Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Still Christmas

I'm one of those annoying people who insist that Epiphany is the last day of Christmas. You know, Twelfth Night? The day the Magi came?

Today's society doesn't much hold with that, so no 12 day vacation or round of parties (we did get to go to one, a nice intimate gathering with local friends). And it seems odd to not have the tree out where we can see it. (It's living in the guest/TV/spare room, and I don't watch much television.)

Nevertheless, it's Still Christmas, and it's been very nice so far. We didn't give or get extravagant gifts, but the ones we got were lovely. DH found me vintage earrings to match a vintage Christmas brooch I already have. That's a wonderful combination of good luck, a good eye (he's got two), and persistence.

The cats were stunned by the windfall of toys...they wound up fighting over the same one, of course. (It met its end before Boxing Day, at the jaws of Than Chai. A fuzzy yellow candy cane. The hip thing for cats this year, I understand.)

The mortgage is paid for next month, we have plenty of food, it's warm in the house, and we both still have jobs. Still Christmas.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The last minute gift and general Christmas musings

I broke down and did it. Made a last-minute knitted gift. No further details at the moment, but it was no more than 6 hours start to finish, including some crochet edging.

Pictures of that and my mother's stole after Christmas.

And...the Christmas Spirit is trickling in. The office lunch was fun; I love it when we take a few minutes and relax over food together. Nat King Cole's version of "The Christmas Song" is playing at the moment, and I just wrapped a last-minute present for someone here (they come running and plead—Scotch tape and wrapping paper are a mystery to most).

Tonight I'll wrap a few things for DH (we cut way back on gifts to one another this year, but I have a few things to put under the tree).

All the packages have been sent out, and yesterday I got all of the Christmas dinner and brunch and Boxing Day food shopping done. There were excellent sales at the market. Half off on the meat, and I had a nice gift card from work. The final bill was more than 50% off! We'll have enough to also make beef pot pies on Boxing Day, and a nice brunch then, too—I'm thinking cream cheese stuffed French toast, bacon, Champagne cocktails and juice. (Recipe for the French toast follows.)


Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast

Day-old or dry bread in thick slices (challah, raisin bread or other sturdy bread)
cream cheese (8 oz.)
honey (1 tsp. per every 8 oz. of cream cheese)
2 eggs for every 6 slices of bread
vanilla extract (1/8 tsp. for every egg)
half-and-half (2 tbl. for each egg)
butter
oil

Following the proportions marked, beat eggs with half-and-half and vanilla.

Whip cream cheese with honey. Add additional honey, if you like.

Slice into thick slices from one end, stopping about 1" from bottom of slice. (Don't cut all the way through; you want a pocket, not two slices of bread.) Spread a generous tablespoon or two of the sweetened cream cheese into the slit and press closed.

Place bread into batter; allow to sit for at least one minute each side (longer if you like).

Fry in a large skillet or on a griddle (don't crowd or they will not brown; you can keep those that are done in a slow oven to keep warm). Use a mixture of butter and oil (butter alone will burn). Fry until golden on both sides.

Serve with maple syrup or fresh fruit or fruit sauce or powdered sugar or whatever it is you like on your French toast.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Cookies for Breakfast

Yes. What better time of year? Noels, if you must know (chewy bar cookies with lots of brown sugar and lots of mixed nuts), and a peanut butter kiss cookie for balance.
Lots of protein, right? And dairy.

We did get whacked with the snow. I'm glad I was wrong (yes). Hey, if I have to miss a party, a snowstorm is an acceptable substitute.

I shovelled when I got home—it was really coming down at that point—and I came in looking like the Abominable Snow Woman. No pictures to prove it, though.

This was a very domestic weekend; I made the peanut butter kisses and the Noels, and a batch of beef stew. Mulled wine, too (recipe at the end of the post).

And finally we got the ornaments on the tree. It's been weeks since it was put up. Poor thing. Nekkid and moving about, it must have been blushing in shame, though it still looks green to me.

I also can reccomend an excellent televised prodction of The Nutcracker. Normally I don't care for ballet on TV; the people behind the camera miss too much (including feet!) and the make-up and costumes don't take kindly to close-ups...but the San Francisco Ballet triumphs over all of that. And yes, they've produced a DVD. I'll be looking for it soon. This is one production I'll be happy to watch over and over again.


Mulled Wine

(1) bottle of red table wine
honey
whole cloves
stick cinnamon
(1) lemon
(1) orange
Cointreau [optional]

Prep: Peel the citrus fruits and cut off the pith (the bitter white portion). Put the sections of peel into the pan with the wine. Slice the rest of the pith off the fruits and slice them; add the slices to the pan.

Put in 1 - 3 sticks of cinnamon and 8 - 12 whole cloves.

Add 3 to 5 tbl. of honey; stir. Add Cointreau, if you're using it (about 1/4 cup).

Cook on low heat till it starts to bubble 'round the edges. Simmer for about 10 minutes.

Strain and re-bottle if making ahead. It's convenient to do this anyway, so no one swallows a clove or a hunk of fruit.

Can be kept in the fridge and re-heated a mug at a time, or put back into a pan. It's fine to keep on a low simmer for an extended period of time, but don't let it boil.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Let It Snow!

...because I won't believe it until I see it.

I'm from New York (never mind that Missouri stuff) and we require proof. Even upstate. In fact, especially upstate, as we know from snow up there.

The entire state of Rhode Island is semi-hysterical today. Snow! Snow everywhere! Close early! (Buy out all the milk and bread.)

Cancel the office Christmas party...the one I planned and set up. (And do it without telling me first, so that when people ask me about it I look like an idiot, okay?)

This is the Northeast, people. We get snow here. If you don't like snow, may I suggest Arizona or Southern California or Florida?



Oh. One more thing. It's 12:50 and not a single snowflake is to be seen. The ground is not only devoid of snow, it's dry.

Even if it begins to snow, I don't think we'll be incommunicado for the next week. This isn't Buffalo, NY!


Bah, humbug!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It's the most [insanely busy] time of the year!

And HOW.

Not only do I have the usual domestic Christmas work to do, I am responsible for client gifts, employee festivities, and you-name-it. And I work for someone who thinks planning ahead is fiction. I am not putting up the office tree this year. It's not worth the hassle.

Our tree is still not decorated, but I did make three batches of cookies (as yet undecorated) and the family gifts were shipped out today. UPS. I know better than to trust the post office.

No Christmas cards have been written—yet—but they will go out this year, unlike last year.

I do love Christmas, in spite of the rants above. It would be lovely, though, if somehow there were 9 days in a week, and those extra days were all mine.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Christmas and Cats

An interesting combination. Especially when the cats are young and haven't grown up with an older cat to teach them their Ps & Qs. Thai Shan would have kept the boys in line, just as Sud Ying taught him (yes, all Siamese. of course).

Than Chai. Of course. As bright as Fa Sing is, he's smart enough to not get caught when he does something naughty. Brawn-sans-brains always gets caught.

On Sunday he knocked down the tree. An artificial tree, so no water or heavy stand, and just lights, no ornaments yet, as we've been trying to ease them into the idea of something pretty that is not a cat toy.

Still, this means the tree will be moved up to the guest room (there's still space, we need to get more furniture). DH didn't want to do this, but I insisted. We had no tree at all last year, as the boys were tiny and into everything...and I love my pretty ornaments. Most of them are blown glass or crystal, of course. And Than Than still hasn't come down from killing his first mouse. (With my luck, the next one will run straight up the tree...if word hasn't gone out on the mouse grapevine.)

So much for cats and Christmas; we'll see how things go with the tree. Maybe we'll get the ornaments on this weekend.

Knitting isn't going fast, either. If I'm lucky I manage about eight rows a week on the Hope sweater. Which means that I'm on row 53 now. At least it's past half-way!

As for the Interminable Stole, ugh. I've decided it has to be "done" (whatever that means) this week so I can block it and send it off to TX in time for Christmas. The boys will be sorry to see it go. They snuggle under while I'm working on it.

Friday, December 05, 2008

We need a little Christmas

This evening after work, we are going to see Trinity Repertory Theatre's production of A Christmas Carol.

It's their big breadwinner, probably the thing that keeps them in the black, but we've never seen it. This is a hugely popular show, and they change it every year. Always a gimmick, I'm told. But also a polished and professional show.

We've tried to get tickets before, but waited too long for good seats. This year I chose them in early November (or maybe it was late October) and we got lucky.

I love going to the theatre; not only because I used to act, but because it always feels like a celebration.

Dressing up adds to the charm, and I've got the perfect Christmas dress! It's a New Look red velvet cheongsam, which was custom made for a diplomat's wife who lived in Hong Kong. Moderate Dolman look to the sleeves, and a very hourglass cut. I set out my gold stilettos and a gold mesh Whiting and Davis purse. The Persian lamb coat I found last weekend will keep me nice and warm; it's long and princess-cut.

DH is wearing a dark gray suit and (he said) a Christmas tie. He's got a sharp bow tie with holly leaves on it, not too kitschy.

Rather than going to dinner after, we are having waffles and bacon with champagne at home. My 30s waffle iron makes excellent waffles. I'll feel like an Art Deco socialite in a magazine story, apron and all.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Black Wednesday

Yesterday was a "day off from work".

Which means....

...that I got up at 5 as usual, ran, had breakfast, did lots of housework (including laundry)...

...and updated my Christmas list and went out to do something about it.

We're nearly there. All of the family stuff that has to be shipped and all of my office gifts are in. Now to wrap (Saturday, I suspect).

All that's left are gift cards and smaller gifts for friends, local and away. I've even done most of DH's stocking stuffers. Not his "big" gift, though. I haven't found it yet.

We are certainly operating on a budget this year, but it's going swimmingly so far. I'm pleased with what I've found. We even found a huge roll of inexpensive, pretty wrapping paper and curling ribbon.

There are enough Christmas cards left from years past that we don't need to buy any this year.

I'm splurging on one new thing: lights for the tree. Our cheap ones are about to give up the ghost. This year retro white lights are available, and I want to get them while I can, so that the tree looks more period. NO tinsel, though. It's a death-trap for animals.

Oh, speaking of which, not even a mouse will be heard on Christmas Eve or any other time. Than Chai caught a field mouse on Tuesday evening. IN the house. He dispatched it quickly when DH started yelling at him to drop it, and ran up the stairs with his prey. But he dropped it obediently when I told him to (Mama is the Enforcer in our house). I scooped it up and DH put the poor thing in the trash.

Just the same, I hope that word gets out on the rodent grapevine. The last thing I want is unauthorized visitors in my pantry.

Knitting? I got a whole row and a half done on the sweater. Unfortunately, I need to concentrate on the wrap so I can wash and block it in time to ship to TX for Christmas.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Boring but true

We had a quiet four days.

I actually did get up and run on Thanksgiving (and it's a good thing, because I ate non-stop the whole time).

The cranberry tart was a smashing success. I will make it again. On Friday, DH was telling everyone who would stand still long enough all about it. (I feel about the same, pardon me while I blow my own horn.)

On Friday we shopped...for ourselves. He found a machinist's tool kit, stocked, and I found a late 30s Persian lamb coat, princess cut. We got some other odds and ends as well.

Saturday he worked on the upstairs bath. The hole in the wall over the sink is patched now. No more worrying that small creatures will peek out at me from the walls.

And I made turkey pot pies, and cleaned the first floor completely. I also used the washer and dryer for the first time. They did a sterling job.

Sunday was a real day of rest. I did nothing but lounge in front of the fire and read mysteries, eat, and cuddle cats.

As far as knitting goes...well, poor Obama was not in this race. It's so difficult to do color work around the cats that I didn't even bother. Back to it today at lunch.

I got in four or more pattern repeats on the stole. It's good TV knitting.

I am afraid that Startitis is about to strike...it's getting boring in my little knit world. But I will be disciplined...ugh...two deadlines. And Christmas is coming!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Over the river and through the woods

Thanksgiving preparations are moving right along.

I got everything on my list, even wine and port and Calvados, diced and dried the bread for dressing, and made the cranberry polenta tart (recipe from the New York Times, November 14, 2007).

Tonight is vegetable prep. The turkey breast is thawed and in the fridge, and I still need to see to the linens and silver and crystal, but as it's just the two of us for dinner that won't take very long.

The Hope sweater is still moving along. Slow-but-steady. I am Turtle Knits.

Tomorrow I'm still getting up close to my usual time (5:00...might push it back to 6:00) so that I can go running before I launch myself into dinner workings.

I also have a confession to make:

I listened to Christmas music last night. (And two productions of the Lux Radio Theater...Miracle on 34th Street and Holiday Affair.)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Austen and Sayers and Wodehouse

Oh, my.

I've been reading a lot of P.G. Wodehouse lately. I've also been dipping into books about him, and in so doing, I noticed that he appeared to have borrowed a few names from Miss Austen. Bingley and D'Arcy (Darcy), no less.

His style influenced so many people and writers, too. That is, the knuts and others whom Wodehouse kept alive in his time live on now because of his brilliant way of turning a stereotype into a character that fascinates.

Dorothy L. Sayers was a scholar, in every way. But she loved humor, and it shows in the Lord Peter Wimsey books. (Wimsey, for heaven's sake, as a surname.) For the most part she keeps it subtle, barring the opening of the first book, but she can't resist letting a character describe Lord Peter in Murder Must Advertise as "Bertie Wooster in horn-rims". He's in disguise, thus the glasses.

One of the slackers hanging out in the secretaries' offices is reading Wodehouse, too. Even immediately after Peter is at his most serious some of Bertie's mannerisms will creep in; I love that.

I think it's time to re-read the Wimsey canon chronologically again.

In even more frivolous news, I present you with a sample of my contribution to the ornament exchange:

Monday, November 24, 2008

Blogstalking: Favorite Breakfast/What gets me going in the mornings?

1. What is my favorite breakfast?

Favorite breakfast? I could be listing favorite breakfasts for the next several pages....but here's a top contender:

Grits and grillades, plus buttered rye toast or cream biscuits and champagne cocktails.

The above is a Southern dish I got hooked on when I lived in Virginia.

To make it I pan saute medium thick pork chops til brown & let them rest in a slow oven. Next: I caramelize one medium yellow onion for each pork chop. Deglaze the pan with beef stock and boil until it's syrupy.

Serve the onions and sauce over the pork chops, with cheese grits and biscuits or toast on the side.

...I have this every couple of years; it's very rich. It's wonderful for Christmas breakfast.


2. What gets me going in the morning?

It takes a few things. Three are important.

1. Stretching (combination of yoga, Pilates and what-have-you for 20 minutes to an hour).

2. Good coffee. French roast, beans just ground, made by French filter drip method.

3. Time. Time to sit and relax with my breakfast, a book or the paper, my knitting, and/or the cats.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fudging

The Hope sweater is coming along. I've taken to bringing it as my travel knitting. That way I can get one or two rows in at lunch or in the car. (The stole is my Mindless Knitting. I work on that at home, the cats burrowed underneath as I knit.)

I've just finished row 37 on the front of the sweater. Some fudging, as the pattern is a pixilization of a poster. Arty, definately. Not precise as Fair Isle would be.

Normally I don't fudge colorwork or pattern stitches; it makes me crazy. But (apologies to the designer) it isn't as necessary here to be strict. The overall effect is the thing, and it's still good.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Holiday Menus: Thanksgiving

Wait! (Knitting content: I'm at row 32 on the sweater, and did another pattern repeat on the stole. There.)

Yes, I'm food-obsessed; all the more so now that I have my own kitchen to use as a prep space.

For the first time since our marriage, DH and I will be dining at home for Thanksgiving. It's been fun going out to historic inns in New England for the dinner, listening to OTR as we drive. And we'll do it again, but this year I get to cook!

It will be just the two of us (and two begging Siamese), and I've got a good idea of the menu now.

Turkey breast
Turkey gravy
Ham
Mashed garlic potatoes
Dressing (as it's on the side and not in the bird)
Green beans
Julienned carrots & baby corn
*either* Cauliflower in cheese sauce OR Mushrooms gratinée
German coleslaw
Sourdough dinner rolls (from Seven Stars bakery, in Providence)
Cranberry bread

We'll drink a chardonnay, and I am still trying to decide what to make for dessert. I want pumpkin and hazelnut cheesecake or cranberry polenta tart or apple whiskey crumble pie.

I'd love to make all three, but as we'll still have leftovers from DH's birthday cake it's time to pick and choose.

For me a holiday dinner at home also means polishing the silver, getting out the Limoges and washing the crystal. Not to mention being sure that the linens are spot-free and properly ironed...all of those details mean a lot to me.

I like the ceremony of it all.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Home Cooking

One of the most comforting things a house can hold is good smells. I have a keen sense of smell, and a scent can take me back years in only seconds. Carnations will always make me think of St. Patrick's Day, because when I was 7 years old my mother and grandmother decided to order some (green, of course) to celebrate the great day.

Tonight for the first time in our new house I'll be coming home to pot roast. I started it last night and it's been cooking since then.

Pot Roast

1 pot roast (rump, for example)
1 small yellow onion for every few pounds of meat
crimini mushrooms (optional)
1-3 bay leaves
beef stock almost to cover
3 or 4 black peppercorns
2-3 cloves garlic
red wine
olive oil

potatoes
carrots


Brown the roast well on all sides, preferably in an iron skillet. Place in dutch oven or crock pot.

Add a glaze of olive oil and the onion(s), thinly sliced to the skillet. When very dark brown, add to the roast.

If using the mushrooms, add to the same pan, with a bit more oil if needed. (If not, deglaze the pan now with red wine, boil down, and add to the roast.)

Sautée the mushrooms until they've begun to brown and add to the pot. Now deglaze the pan and add the reduced liquid to the rest. Put in a few pieces of raw onion, if you like.

Pour enough stock over the contents to come up 2/3 or more.

Add several bruised cloves of garlic, the peppercorns, and the bay leaf or leaves.

Simmer 6 hours or more at a low temperature. Add peeled carrots and potatoes two to three hours before your end time.(Can be prepared ahead up to this point; if so, cool and remove any congealed fat from the surface before continuing.)

Remove the roast and vegetables and strain the liquid. Reduce the liquid over high heat until it's to your taste. It will be thickened but not syrupy.

Season if necessary, with black pepper, freshly cracked, and sea salt.

Dish out the meat (falling apart at this point) and vegetables and serve some sauce over, the rest on the side if you like.


Leftovers are wonderful. Make beef pot pie, fillings for turnovers, soup, or casseroles. Or use the meat for sandwiches.

Monday, November 17, 2008

S-L-O-W Going

I hate intarsia.

Have I mentioned this?

(It bears repeating: I. Hate. Intarsia.)

But I want the damn sweater, so I will Persist. Urk. There's already been a short frogging session, but things are going a bit better.

I have an odd problem with it. Most people knit too tightly when doing color work. I overcompensate, and end up with spots a semi could get through. Yes, blocking it will definitely improve matters, but it's not a miracle worker.

At this point I am on row...27 or 28, I think. Out of over 100 or so on the chart, not counting the ribbing and the last of the neck shaping.

Rather than whipping through, the way I do with one color, I'm using rather more deliberation that I need with a new lace pattern. Why is it that good lace technique sticks with me, while I almost have to re-learn color work every time I tackle a new project?

It's to keep me humble, no doubt. It's working.

Maybe I should make my deadline January 19th!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Happy Birthday, Kitten!

It's November 14, which means it's my little sister's birthday.

Of course, she's got two kids of her own, Patrick (11) and Sean (7). I won't say how old she is, but she's still younger than me!

I wish I could see you today, kid, and take you out for a celebration.

We'll have that sisters-only vacation someday...right?

In spite of the wrangling when we were kids, and the differences, I know I can always count on you to get it, and you know you can count on me. I'm very happy that you're my sister.

Have a splendid day.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Stocking the freezer

Today we got something I have wanted my entire life: a chest freezer.

Our near neighbors when I was growing up, the Carnrights, had one. To me it was magical. Mrs. C. froze lots of things, but what struck me most was her stock of flash-frozen fruit.

We don't have the red currant bushes yet, but I plan to stock the freezer with lots of other wonderful things. Baked goods! I have a lovely excuse, with the holidays coming up.

I'll be making desserts for Thanksgiving, corn bread, biscuits, and Christmas cookies.

When good meats are on sale I'll re-package them into two servings each, or save roasts. Leftovers, too.

And I'll be able to make stock ahead, and freeze it in ice cube trays so I can take out just a little at a time.

Not to mention French onion soup. Stews. Chili (without the beans; I'll put those in after it's thawed). Marinara sauce. Individual stuffed shells....I will have a ball.

It's been so long since I've even had a decent freezer as part of a fridge...four and a half years, in fact, that this is a real gift! (It's also a great way to quarantine suspect yarn; bag it, put in for a couple of days. Take it out for a day or two; put it in again for a couple of days to catch anything hatching, and you're safe.)

In knitting news, I did cast on for the front yesterday. The intarsia is slow going, especially with two cats completing for lap space and occasionally forgetting good manners to bat at the three or four working yarns tangling around their faces. I've already had to tink back once, but it's something I caught in the next row. It could have been much worse.

Tonight I will bake the ornament cookies. The dough is chilling now. They need to dry for a couple of days before I decorate .

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day

Or, if you're in the UK, Armistice Day, I believe. In other places, Remembrance Day.

In any case, it is the 11th day of the 11th month and hearkens back to the armistace of the Great War (WWI).

Thank you to all the veterans out there, past and present.

Specifically, I would like to thank my father, my husband, my father-in-law, my great uncle, my ex-husband and his father, and all those whom I know personally for serving in the U.S. miliary services. (Happy birthday, too, Nathan.)

If you are interested or curious in the history of this day, and about other veterans, go to this website:

http://www.loc.gov/vets/

Excuse the lack of a proper link; Blogger, for some reason, is making them invisible when the code is added.

Just copy and paste it into your browser window.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Flying off the needles

Knitting mojo is BACK. And about time.

The Obama Hope sweater is racing along. The back is done, and I will finish the sleeves today. Perhaps I'll even be able to cast on for the front (see, I tricked myself...when the front is finished, the sleeves will be all set).

I should take the time to make my ornaments for the exchange in Michigan, though. I will be making non-edible "gingerbread cookies". I want to use my reindeer cookie cutter, and fabric paint, with red beads for the nose, black for the eye, and tiny bells for the harness strap.

The organizer sent a link to some of the works in progress, and they're wonderful. No kitschy uglies in this exchange!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Back to knitting

The "Hope" sweater is underway.

I picked up the yarn yesterday; I'm using Lion Brand Wool in navy, the rest is Patons, I think.

It is so wonderful to be able to find inexpensive wool yarn in the stores! I have nothing against boutique yarns, especially silk (!), but being a bargain hunter at heart, I love finding the "real" thing for less than the GNP.

I cast on last night for the back. It's looking good, gauge and tension both, and I am already nearly 15 rows into the stockinette. This weekend will, I hope, leave me lots of knitting time.

Some time next week I'll post some pictures. WIP! (The other goal for this weekend is re-organization and clean-up of the work room. Somehow all of the junk landed in there while we were tidying up for our party. DH also found more yarn when he was putting away his clothes.)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Yes, we did!

And to celebrate President-Elect Obama's election and elegant, heartfelt and dignified speech, I will be knitting this:


http://nocturnalknits.blogspot.com/2008/10/obama-rama-free-pattern.html

It's from a book about to come out [Picture Perfect Knits], but I am using the free pattern. I am not usually an intarsia fan, but this, I think, is worth the struggle.

I'll even be spending...for this sweater I need yarn that's not in the stash. I won't use the acrylic, though. Ugh. Lion Brand has wool—REAL wool—yarn now, though, and I will, I hope, be using that.

Yes, we can.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I Love _____ Because ______

Hello, Blogstalkers!

I love vintage because it was built to last.

The era I love best is the one that produced Art Deco (20s and 30s in round reckoning). "Planned obsolescence" was a thing of the future.

In our home we have vintage chairs, tables, lamps, fabrics, clothing, appliances, even magazines. (I admit the magazines crumble occasionally. But they were meant to last until the next paper drive or fire in the fireplace.)

My ca. 1938 Glenwood stove is a wonder. The heat is even. The construction is sturdy. It's pleasant to look at, and it gives me extra workspace; I can pull down a cover over unused burners. If we had the space in the kitchen I could also use the heater (but it's too close to the wall).

I love my 1933 GE Monitor Top fridge. It is the best. Everything stays icy cold. Nothing goes bad in two days (I've had several modern fridges that made a habit of that).

My vintage clothing is flattering and well-made. It fits me the way that modern clothing does not (the dress I'm wearing in my post-Halloween post is from the early-to-mid 1930s).

As for old movies...well, they were the very best in escapist entertainment, not to mention elegant design.

Not all of it was grand. Segregation. Lack of antibiotics. Not everyone could afford that fridge or stove. Let's not forget the Depression. Still, I love vintage for all of the above reasons and more.

PLEASE VOTE!

PLEASE, cast your ballot today.

Yes, I know who I'm voting for:

Senator Obama.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Post Party Mortem



Yes, I had time to carve the Jack O'Lantern.



It was a lovely party, and all of our guests had a good time. They were even good sports about being made to read a radio play from "The Shadow". We had just enough actors for all the parts.







Here is a link to the album:



http://s38.photobucket.com/albums/e111/lindydiva/House10%2031%2008/

There are post-Halloween photos of the kitchen, too.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!



The witch is in!

And we're almost ready to go. I even got the freezer defrosted.

In fact (hope I'm not jinxing myself) I think I'm far enough ahead that I'll have time to carve a Jack O'Lantern.

This is a big deal, as I've been planning to carve one for the last four years but have not. (I've even bought the pumpkin a few times.)

We'll see what happens.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

All Hallow's Eve Eve

TOMORROW.

That's the (ha!) Deadline. (Sorry, I'm easily amused by puns.)

We're doing pretty well. DH put on the last of the cabinet doors. They look wonderful.

Tonight is going to be a mad scramble of shopping, decorating, organizing, and husband-wrangling (did I say that? *grin*).

We'll be fine, though.

I am armed with a sheaf of Lists.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Still managing

I made the chili and the pumpkin bread last night. And all the rest on my list.

November 1st is for full collapse!

There were a few alterations. For the bread, I used half regular unbleached flour, and half whole wheat pastry flour (+ 2 tbl.).

For the chili, I used mushroom stock. And two onions...I should have done the three. Another thing--vermouth instead of beer, as I was afraid the beer would have gluten in it.

I roasted the peppers under the broiler, and was quite conservative, for me, in adding the hot ones. Couldn't find decent fresh tomatoes, so I added a scant 1/4 cup of chopped sun dried tomatoes. Used two cans of tomato, 2 boxes of stock (organic, GF) and 4 cloves of garlic.

Everything turned out well, but I'll be cooking the chili for another few hours to deepen the flavor. The beans will be added in the last half hour or so.

I brought some into work for a few people, so we'll have a taste test at lunch.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

On Target

Last night I actually accomplished everything on my "list". Made a pert little pin-up style witch's hat for my Halloween costumes. It took some trial & error, but I had all the materials already, and I'm pleased with the end result. There will be pictures eventually.

I picked up the ingredients for the chili and the pumpkin bread, and also got wine and rum and a bottle of dark beer to be used for the chili.

Forgot the eggs, and the local place I like is out of black vodka and it's backordered...so...I need to make up a new punch recipe.

Tonight is making chili and baking rum raisin pumpkin bread, and a few other things. Tomorrow the hairdresser! (It's been a long time!)

p.s. I've opened up the Comments to all.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ode to My Knitting

(For the Blogstalkers....even if I don't have the code up yet.)

I looked up the forms of the ode, and at the moment don't care to wrap (h'mm..almost wrote warp. Hello, Dr. Freud!) my mind around them.

So...




Gleaming tangles of string. Wool, silk, linen and more,
Ready to become every sort of draped or fulled dream.
Knitter's dreams, looped and shaped
with pointy sticks of rosewood and casein and ebony and Bakelite.

Food for Thought

As it were.

I haven't made this yet, but here are my plans....

Pumpkin Chili

1. Make a chili paste with cayenne & vinegar. Cook until it turns the color of burnt sienna.

2. Caramelize 3 yellow onions. Roast a couple of tomatoes in the oven. Roast bell peppers.

Ingredients list:

pureed pumpkin
vegetable stock
garlic
yellow onions
corn
pureed tomatoes
tomato paste
small white onion
bell peppers: red, yellow, orange
hot peppers (fresh & pickled)
carrots
crimini mushrooms
vinegar
chili powder
cumin
cocoa
oregano
thyme
Tabasco
dark beer
olive oil

After caramelizing the onions, add in chopped mushrooms. When they're browned, deglaze the pan with dark beer (probably porter or stout). Mix in a tsp. of tomato paste, pureed tomatoes and the pureed pumpkin.

Saute chopped white onion, chopped garlic, chopped carrots, roasted tomatoes & bell peppers till they sweat. Add to the onions and mushrooms.

Mince hot peppers. Add those, the corn, herbs, spices, a tsp. of chili paste, dash of Tabasco. Add stock and simmer for at least 3 hours.

Season to taste with sea salt, vinegar or lime juice, etc.


Tonight I'll get the ingredients, and tomorrow I'll make it. A few people in the office have requested samples! (They'll get them.)

It's going to be a very, very busy week. We got quite a bit done over the weekend, but of course it was a little less than we'd have liked. DH got the front lights up. They look terrific, if not exactly what we'll put up eventually. They are in the style, and don't look plastic and drunken. A good start.

Yesterday I sewed (by hand) all day long, and we have curtains for the cabinets. If I say so myself, they turned out very well. Next the windows. I'm going to use sheers to make hourglass curtains, and tie them in the center with the material I used for the cabinets. All of the cabinet doors in the kitchen are up, too.

I still need to put the lower doors on to the china cupboard, but the top is done for now.

The rest of the week will be cleaning and cooking and all that. I really hope I have time to carve even a simple Jack O'Lantern. At least I know where my carving tools are. That's promising...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Halloween, 1930s Style




The 1930s Halloween was still a time of pranks rather than a lot of treats, and big parties were for grown-ups. Elegant masquerades with corny decorations and elaborate menus were the order of the socialite Halloween.

To that end, I've been collecting Deco style Halloween decor. Luckily, this year the 30s style designs are making a come-back. I'm getting all I can now! Last night I even found some paddle games with "carved pumpkin" paddles. Plastic, of course, rather than crepe or cardboard, but they look wonderful. Last weekend DH found some crepe reproduction jack o'lantern bowls, and I picked up a few creepy details at Archie McPhee, including three 30s reproduction Halloween masks.

Our guests have been given a choice between black tie (we'll provide the masks) or their own costumes. I'm going to make as much autumn themed food as I can, and it will be served on china and crystal and silver.

Last month I found a 30s punchbowl at my favorite thrift shop. It was only $8.00, and there were 9 cups as well as the bowl. I'll also have hot cider (booze on the side for spiking) and seltzer water. We'll provide wine, too.

I have a book of old radio scripts for "The Shadow", and we're thinking of copying some out to stage our own radio play. A few of us in the crowd have been on stage and I think it will be wonderful.

For music I have "The Sorcerer's Apprentice", the Verdi "Requiem", Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet" and a CD full of spooky jazz tracks from the 20s, 30s and 40s. We even have a stack of OTR recordings from the "Suspense!" show.

I love to give parties, and it's been a long time since I've been able to indulge myself. We're going to have a swell time.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Rum Raisin Pumpkin Bread

No blogstalking yet (haven't been able to figure out how to put the code in to link to the ring. Techie I'm not).

I haven't made any yet this year, but the following is my recipe for Rum Raisin Pumpkin Bread.

It's based on the Fannie Farmer Cookbook pumpkin bread. I don't use nuts, and add extra cinnamon, and the raisins, and...well. You know how it is in the lab, Dr. Frankenstein.

(Cooking Time: 60 minutes at 350 F)

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup pumpkin puree [1/2 can of pumpkin puree]
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 cup rum-soaked raisins*
1/2 tsp. rum



*Measure out one cup of raisins. Pour about 1/2 a cup of heated rum over them. Let the raisins soak for at least 30 minutes, stirring a few times. They can soak for days, if you prefer!

Strain; strain the rum through cheesecloth and use for cocktails or put into hot cider.




To bake:

Stir together all dry ingredients except the sugar. Mix in the raisins.

Beat the eggs until they start to thicken. Add in the sugar; beat until it's incorporated. Next mix in the oil, then the water and rum.

Pour the wet mixture into the dry and stir until fairly well mixed. Don't mix too long; there should still be dry areas visible. I like to use a spatula to do the mixing, cutting the wet ingredients into the dry.

Fill a greased and floured loaf pan, mounding the mixture slightly in the middle. Tap the pan a few times on the counter to get rid of air bubbles. Turn the pan once about half-way through the cooking time.


It's easy to double this recipe (use the whole can of pumpkin). This bread freezes very well. (It's amazing with cream cheese frosting. Just beat cream cheese and honey together. Add a touch of vanilla or rum. )

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Food for Fall

I love autumn. It's my favorite time of year. Brilliant foliage, crisp weather, pumpkins and a lighted fireplace, and stews and soups. Oh, my.

So for a change from The House and knitting, I want to talk about food.

This kind of weather has me dreaming about making chili and beef stew, or beef vegetable soup. Or cheese soup with plenty of potatoes and carrots and green beans. Biscuits. Cornbread in the skillet. Apple pie. Cranberry-apple crisp. Handmade cream cheese pastry crackers in the shape of leaves.

I don't know where to begin! But...DH brought home a can of pumpkin last night. Yes, fresh from a local sugar pumpkin would be better, but it's a handy start.

We talked about it last night, and I think I'm going to try a pumpkin veggie chili. Normally it would be beef or venison, but I want to create something I can serve at our Halloween party. If I make a small batch I'll still have half a can left. That's enough to make a loaf of pumpkin bread. I usually make it with rum-soaked raisins. Time to make a shopping list!

Does anyone out there have favorite pumpkin recipes? (I was also thinking of adding some puréed pumpkin to my biscuit recipe.)

Feel free to comment and make recommendations. My reach always exceeds my grasp (in terms of what I get done) but I love to get new recipes and ideas.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I Lied

About taking pictures.

But I did get a LOT done. Thanks to a thread on Knitty I listed it all out:

Put the final coat of paint on the pine cupboard doors
Measured for the kitchen curtains (window & cabinet)
Scrubbed the dining room carpet
Stripped all the paint off an Art Deco stand I found this weekend
Organized the linen closet
Cleaned and organized the upstairs bath
Made a batch of apple cinnamon muffins
Started mending the dining room curtains
Went thrifting/antiquing
Washed and used the old canning jars we found (to store dry goods)
Picked up repro wall sconces & ceiling lights in Narragansett
Knit several pattern repeats on the stole for my mother
Took off the label on the side door, and washed some windows
Did some spot priming and painting
Cleaned out the fridge
Washed the Art Deco repro fabric for the kitchen cabinet curtains

DH took up and bagged the rest of the mulch and got his clothes put away (I swear I thought it would never happen).

Next weekend, we'll see. It would be great if we could get the pillars done, and the lights on the front entry. It looks lousy in this half-way stage, and we are having a Halloween party, after all.

I'm having quite a time with the menu. We have guests who are vegetarian (not too hard, really), vegan, and lactose intolerant, as well as gluten intolerant. Any one--not tough. All--really difficult.

None of them are difficult guests, but I would really like to have a menu that allows everyone to have at least a few choices.

The toughest things for me are vegan and gluten intolerant. I am not going to bake with tofu or fake dairy. That stuff I'll have to buy as is. It's a lot of work to prep without a food processor, and besides, the chemical fakes aren't any too good for you. I do have some gluten free "flour". Brownies should be pretty simple, but they won't be vegan.

But...these guests are good people, and I want them to feel comfortable! I have a feeling that Whole Yuppie will provide some of our menu items. And it won't be terribly accurate, historically, but people are more important than effect.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Another double post...

...because DH just called to tell me that he bought $300.00 worth of ivy for $60.00.

Looks like we'll be working on the front garden this weekend!

We've really been lucky in thrifting and hitting sales. Yesterday I found another basket for the kitchen shelves and a small bookshelf to put on top of the dresser in the workroom. The shelves cost $3.99. That's my kind of pricing.

Back to plants, we're really hoping to pick up a couple of holly bushes, too. I would also really like some hydrangeas and peonies. Not only because I like them; they do best (I'm told) if they're planted in the fall.

We're going to fill in the front with annuals; so mums for now, if we find that kind of time.

Blog Stalking

I've never done it, not really. Yes, I'm a fan of the Yarn Harlot (for you non-knitters, if any, she's a knitter with a witty way of dealing with everything life throws at her, knitwise or otherwise), and I make it a habit to read Batty's blog, and ZantiMissKnit's and a few others I know IRL.

But on Knitty there will be a new Blog Stalk soon and I have "signed up" to be part of it. I think the post (topic yet undetermined) is due on October 22.

In other news...I did sort the magazines yesterday, and work on the china cupboard. I even started in on some of the other areas that need paint. In addition to that, I unpacked my last clothing box...I think!

Tonight we'll be heading over to an antiques mall (they're open late on Thursdays) to see what there is to see. We still need bookcases and some kind of furniture for the upstairs bath, as we're going to put in a pedestal sink and a tilt mirror, rather than a vanity and a medicine cabinet. Yes, design matters!!

Oh, we'll also be getting wall sconces for my workroom. Craigslist has come through again.

As far as knitting goes, I managed a few more rows on the wrap. It's at lap throw size now, but so long as I can find the rest of the yarn I'll keep knitting.

I think it would be a good idea to pick a day of the week to display a WIP (Work In Progress). It might not keep me honest, but at least I'll feel guilty enough to do something.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Burnt out

We are both feeling the effects of so much unusual activity. DH hasn't done nearly as much as me (until recently) but he had a very busy few days.

And me? Frazzled.

But I look around, and there is still a lot to do, especially as we're having a Halloween party!

A room shut off, with the rest of the junk in it, that's not too bad. But we're not at that point yet.

Tonight, if I do nothing else I need to work on the china cupboard and sort the vintage magazines. I want to work it so that we have the current month (though not year!) plus the following month out, and switch every four weeks or so. Even vintage magazine racks have their spacial limitations. Besides, it looks like hell, and I'm fussy enough to resent it.

We need more bookcases (I'm trying to find a wall mounted white one for the kitchen, and we'd like at least one tall one for the living room or media room). I need to make curtains for the kitchen cupboards and the windows, get mini blinds up in the workroom—DH will probably take care of that—and find some way of transforming the bedroom, which is a disaster area.

The upstairs (full) bath is a whole other can of worms. It's a wreck, but until we have something like order everywhere else, it seems pointless to start demo work and all the rest.

I know we're moving along in good order, but I want it done yesterday. I'm that sort of 5 year old.


I managed to do a little bit of knitting yesterday. What do you know, I still remember how!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Scaring the squirrels out of the trees

Life is starting to find its way into a new routine, including work-outs.

On Saturday I managed not only my stretches (mix of yoga & Pilates) but decided to jump rope in the back yard.

I went out (the cats peering nervously through the glass at me) and started. I heard whirring and rustling in the trees next door and figured it was Sassy Squirrel, with whom I've already had a few encounters.

He was fascinated, and crept closer and closer to the end of a branch to watch this odd human whirling a rope around.

The next thing I heard was a much louder rustle and an almighty crash, followed by some squirrel cussing. I wonder if he'll do it again?



I have a workroom now. Moving everything out, shoving furniture around, organizing and arranging took the better part of 10 hours. (Most of the remaining furniture and packing boxes were in that room.)

No photos yet, but it's in good shape. I need curtains and to really cull my stash, and to take the time to really organize all of my supplies, from cloth to yarn, but it's a cozy space now. Most of my books fit there, too.

Last night the cats and I settled down into the Martha Chair for reading, hot chocolate and the first really restful evening I've had in a couple of months.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Some photographic proof





DH says he'll be finishing the installment of the pillars and painting them this weekend. It could happen!

There's obviously patch painting to do, and it's going to be a while before I can afford the time to do the front door.

Overall though, we're putting our mark on it.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

On to the work room...almost a knitter again

We've slowed down a bit. It's tough to ignore a fireplace and two Siamese cats who want to fight over a lap while you read a book!

However, I just got an unexpected gift: Monday as a day off. With three days to work I should be able to get a lot done.

Once the work room is set up everything else should fall into place; my wardrobe (!), knitting, and all the rest.

I don't know what to cast on for first...I should probably finish some things. I have a lace scarf that needs either a bind-off or a new direction, the Retro Redux shrug from Lace Style, which is about an hour away from final finishing, and at least three orphan socks! Then there's a Christmas present that needs the rest of its yarn...if I can only find it.

Settling in to the work room will be a dream come true; a real retreat of my own, with my favorite old chair (the Martha chair*), which has been in storage for the past four years (DH hates it), but it's wonderful for sitting in with multiple cats. And it's going to be wonderful for knitting, too.



*It got that name as I used it in a production of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolfe?" where I played Martha. It's a great chair for the stage!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

In

We are in.

We picked up the last things and the cats at midnight (how appropriate) on Tuesday/Wednesday, and went to bed in the house at about 2:30 in the morning.

My "day off" yesterday paid off. The kitchen is at 90%, and we even have the dining room set up, though the art isn't hung yet, and I need to repair the door to the china cabinet and hang it. (There's painting to do, too, but that will have to wait a week or two.)

Upstairs is still a disaster area, and the living room looks like a burgled storage facility.

The cats are adjusting well, although Than Chai still has his moments of doubt. Fa Sing, though, is in heaven. He's never seen so much to 'splore, and the square footage delights him.

If I ever find the camera, I'll take some photos to post.

I am very pleased with the kitchen. It looks good, and so far it's easy to work in. I'll need to switch a few things around, no doubt, but for the most part it's been easy to see where things belong.

The "new" stove and fridge are delightful. New appliances, bah. My stove is around 68 years old, and the fridge is 75, and they work like a dream. My orange juice is kept so cold that it gave me an ice cream headache yesterday. Ice cubes take a while, but they'll stay frozen.

Tonight: the first cocktail!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Almost

We are almost moved in. The kitchen is almost finished. The office and powder room...but you get the idea.

This move seems to have an awfully long half-life.

BUT. I am off (out of the office) tomorrow, and I have two major goals: (1)Make the kitchen operational (2) Make the bedroom as organized as possible.

(3) (If I have the time & the energy) Clean and glaze the tub.

I don't think I have been this tired since finals week at New England Conservatory. I slept through an exam (luckily my professor let me re-take it with another class).

Friday, September 26, 2008

Comic relief

Yes, these are really my boys. The breeder took this picture last year. It's a good capture of their personalities.

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

5 years old in House Owner Years

I'll explain.

Yesterday DH came over to the house with some boxes and found me working (and marvelling at the chaos and lack of finished work...as well as the very shoddy work of the "professional" painters) and dropped the bomb.

We can't move in until TUESDAY. Because, frankly, we don't even have a kitchen floor.

I feel like a 5 year old who has just been told (on December 23rd) that Christmas has been postponed until December 28th. Santa, you see, took a couple of weeks off for the hell of it.

There were two weeks at the beginning of September when nothing was being done.

Luckily for me (revenge-wise) and unluckily for our contractor, I am going to review his sterling work on Angie's List.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

3...2....

Today is another to cram as full as possible.

At 5:00 I'm changing into painting clothes and heading out! On the way I'll be dropping off more things at the thrift shop and stopping at the hardware store.

I'll do as much as I can on those cabinets, and start to clean up the tub.

Then back to the apartment for even more packing.

Today I also gave away a stack of coats and some more sweaters and a few other things at the office. Even a mink stole.

I wonder if I'll remember to knit the next time I have the time to pick up my needles!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Countdown continues

Well, yesterday all of the boxes I loaded up made it to the house, and I bought a welcome mat.

I even got some painting done. The cabinets themselves are finished, but the doors are dragging. Two sides, and only one set of sawhorses, you see. Not to mention some questions about hardware. I had been planning on buying new hinges, but it's proved difficult to find half mortise hinges in the right size for my tall pine cupboard, so I just bought Rustoleum in a "chrome" finish, and I'll use it for those as well as the flush hinges for the Art Deco pine cupboard.

The carpenter has finished roughing out the sink cupboard, and will be able to build a shelf like this above it:



We're also getting in someone to give an estimate about spraying for moths, tomorrow. The actual spraying needs to be on Friday afternoon.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It's supposed to be ready this weekend...

...but I'll believe it when I see it. Cynical, ain't she?

The house, that is, ready for us to move in. We did meet with the cabinetmaker yesterday, and I liked him. Professional, quiet, intelligent, and happy to do something that's not cookie-cutter; it was encouraging.

DH picked up the butcher block from Ikea on Saturday, and I have been purging, packing and donating up a storm. There's still more to go, but I have worked hard, and please God, this weekend should go pretty smoothly.

My bosses (who really are wonderful) have allowed me a half-day on Friday and all of Monday. That's going to be a big help. Breathing space on both ends. AND they are allowing us the loan of a van to transport the big stuff. Most of the packed items will already be at the house by Saturday, I think.

Almost the best part about being in there? I'll be able to work on the outside without too much guilt. Last weekend I had to spend all the time I had inside, and the weather was lovely!

I will rake up the rest of the mulch and dig up as much of the garden as I can manage.

Also, we want to plant holly and peonies, and hydrangeas. The bulbs will have to go in, too.

DH wants ivy around the perimeter (I think it's going to look terrific) and we'll probably have most annuals toward the front.

I'd also like a flagstone path in front of the greenery; easier to get to them and prune without damaging the more delicate plants. I found one flagstone while I was rooting out one of the tree stumps, so someone else liked the idea too.

I hope we're able to find old pictures of the place someday, and see what the earliest owners did with the front garden.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Butcher block, damn it!

And I WILL have it for my lone countertop. It was touch-and-go for a short time, but we're having only one cabinet (built to hold up my farmhouse sink) and there won't be space for my butcher block cart, which in any case is 19 years old, stained, and with a drawer that works. Sometimes.

It means DH and I will have to go to an Ikea (this one in CT) and pick the stuff up, and juggle the budget again, because our top priority is to come in at or UNDER budget. If the almost-frills have to go, so be it. (That probably means my lovely shelf around the kitchen. Though DH swears he can do it himself. Someday. Before I die, I hope.)

Last night I packed books, purged videos and also bagged up more books to donate to the library and to give away.

We are moving one week from tomorrow, and DH has done very little in terms of packing.

I'm doing all of my own and nearly every shared item we posess...he'd better get a move on, because I am not going to risk falling into one of his closets. Unlike Alice going through the Looking Glass I doubt I'd make it out again!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Bored yet?

I can't help myself...this will be a DIY home improvement blog for a while.

Very little knitting going on, though I manage about 15 or 20 minutes a day at lunch during the week. All I want to knit is lace! Right now I'm at Decision Point with a lace scarf in the Milanese lace stitch. Should I cast off and add a bit of trim? Keep knitting? (Long lace scarves don't wear well, in my experience.)

The stole (Christmas gift) has become boring, but I really should get back to it.

And I'm half-way on the finishing for the Retro Redux shrug from Lace Style. The sleeves are seamed and I'm in the midst of picking up for the outer ribbing. It won't take long to finish, but I just haven't worked on it in a couple of weeks.

When we're really settled in the house I'll be knitting by the fire!

As for the house...well, I just want to run away from work and paint. Then when I've done all I can (long drying time with oil based paints) I want to work on the front.

And buy mums. Bronze mums. Lots of them. And planters for them. And urns.

I want to strip the front door, and measure the hardware I need to replace on the cabinets for the kitchen. And work on the door for the dining room built-in, and....

I certainly don't want to be at work! (But to be fair, without this job we'd never have managed to save enough to get the house. Catch 22, at your service. Though as jobs go, I like this one.)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Poco a poco....

...ma non ritardando....I hope! (Excuse my Italian, it's not the best.)

We are getting the work done little by little, though. The neighbors are very pleased. Every time I'm there someone new "just happens" to be out and says something nice about all of our efforts.

I really like this neighborhood, because it feels like a neighborhood. Yes, there are a few who pretend instant deafness when you say hello, but for the most part people are almost alarmingly friendly.

DH is 2/3 finished installing columns in place of the awful 70s aluminum. I dug out the last two trees--the big ones!--and am in the process of bagging up the old cedar mulch.

The free-standing cabinets for the kitchen are on their way. The Art Deco one is nearly ready, and the others have the first coat of paint or are ready for it.

The contractor has finally returned, and the real plumbing work is happening.

We haven't done a thing about the upstairs bath, which is hideous. I hate it, but there's no money to pull out and replace the tub, let alone do the re-tiling such a move would require. That re-model will have to wait for a few years at least, unless we win the lottery. (Better start playing, eh?)

I'll have some pictures up soon; haven't taken any since the last batch.

Monday, September 08, 2008

We're getting there

Proof:

http://s38.photobucket.com/albums/e111/lindydiva/HouseSept0708/
DH has been doing electrical and plumbing work (nothing huge, little fixes...the guy who last worked on it was...creative). Putting up fixtures, all that. And some demolition.

I have been ripping out unwanted trees, weeding, restoring brass, cleaning windows, prepping the cabinets in order to paint them...keeping busy!

This evening it's off to Home Depot. Not our usual choice, but the officers at my company got together to give us a very generous gift card. It will help enormously, especially with the bathrooms. Problem is, I can't use the damn thing to make online payments. Nice, isn't it? (I can tell you that they'll be getting very little of our business after this.)

We need this to be liveable by the 26th, so we can do the real move-in, though we're bringing in bits and pieces as we go.

One horrible thing: clothes moths.

God. I think they're infesting the attic, which has long been populated by squirrels and pigeons. Propbably the moths have been feeding on the pelts of corpses and stray feathers. Ugh!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

We're homeowners.

Well, technically it doesn't fall into place until we get the deed transferred, but City Hall was closed when we finished signing.

I spent four hours today weeding, picking up trash, and cutting down saplings planted by negihborhood squirrels.

DH took out the cabinet in the upstairs bath, and the fridge and stove are there; the sinks are on their way.

I still need to clear out the cabinets and get them over to the house.

It's a good first day, though.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Closing date: Friday, August 29, 2008

Holy cow. I swear, I was starting to think we would never know!

We are supposed to find out the time of our meeting tomorrow.

Saturday DH (and 3 helpers) will be picking up the appliances and sinks. I will probably already be at the house, painting (freestanding) kitchen cabinets!

I have to get primer and paint and all that jazz very soon. DH will need the dependable car on Saturday to carry some of the muscle.

Glossy white (oil based) with glass knobs and drawer pulls.

I have butterflies.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Still waiting

I think Dante had a circle in Il Purgatorio called "waiting for the closing", didn't he?

Maybe not, but he should have had one. Tenterhooks are uncomfortable, especially when you've got vintage appliances waiting for their new home.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Just ONE more document

So they say!

We are scheduled to close next Friday, August 29. I hope that we do, because today we bought a kitchen sink (1942, but looks 30s), a 1937 pedestal sink for the powder room, with a very funky hair washing hose & frame (DH fell for it...there goes the high Art Deco!), and tomorrow we are looking at a 1933 GE Monitor Top refrigerator! (I'm quite sure we'll be buying that, too.)

Whew!

In addition I brought bags of vintage clothing in to Chris at Circa, and traded it all for two custom made cheongsams. One is from the 30s, it's off-white velvet with orange and green. The other is 50s. Dark red velvet, very plain, and quite New Look. He certainly got the best of the deal, but I love the dresses, and I needed the closet space.

We went to an antiques center too. DH got a pristine 1930 wall calendar; it's fabulous. I got a glass rolling pin, the kind you fill with ice to keep your pastry cold.

It's been quite a day.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A little bit of this, a little bit of that...

Let's see...I'm knitting a lace scarf from some glorious Mountain Colors Bearfoot in Gold Rush (I bought the yarn in December 2006). A simple 10 row pattern from the second Barbara Walker treasury. It's going to be lovely.

DH & I had a cocktail party (us, two guests) last night, and we all had a wonderful time, including the kittens, who refused to go to sleep lest they Miss Something. (Fa Sing was so tired this morning that he tried to take a nap on my head when I was in the Child pose. Too funny!)

We still don't know whether we have the house. But we signed yet another paper on Friday. Please-God-we-get-it. It needs to be loved again.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Die Fledermaus

Yes, the bat. One little bat (nearly batted around by the Terrible Two) made our early morning just a little more exciting.

He was a tiny thing, but had a big presence. I heard a high, metallic sounding chitter right after the garbage truck woke us. Told DH it was a bat, he insisted it wasn't; I insisted back that it was; I've had my premises invaded one other time.

When I heard Than Chai growling, I insisted that DH go and look.

They had the little creature cowering inside one of the radiators (old-fashioned things, ca. 1900). It was so dark we had trouble deciding if he was a bat or Lord-knows-what.

Eventually DH shooed him out an open window (in the process, all of my sewing things and about half of my knitting notions hit the deck), and we were bat free.

The boys, incarcerated in our bedroom, did not look on this as an improvement. After parole, they both told me earnestly that they'd really seen a flying mouse, and where was it now?

Twice in a lifetime is enough.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Thai Shan



In memoriam.

Our lilac point Siamese, Thai Shan, died one year ago today. He was nearly 14 years old, and the one constant in my life for that time.

He was sweet natured and well-behaved (to an unnatural degree; he would even walk past a pile of alpaca yarn) and a devoted pet. Every night when I came home from work he would be waiting at the door. If he'd missed me particularly he'd call out. It sounded like he was saying, "Mama's home!".

He's the cat who turned DH into a cat lover.

When he was young he was the feline MP of the group of cats my ex and I had (after Sud Ying died...she's a book's worth of anecdotes!). He was an excellent sergeant.

Thai would wait up for me if I went out at night. Last July I went to a bookstore party to get the last Harry Potter book, and he waited. He stayed with me all night as I read, though he was very ill; dying, in fact. He refused to go to bed until I did, at around 6:30 a.m. that morning.

He did thousands of sweet and funny things; I can't seem to pick just a few more to add. I'd be here all day, writing about him.

He was buried in a pet cemetery, with a marker including a photo of him and a quote from a poem dedicated to an English Siamese cat named Charles. I cannot remember the exact quote at the moment. I'll look it up later and add it in.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

You call this a kitchen?



IF we get the house (please, please God!) this is the kitchen. Before.

I have cabinets to finish (free-standing), one of which is actual Art Deco, albeit handmade, and this:



I've also decided on hardware, confused the builder, but gotten him to agree on no wall units, and we have a very good chance at a late 30s/early 40s stove.

DEEP breath and lots of praying, hoping, and wishing next.

Oh, the sock? I just finished the toe decreases and I'll probably graft it tonight.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The John Hancock


The bank has signed.

Next, an appraiser. (Or two.)

But it's looking good.



Oh, and the socks? The kittens decided to help me with them this morning. When I found them, Than Chai had chewed the skein off the sock-in-progress and was wolfing down yarn like spaghetti, while Fa Sing created Art from the skein.

No permanent damage done to anyone...though I was tempted to inflict some. Thank God for the Russian join! Sock and skein have been reunited.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Still not signed

...pfui. As Nero Wolfe might say.

We still have not heard that the bank has signed. I hate this. Real people over corporations any time, thank you.

I did start another knitting project. A pair of simple bobby socks in Wedgewood blue, for me. The shawl is getting too big to carry around all the time.

*fingers crossed, fingers crossed*

We want the house.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Closing on August 29th

Yes, we got the house!

So far as it goes at this point, anyway. I don't like the garbage that goes with buying a bank-owned property, but the price would never have been this low otherwise.
And it is low. VERY low, even with the construction loan factored in.

Next is getting an inspector, meeting with the contractor, and making each penny do the work of three. I hope all goes smoothly.

I worked on the shawl during the time we were with the realtor for the signing. About three rows worth, which is a fair bit of time. I have a feeling that this shawl is about the only thing I'll be making this year, especially once we're in the midst of having the kitchen replaced, the office built, and the bathroom renovated...and the powder room installed.

I really wonder where things will be by November 1st!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Offers and counter-offers

We made a low offer last night, and they've come back with a counter-offer, which is still below the asking price.

So long as the repair aren't enough to send us to the poorhouse, it's a good deal. Chances are we'll take it.

And here's a bit of good news: the contractor who was recommended to DH has excellent reviews on Angie's List. In addition to that, he seems amenable to fitting the kitchen with vintage.

Last night we walked around outside, again, and checked out the garage again (which is classic, no-frills 1930. Awesome. There's even a rusted old radiator on the wall!).

I still can't believe that the back yard is paved. Oy. But if DH rips it up this year, we can have a small square foot garden next year. And some herbs.

The whole area will need to be graded, too. And the following year we can get rid of the desk and put in a flagged patio area, and top it off with an awning over the French doors (which will replace the sliding glass door).

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Knitting and Houses and Kitchens, oh, my!

Well. We HAVE been approved for both loans. Now it's Paperwork Hell (DH will be seeing to most of that). And I've joined Angie's List so as to find reviews of inspectors and contractors and so on.

If this place turns out to be a good buy, really is owned only by the bank and has no liens, or...I think we can make it work very well for us.

It has three bedrooms. Three. Which translates into a master bedroom, a guest room/television room and a work room! (Translation...mostly for knitting, yarn storage, and a place to keep my sewing odds and ends. And my favorite armchair. And lots of time to cuddle with the kittens.)

I really need to organize the stash if we're going to do this. More ruthless cutting! I could trade, but I'm too lazy, I think...most of it will be donated, and I'll save some nice bits as gifts to other knitters.

The deformed room we think was a Florida room (and is now a trashed jacuzzi) will probably be an office for DH, with a powder room attached.

The now-empty kitchen will probably be a battle, as I want mostly vintage and goodness only knows what the bank will consider Appropriate. We may well have to let them dictate some of it, and then turn around and re-do. I hope not, though. That would be expensive.

I would love to have a vintage stove (gas, ca. 1930 or 1940), and a very plain modern fridge. (When we can afford it I would like a repro with a "vintage" outside and modern interior. I've had it with defrosting!)

There's a vintage cabinet with painted glass in an antiques center we frequent...I'd love to have that. And we can paint my pine cupboard and fit it with glass knob pulls.

A big farmhouse sink (including one of laundry depth...I really do handwash linens) and a good-sized drainboard...and that's about all.

No bells and whistles. I don't use them, and they only take up space! Oh, and a black and white checked floor. Right now, there's a (crookedly laid) ceramic tile floor. Hard on the feet and legs! No way do I want to stand on that when I'm cooking or cleaning.

If we're lucky we'll be able to squeeze in a little Deco kitchen table and two chairs, but it's not a big space.

As for knitting, Batty and I are meeting up tonight and deciding where to go from there...who knows, maybe for ice cream. We could walk to the ice cream shop and back. That would take care of some of the calories, and if it's still nice we could even sit on benches outside to knit. It's a possibility, anyway. We'll have fun.It's been a long time since we've met up, and she can stop in and say hello to the boys, too, if she likes. They're 11 months old now! (I know it's a cliché, but where does the time go?!)

Thursday, July 10, 2008

...maybe not a house.

The loan approval process isn't going smoothly (the house needs a great deal of work, and it's bank owned, so they're playing Big Brother). Annoying. However, if we don't get it, I'm sure there's another one out there for us. I hope it's also from the 1930s!

This claims to be a knitting blog, but I haven't even been carrying my knitting bag lately. All I've done is a few rows on the shawl I'm making. Two pairs of socks are almost UFOs, also a shrug from Lace Style.

Maybe it's the heat, or I need a break from knitting. I'm not sure. I'm inclined to blame it on the heat. We've had some scorchers, with high humidity making it worse.

I should pick up the shawl tonight, at least! But I also want to go dancing. There wasn't any dancing last week, because of the local fireworks at McCoy Stadium (home of the PawSox).

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Why MIA?

I've been MIA for a few reasons.

We had a great 4th of July weekend (ah, it was so nice to have it fall on a Friday!) and kept very busy.

Friday itself I did a bit of cleaning and cooking. I made a Booze Fruit Salad (blueberries, strawberries, kiwi slices, and chunks of pineapples, liberally doused with good rum). On Thursday night I made a cold soba noodle salad with peanut sauce & cucumbers.

Then we went to a 4th of July cookout and had a great time. Jen & Chris know how to throw a party! We left early, though, because we were expecting company from Boston on Saturday.

I got up around 5:00 on Saturday and cleaned until I nearly fell over. For once, the kitchen looks good to me! I even washed all of the colored vintage glasses I keep on the windowsill, and scrubbed the floor properly. Very old-fashioned and effective: I used Fels Naptha soap and scrubbed, and followed it with a vinegar rinse, and then rinsed with water, and buffed it dry.

ZantiMissKnit (as she is known at Knitty) and her just-as-fabulous DH came in to play in Providence with us. We hit a few closed stores and restaurants (I always forget that half this town shuts down over the week of the 4th), but we ate lunch at Julian's, went to Rocket to Mars, and out to a great antiques center for long browsing and some buying. We had tea at L'Elisabeth and dinner (nosh style) at Local 121. They also met the terrible furry twosome. They were a bit spooked by Mr. ZMK, who's a tall drink of water, but Than Than even stood on his head for the Mrs.!

And...we're thinking of buying a house!

MAYbe. It depends.

(So if you're curious about the details you'll have to Tune In Tomorrow. Or another day, to find out!)

Friday, June 27, 2008

Yarn swaps = destashing...right?

Wrong. Well...maybe it works that way for some people.



I wandered into my LYS yesterday for an advertised yarn swap. I'd brought along two skeins of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino yarns (really pretty, but in a color I seldom use).



I walked out with five skeins of Shetland wool! It's not sock yarn, so I think it counts as Stash Enhancement. (I was encouraged to do this by the shop employee...she's an enabler even when not selling the stuff.)

They're the same weight, and might work together in a project. Good for simple fair isle, especially with a bit of white or cream or black to balance things out.

I can always rationalize yarn acquisitions

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Arctic Summer

No, I haven't gone on another trip. I'm just making a general remark about the lousiness of office heating and cooling systems. Not many work properly.

This is especially noticeable in offices that have been created out of one large space. Ours is now made up into cubicles, rooms, hallways and offices. Though lighting is sometimes altered, and décor, it's just too much to expect that the ventilation systems will be updated as well, in my experience (here and elsewhere).

So...a vent pours icy or hot streams of air into one area. People there freeze or boil or are grateful, if they tend to their own extremes when deciding on Perfect Temperatures.

I'm in the freeze crowd. Generally I wear goosebumps year 'round, with a garnish of purple mottling under my very fair skin. It's worst in the summer because I refuse to wear wool trousers, long socks, boots and three layers in June or July or August.

I cart sweaters everywhere I go, I complain (a lot) and I cozy up to any available space heater.

When I run my own little work world things will be different!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Swing Out

I did go dancing last night. It took some effort to drag myself out, but I am so glad I went.

Dancing itself was great, but the best part was seeing all the new people, and watching them light up on the dance floor.

A girl who's learning to lead asked me to dance; I thought she'd seen me leading earlier, so I asked if she wanted to lead or follow, and she was delighted that I lead, too. Half through the dance she started to follow, and at song's end I spun her 3 or 4 times.

She was amazed, because apparently most leads spin her off her axis and she can't balance. I showed her the technique and explained why it works. God, it felt good to pass that on!

My general technique needs a lot of work these days, especially balboa. But that's okay, I know where to begin.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Back into the Swing of things

A million years ago (okay, about 10) I learned to swing dance. First, East Coast (6 count). Then Lindy Hop. Balboa. Bal-Swing. I lead and follow all except Bal (at this point). No, I never saw that Gap commercial.



When I got into the scene, it was in full swing (pun intended) and I was out two to six nights a week, dancing like a fool, dressed to the vintage nines, and having the time of my life.



Things simmered down, as they do in the natural course of time, and people stopped dressing up. The clubs stopped having swing nights. There were only a few (usually non-club) venues, but I always made it out at least once a week.



Then I moved to Rhode Island. New place. New (tiny at the time) scene. Husband who said he loved to dance...but that turned out to be all talk. Yes, I even coaxed him into some private lessons. Nothing did the trick.



I've been here for four years now, and hardly ever go dancing.



There are very nice people around, but the whole feel is quite different. Dance studios or old social halls provide the venue. Many who have a ballroom or West Coast swing background (not to bash them; it's just that the resultant dance style and lead or follow is quite different from mine). No bar, no one in vintage clothing (except for me, that is). I just don't enjoy it to the same degree.



Even so, I miss it: socializing, getting great exercise that's more like therapy, the whole bit. So I complain a lot and dance very little, but last Saturday I took a workshop again.



It was very good to dance again; I don't think I've done any dancing since March, and no dancing in town since perhaps October.



I've developed some bad habits, but the instructors were great, pointing out things I can work on myself, and also sending some nice compliments my way.



Today, Wednesday, I've decided that I'll go to the Thursday dance. We'll see...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

WWII in 2008: Reading, PA

It was hot.



How hot was it?



Well, (I wish I had photographic proof) we caught Joe with his head in the cooler.



But here's the link to the album.



http://s38.photobucket.com/albums/e111/lindydiva/Reading%20WWII%202008/



We didn't get great pictues, but it does give you an idea of the thing.



Friday was fine until we got to Avis car rental. Nightmare line; we missed our dinner reservation. It was tough parking in the middle of the city, too. No one was in a very good mood for a while.



But the Capital Grille was still open, and we dined there with Joe & Theresa, after a lightening change.



We got to Reading in the afternoon, and wandered around in sunblock, hats, and under parasols and umbrellas. No sunburn for me, but I acquired plenty of new freckles, and apparently looked like I was about to pass out.



No dance this time, the band was on a break when we got in, and the neverending "Who's On First" was on. We went straight to the French Village and didn't look back!



Maurice the proprieter was very helpful, and our tempers improved a lot! The Café Napoléon really was great, and we chatted with some interesting people. Such a mix...French villagers, Nazis (Yeah. I still don't understand how the fascination can outweight the shudder factor, but each to his own, yes?), GIs, and civilians milling around together in perfect accord.



Sunday we dropped by again for a while, and then headed out to see our friends in Ambler. They didn't make it this year, what with a new baby to consider. As well as a sturdy little toddler. It seemed a bit much to them in this heat, so we went out to see them on the way to Philadelphia, and then dropped by to see Joe's dad.



Another whirlwind, and a good one.



Knitting? I've been working on a baby hat to match the socks...which I found! AND I found the pearls. (Lesson? Don't believe your spouse when he swears that he checked all of the pockets when he unpacked the luggage...but be grateful the lost have been found, all the same!)

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Here again, gone tomorrow

Or something like that.



Now that we're back from TX, we'll be off again for another brief vacation. We're going to Reading, PA, for the MAAM WWII re-enactment weekend.



http://www.maam.org/maamwwii.html



I've gone before; once with my old boyfriend Joe, and most recently in 2005, with DH. The weather is usually awful, in some fashion, but it's always fun.



There are hardcore WWII re-enactors: soldiers, French villagers, some civilians in the "Homefront" area....those of us who dress in period clothing...and plenty of gawkers who mix it up with the 20s and the 60s but still find it all fascinating.



We'll be there for Saturday and part of Sunday. On Friday we're flying to Philadelphia and meeting Joe (Yep. Same fella) and his lovely wife Theresa...the one for whom I made the Monkey socks...for dinner in a cafe full of singing opera students.



Saturday we'll drive to Reading, walk around all day, run out for dinner, change, and come back for the hangar dance.



As per usual, I doubt I'll manage to post the photos we take, but I'll sneak in some links, at least (providing we remember the camera!).

I will certainly be bringing my knitting; I have a "new" vintage bag that I love, and that goes with me, but I haven't decided yet whether to start a new project as well. It should be vintage, ca. 1940. Socks would be the easiest thing; I wouldn't even need a pattern, of course.

But...some swine stole the baby socks I made on the TX trip. Right out of the suitcase. He or she also took some jewelry that was packed; yes, I was a FOOL to pack it. I know. I will always regret it. And I will never again pack any good jewelry. I've never done it before. Just once...and I'll always pay.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Happy Birthday...29 again.

It's actually tomorrow, but (a) that's a Saturday and (b) we'll be in TX, visiting family.



The presents have been lovely: books, a DVD set, a CD, Chanel No. 5, a reproduction Whiting and Davis purse (20s style), and a knitting diary.



But the best part is this: tomorrow I am going to a movie and lunch with my mother and sister. It has been 19 years since I was with them on my birthday. We're going to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Of course. You didn't think I'd miss out on Indy, did you? (I remember going to the last one...my ex and I were not exactly swimming in cash, and planning a chain-restaurant dinner and a movie took some forethought, but we had a very nice time.)



New Yorkers in TX. The mind boggles, doesn't it? But the economy is decent down there, and they manage, though my sister misses the trees and the mountains something fierce. ALL New Yorkers, too, except for my youngest nephew. Even the oldest nephew was born in New York State. My BiL and his mother (also down there) are from New York, too.



I'm taking a half-day at work, and Monday is a holiday (Memorial Day to Americans, formerly Decoration Day). We leave this evening, and will return on Monday night.



The cat sitter will be coming in to look after the boys, and a friend in the area will also stop by to play with them...they need their human fix, and they love their Auntie Jen.

Monday, May 19, 2008

RI Wool and Sheep Festival, 2008


We finally got there, no thanks to Than Chai (aka Destructo the Wonder Kitty).



Perhaps I've mentioned it before, but little Than-Than chews things. Sometimes he swallows them, and this time he did both. We found some of the evidence (well, his brother did, and showed me) that not only had he done both, but he got rid of it again.




Problem was, he was acting as though he hadn't gotten rid of ALL of it. He was droopy and quiet, and hunched on all four little paws instead of curling up in a ball.




Being good Cat Parents, we arranged for him to go to the vet. DH took him. She couldn't find anything by palpitating him, and fuzzy bits from his toys wouldn't show up on an X-ray.




She pumped him full of fluids, gave him some feline version of Peptid AC, and they came back.




We finally left for Bristol, around 2:00 p.m. or a bit later. The RI Wool and Sheep Festival is quite new; this year is the second one, and I didn't go last year.




I am very glad we did go this time. The setting is gorgeous. Incredible. It looked like picture postcard Imaginings of New England.




The vendors were friendly and chatty, and as it's a working (Colonial era) farm, there were chickens clucking all over the grounds, beautiful horned cattle in the enclosures, sheep, donkeys, and a horse. Also, two very friendly cats--a tortie and a tiger.




I haven't taken pictures of the loot yet (and worse still, didn't bring the camera when we went!) but I got sock yarn, we bought balm, honey, soap, alpaca yarn....it was lovely.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Dollar Cart





I love libraries. I always have loved libraries, and my summer vacations consisted mostly of staggering out of the downtown branch in Schenectady, NY with a pile of books balanced precariously under my chin.






My husband and I live right across the street from a branch of the library, and it's an amazing resource...not only for books. We check out magazines, DVDs, and CDs. The request system in Rhode Island is sophisticated; I can search online by key word or title or author...even publication date..and choose what I will.






On top of that, these libraries accept a constant stream of donations and sell many off at a few large sales yearly. But in order to keep things manageable (I imagine) there are also "dollar carts" set up, at least in our branch. $1.00 for a hardcover, .50 for a paperback. Pay on the honor system (which I think is wonderful). Metal boxes with a slit on top sit on the uppermost shelf. Drop your coins or stuff your paper through, and the book is yours.






Yesterday my husband walked across to return some books and glanced at the carts on his way out. He found the books posted at the top. For $1.00 each!




I like the bags book...it's got a wacky sheep backpack that looks like it could become a wonderful kid pillow, and other useful things. But the baby blankets book is great. I found a simple cable blanket that will make an elegant shawl, and a second one, by Norah Gaughan, that will be just right for the aran superwash I bought for the co-worker baby present.




The Vogue Knitting On the Go series is charming, and most books have at least one pattern that I like. The format is good, and there's practical advice at the start of each one. I've got five or six of them at this writing, and I won't pass up the chance to add a few more to my collection.


I was up late last night, working the first pattern set for the shawl. It's going to be lovely.









Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The Lost Are Found











































Some of them.





Photos of last year's FOs (Finished Objects, for you non-knitters, if any). DH told me he had uploaded them to the laptop, so for your viewing pleasure...



Soysilk Branching Out (blocked with points) from soysilk obtained in a swap with Seven of Knitty.



DH's crazy Chess Socks.



My favorite white anklets.



Yellow Checkerboard Socks.



The green socks since eaten by Than Chai (you know, Destructo). (I need to frog the one he didn't eat, but so far I haven't had the heart.)




I knit socks, don't I?




The Red Sox anklets will show up soon.