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!
  • Tuesday, November 11, 2008


    OK, so in the interest of Raising Green Awareness for the Holiday season, and Goodwill Toward Mankind, I have decided to run a Giveaway, Sweepstakes, Drawing, Free Raffle if you will. Here is the Deal:

    Visit either of my shops,
    Recycled, hand dyed, high-end fiber yarns at my7kids -or-
    Recycled, felted and hand-knitted items at HeartFeltFun. Either of these links will open a new window!

    Then come back here and comment on two things:

    1) Your favorite item from either shop and Why

    2) ONE way your family can "Go Green" for the Holidays.

    Please also include your email address in a non-harvestable form, like Youremailaddy AT yourserver DOT com

    For instance, for probably 20 years, I have started in about September to save boxes, anything an interesting size and not smooshed, to wrap presents in. We have given CDs wrapped in toaster pastry boxes to handknitted sweaters in corndog boxes to wallets in checbook boxes. Always fun to unwrap the box to see what you "got" and then open the box to see what you REALLY got. LoL!

    Miscellaneous Stuff:
  • No Purchase Necessary to win. If you find something you can't live without in my shops, good for you, and good for me. But no obligation!
  • Etsy membership NOT required to win. (But what the heck)
  • Contest ends midnight EST (Greenwich +5) on 12/01/08
  • ONE entry per person.
  • There will be ONE person to win. I will use to draw.
  • Winner gets to select ONE item of their choice from one shop, value up to $18
  • Winner's name will be posted on my blog sometime on 12/02/08 (I'd like to specify a time of the morning, but I am a little unstructured in that area)
  • Winner must respond by midnight 12/04/08 to my personal email, with their item preference and mailing address. If the winner fails to respond, I will choose another winner.
  • ONE extra entry for each of the following actions: Follow me, Link to this giveaway, Subscribe, Blog about this blog, purchase. Please let me know by comment if you did any of these things.
  • Monday, November 10, 2008

    Too, too busy ~and~ LOTSA pics!

    Marion wrote about me on Saturday!
    Knittingspinningsewingcrocheting: Fun Stuff!!!

    Ok, I have gotten not much of anything done for 5 days. My baby Betsy has had intermittent fever and has kept me up all night. Saturday and Sunday my oldest daughter Desiree and her dh Tony were here all day each, because Tony was helping my dh re-route water pipes under the house. What fun! 10 to 12 of us in the house at a time and most of the day Sunday, no water! It was like Little House on the Prairie with all the kids running around.

    I spun some green bits out of my Batt Crazies, along with some bits and nepps that I collected out of the dryer when I felted some sweaters, and dyed various shades of red (talk about recycling! to make the weirdest lumpy yarn. I only got 19 yards. sigh! But then I plied it with some Red eyelash and attached little frosty plastic mini Christmas ornaments that look like candies. I am calling it Trip To Candyland, and I think I will knit it as an accent band in an otherwise green or deep red hat.

    I have been trying to catch up with some quilt swaps I have been in. And Des and I spent part of Saturday and a lot of Sunday spinning. She dove feet first into my Batt Crazies and helped me spin the rest of them. I just love this yarn! The pic is left to right: The one Des spun on her own, the one we spun together, and the first one, that I spun alone. Gorgeous, gorgeous. Soft as a feather too.
    I am going to knit a Moebius wrap with them, probably after Christmas if I can muster up enough Self-Control to keep to my gift list and keep my hands off this yarn. LoL.

    Then she got a black merino/blue bamboo batt of 3 oz and spun that whole thing up. You can see she did a great job. Boy she took right to this spindling thing.

    Today I got two GORGEOUS spindles in the mail from Marion (link to her Saturday blog above). One is pictured with Des' black and blue yarn. On the other, you can see that I already started spinning something. I had in mind to ply this red, green, and yellow yarn with a gold thread and call it Holly's Jollies, but I think I am spinning it too fine. If I can get a little thicker I might. Unless I change my mind and call it Cinco De Decembre!

    Alas, I only got ONE yarn done today to list on etsy. I am so sorry to people who are waiting for something new to appear in my shop! I had hoped to get 2 or 3 done. But we are retiling a countertop in my kitchen, so that is a mess. And my elderly MIL and my oldest BIL will be here tomorrow from NJ for a visit. Since I am already "fat" in their book, (OMG when we were there to visit in June she must have told me 6 times how much I have LET MYSELF GO since Betsy was born last year!) I didn't want to be a "fat SLOB" too... so we have been cleaning.

    The ONE skein I did do, when I went to reskein it to mix the colors, the last 100 yards or so got tangled and I spent an hour and a half untangling it. OY! Took up the time I could have used to do 2 more skeins anyway!

    So this yarn is the Dolly for Sue from the Island of Misfit Toys from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. According to any info I could find on the 'net, Dolly isn't there because she is truly a misfit, mostly King Moonracer the Lion brought her there just because nobody loves her anymore. Boo-hoo! Well I hope someone will LOVE her yarn! LOL!

    Thursday, November 6, 2008

    So Here I Am Again

    Alright, today I got nothin' done. My baby Betsy has ONE more lower canine to cut. I don't know if it was that or what, but starting midnight last night she has had intermittent fever. I put her down to sleep 5 times in 3 hours and finally gave up and let her sleep with us.

    Today she has been clingy and a mess. My 16yos watched her a while so I could get out to the PO and take my walk. Oh I did finish a baby bootee for Micah while I walked. And, Walmart had all the clearance clothes half off the lowest price so everybody in the family got something new, and the most expensive piece was $5.

    Only thing I really got done today was plan my next yarn series, which I was going to start this evening but no go. And, I used my drop spindle to spin up 19 yards of really ugly yarn in Christmas red and green, which I hope to ply with some other fun stuff and turn into something not quite so hideous. It is hanging in my shower, dripping, right now.

    I got to put in a LOT Of computer time, since B wants to nurse when she is puny and if I have to sit down for that I might as well geek out too.

    Not that late, but I am tired. Gonna sit on the bed, nurse her to sleep, knit a little, and read to Richie. Good night, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are.

    Finally A Pic I Can Share

    Last Fri. night we went to my daughter's apartment to pass out candy. Normally we don't "do" halloween. But there are about a gazillion kids who come around her complex, and her 3yo was excited about it. So I let my kids "dress up" with stuff we had lying around and off we went.

    I let my baby Beverly (who we call Betsy) eat chocolate and get it on her face, then put her in a chocolate brown long-sleeved shirt and pants so she was a Chocolate Bar. LoL. Between my daughter and me, another couple that came and my sis and her dh, there were 6 adults and 10 kids, and that is a party even if you don't have cake. My daughter was coming down with a cold or something but we had really good chili and soft rolls and homemade apple crumb pie.

    Anyway I "went" as Alice Cooper. I already have the nose, jawline and hair for it... and the leather pants... so I put on a fishnet body-stocking top and ripped, stained T shirt and painted my face. A few little kids looked at me awestruck. I could understand feeling that way in the presence of a Rock and Roll legend. LOL!!

    Some of the teenagers thought I was totally cool. My BIL told me I didn't look any different than normal... just like I hadn't had enough sleep. And my Betsy and the newest grandbaby Hannah weren't phased in the least. Guess that is what I get for being one of the scariest Christians you will ever meet in the first place. LOL.

    My daughter's camera batteries died, so it took a few days to get some more and send me photos. Anyway here is finally a pic of me with 7 MO Hannah.

    Wednesday, November 5, 2008

    A Sad, Sad Day

    I am not a racist. I don't care whether a person is black, white, red or brown. The reasons I dreaded the very thought that Mr. Nobama would become president had not one thing to do with his race, but rather with the thought that he is a socialist. He wants to disarm our country, our protective forces, tax us at a 40% rate so that everyone can be "equal." Socialism has not only failed everywhere it has been applied, it has been the ruin of great countries and societies.

    So it is with a heavy heart that I write today. I have felt sick to my stomach since the Victory speech last night. What is up with that? The time the Victory Speech was given, the polls hadn't even closed on the West coast. So now we elect a president on speculation? Will they even bother to finish counting the votes?

    Samuel was very upset with their request and went to the LORD for advice. "Do as they say," the LORD replied, "for it is me they are rejecting, not you. They don't want me to be their king any longer... Do as they ask, but solemnly warn them about how a king will treat them." So Samuel passed on the LORD's warning to the people... When that day comes, you will beg for relief from this king you are demanding, but the LORD will not help you." But the people refused to listen to Samuel's warning. "Even so, we still want a king," they said. ... So Samuel told the LORD what the people had said, and the LORD replied, "Do as they say, and give them a king."

    1 Samuel 8:6-7, 9-10, 18-19, 21-22a

    May God protect those of us who had no hand in this.

    Tuesday, November 4, 2008

    So here I am

    Once again NOT doing yarn today. Well that is, not doing recycled yarn. My BIL called wanting to borrow Artemas' muscles. I had to go out to the PO, so of course I should drop Muscleman off at their house and haul all the rest of us to my oldest daughter's for a day of sewing, eating, and all kinds of other fun.

    We usually go there on Wed. nights while a couple of my kids are at youth group. It is closer to her house from our church than back to mine (12 miles instead of almost 20) so we go hang out a while, let the kids all play together, exclaim over babies, make dinner, knit a little while together.

    But now it is dark earlier, so it was fun to go earlier tonight and let the kids play on the playground out in the circle of apartment buildings. And it gave us more time to play with quilt blocks, yarn, and a spindle.

    DD #1 has decided she wants to ply some fabric with some handspun yarn and bits of stuff to make "art yarn" for an upcoming project. So she figured she should play with a spindle to see if she could actually spin something.

    I had brought along a spindle and a batt of Blue Jeans merino that I got from The Ranch at Etsy, along with some Cotswold locks I had hand-dyed. Granted merino isn't the best yarn to learn to spin on, it is slippery. I had in mind that I was going to spin it. But hey, I love it when my kids want to learn something new! I spun a little to show her the movements and turned her loose. She sure did spin up the entire 4 oz. of that batt, into what looks to me like darn good yarn for a beginner.

    So Congrats Desirée, and here is a pic of your diligent evening's work.

    And, dd#2 made chocolate chip cookies. Yummmmm!

    Monday, November 3, 2008

    Some Striped Fun

    This has to be a quickie tonight, I am tired and my baby is sleepy.

    Today I sorted all my dh's soap oils into a wall-mounted cabinet in our back hallway, taking them out of boxes to free up the shelf they were in, so I can put my bins of listed yarns in those shelves. Immediately when I put the LAST (glass) bottle in, the cabinet fell off the wall (on me), cascading everything in it to the floor. Artemas came to my rescue and we got it out with no loss of limb.

    Fortunately only bottle cap cracked, and that only had about an ounce of oil in it. So my house smelled like grapes. Cleaned that up... later on I found another bottle that the cap had come loose, so my house smelled like peaches.

    Instead of getting to do anything yarn-y today I got to clean up the back hall. I put up brackets for shelves but can't put shelves on the brackets, even tho I have some wood, 'cause my SIL has our circular saw. I managed to find safe and relatively baby-proof homes for the 3,000 items dh had in that cabinet. Guess where? Back in the shelving unit I was going to use for my yarn bins. I want a new life.

    Despite feeling lousy and going through like half a box of Kleenex, I made some killer chicken veggie noodle soup with lovely garlic in it for dinner. So then my house smelled like something good to eat, which makes me happy.

    Oh and we got our fabric today for the Weird and Ugly Fabric Challenge. It is both wonderful and horrible, and I had an immediate vision of an art quilt out of it, which will make a LOT of work for me. I sometimes wish I weren't so dang creative.

    I did make one really cute pair of felted, striped fingerless mitts for my HeartFeltFun shop at Etsy. These are warm and soft and just wonderful!

    Ok that is as Quickie as I get, and my baby is asleep. Was it good for you too? ;D

    More Fun with Yarn

    So I have disappeared for a couple days. I haven't been idle. Been enjoying some sales on Etsy and unwinding some sweaters... and got some quilt blocks done for a swap, rearranged our bedroom so the baby's crib wasn't by the cold windows, had a party at my oldest daughter's house (where I dressed like a REALLY good facsimile of Alice Cooper, and didn't scare my grandbaby), and came down with something.

    All the while searching for my digital camera. Last time I saw it was Wed. night. My #2 son was going over to my sister's for the night and taking the laptop with him. I remembered getting my CF card out of the side of the computer before I handed it to him... and that was it. I have been nearly panicking, thinking, I have got to get these yarns up, I have GOT to get these yarns up. But how?

    We looked all over the house, in the car, etc. Finally I broke down tonight and went to the local WM (only place to shop in our town) and bought a really cheap digicam that takes the world's worst pictures. I am sitting at the computer pulling my hair out over it when dh says, "Were you wearing a jacket Wed. night?" He goes and gets my jeans jacket and there in the pocket is my camera. DUH. and Thank God, I can put my listings up before my shop sells down to empty, er, cyberspace.

    Meanwhile also I have come down with a cold or something. My head feels like someone stuffed a dishtowel up my nose, while it is running too, my throat is sore, I hurt all over. Bleh.

    So I have some really GREAT yarns up though! Actually there are only 2 more I want to do in the Muppet Christmas Carol series, unless I change my mind and with fickle alacrity go on to the next series. LoL. Let me introduce some characters:

    I have Gonzo, he is our narrator. I just love him because he is so weird. Of course, one can hardly help that when one is a... well, whatever. I NAILED the colors on this one, if you look at his picture. Bravo!

    Marley and Marley... leave it to the Muppets to think that one Marley wasn't enough. The hecklers, Statler and Waldorf, appear this time around as ethereal, grumpy ghosts wearing chains of doom. Interestingly enough, this is the most unusual yarn I have come across, as it is a long, fine, crocheted CHAIN. I just love serendipity. So we have ghostly gray and shades of blue as cold as the grave. Brrr!!

    Rizzo the Scrawny Rat, is just enough of self-striping (and self-serving, LOL) fun to make a pair of short socks out of. Tan and blue and brown will go around and around some lucky person's socks or mittens. I like Rizzo too, he has a great appetite and comes from a large family. Sounds just about like everybody at my house!

    Bob Cratchit... what can we say? Marvelously played by Kermit, my Bob Cratchit yarn matches his lime green froggy skin, maroon and deep green coat. It will self-stripe. I just love his upbeat attitude and gentle spirit! It is a cuddly yarn, one for a big fat scarf or hat and mitts.

    I have more, of course. But you will just have to stop by and see them yourself! And while you are at it, bring me a hot toddy. Thanks!