Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy You.

As we celebrate the holiday season I hope each of you takes a moment to celebrate YOU.

YOU are special.
YOU are unique.
YOU are awesome.
YOU are loved.
YOU are wonderful.
Life has it's ups and downs but we all are a celebration of life.
Take care of yourself and everything else will follow.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Friday, December 13, 2013

Hello Christmas

I finally decorated our Christmas tree today.

It was exhausting.
I do think I need to find some sort of topper.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Who Knew?

I have a new job.
  I was trained at the International Quilt Market in Houston which is held the end of October.
  How fabulous is that?
 I am a sales representative for a quilt fabric manufacturer and I travel from quilt shop to quilt shop showing my fabric wares.  My territory is Nevada and Northern California and I am spending several days a week traveling the roads and enjoying the scenery.
This past week I  headed toward Mendocino and the redwoods. 
I drove past this sign and thought there must be some major bucks in the area.
Turns out this city girl needs to learn her signage.  People, this is a sign for elk.  Did you know there are elk here in northern California?  I definitely don't want to run in to any of them in my car.
My drive also took me through some wonderful forests.
With some wonderful views.

And the coast along Highway 1 is spectacular.


Next time I plan on giving myself a little more time to explore.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

Jim and I moved to California four years ago in November.  Thanksgiving has become a time of reflection for me.  It is a time be grateful for our health, family, friends, jobs, home and having food on the table.
This year I've finally come to terms with the fact it is him and me in California.  The rest of our family is in Texas.  That also includes my very best friend and her husband.  And I'm actually okay with that. I have a great husband, our children are all well,  I  have made a few special friends here and I have a new job I truly enjoy. 
And so this evening I prepared a traditional turkey dinner with wild rice dressing for the two of us.  Yes we could have feed a few more but I have yet to find those to invite that don't already have family to celebrate the holiday.
My only regret is I didn't make dessert so no chocolate pecan pie for breakfast.
I wish all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving day and the hope that life treats you well.

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Letter "P"

Today this blog is brought to you by the letter "P".
"P" for pile of flannel pillowcases.

 Ready to be boxed and mailed to my three darlings in Texas.
"P" is for phoeey.
As in phoeey I didn't buy enough fabric to bind my entire quilt.
And "P" for plugging along on my Viajante.  I have now knit through half the skein of yarn of Wollmeise or 850 yards and that means I am halfway through.
All brought to you by the letter "P".

Saturday, November 16, 2013


Sometimes I don't think friends should enable.
I can only hope they are only available for the holiday season.
Thank you sooooo much Cathie.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Kale Pesto

Today I had lunch with my friend Liz and she mentioned making shrimp linguine with kale pesto for her husband the other night and she thought we might enjoy it.
After lunch I headed to the grocery store to do my normal weekly shopping and bought a bunch of kale and some shrimp to try it out.
Liz is a trained chef and didn't really give me an exact recipe so I winged it.
1 bunch kale, cut from stems
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/2 cup shelled salted pistachios
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Process adding olive oil to desired consistency.
 I cooked some fettuccine noodles, sauteed 1/2 pound raw deveined seasoned shrimp in some olive oil and mixed together.  I only used half the pesto so I put the rest in the freezer for another day.
The dish is delicious and Jim gave it a two thumbs up.
I failed to mention to him and he didn't ask that I used kale so please if you see him don't let him know.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Design Wall

My new design wall I bought at the Pacific International Quilt Show in Santa Clara arrived today.
 7 lbs in a bag that becomes a design wall measuring  72" x 72"   from Cheryl Anns Design Wall.
Out of the bag.

 I thought I'd share with you the blocks I have completed for my Dear Jane quilt.
I'm obviously working verrrrry slow but steady.

And here for your viewing pleasure is a finished Dear Jane quilt from PIQF 2013.
I'm thinking you can probably find my finished Dear Jane in 2016, maybe.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Boo Hoo


I was so excited to finish the second clue for the Boo MKAL and was knitting away on clue three when I realized I was off a stitch.  I was off a stitch because I hadn't stopped to read the instructions for row 7 which says to move your markers over 1 stitch.  I was at row 9 which was not coming out properly and after fiddling for over an hour I finally read the pattern.  Duh.  So now I need to tink (that's knit spelled backwards for you none knitters) back 2 rows or about 800 stitches.  My norm is to rip and go but this being lace I decided the more prudent approach is to tink.  Not a process I wanted to deal with so instead I cast on something new.

As Jim said "That's a big ball of yarn!"
And yes it is.
  1717 yards of Wollmeise Lacegarn in amethyst dark given to me a few years ago by a wonderful friend.
It has now been cast on to become Viajante by Martina Behm.
Yarn from Germany for a shawl by a German designer.
And what's even better I truly think this is a hard design to mess up - I hope.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Clue 2 Spoiler Alert

I'm a little behind on knitting the clues for my Boo mystery knit along but still loving the process. 
Tonight I finally finished clue 2 which was only 24 rows but I had some deadline knitting to finish and I also attended the Pacific International Quilt Festival in Santa Clara over the weekend.
I now have 379 stitches on the needle.
Clue 3 is another 24 rows.
Clue 4 which I haven't even looked at was released today so I need to get going.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The First Clue is Finished


WARNING:  If you are doing the Boo Knits Halloween KAL 2013 and do not want to see spoiler pictures read no further!
I have participated in a few mystery knit alongs and have not always been happy with the resulting end product so I tend to stay away from them. 
One of my favorite go to shawls is called Heaven Scent by Boo Knits.
When I saw there was going to be a Boo Knits Halloween Mystery KAL I gave it some thought before deciding to do this one.

The shawl is called Morticia and if you can keep up with the clues you will be done in time to wear it for Halloween.
I had 2 skeins of Madelinetosh silk lace that I had gotten back when Amy was first starting in the business and would come by the shop with a basket of yarn she had just finished dyeing.
 These two skeins of silk lace she had done as a special order for me.
And I have been saving them and decided now was a good time to enjoy them.
There will be four clues in this mystery KAL.  The first clue came out on Tuesday, October 1.
 Dru Ann was still visiting so I cast on after I dropped her off at the airport on the 2nd to help cheer me up.
Knitting beads and lace makes me happy, especially when it's purple. 
 The shawl starts on a US 4 needles and after the first three rows you switch to a US 5.
I missed that instruction until after the first repeat of Chart A so I switched to the US 5 on the second and third repeat of the chart.
I decided I would make the large so I did one more repeat of the chart on a US 6.

The clues are scheduled to come out October 1, 8, 15 and 22.
I finished with the first clue last night and the second clue came out today.
Perfect timing.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Farm To Fork

Saturday, Jim, Dru Ann and I attended the Farm-to-Fork Festival at the Capitol Mall in downtown Sacramento.  The festival was part of a week long celebration promoting Sacramento's title as the "Farm-to-Fork Capital of America".

According to Farmtoforkcapital.com the festival featured a little bit of everything. "From local chefs, farmers and other food producers to food trucks, animal displays, a kids’ zone and live music, festival goers can expect to learn about food from its source to the plate."
I had hoped to visit with the local farmers and their produce.  Unfortunately many of the booths were actually the middlemen between farmers and retail.  One booth we stopped to visit featured several varieties of pears but neither of the gentlemen manning the booth could answer our question of how to know when your pears are ripe and ready to eat.
We did managed to come across a few interesting finds.
While I have eaten endive I was not aware of how it is grown.
California Endive Company is the major American grower of endive. 
"Chicory seeds are sown in the spring producing a root the size of a large carrot by fall. Those roots are harvested from the field and then placed in dark, humid, “forcing” rooms to produce endives. Yes, endive is actually the second growth of a chicory root!"
We also bought two Mexican avocados.
These were black, smooth and thin skinned.
Their flavor is much milder then a Haas avocado.

And the pit is much larger.
Last but not least I came home with a chayote squash.
I am told this squash is commonly used in Mexican and Caribbean cuisine but I have yet to do anything with it.
I'm taking suggestions.
I only came home with one.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Coffee Anyone

Jim and I were in Calistoga, California a few weeks ago and stayed at a phenomenal bed and breakfast, Luxe Calistoga.

Brent and Chris are wonderful hosts and their attention to detail are extraordinary.

It is a bed and breakfast and the food that chef Josh prepares for said breakfast is wonderful.
The one thing I can confidently replicate at home is the French press coffee that was served.
My one disappointment with French press coffee in the past has always been it cools off so quickly in the normal glass carafe.
Luxe uses Frieling insulated coffee pots and I am happy to report we are now proud owners of a Frieling french press coffee pot.

Oh happy days!


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Burn Testing

Living in California there is currently a great concern about wild fires.
The latest in the news is the Mt. Diablo  fire which has covered over 3,000 acres and is now thankfully  60% contained.
Although I currently live in the Sacramento area this fire struck close to home for me as I have some great  memories of living in Concord and the Mt. Diablo area before we moved to Texas when I was ten.
And so today I was concerned when I did my testing of yarn to make sure it was wool that I didn't start my own wild fire.
Testing to see if your yarn is wool involves putting a match to it to see how it burns.
I had a water bowl for dousing ready if needed.
I am going to be knitting some felted slippers for a member of my family as a gift and I want to use yarn I currently own if possible.

 One skein still has a tag of Cascade 220 but I wasn't sure the other two skeins were also 220. I really couldn't remember why I had purchased three skeins of 220 as I normally buy with a project in mind. I recently had a friend knit a bag she felted in the washing machine and didn't realize all the yarn she used was not 100% wool and the shrinkage was not very consistent. 
 Didn't want to go there!
Anyway, it looks like the two unmarked skeins are also wool as both barely burned and became ash and did not have a plastic ball finish.
And I am happy to report I did not start any new wild fires with this test.
Pyromaniac I might be, wild fire starter I am not!!!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Bear Sightings

Thank you everyone for all the suggestions on how to retrieve my needle.  Unfortunately we have still not been able to get it from under the deck.  The limited amount of space between the deck boards has made it hard to maneuver but we are still trying to recover it.  Thank goodness I had a set of five so I'm still able to knit socks with the four I have I'm just being a lot more aware of where I am knitting and any potential hazards.
On a happier note, today I boxed up another 14 bears I knit to ship to the Mother Bear project in Minneapolis.
These bears are given to children in Africa whose lives have been affected by HIV/AIDS.
Last year I knit eleven bears.


And here are sightings of six of those bears that have been given a new home.yarma
It makes my heart happy!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Lesson Learned

Lately I've enjoyed spending my mornings knitting outside appreciating the lovely California weather.  Although we are still hitting the 90's, our days are starting in the 60's and it's not until mid afternoon the weather sends me inside. 
Recently I've been working on a pair of vanilla socks on my favorite dpn's (double point needles) which I think are the Cadillac of needles, my size 0 dpn's from Signature Needle Arts . 
 Unfortunately 0's are no longer made by Signature because they had to be machined differently then the rest of the needles they produce because of their size and were prohibitively expensive to continue making. 

Horror of horrors I unexpectedly drop a needle after finishing a row the other day AND...

........it fell through a seam in the deck. 
Yes I can see it but I don't know how to get it back.
We've tried gum on a stick and very sticky tape.   They are made of stainless steel so a magnet won't work.
Jim actually has made two trips to Home Depot for bits to undo the deck but to no avail.

Maybe I can get Dru Ann to bring Pachelbel when she visits to go under the deck although we'd have to figure out a reason she wants to retrieve my needle.
(Really just coming up with an excuse for her to bring Pachelbel.)
I am now knitting with needles that can easily be replaced if I should drop them and they disappear when I am outside knitting on the deck

Who knew?