Sunday, September 20, 2015

Dave's mother lamented to me that they had all kinds of tomatoes on the vine...but they were all green and firm as all get out.  I jumped at the opportunity for fried green tomatoes.  Here is a picture of the lovely unripened heirloom tomatoes I picked.
I know I've written about fried green tomatoes before, but I'd never fried heirloom tomatoes and I thought they were so pretty once I sliced them.  I ate very well last night.  I always season each side of the tomatoes with Kusina Gold, dredge them in flour, dip them in beaten egg, and then dredge them in cornmeal.  Num num.
I have to feel like I cheated Joann Fabrics.  They had a 60% off coupon for any regular priced item.  I did our household's needed items shopping at Target and then headed over to do the grocery shopping.  I had to go to the bathroom really bad so I stopped in at Joann's but I also had that coupon burning a hole in my pocket so I wandered around to see what I could see.  I found this Takumi knitting needle set and it wasn't on sale.  It cost $170.  With my coupon it would cost $68.  I ran for the checkout and got a great deal!  The coupons stipulate that you can't use them for irons, sewing machines, scissors, Cricut machines, etc.  I wonder how long before they say you can't use them for this needle set.  My cashier even told me that I was the highest saver she'd had that day!

Home Adornment

I've slowly been working on this foreclosure house to make it into a home.  We did a lot of painting in the downstairs this spring and I'm hoping we can do the same in the upstairs living areas this fall.  I'm daunted by the area over the stairs but I think we'll be able to tackle it with the right equipment.  In the meantime, Mother encouraged me to frame one of the prints I bought in St. Petersburg years ago.  This is Bargemen On the Volga by Ilya Repin.  I just loved the picture and the colors.  All the men are so dark, pathetic, dirty and ragged but there is a blonde light colored boy in the center of the composition.  I was just sure there was a story behind the painting but all my research says it is just a bunch of men pulling a barge on the Volga.  Alrighty then!  I have to put a punt in for Joann's because I got the frame on sale with a coupon and then got the custom matte with a coupon.  You can get coupon mailers or have coupons sent directly to your Smartphone.  Between using those and waiting for sales, you can do a lot at Joann's!
This is the deco in the downstairs bathroom that I painted this spring.  I got this $80 shelf for $20 after it went on clearance and I used a 20% off coupon at Joann's.  This hangs over the toilet.  I had a French savon metal sign that I hung up on one wall and then put all my Frenchy souvenir nic nacs on the shelf so now I have an official French powder room!  Here it is decked out for Halloween.
I shouldn't call this an adornment but in a way it is.  This is the door frame out to the garage.  We painted the entryway, the hallway and the family room this 'gadget gray' color in the spring and now that we had a finished wall, I could finally hang my mezuzah.  It is a holder for a traditional Jewish prayer and house blessing (Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and 11:13-21).  I am Lutheran but if you believe in the Old Testament, you share heritage with Judaism.  I had mezuzah's in my old apartment, but I forgot to take them with me.  I literally sat up in bed one night shortly after I'd moved to Minnesota when I realized I'd forgotten them.  Not only were they mezuzahs, but they were souvenirs from trips I'd taken.  I was just sick about it.  I am happy this one will be in place for years to come.  I have another beautiful brass one I got in Poland and I'm very excited to hang it next to my front door once we get it painted.  Every room other than bathrooms should have one but I will need to amass a lot more before I can do that.  I really like the idea of remembering a thankful prayer every time I leave the house to get into my car. 


I spent most of Friday knitting in the waiting room of Ray's Maplewood Auto Service having 4 tires replaced and aligned and new brakes and master cylinder replaced.  It needed doing (because I just paid the car off--go figure!) and I'd been putting it off.  I found this garage in early summer and was immediately impressed with them.  The gal at the front desk obviously has mechanic experience in addition to great people skills.  I think what impressed me so much was that they sit down and EXPLAIN things to you about what is going on with your car and repair options and prices.  They do what I do with my patients in the hospital and I find you get a much better response when you know WHY things are the way they were.  Ever since, I bring my business and my knitting for any car repairs.  I thought their sign was pretty funny that day!

I finished up the second attempt of my jacket front side in their waiting room.  It is a Drops pattern.  They are a fabulous company with an entire library of free patterns...but they waste no verbiage in their patterns.  The instructions for the front side piece is one small paragraph that sounds like, "Cast on this many stitches, then every other row, increase this many stitches on the marked stitch.  At the same time, every 8th row increase this many on the right side and do this 4 times every 6th row, then 3 times every 4, and then twice every other..."  I have to write it all out and keep track of my rows and make tally marks for each thing I'm supposed to do.  Long story short...
...I was writing out my instructions for the other jacket front...and realized I'd screwed up AGAIN on the first jacket front!  I'd done my outer side increases every 4 rows instead of every 8.  In the piece on the right of the picture, you can see where the jacket widens and then is knit straight to the bottom edge.  It should have been a longer more gradual widening.  I could have done the same increases on the back pieces to make the jacket meet up, but I opted to start over yet again so the jacket doesn't have such a swoopy  increase at the hips.  The piece on the left of the picture is the THIRD attempt of the jacket side front with the more gradual increase.  I read a list of knitting tips and advice years ago and I've learned this to be true from personal experience:  If you find a mistake, always go back and rip it out and redo it as soon as you're aware of it.  If you don't, you will regret it more and more the further your work progresses.  This is so very true.  Take three....
I know it is fall and the official fragrance and flavor is pumpkin spice.  I kind of beg to differ.  I say if you want your house to smell awesome...just boil a chicken carcass!  Dave's birthday was this week and I cooked him a full roasted chicken dinner on Friday complete with a yellow cake with chocolate frosting as requested.  I love that his birthday is in early fall so I still have plenty of fresh herbs to work with.  The bird was rubbed with butter, rosemary and sage and roasted on a bed of onions, carrots and celery which all pave the way for a flavorful chicken stock!  So the stock is developing on the stove as we speak and the house smells great!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

I done messed up!

I've been hammering away at my blue striped jacket.  The piece on the right is the first piece I started knitting.  The more I worked on it, the more I thought it wasn't right but I soldiered on anyway.  It seemed to be too wide and not long enough.  I got to the end of the increases and my stitches didn't count out the way they should so I put the piece on a holder and started the other front side piece. 
This jacket is knit in garter stitch and shaped with a mitered corner so the left and right front pieces are in fact the same thing.  As soon as I started working on Take Two, I realized that I'd started the first piece backwards from the get go.  The piece pictured on the left is the evolving new side, while the one on the right is the mistake piece.  They are laid out in what should be mirror images of each other, so you can see how much I screwed it up!  I'm slowly unraveling and cannibalizing the mistake piece and knitting it up into the new piece.
Here is a picture of my fabulous new IKEA sewing room shelf!  The shelves are very deep and I was able to cram all manner of things in there.  I'm still monkeying around with how I want it.  I love that it is tall with space on top so I can use the entire space on that wall.
My sister sent me this beautiful garlic that they GREW in their garden.  The bulbs are so colorful with firm plump cloves.  My garlic press is getting a work-out because I've been putting it in everything lately.  Anything we can't eat up relatively soon I will pickle.  Num num garlic!  She said I could plant it too.
Speaking of is my darling new vinyl tablecloth.  I'm a little overprotective of my wooden dining table and try to have something protective on it at all times.  This design is what I'd call 'whimsical' but I just love it with all the canning that happens here late summer.  They are nice fall colors too and goes nicely with some of the fall decorations I put out today!

Monday, September 07, 2015

Great Minnesota Get-Together

We survived the state fair twice this year.  Last Saturday was 78 degrees and fabulous fair weather.  This Saturday was 88 degrees with 83% humidity.  It was awful.  The second time we went with my parents and Freya and John but we'd already seen and eaten most of what we were interested in on the first trip.
 I got these 2 skeins of yarn and some roving from the Minnesota wool producers the first time around.  I stop by their booth every year and always find something. 
 I hadn't used my spinning wheel since we lived in the apartment.  I spun and plied the roving single with a single spun from a gray wool/mohair blend I got from the now defunct Austin's Mohair Farm.
 I got about 370 yards of a worsted weight yarn.  I have no idea what I'm going to use it for but I am very happy with how it turned out.  Love those blues!
 Speaking of yarn, we saw this yarn bomb at the state fair!
 My parents were here this weekend and I always DVR episodes of New Scandinavian Cooking on tpt for them.  Andreas Viestad is our favorite host.  I love watching the show but they cook a lot of seafood which I don't have much experience with.  I was inspired to cook some Minnesota walleye from my freezer that Dave caught.  Unlike Andreas, I cooked this on our deck on a real grill and not an improvised outdoor setting like he does.  Seriously, check out the show.  You will yearn for Norge.  We stopped at the tpt booth at the fair and America's Test Kitchen was airing while we were there.  I'll proudly admit that I think Minnesota public tv is better than Iowa public tv and I luuuurrrrvvvved IPTV when I still lived there.
 I salted and peppered the fish, threw on some dill sprigs and sliced lemon and then folded it up inside parchment paper.  The packages went on the indirect heat side of the grill for 10 minutes and it was dee-LISH.  It was so flaky and not at all dry.  I will be making this again and I didn't even have to heat up the house.
 I used my dill earlier to make open faced sandwiches with mayonnaise and shrimp on home baked bread--also inspired by Herr Viestad.  I ate this with my cousins in Kvitsoy years ago.  Num num!  Can you see in these last two pictures why Scandinavian food is known as "white food"?  Very pale but tasty food.
 I got a huge IKEA shelf for my sewing room which replaced this little white shelf.  Dad moved it downstairs to my laundry/store room so I can put all my canning on it.  I just LOVE it!!  I can see and reach everything easily and now I have somewhere to put all the jars as we empty them out this winter.  I think I'm done canning vegetables for now.  I want to do applesauce again this year but they won't be ripe for another few weeks.

We had a whole week of hot humid awful weather and it is supposed to start cooling off.  I reluctantly let Dave turn off the A/C today and I know there's plenty of people who would tar and feather me for saying this...but I can't wait for cooler weather.  Now that fair season is over, I can knit whatever I want and even get busy in my sewing room.