Monday, March 26, 2012

Super Size Me

Joey is on a second round of antibiotics. The two of us are well versed in the art of medicine taking. I know all the ways to get it in him, he knows all the ways to spit it out again. But this time it's different. He is so small he has to take half a pill. That is nothing new. He is always small. What's different is that instead of a solid pill it's a capsule.

I start by pulling apart the capsule and pouring out the powder. Then is the measuring and dividing. I just eyeball the amount as I make lines with knife. It's all very much like the movies, but instead of Joey eager to get his dose he is completely uninterested in the bitter powder. The next step is mixing it with people food so I can get it in him. So far I've found that nacho cheese and clam chowder works and oatmeal does not, but what works the best, is peanut butter.

So Joey is getting 3 small spoonfuls of peanut butter a day. After only 7 days of this he has gained a noticeable amount of weight. I actually noticed on day 4 and it's just getting worse. While it's no surprise that he is gaining weight what is surprising is how fast it happens.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Fall of 2010 my Grandparents (on Mom's side) moved from their home here to down Texas. Since they were moving from a house to a suite they downsized everything they owned. When I was asked what I wanted of theirs right away I knew what I wanted, Grandma's button tin.

There was a bit of a groan when I said that since they had moved houses just a few years before down sizing then too. While everyone was sure that Grandma moved her button tin it was considered doubtful that it could be found.

Here it is. Buttons written on it in red nail polish on a Dixie Mix cake mix tin.

It's crammed full of plastic baggies used in some unknown sorting strategy.

Sumi-e always has to check it out. It smells of age and dust and mystery and fun.

Mmmmmm buttons.
Shell buttons are my favorite. I sorted them to the front. They have a wonderful feel and shimmer a bit in the light. They are also just so very cool.

Used and worn buttons cut from clothes. Each one is a bit of someones life.

A knitting stitch holder and a tatting shuttle. The tin also came with 2 or 3 fine crotchet hooks but I moved them from the tin to my notion box.

This is all I asked for but Mom also picked out a book case for me too. It was built for Grandma by her Grandpa. Just a small solid book case but he took the time to carve stars into it.

I love these two bits of family that shows generations of making things. The love of making in its self and the showing of love through the making, it is as solid at the bookcase and as common place as the buttons, and it is wonderful.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Button Flower

I've started early for the fall hat drive for my LYS. Every November they have a day that if you bring in a child's hat for donation a percentage is taken off of your purchase.

It appears that my inner knitter is not on board with my goal of not buying yarn.

Button-Flower Cloche knit out of scraps of Knit Picks Telemark

The top button is from my button jar. It's a shell button left over from my Ladies February Sweater. The bottom button is a shell button from Grandma's button tin. I don't know what its from but it must have been cut from a garment because its beautifully worn and scuffed and the mother of pearl dulled.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Second Day of Spring

There are so many flowers this year.

With the nice weather, instead of unfolding

as early and late varieties,

they are being dumped on us wholesale.

I don't think phlox is supposed to bloom in March.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

First Day of Spring

It's the first day of spring. Even without nice weather or flowers or any other clues I would know it was spring. Even if I lived in a cave I would know. What would clue me in?

Cat hair.

This is from one petting session.

Everyone talks about cat hair but I just had no idea before having a cat. I thought it was just a comedy routine. Well, like all comedy routines it's funny because it true. And not the giggly in fun funny but rather in the laugh so we don't cry funny.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Retina Searing Light

At Thanksgiving when Dad and I were talking about plants and I laminated that I couldn't have house plants anymore. Sumi-e eats them.

All I have left is these two leaves of what used to be a full and lush Mother-In-Law's Tongue.

Dad was shocked since the plant produces a toxin that cause the tongue and throat to swell and be numb. Sumi-e doesn't care and chews on it at least two times a day. I did know it's on the plants toxic to cats list but I don't care since Sumi-e has been doing this for 5.75 years now. Actually, he has chewed to death many many plants from that list.

So Dad got me this set up for Christmas! I love it. The Christmas Cactus loves it!

I really love the 65 watt bulb on top. It's the size of my foot and puts out retina searing light. I think helped with my mood this winter. I know it helped with my knitting.

The little pots in back are so I can grow lettuce or non poisonous plants for Sumi-e. Well, that's the same thing, isn't it?

A really great Christmas present! Thank you!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Baby Greens

The weather is so nice that I planted lettuce today.

I picked out a curly red leaf lettuce Lollo Rossa and a small green head lettuce Tom Thumb.

I bought the seeds last November as part of the winter defiance package and bought some for myself. I thought the tiny green heads nestled in the curly red leaves would be striking in a window box.

When I mentioned as much to my dad he mocked me for getting a miniature lettuce since it will take as long to mature as a big head of lettuce. Tom Thumb will be ready to eat in 60 days while a large head of lettuce like May Queen is also ready in 60 days and Merveille des Quatre Saisons is ready in 48 days. However, that large head of lettuce will be the size of Tom Thumb well before the 60 (or 48) days so I should have bought the big ones but harvested them as baby greens.

Maybe I'll harvest Tom Thumb as baby greens have little marble sized lettuce.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Brain Food

A certain type of food is needed when writing term papers and, it appears, when reading proposals. I've only made it through 15 and already the first bag of chips is gone. It's going to be a long night.

And it's hot enough in here that the chocolate is melting on the counter. I'd take a break and go get out the fan but I have to walk past my bed to do that and I'm not sure I'd make it back.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Near Forever

I knit these socks in the Chicago airport back in 2006 out of Koigu.

I repaired them once back in March 2009.

This time the hole wasn't a snagged broken thread but a spot completely worn through. Since this is the first sock loss since March 2010 I decided to let them go instead of fixing them.

In doing this I realized how memories are tied up in knits. I remember how it felt sitting in the airport every time I pulled them out to put them on. Also, that March is a bad month for me and socks. Finally, hand knit sock last near forever. My first pair of socks are 11 1/2 years old and they don't look a day over 9 1/2.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


I’m getting ready for work and realized that the lacy white top I laid out the night before is fine, the doe brown pants are not a good combination with my citron nail polish. I put on black jeans instead.

So instead of the brown monk strap shoes it’s now the black mary janes. With a white and black outfit, the only color I’ll be wearing is my polish and my socks so they should match or at least not clash. As I dig though my sock drawer looking for socks that will go with citron I was struck with the thought.

Nothing in my life has prepared me for this moment.

Ha! But I found some. And a citron chip necklace that Mom made me too. A win for the day.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Things I Like

Another thank you for another wonderful Christmas gift. Her theme was "Things I like and want to share with you" so tammo took bits and pieces of things she had discovered in 2011 and shared them with me.

Alaskan yarn! Rabbit Ridge Designs in Sitka Rose. I love this color! It goes perfectly with my new coat. I'm trying t decide if this is yarn I can knit this year or if I need to save it for nice. I think hording it until this fall and knitting a cowl once the weather turns.

An Alaska knife! I have trouble chopping and mincing because of hand tremors and this should be the solution. I haven't tried it yet and today is the day. I think I'll walk to the store for some green onions. Well, maybe I'll drive but I'll think seriously about walking, or taking a nap. Whether I cook today or not the knife is an incredibly thoughtful gift.

Peppermint coffee and all types of immune system boosters teas. While the peppermint coffee she drinks needs to be brewed the gift is instant so I can drink it at work where they have banned coffee pots.

Books that she enjoyed in 2011. The top one is especially recommended.

I must note the lovely locally made stitch markers that are so pretty with the yarn. The grape jam she made from her own vines. I'm hording it a bit before opening because it is the best grape jam.

The ginger candy was already eaten for car sickness on my January trip. The cherry sauce made from her cherry trees is gone too. That didn't last a week. I thought about putting the empty jar in the photo tauntingly but decided it was too cruel. The cherry sauce is delicious.

I love all of it!

My them to her was "Winter Defiance" and I got her all set up to battle a a fierce January. Everyone can thank me for the mild winter now.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Another scrap hat. This time knit out of Cascade Eco. Cascade Eco was my forever yarn until I knitted Malabrigo Twist. But I still love it.

Pattern is Waffle Hat but I cast on 68 and knit a deep brim.

Monday, March 12, 2012

So Retro

I'm doing a horrible job documenting the knits I make and send out on my swaps. They are super secret so I can't talk about them when I'm making them and then they are shipped so much later and sometimes I even forget to take a photo. Let's see if I can improve on that.

For the Retro/Kitsch swap

Owls Two Ways knit out of scrap Noro with buttons from grandma's button tin. The back ones are shells. I just love shell buttons. I have more and might one for me.

Caroline, the photo doesn't show it but this might be my best knit ever. Once it's on a head the hat band lays smooth. The pattern is well written and I took extra care with the details.

I knit the Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool at a slightly firmer gauge than the pattern calls for and the body of the fabric is just right. I didn't block it because I didn't want to wash any of the sizing out of the yarn. The brooch is from a local antique store and the perfect finish.

I'm very pleased with the way it came out.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


One of the new things I've been doing this winter is making sushi.

When I went to Grandpa's 90th birthday in January I found out my uncle was spending his retirement cooking and he couldn't stop about how easy and wonderful sushi is to make.

Luckily for me, this Christmas I had been gifted almost everything I needed to get started.

A wonderful apron! This is very necessary because the first 2 times the rice gets everywhere. Actually, every time I cook everything gets everywhere.

Sushi means vinegar rice not raw fish. I had no idea. No wonder I like it so much. I make mine with stuffing of tuna salad or cream cheese. Boiled egg is a great addition. I was so happy to receive this egg timer since 'mine' was left at home when I went to college. I haven't boiled an egg with ease for years. If I have to evacuate my kitchen I'm taking my favorite knife, my rice cooker, and my egg timer.

I was also given chopsticks. Isn't this the Coolest Ever! I absolutely love the colors and that it serves five!!!

I’m not a food blog so I’m not going in to detail but I do have some tips.

1. Read 5 food blogs on how to make sushi. Every recipe out there says to use rice vinegar. One of the blogs I came across mentioned how nasty rice vinegar tastes. So I picked up a bottle of rice vinegar but I also brought home some distilled white vinegar. Good thing I did. The rice vinegar from my grocery store shelf is not just nasty it is super nasty. If I had read only one blog I would not have know that. Most of them rave about rice vinegar. Maybe it’s the brand. Even so, be prepared and get different views on it.

2. To roll sushi it needs to be supported. While you might be able to find something from around the home that would work a bamboo sushi mat costs less than a dollar and is super cool. Instead of lining it with plastic wrap to keep it clean just shove it in a gallon sized zip lock bag.

3. Read a few sushi rice recipes and use your brain. They all have rice, sugar, vinegar, and salt. But do you really want a tablespoon of salt per cup of rice when the soy sauce already has more sodium than you need in a day? Do you really want ¼ cup of sugar when another calls for a tablespoon? Watch the vinegar amounts too. In the restaurant the rice doesn’t taste the vinegar and sugar it’s just so it holds together. I don’t have a recipe to recommend since I’ve made sushi 3 times and already I’m doing it by taste.

4. Don’t buy the 10 pack of nori sheets. If you like sushi enough to try making it at home the 10 pack will be gone halfway through the second batch causing huge sadness. Although, since Nori varies by brand- one of my packs was very fishy- getting the 10 packs but get one of each is a good idea. Myself, I’m too cheap so after my first 10 pack fiasco I’m trying each brand with the 100 pack.

5. Broccoli slaw is great in sushi and needs no kitchen prep meaning making sushi is no harder than grilled cheese sandwich.

6. If you like sushi enough to be making it at home, make a double batch the first time. The first roll won’t even make it onto the plate it’s so good. Neither will half of the second roll. It’s like cookie dough and too good not to just gobble up. After that the end pieces look sort of funky so they get eaten on the spot. So does all of the 4th roll because it’s SUSHI and just so very good. Serious gorging goes on in the kitchen.

7. The little finger bowls of water that are in blog photos, including mine, are a joke. The first time make it next to the sink since lots of hand washing not finger dipping is needed. I can make do with just finger dipping at this point.

8. The recipes say lightly dampen the nori along the edge. I don’t know what world they live in. To me lightly dampen is the dry lick given to stamps. The nori needs the sloppy kiss that makes you say “eeeeeeegh I’m never kissing you again, you cretin”.

9. The recipes also talk about the shiny side of the nori. Um, both sides are shiny. I put the nori flat side down and match the grid to the grid of the bamboo mat. I figure if the bamboo rolls in one direction that the grid of the nori will roll best in that direction too. Sometimes I forget and put it the other way.

10. No ten, sushi is easier than that.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

If I Had a Million Dollars

Dijon Ketchups!

It's actually Balsamic Vinegar Ketchup which is even better.

It's a limited edition and runs through March. Hmmmm it is March. I had better stock up while I can.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Impossibly Small

I've decided that I'm knitting through my special yarn too fast.

This project should take a while to finish. It's my first time knitting beads into lace.

The crochet hook is my grandmothers. It came to me in her button tin along with her tatting shuttle. I can't tell if the tatting shuttle was ever used but this crochet hook was. The end is so fine it goes through an eye of a bead so it's the right size to crochet thread into lace.

The handle of it is pained red with nail polish. The only reason to mark a tool is to know it's yours. I wonder where she took it to be worried about loosing it among all the other impossibly small hooks.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Recapturing a Moment

I enjoyed knitting Molly so much that I knit it a second time. This time I actually followed the pattern. I knit with another skein of Too-Special-To-Knit yarn from my stash, Cascade Yarns Venezia Worsted, and I knit it while watching Once Upon A Time.

The yarn, the hat, and the show are all great but not as good as the last combo.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

The Only Yarn

I've started knitting with my good yarn. I pulled out my one and only skein of Malabrigo Twist. I picked it up in a LYS and never put it back down. It's sooooooo soft.

hat pattern Molly, Twist color Belgian Chocolate.

I picked it out to go with this hat changing the pattern to go with the yarn. Changing the pattern even more because I was watching my knitting, and Grimm on TV, but not checking the pattern at all.

What did I learn from all of this?

That the hat I made out of it is amazing. That if I was forced to knit with just one yarn that Twist is the only yarn I want to knit for the rest of my life. That I don't have anymore Twist in my stash and that is sad. Very very sad. That I would try to find a work around to order a huge box full in Wild Abandon April except that it is on back order until June.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Word From the Bird

I just received my box from the Retro/Kitsch swap.

It's totally boss. Yarndoggie out did herself sending the most amazing package.

The letter is on a homemade card! Buttons!! and star stitch markers for the 1950 space theme.
Aaaaaaaaaew hand dyed sock yarn. The color is Pool Man from Rosy Retro on Etsy. It's absolutely perfect. Turquoise and aqua blues are my favorite colors right now.

An old glass baking dish! My favorite baking dishes are old Pyrex, Fire King, and Corelle. I didn't even know an aqua pattern was an option. I love it! I really really love it. From here on out I'm decorating my kitchen around this dish.

Look at the apron! Rickrack!! Wild colorful print on a dark background!!!


That right there is a fine and full swap package. But is it over? No it is not. Yarndoggie is an overachiever of the highest order. I had wistfully wished for a project bag.

Three!!! Do you see that? Three!!! A mod print, a kitschy print, and a space print. The center one has a knitted cozy! It's awesome.

And they are lined!

Mittens. That is some hard core knitting. I turned them inside to show a non knitting friend the floats to show how they are made. There are none. Yarndoggie twisted the two strands with every stitch. Not once ever 3 to 5 stitches. Oh no not for her. They fit perfectly too.

She also sent the scraps. I had assumed because the knitting the mittens had consumed her will to live and she needed the yarn out of her home. But no. She gifted me Grandma's Hat meep But the gauntlet.. um... mitten has been thrown and I'll try and cast on this weekend.