dilemma. Do I keep "celebrating" Christmas with my kids, or do I research more into other belief systems & their holidays? How can I help my kindergartener understand what & why-- when I don't even have the answers.

I LOVE decorating a tree & having lights, I LOVE the idea of giving gifts-- Do I just start calling our celebrations something else? Kind of in reverse of what happened when Christian Holidays were plastered over the existing ones? Reverting back to the old days?
But what about Christmas Music-- I LOVE me some Christmas music.

I want my children to be able to choose their own beliefs, and not just slide along the accepted way. But I don't want them to have a stigma attached as they progress through school age.

If anyone has any pros or cons-- or ideas-- I'm open to reading them.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Tunisian Stash Buster Blanket Help!

Okay-- I was asked to spell out how I did my red-purple-orange tunisian stash buster blanket. So-- Here is my best attempt at outlining what I did-- hopefully the gist is transferred & you can develop your own lovely creation!

This afghan-blanket is made with a 19mm cabled tunisian crochet hook. Mine is a lovely Jenkins Woodworking Hook.

*Most color changes happen before starting the reverse pass (RP). This makes the horizontal colors slightly different than the vertical bars that encase it.
*For a few super bulky yarns, I used on the RP only.
*One yarn was itchy to me, so I only use it on the forward pass (FP) so it hardly itches at all when you are under it!

General Note on Tunisian Simple Stitch (TSS) structure: FP creates the vertical bars shown on the front of the afghan. RP makes the horizontal rows & is heavily seen on the back of the work.

My afghan is primarily red & purple, with touches of orange & yellow.
Here is a sampling of the yarns in my afghan. Please note, some yarns are used in multiple colors.

red afghan yarn samples

Top Row:
Mystery Super Bulky single ply (from LYS I lost tag)
Lion Brand Incredible Ribbon Yarn
Patons Rumor: two colors included: this orange/red (Hibiscus?) and a purple one (plum?)
Fanta: the red plied with a black/multi This is the one that ended up being itchy & used on FP only
SWS several colors used in blanket (3 or 4?)
Mystery RR Ribbon yarn (from LYS I lost the tag)
Trendsetter Finesse: the ribbon yarn with tuffs- Rusty Orange & yellow

Bottom Row:
Worsted Wool: Several different red wools, one variegated with purple (Russian?)
Purple Reclaimed sweater yarn
Angora Extra: orange, purple & dark purple
California Caramel: The slippery shiny red
Super Fine wool dark purple Reclaimed sweater yarn

Here is a scan of the first few rows: Starting chain is shown on the left side, work is shown sideways.


And here is how I mixed the yarns:

CO: Rumor
1: Rumor
RP: 2x Caramel + 1 Purple Sweater
2: same
RP: 1 Caramel + 1 Purple Sweater + 1 Orange Angora (- 1 caramel)
3: same
RP: 2 Purple Sweater + Orange Angora (- caramel)
4: Fanta only
RP: 2 Purple Sweater + 1 Dark Purple Angora
5: same
RP: 1 Purple Sweater + 1 Dark Purple Angora + 1 Caramel (- 1 purple sweater)
6: same
RP: 1 Orange Trendsetter + 1 Purple Sweater + 1 Caramel (- 1 Dark Purple Angora)
7: LB Ribbon only
RP: 1 Purple Sweater + 1 Caramel *only 2 b/c ribbon was so wide on vertical bars
8: 1 Orange Angora + 1 Purple Sweater + 1 Caramel * just added the orange
RP: Rumor only
9: Rumor only
RP: Orange Angora + 1 Purple Sweater + 1 red ww wool
10: same
RP: 1 Purple Sweater + 1 red ww wool + 2 SF dk purple (- Orange Angora)
11: Same
RP: 1 RR ribbon + 1 Purple Sweater + 2 SF dk purple (- 1 red ww wool)
12: Same
RP: 2 Purple Sweater + 1 RR ribbon (-+ 2 SF dk purple)
13: Fanta only
RP: 2 Purple Sweater + 1 yellow Trendsetter
14: 1 Caramel + 1 Purple Sweater + 1 yellow Trendsetter
RP: Super Bulky
15: Rumor
RP: 1 Purple Sweater + 1 caramel + ww red wool

Now, I tried to spread out my work to see if I needed a touch of a certain color or if it was too close to the last row—the novelty yarns are used less often because they are more noticeable—the purple sweater yarn and the caramel are the “staple” yarns throughout.

This is not an exact pattern to use, and has not been repeated through the rest of my afghan—I just kept changing one yarn at a time. I’ve left the tails on the ends, and when I get finished I will add more to fill out the fringe.

And lastly, an over-exposed scan where this is stretched to its most open state.
(Slightly more than normal)

over exposed scan

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Orange Julius

I ♥ Orange Julius.

I haven't had a REAL one in YEARS.
But I like to make my own version at home.
I have a commercial blender (a REAL commercial blender, not a overpriced blender that says its commercial.) and I'm not afraid to use it.

I'll share my version:
8/ oj (With pulp & w/o calcium or added junk)
8/ water
2T pasteurized egg whites
splash of vanilla
1/4-1/3 cup sugar
Ice- one tray's worth

Pop the lid on & blend. (I use the #3 pre-programed setting- but that is really intended for frozen berry smoothies) so it sometimes can over whip the whites.

Pour into a big insulated mug & enjoy with a jumbo straw!
(One of the local drive-thru places has the red straws that are made of thicker plastic & are "wide-mouthed" we try to grab extras & save them for our frozen drinks at my house!) Regular straws & bendy straws just collapse & aren't worth the hassle when it comes to these drinks!

Oh Wow.
Apparently they will be opening one somewhat near-by (an hour's drive) soon-- or it may now be open, by as I don't go to malls (Hey! I used to work at one-- and shopping just isn't the same now that I have two kids!)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


A fresh new to-do list:

1) call for shot records
2) call about job application
3) pay rent
4) Post Office
5) Clean out chair
6) Garland for Office
7) pay gas bill
8) scrub out tub
9) water plants
10) chicken for dinner

Monday, December 1, 2008

Long weekends put me SO far behind!

I really don't like long weekends.
Not only do I get behind at the office, but I also get behind on my housework. You see, when kids are home for an extended amount of time, they somehow forget how to do things for themselves. They forget that shoes & coats have a designated place. They forget that they must eat in the kitchen. They forget that lotion goes on hands, not into the carpet.
And long weekends = relaxing? Not for me. I ended up with WAY TOO MUCH STUFF ON MY TO-DO LIST. So much, that I didn't even post it here. I did type a list on my computer, but I never even got the chance to blog-- and that WAS on my list. I had some BIG things that I needed/wanted to do-- I never even had to chance to pre-plan doing them.
The only way I can remotly get things done is when the kiddos are either in school/daycare or they are away with my folks. And THEN, I end up resting/recuperating too much & STILL don't get my list done. I don't ever think I'll get a Win-Win situation out of long weekends.

Friday, November 21, 2008


Just a few things I've finished lately...

For the REDUCIO SOCK Swap:
hp spoiler
A Slytherin Stocking/sock
mini sock Slytherin

A Griffindor Wand Pouch & Wand
Wand and pouch

Hagrid's hat and scarf- um really off scale on the scarf length to hat ratio-- oh well!
mini hat & scarf

Thursday, November 20, 2008

11/20 Thursday's List

Wednesday's List:
1) Mail more swap packages (FOUR to mail today!)
2) Mail pattern to Mom & Marie
3) Buy batteries for scale (& bread & wetwipes & diapers
& tweezers I want tweezerman tweezers & they are hard to find.))
4) Wash Pots
5) Finish rounds on JoJoLand Hat Pastels
6) Call about new daycare (again)
7) Hang up new pants
8) Work on JET list
9) Deposit paycheck


Well: I knew I wouldn't get much done yesterday. It was JUST ONE OF THOSE DAYS.

Thursday's List:
1) Mail pattern to Marie
2) Wash Pots ((REALLY this time))(Quit Cooking Already!)
3) Finish rounds on JoJoLand Hat Pastels
4) Hang up new pants
5) Water plants
6) Call Suzi about Christmas Rum Cakes
7) Mail more swap packages (Three to mail today!)
8) Repair table top. (Post about this soon.) (STAPLE GUN????)
9) Motivate MC to work on garland for tree.
10) Swing, holiday tote, highchair? to attic.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

11-19 To Do List

From Tuesday:
1) return Library books
2) Finish side 2 of mitten (only thumb left)

3) Mail more swap packages (FOUR to mail today!)
4) mail pattern to Mom & Marie
5) buy batteries for scale (& bread & wetwipes & diapers)
6) Dishes
7) Photos for school collage
8) Take out Trash

9) Laundry (ugh)
10) work stuff

Oh No- LOTS left over. But honestly- the laundry & dishes will always be on the list. maybe they shouldn't even get on the list, since they seem to reproduce faster than the machine can run.

Wednesday's List:
1) Mail more swap packages (FOUR to mail today!)
2) Mail pattern to Mom & Marie
3) Buy batteries for scale (& bread & wetwipes & diapers & tweezers I want tweezerman tweezers & they are hard to find.))
4) Wash Pots
5) Finish rounds on JoJoLand Hat Pastels
6) Call about new daycare (again)
7) Hang up new pants
8) Work on JET list
9) Deposit paycheck

11/18 To Do List

From 11/17
1) explore google spreadsheet capabilities for sharing.
2) JETs blog roll in/on google
3) make stitch markers that I've committed on Ravelry.
4) Pay Phonebill

5) Return Library books
6) Drop off recyclables
7) Mail off RAKs
8) update blog
9) update project status

10) Finish side 2 of mitten (only thumb left!)

SO-- Now for Today's List:
1) return Library books
2) Finish side 2 of mitten (only thumb left)
3) Mail more swap packages (FOUR to mail today!)
4) mail pattern to Mom & Marie
5) buy batteries for scale (& bread & wetwipes & diapers)
6) Dishes
7) Photos for school collage
8) Take out Trash
9) Laundry (ugh)
10) work stuff

Oh- I'd like to draw your attention to the new photo in the sidebar. Dad took the photo on his porch, daybreak 6:02 am October, 7 1007. I love the hangnail moon. The photo is totally UNTOUCHED- no cropping, color adjusting- just exactly how it came off the camera card. Breathtaking.

Day Break on Knob Hill

Monday, November 17, 2008

11-17 Manic Monday TO-DO List

I'm going to publish some things I REALLY want to get done (hopefully today), or at least work on this week. Maybe by knowing someone else can see the list- I'll be more motivated to follow through.

1) explore google spreadsheet capabilities for sharing.
2) JETs blog roll in/on google
3) make stitch markers that I've committed on Ravelry.
4) Pay Phonebill
5) Return Library books
6) Drop off recyclables
7) Mail off RAKs
8) update blog
9) update project status
10) Finish side 2 of mitten (only thumb left!)

I have more- but I'm limiting my list to the first 10 things that came to mind.

Friday, November 14, 2008

It's gonna match!!!

Side 2 of the mitten is going to match!!!!

I can't believe how the colors are lining up the right way.
But I am now wondering about using a solid for the palms & the ombre for the tops, so the PAIR will match, not just the sides of ONE mitten. Plus, I'm still concerned about the thumb space. If felting narrows it more than slightly- Then I'm in trouble. This might end up being a holiday decoration/stocking type deal.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

New Mittens In Progress!

This is the same pattern I tried to make mittens from several months ago, when I decided I needed to focus on my tunisian afghans, because counting stitches and following a pattern was a horrible undertaking.
However, I am almost done with my All Shawl, and I did finish Horse Girl's All Shawl. And I finished the ski hat with the yummy multi colored Jojoland Rhythm wool.

So, Yesterday, I decided to try the mittens again. This time- I chose Patons SWS, in a funky pink colorway called Natural Geranium. Remembering that I've used SWS in the orange, red, purple tunisian afghan I started last winter (where I thought the yarn was a bit splity) I was a bit hesitant.

You see, SWS is a single ply yarn, 70% wool, 30% soy. Oh yes, Soy Wool Stripes. But there is another Patons SWS, Soy Wool Solids. Same look, same fiber content. Just one SWS is multi colored & one is a solid. You will be able to tell the difference in the store, don't worry!

I did the starting chain with my 6.5mm hook, 'cause I chain too tight & that was the only alternative hook available (read: the one I keep at the office!) Then I switched to my 4mm Clover soft-touch hook.
clover hook
Now, I don't know if the combination of the clover hook and SWS made the difference, or if it is the increased attention I was able to pay to the project, or if it is just tangible proof that my crochet skills are improving, but I got one side of the mitten finished-- The SAME DAY I started it!

And as an added bonus, I only ended up one stitch off in my counts! Well, One stitch on each side, but I was able to keep track & get my increases and stitch changes in the right spot each pass, so I'm okay with that.
On the down side, I made the Large size, which was listed as (8-9) while the Small size was listed as (6-7). But the photo shows a young girl- teenager maybe? and the mittens looked tight. Now, I'm a fan of mittens, and I like to be able to ball my fingers up together inside my mittens, I figured I should make the Large size. So, I don't think the numbers show well here, (scanner + metal ruler= not a good idea!) but these are 10 inches top to bottom.
But another bonus, SWS FELTS. I just hope the thump space is going to be wide enough after felting, because it looks like it's gonna be a tight fit at the size it is now. Plenty of room in the length for felting, but kinda skinny. So if anyone has any experience felting mittens (crochet felting experience is extra appreciated) please let me know if I should add to the thumb width before I felt.
mitten scan 1

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Horse Girl's Cape is done!

Horse Girl's Cape is done!
Twirl Approved!
Well, it was done about two weeks ago, then only waiting for a button. She wore it last week to church. I think she liked it. She twirled bunches, which is always a good sign.

The cape took exactly one skein of Patons Bohemian yarn, I had about 2 inches left! The yarn is super soft & petable, and loads of people commented on it. This is the FIRST WEARABLE OBJECT that I have EVER completed from yarn. Yeah!

Reducio Sock on Ravelry

I'm doing something new this month. I've signed up to participate in a swap on Ravelry. The group is called Reducio Sock is is based upon Harry Potter & Hogwarts & the plan is to make a mini sock & another mini item & send it to your partner. (mini- think Christmas Tree ornaments)

I've NEVER EVER made a sock, although I did make a patchwork stocking out of felt for my niece, but that was 15 years ago.
My knitting and crochet skills will be tested with this project. I hope my partner isn't disappointed by my newly acquired skills.

I was a bit worried about who I would be getting as a partner, but I actually HAVE the right house color yarns in my stash. Which is good, because I really don't have extra cash in the budget for yarn.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

More Mommy Time

I need more Mommy Time.
No, not more time for myself, but more time to be a mommy.
Lately I feel like I've run my legs off. Between shuttling the kids to school & birthday parties & soccer. And cooking dinner (heating something up, anyway) and changing the sheets and and and.
The other day I realized that I don't have much time to BE with my kids.
So, in an effort to be more like the mom I used to be, I've decided to MAKE the conscious effort to BE with my kids more.

As much as my six year old finds chores "boring" my two year old loves to "helpyou." So, last night, after having the 6yo pick up toys and school papers from the living room I had the 2yo "help" me vacuum the carpet. Then he helped me fold the towels. I should have started him sooner on this as the 6yo started at 18 months.
So what if they are more lumpy than when I do it?
It's just a side towel that will most likely be used to clean up spilled lemonaid on the kitchen floor.
MC still has to empty the dishwasher, and will be promoted to folding her own clothes. (She has been doing some of her clothes, but mostly they are wadded into her drawers.)

I'm afraid I've let things slide a bit- as our time home was stretched so thin. BUT NO MORE! I decree that we WILL get back to our reading and writing schedule. We will reinstate the toothbrushing chart. We will fold the laundry before the creases are permanently set. We will have crafts time together.

And on that note, I've been following a few blogs where they participate in an "Unplugged" challenge. A topic is posted & then participating bloggers run with the idea for events to do with the children. It seems that mostly homeschooling families are the ones doing it, but I'd like to steal some of the ideas.
Like grating up crayon stubs (what? you don't have a box of those at your house?) and melting between waxpaper and framing with construction paper leaf shapes.
Or making Tub paints with baby shampoo and food coloring and cornstarch. Oh and fingerknitting. MC needs to start developing her yarn/knitting/crochet/handiwork gene. I want to do it with the loops used for making potholders. You know the thick cotton loops from socks.
Yep. My kids are gonna hate me for making them do more chores. But come bathtime, oh yeah. They will LOVE me for letting them fingerpaint!

Oh. And despite my good intentions to include lots of photo. camer card always seems to be left in the other pc. So enjoy the new widget in the upper left corner- MACRO photos. (That means close up images!)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Finished Objects!

Just a few Things I finished in the past week or so...

3-D Flower Hotpad
Painted Desert Flower Hotpad

Horse Girl's Cape
horse girl's All Shawl

Some Dishcloths
Panthers Hex front Peppermint Tunisian

I've done a few more things, but I need to take more pictures.
Have a Happy Day! =)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

All Shawl is almost done!

Last night, while watching a movie with my brother, I realized that my count was exactly perfect & I could start on the Strawberry Lace edging. I thought I was only half way done! I got half through the first row of the lace, but I had to put it away to take the kids home & get them to bed. I'm excited & now in the process of figuring out where I will be able to block it.

So, here is a photo, although this is not very recent.

all shawl thunderbird

Saturday, October 25, 2008

JHS Is Underway!

The Jewelry on Etsy Team, JET has launched their annual Jet Holiday Sale.

Two weeks with special items, reduced prices & great shopping-- Hop on over to
Have your Holiday Gifts & baubles delivered right to your mailbox, or even to the recipients! Just ask & the JETs will be happy to gift wrap!

Our team makes some of the most beautiful handcrafted jewelry. I have many jewelry items that I have purchased from them (yes, even though I make jewelry, too!) and I always get loads of complements.

So, once you get to, log in, or create an account- Its easy. Then enter JHS JETTEAM in the search box.
Looking for a ring for the teenager-- Yep- cool Steampunk or bright baubles.
Something classy for Mom-- Sterling Silver Earrings or bracelet.
A cute teacher's gift-- How about a trendy beaded piece?

New items will be added throughout the TWO WEEK Event!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Current WIPs

WIPs? You ask. That is short for Work In Progress. And for me, there are about a dozen yarn projects in the works.

I seem to find starting new projects very rewarding. Finishing them--- well, not so much.
But I did finally finish TWO dishcloths that were only waiting for the seam to be stitched together.
I present: 1 Halloween Festive Dishcloth & 1 Ugly Christmas Ombre Cloth.

orange and black finished christmas round finished

I did finish my **KNIT** market bag & have been using it as much as I can. MC took it on a camping trip & was able to cram sleeping bag, pillow & clothes in it! I've also used it to tote food & tea jugs to Church for Alpha dinners & get loads of complements. here it is before the handle was added. (note the cool swirl action! & Yes the flip-flop pony holder is attached-- Don't ask!)


Strawberry Shortcake & other stuffed pets & pals have a new hang-out. An oversized toy hammock that I made all by myself. This sucker is HUGE-- Just so you know, Strawberry Shortcake is over 3 Feet tall.


I'm also working on several blankets, more take-a-long dishcloths, an acorn bag, an All Shawl, A cotton tank, and some other random things. Most are logged into Ravelry. You can click over there & check it out IF you are a member. I ♥ Ravelry.

Thursday, October 2, 2008



I can't believe I didn't blog at all in September.
Well, I have a few reasons (cough excuses cough)...
1) Start of soccer season
2) Intersession for Kindergarten
3) Resuming of Sunday night dinners & Alpha at church
4) A THREE WEEK long Miragrane
5) Lots of time with Nana-- visiting for almost 3 weeks
6) Some knitting & crocheting
7) Big clean-out of kids toys & clothes
8) Upcoming craft shows

So, my Etsy shop is empty, my JETs think I've abandoned them, the kid's room is almost organized & I'm pooped.

Monday, August 25, 2008



I finished my first afghan that I will be donating to the Victory Junction Gang Camp.
This used aproximatly 1166 yards of yarn, and weighs in at 671 grams!
Made with two strands of worsted weight Peaches & Creme 100% cotton. Now, here is the cool part. This was made 100% right here in NC. The yarn from (at least some) NC cotton, spun & dyed here in NC, & I made it here in NC. AND the Victory Junction Gang is here in NC. So, next summer, a camper will be taking home a piece of NC to remember their camp experience. Weird to be that excited over two pieces of yarn (well 4 because of the color changes) but I am.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Granny Square Hobo Bag

Granny Square Hobo Bag
Plan designed by Fish on the Wall, 2008.

Just a quick "pattern" share for my friends.

It's not so much a pattern, but more of a plan.

For this project, crochet 17 granny squares using the pattern & yarn of your choice.
Layout your squares following the diagram. (The colors are to help show the pattern, not really to indicate the color placement for your project, although you can.)

For assembling, I formed a row of 5 squares, two rows of 4, and two rows of 2. Then I slipped stitched them together, off setting the rows as shown.

The 3 blue squares will be the bottom.
The 4 red squares are the top and the "S" indicates where to attach the straps.

The triple curves show where to attach the bottom squares to the next section to form the sides. Once the sides are started, you may decide to stitch up a bit more, just depending on how OPEN you want the top.

I cannot post actual photos of this bag at this time, since it is a surprise gift for someone.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Yarny weekend

My niece came over Friday night to bead. We are planning to have a table at her school's Fall Fest. But, instead of beading, I was working on my Peaches & Creme Mardi Gras Market bag. My niece, M, decided she wanted to try making a bag with my KniftyKnitter. She was up much later than I, and I figured she'd be almost done when I woke up Saturday. Yup.
I suggested she add a few more rows & then I'd crochet the handles & edging.
It looks great. I hope to add some pictures tonight. The colors created a swirl pattern, but it almost looks like stripes- looks good though & seems to be exactly what she had in mind.
I'm about half through the handles, but need her to verify the desired strap length.

Monday, July 21, 2008

What Is A Girl to DO...

With SO much YARN?

I've settled on a project. (As if I could only do ONE thing at a time.)

Its going to be making and donating some afghans to the Victory Junction Gang.
Its a great place set up in the Piedmont of NC-- Founded & mostly funded by Kyle Petty, of NASCAR fame.

Here is info if you want to share your skills at sewing, or quilting or knit or crochet. SEWING PROGRAM

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Little Collections

Little Collections.
I say this in jest, because I've (once again) RE-discovered that I have a serious problem.
I'm a collector. I collect things. LOTS of *things*. (Admitting the problem is the first step to recovery, no scratch that, make it organization.)

I just smushed, wedged, inventoried, and reorganized, hauled, grunted and pushed, SIX heavy-duty 18 gallon plastic totes into my attic.

Now, what might be in those SIX heavy-duty 18 gallon plastic totes, you might ask?
Well, my collections.

All of my collections? You ask.

Nope. I proudly admit. (I am a collector, ya know.)

Those SIX heavy-duty 18 gallon plastic totes contained various collections of yarn that I have collected for various projects. (Please note: These six totes do not contain my entire yarn collection. Oh No. There are THREE of these same massively huge totes of yarn in my living room, where I can easily access & visit with the yarn.)

I made a list & dutifully labeled the contents of each tote. (No digging through the wrong totes for this girl!)

This list is sorted by projects that I have collected & hauled into the attic, not the corresponding tote.
  1. WIP: Summer is too hot to work under it... My "Yummy Wool Afghan" & yarn required to finish it. Plus enough yarn in the same yummy wool to make one or two more afghan/throws. (When you find a wool this yummy & its less than 1/2 price-- ya just HAVE to add all you can find to your collection.)
  2. The reclaimed wool sweater yarn & various wools that I've collected for "Mom's Purple Wool Afghan". Still in balls- too hot to be under the wool.
  3. WIP: "MC's Super-Soft Blanket" and all of the yarns & possible novelty yarns a 5yo would want in a blanket. I've been working & restarting this project since before she was born. I plan to have this one satisfactory completed for her to take to college. --egads the colors, had to put it away for a while.
  4. "Mom's Purplely-Blue Acrylic Blanket" Surprisingly enough, I've collected most (maybe all) of these yarns from clearance & sale bins. Still in the bag. I am trying to restrain my self--- I'll have a collection of WIPs if I'm not careful.
  5. WIP: "The Masculine Acrylic Afghan" Maybe for V? Maybe for C? Basically neutrals & a subtle bit of color. Mostly left over from a previous collection, by adding a few new skeins- Wa-LA. A NEW collection! While technically a WIP, there are only 8inches completed, so, it is possible that I've not committed to this project.
  6. "The Next Red Afghan" in balls, lots of wools & bits that will be or might be leftover from "My Purple/Orange/Red Afghan." It won't have the purples but I might sneak in some orange & pinks into it. It's just SO HARD to know in advance exactly what color/yarn/texture will work until you are in the middle of it! (Hence the huge collections for each afghan.)
  7. "Baby Yellow" just 6 little balls at this point in time. I think this is my simplest collection right now.
  8. "Baby Ombre" gifted to me from someone destashing & letting go of their collection. I've made one blanket out of it this far...
  9. "Other Yarns" my hand-dyed cotton chenille, bolt of undyed cotton chenille, odd novelty yarns that I got great deals on, 6 balls of an orange heathers Shetland tweed wool-(Kinda scratchy but AMAZING color) a beautiful cone of brown/tan chenille, 2 lonely purple yarns that ended up being the totally WRONG color for the intended collection. And a few other random yarns.
Wow. I've just impressed myself. Thats a LOT of yarn.
Too much yarn to be all in the living room, during the summer, when it is over 90* every day.
I've allowed myself three totes to be left in the living room. Two of them have my precious Peaches & Creme Cotton, of which I have 2 projects going now & several waiting their turn to be used. The last box houses my collection of yarns being used in
"My Purple/Orange/Red Afghan."

This style of creation just can't be planned in advance, as I stated above. It is very much a process of creating. And, since I just sort of design as I go-- Well, I have NO IDEA of how many yards of yarn it takes to make one of these things. However, I AM keeping track for Mom's Rugs that I am working on, but that is partly because She wants another one which needs to be a certain length, so I might need to buy more yarn.

Oh. and just a tiny peek at some of my other collections: BEADS, sterling silver wire, stuffed toy owls, Rubber stampers, polymer stampers, ink pads, random scrapbooking supplies (paper, eyelets, trims...) Cookbooks, birkenstocks, lighthouse items, pastry tools, fruit shaped pitchers, fabric yardage, I could keep going. I an such a candidate for TLC. I just need them to offer me a double header-- What Not To Wear combined with one of the organizing/clean-out shows. So if anyone has "connections" I will throw my self at your feet & beg.

I need help.
(Hey, is that step 2? Asking for help?)
Help? Help. HELP!!!!

Thursday, July 10, 2008


So, on July 3 I took the day off & headed up the mountain. I woke Mom & MC up from their nap (being careful NOT to wake up my dad & son) & loaded them into the car for a 1.5 hour drive to Old Fort. We were on a mission & not even 100% sure the outlet was going to be open (holiday & all.) We headed to the outlet store for Peaches & Creme. THE source & supplier for our favorite cotton yarn.

I had googled directions & we were on an adventure. We made it through Marion, where I reminisced about not eating at McDonalds (I never eat at McDs) after a high school softball (or maybe tennis) away game. Then on down the road. We had determined that the road the outlet was on was going to be some sort of major through fair or main street in town. WRONG. We pass through was little bit of town there was & keep going. (Thank goodness for the mileage indicators in google map directions!) We see the road. It looks like we are heading down a driveway, NOT a major road. After giggling quite a bit because we were so wrong about the road & laughing because neither of us has a clue how far 442 ft will be, since the odometer measures in miles! Finally, we see a plant/warehouse type of building. It looks deserted.
Oh No.
We go in & ask about the outlet store. The lady told us to wait just a moment.
Then Flo walks into the lobby & takes us into the outlet!
Well, It's actually a little room that is just off of one of the big warehouse storage rooms (the one for 930 & 980 Worsted weight cones!!) In this room are shelves & shelves of sample cones, shelves with notebooks full of color samples (color cards) and shlves of pre-packs & kits. Also, 3 HUGE carts (like laundry carts the laundry services for hotels use) full of 2nds & mill ends.
I was in heaven!

Oh. And there was a big table down the middle with 4 packs of double worsted weight that were on sale (and big boxes full underneath as well!)

Being that I had JUST spent $100 on yarn at my LYS's annual pre-inventory sale, and filled FIVE 35 gallon totes with yarn, I was trying VERY hard to be good & not buy too much (is that possible?) yarn.

I bought (all 1lb cones unless otherwise indicated): 2 DWW in Raspberry Swirl, 1 market bag kit in DWW ecru, 1 morning glory table scape kit (1 cone ww morning glory & 3 co-ordinating balls of solids), ww sour green apple, ww tan, ww olive, ww fiesta, dww dark orange (4 balls), ww shades of blue, 2 cones of DWW in a fab bright aubergine (it was mis-dyed- should have been in ww!).

Now in my stash that mom bought (meaning I have to make things for her) DWW Shades of Rust, DWW Chocolate, DWW Seabreeze.

I think I have more that I can't think of at the minute, because I have over 20 cones of Peaches & Creme in my tote!

Friday, June 27, 2008


I've Joined Ravelry!

I've heard good & bad things about the site-- but today I got my invitation-- I'm SO excited to have an organized place to log my projects. A Place to store start & finish dates, yarns and finished sizes.

I've not figured it out- as I popped in during a break at work-- I may make my notebook private, but for now, I'm just seeing how it goes.

I know I'm not going to be a big poster in the forums over there, as I keep myself busy just keeping up with the JETs.

But I AM going to do it. I've already read some great ideas-- Tinkertoy or coat hanger swift, anyone? I'm SO trying one of these this next week while the kids are on vacation!

Monday, June 16, 2008


MY- Lap Rug-- see the big ol' tassels!

So far on the Red & Purple Afghan

--- C&P from a previous post-- since most people won't scroll down for the details!---
A full size (not lap size) afghan in REDs & Purples & touches of orange & pink--
This includes the 2 shades of purple reclaimed sweater yarn -
from a Casual Corner sweater and from an Old Navy sweater (but in reality the Old Navy one is darker than those pictures-- which is exactly PERFECT for my blanket! )
I ♥ KNITTINGnetty!
Two of the red yarns are from (and if you look- that is one of my yarns in her banner!) These two reds: California Yarns, Carmel and Facination Fanta
Yarn included from my local yarn store -- some Rowan red wool, orange and purple (different balls) wool from Italy, some novelty ribbon yarns & a crazy bulky pink/purple/orange wool from the sale bin. Oh- and last night I used some cotton embroidery floss in the mix as well.

I've gotten LOADS of amazing complements on this one-- during the Sit & Stitch at my local yarn shop, from the worker guys having lunch at the local hot dog grill (outdoors dining- in the shade with fans- amazingly cool in this 100* weather) at the library-- HEY-- EVERYDAY is Knit-In-Public-Day for me-- except- I've not been knitting, exactly.

A closer view-- ( I wish I could photoshop this-to point out which yarns came from where!)

I have some pictures of the yummy wool-- but can't get them to upload right now....

Sunday, June 15, 2008

WIP update 6 15 08


♥ Amanda's bebe's-- DONE!!!! (mom sewed the ends in for me!) I packaged it up -- and as I was wrapping in tissue & ribbon- OH MY the card- and also the tissue- are in her wedding accent colors-- WOW- I'm all over that one!

♥ My Chenille lap rug-- DONE!!! There were only a few treads to tuck in-- I managed to do that AND I finished it off with over-sized tassels on the corners. LOVE IT (said in a Wheezie voice --from the Dragon Tails, of course!)

Still in progress:
♥ pastel baby blanket-- I think-- mom was working on the ends-- not sure if she got them done--
♥ my full length afghan in the Queensland Collection BigWave yummy wool & Pebbly tan wool & chenille-- I've done a few more rows--
♥ the candy color sampler-- I've moved that to the pc- waiting for pages to load project(the joy of dial-up) -- I did 2 rows today.
♥MC's blanket-- haven't gotten back to that one.

NEW & in Progress:
♥ Another beige & cream afghan-- not sure what else will end up in this one-- but I'm using a few different stitches so the texture will be different. But right now- I've only done 3 rows...

♥A full size (not lap size) afghan in REDs & Purples & touches of orange & pink--
This includes the 2 shades of purple reclaimed sweater yarn -
from a Casual Corner sweater and from an Old Navy sweater (but in reality the Old Navy one is darker than those pictures-- which is exactly PERFECT for my blanket! ) I ♥ KNITTINGnetty!
Two of the red yarns are from (and if you look- that is one of my yarns in her banner!) These two reds: California Yarns, Carmel and Facination Fanta
Yarn included from my local yarn store -- some Rowan red wool, orange and purple (different balls) wool from Italy, some novelty ribbon yarns & a crazy bulky pink/purple/orange wool from the sale bin. Oh- and last night I used some cotton embroidery floss in the mix as well.

I've gotten LOADS of amazing complements on this one-- during the Sit & Stitch at my local yarn shop, from the worker guys having lunch at the local hot dog grill (outdoors dining- in the shade with fans- amazingly cool in this 100* weather) at the library-- HEY-- EVERYDAY is Knit-In-Public-Day for me-- except- I've not been knitting, exactly.

Anyway-- I've used up all of my yarn time for tonight by writing all of this up-- and getting sidetracked by more yarn listings on Etsy-- so I'm off to bed.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

WIP update

My WIPs are well- still there.
I've just about finished the chenille and green lap rug. It's mine, and I sit cross legged on the couch to watch TV. So I've decided that it doesn't need to be long. It's a weighty thing, so I'm now calling it a lap rug rather than a blanket of afghan....Also, It's so heavy that I think I'd feel crushed if it were to be wrapped around my shoulders....

♥ Amanda's bebe's-- need to tuck in the ends.
♥the pink and blue bebe's-- ditto
♥my lap rug-- need to bind off chenille & then-- tuck in ends.

not shown in last month's post
♥Yummy neutral in super-soft wool- about 1/2 done-- I'm switching colors so much in this one that-- GUESS WHAT- I'm doing a fringe- so no ends to worry about!!!!
♥bright candy color stitch sampler hotpad- 1 is DONE! and 2 is 1/3 done.
♥ MC's crazy blue/aqua/teal blanket-- about 1/3 done-- it has become a fun project- because at the end of each row, she gets to pick the yarn that comes next (from the yarns purchased for her-- not a total free-for-all in my yarn stash!)

Projects I REALLY want to start- but I'm determined to finish some up first:
○ My red and purple afghan for MY bedroom-- so I can get out my fancy pillows & look posh
○ An afghan made from reclaimed sweater yarn
○ the sweater jacket- (OH NO A PATTERN)in my yummy wools! but I need a smaller hook or pattern conversion
○ another afghan for Windalay-- My yummy wool is going to be perfect-- my vintage sofa has been reupholstered several years back- and is the best shade of tan.... So more for the mountains!

No pictures this time- but yea me for posting this much!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Works in Progress: Crochet

Okay- here are a few things that I'm working on in my "spare-time."This sweet little baby blanket is for Amanda's bundle that is on the way. (Remember I made her wedding cake back in December?) I'm very proud of myself for getting it done early. However, it is still in my WIP pile because I have to weave in the thread tails. I HATE doing that. I'm SO good at procrastinating that it may be a 1st birthday instead of a new baby gift!
A close up of the thread structure of the Tunisian Stitch and this
GREAT card I bought from

Another baby blanket in progress. This is some destash yarn I was given & it is super soft. But when I worked the two strands together, whoa, too pink for my taste. The middle section is the baby ombre (blue & yellow too!) and a strand of ivory. The blue isn't quite that neon looking- but I think the color is off a bit in all of these photos.

And MY favorite (because it's for ME!!!)

This one is cotton chenille, usually 2 strands together, plus worsted cotton, and either one or two strands of this wonderful CinCin yarn I bought from She bought all of the yarn from a store that was closing! (OH MY!) She also makes handpainted/dyed yarns in her main shop called

I think the greens look great with my olive green (MC says it's brown) chair & sofa!

I have several other smaller projects that I'm in the middle of as well. I'll save those & maybe by my next update they will be finished instead of in progress!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Wedding Challenge Results

The Jewelry on Etsy Team (JET), EtsyFAST, and ETSY Greetings street teams outdid themselves in creating pieces for the Wedding Challenge. Final voting results are in.

Congratulations to our winners - the voting was extremely difficult.

Paper category:
1st place -

2nd place -
3rd place -
Jewelry category
1st place -
2nd place (tie) -
3rd place -

Fiber category
1st place -
2nd place -
3rd place -

Many of the designers have put their pieces up for sale in their Etsy shops. Just search under the tag wedchal to see some amazing work.
All entries can be found in the challenge flikr pool here

A heartfelt thank you to our featured bride, Autumn, for allowing us to share in her wedding plans.
Many thanks to the following generous Etsy shop owners for donating special items to be included in a gift basket for Autumn.

My Team ROCKS! Special Thanks to Bdazz & Beadiful for the behind the scene work developing the contest, to Liz for coordinating the gift basket, to Mandy & Michele for handling the flickr pool for the contest.
Also thanks to EtsyGreetings & EtsyFAST for joining us in this event!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Wedding Challenge Entries are in: Go vote!

I've entered some earring designs into the Wedding Challenge sponsored by my team on Etsy. (I'm the ring leader for the Jewelry on Etsy Team, or as we call ourselves, JETs.)

We invited two other teams to participate and cross promote the event.
All of the details and links to voting polls can be found on the JET blog.

Go Vote! Three categories-- jewelry, paper & fiber.