Monday, December 29, 2008

getting my sew mo back

I think I've found it...that thing that went missing a couple years ago when I started knitting like a fiend. My sewing mojo is back!

Yesterday I rooted through my scrap stash, made a nice size pile...

sorted by size and shape, sort-of, lol

and started pressing it all nice and flat.

printed a few block foundations from my Foundation Factory program

and tried to visualize where I'd be going with it all.

A quilt is beginning to take shape in my head...scrappy fish, boats, flowers and baskets. At the foot (where it hangs off the bed) I'll have blocks that spell out our last name and our wedding date, aww, doesn't that sound romantic? That way I won't have to ask The Saint, "now what year did we get married?" My memory sucks!

Today the first two birdie blocks came together

On Saturday when Rena and I got to spend some quality together at City Knitting I finished the Engineer's Stocking Hat. Had to make the pompom for the end. It was the perfect finish, don't you think?

Thanks for stopping by. Have a safe and Happy New Year celebration. See you next year!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Holiday Greetings.
Everyone have a great one!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter '08/ '09, Day 1

Scroll down for knitting content, if you're not interested in the crappy, dreary winter weather we're having. All pics biggie-size if you click on them.

Blech! It's the first day of winter and I'm already wishing it was over! Dark and dreary.

Won't be going anywhere today in "Pete"...

and definitely won't be grilling anything either...


The wind is blowing like 60, as my Grama would have said, and it is still snowing. I don't know what the temperature is outside and don't want to know. I'm not planning to go out until I have to go to work tomorrow.

Today has been a day for laundry, wrapping packages and making The Saint's favorite soup.

It looks nice and Christmas-y with it's red tomatoes and green peppers...the chorizo and chicken make it good and hearty. Yummo, as Rachael Ray would's her recipe from 30 Minute Get Real Meals.

I've been doing a fair bit of knitting lately. Some gifty things that I can't show you until next Friday, LOL, and a new hat for myself.

Whatchu think of it?

It's called Button-Tab Knit Hat and I got the pattern off Ravelry. Super-fast and easy. Started one evening and finished the next. Fits me perfectly. And the yarn is very nice. Something I found on the sale rack at City Knitting. It's Schulana Colardino. I'll have to get someone to take a picture of it on me, later.

Other things that have flown off my needles in the past couple weeks include these cloths for my Mom...and these pieces that will soon be a purse for my grand-daughter, Jasmine...

this is the same purse pattern I made a while back for a swap It's in the 2008 Stitch n Bitch Page-a-Day calendar. It's called a Flapper Purse.

I think, being a 10 yr old, she'll like the sparkle that it has.

The yarn was a bitch on my hands though. Wouldn't want to ever make anything with it again in my lifetime!

Wish I could show you the rest of my FOs but, alas, Christmas is right around the'll only have to wait a few more days.

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my blog.

Merry Christmas Happy Hanukkah Happy Solstice

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Another LNYP

Wow, nothing like a little cold weather to drive folks indoors!

There was a nice crowd at the LNYP on Friday night at City Knitting.

Many gathered to knit, crochet, spin, chat and munch.

And a little show-n-tell...

our friend and fellow knitter, Brandon, is making this beautiful double-knit blankie for his super-cute new daughter. He has amazing talent, don't you think?

A fun time was had by all.

I made good progress on The Saint's gift, shhh, don't tell...he's getting felted loafers this year...I know I can tell you that because he doesn't ever read my blog...he'd rather spend his time playing solitaire on the computer than checking out what I'm telling you about the goings-on at Chez B, lol. Lucky for me huh?

Have to decide on the Christmas Eve menu this week...I'm thinking something the usual Chicken Enchilada Casserole...mmm-mmm...and Margarita's. Doesn't that sound Christmasy, hahaha! And I have a new favorite's very smooth and makes me toasty.

If you're interested in the casserole, here's the Christmas gift to all of you. I usually cut the recipe in half as it makes enough for about 12 people to have a nice size serving. With all the cheese and the tortillas being fried during construction it certainly isn't low-cal or's the holidays after all, and those crummy eating rules don't count again til January 1st right? Enjoy!

Caroline's Very Good Chicken Enchilada Casserole
This dish is put together in layers, similar to scalloped potatoes.

8 chicken breast halves w/ bones
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 - 4 oz cans chopped green chilies
1 lb Longhorn cheese - grated
1/4 lb Monterey Jack cheese - grated
1/4 tsp ea - cumin, salt, chili powder
1/2 tsp leaf oregano
2 lrg onions - coarsely chopped
1 pkg - 12 - corn tortillas
salt & pepper
cooking oil

Salt & pepper chicken, wrap in foil and bake at 350 degrees until it falls from the bone.

Cool then debone the chicken - save the juice.

Chop onion, shred cheese (or buy already shredded cheese at the grocery) and open chilies.

Combine soup, chicken stock, chilies (and drippings from breasts if desired) with seasonings in a large saucepan. Heat, stirring frequently.

Heat oil in a fry-pan and dip tortillas in hot oil for a few seconds each to soften then drain between layers papertowel.

In a large, Pam sprayed, glass baking dish, appropriate for the amount of ingredients you have manufactured, start layering...3 tortillas, couple hand fulls of shredded chicken, some chopped onion, cheese...pour a bit of the sauce from the pan, salt and pepper to taste, repeat these layers until you fill the dish and use up all ingredients.

Bake at 375 degrees for 35-45 min until bubbly and browning.

We like to add a bit of taco sauce when serving, you could use your favorite salsa.

Serves 10-12

Monday, December 1, 2008

A Happy Thanksgiving

Yes, it was.

Good food, good company and an all around good time. We put out the good dishes...

while we chowed down on the cranberry salsa that Rena made. There was deep-fried turkey, mashed taters, squash and green beans. Yummy!

Hope all of you had a great holiday too.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Circular Needle Storage

5 1/2" Floppy Box Finds New Life...

I've been searching for the perfect method of storing my circular needles. Way too much time has been spent untangling the spaghetti-like cables and inserting the needles in the gauge to see what size they are, then measuring the cable length; only to forget a couple days later what I have in my arsenal of knitting weapons.

Finally, I will measure needles no more! In the trash pile at work the other day I found an old floppy disc box - remember those? There was a time when every office in the building had one. Now however, the "floppy" has been replaced with the CD drive or the handy-dandy portable USB drive.

What many would regard as junk has found a new use at my house. A little time, construction paper and glue and I have a great new use for this seemingly outdated item. I'll be searching through the basement storage next week to see if there are any more available. I know some other folks would like to have one too.

If you'd like to make your own and don't want to figure out the measurements and method, here is a tutorial on how I made mine. Hope you find it useful in your craft room.

All photos will biggie-size if you click on them

Find an old 5 1/2" floppy disk box...
Gather construction paper, ruler, scoring tool - I used a mechanical pencil with lead retracted - scissors and glue. If you're crafty like me you'll already have this stuff leftover from another project, lol.

Measure and score the construction paper as follows...1 5/8" down each long side of sheet, 6 3/4" from one short end then 1 3/4" from same end.

Trim square from corners and a narrow wedge at center fold You'll have something that looks like this...

Fold in the upper side flaps, fold bottom half up and wrap the lower flaps around the back of the envelope. Spread Elmer's type glue on the flap and stick it to the back of the envelope.

It should fit perfectly in the box...

Fold down the top flap to close and add a sticky label with the needle size and you have nice sturdy storage for your circs.

Any questions? I'd be glad to help you with your very own circ box, just leave a comment here or send me a PM on Ravelry.

Happy crafting!

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Saint's Cheese

Or if you haven't had your breakfast yet, or if you've just finished your breakfast, hahaha.

Don't say I didn't warn you!


Yes, it's that time of year again at Chez B...head-cheese time!

The Saint takes a week off before Thanksgiving under the guise of deer hunting season but what he really does is plan and execute the making of the head-cheese. We begin getting calls about the middle of October, folks asking when the cheese is gonna be ready and can they get a one? I know when I hear him on this end of the conversation asking do you want hot or not-hot? that he's talking about the cheese.

It's a mystery to me that anyone can eat it but I guess there are those who don't like fruit cake and that's one of my favs so it proves - there's no accounting for taste.

He even did a little photo shoot for me while he was hookin-it-up, LOL.

I present you...the making of the cheese!

It begins at 4:30am with pots of boiling pig parts...

Then the parts are drained, mashed...

and seasoned...then pressed into loaves.

Not a bad days work and the kitchen was clean when I got home too!

Thanks Honey!

Check back for my first tutorial...

How to re-purpose an old 5 1/2" floppy disc box (free from the trash at work)
into a circular needle holder, using materials I had around the craft room...

Monday, November 17, 2008

My spiffy newest socks

Wooo, check out my new socks. I-love-them!

Socks That Rock, Knitters w/o Borders colorway.

And doesn't this cloth I made over the weekend remind you a little bit of peppermint candy?


I've been hearing bells jingling in the far distance, I better get busy on the gift knitting. I found a great little gifty thing to knit on Ravelry today. Hope everybody likes soap and felted knits cause this looks like it could be a great stash burner.

Hope everybody had a great Monday. Mine was nothing special at work, just work, meh.

For dinner I made my Grama's Hand-Made Noodle Soup. I had boiled some beef bones most of the afternoon yesterday so I would have fresh stock. I didn't have any Accent, which was always her secret weapon in any soup, but I did put some Chipotle Pepper in to give it a little heat and disguise the fact that it wasn't laden with MSG. The Saint was disappointed there was no meat in the soup so guess I'll have to alter the recipe to accomodate the carnivore. Grama always made it very simply...beef stock, onion, potatoes, handmade egg noodles and a sprinkle of dried parsley at presentation. Nummy! Even thought it's been many years since I've hand-made egg noodles they didn't turn out too bad. I'll have to make it again soon with a few alterations, soup is good food, you know, LOL.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A hunting he will go...

Yep, I'm a deer hunting widow this weekend. Not complaining! It's been a great weekend so far. I love The Saint but enjoy my alone time too. When I got home from work yesterday he had left this little gift on the dining room table before he went off to the woods. Once again, he earned his nickname...

Last night Rena and I went to the local theatre and saw The Secret Life of Bees. Go see it!!! If you read and liked the book, you'll like the movie. I was glad I grabbed a napkin with my popcorn as it ended up in soggy shreds by the end...if you've read the book, you know what I'm talking about...sob. The casting was spot-on...I want August Boatwright to adopt me, I think she'd be a great Mom and Queen Latifah was perfect in that part. When are they gonna release the soundtrack? The trio of singers in this movie are amazingly talented. I want it now!

In knitting Election Day Socks are finished. I got a pair of socks done in about 3 weeks, that's some kind of record for me. They're pretty fun...nice and heavy for wearing around the house this winter without shoes.
I'm off to find a cardigan vest pattern for The Saint...wish me luck.

Thanks everyone for stopping in and saying hello. Your comments are always welcome and appreciated.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

My knitting education continues...

I got to meet Jared Flood of BrooklynTweed fame at the EGR Public Library last night.

And I won a fabulous prize, a kit of Rita's yummy hand painted yarn and an EZ BSJ pattern, thanks Lorilee!

We saw beautiful photographs and picked up some great tips on improving our own photos without spending a gazillion dollars on equipment.

His knitwear is amazing! Go check out his blog if you haven't already. He has some mad teaching skilz too.

This morning was seamless sweater design at City Knitting. Jared explained the percentage technique for knitting his awesome Cobblestone Pullover. Before the class I would have thought it was beyond my ability but now, I am so doing it!

And he's funny! And very a cute like my son Jared kinda way, LOL. We had lots of laughs in class and even though I totally abandoned my swatch (I can't knit and watch detailed instructions on a white-board at the same time) I learned a lot and had a great time.

Jared & Lorilee
And it's always great to see Rowan at class, hey Rowan!
Rowan & Josh
Lorilee & Jared
If you get the opportunity to take one of his classes, don't miss it, especially if you have an appreciation for Elizabeth Zimmerman's knitwear. Having made the BSJ and the ASJ myself I really was glad to hear an oral explanation of her design strategy using the percentage system. I fumbled my way through the two sweaters I made and having Jared explain them in a class was really helpful. I'll be starting a new sweater soon, I'm sure.

Lunch at Rafav's then it was back to CK for a few photos, autographs and another class for Jared to teach on Aran sweater knitting.

Jared & Ally>>>

Kristin & Jared
I spent the afternoon hanging out with the usual peeps (hey Carol, Rosalyn and Suzanne) and finished my Election Day Sock - that didn't get done in time for election day, hehehe.

This was my first toe-up sock after taking Cookie A's class a couple weeks ago. I like it, alot!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

What an exciting ride it's been...

Of all the political buttons I've collected over the past few months this one is my favorite!

We met up with a few friends Tuesday night for a little party at Mosaic. What fun! We got to hang out with the volunteers from the local Dem HQ and watch the election returns.

There were refreshments and we got to meet a few new folks and watch the big screen tv's

Sorry for the crappy picture quality, I forgot my camera and had to use my cell...bleh.

a pretty emotional night for all of us

The Saint has worked very hard the last 60 days. It's been a long, nerve wracking campaign - draining at times and uplifting at others. A learning experience the whole way that I would not have wanted to miss. Thanks, Honey, for working so hard even when you were unbelievably tired some days. It was the opportunity of a lifetime.

Turn out the liiiiiights, the party's overrrrr...

Now we can rejoice in these historic moments. I'll be reminded everyday when I look at this hanging on my kitchen wall...

Let's get to work!