Sunday, December 28, 2008

Stuff We Gave

Well we had a good Christmas. Not materially huge, but we had a nice time and managed not to have any family shouting matches at my sister's house, which is a rare gift in itself. We really did try to keep to the theme of "Buy Handmade" or "Give Handmade." I thought I would post some pics of stuff we gave for Christmas.

I had made a quilt top for a Weird and Ugly fabric Challenge that I called "The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil Points" because my tree points were TERRIBLE and my star points were PERFECT. LoL. Tree sideRed side
My mom admired it so I had a notion to finish it for her for Christmas. Des says, hey mom, instead of backing it plain, why don't I throw together a simple quilt of squares and put the kids' handprints in them? Mom's favorite color is red, so this gave us a chance to throw in something just for her. We put the handprints of all the grandbabies (and Tony, LoL) and the 2 great-grandbabies, and left space for more to come. Beautiful!
Ski Band
Next up, I made my BIL two earwarmers... one from a Shenandoah batt that I handspun and knitted (pic to the right is inside and outside), and one from some handspun, hand dyed Falkland wool from FeltStudiosUK at Etsy. He likes to keep a window open in his office. It keeps the computers there from overheating. But in cold weather, it can get a little chilly in there!

I knitted some fingerless gloves for Jade, which are in another post. Some friends of ours have a little boy, Riley, and a baby girl, Michah. We got Riley a Firehouse Dog stuffed animal with a fireman outfit. For Micah, my daughter Desiree knitted a pointy stocking cap with a BIG pompom, and I knitted two little Jester bootees with bows on the toes and ties around the ankle to keep them from kicking off! Too cute!

While we were at it, we gave Tara (the mama) a Water Bottle Coozy made out of the same felted sweater as these fingerless mitts (sold on Etsy, sorry!) and Brandon this knitted ear warmer. He works outside, so he was happy to have something warm but not restricting to wear. It is knitted out of the same Falkland wool as the one I made for my BIL, but I overdyed my BIL's with denim blue.

A while back, I posted some handspun yarn I had made from a Happy Begonia Batt that I bought off Etsy. I used some of that yarn, some lime green Cascade 220, some lime and pink fun fur, and fabric "yarn" that I cut from a cotton batik fabric, to make "The 'Oh Look, Key Lime Pie!' ADD Scarf" for our music pastor at church. They are always teasing her about being ADD, and her favorite color is lime. This scarf was very freeing to make, because if I got bored, I just changed stitches or yarns.

Oh and we gave my BIL some "man art", a framed collage of robots and dollar signs. I bought the robots from Jessica Pierce off Etsy too. And some pin-back buttons, a card case, some T shirts from Juror2.

I also made my quilting Secret Pal and her dh matching quilted stockings, and a stocking for my baby Beverly. It has a cuff that is little gold swirlies on cream. She loves RED so it had to have red batik prairie points and a bow on it, and there are little curly-haired sheepies on the stocking that she says go "bah."

And lastly (well really not lastly, but the last of the handmade stuff), I made this scarf for my 13yod Diantha. She is a Fashion Plate... always has been! So this trendy, narrow, long scarf is just right for her! It is about 3" wide (spreads out to about 5") and 10 feet long! I made it from a bamboo batt I bought from KittyGrrlz at Etsy
Not bad for a bunch of amateurs! LOL!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Too Clever

One of the skeins of yarn I sold over the month of December was a self-striping, fuzzy green, goldish-green and maroon blend that I called Kermit the Frog as Bob Cratchit.

The buyer of this yarn has turned it into a GORGEOUS capelet called Kermit's Revenge. I would never have thought to make a capelet of that skein of yarn. She is too, too clever. If you want to visit her Etsy shop for more great and clever surprises, you can find her here.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Two Yummy Recipes

Applesauce Junk Cake

So called because it is Applesauce cake with the freedom to throw in any "junk" you have lying around that you think may be good in cake. After eating this, my son Artemas said, "More hamburger, less cigarette ash" (a joke, my dh used to have an aunt who would bake with a cigarette hanging out of her mouth and the ashes would be in EVERYTHING. LoL)

1 Cup butter (no sub)
2 Cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 Cups Applesauce (1, 15oz. can is fine)
about 3 cups total "junk"
(see note to the right)

3 1/2 Cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground ginger

Anything you think would be good
in cake! I used coconut, crushed
almonds,and shredded carrot.
You could also use:
  • walnuts or pecans
  • raisins
  • craisins
  • butterscotch or white choc. chips
  • cinnamon red hots (I would then leave out some of the spices)

    3 oz. cream cheese
    1 tsp vanilla, dash salt
    powdered sugar (1 lb. or more)
    milk if needed for consistency

  • My Junk - carrots, coconut, crushed almonds

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour 2 or 3 round cake pans, 2 9" square pans, or one 13x9x2" pan.

    Mix wet ingredients of cake, including sugar. Mix in 2 cups of flour. Add another cup of flour and the leavening (baking soda and salt). Mix in. Toss your 3 cups of junk with the last 1/2 cup of flour. This keeps the bits of stuff from sinking to the bottom while your cake bakes. Nice batter Mix floured junk into the batter. Pour into prepared pan(s). Bake for 30 to 40 minutes (30 minutes for 3 layers, 35 for 2 layers, probably 40 minutes for one sheet pan). Cake tests done when a knife inserted in the center comes out moist and possibly with crumbs but not gooey.

    Mix frosting until it is thick enough to be spreadable and not runny. Frost cake when cooled. I just do the layers and leave the sides plain. Delicious!

    Fattening Potato Soup
    This is the BEST potato soup I have ever eaten! Don't let the name scare you off (but probably don't make a steady diet of this stuff either)...

    This makes about 3 quarts of soup. Recipe is easily cut in half (or freeze some for another night's dinner). This will warm you inside and out!

  • 10 to 12 good size potatoes, washed, partially peeled, and cut into about 1/2" cubes
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • a bay leaf
  • one large or 3 small carrots, shredded
  • one onion, chopped
  • 1-2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 pound bacon, cut small, fried, and drained of grease
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 oz. sour cream
  • about 8 oz. shredded cheese (your choice)

    Put chopped potatoes, crushed garlic, bay leaf, and shredded carrot into a soup or stock pot, cover with water and boil until potatoes are tender.

    Fry bacon pieces and set aside. Use a little bit of the bacon fat to saute the onions and celery until they are translucent and tender. Add bacon, onions, and celery to the soup pot.

    I take some of the potatoes out and mash them and put them back in. If soup is still thin, make a roux with 2 T bacon fat and some flour and stir into the soup to thicken. Salt and pepper soup to taste.

    Just before serving, stir in the sour cream. Serve topped with shredded cheese. Good with a slab of toasted Sourdough bread too.
  • Thursday, December 25, 2008

    Some Time Off

    Well I didn't get EVERYTHING done in time for Christmas. I think I have to start knitting in January, with the size brood I have, to do that. I didn't get Veronica's second sock done but it is half done! The boys didn't get their knuck mitts yet but it isn't that cold so they aren't suffering. My Etsy shops are both suffering, but there is time to rebuild the stock. I am not worried.

    Tuesday I took most of the day off and went to the Armory to shoot. We were there about 3 hours and I did a good job. My final target had one clip from the Lorcin .380, of which I got all 6 shots in the 9 ring or closer (the kill zone). The .22 Ruger longbarrel, I got 4 shots in the kill zone and 2 in ring 8. Not bad shooting for someone who has only used a weapon one other time in the last 20 years. And it seemed to work out a lot of holiday stress that I hadn't even realized I had. My dh and I bought each other reservations in the Carry and Conceal class on Valentine's day... a dual-purpose gift!

    Tuesday morning before shooting I made Tony an Applesauce Junk Cake for his birthday. Tony and Des came Tues. evening to do presents with us, and I made Fattening Potato Soup. Allen brought one of his friends over and there went an entire gallon of soup! Yum! When I get home I will post the recipes.

    Yesterday we did some last-minute errands (mailing, etc.). It was 60 degrees out, windy and kind of damp but not raining.
    So I finally got a chance to take the 73 Suzuki out. Got all leathered up and went for a ride... first time on that bike in over 20 years. It has a couple little bugs to work out but nothing major, actually great for having been in my dad's basement for 20 years. In case you didn't see the blog post last month when we brought her home, here she is. Gotta admit she is a thing of beauty!

    Last night I had some presents to work on so I walked Artemas through making a carrot cake, a white cake, and Baklava. His hands, my brain. They are delicious too! Then this morning we baked a ham, made sweet soft rolls from scratch and came to my sisters to have Christmas dinner and presents with her family and my parents. God help me, I will make it through.

    I still have the cough I have had for a month, and today I am tired and cranky. But we have had a nice Christmas so far, and for that I am thankful. And being tired will make me all the more grateful to go to bed tonight, in my comfortable bed with the bullet in it, in my warm house. I know there are many who have neither of those priveleges, so I truly am thankful.

    More tonight maybe...

    Sunday, December 21, 2008

    A Christmas Memory

    Hi, it's been a while. I didn't even get my email for several days. This time of year, I do the things I need to do with my family and to serve those who can't serve themselves, and let everything else go. So if I am silent, it is not because I am still.

    A dozen years ago, we bought The Money Pit. It was an 1800 sq. ft. nearly-condemned house (no really, we had to escrow money to put in a heating system right away, that was the only way the bank could sell it to us, because in FL it is illegal to sell a house with no heating system) with no carpets or appliances, peeling wallpaper, a brown tile bathroom with no shower (yet!), a black swamp for a pool, a separate little cottage built in the 60s and not improved since then, and fenced acre of overgrowth. Hey, we got a good price.

    The end of the property was privacy-fenced against some Senior condos and had a couple 300-year old oaks and more wild grapevine than I had just about ever seen. I pulled down grapevine and wove it into wreaths until my hands were so sore I could barely move them. I made a 4-foot wide wreath for the front wall of the house and spray-painted yards and yards of the grapevine gold, coiled it up and stored it for use on my Christmas tree.

    Because I always seem to be ahead of the decorating trend, I painted our living room with lattice and grapevines (you can see it here), and installed dark purple carpet. I made a tree-topper out of an oval of woven grapevine to which I affixed a 3D quilted dove that I made out of white jacquard and gold lame. I made purple and baby's breath nosegays, ornaments of grape clusters and large purple and gold tassels, and spray-painted gold pinecones. I painted frosted white and purple and gold balls with grape leaves in the opposite colors. Every year we would put a Fraser Fir in the living room, decked out in purple and gold and garlanded around and around in my golden grapevine.

    Along about then is the first time they came out with purple Christmas lights too. You could only buy them at Target. So I bought 2, 100-light sets and one, 100-light set of white and sat down and painstakingly pulled out every third bulb from the purple strands and replaced it with white... then put the purple bulbs in the empty sockets of the white strand, so I had 3 strands of lights that were purple, purple, white... etc. I used these same lights every year on my glorious purple and gold and white Christmas tree.

    One year my eccentric husband decided that instead of dragging the tree out through the front door, leaving needles in his wake, and having then to dispose of an entire tree, he had a better idea. He brought in a trash can and while I was out grocery shopping, proceeded to dismember the tree branch by branch with manual hedge trimmers and put the branches in the trash can. He then cut the trunk in half, jammed it down in the can, and put it outside. Tada! How neat! He also very kindly wound my purple, purple, white lights around cardboards and put them away. How thoughtful!

    When I got home from shopping, I saw the can sitting near the porch with the tree branches in it, and many, many bits and pieces of gold grapevine. He had cut up all my grapevine garland!! OOOOooooh I was so mad, I could have bitten a 10-penny nail in half!

    Nearly a year later, I got to get mad about it all over again when I got the lights out to put on a new tree, and found out that he had also cut my purple, purple, white light strands in several places. I remember sitting on the top step of the porch with the door open and a roll of electrical tape and a pair of wire strippers, wiring those lights back together.

    I tell him I have only kept him all these years to keep someone else from having to put up with him.

    And he thinks I am kidding.

    Love is not irritable; it keeps no record of wrongs... Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love never quits. 1 Corinthians 13:5b,7,8a NLT

    Sunday, December 14, 2008

    A Lil' Entertainment

    My favorite Christmas song EVER!!!
    When you're done listening, go on to the next post and look at all the lovely warm STUFF I found on Etsy for your holiday gift-giving needs.

    Saturday, December 13, 2008

    Homemade Craft Dough Ornaments

    This craft dough is so easy to make and fun to play with, you may never want to use store-bought again!

    NOTE: make sure your kiddies know NOT to eat this stuff! One of my 4 year olds once ate some while I wasn't looking and promptly threw up all over the table. It may look pretty and smell nice, but make sure they know it is yucky!!Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 1/2 Cup salt
  • 2 teaspoons Cream of Tartar (this is sold in the spice section of your supermarket)
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 1 Cup water
  • optional: colorant (powdered drink mix works well, or just use food colors or paste colors)
  • optional: fragrance (candle or soap scent oils or foodAdding water to saucepan extracts)

    Additionally you will need:
  • cup, 1/2 cup, and teaspoon measure
  • saucepan
  • whisk
  • stiff spoon or spatula

    I am making double batches so the saucepan is pictured with some ingredients measured in already. In these pictures I am making strawberry scented craft dough, so along with the required ingredients, I have dark cherry drink mix (1 packet) and strawberry fragrance oil.
    Measure the dry ingredients into the saucepan and mix around
    with the whisk. Add the oil (and fragrance oil if using) and colorant. While stirring, pour in water. Turn burner on medium heat and cook and stir until mixture thickens and begins to hold together in a ball. Once it begins to thicken, it will thicken up pretty fast!

    Turn craft dough out onto a countertop Kneading
    and let set a minute or two until cool enough to handle. Knead a few times until the dough becomes smooth.

    Store in airtight containers for many hours of playtime fun! I recommend using the craft dough on a plastic tablecloth or other protected surface! Just like store-bought play doughs, this stuff does not agree with carpets and upholstery!

    Dough colorsWe made pale green (apple), white (vanilla) and deep pink (strawberry). We made ornaments out of some of ours. I baked them in a 200 degree oven for an hour or so on each side, turned the oven off and let them cool. If you are going to bake these, make sure they aren't more than about 1/4" thick, or they will not dry all the way through. Dough is also paintable when baked.
  • Tuesday, December 9, 2008

    About Those Gloves

    Last year Jade didn't have a date to the company Christmas Dinner. She said she wasn't going to go, but my dh told her he would get one of our sons to accompany her. We strung Artemas along for a week or two. Every time he would ask what this lady was like, we would say, she makes good conversation. She wears sensible shoes. You'll probably like her. She isn't anything like a librarian. She isn't a day over 60.

    We told him he should take her a gift, since he was her "date." So he did... scented candles and handmade soap. How cute. When she finally arrived at the dinner, he about fell over to find she is less than 2 years older than him. Blonde. Nice. Cute.

    Later she was a cashier on the returns desk where my dh works, and it was cold near the doors. I said, Jade needs some fingerless gloves, so she can wear them and still use the cash register. Another co-worker was standing nearby. She said, "Do you know Jade?" I said sure... and then at the same time, Jade and I said, "She has been dating my son for about 3 months now (since Christmas)!" LOL. So it has been a running joke. But not really a joke to my son, he is absolutely smitten with her.

    When I joined Etsy, I bought some hand dyed wool in her favorite color (green). Of course non-immediate things get pushed to the back burner. This past week, my dh says, Jade says she and her roommate, who works here too, are going to the Christmas party and her "date slot" is open, LoL. So I broke out the needles and the wool and some Patons Fun Fur and knitted these fingerless gloves, so my son would have another gift for his "date."

    I think the wool was originally Cascade 220. I used a size 5 needles. Knitted 36 st, 10 rows in 1/1 rib holding the 2 yarns together... then 12 rows in 1/1 rib, knitting the k stitches through the back loop, and using 11 st on the front of the glove for the 9-st cable and a purl on each side. I did the cable in twisted stitch too. Increased 4 st around (to 40 st total) and knitted even for 14 rows. made a gusset for the thumb until I had 14 st. Put the glove body on holders and joined the thumb, worked 6 rows and bound off. Picked up 4 st on the bottom of the thumb, and knitted around for 5 rows. Began the 1/1 twisted rib again, still cabling up the front for 6 rows. Then twisted rib only for 6 rows and done. I actually did short-row across the palm of the glove and back once, to make the palm longer for when the hand is extended.

    The cable is 9 st, the cable is worked over the first 6 st and to the back every 8 rows, and over the last 6 st and to the front every 8 rows, offset by 4 rows from the first cable crossing.

    My own design and only my 2nd attempt at a mitt with a true thumb (as opposed to just a hole in the side), and I didn't have a pattern. I think they turned out quite well!

    Monday, December 8, 2008

    A Shot in the... Dark?

    My dh likes guns. He isn't that good with them, but he likes them. He doesn't go hunting or target shooting, nor does he shoot people or jack convenience stores. But he thinks they are handy things to have one or two or six of. He is real responsible with them, keeps them trigger-locked and the ammo separate and mostly keeps them locked in his old Army footlocker. But lately he decided that I should have a carry permit. Maybe one day he won't be around to protect me, LoL.

    And since the local armory gives classes for the permit every Saturday for under $100, and since I am a good shot, I figured, ok. Also the local armory has "Ladies' Day" every Tuesday. Your bring your weapon(s) and ammo or buy some ordinance there and shoot away for no range fee. Yee-haw! Annie Oakley!

    There is a girl he works with, (Jade, that one of my sons is enamoured with) who thinks going shooting with me would be a hoot. And my eldest daughter does too. Like we should make it a Girls' Afternoon Out. Here comes the Tombstone Gang... Doc (me), Wyatt (Des) and Morgan (Jade).

    I have a Lorcin .380, semi-automatic. Nice weapon... Less than 4 pounds, 7 rounds in a clip, slide it once, flip off the safety and you're off and running. But if I am going to take the Tombstone Gang with me, I have to have more than one weapon. So Saturday he got out the trunk, unlocked it and showed me his flintlocks (2) and the Ruger .22 5-shot longbarrel. Nice weapon too, single-action revolver (you have to pull the hammer back each time before shooting) with a barrel only slightly shorter than Wyatt's Buntline Special. The hammer was back. I said, "Why is the hammer back?" He says it has to be back, to put the trigger in position to put the lock on. Ok.

    Later on I am sitting in the living room knitting a fingerless glove for Jade (here's a pic, more about the gloves later), and Richie and our #2 son are in our room watching some Testosterone movie. Artemas had moved a kitchen chair into the middle of the room for his viewing comfort. Richard put the trunk up on the bed and decided to take the trigger lock off the .22 longbarrel and make sure the instrument was clean and not rusted from being in the trunk for several years. Apparently the hammer didn't click back down and he thought it was stuck. Next thing I know I hear CRACK!

    He comes out and I asked him what he shot. He just looked like the cat with the canary feather hanging out of his mouth and said, "Nothin'! Shut up!" Artemas came out a few minutes later and I said, "What did he shoot in our room?" I figured the light fixture or something. Artemas says, "Let's just say it was a gift." I said if he shot the quilt my daughter made me, hanging on the wall in there, I was going to lock him out in the 22 degree weather!

    Later when I went in to go to bed, I noticed little bitty pellets all over our sheets. I remembered that the case of cartridges for the .22 were birdshot. So I started to change sheets (I canNOT sleep in gritty sheets, no WAY) and said, "Show me where you shot the bed!" My DSIL and eldest daughter bought us this bed a year ago because our 10 yr. old mattress was so sway-backed we could hardly sleep on it. Well. I *had* been pregnant 5 times in that 10 years. While not all those were quite successful, they were still a lot of work. [wink]

    Sure enough, in his side of the bed there is a LEEEETLe bitty hole. If you didn't know what to look for, you wouldn't find it. After all, a .22 is less than a quarter inch across. I suppose the bullet is still in the bed. I said, "Did you say to Artemas, 'Now son, let that be a lesson to you in handgun safety... never know when the hammer is just jammed or if it is up because there is a cartridge in the chamber...'" He said, yeah, words to that effect. I bet.

    Glad it is on his side of the bed. Say, does this mean I can wear a holster and boots to bed? Yee-haw!!

    Wednesday, December 3, 2008

    Hunka Hunka Burnin' Love, or Somethin'

    My husband colors his hair. (SHHH! He doesn't want people to know!) He has black faccial hair but doesn't want his hair colored black because it looks too fake. So I use Ash Brown on him and that works. He started coloring it about 30 years ago, when he was only in his mid-30s and went gray. Said the gray made him look and feel old. Now he keeps on, because he doesn't want people to think the kids are his grandkids. That doesn't help but still.

    And, he has been sick for like 2 weeks with some sort of flu or cold. He was on vacation for part of that, and last week was a sort of short week with Thanksgiving and all, but he still ended up working Friday and Saturday, calling in sick on Sunday (the last day of their work week) and again Monday, so he could finish lying around.

    Monday afternoon he says, "Would you color my hair?" I looked at him and thought, sure, anything to help it look better. He wears it long but it is thin, and different lengths some places cause it breaks easily from all the color-treatments. Two weeks of lying around as much as possible did nothing to enhance the style, without all the white poking through. So he went and got the haircolor without looking at it, and I mixed it up and put it on his hair without so much as a glance at the box. I might add that my hair is naturally very black, but I have it colored (lightened just slightly) purple right now. I had bought black hair color for when the color mutates, I can go back to "normal." Whatever that is.

    He got out of the shower and says, "Why is it black?" I said, "It isnt' black, it's Ash Brown. Must be something wrong with your eyes!" Then I looked at him. My husband, the Elder Goth. Tonto. Elvis. You get the idea.

    I had made a pot of bean soup for supper, but he said he needed protein. Since I was out rounding up kids, I brought home hamburgers. He had been lying on the couch keeping the madness to a minimum with the younger ones while I was gone, so he just sat up and I sat beside him, eating burgers. I was using the laptop and watching TV, but I kept seeing him out of my peripheral vision. Finally, I turned to him and said,

    "Can you sing like Wayne Newton?"

    ROFLOL! A few minutes later, I said, "Oh, come on, sing Donke Schoen just once for me!"

    He didn't really think it was funny. It was all I could do to keep from laughing so hard I was crying! I told him if people at work say anything about it, just tell them your wife wanted some strange so she colored your hair like a Goth.

    Later that night, he was heading for bed in flannel shirt and sleeping pants, looking kinda bedraggled. I said, "I gotta tell ya, Elvis, you don't look so much like A Hunka Hunka Burning Love to me right now."

    Man I am having a good time with this.

    Last night he went to kiss me goodnight, and I said, "Only if you sing Donke Schoen for me."

    I don't know how long this will take to fade, but I can see having a little fun with it for at least a few weeks to come. LoL.

    Tuesday, December 2, 2008


    Congratulations are in order to Beatblack, who is the winner of my drawing! She chose my "Baby Jesus" yarn! Beautiful!

    You can check out her own Etsy shop at
    and her blog, at
  • Beat Black

    This is the way I did it: I put the entries all in the List Randomizer at, generating a randomly scrambled list of 41 entries. I asked my kids to pick a number between one and 20 (I was thinking of 13). The one who came closest (Diantha, with 14) got to pick a number between 1 and 41. She chose 38. So entry number 38 on the randomized list was the winner!

    As a THANK you for all who entered, I am offering free shipping to you during December on any orders from either Etsy shop, my7kids or HeartFeltFun. Just convo me prior to order so that I can adjust the shipping on the listings, or I can rebate the shipping back to you via Paypal. If you choose to do it that way, please put the code ShipDec08 in the comment box.
  • Monday, December 1, 2008

    Kid-Friendly Gingerbread Houses!

    Today we will make Kid-Friendly Gingerbread Houses!

    You will need:
  • 16-oz. (pint) milk, cream, half'n'half, juice or other cardboard carton, rinsed out and dried
  • square of sturdy cardboard, roughly 8"
  • aluminum foil
  • masking or packing tape
  • plastic baggies
  • assorted colorful candies, cereals, pretzels, crackers
  • plain graham crackers (not cinnamon-coated, the frosting won't stick very well on those)

  • Additionally for the frosting you will need:

  • Powdered sugar
  • water, cream, or milk
  • vanilla, if you want it
  • meringue powder or an egg white
    (Note: the egg white or meringue powder gives the frosting a glossier look and makes it dry stiff to the touch)
    (Note 2: most people no longer consider it safe to eat raw egg white. If small children or other people who will lick their fingers a lot are going to do this project, you may want to buy meringue powder. Or also if you intend to eat these after they are made.)


  • Prepare the frosting: put powdered sugar and 2 teaspoons meringue powder in a mixer. If you like vanilla, add about 1/2 teaspoon. I like it, but your frosting will not be as glowing white with it. I also add a pinch of salt. While mixer is on low speed, add enough liquid of choice (water, milk, or cream) to make a relatively thick frosting.
  • For ease of application, put about 1/3 cup frosting into a plastic baggie. This will be easier if you tuck a corner of the plastic baggie into a jar. Twist-tie firmly shut just above the frosting. When it is time to use the frosting, snip a small tip off the baggie and away you go!
  • Cover the squares of cardboard with foil, taping it down on the back. Tape the cardboard carton to the top of the foil-covered square.

  • If working with very small children, you will want to cut the crackers. Older children can probably do it. They cut easily if you use a serrated-edge table knife (doesn't have to be sharp) to score them, then break along the score line.

    You will want to have the following pieces:

  • 4 whole crackers with about 1" cut off of them
  • 2, half-cracker squares
  • 1, half-cracker square cut diagonally into 2 right triangles (for house gables).

  • To Assemble House:

  • Using frosting as "glue," stick a whole, trimmed cracker to each side of the carton. You will have a little margin down each side that the cracker doesn't cover. Don't worry about it! You can fill the gap in with frosting and candies or whatever, later on.
  • Put frosting in a line at the top and bottom of one side of one of the squares, and stick them on the sloping sides of the carton at the top for the roof. They may overlap a little at the top.
  • Stick each triangle at each end of the carton roof "peak" as the gable.
  • Decorate with candies!
  • Pretzels make great doors and windows.
  • Square checkered cereals make great roof tiles or paving stones for a sidewalk! Or stand them on end for flower-bed edging.
  • Graham-cracker bears make good "people"
  • Sugar Cone ice cream cones covered with green frosting and red rope licorice make great Christmas Trees!
  • Go wild!
  • When your houses are dry, take a picture (put the picture in an ornament frame with the date, to hang on the tree!). Then eat them! You can make a whole village if you want... or get together with friends and let all the kids do houses at once!

    Below is a picture of our houses. From left to right: Betsy's house made my mommy (me), niece Dana's (5) house, grandson Jeremiah's (3) house, Josiah's (8) house, and Veronica's (10) house. Yum!

  • Sunday, November 30, 2008

    Another little piece of Weirdness

    Ok, so Friday evening Des and Tony and the kids were over, and because I am a brave woman I had set out milk cartons and graham crackers and plates of candies and [gasp!] bags of frosting and let the kids (mine, Des' and the little girl next door, whom I apparently have custody of on the weekends) make Gingerbread houses.

    Along about 9:30 PM someone knocked on the door. I said, "Maybe that's Amy's aunt coming to check on her, better let her in." My oldest son Allen looked through the peephole and then ssshhhhh! when FLYING past like a blur, into my bedroom and shut the door. I heard Desiree say, "What the HECK would AMBER be doing here?!"

    {*} A little aside: Amber is a girl who dated Allen last year, for some odd reason got booted out of her "parents" house (who weren't her parents, they were relatives who took her in when her alcoholic father ALSO abandoned her at 14, like her abusive mom had done at 2) and ended up sleeping on our couch for 10 months. Having been shunted from school to school by her itenerant dad, she never got much past a 3rd grade education. While she was here, I registered her with our kids' "school" and tried to help her learn to read and write literately and do math. Also she needed help with things like basic hygiene (how CAN a person go 5 days without showering or brushing her teeth?). But she wasn't interested. We were all VERY glad when Allen broke up with her and she left! Afterward though, she basically cyber-stalked him and recently has taken to calling and emailing him again. {*}

    She had some girl with her and nervously spun out this story about how they think the alternator was out on her car and the girl's mom was mad cause they weren't home yet and could somebody go take a look at it to fix it, where was Allen? Tony told her the alternator couldn't be tested or fixed that time of night, the auto parts stores were closed. I asked how she got to our house? Could the girl's mom come get them? If I took them home (30 miles) how would they get back to get the car (Amber doesn't drive)? They said they A) flagged someone down, B) that was the friend's family's only car, C) they didn't know. I said I would take them. let me get ready.

    Went in to use the bathroom to find Allen cowering there (LoL), got my boots on, looked up and she was gone. I figured she was outside talking to Tony. He came in and said she left! Des said while I was getting ready to leave, Amber came in and out of the house several times (like she was trying to go out and then come in and catch Allen coming out of somewhere), and that she demanded to know whose party it was. LoL!! The plastic tablecloth and crumbs, candy, and remains from the kids just having made gingerbread houses!

    Funny how people they just "flagged down" stayed, waited for them, and then took them somewhere. Des figures they were out with friends in this vicinity and she thought, since Allen won't answer her phone calls or emails, if she could come here and just SEE Allen, she could convince him how WRONG he is and how much he really LOVES her. More ominously, I had the thought that she wanted to try to get him to go take a look at her car, and have whoever those other people with her were, beat him up. I am glad he hid and hope she doesn't come back.

    Sometimes I wish it were boring at my house. LoL

    Wednesday, November 26, 2008


    This recipe is from the ultimate dessert cookbook, Cocolat, by the owner of the restaurant of the same name, Alice Medrich. It is out of print. I looked for a copy for nearly 10 years, and the one I finally got cost over $80. If you are serious about baking gourmet-style desserts, it is worth the search. And the money.

    This cake will cost (depending on where you live) about $12 to make, plus the raspberry or orange sauce. It is WORTH EVERY PENNY. If the people you serve it to don't swoon in ecstasy, RUN AWAY from those people! Next time serve them the instant pudding topped with oreo crumbs and cool whip, that they deserve.

    for cake:

  • 1 POUND of dark (semisweet or bittersweet) chocolate, chopped up small
  • 5 oz (1 stick plus 2T) unsalted BUTTER (NO substitute)
  • 5 large eggs, separated
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • pinch of Cream of Tartar, or 1 teaspoon vinegar
    a word about the chocolate: Use the best chocolate you can afford. Ghirardelli or even [gasp!] Nestle chocolate chips or chunks are okay... generic imitation chocolate-flavored chips are not. Your dessert will only be as good as what you put in it.

    for topping:
  • 3 to 4 cups whipping cream (NO substitute)
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
    for sauce :
  • one small jar of Seedless Raspberry Jam or Orange Marmalade
  • 1 ounce (+/-) water

    Preheat oven to 425 degrees F

  • Trace your baking pan onto waxed paper or baking parchment. Cut the shape out. Grease baking pan (or spray with baking spray), line with cutout paper, grease or spray the paper too. Set aside.
    Preparing the pans
  • Separate egg whites into large grease-free bowl. In order for whites to whip properly, the bowl must have NO trace of oils in it, not even fingerprints!
  • Place yolks into a small cup.Separating eggs
  • In a large, microwave-safe measuring cup or bowl, melt chocolate with butter. 2 minutes should do it. Stir until the chocolate mixture is smooth. Alternatively if you don't own a microwave, you can melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl set over barely simmering water in a pan on the stove. Be sure not to get a *single* drop of water in the chocolate if you do it this way! It will ruin the chocolate!
    Melting and mixing the chocolate
  • Add the flour and egg yolks (yolks ONLY!) to the chocolate. Stir until blended in, and set aside. (Note, I am using 6 eggs because they are medium size)
  • Add a pinch of Cream of Tartar or a teaspoon of vinegar to your egg whites. Beat whites with a mixer (or whisk by hand if you are brave!) until soft peaks form. As the whites are beating, sprinkle in the Tablespoon of sugar. Continue beating until stiff peaks form and whites look smooth and glossy... and not a second more!
    Beating egg whitesCaption: Yes, I am a "po" woman with a "cadillac" mixer. A person who uses tools on a daily basis should own high-quality tools. I cook a lot for a lot of people!
  • fold about 1/4 of the beaten eggs into the chocolate mixture to lighten it.
  • Add chocolate mixture back to egg whites and fold in gently and continually until mixed.
    Adding beaten egg whites to chocolate
  • Pour into prepared pan.
  • Bake exactly 15 minutes. Cake will rise almost like a souffle and will seem unset in the middle. This is correct!
  • Cool cake in pan. Cake will sink in the center and seem cracked around the edges. This is also correct!
    Cake in various stages of cooling
  • When cake is cool, run a knife around the edge. Invert cake onto your flattened hand, peel paper off the bottom, and place cake on a large serving plate or platter.
  • Topping the cake
    I see your wheels turning! You are thinking, "I could just SKIP this step and go straight to Cool Whip!" DO NOT even THINK about desecrating the sanctity of this cake with Cool Whip! I will hunt you down like the dog that you are, and cover you with that fake sweet fatness and tie you naked and "whipped" to an ant mound! I swear!

    When whipping cream, have the cream as cold as possible. It also helps to chill the bowl and whisk or beaters!

  • Pour whipping cream into the bowl and whisk or beat on low ro medium speed until soft peaks form. (If you use a higher speed, you can turn the cream into butter! No REALLY! What do you think butter is?)
  • Gradually sprinkle in 3 Tablespoons of sugar, as you are beating the cream.
  • STOP beating AS SOON as stiff peaks form. The whipped cream will stiffen further as you spread it on the cake. If you overbeat cream, it will curdle and get watery. Blek!
  • Spread about 3/4 of the whipped cream on the cake and over sides.
  • Put the rest of the cream into a pastry bag with large star tip and pipe on top of the cake. Or plop the rest of the cream around on the cake with a spoon and use the back of the spoon to make peaks.
  • Cake topped with Raspberry sauce

    Raspberry or Orange Syrup

  • Scoop contents of the jar of jelly into a large, microwave-safe measuring cup. Add 1 oz. of water and nuke a minute or two. Stir briskly to thin the sauce. Serve drizzled over the slices of cake.
  • I cut this cake into 24 slices (1/4, then each 1/4th into 6 very thin slices). When you have a piece, you will see why. It is incredibly rich. Oh and you can inform your low-carb friends that this cake has only ONE tablespoon of sugar and ONE tablespoon of flour in it.

    Monday, November 24, 2008

    It's Goin' Around, and, New Stuff Up

    Well for several days Richard has laid around acting like he is dying. I felt like that the other day, but pressed on. Today I feel terrible. Woke up not being able to breathe without coughing and I have felt all day like I need to go back to bed.

    BUT! I sold 5 skeins of yarn today and only got 2 ready to put up to sell. I am going backward. On the one hand, if I don't lie down, chances are great that by Thurs., when I have to cook a 24# turkey and mashed potatoes and gravy and bake pies from scratch, and have 13 underroof for Thanksgiving, I will feel like a truck hit me.

    On the other hand, if I don't get some yarn up, I am going to lose my shop following. Nothing to offer means nobody wants to shop either. hmmm.

    I did have my VERY FIRST sale today from my Heart Felt Fun shop. And I listed two items there, a red tampon cozy/eyeglass case/sunglass case from a felted wool sweater
    from The Gap, and a red pair of fingerless mitt gloves from a felted lambswool sweater. These are so soft! I hand-stitched around the top and thumbhole edges with black and white chenille yarn, and did the heart as a cutout, also stitched around. Kinda cute.

    We shopped for one of the girls today. Our church has a Prison Ministry, and they put up an Angel Tree of kids whose dads or moms (or in a couple cases, both) are in prison. We picked a little girl 10 years old and then discovered she had a sister 9 years old. So tonight we got art supplies that they asked for, for both of them. And some little-girl toiletries. The both need coats and shoes but we only got those for one of them, forgot the other one's sizes. Oh well, another day.

    I am so thankful that my kids have a stable Christian home and both their parents. I am thankful that even though we don't have much, we have a heart to help someone who has even less. And even though I am tired and feeling sick, I am thankful for the food we will have Thursday and the ones we will share it with and that we have a house to eat it in, where the toilets flush (two years ago when we bought here, the septic had failed at our other house, I was pregnant, we closed the night before Thanksgiving and moved in 8 days before Christmas. Not fun at all).

    Sunday, November 23, 2008

    Gangrene Candy Cane?

    Today I went to a "hospitality" meeting at church. Our church has these major productions over the month of December and some of us make food to bring in, to feed the ones involved in the productions who are putting in LONG hours in rehearsals, etc.

    One week on Wed. my kids and I are taking in salad and made-from-scratch chocolate cakes... the next week salad and miniature eclairs (also made from scratch). And staying to serve and clean up one of the weeks. Then one Saturday we are taking in sliced meat sandwiches (only 50, LoL) and Texas Cowboy bars (these are like granola bars, only with a sweet fruit filling). And lastly, on Sunday the 21st, we are making 4 HUGE breakfast pizzas. Enough of each item, each time, for 120 people. Does that seem like a lot? Oh did I mention there are like 3,000 people in our church? Boy do I have a lot of cooking to do.

    After the meeting Artemas and I went to Rugged Wearhouse and got him and Diantha some jeans, a couple frames for Allen's photography, and a boot polisher. My biker boots look terrible these days so now I can make them shine!

    When we got home, Des and Tony and the babies came to visit a minute or two, and I finished spinning up my Happy Begonia batt. Actually when it came to me, it had a little more red, maybe silk in it. I took some of the red out, because I have another project to use it in. And I put in some Kelly Green superwash merino, and some neon-colored mohair curls I had lying around, from defacing a hideous sweater. Des says I should call it Gangrene Candy Cane. Just for reference, the squares in the tablecloth are 1". I got 84 yards out of it, to knit something (maybe a ski band?) for our pastor's wife, whose favorite color is lime green. Hope she will like it.

    Saturday, November 22, 2008


    I thought it would be such a shame to deprive the world of any views of my new ride. So I have added them to yesterday's post, below (please go see! I LOVE this bike! I had forgotten how much until we started it up and I nearly cried!) Definitely not the weather to ride! It is freezing tonight! Guess I will have to go start it up every day and hear it run, just to do my heart good (and keep the gas from turning to varnish).

    I love to quilt, but when the weather gets like this, I want to knit. Today I completed another ski band, and spun up about half the Happy Begonia Batt I got from Maisie Handspun off etsy. I took the batt with me to church (left it in the car, don't worry!) and played with it afterward when I went to my sister's to collect one of my kids that Des had borrowed. Which makes my sister mad. The spinning, not the kid borrowing. My sister doesn't have any hobbies besides watching TV, even though dd#1 and I have offered to teach her (ANYthing!). But she gets mad if we bring our knitting or spinning to her house. I can only tolerate so much idle sitting, watching a glowing screen. [shrug] And Des spent the DAY there today, while her dh is building a platform for their bed in the garage. So, we brought our hobbies.

    Today I listed 3 new yarns: Another Shepherd / Joseph, Mary's Righteous Husband / and Nestor, the Donkey that Carried Mary. Another Shepherd and Nestor are both made from an Irish Heathers hand-knitted and seamed sweater. They were natural brown sheep wool, which I hand dyed. Gorgeous! Joseph was a beautiful blue sweater, a 2-ply sock weight, one ply navy blue and one a lighter blue tweed.

    I also listed an ear warmer/ski band/headband
    in my HeartFeltFun shop. I hand knitted it from yarn I got from FeltStudiosUK on etsy... a 2-ply hand dyed, handspun Falkland wool in beige, tan, brown, sage green, light gray, and a little blue. I knitted in subtle diamonds and I think it is beautiful!

    Friday, November 21, 2008

    A Turn in the Weather

    ok, so we're back. We got back late Wed. evening, and haven't had a spare minute to write until now! I didn't even get caught up on my emails until this morning.

    Had to be up Thurs. at the crack of dawn to help the girls with their 4-H baking units. Diantha's age group had to make biscuits, Veronica's had to make muffins. Other ages had to make yeast bread, cupcakes, and cookies. The meeting was in the next town over at 8:30 AM. Diantha won 1st place with her made-from-scratch biscuits, using butter instead of shortening. Veronica won 1st place with her Oatmeal White Chocolate muffins, also made from scratch. In the Spring, they go on to a competition in the county. If they win there, they go on to the state.

    Came home, unloaded the bike, and my mom, dad, BIL, and niece Dana came over. Dad and I took off to take lunch to eldest DS and get the title transferred on the bike. It is old, and smaller than our 450, but not by much. The top of the tank needs painting. But it started on the first kick (real bikers kick, LoL) and sounded mighty fine to my bike-deprived ears. Shoulda gone for a ride in the balmy 50 degree weather!

    In the afternoon, I took the 4 youngest kids plus my niece to the Children's Museum in Oak Ridge. Met my oldest dd and her two kids there, plus a friend of ours and her two kids the same age as my daughter's. Twelve of us in all. What a good time. It was Josiah's 8th birthday, so he was thrilled to get to go have so much fun for his birthday.

    Took Dana home and took in food for everyone at sis's house... stayed around to visit a little while, but I was exhausted. So far this week I have averaged 5 hours sleep a night, plus the round-trip to Ohio.

    Today dawned too dang cold to ride. Call me a piker, but I like to see at least a "4" in the 10s column of that weather number before I ride, no matter HOW well those fringed chaps block the cold.

    I caught up emails, ran to the PO, went to bake Josiah's cake to have everyone over this evening and didn't have a speck of flour. He wanted a "Hot Wheels" party, and I was going to make him a big, 3-dimensional racecar with dark-chocolate wheels for a cake. Off to buy some flour. The store had a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, complete with a road and billboards on it, on the day-old rack. I really don't like store-bought cake, but when 16 people are going to dig into this thing, they aren't going to let it get a minute older! Divine Providence, that's what it was. Though my BIL did comment on my not serving a scratchmade cake ("What is the world coming to?!")

    We baked a bunch of pizzas; Josiah got some nice presents. A Car Holder that hangs on the back of the bedroom door, some new Hot Wheels, a Hot Wheels "laptop" to do some of his school on, some new jeans. A Disc Shooter, to ensure that the floors of my house continually have little foam discs on them until Christmas.

    My dh is feeling lousy, but I gave him a hard time about it today. When I am sick, do I get to just go lie down and die like I feel like doing? Especially when I am going to have a houseful of company? So he sat on the couch with the kids and made them get rid of all the laundry in the living room. That is some help at least.

    Tomorrow I will put up some new yarns, I hope bright and early. Tonight I am going to go lay on the bed, knit, and read to hubby. Goodnight!

    Monday, November 17, 2008


    Looking for my giveaway? Scroll WAAAYYY down the page, or click here: "Go Green for the Holidays!"

    Tomorrow I am GTO. Going to Ohio, that is. When I was 17, I bought a full-size bike... a 1972 Suzuki 250, 2 clyinder 2-stroke. I rode it until I had kids, then my dh requested my dad "retire" it to Ohio so some old person wearing his wife's glasses, where we lived in FL, wouldn't kill me and leave him with kids to raise.

    Well ya know that was 20 years ago. Our current bike still hasn't recovered from my son rolling it end over end a year ago, so we are hard up. And, my dad has restored this other Suzi. It runs! It rolls! It has GEARS to run through! I will be SO glad to have it, even if I do have to kick it to start it.

    So, dh has this week off work. We are gonna take off tomorrow, drop 4 of the kids (Betsy gets to GTO with us) at my eldest daughter's house (she is SO brave... wonder where she gets it?) and go get the bike, and be back Wed. evening in time for supper. Quick trip.

    If you want to read of my kids' antics and my daughter's sufferings while I am gone, click here: 3 AM Feedings. Last time one of them stayed, at 12:45 AM he decided that he needed WAFFLES to eat, and broke one of her table knives. So I am sure with several of them there, she will have SOMEthing to report. LoL.

    Sunday, November 16, 2008

    Losing Things

    Ever look all over for something and it is just NOWHERE? That is what I have been doing for 2 days.

    Last week when my daughter Desiree was here, she spun up a GORGEOUS black superwash merino and peacock blue bamboo fiber batt that I had bought her as a surprise from Silver Sun Alpacas at Etsy. She wanted one to match an upcoming project she had. We washed the yarn to set the twist and hung it in my bathroom to dry.

    Tuesday my MIL was here from NJ to visit. We had the table all cleaned off and brought out the yarns I have been doing for Etsy and the ones we spun over the weekend. Grandmom brought in her humongous crocheting bag and showed us lap robes she has been knitting for the Old People at the nursing home to use in their wheelchairs. She is only 92 herself ya know. LoL! Anyway in the ensuing days I had left the yarn on the table, and in between I got out my quilting cutting mat and proceeded to make a big mess. Friday night after my historic trip shopping, one of the things I was cleaning was my bins of sweaters, yarn, etc. trying to get things put away and a little more organized.

    Yesterday Des came, with projects in tow, and we went to get her skein of yarn to wind into a ball for her to use. Can't find that yarn anywhere.

    We have gone through my car (in case I thought to take it to her house), my bathroom, the sofa in the corner of my bedroom which is right now Christmas Present Pile Central, under my bed (never know), in my basket of clean laundry, on my "other corner" rocking chair, which has all my leathers right now (cold weather calls for warm leather ye know). My chest of drawers which used to belong to my grandmother, has a small cupboard 2 drawers high and 2/3 the width of the chest, where I keep my sock knitting yarns and my "someday" yarns for my own, you know, when I am done knitting all this stuff for all these other people. Not there.

    I cleaned out the corner of the dining room which currently has stacking drawer units with fabric in them, until I can get them into the shelving in the back hallway. Not there. Not behind or under the table (just in case it fell). I have a glass corner table between the sofas, accessible from the dining area side, where I have a HUGE basket full of my own yarns. To keep them handy to remind me how far behind schedule I am on my knitting, and to keep them out of my Etsy yarn bins. Not there. Not in my sweater bins, my processed-yarn bins, my Heart Felt Fun bin. Not accidentally in the laundry.
    <<-- Betsy and my 8yos Josiah
    ...An aside here. My baby's name is Beverly Jeane, after my favorite Aunt. But Aunt Bev was called Becky when she was little and we like Betsy better. Betsy Ross. LoL. And she has curly hair and the bluest eyes I ever saw and she LOVES Mountain Dew. ... Anyway, she thinks she knits. She plays with my yarn and my needles and rubs skeins of merino against her face and coos. She walks around with my latest project and pats baskets of yarn. So we figured while all the grownups were talking, Hurricane Betsy got hold of that lovely black and blue stuff, walked around with it, and then like a good girl "put it away" in Grandmom's bag. We broke down and called Grandmom, back in NJ now, and asked her to check her project bag. No dice. She checked it and said, nothing black in here!

    I could buy Des another batt. Or Des could buy the batt sometime, since she was going to in the first place and mine was a surprise. But that is not the point! What a lot of work down the drain.

    If anyone sees that skein of yarn, would you please let me know? And if you see my brain, would you please e-mail me? Thanks!

    Friday, November 14, 2008

    My Life is Weird - and - a Giveaway!

    My life is so weird. There is no other word for it when you find yourself standing in the Produce dept. at Kroger licking your hair. Wait a minute, maybe I should back up just a little...

    Yesterday I sold 4 of the 4 new skeins of yarn I just listed, and the Twilight yarn from my Autumn series. Two of the skeins sold before they were even all the way dry! I am really thankful for the traffic and the sales. Now I have to get my butt in gear and put more yarn up, but I didn't get any done yesterday. --sigh--

    It was Shopping Day. For over 20 years, my dh has gotten paid every two weeks. So the night before, I make a tentative menu for 2 weeks. Then I loosely inventory the cupboards, fridge and freezer to see how much of what we want to eat that we own already. As I go, I make a grocery list from the menu, of ingredients I am lacking. Add staples like cereal, flour, baking powder (how often do you run out of baking powder? At my house it is about every 6 weeks! I bake a LOT!), and I have a working plan.

    My BIL had one of my kids overnight, and my sister wanted to trade him for my 2nd dd Diantha, so today Diantha could help her pack some more (they are moving the end of the month). With the oldest-left-at-home at work, and the next one involved in the trade, and Diantha going... I had to bring the 3 youngest with me too. So off we go to Walmart, 6 of us in a pack. We got stuff for Josiah's birthday and stuff for Secret Pals and stuff, and more stuff. About the time we had to wait 8 extra minutes for BBQ chicken pieces, the kids' patience wore out, and so did mine.

    Then it was on to Party City to get plates, napkins, etc. for the birthday party next Friday. Then on to the pet store, where Artemas' aquarium water checked out and we bought some fish to restock it. Despite the fact I have had aquariums for 30 years, the cheeky clerk (that I have kids older than), wanted to tell me I couldn't put that fish in there, couldn't put this fish in there... they were too big. I said, they are 2" long. She says, well they can grow to 6". I told her I intended to overcrowd them and stunt their growth, and if they have the nerve to grow that big I will take them to her competitor and get credit for them to resell. LoL.

    My BIL and niece met me there and gave me #2 son and took Diantha. Out 3.5 hours so far and still have to get food.

    On to Kroger. Now this is not just ANY Kroger. It is the newly-opened, largest-Kroger-ever in Farragut, TN. It is a wonder. It has a jeweler's store in it! A bedding department! Furniture! Toys! A Bistro, with actual chefs, so you can buy a Gourmet dinner and take it home and plate it, so your dh thinks you can actually cook! An Imported Cheese dept! And SAMPLES everywhere!!! You could EAT from this place. Grocery shopping with 5 kids in tow is not my idea of a good time. I can't tell you the number of times I have ended up with a Mystery Item at the checkout. So I am already tired, and not having fun, no matter how wondrous the store is.

    First stop, after everyone used the bathroom, is the Produce dept, where my oldest son happens to work. They had samples of sweet cheese, pineapple, and apple slices with caramel dip. The dip was runny. The baby decided her apple-with-dip was too messy, and handed it, dripping, to Mommy. My first reaction was to stick it quickly in my mouth before I would get to wear it.

    Too late. I look down and there is a long glop of caramel sauce down the front of my (formerly clean) t shirt. Then I look and AARRRRGGGGHHHH! there is caramel sauce in my long, newly washed HAIR!!! My first thought was, stick it in my mouth to get that GUNK our of my hair immediately!! Then I realized that here I was, standing in the produce dept. of probably the most upscale grocery in the world, licking my hair like someone with Tourette's. My life is so weird.

    My oldest son came up about then and ducked in the back room. He came out with a tub of alcohol wipes so I could wipe my shirt, my hair, my fingers, the baby, etc. He isn't usually a hero, but I am sure he was thinking his crazy, caramel-stained mother was about to wander around the store and meet up with his co-workers and tell Every One of them that My Son is Allen Who Works In Produce. So he rescued me. There hs is at work. He is SINGLE girls!

    You don't even want to know about having to sit in the furniture dept, with a blanket over me, nursing the baby who didn't get a decent nap all day and couldn't wait another minute. No, that is probably another Weirdness best left untold.

    When I got home, I decided that there wasn't ONE peaceful place in my house to rest my eyes so we were gonna CLEAN. So from 8 PM til Midnight we cleaned house and actually made a dent. DH got home to all the kids still up, all the lights still on, and only half a mess. I hope your day was better.

    My eldest Darling Daughter Desiree (a great mommy and an artist in her own right) is hostessing a Giveaway on her blog 3 AM Feedings. She is giving away a Little Hippy Bag, a darling free-pieced quilted bag suitable for knitting. Go see!

    Thursday, November 13, 2008

    G'bye, Leaves, Hello, Yukon Cornelius

    So, here in the foothills of the Great Smoky (without an E) Mountains, we have what is called Color. Our hills and trees are ablaze everywhere you look with just about every color God can come up with. I think He does it just to show off. Whatever the reason, it is spectacular. I love living here and looking at the mountains any time of the year, but in October it is wondrous to behold. Thing is, just when the colors can't get a bit richer, it is over. Just the other day I was sloping onto I-40 East and thought, "In another couple days those golds, reds, purples, and yellows will be rusty brown." And sure enough, yesterday they were.

    Then this is what happens. We get rain. We had drought nearly all summer. Welcome to Tennessee Winter... cold and drizzle. It's like living in the UK, with better scenery. The first big rain of winter comes with wind, usually hits at night, and knocks all those newly-brown leaves off the trees. Next thing you know our hills look like the buzz cuts of so many Drill Seargeants. Bare black branches reaching soldierly for the sky. The rain came last night. Today was cold and damp. But my Bradford ornamental pear trees stubbornly stuck to their coats or yellow and scarlet, cheering me a little while longer (and I am thankful). Pictures: top, from my front porch; above, from my driveway looking toward my front yard.

    Today I made another pair of felted fingerless glove, mitt wrist warmers for my Heart Felt Fun shop at Etsy. I also got a felted, really cheery bag nearly done but not up. Another day maybe.

    Today I also got 4 new yarns done for the Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer series:
  • Clarice - she is brown, pink, and fuschia... lovely stripes and highlights in the highest angora-content yarn I have ever recycled... 40% angora rabbit. Luscious.

  • The Spotted Elephant from the Island of Misfit Toys. She is a creamy white wool blend, wrapped with a narrow cord of white and salmon pink boucle. A nice, chunky, quick knit for a scarf!

  • Mrs. Claus - we have Christmas with an attitude! She is the high-angora blend yarn in pink, fuschia-red, and a little bright green.

  • Yukon Cornelius - this is the first cotton blend yarn I have bothered with. For the most part, I think cotton yarns are a waste unless you are knitting dishrags. But this has enough acrylic to give it memory, and enough cotton to class up the acrylic. AND, I realize that not everyone loves wool, however soft. So here we have good ol' Yukon. The original sweater was a sorry pale algae color, but it did have a nice metallic glitzy thread shot through it. So I have hand dyed him deep blue like his coat, red like his beard, and left a little green. All run along with a fine thread of silver 'n' gold. I hope you will like him too!

    Don't forget to enter my "Go Green for the Holidays Giveaway" a couple posts below this one!