Thursday, August 27, 2009

Knitting & Crochet - Finishing Spree

Today I can pat myself on the back… I went on a little finishing spree and tied the ends into twelve different projects. I did it, while babysitting, during nap time. It only took a few minutes and now a feel a fresh breath of knitting air… not to mention my knitting bags now have ROOM in them again! Yeah me!!! :D

The neighbor girl is modeling for me...

This funky little "Faux" Scarf (Bento by Berroco #255 Design)...

When I was in Pleasanton, CA, last year, I liked the pattern and the yarn. Now that I've made the scarf (eleven months later) I'm not sure why I liked it so much. Hmm. In any case, it was always destined to be a gift since it really is a lightweight little decoration, and here, in Wyoming, we need REAL scarves! If anyone is in love with this, you should let me know... perhaps you'll find it in your mailbox!

I struggled to finish this silly Superman washcloth for MONTHS!

I've decided I should just crochet my dishclothes / washclothes.

I can pump these little coasters (or dishclothes) out SO FAST ... as long as I'm crocheting them.

Actually, while I'm at this Yarn Posting, would you like to know how to make these little crocheted gems? It's really very simple, but I have written it down for you...

Quick Crocheted Coaster
With a bit of scrap cotton and a 6mm (G) hook you can quickly make a pile of coasters for yourself (or, I like to give them as a Hostess Gift).

Approximate Finished Size 4¼" Diameter
1. CH 6.
2. Connect to first chain with CH making a loop.
3. Add SC in back loop (one or two per chain as needed to keep flat).
Make six continuous rounds (like a snail).
4. CH in next SC. Cut a 2” tail and weave into back of coaster.

Here's another knitted cloth... took me FOREVER!

My favorite part of the Red, White, and Blue "Tribble" is the picture with the little hands holding it. I had Jack kneel (he had black fleece pants on today), in the sunlight, and I took a flash-free close up photo with my new camera. I think it's a nice photo! :D

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Recipe - Chicken and Dumplings

Presented to you, by request of Mara Jade...
Chicken & Dumplings
Tom & Suzy, June 2004

Tired of super salty, quick-prep chicken and dumplings, my hubby and I set out to create a simple homemade version. In 2004 we came up with this, and we've been making it (to rave reviews from guests) ever since! Straight forward and simple, the trickiest part is remembering to put the flour and milk in AND remove the Bay Leaf. We hope you enjoy this "comfort food" as much as we do!


1.5 lbs chicken, boneless skinless breasts, cut into one-inch cubes
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons oil

3 cups vegetable broth (or water)
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper, freshly cracked
1 bay leaf
½ onion, chopped
4 stalks celery, sliced
5 carrots, sliced
if desired, fresh chopped broccoli
if desired, fresh snipped parsley (3 Tablespoons)
if desired, frozen / fresh corn

1/3 cup flour
½ cup milk

1 package Pillsbury Grands Biscuits

1. Heat oil in Dutch oven (or a nice big pt that you have a lid for) on medium high heat, add cubed chicken and garlic. Stir; cooking until chicken is white.
2. Add broth, bouillon, salt, pepper, bay leaf, and fresh vegetables to create a stew. Bring to a boil.
3. Reduce heat on stew; simmer on low, covered, 30 minutes, or until chicken and vegetables are tender. Remove bay leaf from broth.
4. While stew simmers, open biscuits and set out on a plate (to rise) or make your own biscuits.
5. In separate container, mix flour and milk. After 30 minutes of simmering, whisk flour and milk into broth on stove. Stir well.
6. Add biscuits to top of stew. Cover and continue cooking on low heat 15 minutes.
7. Let stand a few minutes before serving.

1. Make homemade or Biquick biscuits instead of canned.

Generously serves four.

As ever, I'd love to know if you make this and how you like it! :D

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Yesterday, after a full day of Grouchy-ness on my part AND being a Certified Crab Apple (also on my part), my hubby, who had already cleaned house, sent me out on my own, did laundry, cooked repeatedly and totally kept the house running, told the boys that "Mommy is going up to her Sewing Room while we watch a movie together." Even when I can't figure out what I need... he knows!

I spent the first 25 minutes cleaning up the sewing room (and made a marked improvement in the room). Then, in just 75 more minutes I finished up this project, which I started TWO YEARS AGO (when I cut it). TWO MONTHS AGO, I assembled the parts (insides with pockets, outside with padding, straps). Last night I quilted and assembled it. I learned/remembered two things:
1 - I must sew more often... I love it!

2 - My current quilting setup is not as desirable as the one I would like to have... by way of a Juki sewing machine. The biggest problem (at least for small projects like this) is not the size of my machine, but the fact that the machine is slightly higher than the surrounding table-top. This is troublesome because I found a great tool to use (Quilter's Halo, by Sharon Schamber) but it works better when the area around the needle is flat. Hmm...
So. I need to find time in my busy schedule to make sure I am spending time each day (because weekly goals seem to disappear) in my sewing room... which probably means I will sacrifice computer time.

Anyway. Wanted to share a quick project completion in quick blog post.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Knitting Ugh!

So. I've been making progress on my sock for my Aunt. I'm ready to do the first heel. But I'm thinking there will be a difference on the leg part, so I review my notes. I don't understand... my cables go straight up the middle of the sock. I look on Ravelry, and sure enough, EVERYONE else's go zig-zagging around...

This Sock is by TheBlackSheep.

See how beautiful their pattern shows up on a solid colored yarn.
Why am I bothering to even try a pattern on a varigated yarn?
Is it so my "mistakes" aren't as visible,
and when I switch to a solid color I can do it right?
Yeah... that must be it!

I've ONLY been working on these stupid sock six months now! I realize that I would have to take out 36 rows (which is over half my work) in order to put move the cables around. My question to you is, would it look totally weird for the cables to be straight on the top of the foot, and then start twisting and turning on the leg? When you're not looking at other versions, and only at the one's I've made, would this look balanced and okay, or should I RIP it (almost) all out and START ALL OVER AGAIN.

This Sock is by SuzyQSparkles.

Where is my pattern at?
Why am I photographing with the flash at night?
Is it so I can post to my blog while I'm thinking about it,
or so I can be
really exhausted tomorrow because I stayed up too late worrying about A STUPID SOCK!!!?

Also. Are these "ugh" feelings normal in knitting?

I think they are normal in life, so maybe they are normal in knitting too.

PS: After writing this post, I took some pictures of the sock. Granted it's late and I should be in bed. This also means, the flash is going off and you loose some depth, but I realize that mostly you just don't see the stitch pattern in the sock... at least on screen. This makes me feel *a little* better about the design not being "pattern perfect".

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Keith. Mom. Here's a post for you! :P

I have talked before about the complimentary Adobe Photoshop Action Sets, from The Pioneer Woman. Today, I'll show you some more I've been playing with.

Here is a photo of Frank I took yesterday. This is "SOOC" (Straight Out Of the Camera).

I enjoyed playing with it as follows (cropped, sepia, heartland, and colorized):

I love the original color version, but it's interesting to see how colorizing or removing the color causes your eye to travel to things like the lips and eyes. With Frank's pale coloring, removing the color really brings the focus to his eyes, and somewhat to his lips.

Then Tom snatched my new camera and snapped his first picture on it... of me. Here it is SOOC.

I cropped it (with a slight rotation) and the applied The Pioneer Woman's "Lovely and Ethereal" Action... which warmed the colors and softened the edges.

Since Tom's Best Friend Keith sent me an AMAZING GIFT... a new digital camera, I've been taking and editing lots of pictures... but I realize (through constant reminders from Keith and my Mom) that I HAVE been stingy about sharing the results. I will make every effort to rectify that, know this though, I have just one week until I start back to college, and two weeks until Frank starts school.

So the luxury of "free time" I've been enjoying is about to disappear! Knowing this, I've been taking full advantage of being lazy (well, lazy for me anyway!). I've been playing silly PC games, going to the parks, taking pictures, perusing magazines, and generally not getting a lot done. I think it's good to allow ourselves a break once in a while. Mine is almost over though, and I do look forward to the return to productivity and general busyness!

What have you been enjoying lately?