Saturday, July 27, 2013

Side By Side

Recently on the television we have been seeing advertisements for wine in a box and thought we'd give it a try.


Valle Central, Chile

Black Box Wines Cabernet Sauvignon
Black Box Wines Cabernet Sauvignon displays lovely aromas of black currants, with hints of mocha and toasty oak. Black cherry and chocolate flavors come together with smooth tannins, leading to a soft, lingering finish.
Delicious with filet mignon, roast duck, pork tenderloin or mushroom ravioli."

"What's the most delicious way to enjoy acclaimed wines without a hefty price tag? Lose the bottle. In 2003, Black Box Wines redefined the category by becoming the first U.S. vintner to offer super-premium, appellation-specific, vintage-dated wines in a box. Since then our expanding repertoire has earned 40 gold medals in wine competitions nationwide, yet still costs 40% less than comparable* bottled wines."
Jim came home with the small box today, a 2011 Cabernet Savignon,  that is equivalent to 3 glasses of wine to try with our dinner at a cost of $5.99.  The large box retails for $18.00 at our local grocery store which is equivalent to three bottles.
Saturday is his night to cook and we enjoyed a lovely grilled steak, steamed broccoli with strawberries and blackberries from the farmers market.
We also opened a bottle of Frank Family Cabernet 2006 which we paid approximately $38.00 a few years back.  Not really a fair comparison because one was able to age but should you age boxed wine?
 Even in a blind taste test there is no comparison and that is where the asterisk from the Black Box Wine statement above comes in.

* IRI, Total US Multi-Outlet and Convenience, 52 weeks ending 1/6/13. Comparison of average retail selling price of Black Box Wine and Super Premium category as reported by IRI. Please enjoy our wines responsibly. © 2013 Black Box Wines, Madera, CA

Considering we are talking a $6.00 bottle of wine what did we expect?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Passing the Time Away

Apparently I have a little too much time on my hands and I spent part of my day knitting a minion from The Despicable Me movie.
Who doesn't love a minion?
 I found the pattern on Just Crafty Enough and it was designed by Kat Lewinski.
I rummaged through my stash and found some Encore yarn that was the perfect colors.
The eyes are shank buttons I had in my button box and I used a black Sharpie to add the eyeballs.
  And as all curious minions seem to do mine checked out the container holding the crochet hooks.
 Maybe just a little to thoroughly.
 Fortunately he did right himself and I got him back out safely before he suffocated.
Who knows what trouble he'll get into tomorrow?
Did I mention I might have a little too much time on my hands?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Confession Time

I became a hooker this week. 
 I know many of you are thinking "Really, at your age?" but yes, I've learned how to crochet!
Several years ago I saw this crocheted afghan and feel in love.
This afghan is the brainchild of Lucy from the blog Attic24 and was posted back in 2008.
It was made using Rowan Handknit Cotton,
I am a knitter and my minimal crochet skills involve provisional cast on and placing beads on my knitwear with a crochet hook so I avoided this pattern.
Last year when Filati's, the yarn shop I had been working at, began their going out of business sale I thought why not buy the yarn now.  So back in August 2012 I guesstimated how much yarn I would need for this project. 
 And added it to my stash.
Saturday I took a crochet class for knitters.  Honestly it didn't really matter if we were knitters or not we still all needed to learn the basics of crochet and how to create the stitches and read a pattern.
After some fumbling and questioning and four hours later I felt rather confident in my skills as a hooker.
I came home and started on my afghan.
I'm really liking how it is progressing.

This should keep me off the streets for a while.
I'm sure a lot of you are thinking "Thank goodness".

Saturday, July 13, 2013

An Original

My knitting guild, The Camellia City Stockinettes has a business meeting the first Thursday of every month and then program night the second Monday of the month.  Program night is generally taught by a member of the guild who would like to share a technique they have learned.  I offered to do the program for this month about adding beads to your knitting.  For me there are two ways to add beads, either stringing them before you begin your knitting or adding them with a crochet hook on the stitch as you knit.

For this class I wanted to design a scarf incorporating both methods.  And so I have designed my first ever original scarf.

The bottom of the scarf is ribbed and the beads have been strung on to be placed between the purl stitches.  Once the ribbing is done the beads are placed using a crochet hook.
I opted not to use beads over the entire length of the scarf - just placing on the bottom quarter of the scarf so to not have any scratchiness around the neckline.
As I seem to do, I waited until the last minute to finish so I blocked my scarf the day of the program and was fortunate that the 100 degree weather dried my scarf on the blocking board when I placed it outside.   My friend Cheryl had suggested a hairdryer and fortunately I didn't have to succumb to that.
There was 30 attendees for the beading program and I do think everyone went home happy.
I can't wait to see next month how many have finished their scarf.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Dog, Dog, Goose

We are sliding into the abyss.

Can you tell who runs the house here?
Flour, sugar, dog bones, coffee, dog bones, dog treats AND more dog treats.
It's two against two.
Not sure who's winning?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Garden Happenings

Living in Northern California our growing season starts a little later then the south because of the cool nights.  I am happy to report our first grape tomato of the season. 
I planted two tomato plants this year, a grape variety and a standard size.  The standard size is making flowers but not producing but my grape tomatoes are producing like weeds. 
As they ripen the likelihood of them making inside is iffy as they are so delightful to just pop in the mouth and eat.
I also planted from seed pickling cucumbers.

I am always amazed how you check and check and then 'bazinga' there's a cucumber that needs to be picked. 
 I'm hoping with the three plants I have going enough will develop at the same time so they can be pickled.
The basil is growing and we've been enjoying fresh pesto and just to be a little different I am growing Australian Butter Squash.
Australian Butter
These pumpkins are suppose to be great for pies and baking and I just love the way they look.