Sunday, May 25, 2014

 This is mint.  It grows like a weed and is a sure sign of spring!
 And if you steep it in boiling water, you get lovely mint tea.  Num num!
We just got home from Fargo this evening after driving up yesterday and staying overnight in a hotel with my parents and my sister and her family.  We visited my grandma and then went on to Hitterdal for my cousin Kjirsten's graduation luncheon.  I knit her a pair of beaded pulsewarmers and finished them in the car on the way in typical Katie fashion.  We'd last seen everyone at our wedding almost a year and a half ago and we hadn't seen Grandma for 2 years.  We had beautiful warm weather for the trip.  And we made it into town yesterday just in time to hit Prairie Yarns and I got a few goodies.  I am such a lucky girl because I got to go to two FABULOUS yarn shops in less than a month.  This also means I will be going on a yarn diet for a while!

Reno 2014

Last week we flew out to Reno for Dave's bowling tournament at the National Bowling Stadium.  The weather this year was much better for traveling other than our landing in Reno.  The mountain crosswinds made it pretty turbulent as we made our descent but we were also dipping and wobbling.  We got right down near the ground to the point where you start to brace yourself for touchdown...only to have the pilot gun the engines and pull us up at the last moment and take us up and around for a second attempt.  We were pitching and wobbling too much for him to make a safe landing on that first try.  On all the flights I've ever been on, I've never seen that before.  We were happy to finally be safe on the ground!
We rented a car and got great use out of it.  We stayed at the Grand Sierra Resort this year which was a fabulous hotel but it was little over a mile away from the downtown where all Dave's bowling was.  We were able to park for $5 a day at the bowling stadium and walk to whatever we wanted to do.  I loved how all the overpasses and highway barriers had these western themed embellishments.
We also drove around Lake Tahoe which was some seriously beautiful scenery but the roads were a bit treacherous in places.  Dave had to concentrate on the road and didn't get to enjoy the view.  Note the absence of guard rail in this photo.  There was mountain on one side and CLIFF on the other.  The roads were quite windy with a maximum speed limit of 45 mph and then you had to share the road with all the mountain bikers.  Did I mention that it started SNOWING and RAINING halfway through?  The temperature also dropped from 45 to 32 degrees and poor Dave did nothing but ride the brake down the mountain for the second half of the drive.  We were just sure we'd go right off the edge!  Turns out we drove through winter storm Zephyr and lived to tell the tale.  I felt so bad because I'd made Dave stop twice so I could pick up giant pine cones when the weather was still nice.  We had no idea that yucky weather was coming.  The pine cones were worth it though.  I grabbed a sack full of them and they're bigger than softballs. 
I got to go back to Jimmy Beans Wool.  They had opened up this whole other back room since the last time I was there.  We visited a little with the owner and she let us go back into the warehouse to look around!  I jokingly asked if we could roll around in the yarn and she told us that at one time, they'd had an empty jacuzzi back there full of yarn!
The warehouse was HUGE.  I had no idea that space was even back there but it made sense because they do so much internet and mail order business.  You can see the ladies on the computers taking and picking the orders.  This store was a real treat yet again.
I came away with a lot of Madelinetosh and some Lorna's Laces.  I also got the Beekeeper's Quilt pattern and the object of every traveler's desire--a patch!
We got kind of sick of buffets if you can believe that so we went and had breakfast at Bavarian World one morning.  I'd found it online and wanted to check it out for their deli and bakery.  We had a great breakfast and I got some teas and hornsalt in their deli.  This was my favorite goodie from the bakery.  It was horseshoe shaped and rolled in crushed slivered almonds and dipped in chocolate on the ends.  The woman behind the counter warned me that it was made of marzipan which was fine with me.  It seems people either love almond or they hate it and I definitely fall into the former group.  I took one bite...and it was the same flavor and texture of kransekake!  I had to quick take a picture of it before I ate it all!
And of course Dave had his bowling time and I watched and knitted.  This year's trip was much better than last year's.  Next year the tournament is in El Paso so I will have to start looking for extra curricular activities to check out there.  Do they have yarn in Texas?

Friday, May 09, 2014

Fleeting Spring

 Spring is here, sort of.  And I can prove it: chives!  These babies have been coming up for a couple weeks now and I have been eating them like crazy in scrambled eggs, soups, sauces, and my favorite vehicle for them...bacon-cheddar-chive scones from KAF!!!
Scones are not fussy.  If you can make biscuits, and everyone can, you can make scones.  These are a beautiful tri-color quick bread with the yellow cheese, the maroon bacon and the green chives.  I served these as the bread in our meal on Friday when my brother and in-laws came for supper.  We grilled some fabulous BBQ seasoned pork chops my brother brought and I made from scratch baked beans, potato salad and Julia Child's bread crumb broccoli.
 My father-in-law really likes these savory scones but my mother-in-law favors sweet scones.  My brother really liked these and he was going home to his family and my parents who were visiting them so I baked another wheel to send home with him.  Num num!  I tried keeping chives through the winter just for this recipe and had no success.  I've since bought a little acrylic greenhouse at IKEA and will try again this winter--more on that later.  All you need is a measly 1/3 of a cup of minced chives for this recipe and I would love to eat them in the winter!
 Our other joyful news is that our dear friend Hazel gave birth to a baby boy on April 22!  Hazel is my sister's best friend whom she met at her first nursing job at Mayo.  She has the most infectious personality and is an honorary family member and of course we are all thrilled for her.  I have to admit, as a knitter, she was kind of a pebble in my shoe because she didn't learn the sex of the baby prior to the birth.  I didn't dare start working on anything until I knew what I was dealing with!  Of course little Maverick will need a blankie and I found this darling cotton print at Joann's.  I did very well with my coupons that day and also got the backing fabric on sale.  I hope she appreciates my taste, because normally I would have gone for a blue binding--it is my favorite color after all.  But after going through pregnancy and birth with my sister 3 times, I realize that a lot of crafting/knitting/sewing done for the baby is done just as much for the mother.  I bound this with hazel green because Hazel is the mother and I've always loved her name.  You don't meet too many Hazels under the age of 80 and this blanket is for her just as much as it is for Maverick!
 I also did a little knitting for her.  I did some stash busting with the light blue multicolored sockies that are compulsory.  I just knit a pair of these for a co-worker and she just came back from maternity leave raving about them.  My sister always loved these too because they are ribbed and will fit forever and they STAY ON.  I also knit a pair of angora baby booties in a manly blue color.  Winter is thankfully a few months away but I knit an Aviatrix hat from some leftover cotton Boku.
 This is a Baby Surprise Jacket knit from some Blackberry Hills I bought at the state fair 2 years ago.  They are always in the dairy building and the very last thing we visit as we leave.  We get a milkshake and I dig through the yarn.  I'd bought a lot of alpaca that year and my husband was kind of badgering me as to what was I going to use THIS yarn for and of course I had no answer for him.  I bought 3 skeins knowing eventually I would knit something fabulous with it and here it is.  Thank goodness I got it because I don't know what else I would have used.  No offense Hazel, but I think boys are just harder to craft/sew/knit for.  This will need a good soak/block because the dye stained my hands blue as I was knitting. 
Finally I knit a Star Lace Baby Cap and am literally 2 rows away from finishing but I was too eager to post the picture already.  This is some fabulous Tosh Sock yarn I bought with my fair winnings 2 years ago.  I hope to get all these items blocked and packed and sent in the next week.  I am so excited for dear Hazel!  What a great first Mother's Day she'll have!