Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tackle-it! Dangit! Wheeee!! Hot!

Alright, I am all behind on the blog thing. A quick Synopsis:

We Yarn-tagged the cart corral at the local Big Box Home Improvement store with a nice, feminine, ruffled yarnbomb. Here is the pic, on the left. Helping Metrosexual Men Everywhere get in touch with their feminine sides. LOL.

The boys were coerced by their mom to do a Tackle-it Tuesday on their room. Artemas said he didn't sign up for this excursion... but my house isn't a democracy. Think it needed a little work? Nah!! On the left and right, "Before" pictures.

These are the "After" pics. Good job, boys!

So, let's see what MY Tackle-it Tuesday was! I have decided to go back to something I used to do when I lived in FL. I did ALL the laundry in the house, for all 8 of us, including linens and diapers, in ONE day. Every Monday I started at breakfast time and finished what was usually 12 loads of laundry, around midnight. Washed, dried (much of it hanging out on the fence), folded. What didn't get done on Monday got finished up and put away on Tuesday. Then, NO LAUNDRY for a whole week! No bits of socks and undies lying around the room, anywhere. No unfolded sheets or towels piled up. Nothing but peace as far as the eye could see.

After we moved up here, I had to go to work for a while (4 years) and we kind of got away from one-day laundry, because with all the kids, working, homeschooling, and all, I just had to fit it in whenever I could, and rely on the kids to help. So for more than 4 years, we have had clean laundry somewhere, all the time. I am fed up.

So this week I implemented Monday Laundry Madness. When I got up Tuesday morning, the pic above greeted me as what I had left to fold and distribute to put away.

By evening, the living room looked like this. I am happy to report that the stacks disappeared to respective bedrooms, and right now I am enjoying laundry-free living space. Ahhh!

Alright yesterday we went to Des' house for an evening of fun, dyeing yarn, some good food, and left a kid to help her pack to move. On the way home, my alternator went out on the van. I might add a this point, my Chevy Venture is down, waiting on a bolt that we lost in a repair, to come in on order, which was suppose to be Wed. and now they are saying Monday next. Also, both motorcycles are down and out, though the 450 should be road-worthy as soon as the headlight comes in, possibly tomorrow (more on that later). The Ramvan and the Tow'n'Country were the only vehicles left, and the latter needs a new ignition switch. So, Dangit!!

Anyway an officer stopped me to let me know I was losing all my lights (which I knew), and gave me an escort out of that county. I made it through west Knoxville by turning off my headlights any time I had to use my brakes. Got to HD to pick Richard up from work, got a mile toward home, had to stop for a light, and the car died. All the way. Triple-A to the rescue, another police acompanist til they got there, and a tow-truck ride to our house. On top of the tow truck, IN the van! It was like a slow-motion roller coaster! Wheeeeeee! My kids thought that was the greatest adventure EVER! and at midnight, too! Wow!

Today the girls and I went to run a couple errands and get groceries. When we got in the car at 3:30 PM, it was 101 degrees F (38 C). By about 5 PM when we were done letting the car cool down from overheating in the Taco Bell drive-thru, it was a mere 95 (35 C). Wonderful cool front.

Richard and Allen bought the belts today for the Ramvan but had to wait until after 8 PM to try to put them on, because it was that late before the temp fell below 95 in the shade. With the help of some lights (lost natural daylight), they got the belts on, the battery charged, and HERE is a rare pic of oldest DS Allen with his car-grease "Farmer's tan." LoL! Apparently the alternator wasn't dead, just sleeping from not being driven properly by the old belts, because the van starts and runs. Yee-haw!

One last pic - we had a delicious Shrimp Spinach Quiche, and made the homemade pastry with bacon drippings instead of shortening. It was YUM-MAY! Sorry you didn't get any, but at least I shared the beauty. LoL.

Wow, I can go to bed tonight, NOT having had the worst day ever. Thank you, Jesus!

Friday, June 19, 2009

A Recipe

I concocted this recipe myself. I would like to state in advance, that this recipe is copyright by me. It may not appear in any publication, nor may it be used to produce food for commercial sale.

I am giving the Small batch version if you just want to give these a go. It is easy to double if you are feeding a crowd (like I am!). I guarantee your friends will want a batch for Christmas! Your boss may barter a raise in exchange for a tin of these! And they will make even the most alien, crotchety mother-in-law smile her thin and meaningless smile.

Bacon "Fattie Snackies"

Prep: chop 2 oz. of bacon and stir-fry until crisp; drain on toweling
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F


1/4 Cup (4 Tablespoons) butter, softened
1/2 Cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy, you pick)
1 egg
3/4 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 pinch of salt (1/8 teaspoon)
1 Cup all-purpose unbleached flour
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
crumbled bacon (lardons)

Cream butter, peanut butter, egg, and sugars with a wooden spoon until they are homogenous. Add leavenings (baking soda and salt) and the flour. Stir in chocolate chips and bacon. Place ping-pong ball sized lumps about 2" apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8-9 minutes. Drop cookie sheets onto counter or stove top from about 6" height to collapse cookies. Cool on racks or waxed paper. Try to wait until they are cool before you eat them.

WARNING: Newly-baked cookies are HOT! I cannot be held responsible for ensuing burns to the lips or tongue just because *you* don't have any self-control. (LOL)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

More Than a Day Behind

I am more than a day behind, so let me see if I can sum up.

Ameraucana EggsRange of color among Ameraucana hensMonday was More Chicks day. When my kids got their 4-H chicks on the 26th of May, we ended up losing 4 of them. They were so disappointed. And I had been disappointed to begin with, that we couldn't get 2 of my favorite breeds: Americaunas, which actually lay eggs in the olive-green to blue-mint-green color range, (eggs and range of color of the hens both pictured here), and Barred Rocks, which are striped-looking, full-bodied, docile chickens that lay beautiful brown eggs.

So off I went Monday to take a walk and pick up chicken feed. Lo and behold, the man at the feed store had BOTH Americaunas AND Barred Rocks. So I bought 2 Barred Rocks, and a "Wheaten" and a White Ameraucana. I put them in with all the others we have, and though smaller, one of the Barred Rocks immediately let it be known that she was going to be a Peck-ER, and not a Peck-EE.

Yes, city dwellers, the term "Pecking Order" comes from chickens and is absolutely true... the "top chicken" pecks everyone below her, the next one pecks everyone except the top one, the next one down pecks everyone except the top two, and so on. How they decide who is who, is completely up to them, but it really does work for them.

Sometimes I think that one of my problems is that I am a Peck-ER in a world that wants me to be a Peck-EE instead. LOL.

Ok yesterday was Tackle-it Tuesday. I am trying to pass a very bad kidney stone, so I didn't tackle just about anything. Though in the evening I did go in the girls' room and sit on their bed in a lot of pain and supervise the cleaning that was going on. Diantha had decided that their Tackle-it Tuesday should be their bedroom. I, being the bad Mom that I am, am posting the "before pictures" on the internet. LOL. This was Veronica's side of the room, between the bed and the wall. The Left picture is BEFORE, and the Right picture is AFTER. I think she did well. There is still one leeeetle pile of about 10 items of clothing to go, and the vacuuming.

On to the end of the room by the dresser and closet. Diantha says that Veronica dragged most of this stuff out of the closet, which is just as well, since it gave them a chance to actually HANG things UP (gasp!) instead of just THROW them IN. Again, Before on the left, and After (before vacuuming) on the Right.

Lastly, the first walkway into the room, on Diantha's side of the bed. In all this cleaning, we boxed up a huge box of seasonal clothes for next winter and got rid of about a trash bag of other clothes that were outgrown. Off to the local thrift store. And, bagged up a kitchen-size bag of trash. This was a HUGE Tackle-it for Diantha and Veronica to take on, particularly without any real help from Mom.

Good job, girls!

Ball n Chain ScarfJust a couple more. Had to share this one! It is the Ball n Chain Scarf for the Groom (or anyone you know who has the balls to wear it, LoL!). I knitted it out of a handspun art yarn sent to me from Japan. The approx. 60" long, 10 chain scarf has merino, sari silk, cotton, and glitz in it, in black, steel blue, rusty brown, and pale gray. The 4" balls are knitted from 100% recycled cotton/acrylic blend and stuffed with polyester fiberfill. Red Twilight Handspun YarnAvailable in my Heart Felt Fun Accessory Boutique as part of the "I Do 2009" Etsy Knitters Street Team Challenge.

Also Diantha listed a beautiful red/black/white/sparkle handspun in her Fluff 4 Ewe shop. Stop by and see other new and wonderful items too!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

WWKIP Day, Lotsa Pics

We had a WWKIP day in Clinton TN. I tried to do it the right way... got permission from the city for a gathering, put up fliers around town... and nobody showed up, except me, my oldest daughter and some of our respective kids. However we talked to a couple people, shared the gazebo with old men, and got a couple hours relaxing knitting in.

I have no idea what order to put these up in, so I will just go alphabetically with how I named them, give you the labels, and try to keep the chat to a minimum. :D

On the Left (so totally appropriate, since she is a lefty, mirror knitter, LoL), is my oldest gorgeous daughter Desiree, and the fluffy blonde head of her baby Hannah. Des is working on her very first odious Crochet Cast-on for a sock.

On the Right is my 14yod Diantha, knitting on her scarf, though she spent most of the time actually knitting one of our yarn bombs or yarnbombs, however you prefer. Diantha has a shop selling handspun yarns and fiber batts at Fluff 4 Ewe at Etsy.

The beautiful, lush lips on the Left belong to Diantha also. She is "wearing" one of the yarnbombs around her neck. This one is in hot red, pink, orange, and yellow acrylic with a vertical red stripe and a very decorative purple crocheted flower.

On the Right, you see Hannah. She didn't knit. She hung around and was a very good girl though, which is always a joy.

On the Left AND Right, you can see two views of one of the trees we eventually beautified with our knit tags. Des said it looked lonely, like it needed some cheering up. We now call it the Happy Purple Tree. LOL. These beautiful trees are Purple Maples and grow profusely in our area. People plant them in their yards because of the gorgeous color.

Again on the Left and the Right you see pictures of my little 8 yo man, Josiah.

He started a knitted cotton cloth in brightly colored and white yarn. In the pic on the left, he is graced with chocolate from some Banana Chocolate Chip mini muffins I made. In the pic on the right, he showed Des that he made a "Knitting Pirate Yarn and Crossbones."

I am knitting on the left. I have my long hair put back, because if I don't, not only is it a blanket, it gets in everything I knit and spin.

I brought 2 knitting projects of my own, but ended up casting on for Josiah, teaching Des the crochet cast-on,helping Diantha straighten out a little knitting snafu she had going on, and working on two tags.

See the leg muscles? They're what let me do up to 7 hours a night on skates, at Sonic, until I was in my mid-40s and found out I was pregnant with B. Not so long ago, really. :D

On the Right is Veronica, my 11 yod, knitting a scarf. She has been diligently working on this project, and is about 20 rows from completion. I am proud of her!

This last picture is terrible quality, taken by Artemas who wanted to snap the pic and flee before any witnesses arrived. It is our last knitting graffiti tag, a striped purple/yellow/red/blue/green and more purple acrylic. Hopefully if these don't get taken down in a while, they will hold up to the weather.

Tomorrow I am going to call the shops that we left flyers at, and ask them to keep them up another week and change the dates on them to next Saturday. Then we will see if anyone joins us. If now, we can be the Market Street Park knitters. Maybe we will be famous! LOL!!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Another Sad Tree Day

Yesterday was my son Allen's 21st birthday. He wants to go in the Marines. His dad an I are not happy about it. We tried to talk him into the Coast Guard, which has the best retirement AND does not get deployed. But he says only sissies go in the Coast Guard, he is a REAL man. Well I hope the marines will be good for him.

While Des and her babies were here, we got another big storm. As we watched from the front door, the storm took out what was left of the big pear tree we lost half of last month. Ironically the other half was surviving. See the black buckets thrown like dirtball people's yards, around on the ground UNDER the piece of broken tree? Those were the replacement apple and peach trees. I don't know yet if they will be alright.

Then as if that weren't enough, we also lost about 1/4 of the 3rd tree, which was also a nice healthy tree. You might believe me when I say, the wind was fierce. This was not lightning damage, just wind.

Note in this last pic... the center tree, which is skanky, has crown-spread and is about half dead, came away almost unscathed. Only a little damage high up where the other half of the first large tree hit it on the way down. Wouldn't ya know.

Artemas has been sleeping on the sofa at night, because its narrow confines keep him from turning over on his still-healing broken collarbone. Beverly, who LOVES her big brother, awoke about 2 AM. She stretched and hung out on her bed a minute, then came over to mine. She climbed up, slept 3 minutes, got back up, down off the bed, and went to the door. She said, "Armis!" and out she went. I went out into the great room to see where she went, and here she was, already back to sleep.

All our family shops are participating in the 4-day Etsy Yart Sale, through the 14th. Check our shops for new items... we have put up quite a few, including this gorgeous recycled, hand dyed Superwash batt which sold in 12 hours! And for Yart Sale specials!
My7kids Recycled Yarns
Heartfeltfun Accessory Boutique
Fluff4Ewe Handspun Yarns and Fiber
Rossoaps Handmade Goat or Soy Milk Soaps

I have been knitting a ball today. Ok, so I am not that fast. But I have a lotta kids underfoot and I was gone 3 hours running a futile errand. And made dinner, all that. So I need 2 of these black Merino balls and got one done. So sue me. LoL

This Evening B got into the stack of clean laundry and tried to put on some of my clothes. She informed her dad that this was for "Nurtsies!" Think it will be a while before I have to worry about sharing clothes with B. LoL!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A New Spindle, House Shopping, and WWKIP Day

Last night I made a new spindle. It is GORGEOUS. I used a white granite donut bead with gray veining. I put it on a long, sleek, black chopstick with little white dots forming a swirling line design at the top, and added a silver zinc hook.

It spins very well! Spins quickly, keeps the spin for quite a while, and doesn't backspin soon or quickly. I spun up a little 1 gram sample of green merino wool, in a finer-than-fingering (possibly lace?) weight yarn. The spindle weighs .8 oz (24 grams).

I am going to gift this spindle to a special friend. She doesn't know who she is, but will know when she gets it. I hope she enjoys many hours creating beautiful handspun yarn with it!

I got a recycled yarn done today, called Faded Liberties, and listed in my Etsy shop.

Richie was off today, so we took off for Clinton, TN, where my daughter Desiree lives with her dh and kids. It is a cute little town, with an antiques district downtown, nice library, and community center complete with 2 gyms and a 10-lane bowling alley.

We went looking at houses. In particular, we went to one about 5 miles from their house. It is a big, very old house on 7 acres. It needs work, which would have to be done a little at a time, but isn't horrible. The good news is, they can keep looking, and if they decide to come back to this one, it will probably be there... it's been on the market a year now.

We looked at 3 other houses. One was less horrible but smaller, on a 2-acre lot and a 6-stall barn, and COMPLETELY overgrown. I mean the lot had grass, no kidding, 3 feet tall. Someone had built on an extra room and already redone the kitchen, so less work than house #1. The third house had even less land... .5 acre, which could be a problem if it is on a septic system. But it was nice and liveable (currently occupied), with a huge garage. The last house was new construction in town, very nice. Only drawback was the lot was sandwiched between 2 streets and the price takes their payments about $50 to $70 higher than they think they can afford. Time will tell.

I made up my own little flyer for World Wide Knit in Public Day (WWKIP), which turns out is actually 4 days: June 13-14 and June 20-21. I called the city of Clinton and got permission to gather on Market Street, which is where we had the table set up for First Friday, where we were spinning. So we went around the town as we looked at houses, and got several small businesses, the library, and community center to put the flyer up. Hopefully it won't just be Des and me and my othe two daughters who knit.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Spin-Out, First Friday, and More B's Eye View

We ended up packing it in Friday from the Smoky Valley Rally. Saturday and Sunday ended up nice, but the rain didn't stop or the sky didn't clear up on Friday. When we were on our way home from Clinton at 11 PM the highway near us was wet. We would have lost all our soaps to the damp. Oh well! Next year!

There is a little street fair each First Friday night of the months in summer, from 6-9PM in Clinton. They have a little antiques district that they rope off so people can wander the street. The shops set out tables, and it is free for anyone to set up a table to sell stuff. There are snow cones and horse-cart rides. This month was slow... there was a local HS graduation and 2 other large, local softball games. But it was a relaxed atmosphere, quite fun.

So we set up a table and dress dummy with our felted stuff and yarns and handbags, and hung out for 3 hours. Friday alsohappened to be Spin Out day, so I threw together an emergency spindle out of a shaft that was down in the supply box, some masking tape as a grommet, and a purple stone whorl I bought online that "accidentally" came to Des' house. We opened one of the batts that Diantha had wrapped up to sell and took turns spinning. Incidentally, I also "dropped" the spindle about 5 times, making not actual chips but chip marks in the side of the lovely stone whorl. Dangit.

I kept asking people who walked by, "See what I am doing? I am turning this sheep wool into yarn!" Then they would stop and feel it, look at it, look at our handspuns, and ask questions. Some of the older people said, "I remember my grandma doing this on a spinning wheel? Is that almost the same thing?" Yes, it is *almost* the same. Drop spindling is not as fast, but useful nonetheless.

The bags you see hanging around behind Des and I in these pics are available in her Etsy Shop.

We got new carded batts and new handspuns listed in Diantha's shop today. Working on my shop tomorrow!

Des, my oldest darling daughter and camera sniper extraordinaire, got this pic of the back of my free Coal Creek Armory shirt. I told her I loved how it fit, because one could hardly see the gun in the small of my back... and momentarily she checked out my reflection in the nearest window, just to see if I were kidding or not. My dh keeps checking my back too... wonder what he thought the term LEGALLY ARMED meant? (At the moment, NOT, but ya never know, LOL)

Beverly (my 2yod) has been at it again with the camera. Well first, here is a pic of her in my newest pair of my trademark purple round glasses. I called this one, "Am I Cool Yet?" You might notice in most of these pictures, that B doesn't wear much clothes. Sometimes it is hot in our house, because we run our air as little as possible. But mostly, she is two, and that is an age where kids take their clothes off.

She took this picture of her daddy, the aging Hippy, who sat down at the edge of her bed to help her, once again, put her clothes back on. Wonder where she gets the not-wearing a shirt thing. hmmm.

Also she had the great idea for this picture. I have to put Richard's contacts in every morning,
and take them out every night, because he has a (hereditary) tremor. Somehow the lid to the eyedrops ended up here. Strange things happen at my house.

I got this pic of her, reading a really good Patricia Cornwell novel. She is either a prodigy, or just doing what she sees Mommy do (a LOT). Can't decide which.

In more wonderful good news, the '82 GS450T Suzuki I own, which has been laid up for 18 months since my *oldest* son flipped it, rides again. Yes, folks, my dearest darling Son in Law (who is too old to be one of my kids), has fixed it. Rewired and all. Somehow my front headlight is missing, so that is a must-do. And I need to renew the plate and change out the oil and filter. Minor inconveniences, at that. I was so thrilled to hear it run and see him take off for a test drive, I nearly cried.

Mama rides again. And is this a fine ride, or what? Yee-haw!