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... 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?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

It's in the Jar

Yesterday I went with Jim to the local farmer's market that is just up the street from us.
We went for fresh strawberries and whatever else we might find. 
We arrived after 11:00 and many of the vendors were already slashing prices and I bought 15 pounds of ripe tomatoes for $6.00.
This morning after making Jim his favorite breakfast of waffles and strawberries I started processing the tomatoes.

 Half of them I cut up and made tomato sauce from the Ball Blue Book.
The other half I peeled after dropping them in boiling water and simply canned.

I now have 4 1/2 pints of tomatoes packed in their own juice, 3 1/2 pints of basil-garlic tomato sauce and yes, I made some more pickle chips since the water was already boiling.
I had a very fruitful morning.

Friday, August 23, 2013


Jim likes to buy magnums. 
FYI, wine ages better in larger format bottles.
At least that's what I'm told.
Lots of times they come in lovely wooden boxes.
What to do?

Add flowers and you have a lovely decorative planter for your outside table.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Cotton Candy

As if grapes aren't sweet enough they now make a cotton candy varietal.
These grapes are a new hybrid variety that were created using hand-pollination and took eight years to develop.  No worries for those who are concerned about genetic modifications of their food.  The idea behind the creation of this flavor being more children would eat them if they tasted like cotton candy.
Of course I bought them to try out.
 They are priced a dollar more per pound then the regular table grapes at my local grocery store. 
When you bite in to the grape you do get that "hint" of cotton candy flavor but once you start eating the skin that flavor gets lost and to me I was eating a green grape.  You could of course peel your grapes but that's a bit much for me.
Still they are delicious as I do like my grapes either in a bottle or fresh from the vine.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Another Pretty

I recently finished knitting my third shawl from Sivia Harding's Mezzaluna Club.
This is Niome which is the last shawl in the series of six crescent shaped small shawls.
Blocked and drying
The yarn used was Abstract Fiber Mighty Sock a 50% merino, 50% tencel blend in the Lake colorway. The yarn has a beautiful sheen and is very drapy after blocking.
I started with a very generous 100 gram ball and finished with a mere 9 grams left.
Of the shawls I have done in this club this has been the most challenging.  The top portion I knitted up rather quickly but when it came to adding the bottom section of lace I had to take my time as there was not a wrong side rest row but patterning on both the right and wrong sides.
After the first repeat I did add a lifeline but found in the long run it was just easier to tink back as needed.  Generally the time to step away from the yarn is when the tinking begins.
This became my morning knitting project.
I also marked the p2tog on the chart to help differentiate the ssp's from the p2tog's.

This was a very enjoyable but mindful knit.
 Sivia is a artistic designer of lace and her patterns are a delight.
And I always love the touch of the beads!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

We Are Getting Pickled!

Remember last month I mentioned I was growing pickling cucumbers.
I'm finally getting enough  raw pickling cucumbers to process.

First I made some spears.
And then Jim ask that I make some slices because they are great on hamburgers.
I have been using Mrs. Wages Kosher Dill Pickle mix. I had to make a special trip to Walmart as my local Safeway and Bel Air did not carry the mix.  I am getting enough cucumbers for 4 pints at a time and I am using half a package of the mix with the suggested amounts of water and vinegar.
The spears are very zesty.
 Hopefully this weekend we will grill some hamburgers to try out the slices.


Monday, August 5, 2013

Crock Pot Stuffed Bell Peppers

My daughter Rachel's bff, Loren, recently shared a recipe she found on Facebook
for crock pot stuffed bell peppers.  I thought the recipe looked tasty and I liked the idea of cooking the bell peppers in the crock pot but I of course had to tweak the recipe.
I started by adding  1 pound of hot Italian sausage which I browned along with 1 pound of ground beef.  I used a16 oz.bag of frozen corn and a 15 oz. can of tomato sauce.
I eliminated the salt, garlic and pepper since I was using the spicy sausage, did a 2 cup combination of cheddar and mozzarella grated cheese, 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce and a 1/4 cup chopped onion.
After browning the two meats I mixed all the ingredients together and slightly overfilled my cleaned and seeded red bell peppers.
I placed my peppers inside my crock pot and topped them with a 2 to 1 mixture of ketchup and sriracha hot sauce.  I always need to add a little kick to my food.
I cooked them on high for 3 1/2 hours and Voila.

The stuffed peppers were very tasty and since I had doubled the recipe,  I put the leftover meat mixture in the freezer so I just need more bell peppers to make them again.

Sunday, August 4, 2013


Back in May I attended a retreat in Texas and started working on my Cotton Club quilt by Paula Barnes.
These are the blocks I finished at the retreat.
Before I left Texas I had finished all 45 blocks.
Then to add the sashing and borders and put it all together.

There was a little bit of an oops.  Actually there is two oops, one in the sashing,( hello, really) and one in the block, but they both got fixed.

I quilted an all over pattern on the long arm at the store and we are now using it on our bed.
Now to make a dent in the blocks for Dear  Jane.