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August 2009
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October 2009

September 2009

Hats! Because autumn is on its way!

Amber, a really lovely customer, has sent me some pictures of the hat she crocheted from a skein of my yarn for her baby girl, Stormy.

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First off, I LOVE that name, Stormy. But look at her! In that hat! I love non-traditional colors and styles on babies.

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Adorable! Thank you so much for sharing your pictures, Amber.

Now if you need a cool hat, check out my friend Kim's shop.

Lizi burgundy hat

Vintage-inspired, hand-embroidered, classic! I think they're so cute. Don't you think? Would be perfect for a windy day.

Lizi owl hat

I know that Kim has a lot more ideas for her shop, so keep checking back to see what's next.

It's definitely fall now! V and I baked our first pumpkin pie yesterday and I'm thinking about soups and learning how to knit mittens. I can't believe tomorrow is October! Where did this year go?


Pantry letters

Did you get your issue of Kids Craft Weekly today? I did. So V made some pantry letters. I asked her what her favorite letter was and she said C A T, so she did those. Please note the fading kitty cat stripes on her arms.

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V is usually more of a I'm-going-to-do-what-I-want-and-not-what-you-tell-me-to-do kind of girl when she's crafting, but she loved this. So far, despite her ever-increasing ability to read, she shows little interest in writing. But that's fine - she'll get there when she's ready. Nota bene what was once a kitty nose and set of whiskers on her face.

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Doesn't she look sleepy? That's what happens when she wakes up at 6am, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. If you suggest a nap, she will scoff at you. And if she took one, she wouldn't go to sleep easily tonight anyway so there's really no point.

I could use a nap, though.

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So...

I'm thinking of doing November in B&W again this year. Though I'll still have to take pictures of yarn in color, I want to make an effort to take lots of pictures in black and white and then I'll post them weekly - and I'd love it if you'd join in. More details to come; it's still early yet.

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I think this autumn is going to be much, much better than last year's.


Yum yum

For the past two months, I've been running around like a chicken who's missing her head and haven't taken any longer than 20 minutes to throw dinner together, so our dinners have been less than spectacular. But the other night I decided I would cook, really cook, something tasty.

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Obviously I don't do this enough because now, all of a sudden, V has gotten old enough to help and also be interested in what things are (ginger! lime zest!), how we prepare and use them, what things taste like when we're finished (though she often doesn't like them, she will try a little taste), and so it's not just about me helping her not spill the cup of vegetable broth all over the place when it belongs in a bowl for the marinade and her getting frustrated when she can't eat all the brown sugar. In other words, it's much more enjoyable for both of us and I'm very happy to have her in the kitchen with me.

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So I decided to make these dishes I saw Ellie Krieger make on Food Network, Chicken Sate with Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce (except I used tofu) and Sesame Stir-Fried Chinese Greens. I'd never had bok choy before and, though it was just a touch bitter, I liked it - went very well with the sate. And they're certainly beautiful greens.

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This is probably the fifth time I've tried to cook tofu. I have eaten some outstanding tofu in my life. If you're ever in Athens, GA, you can not do any better than the tofu they serve at The Grit (mmmmm...Golden Bowl). But I've never liked it when I've made it. And I didn't really like it here - too spongy! And I drained it all day, then soaked it in marinade for a good hour. The texture was just not what I'm looking for.

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But. The peanut dipping sauce completely made up for it. You could serve leather boot with that sauce on it and I would eat it up. Gone. 

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I wish I had a picture of the finished dish, but I don't. Because I tasted that dipping sauce and I couldn't wait to have dinner! But I didn't use the skewers the recipe calls for, nor would I if I had used chicken. I put rice on the plate, the tofu on the rice, then sauce on top and the bok choy on the side. Absolutely tasty! I want to make it again, but this time thin out the sauce a bit and mix it all up with hot noodles. I have some Udon noodles in the pantry I'd like to try...

I love Ellie Krieger's show because she puts the emphasis on healthy cooking, but I also feel like it's more realistic for me to use her recipes than all salads all the time (which I keep trying and failing miserably at. I don't mind eating them, I just hate making them - takes forever!). Next week I want to try a recipe from that same episode, Portobello Lasagna Rollups.

What about you? Cooking anything good and healthy lately?


Working from home has its perks

Love fiber? Then please join me at Alpaca Farmgirl's Fiber Arts Friday!

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Like sharing rainbow sherbet in the afternoon with my girl.

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Also I get to do fun things like fall in love with the color of a knit hat in a spinning magazine and try to recreate the color at home.

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The color comes from a combination of four colors, blended together on my drum carder - blue, darkish purple, a bright strawberry pink, and white. V and I carded up a test batt and I spun some of it, then knit it into that swatch. I want a little more white in there, like in the magazine photo, so I think that with the rest of it I will blend in some white alpaca. Mine has little bright spots of pink that are not in the one in the magazine, but it's ok.

I like pink.


Blankie, thy name is Epic

Join me at Alpaca Farmgirl's for Fiber Arts Friday?

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So lovely Melissa and gorgeous Claire sent me sock yarn bits so I could start knitting my own blankie (rav link). These are from Claire.

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To back up a just a tad, a little while back I started noticing these posts on the Knitting Sandwich blog about the blankies they are knitting.

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At first, I didn't like the look of blankies. But now I have no idea what kind of crazy I was thinking. I'm in love.

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Since I don't knit socks (yet!), I'm pretty light on the sock yarn stash, so it was extremely wonderful that Melissa and Claire would send me some of theirs. With blankie, the first hit is free...

I'm calling this blankie Epic. Because it's probably going to take me a few years to finish.

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I don't get a lot of time to knit lately. I knit mainly when we are driving in the car on the weekends - and only because I can't spin (stupid small passenger legroom area!). But knitting blankie is addictive.

I think I'm going to go for a random pattern for mine.

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I am also addicted to this pumpkin. It looks like it's supposed to be orange, but someone scraped it all off except they couldn't get into the grooves.


Now, what to make next?

So ... Friday was crazy at my house. I wish I had pictures of it all, but I didn't take any. But I did take pics of V in her new PJ bottoms.

My friend Kim was coming for a visit to Stone Mountain with her family so we thought it'd be a great time to meet and have her younger daughter and V meet. V and I were both very excited!

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So before they got here, V and I went to the store for about 20 minutes to get some snacks and when we got back there was a dead body under my front porch.

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Ok, it wasn't a dead body. But when I drove up I didn't know that. For just a split second when I looked at the face I thought - well, I won't tell you what I thought because it's too horrible. But someone dropped a mannequin off under my front porch. He was wrapped in bubble wrap and duct tape and wearing fatigues. And it was September 11th.

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So I freaked out just a tad and called the cops. They came quickly and checked it out, swept the house, etc. They told me that if I couldn't find who it belonged to they'd gladly take him off my hands to use for target practice.

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So then Kim and almost her whole family showed up and we went inside for some apple muffins and lemonade.

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Kim, who is a seamstress extraordinaire (and who is reopening her Etsy shop tomorrow, I hear), told me a while back that she was going to find me a sewing machine. At the time I thought, ok sure. Sounds great. But I didn't give it a lot of thought because sewing machines are expensive.

But she found one at a thrift store for not a whole lot of money and she took it home and cleaned it up and brought it to my house and gave me a sewing lesson. How's that for a good friend?

So I sewed these new PJ pants for V (with lots of guidance from Kim).

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And the mannequin was supposed to have been delivered to the neighbor's house - they throw a giant Halloween haunted house every year and now we're invited. Yay!

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The Romney washes up nice

So, do you remember that big bunch of dirty wool, fresh off Mr. Woolie Sheep? Doesn't look like it could be white, does it?

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Well, here's what it looks like now, after washing. This is about half of it. Nice, white, and fluffy as a cloud. There are still bits of grass/plants/etc. in there, but that's no trouble at all.

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The yellow bits aren't dirty, it's just where the wool has been kissed by the sun. Smooch!

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I still love the crimp. I'll definitely be shopping with Natchwoolie again. Small amounts of raw wool are perfect for me because they are easy for me to handle in the time and space (and budget) that I have, and I just love the feel of unprocessed wool. If I could have a few (hundred) sheep, I would.

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Now, what will I do with this lovely wool? Well, I haven't decided just yet, but I thought I might follow it through on the blog until at least some of it becomes yarn. The first thing I'm going to do is dye small amounts of it different colors. More on that soon.


I'd happily shake your hand & kiss your baby

The Etsy Voter is up for this week and one of my yarns is in the running. So if you could pop over & place a vote for me, I'd be mighty appreciative.

This is the yarn that's up for voting, "Charmed." It's one of my Halloween yarns. Ooooh, spooky!

Charmed

I'm sure it was my lovely blog readers who helped me get nominated, and I thank you for that! It's a great feeling just being among all that talent.

It's Labor Day! What are you doing today? We're just hanging out, relaxing. I have a new spinning wheel and I've been finishing the wood all weekend long - it's ready to put together now so I'm going to do that today. I hope you're having a great day off and having some fun - here comes autumn!


It's a long wool breed

I'm not a big fan of washing an entire sheep fleece myself. They can be really dirty, as you can imagine. And lanolin is sticky. And, well, ick. Now that's just me because plenty of people do it and I love reading about it, it's just that I have 4 pounds of raw alpaca fleece sitting in my closet and I've only washed about 2 ounces of it so far.

Must get on that.

But small bits are kind of fun to wash. What's fun about it to me is seeing what it looks like before versus after.

So the other day, I ordered 4 ounces of Romney sheep wool from Natchwoolie.

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I found Natchwoolie through Phat Fiber. If you like to knit or spin and don't know about Phat Fiber, well you should! It's a great way to get samples of yarn or fiber so that you can try before you buy from an indie seller.

Like me. I'm an indie seller, y'all! I'm planning to send in samples of my yarn for the November Phat Fiber box, and I'm really excited about it.

So anyway. I ordered 4 ounces of raw fleece, fresh off the sheep! And it came right away. I was super happy with my order and would definitely recommend Natchwoolie, just so you know. And she sent a small sample of really beautiful brown Merino wool. I want more of that - lots more!

So here's what the Romney wool looks like unwashed.

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Let's look a little closer.

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It's pretty, right? It's not just me thinking that? Look at the crimp! It just inspires such lovely fibery thoughts in my head.

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So I washed it. It was easy. I put it in a sinkful of hot water with some Dawn liquid and let it soak. Then I let it soak a couple more times until the water was clear. Then I spun it in my salad spinner (that I only use for wool!) to get extra water out, and then I let it dry.

And next time, I'll share what it looks like now. Yay!


Like bottles for flowers

A friend was coming over for a visit recently, and so I ran out to Target's deli to get some salads for lunch. I picked up three bottles of Lorina sparkling lemonade because I thought the bottles were pretty.

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The pink lemonade was good, but I can't recommend the other two flavors. My plan is to remove the labels and use the bottles for fresh flowers.

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V plans to use them to store her sparkly pom poms.

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I can't wait to see what they look like with flowers, though.

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I'm hooked on bottles this week - to see what other bloggers are hooked on, go hang out with Julia for Hooked on Fridays!