There’s a Hole in My Slipper, Dear Liza

March 15, 2009 at 8:12 am (knitting)

It’s been quite a long time since the last blog. Life happened, fun was had, birthdays were celebrated. I’ll try to keep up with the blog more since the busy season (aka kiddo birthday crazies) is past.

I do have some actual crafty content today. My favorite felted mocs had a hole. These mocs are from Little Turtle Knits’ Felted Moc pattern. I don’t think it is available online anymore. I bought these from another knitter when I was pregnant with my second daughter. The one who is three now. The knitter handdyed the yarn (Peace Fleece) in my favorite colors and knit away. She did a fantastic job. I love how comfy and warm these are.
Felted Moc before repair

(Ignore the dog hair, please. Who needs Swiffers when you have woolly mocs?)

I didn’t want to wet-felt the slippers because they are the perfect size. So I grabbed my felting needle and some cream roving and went to work.
Roving in place

I placed the roving over the hole. I wanted the repair to cover more than just the hole, so I made sure the fibers covered any weak area of the sole. I also put several layers of fibers over the sole. Each layer was perpendicular to the one beneath it. Once the roving was ready, I began stabbing with my felting needle. What a great stress reliever! I moved the slipper every so often to make sure it wasn’t felting it to the styrofoam block underneath. I repeated the process on the second slipper.
The finished felted goodness
Fifteen minutes of work and my slippers are as good as new. Much quicker than knitting another pair.

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Memes and howdy

January 10, 2009 at 9:53 am (Uncategorized)

So the holidays over, and it’s 2009.  I’ve spent the last few weeks with the worst cold ever.  But thankfully, it’s almost gone.  I credit lots of hot tea and soup.

Amber has tagged me for two fun memes.  One is 6 wonderfully weird things about me and the other is 7 things you might not know about me.  I’ll post ’em both together.

  • I built a dulcimer one year during summer camp.  It is a three string dulcimer made out of, wait for it, cardboard.  The sound is still pretty decent, and I can still pick a few tunes out.
  • My grandfather and I used to make grapevine wreaths.  I remember heading out to the woods with him to cut the vines down.  I was probably around 7 or 8.
  • My favorite city to visit in the US is New Orleans.  My first trip there was for the 1984 World’s Fair.  On that trip, we stayed with my grandfather’s sister.  She and her husband took us all around the city.  I discovered beignets at the Cafe du Monde and the glorious Garden District.  I’ve been back twice, and I always look forward to my next trip.
  • I was incredibly accident-prone, so I took six years of ballet.  Although toe shoes never agreed with me (and I admire all ballerinas), I still love dancing and classical music.
  • I love walking in the woods during winter.  When my dad lived in the country, I’d wake up early, have a bite to eat, and take off with the dogs in the woods for a few hours.  Looking back, it may not have been the brightest idea to go alone (this was b.c.p, before cell phones), but I loved the quiet of the morning.  Lots of time to just be.  I always found my way home using the sun.
  • I am allergic to mice.  In grad school, I had to work with mice (don’t ask).  We’d suit up for the “mousekeeping” days, and within minutes, my eyes would be itchy, and I’d be sneezing.  This is great when you are wearing a mask.  I’m really glad that my Thursdays are no longer spent in a mouse room.
  • I love languages.  I took Latin in high school for a couple of years.  Since I was a science major and I placed out of 3 semesters of language, I didn’t need to take a language in college.  But I’m currently studying Gaelic through the local Scottish Society and Hebrew with a friend.  It’s not too confusing unless I can’t remember something in one language, the number nine for instance, but I can remember it in the other.  That’s fun.

Well, there’s some weird facts for you.  If you wanna play, go ahead and snag the meme.  I’ve got plenty of news to write about, but I’ll save that for next time.

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New Crafty Obsessions

December 10, 2008 at 12:31 pm (7 cities crafters, cooking, crochet, family) (, , , , )

My older daughter has stopped napping in the afternoon.  Sadly, that was my major crafting time (or napping time, depending on the day).  I love handing out with her, but I miss my creative time.  Despite the fact that my crafty time is limited, I’ve managed to find two new obsessions.

My friend Amanda has opened Bake It Pretty, her new online shop.  I ordered some cookie cutters, a Vintage Village cupcake kit, and the Best-Ever Cupcake Icing kit.  It arrived last Friday, and I used the decorating kit to ice my agave cupcakes with Vegan Chocolate Buttercream.  This is my first attempt at icing a cake.  Not bad considering I only had half an hour before our 7 Cities Crafters holiday party.
First frosted cupcakes

The holiday party was lots of fun.  Everyone brought delicious food.  After we were stuffed, we had a holiday gift exchange.  I scored some beauutiful bird ornaments.  I can’t wait to hang them in my office/craft area.  I made some peppermint sugar scrub and a Rose for Mother pouf.  I spent a lot of time making the back of the rose look pretty, and then ended up covering it with more crochet.  Hmmm, I guess I should have read the pattern first.  The pouf is a very quick crochet project.  The hardest part is starting the slip stitches for the petals.
Rose for Mother

After all the gifts were opened, we settled in for a crafting workshop.  We had two classes:  embroidery and needle felting.  I’ve embroidered before, so I went with needle felting.  It is so fun (except for when you stab your fingers).  One of the hot gifts of the night was a sewn hedgehog pincushion.  I wanted to recreate it in needle felting.  Here is my little guy.
Needle felted hedgehog
Needle felted hedgehog
I think he’s pretty cute, and I love how quickly he took shape.  Since I’ve got tons of roving around the house, I can’t wait to make some more critters.

I’ve still owe y’all a Stitches post.  To distract you from that, I’ll leave you with a shot of Tulip in the leaves:
Tulip in the leaves

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Flu Shot Blues

November 4, 2008 at 8:10 pm (cooking)

I’m popping by for a quick note.  I got my flu shot this morning, and I am exhausted.  Despite the exhaustion, I did get out and vote.  The lines were around 3 hours this morning, but by the time I got there around lunchtime, they were about half an hour long.  It was encouraging to see so many people exercising their right to vote.  I wish the turnout was always this wonderful.

Tulip and I made chili today in the crockpot.  The Year of Crockpotting is my new inspiration blog.  This dedicated blogger is cooking something in a crockpot every day this year.  I’ve been using it a lot, and I’ve never been disappointed in a recipe.

We also picked up the new novel by Laurell K. Hamilton Swallowing Darkness.  I’m two chapters in, and I’m kicking myself for not rereading the series.  I completely forgot some huge things that happened in the last book.  So I’m reading and hanging on for the ride.

I spent the afternoon resting and playing Super Metroid.  And as the kids say, now it’s now.  I’m off to check out the election returns (if I can stand the suspense).

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Hay and Sunshine

November 3, 2008 at 7:59 pm (crochet, family, farmgirl, knitting) (, , )

On the knitting front, I’ve worked some on the second Tasha sock.  I’m getting close to the end of the leg.  The prospect of a heel flap and turn is always exciting.  I’ve also worked on the Mormor shawl.  And I’ve got a pic to prove it:
Mormor Shawl
Pretty, no? It is the Mormor Pattern in Lime and Violet Oops! Dark. I believe the yarn is the bamboo blend.  Little Turtle Mittens for Tulip are also on the needles.  I whipped up one mitt except thumb last Sunday.  I haven’t picked it up since because I was distracted by crochet.

The Granny Mitts from Chez Plum are too easy to make.  I’ve almost got a full pair (sans buttons) in just a couple of hours.  I used Karaoke and a tiny hook to get the right size.  I’d endorse these for quick holiday gifts.  I was going to take a pic, but then I realized I seamed the cuff of the second mitt.  D’oh!

The family and I headed to the Hunt Club Farm Harvest Fair yesterday.  The weather was absolutely perfect.  And there weren’t very many people.  The girls both rode ponies (actually, Tulip rode a miniature horse) and jumped in the bouncy houses.  They wanted to ride the ferris wheel, but I said no.  Since only Rosebud is the correct height, I didn’t want to leave Tulip out.  Plus, I hate ferris wheels.  We even took a hayride around the farm.  Rosebud especially loved the pile of hay.
Rosebud plays in the hay

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Rainy Days and Fridays

October 17, 2008 at 6:45 pm (Uncategorized)

I’ve been working on my Mormor shawl this week, and the knitting is going well.  I love the Lime and Violet Oops yarn.  The color is lovely, muted blues and purples.  The yarn has a sheen and a softness that makes it a pleasure to knit.  Why am I telling you about this instead of showing you?  The weather was so overcast all day that I was afraid the rain would drown my shawl before I could snap a photo.  As soon as the sun comes back, I’ll post a pic.

Finally, both the kids were back in school.  I had a busy morning, involving bagels and grocery trips and a red-tailed hawk soaring a few feet from me with a rabbit in its talons.  The hawk was being chased by a blue jay.  I’m serious.  I’ve seen small birds dive on hawk, but never one bird take on a hawk with a fresh kill.  I couldn’t see where the hawk landed, but eventually the jay flew off.  I hope the hawk had a nice meal.

The cloudy, cool day put me in the mood for soup.  Once the kiddos and I were back home, I started on some homemade vegetable broth.  I used Vegan Yum Yum’s recipe as a guide.  I added carrots, onions, celery, parsnips, broccoli, turnips, mushrooms, and parsley.  The house smelled pretty interesting by the time the broth was ready.

I strained the broth and immediately started making the Sweet Potato, Kale, and Yellow Squash Soup from Vegetarian Soups for all Seasons by Neva Atlas.  I made this soup last year, and I believe it was the last recipe I discussed with my grandmother.  Instead of serving the soup with rice, I used quinoa which I cooked in more homemade veggie broth.  I think my grandmother would have loved it.

The finished soup had a light sweet flavor.  I probably could have used more salt in the broth, but I did not want to overdo it.  Now I’ve got five cups of broth in the freezer, ready and waiting for my next recipe.

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Pecan Pi

October 13, 2008 at 6:23 pm (knitting) (, )

Pi Shawl, front

Despite the colors of this picture, the Pi Shawl in Redwood Forest does remind me of pecan pie.  I absolutely love how the shawl turned out.  It is not too big, but it is light and cozy.  My back is not happy with the amount of pinning I had to do to block this, though.  Those blocking wire kits look better every second I think about the other lace projects I have on the needles.

While the shawl was blocking this morning, I knit a few rows on the Tasha socks.  I may just end up with a finished pair one of these days.  The stitch pattern is easy to keep track of while watching quality tv.

I finally caught up on last season’s Supernatural during all of this knitting.  I’m so glad I didn’t have to wait all summer with that doozy of a cliffhanger.  And I have a couple more episodes to go in this season.  I love watching the Winchester boys in action.  Especially Dean.  Wow.

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The Joys of Playing

October 10, 2008 at 5:44 pm (family)

I consider myself an intelligent person.  But sometimes, you just need to let go of things you think you know.  I took the kidlets to the park yesterday.  The park had a nice play area and swings.  I knew I’d have fun just watching the girls play.  But I was wrong.

Rosebud (my blog nickname for my older daughter) hasn’t figured out swings yet, you know, the leg motion for swings that lets you go higher and higher.  I tried explaining it, but she just didn’t understand.  So I sat down on the swing next to her to show her.  After figuring out the entire swingset wasn’t going to collapse, I started swinging.  And then I remembered how much I always loved to swing.

At my elementary school, we had an enormous swingset (at least for a 5-8 year old).  Our greatest joy was swinging really high and leaping from the swing.  I can’t imagine why none of us broke anything, especially since these were the days long before “safe” playground design with soft surfaces underneath.  Few things match the feel of swinging back and forth, higher and higher.

Once we finished on the swings, I decided to play tag with Rosebud and Tulip (my blog nickname for my younger daughter).  Sure I wasn’t dressed for it and hadn’t planned on it.  But who cares?  We had a fantastic time, laughing and running around.  This morning, one of the first things they talked about was playing tag with mommy.  So you know what we did today after preschool?  We played tag again.  And I think we’ll have to do it tomorrow, too.

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Graveyard Books

October 5, 2008 at 10:10 pm (7 cities crafters, knitting) (, )

I’m reading Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book.  Like every book I’ve read by him, it is fantastic.  I love how his style morphs with each book and yet remains distinctly his voice.  I’m also listening to his video tour because the man knows how to tell a story.  There’s a huge difference between telling a story and simply reading one.

On the Neil Gaiman vein, I had the coolest dream last night.  I was at some convention at a table with Neil Gaiman and Laurell K. Hamilton.  We talked about writing and a cell phone that could call the dead. Wouldn’t that be a fun conversation?

I spent the evening hanging out at the 7 Cities Crafters monthly meeting. There were lots of new faces since I’ve missed a few meetings. The food was fantastic and so was the company. I took the Pi Shawl, which is very close to being finished. My goal is to finish by Wednesday. If tomorrow’s knitting goes well, I should definitely be done by then.

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Twilight Walks

October 4, 2008 at 9:35 pm (cooking) (, )

The weather has been cool this week. Fall is definitely in the air. This time of year always gets me in the mood for a good walk. I leashed the dog and set out. Just around our corner, we met up with some neighbors. We had a great chat, and I snagged some tasty basil. I think it’s pesto and gnocchi for dinner tomorrow!

After a brief trip home to put the basil in water, Bran (the dog) and I had a nice 40 minute walk. The sun set, and stars came out. It was a fantastic way to spend the evening. Far better than vegging on the couch.

As I’ve been moving the blog over, I saw that I’ve mentioned my grandmother’s Chocolate Cream Cheese Pound Cake. I also mentioned it on the latest episode of Craft Mentality. It’s been nearly a year since she passed away, and it’s only been in this past week that I felt like making my favorite cake again. This cake is certainly not health food, but it is a great comfort food. I thought I’d share the recipe.

Grandmommy’s Chocolate Cream Cheese Pound Cake

  • 1 1/2 c (3 sticks) butter
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 2 2/3 c sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla
  • 3 c flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 c cocoa

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Cream the butter and cheese.  Add the sugar and mix until light and fluffy.  With the mixer running, add the eggs one at a time.  Stir in vanilla.  Mix the dry ingredients in another bowl.  Add the dry ingredients to your batter.  Do not overmix.  Cook the cake for 1 1/2 hours, but start checking the cake to see if it’s done after 1 hr and 20 minutes.

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