Friday, March 27, 2015

 Notice anything weird about these ducks and geese?  They are not swimming, they are sitting on the thin glaze of ice that appears every night.  It just looks so strange to see them sitting still and not gliding through the water.  Every morning they just mill around waiting for the pool to open.  I had no idea ducks and geese had that kind of insulation/stamina.  Imagine how cold that water must be! 

It was nice to be outside this morning because I have been eating ibuprofen like candy and hiding in dim rooms since Sunday with a migraine.  I got an appointment with somebody/anybody at my regular clinic to either get some different medications, have my head cut off or be euthanized, whichever was easiest.  I saw a lovely doctor and her U of M medical student and they prescribed me a great different rescue med as well as a preventative med that I will take every night at bedtime.  I took the new med when I got home and laid down for an hour.  When I got up, I felt great with no headache and no muscular side effects.  I was singing in the choir again!  In visiting with the doctor, I'd mentioned that I noticed the headaches had slowed down quite a bit while I was cutting back on Diet Coke and she said that aspartame is a common migraine trigger.  Dang.  I guess that means I am a former Diet Coke drinker now.
 I finished my Aran snow suit and took it off the blocking board today!  I caught myself tossing it in the air like you would a baby.  This will look so nice with a fat baby in it!  I keep thinking of my grandpa Maynerd when I look at this.  He would refer to any small child as a 'little jigger' and I think any kid would look like a little jigger in this!
The yarn was kind of expensive at $12.50/ball and I used 4 balls for this but it is a very soft wool/silk blend and is nice for babies.  It is a light gray but could look like a pale blue or lavender depending on what you pair it with.  I used mother of pearl buttons to finish it.  I halfway want a suit like this for mySELF!  ;)

Monday, March 23, 2015


 What a serene winter landscape.  Normally in November, this scene would be calming, welcome, and beautiful to a Minnesotan.  However, today is March 23rd and I'll bet everyone in the state could spit nails right now especially since 2 weeks ago we had temperatures in the upper 60's.  Mother Nature is such a tease around this time of year and I fell for it.  I re potted all my house plants and I started thinking about the garden, etc.  We always have to have a winter relapse or two before spring truly arrives and really this isn't too bad. 
I put out my Easter decorations yesterday including the wooden painted eggs I bought in Poland this fall.  I'd had this ceramic egg holder and used to put the real dyed and hollowed eggs Melissa and I've made over the years in it.  It was always short lived though because I'd end up putting it safely up somewhere the eggs wouldn't be disturbed and then no one would see them.  These are perfect because they aren't fragile.  They are proudly smack in the middle of the table.
 My parents returned home from their trip to Bosnia and Croatia on Saturday and we had an informal and late St. Patrick's Day meal waiting for them.  I made a corned beef brisket in the crack pot with red potatoes, carrots and cabbage as well as croissant rolls from scratch.  For dessert we had an Irish Queen of Puddings which is basically a milk, bread crumb and egg yolk custard on the bottom, topped with melted strawberry jam, and then the egg whites are whipped into a meringue and piled up and browned to finish.  Num num.  I used the heel of the french loaf I baked this week for my bread crumbs.  Recycling at it's finest!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Someone is sleeping on my pattern! I love my dawg!

Sensible Shoes

Yesterday I finished and blocked some booties and a little hat to go along with my Hoot Cardigan.  Everyone needs a pair of sensible shoes and when wearing this sweater, these booties fit the bill!  The hat pattern was made up using the owl cable motif but the bootie pattern came from Knitting Gifts For Baby.  I wanted to round out the cardigan so I could enter this as a 3 piece baby set in the fairs this summer.  Yes, I am already thinking about fair season.  Once a 4-H kid, always a 4-H kid.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

March 17th

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  I know these aren't shamrocks, it is in fact the ivy garland draped over my china cabinet.  The holly garland I found and put up over the holidays added so much and the hutch looked very plain without it.  Since then, we've had valentine garland for February, this ivy for March and for the non holiday portion of the year, and later this week I will put up the gorgeous Easter garland I got last year on ridiculous clearance but had no where to hang.  While shopping for some year-round greenery, I looked at some simple florals and vines and then found the ivy.  My Grandma Helen had an ivy kitchen:  ivy curtains and valences, ivy wallpaper, ivy potholders, etc.  Now whenever I see this, I think of time spent with her in the kitchen and our trips to Fargo.
Speaking of Fargo, I am about to do one of my most favorite things....start a new knitting project!  Weeeeeeeeeeee!  This is some Rowan Baby Merino Silk DK that I bought 2 Fargo trips ago at Prairie Yarns.  We were in town for my cousin's graduation and it was our first trip to Fargo with Lopi.  Again I must stress we are not pregnant nor trying but I've been dying to knit this Aran baby snowsuit and it seems appropriate to start some Aran knitting on St. Patrick's Day!  I have a couple items blocking as we speak and will post pictures of those later in the week.  Top O' The Mornin' To Ya!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Crocus Done!

 I finished and blocked my Crocus Blanket last night and am pleased as punch with it!  This pattern came from the book My Grandmother's Knitting.  Over the Christmas/New Year holiday, I discovered the fabulous closeout sales from WEBS and found the yarn first and then chose a suitable pattern. 
 The yarn was a wool/silk/cashmere blend from Zen Garden and even on sale, I paid $27/skein and used just over 3 skeins for the blanket.  It is a lovely soft fingering weight yarn and I used US 3 needles so you can imagine the work was slow going!  The blanket is 165 stitches wide and you start with 16 rows of garter stitch.  No problem there but it took almost 2 hours to do those 16 rows and then I screwed up on the very first 2 rows of the lace pattern and had to rip it all out.  I have never been more ready to quit something but I'd paid top dollar for the yarn.  I mustered my patience and started again.
 This was some fussy knitting but so worth it!  I stopped to count my stitches after each pattern repeat and kept track of each section with stitch markers.  This was not TV knitting and I had to really be mindful of watch I was watching or listening to because the work required all my wits!  I worked on the last big sections of it in the bowling alley watching Dave bowl.  The yarn is kettle dyed a pale yellow with some slightly darker mustard mottles.  Here you can kind of see some of the mottling.  Gorgeous.
I really feel accomplished as a knitter after making this!  When I was folding and arranging it for the pictures, I was reminded of the already knit lace shawls we bought in Russia.  I'm not comparing this to Orenburg lace by any means, but I made this!  Years ago I bought a pattern and yarn for a Shetland shawl IN Shetland in the hopes that some day I will be accomplished enough to knit it and I feel like I'm getting closer!  I love that you learn and become more experienced with each project tackled in knitting.  This will keep a baby very warm some day but my heart will bleed the first time it gets pooped on!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Pastry Practice

I absolutely love this pastry dough recipe and have wanted to try using it for things other than the hand pies in the recipe.  It is such a lovely flaky mock puff pastry that is a cinch to make.  The dough is assembled and ready in under an hour versus real puff pastry dough that takes all day to make.  It has just the right buttery salty flavor that works well with both sweet and savory baked treats.
 Last week I had some leftover chicken meat after I processed a whole chicken.  I'd never cooked a chicken like that before and it was delicious and moist.  It was also the cleanest I'd ever gotten the carcass!  We had all kinds of chicken pieces to top salads and I used some along with the broth for a fabulous chicken noodle soup.  The last of the leftovers were made into chicken pot pies.  I made up my own gravy using onions, carrots and celery softened in butter with some salt and pepper.  I added some flour and chicken stock for the roux and finished it with some dried thyme, dried sage and some frozen peas.  I let it cool completely before spooning it into my wide ramekins.  I topped each with a round of this pastry and baked it.  These made for some elegant work lunches in the break room!
Today is a glorious sunny day with temperatures in the 60's!  It's a regular heat wave!  I have the deck door and the bedroom window open to air out the house.  Lopi is laying in the sun on the deck and I am baking.  I only used half the pastry dough I mixed up last week and had the bright idea to try my hand at some sausage rolls.  These are eaten everywhere in England.  They are a crumbled sausage wrapped in puff pastry.  I had half a tube of Jimmy Dean sausage in my freezer that I browned and cooled.  The sausage in the UK version is more of a nutmeg sausage but this worked just fine.  Next time I will try to make some from scratch with some ground pork.  I used an egg wash and these browned quite nicely.  Num num.  Dave will have a nice after school snack today.
I was able to make 6 sausage rolls with the amount of meat I had so I used the last scraps of dough to make 2 jam tarts using my strawberry freezer jam.  Delish.  I never thought to use jam for these and almost wish I didn't know they'd turn out so well because now this means I don't have to wait for summer raspberries.  I can literally make these at the drop of a hat.
And finally, here is a photo of Lopi's blue feet.  She got ahold of a ball point pen and chewed it to bits.  She couldn't deny it if she wanted because the evidence speaks for itself!