Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Blog Give Away of Really Kewl Buttons

My girly, Tala who I haven't actually met is having a giveaway of hand made buttons. Go check them out and I want to win these... If you tell her I sent you I get more chances to win, BTW.

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Christmas Belief

Happy Yule!

At Christmas time I believe in the things that children do.

I believe with English children that holly placed in windows will protect our homes from evil.

I believe with Swiss children that the touch of edelweiss will charm a person with love.

I believe with Italian children that La Befana is not an ugly doll but a good fairy who will gladden the heart of all.

I believe with Greek children that coins concealed in freshly baked loaves of bread will bring good luck to anyone who finds them.

I believe with German children that the sight of a Christmas tree will lessen hostility among adults.

I believe with French children that lentils soaked and planted in a bowl will rekindle life in people who have lost hope.

I believe with Dutch children that the horse Sleipner will fly through the sky and fill the earth with joy.

I believe with Swedish children that Jultomte will come and deliver gifts to the poor as well as to the rich.

I believe with Finnish children that parties held on Saint Stephen's Day will erase sorrow.

I believe with Danish children that the music of a band playing from a church tower will strengthen humankind.

I believe with Bulgarian children that sparks from a Christmas log will create warmth in human souls.

I believe with American children that the sending of Christmas cards will build friendships.

I believe with all children that there will be peace on earth.

Daniel Roselle

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Baking or How to have Your Cookies and Eat Them Too!

Thursday, I spent the day making my version of Martha Stewarts' shortbread recipe from her Christmas Book and the Chocolate Chip Quick Oatmeal cookies from the Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer. Then, I made the ganache and dipped the Bavarian style pretzels yesterday. I then spent the rest of day putting together the Christmas cookie plates for my friends and post person and thinking about how I am happy to be baking but not so happy to eat all the results. Christmas baking solves for my heart and gift giving of them solves for my waistline. I didn't take pictures of the cookies but I did take pictures of the pretzels.

Next up, a gluten free cookie for my friend, Sheila, who has Celiac Disease. Going to try out dried cranberry and coconut macaroons.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

How to Make an American Kilt

Here is the wool tartan in the Old Blair.

For more years than I care to think about I have been trying to get my Da, Allan to get and wear a kilt. I finally convinced him last summer to go ahead and purchase the Old Blair Tartan and let me make his kilt for him. This process, was of course, speeded up by my girlfriends admiring him in my Stewart Kilt.

I have a great friend, Judy Wisehart, who makes kilts professionally and she agreed to show me how to make a proper kilt from beginning to end. So with fabric in hand, I spent a couple days at her house, cutting the fabric, stitching the pleats, pressing the pleats, pressing the pleats some more and then more steaming and more stitching of the pleats. When all was said and done, and the buckles and tabs were added after I returned to my house (finally as I had been gone from home for 3 weeks) it was finished. I then went in search of a sturdy hanger to keep it on (whilst also avoiding the malls in the search) and made a hanging bag to protect it whilst Da traveled it to home in Arizona.

Here are some pictures of some of the many steps it takes to make an American kilt.

The finished product and when I can find it, I will post the picture of him wearing it. Now on to stockings to go with..

Takumi Needle Set Give-Away

Go check this out.. Needle Set

Monday, November 23, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Garden of the Gods - Colorado Springs

Yesterday, we took my niece/daughter, Leilani aka Mimi to the Garden of the Gods for a walk about in the glowy sun. She hadn't been there before and it was also Erin's first visit to the Garden that it wasn't actively snowing or a drive through in the dark.

Another giveaway, go check her blog out!


Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Birthday Surprise

The Birthday Girl, Erin and her Surprise, Leilani aka Mimi. Yesterday we had a very long adventure to celebrate the DD's birthday on the actual day of her birth. I very nearly didn't go as I had given up my ticket to Wicked for Eriy's cousin and I hadn't slept well the night before. So, I was grumpy and not so sure that I wanted to spend the whole day out of the house. In the end it was a good day had by all.

Anyhoo, we left the house at 5:30 am to drive to Boulder for breakfast with another birthday girl, Katte Beth (her's is on Monday) at the Boulder Tea House. Erin and I hit the WalMart in the Flat Irons before hand to finish up some grocery shopping in anticipation of potentially being snowed in. Mark, Darla and Aidan joined us as well as the surprise that wasn't, Leilani aka Mimi, who flew in the night before from CA and stayed at the Judd House until we all met up for breakfast.

After breakfast, I took the whole gang to Gypsy Wools also in Boulder, to look at and fondle fibery goodness. Darla found some bamboo and merino to spin together for socks. Aidan got a BIG foam mat for his needlefelting projects. I got some lovely lavender fiber to spin(think I will ply it with the silk/wool that I have going) and Katte got some yarns and patterns for a mitt and scarf set, that I am going to knit for her.

Then we headed into town for the Wicked Ticket Lottery sign-up. I gave up my ticket for Mimi, so she and Erin could see it together. Sadly, I didn't win a ticket in the lottery. That means I get to see Wicked in London next year. Sad for me, NOT! The gentleman with his back to us in the brown leather jacket in the waiting group is Don Stewart. We met this fellow conspirator while waiting in line to get in the lottery for tickets. He joined the three of us and we all entered for 2 tickets each. As we only needed the one for me we would give him the other and vice-versa. Don didn't win either, but he was going to try again last night and today as this is it. Wicked ends this evening and moves on to Cleveland...

Since the ticket lottery sign up started at 11:30am and the drawing was at Noon and the show didn't start until 2:00pm,we had time to kill. So, we hopped on the 16th Street Mall shuttle and went down to the Tattered Cover at 16th and Wynkoop in LoDo to peruse the books and be inside til the show started for the girls. We sat in the knitting/art/craft area on the second floor and rested the feetsie and looked at the books. The Joy of Sox which has two patterns by my friend, Gina House was on the shelf and it was the first time I got to really look this book over. I so want to add this book to my collection of knitting books. The girls left me at the Tattered Cover when it was time for the show and I pulled out my knitting (I had a pair of socks with me). I discovered a huge mistake and put them aside to peruse the magazines. My phone rang and it was Sheila checking to see if I had gotten a ticket. She also wanted me to know she and her friend, Sue were heading to The Lamb Shoppe for the afternoon stitch in. Since I was at loose ends, they very kindly came downtown and picked me up and took me with them. It was a very satisfactory way to spend the afternoon and I thoroughly enjoyed my first visit to the shop and my visit with Sheila and Sue.

After the girls picked me up, we headed home to the Springs in the snow storm. We had planned hand built pizzas for the supper, so we stopped to pick up the fixings at the Whole Foods after we got Pan's supper at the Pet'sMart. We were smart to stop even at the lateish hour as this is what we woke up to...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Peace Shall Reign

My daughter is getting laid off. She is going to be SO much happier, the job was killing her. Told to slow down as her stats were killing the average, WTF..

Anyway, we'll be able to hang out more before she leaves for the UK to marry her boy.

Money will be tight, but we'll manage. To have a less cranky housie mate and daughter, it's a good thing!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Guy Fawkes Night

With the Dear Daughter's pending move to the UK to marry a guy named Guy, we are all about things English. Here, therefore is a post about a very English event.

A Poem to enlighten:

Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of* no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t'was his intent
To blow up the King and Parli'ment.
Three-score barrels of powder below
To prove old England's overthrow;
By God's providence he was catch'd (or by God's mercy*)
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, let the bells ring. (Holla*)
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!

It's Guy Fawkes Night, so go get V is for Vendetta and watch it or in the alternative, here's the link to the YouTube Guy Fawkes Night Speech from V is... by the character as portrayed by Hugo Wheeling as V. Guy Fawkes Speech

Here is some information on the origins of this day...

Here is an etching of the celebration in the year of our American Independence, 1776

Today, one of the ceremonies which accompanies the opening of a new session of Parliament is a traditional searching of the basement by the Yeoman of the Guard. It has been said that for superstitious reasons, no State Opening of Parliament has or ever will be held again on November 5th. This, however, is a fallacy since on at least one occasion (in 1957), Parliament did indeed open on November 5th. The actual cellar employed for the storage of the gunpowder in 1605 by the conspirators was damaged by fire in 1834 and totally destroyed during the rebuilding of the Palace of Westminster in the Nineteenth Century.

Also known as "Firework Night" and "Bonfire Night," November 5th was designated by King James I (via an Act of Parliament) as a day of thanksgiving for "the joyful day of deliverance." This Act remained in force until 1859. On the very night of the thwarted Gunpowder Plot, it is said that the populace of London celebrated the defeat by lighting fires and engaging in street festivities. It would appear that similar celebrations took place on each anniversary and, over the years, became a tradition. In many areas, a holiday was observed, although it is not celebrated in Northern Ireland.

Guy Fawkes Night is not solely a British celebration. The tradition was also established in the British colonies by the early American settlers and actively pursued in the New England States under the name of "Pope Day" as late as the Eighteenth Century. Today, the celebration of Guy Fawkes and his failed plot remains a tradition in such places as Newfoundland (Canada) and some areas of New Zealand, in addition to the British Isles.

So have a cuppa and light a bonfire or failing that, have a cuppa and sit in front of your fire.

More information can be found at Wikipedia

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Samhain Supper or Enough Already

A while back I went to Blazer's in Aurora to do some shopping with my friend Katte Beth. She was all excited about this place and wanted to show it off to me. We went on a Sunday morning, only to discover that the store was closing THAT day for a 2-3 month remodel. As, I was also expected to be somewhere that afternoon, we did a "quick" run through the store and scooped up what goodies were left to find. The store was pretty well gutted of the good stuff due to EVERYTHING being 1/2 price. I did buy a little over a $100.00 worth of pastas, teas, oils, balsamic vinegar and crackers for which I paid a grand total of $50.00. As always, more fun is to be had with the adventure that is Katte Beth, thanks, grrly!

One of the pastas I purchased that day was a black linguine made from squid ink. Squid ink, you say, ewwww! Not! It was for colour only, not for flavour. I saw it and said to myself, hmmmm? Then I thought, All Hallows Eve is coming and put it in my basket... I also picked up some Pesto and Sun-Dried Tomato pastas at the same time...

One of the foodie blogs or some such (could have found it through TipNut), that I read had a recipe for a Creamy Pumpkin Sauce. I looked over the ingredients and thought to myself, yum! Then I thought of the black linguine and wallah, Samhain Supper was born... I used this recipe as the basis, Creamy Pumpkin Sauce. As Erin responds badly to pork and turkey, I used sweet Italian chicken sausage instead of the one called for. She also isn't that big a fan of sage so I substituted fresh rosemary for it. It was still yummy. One should, in my opinion, make any recipe to your own taste and with the ingredients that suit you best.

The enough already is for the friends that have been bugging me for the recipe for the sauce and my Golden Yam Waffles...

As to the rest of the weekend. I did a fair amount of spinning. I finished the DIRTY brown alpaca which I ended up with 1200 feet of, so will likely will get about 300 yards of 2 ply. I found that it was easier to spin if I didn't comb it out and just spun the locks. However, I ended up with a lap full of vegetable matter (VM) and soil and more was released when I ran it off my bobbin thru the yardage counter. Ick!

The light specks you see on the brown yarn are the VM that still hadn't gotten removed as yet. When I boil it to set the twist after plying, most of it and the soil will finally go away, but I suspect that I will be picking VM out as I knit with the finished yarn. Will keep you posted on that.

I also spun up the hand dyed watermelon colours of Blue Faced Leicester (BFL) from which I got about 420 yards. I think I will ply it with a creamy white. I had never spun BFL before, it's loverly to work with.

I also spun up some merino pencil roving in very pretty colours. Pencil roving had been giving me fits before when I tried to spin with it, so it was an exercise in prevailing over a challenge. The last time I tried to spin some, I ended up having to have it combed into rolags to spin from. This time I was determined to get it to spin in it's stripy way and surprisingly it didn't fight me back and the effort was a much more successful. Yea! for me! I will probably ply this with some black after I find a source for it and get it spun up. I think that likely will mean a field trip to Gypsy Wools in Boulder for some black merino fiber. Sad for me, not!

Again, I have to thank my spinning teacher, Darla for all of her help in getting me to this point. Also, for giving me the confidence to KEEP trying till I get where I want to be in my spinning efforts. Thanks again so much, you are an awesome addition to my life.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Merry Samhain !

Happy Halloween to you all.

If you aren't familiar with Samhain, it's pronounced like Salwin. It's Gaelic for the festival that occurs on the 31st of October.

Merry Meet, be safe, take photographs...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009

Give Away for Anne's 300th Blog Post

My dear friend, Anne is doing it again... Check out the give away art goodies and also check out Anne's blog. She always has something beautiful, funny or thought provoking to share with us..

Friday, October 16, 2009

Pike's Peak Quilt Show

This past weekend was the first quilt show hosted by the Piecing Partners Quilt Guild of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Here's a picture of me with one of my entries, Stonehenge with Hale-Bopp.

For a first effort, it is a lovely little show. We did a great job and all hands put forth great effort to make it happen. I really enjoyed getting to know some of our members better whilst working more closely with them. The other entry was a group effort by my fave peeps, the Fiber Pirates. It is a slice quilt and it is called "I Think We Made Our Point".

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Anne has Done it Again.

My friend, Anne has an amazing ability to make me laugh, think, stretch, grow and now, cry. Received in humbleness, she has sent along this award to me, by way of our dear friend, Ces. Many thanks to you, dear friend Anne for this honour. You continue to awe and inspire me and I am grateful to have you in my life.

Thanks for the laughter, art, commiseration and most of all your spirit of "joie de vie" in all things that you face in your life.

In no particular order I send this along to you:

To borrow Anne's line; In spiritu humilitatis, Pax.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Joy of Waffles

Most of my friends have heard me sing the praises of Yam Waffles for a very long time. Erin and I bought some Garnet Yams at the Sunflower Farmer's Market the other day in anticipation of having these waffles for supper sometime this week. I discovered the recipe for Yam Waffles in the Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer about nine years ago and have been a happy waffle maker ever since.

These are made with regular flour as opposed to cake flour which most from scratch waffle recipes seem to call for. Since I had no cake flour when I decided to make waffles that day, I went to my go to cookbook, the Joy. Since I always have regular flour of some form to hand and rarely, if never, have cake flour, I was delighted to find this recipe. We like these waffles so much that I now own three waffle makers and have at least two going at once so everyone can eat at the same time. Clever Mum that I yam...

This recipe has been made with acorn squash, canned and fresh pumpkin, sweet potatoes as well as the yams, both canned and fresh. I have also made this recipe with whole wheat flour as well as a mix of unbleached and whole wheat flours. I have added, at times, chopped candied ginger, toasted pecans, mini chocolate chips and/or crumbled bacon to the batter as well. We happen to prefer the yam or squash kinda chunky, but pureed yam and squash works just as well. This is a great way to use up that leftover sweet potato casserole on the morning after Turkey Day, by the way. Usually these are served with butter and REAL maple syrup from Vermont, but I happen to have wild blueberry sauce to the ready this evening for mine. Yum!

I can't sing the praises enough of the Joy of Cooking. Everyone should have a copy in their cookbook collection as it will get you through just about anything. It is also a great resource for the substitution of missing ingredients. I also find new ways to prepare just about anything.

My sister's copy of the Joy is called the Treasure. It has no covers and falls open to the pages of the family favorites (the pages are also spattered with brownie, pancake, and various other batters from baking with the children). Mine is starting to look like the Treasure as I use it at least once a week, if not more often. As a matter of fact, the cover has been taped back on at least twice now. I am also in search of a copy of the same copyright date to give to Erin and Guy as a wedding gift. It was a request, as Erin is not so fond of the newer editions (nor am I for that matter). I mean why waste space that could hold a good recipe to tell us how to make our own tofu? Every grocery store carries tofu these days and it's SO much easier to pick up a container of it then to go through the process of making it. That's how great this book is, depending on the copyright version, the how-tos are/can be fascinating.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Knitting with an Echo in the Bone and Cake Wrecks

Which is about a book reading and signing with our favorite author, Diana Gabaldon, whose latest book, Echo in the Bone just came out this week. It's also about friendship, laughter and new companions in life's fun events.

Diana Gabaldon with my knitting, Thanks to the Yarn Harlot for the idea.

The launch was in Scottsdale, Diana Gabaldon's hometown on Tuesday and she was with us in Denver on Wednesday. Slightly creaky of voice, which surprised none of us at all since she has been stumping the book and talking non-stop, I am sure for weeks on end. Just for an instance, she was at DragonCon in Atlanta within the last two weeks.

Erin, Katte Beth, Michelle, Cindy and myself went to the Tattered Cover in Highlands Ranch last night to hear a reading from Echo in the Bone from Herself and to get our individual collections of books signed. Between us all, I think we had over twenty books to be signed. Erin and I got our HB copy of A Breath of Snow and Ashes, a paperback copy of Outlander for her friend Jo, my copy of Cross Stitch (the British version of Outlander) and our copies of the latest book signed, which completes our collection.

As you can see there were quite a few knitters and crocheter in the group waiting for Herself to show. Most were working on small projects, socks and such. Katte Beth, however, was working on baby blanket and I was working on a Nubia, which is a period scarf and Erin was working a scarf as well. Michelle and Cindy didn't bring any handwork for themselves, tho.

The Tattered Cover Independent Book Shop hosts many authors for readings and signings and their system works pretty well although we didn't get to queue up until about 10:15 pm or so, since there were over 400 people there to get see Diana.

Erin and I got there first to queue up. Although, Michelle had gotten our queue tickets earlier in the day to guarantee the spot in the queue for getting our books signed. So we caught up with each other and talked about Erin's wedding plans and such. I corralled Cindy as she arrived last.

Katte Beth was a book-signing virgin, having never been to a book signing before. She had no idea what to expect from the event. Erin was 12 or 13 the last time she saw Diana in person. That occasion was just a signing so she had never heard her read an excerpt or speak about her writing process. The last time I saw Diana was at her home Scottish Highland games in Mesa and she had us in stitches again and the men wondering what the heck they had been missing.

Diana is a great story teller and had us laughing, whooping and blushing. She did, however, give Erin hope for her writing future as Diana didn't start writing fiction until she was 35. We also learned that Dr. Who (a BBC sci-fi, time travel, fantasy program for "children") played a part in the whole phenomena that is the Outlander series. We all are Dr. Who fans as well, so this was the kewlest discovery. We also found out exactly what she likes about a man in a kilt. Let's just say it's a great reason.

These are pictures of me catching a York Peppermint Patty, one handed whilst taking a picture by the way. I think Katte Beth thought it was a parade or Mardi Gras or something. She was about 30 for 35 in her tosses, not bad, grrly. Also pictured here is Angela of Sheared Bliss Fibers and her friend and our Cindy, the ordained minister and Tango Dancer Extraordinaire and her seat companion.

We had a fairly long wait to get our books signed, so Katte and Michelle ran out to grab snacks and drinks. We also unraveled the baby blanket that Katte was working on as she had neglected some of her increases and therefore was making a basket as opposed to a blankie. Erin perused the knitting pattern books. I looked at the history, poetry and the bargains. Erin also introduce Katte Beth to the joys of Cake Wrecks, thus the mention in the title. We thought Katte was going to pee herself she laugh that hard.

So, here's Erin getting her books signed, The Girls, that would be, Leslie, Erin, Michelle, Katte Beth and Cindy and our Carlene Campbell from the Saint Andrew's Society of Colorado.

Sadly, I cannot start the book as I have a woolen cloak to make for the pregnant Eyrnn (in which I am borrowing an idea from Diana and making the hood and shoulders with a waterproof inner lining) and if I crack the cover all will be lost until I read the last page. So, NO SPOILERS, and that means YOU.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Last Day of Summer, First Day of Autumn, Acting Like Winter

Merry Mabon! May your harvest be all that you need.

Yesterday was the last day of Summer. It snowed on and off all day. We even shut all the windows, finally. Today is the first day of Fall. Here's what our mountain looked like this morning, snow even down below the tree line. I pulled out the woolies, a pair of hand knit socks and an Aran sweater to go out of the house this morning.

Due to this extreme change in the weather (I mean to tell ya, we were in shorts and tank tops last week) I was in the mood for a soup and bread combination for the supper last night. To that end, I made New England Style Clam Chowder from scratch with Baking Powder Biscuits, also from scratch. YUM!