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July 2011

New books!

As soon as I started reading this post over at Pioneer Woman, I knew V would want to read it too. So I called her over and we read it together. 

Then of course we had to order Dr. Frankenstein's Human Body Book! It got here today and it looks fantastic.

human body book 001

I foresee years of fun with this one. I don't think there's ever been a book that would appeal so much to V.

inside human body book

Except maybe this one.

gross facts to blow your mind

You've got to love it when she shuts the TV off because her brand new books are here!

A raffle for cancer

Have you ever changed the way you eat? It's hard. I've tried and failed before. Because I liked the way that I ate before. I like quesadillas and I like chicken legs and I like key lime pie. But people don't like being told how to eat, so I have been resistant. Occasionally defiant. But I have become convinced that I was not eating healthfully. So I'm changing things.

To keep myself on my chosen path, I decided that I couldn't replace the recipes I've always loved with different versions of them. That'd just be like taunting myself. So I decided I needed whole new recipes. So, as I have time, I've been on the search for recipes that fall under my guidelines, while also tasting good. If they're not tasty, they're out.

That takes a while because I'm picky, but I've got a few.

Would you like to hear my guidelines? Fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts & seeds, beans. Unprocessed foods. No dairy, no meat. Sounds a lot like vegan, doesn't it? But it's not. It's nutritarian. I don't believe I can say that I'm vegan because I sell sheep's wool. That's not vegan. But I am eating a healthy, plant-based diet. 

This is what I had for dinner the other night.

Toasted Quinoa Vegetable Stacks

I based it on this recipe, except I just threw the spinach into the quinoa along with some raw cashews to wilt/toast. And I used the Green Goddess dressing from Appetite for Reduction because I'm not at all into the idea of veganaise (though I don't think it needed the dressing). This was exceptionally tasty. The next night I made it again, except I just chopped everything up, plus an onion, and threw it in a pan to saute and then added the leftover quinoa fron the night before. Not as pretty, but definitely big, quick bowl of deliciousness for a Wednesday night.

As we were eating it, I was thinking what a great, cancer-fighting recipe it is. Mushrooms, spinach, garlic, onion, tomatoes - the whole thing, really. I like to fight cancer any way I can - which is why I've donated a yarn of to the raffle Melissa is holding over on her I Hate Cancer blog. For $5 you get a shot at winning a skein of yarn of your choice from what's available in my shop. Because cancer sucks.

Go Team Breast Intentions!

As for me, I can report that I'm down 6 pounds last I checked and the swelling in my hands that's been keeping me from spinning is almost gone. I feel better, lighter and my head is clearer. In other words, I'm digging it.

My little radishes

I've been eating lots of salads for about a month now. Giant, big-as-your-head salads. Today's salad had the usual lettuce suspects plus yellow pepper, cucumber, tomatoes, cauliflower, sugar snap peas, raisins, walnuts, hummus and a thinly sliced radish.

my little radishes

I'm positive I'll tire of them eventually, but surely not until summer is over - which is around October in these parts.

Today R is picking up my sweet kitty cat Grace. She's at the vet, but not in the usual way you might think. I don't kid myself that anyone on the internet wants to hear that my 17-year-old cat passed away 2 weeks ago tomorrow. I only record it here for myself, so I don't forget when it happened. She was the perfect cat - a superb mouser when she needed to be, kind and patient with my daughter even when she shouldn't have been, and the ultimate lap cat and hot water bottle. The worst part is that under normal circumstances, if I felt this bad about something, I would grab her and lay down for a while snuggled up and listening to her purr. Now I don't have that option and it sucks. Finally, she was so sick, her little pink ears so yellow from her failing liver, there was nothing left to do. I said it to R, and he agreed with me, that the only reason she stuck around so long was because she loved us so. 


Months ago, we bought a cantaloupe from the grocery store. When we cut it open, V insisted on putting the seeds in a plastic baggie wrapped in a wet paper towel to see if they would grow. I was doubtful, but a while later we checked on them and they had grown. So we put them in a little pot.


Since I had neither the time nor desire to start a garden from scratch this year, I put a few of these little plants in a giant pot with a good soil mixture I made. When they started growing, I pulled out all but the one that looked the strongest. And it grew. I put a tomato cage over it and wrapped it around so it could climb.

One day, I noticed several tiny, fuzzy cantaloupes. This one was, and remained, the biggest.

Baby Cantaloupe

Eventually, all the small cantaloupes went away and we were left with two - the bigger one and a smaller one. Being in this container, all the plant's energy was going to these two melons. And they grew.

Cantaloupe is still growing

At the moment, this blog's header is a picture of the leaves of this plant, just after a rainstorm.

Fortunately, my friend Kim told me that homegrown cantaloupes don't get as big as the ones you buy in the store and that if you wait too long, they'll rot on the vine. So I watched and and evaluated regularly so I wouldn't miss the right time. And it kept growing.


And then suddenly last week - it was time. It had rained a lot and when I looked at the cantaloupes, they had started pulling away from their connection to the vine. So we picked them.

V with cantaloupe

The little one rotted right away, so it was lost. But the bigger one? It was delicious.

home grown cantaloupe

Next time, I would plant them in the ground. And I would water them more often (not so good at remembering that...). But I wanted to see if I could grow a cantaloupe in a container and I did it (with some help from R, who watered them regularly once he realized I wasn't doing it!), so I consider this a success - a tasty, tasty success!

Next update - Friday, July 22

Some shop news today!

The next installment of my sock yarn club is coming on Monday, July 25th, at 10am Eastern. The Autumn Sock Clique will have fiber options this time, so you can have your choice of yarn bases.

July 22nd

And I'm having a shop update on Friday, July 22nd, at 11am Eastern. The preview of the yarns will be up on Thursday, as usual - just check the Coming Soon section of my shop sometime tomorrow.

In this update I will have skeins of Muscadine Sock, Julep Sock, Moultrie Sock, & Eulela DK.


An indoor clothesline

Ok, this is too cute not to share. Roxy's favorite new place to nap - 2nd floor of V's dollhouse.

20110718 Roxy in the dollhouse

On Thursday nights, V and I have "sleepover," where she and I hang out in my bed before she falls asleep and I tell her stories from my childhood or we talk about whatever V wants to talk about (most recently all things related to having babies and what sorts of things one might do that would lead to getting a "black mark" on your driving record).

Last Thursday, I told her about how my grandmother had a clothesline and how I'd help her hang clothes to dry or take them down once they were dry. Her clothesline was in the backyard next to the cedar tree, in front of my grandfather's garden, and near the wading pool he built for my brother and I.

I also told her about the wading pool - how Granddaddy dug a hole, smoothed it over with concrete, left a drain hole with a slice of garden hose to keep it open and a hunk of wood to plug it, and then bricked it all around. (Most uncomfortable and yet awesome pool you ever saw).

V wanted to know why we don't have a clothesline (save energy! clothes that smell like sunshine!) and then we got to talk about mama's allergies for a while and how the very thought of breathing in a pillowcase covered with pollen might just make my head explode.

20110718 Clothesline

So yesterday, V kept telling me to stay in the bedroom because she had "something constructive" she wanted to do. So I did and she put together her own clothesline to surprise me. Eventually she realized she needed help - she'd used some scrap sock yarn, which wasn't heavy enough, and had the chairs turned the wrong way so the line wouldn't stay taut. So I helped her set it up with some stronger cotton yarn. She'd also gotten some clothes damp in her bathroom sink (but not too wet. I was impressed.) and I showed her how to hang them up with clothespins.

Lazy Susan

Sometimes it can be a fantastic thing to say no to your children. Like in the case of the big stack of Lazy Susans we always see when we go to IKEA. V used to ask for one every time and I always said no, we don't need that; we've got enough stuff. I guess she did need it after all - she taped a coffee mug to the bottom of this woven platter and left it for me to find on the dining table one day. The next day she further improved her design by taping a block to the top to make it easier to turn.

When I first saw it, I felt bad for having denied her one. So I told her well, if you want to get one next time we go to IKEA, we can. She said, "No thanks, Mom. I already have a Lazy Susan. I made it myself, remember?"

New camera!

Just playing with my new camera today. I got this bobbin at my favorite local antique mart. 

old bobbin

And here's my halfway spun Lai Grai batt - slowly making a 2-ply.

new bobbin

Here's some Moultrie Sock that will be in my next update, which should be next week.

moultrie sock

And Moultrie again - left to right that's Lingonberry Jam, Kohl, Tanis, Shiraz, and Olivine. So soft and lovely.

moultrie sock yarn

I'm trying to think of someplace fun to go this weekend to shoot some pictures. Hmmm...

Things I saw on Saturday

I was going to call this post "Things I saw this weekend," but alas, it was not to be. So it's just stuff I saw on Saturday.

Always Patsy

Saturday we went to the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga. The last few times we went, I was eager to photograph the fish.

To Pet Walk

But this time I wanted to photograph some of the details we saw along the way that weren't necessarily fish.

Of Chattanooga

And we did see lots of interesting things.

Cats looking at fish

They had crafters set up outside the aquarium and there were two people selling handspun yarn and things of that nature. This one is from Lucca Dot Yarn, but Arresting Yarn was also there.

Lucca Dot Yarn

Once we made it inside, we were drawn in to the Ranger Rick stuff going on. They showed us a porcupine.


And the most adorable toucan. She was new to doing tricks in front of crowds, but she was absolutely charming.

Toucan catching food

Then we went to see the seahorses, where my goal was to try to get at least one picture of V that had the feeling of this photo. And then later we went to our favorite park in Chattanooga, where I was hoping to catch our second annual jumping photo.

So, like I said, we were looking at the seahorses and I was snapping photos when I noticed that my pictures had a black streak across them. At first I thought I'd had my finger over the lens. Then the shutter wouldn't fire. Then it would but the camera said "Err."

And so woe is me. The camera that I've taken 99% of the photos on this blog is dead. 

Well, not dead. From my research I'd say it can probably be fixed. And I will fix it. And then I'm keeping it as a backup because you can't have a yarn shop without a camera and you never know when your camera is going to break its shutter. Or get dropped into Lake Allatoona. Or whatever minor calamity happens to come your way.

My new camera will be here next week (I think. Still waiting on shipping confirmation. I won't rest easy until I get it). I'm sad. And happy. I can't wait to see what the new camera can do - but RIP to my Nikon D80 - at least until I can get you fixed up again.

Tea Cakes Lace coming tomorrow

Just a wee shop update this week. I've got 10 skeins of Tea Cakes Lace (5 colorways)

Boreal olive green brown Tea Cakes Lace merino silk laceweight yarn shawl shawlette 002

and 3 skeins of Julep Sock (2 colorways).

Contact aqua green blue gray julep sock yarn mcn merino cashmere indie dyer springtree road top down magic loop toe up sock knitting crochet fingering weight 002

The update will be live on Thursday, July 7th at 11am Eastern.

You can preview the yarns here.

I'm also spinning a few skeins of my La Vie En Rose super bulky thick & thin for those who have been asking me about it. This yarn is used for Tric Drake's Twisted Taffy Hat, along with Blue Sky Alpacas bulky yarn in Blossom. I'll have a few 2- and 4-oz skeins available (a 2-oz skeins is more than enough for personal use. A 4-oz skein would make quite a few more hats from this pattern). When they're ready, I'll announce them on my Facebook page.