Friday, February 26, 2010

Psychedelic Super Nova

Months and months ago I bought these awesome, large peacock blue jump rings and then began the search for the "perfect" batt to spin them into. I finally found it from ArtemisArtemis in the form on her 30z "Super Glitz India" batt which was mix of handdyed angelina, glitz, sari thread, firestar, silk, bamboo and merino. SO soft, incredibly so! Usually with that much glitz yarns can get rough but not this one!

I spun it fairly evenly, about worsted weight and decided instead of spinning the rings into it I would spin some solid white merino I had with the rings and then ply them together.

What I ended up with was 100 yards (around 5oz) exactly of the hugest, softest super-bulky weight yarn ever! I took these pics before I soaked it to set the twist and I can't imagine how much more it will "bloom" once it's set. My kids had a lot of fun running around with it on their next like a gigantic boa; Hannah didn't want to give it back. The skein you see around their necks is a 2 yard circle. I ended up with 26yards of the super-glitz single, which I will keep cause it would make a nice trim on whatever I end up knitting with this huge skein.
I am thinking perhaps I should buy another batt from ArtemisArtemis and do this same thing again, only with solid black merino I have hanging around. Sort of like an evil twin yarn? Could knit a one skein sweater on HUGE needles, starting at the top with one and switching to the other for the bottom?

For comparison I took a pic of it with a skein of a handspun sockyarn single I did that's about 215yds.

The whole time I was spindling (I use a drop spindle, you can see my "plying spindle is a CD spindle!) I was thinking that this yarn reminded me of a man I know, or at least one of his kids so I was thinking of naming the yarn "McCarley Kid" but Tony says it looks like psychedelic fruit stripe gum instead. : ) I wish all the sparkles showed up in the picture, something so asthetically pleasing shouldn't be lost in the picture but it is. : (
All in all though, I'm super happy with my super bulky yarn!

Thursday, February 25, 2010


The problem:
The ugliest "sheer" "bathroom" curtains ever, complete with embriodered oak leaves. What?!

The Budget:

The Skills:
Using a measuring tape and rotary cutter, sewing a straight seam on a sewing machine and ironing.

The Time:
1 hour, start to finish!

The Solution:
(Could NOT get a pic where the bathroom looked white like it's supposed to, so making do (sort of) with the close up. Sorry!

Tackle it Tuesday...late

Well not really, I did all this stuff on Tuesday and took pictures but then I didn't get a chance to put them into the computer until yesterday but yesterday was knit a sock day (tell ya later) instead of blog day.

So, for my Tackle it Tuesday I did house cleaning but I started at the back and worked forward. Whenever I clean I always start with my living room as it's the first room people see when they walk in the front door, get it nice and sparkling and looking like I have my act together, move on to the kitchen and maybe it get done and then between kids and cooking I run out of steam and time and never get any farther. If you walk into the bedrooms and bathrooms you'd think, Dear God, this cannot be part of the same house as the living room!

On Tuesday I started with washing massive amounts of laundry and while it was cooking I...
Made our bed and gathered all the clean laundry around the house and dumped it in the middle, making a massive mountain of fresh laundry to fold at some point. I cleaned the floor in Jeremiah's room (where our bed still is) and resorted all his toy bins. I'm not anal, really... I'm just very into organization.

Then I moved on to the kitchen floor, picking up strange odds and ends deposited there by little hands and then I swept and mopped it. I figured while I had the mop out I might as well clean Hannah's room, sort her toys, remake the kids beds and sweep and mop in there. Now her room is "shiny and clean" like my kids say (from Thomas the Tank Engine) and they have room to sleep and play.
Then since I still had the mop... I swept and mopped Jeremiah's floor, cleaned the bathroom (sink, toilet, floor) mopping in there too. I folded and put up 4 loads of laundry and then spent a half hour painted the yellow stripe on the road on Jeremiah's wall in the mural. I hadn't done that and I thought it was finally time, though I didn't do as good of a job as I intended because Hannah kept shoving my arm and telling me it was pretty! LOL!

There's my Tackle it Tuesday. I got a LOT done, the back/side part of my house looked awesome and I was really proud of myself though at the same time I was bummed at what I didn't get done. Vicious cycle, hahaha!

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Last year this was a majorly quilting related blog. This year so far it's a mostly recipe related blog with some knitting thrown in. Just one more way my life is "evolving" and constantly changing. This year I am knitting a *lot* and also trying to lose weight and get in shape, and this is the medium I am choosing to share my progress with the world.

Another evidence of creative evolution is this item I have been knitting for Hannah. When I first came up with the idea it was a svelt little fitted knit dress with decreases to the waist and ribbing to make it fit, then increases for the skirt with the adition of lace. It was also short sleeved. As I'm knitting it though it is evolving into a comfy loose fitting sweater.

I am using a wool/microfiber-acrylic blend yarn because I wanted the garment to be machine washable but since I was including lace in my design I wanted to be able to block it and have it keep its shape.
I cast on 96 stitches and knit in the round on DPNs for the ribbing around the neck and the first few rows of increases. I places stitch markers 30 sts, 18 sts, 30 sts & 18 sts and increased before and after each marker. 10 billion stitches later I put the sleeves on waste yarn and continued knitting in the round for the body. My plan was that this would take 2 skeins, but im halway through the 2nd and I've only finished one sleeve (and not the body!) so I'm thinkning it will be 3 skeins. Also, it's much bigger than I anticipated. I think it will probably fit her next winter, LoL!

As I knit I am wishing it were even bigger though and would fit me! It is *super* comfy! I used 1 repeat of lace around the cuff and then did ribbing. I am not sure I'm happy with it, I may end up pulling the ribbing back out and decreasing so the cuff is smaller. There will be a couple repeats of the same lace around the bottom of the body but done on a bigger circular needle so it shows up more.

Egg Rolls

Tonight on the menu for dinner we have homemade egg rolls. This super easy snack is really worth the time it takes to put together.

To make egg rolls you'll need:
1/2 a standard package of shredded cole slaw mix
2 boiled boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or approx. 6 tenderloinds of the same)
1 package of egg roll wrappers (I use Nasoya because that's what brand Kroger carries)
Vegetable oil for frying

a glass of tap water
a large mixing bowl
a sauce pan of some sort suitable for holding oil and frying egg rolls
paper towels or wire cooling rack

Chop up boiled chicken into small pieces about the size of your thumb nail. I also include a can of sliced water chestnuts in mine, but that is totally optional. I like the crunch. In a large mixing bowl combine the chicken and cole slaw mix (also the optional chestnuts).

Set yourself up a little work station, frying pan with oil on medium to get hot, a plate, your wrappers, glass of water, bowl of egg roll mix. Lay down one egg roll wrapper and put a small handful of mix on it, in the middle. Each egg roll will use about a 1/4-1/3 cup of mix, but just eyeball it. Wet the tip of your finger in the glass of water and then use it to wet one corner of the wrapper. Folf over, almost in half, over top the filling. Use your finger to wet 2 more corners and fold them in. Then wet along the edge of the rest of the wrapper and roll toward the final corner.

Set aside on the plate (BTW those adorable cherry plates of mine are not paper plates, they are Corelle. LOL!) and continue making egg rolls until your oil is hot enough, then start cooking them. I can fit about 6 at a time in my 12" pan but you may have to work in smaller batches. Don't over crowd! If you do, they'll take longer to cook and be greasier!! Flip over when the down side is a nice golden brown. Once the 2nd size is cooked drain on either towels or your wire rack.

Properly drained these about about 120 calories a piece--less than store bough and better for you because *no* preservatives and no sodium at this point. The addition of soy sauce or sweet & sour (duck) sauce will of course throw off your calorie count just a little, so adjust as needed.

These can be made with chicken like I did, or baby shrimp or no meat at all if you want to go vegetarian. Substitute mushroom, green onion or bell peper for the meat. Sorry there isn't a vegan version of this, even if you leave the egg out of the fried rice the egg roll wrappers themselves have egg in the ingredients. Unless of course you know of a vegan wrapper and then, game on.

I'm serving them along side a boxed chicken fried rice, which I will leave the oil and chicken out of and only use 1 egg and also a huge pile of fresh steamed/boiled broccoli crowns. All together, 2 egg rolls, rice and broccoli will give me a dinner of about 500 calories. Not bad for very tasty!!

It took about 40 minutes to make all 20 egg rolls, but I am made them this afternoon. They will keep at room temp on the counter for a couple hours until I need to make a quick dinner and then all I have to wait on is the broccoli and rice!

To reheat, wrap in a paper towel and microwave or bake in the oven for a few minutes.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Everything Frosted

We got snow again last night, during the night. We awoke to over an inch, almost 2", of fluffy white blanket all over everything as far as the eye could see. By mid morning though, the nasty sun in all its ferocity had come and begun to melt it away. I used to go on 1.5miles walks everyday and sometimes I would take my camera with me. I'd snap a picture of a cloud here, tree bark there, a bird on a telephone wire, an old TV out to someone's curb, etc. Close ups of things I thought were interesting. It's been a while since I've done that; when Jeremiah was about 10 months old I dropped my beloved 35mm camera and haven't gotten it fixed yet so now I use a fairly expensice digital one that I can't make focus on what I want. Bah! But, much to my husband's amusement I layered on sweatshirts and hat and went wandering around in the snow to take pictures. I hope you enjoy what I found. : )

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ignoring the Cook Books

I have a bunch of cook books. I even have one I made myself, from over 300 no-fail, much-loved recipes begged from friends and family. I rarely use them.

I'm kind of a "whatever" cook. I toss in this and that until it tastes good and then we eat. Tonight was no exception. When I made out my weekly menu (I pick 7 dinner meals and shop for those items) my DH said he wanted "hamburger steaks with mushrooms and onion gravy and stuff."

For the gravy I used:
1 lb of mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 medium white onions, thinly sliced
2 huge cloves of garlic
a pat of butter (about the amount you would use to butter 2 slices of toast)
1 can of fat free cream of mushroom soup (condensed)
about 1/2 cup of 1% milk

2 squirts (about 2 Tablespoons) worchestershire sauce
powdered mustard

I sauteed the onions, mushroom and garlic in the butter until soft and just starting to brown/camamelize and then I added in the seasonings. I used these because I opened my spice cupboard and they looked good. I have a bag of spicy/hot paprika my grandparents got me in Hungary that I'm trying to use up. I used almost a teaspoon of this stuff because it's starting to lose its potency and even then the resulting gravy was not spicy. Mustard powder because I like mustard on burgers (which is an odd line of reasoning because they don't taste the same at all), oregano because my DH wants it on everything and no salt because the worchestershire sauce is salty enough. Hannah made me take a picture of the garlic, though I'd already put half of it in the pan.

I let them cook a couple more minutes while I made hamburger patties out of some fresh ground beef and set them to cooking in another skillet. I sprinkled them with salt, pepper and a squirt or worchestershire sauce (because it was still out).

Then I added the can of mushroom soup to the onion/mushroom mess and whisked it in with my trusty rubber whisk so as not to scratch up my lovely new pan. Add in the milk, whisk, turn to low and let it hang out.

When the hamburgers were done I de-greased them a little by laying on paper towels and then turned them over and over in the gravy.

Side dishes consisted of tater tots (another request) and green beans. Start to finish this meal took me about 45 minutes but that's because I forgot to preheat the oven before I started cooking and we had to wait on the tots.

The "gravy" was *awesome* and I kept thinking along vegetarian lines so I've come up with a couple alternatives for any of you veggie lovers out there!

Instead of hamburger, slice and toast some everything italian bread in the oven. Once crispy, ladle gravy over it! It would also be yummy over some thick-sliced and fried egg plant. Sliced grilled or fried tofu might also work but I don't know, I have no expierence with it.
And, if going that route...

Subsitute the toast or egg plant for hamburger but also substitute a can of vegetable stock for the milk and olive oil for the butter (that we sauteed the onions and mushrooms in).