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I'm never bored. If I'm not knitting or spinning, I'm gardening or reading. Always up to something!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

I'm a Maker - Now I Need to be a Finisher


Just for something different this summer, I started cross stitching again. I haven't picked up a tapestry needle since sometime in the 80's. But I saw a cute pattern with bees, and bee skeps by e-sub Rosa and it was free. How could I resist? So, when I tire of picking up a bazillion stitches around the neck of my sweater, I sit in my little sewing room, stitching away.





And here's the prize package that Kate and I are giving away on our podcast (Kitchen Stitching Podcast) to acknowledge the first 100 Youtube subscribers. I made a project bag, Kate dyed some pretty purple yarn, I bought some Cascade hand-painted yarn with an autumnal colorway. There's a bee progress keeper and some yummy teas, too. It will be on its way to the lucky winner by the end of the week.




Knitpicks "Gailileo" in the Firefly colorway - I"m making the French Cancan shawl ("Poison Green for Halloween!")


My Rhinebeck sweater looks very "worried". It's just because I'm still picking up stitches around the neck and down the front. I haven't bought buttons yet - that's next.


And in between, I'm still spinning away for "City Streets" shawl. Most of the CVM gray wool is plied and washed - and I'm spinning the merino bits and pieces for the secondary color.

My family's fed well and the house is reasonably clean. One can't ask for more than that, can they?

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Kitchen Stitching Episode 5


                                 What's wrong with this woman? 
                  Here's our latest attempt at podcasting!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

How to Like Cauliflower

My husband's tired of hearing me nag encourage him about eating vegetables. It's a bit easier to introduce new foods to my step-son who's on a health quest himself. I joined Weight Watchers a couple of weeks ago and I'm doing well on it now that I've got the tracking thing down. I'm still tracking with "My Fat Secret.com" because my naturopath would like me to keep the daily carbs to around 50. It's become a bit of a project but so important to my overall health. You see, the doctor explained that those of us with MS tend to also have cardiovascular events more frequently than the average individual because of high rates of inflammation. What???? My cardiologist didn't think that was a problem. My naturopath believes it's a BIG problem. So I'm trying to jazz up vegetables that my family doesn't want to eat but I do. So here's the latest go. First, you all know how much I love my cast iron pan. I told my step-son that I'll gift him one whenever he sets up his own place. Here's what I did: I washed and split a cauliflower into flowerettes. When they were dry I tossed them with a tablespoon of olive oil, salt and pepper and garlic powder. I sprayed the pan with avocado oil and go the grill to a roaring 450 degrees. I spread the cauliflower in one layer in the pan and roasted it with the grill top down for about 5 minutes or until browned. Then I flipped them over and did it again. Then I turned the heat down and turned the middle burner off completely. I checked the veg after a few minutes with a fork for tenderness. The outside was crisp and the inside was sweet and tender but still a bit firm. Mushy cauliflower is not to my taste. I loved it, my step-son loved it enough to request the method I used. My husband has such an aversion to healthy vegetables that it's going to take a while. My son had no problems taking his portion and adding it to his own. I will never give up. I just won't.


Monday, July 25, 2016

High Mountain High

My husband and I were invited to spend a few days with my daughter's family in New Hampshire last week. This was my first view of the little pond a short walk from the cabin. Mount Chocorua is in the background.






Day-trip to Mount Washington Cog Railway

View from Cog Railway coach on Mt. Washington




Mount Chocorua - music and poetry have been composed in honor of your beauty and grace. Legends have been passed down, your high peaks climbed.  Here's a view from another of your lovers.
                                           

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Pretty Knitting


This shawl reminds me of a summer afternoon in my grandmother's wicker rocker.




It's raw mulberry silk blended with baby alpaca and soft as a cloud.
My grandmother was not a knitter but she tatted beautiful lace and would have loved that I knitted something so fussy and feminine.


Gram had a lovely formal garden around her modest clapboard cottage.



She'd put on her beach shoes, black shiny bathing suit with the skirt and walk the beach with me and my brother at low tide for hours picking up shells.
I miss my grandmother. I am a grandmother.


Friday, July 1, 2016

Water-sparing Gardening


Cheyenne Spirit Cone flowers





Coneflowers with Lavender





Wasabi Coleus



Self-watering deck boxes



I just can't keep up with watering. I don't want to have to water every day. And it's not kind to the environment to use precious resources thoughtlessly. So I try to place plants where they will be the happiest with the least amount of water and effort from me. So the Cone flowers, Lavender, Rosemary and Thyme are in the sunniest, driest place in the garden. The Cone flowers are prairie natives and are accustomed to dry heat. Lavender, Rosemary and Thyme thrive in sunny, Mediterranean conditions and need little coddling. How it ever survives in England where it's so beloved, I'll never know.  The shade-loving Hydrangeas still need a drink now and then (especially in what are near-drought conditions here in Connecticut). I use potting soil that helps retain moisture in all my potted plants and water them near the base of their stems to help avoid evaporation. The deck railing boxes get some afternoon sun but have a reservoir in the bottom to keep watering to a minimum. As the gardens surrounding the house become more and more shaded with heavily canopied hardwood trees, more shade-lovers will get planted, tree branches professionally thinned.
Another sock finished - Crazy Foot sock yarn in the "Birch" colorway

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Kitchen Stitching Again

Kate and I are back for another go at podcasting.  Enjoy!
Here's the link: Kitchen Stitching





Friday, June 10, 2016

Self Care - Who Needs It?

My garden is still full of weeds. The patio needs to be swept. The windows all need washing. I see lots of things around the house that need my attention. I am retired and should have plenty of time. Is there ever enough time? I was having some new medical problems last year so I stopped working out in the pool at the Y. When that health issue was remedied I didn't go back. So all winter, I chastised myself for not working out. I cursed my flabby waistline, my double chin. I felt sorry for myself when I thought about turning 64 this summer. I worried about the possibility of my MS worsening as I age. Instead of applauding myself for the things I do, i.e., keep a decent house, cook a tasty dinner from scratch with fresh veggies every night, spin lovely yarn and knit nice warm clothing, I beat myself up about the things I can't or won't do. Why couldn't I cut myself some slack? Things all get done eventually. Or maybe they weren't worth the trouble. So last week, I smartened up. I stopped complaining about not working out and re-joined the Y. I feel more optimistic already. One by one the weeds are getting pulled out. I bend down and pull a few here and there as I walk by. There's no other way. I'm not going to blanket spray growing things that decided they like it here. Dead plantings from last year are getting dumped into the compost bin, their pots washed out and replanted. If vegetables don't ever get into the ground, I'll throw in some flower seeds and make a meadow. There are plenty of farmer's markets with bigger tomatoes than I'll ever grow. One by one, my chores will get done. I'll check them off the list in order of importance to my health and my family's well-being. But first, I'll work out. And enjoy the lovely things that come back every Spring and pretty much take care of themselves. And take a lesson from them.

Our grandson's graduation from 8th grade - A Priority





Friday, May 27, 2016

Bloom Where You're Planted



The older I get, the more I appreciate the plants in my garden that just "show up" every year. The gorgeous fern in the top picture just landed near the house as a humble "weed". I moved it into the shade garden and it's thriving. No coddling or coaxing. Not even barely a spritz with the hose in the hottest, driest days of summer. As much as I love roses, they're not getting any special treatment. I even forgot to cut them back so they're going to get hacked as soon as they bloom. They live in the sunniest, hottest area, on the far side of the garage where they don't even get admired. But they will bloom where they're planted because they're in the right environment. Isn't that the same with people? I can be happy where I am - I can "bloom where I'm planted" as long as I'm where I belong.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

He Likes it...He Really Likes it!


I've been dealing with auto-immunity for 30 years. I now have two health issues that could really screw up my life if they got going (and they have in the past). Hubs may be dealing with one now. We're still not sure after two visits to the rheumatologist and lots of tests. One of my personal beliefs is that the wellness professionals who tell us to avoid grain are onto something. In an effort to begin to reduce the amount of grain he consumes, I looked for breakfast recipes that might be palatable to my husband. Thanks to the "Have your Cake and Love it, Too", I made my own version of her breakfast cereal. Here's a link to her website: Have Your Cake and Love it, Too

10 oz. unsweetened Coconut Flakes
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. sea salt
2 large carrots, sliced thin with vegetable peeler
3 cups dried fruit (I used dates and dried cherries this time) cut up in small pieces

Prepare the carrots by peeling them and then using the peeler to lay the rest of the carrots onto a sheet of parchment on a cookie sheet. Bake the carrots at 350f. until crispy.
Sautee the coconut, one cup at a time, in a heavy dry frying pan over medium heat until golden.
Mix all the ingredients together. Servings are 1/2 cup and the recipe makes 15 servings at about 180 calories.

















http://andloveittoo.com/

Friday, May 6, 2016

Kitchen Stitching Episode 3


Kate and I have contributed to the onslaught of knitting podcasts.



Wednesday, April 20, 2016

At the Finish Line

I'm finally coming close to finishing my boyfriend style sweater. The design is by Versaciknits and it's called Pour Moi (for me in french). I chose this pattern because it's similar to just about every sweater in my closet. It covers everything I like to cover and is the most flattering style for my shape. The sweater on the cover of the pattern was knitted in Madelinetosh Sport, which is 100% superwash merino. Since this is the first adult sweater I've ever knitted, I felt the investment in Mad Tosh was a risk I wasn't willing to take. I've got a few unfinished sweaters sitting in bags in my closet, so this attempt was likely to meet a similar fate. I started this project more than a year ago. And it sat. And sat. And sat some more. Then my daughter decided to take up knitting. Now, this was a dream come true. I've always hoped we'd have an activity we could enjoy together. We both like to garden and I've suggested we weed my garden together. She didn't buy it. Anyway, I'm in the process of sewing my sweater together. I've mattress stitched the shoulders and I'm setting in the sleeves. I've pulled my stitches out several times. I'm going for a really neat finishing job. And I'm amazed at what all these pieces of knitted fabric are actually doing. So far, they're coming together beautifully. This sweater, knitted from the least expensive, basic wool I could find (Knitpicks Wool of the Andes) is unexpectedly going to be a project to be proud of. I'll keep you updated, but I'm astonished at what's happening. I'm going slowly, taking my time and trying to enjoy what is a really tedious process. Jasmine of the  Knitmore Girls Girls says "eat cake" when you have to work on a less than enjoyable part of your project. I say "drink tea and grumble" so I can still fit in my sweater when it's finished!



Friday, April 8, 2016

Mom's Machine

 So my mother's sewing machine is set up in my sewing room/spare bedroom. Nicole from the podcast "Hue Loco" offered up a pattern and tutorial on her blog for a "Holiday Project Bag". So I bought a yard of daisy fabric, a yard of yellow "bee" fabric, a 12" zipper and some light weight interfacing. The first attempt didn't even resemble a knitting project bag. The second try went better. My daughter was thrilled as she was carrying her shawl project in a plastic ziplock bag. Cute and practical. I'm going to change-up the pattern and make the bag larger in the future. Something this fiddly shouldn't be so small.
Linking back to: http://katherinescorner.com/2016/04/13/thursday-favorite-things-blog-hop-link-party-233/

Friday, April 1, 2016

Glad to be Grilling Again


You're absolutely right. This is not Lemon Grilled chicken. It's a lovely, pink rose (my favorite color rose) that's sitting in the middle of my kitchen table. 


But let me tell you about Lemon Grilled Chicken. It's delicious and easy to make but it's not as pretty as a rose. I'm going to explain how to prepare it for yourself. It's healthy and quick and you'll want to make it every week all summer. Here goes...

I like to start with boneless, skinless organic chicken. You still get a nice moist meat without the grill flaring and flashing back at you. And there's less fat so there are fewer calories. Even if you don't care for dark meat, try this recipe. The lemon lightens it up.

I grill 6 boneless thighs for 3 of us. Put a food storage bag in a bowl to stand it up. In goes the juice of one lemon, a few grinds of sea salt and pepper, either fresh or dried Rosemary - about a half teaspoon of it or a tablespoon of fresh, chopped. Then add a couple of chopped garlic cloves and about a half cup of olive oil. Marinate the chicken an hour on the counter if the chicken starts off cold from the fridge or several hours in the fridge if you prefer. I start off with a hot grill, then turn it down to medium. When nicely browned on the first side, flip it over. Either test for doneness with a meat thermometer or cut one open to make sure the meat is cooked through. I can tell by pressing on it with a long fork. If there's no give to it, the chicken's usually done through.






Last night I was so eager to get to the table I neglected to photograph my plate. It was mostly cauliflower and salad with two chicken thighs. The boys also had rice pilaf. I'm going light on the carbs - Summer's coming - let's get outside and grill!