Monthly Archives: April 2008

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Socks Anyone?

Gosh — you bloggy peeps are awesome! Thanks for all the cupcake cake love and birthday wishes for MyDadLovesMeBestSister! We had a fun family get-together and tried out a new local restaurant — Granite City. It’s a chain restaurant and they had a great Sunday brunch. I’m sure we’ll be going back.

When I flew home from New Jersey on Saturday morning, I plopped down in my seat and whipped out my knitting, in my usual oblivious-to-everything-around-me manner. Pretty soon, the “girl” next to me said “Oh, I brought mine too.” She was knitting a beautiful cashmere scarf. Pretty soon she said “Are you on Ravelry?” I laughed and said yes. (‘Cause I’m sort of on Ravelry — I get so caught up in blogs, I keep forgetting to go to Ravelry.) Then I said “Do you have a blog?” Nope. Darn it — but at least there’s Ravelry, LOL. (Anyway, Hi Liz!) It was really fun to sit and visit for the duration of the trip. Liz was working on a pretty complicated pattern so I had to try not to talk too much — I didn’t want to make her mess up! Here’s what I was working on:

Two Socks

Don’t look now Cami! I’m finally doing the two socks on one circular needle method that you swear by. Or two socks on one circ. Or magic loop. Or, I think I really like this method, but I’m not sure. No… come to think of it, I really like it. I was afraid I might have trouble adjusting to this new method, so I chose to do a simple stockinette pattern this time. I’m using a nice neutral knit picks yarn that my sweet quilty peep Jewels gave me ages ago. (Thanks Jewels!)

And thanks Cami for the encouragement in convincing me that I could do it. Cami also convinced me to switch from size US 2 needles to US 0. Man, it seems to be taking a lot longer (more stitches) but as Cami promised, the fabric is tighter, so in theory they should wear better.

Two Socks

I’ve noticed a few other knitters out there wondering about the magic loop, so I thought I’d share my thoughts so far on this method (I’m only about 1/2 way down the cuffs):

Pros:

  • Two socks at once! You won’t have second sock syndrome.
  • I’ve always struggled trying to make sure that the cuff on my second sock was exactly the same length as the cuff on the first sock by counting rows. With this method you don’t have that problem anymore, as you’re knitting both cuffs at the same time.
  • No more dpn’s to drop or stab myself with.

Cons:

  • Two socks at once LOL!  It feels like progress is slo-o-o-w.
  • Getting these socks started is a pain in the … arsenal. I really struggled for those first two rows, just to keep the needles from pulling apart.
  • It seems that a fair amount of time is wasted shifting the needle cable around. It’s a necessary evil.

Surprises:

  • I’m amazed that the join between the two needles doesn’t leave big ladders all the way down the sock. But it doesn’t. Magic!
  • You have to work with a separate skein of yarn for each sock. I’ve been very pleasantly surprised that those yarns don’t get really tangled up — I thought for sure that would be a hazard of this method. Another pleasant surprise.
Two Socks

So, if you’re a sock knitter and you’ve been on the fence about trying this method, give it a go — it’s pretty fun!  And if you need help, stop in at Clementine’s — Cami is awesome and I know she’d gladly lead another sheep off the cliff!
Before I scamper off to bed, I have to show you what loveliness arrived in my mailbox this week:

Lisa Apron

I won a blog drawing from Lisa at Colors Outside the Lines!  Look at all the fun stuff!  One of her fabulous aprons in beautiful blue vintage-y flowers and stripes.  I’ve admired Lisa’s aprons from afar for a long time — I just love how she attaches a towel to the apron.  I’m always searching for a towel, and therefore wiping my hands on my apron, when I’m cooking.  This is the coolest idea and it’s detachable with buttons. And another cool thing — look how Lisa has used the fringing from the other end of the towel as trim on the pocket!  Too, too cute!  I’m just noticing that this picture is a bit misleading — somehow, the folds of the apron don’t really show that every other panel is made of the striped fabric.  You can kind of see it if you really look — the panels are of equal width across the apron, alternating between flowers and stripes.  It’s a very full apron and will provide great protection!

Lisa also thoughtfully included one of her famous shopping bags (to match the apron!), an adorable little fabric covered notepad (tucked into the apron pocket) that will be perfect for my purse (I’m a note taker!), and a fabulous doily — look at all those cute little flowers around it!

Lisa Tag

And I had to do a close-up — look at Lisa’s cool tags!  Very, very clever!  Thank you SO much Lisa — I love it all and I’m feeling so very lucky to have won your giveaway!!!

Now…nighty, night all you bloggy peeps and sweet dreams!

XOXO,
Anna

Happy Birthday…

…Wienerhead!!!

Cupcake Cake

Today is MyDadLovesMeBestSister’s birthday. Remember that cake decorating kit I gave my niece in for her birthday in January? She’s been practicing away, and she wanted to make her mother’s birthday cake.

Cupcake Cake

So, she came over last night and we made a cupcake cake, using the Wilton giant cupcake pan (which is available at many stores as well as online — I got mine with a 50% off coupon from JoAnn’s). I showed her just a few little things and she did the rest all by herself. Didn’t she do a great job? (And btw, if you happen to use this pan, you need to bake the bottom of the cake separately from the top — it doesn’t take as long to bake and the top will be overdone if you do them together as the pan suggests.)

Cupcake Cake

I hope you’re all having a wonderful weekend. I got home from my trip a day late (thank you midwest thunderstorms!) so I’ll be back when I’m caught up!

XOXO,
Anna

A Cookbook for Sisters

Tap. Tap. Tap.

Ahem.

Camille is having a quilt giveaway, so you better run over there and register. And you must know how it pains me to send you over there, thus decreasing my chances of a win. (Ok, I jest — but if you go, you could mention that I sent you, which would give me an extra chance, thus negating the fact that I sent you in the first place LOL! That means you too, you quilty peeps, ’cause I’m sure Camille will let you register if you’re blogless!) It’s a beautiful quilt — ’cause that’s the only kind that Camille knows how to make!

A week or so ago, Junie Moon posted a beautiful family cookbook that she made for family Christmas gifts in 2001. So, I thought I’d show you my version of a similar project. (Do we all have a project like this???)

Sisters Cookbook

My mother(1) has one sister(1) who has two sons(2) and five daughters(5) and for several years, my sister(1) and I(1) and everyone else talked about making a family recipe book because we love to share recipes. We talked and talked, so finally I just decided to do it. Everyone had already given me recipes, so I gathered together 11 (1+1+2+5+1+1) spiral bound notebooks and did a lot of copying and gluing and built some cookbooks. We took a picture of MeMum and her sister on a tandem bike and named the book Sisters because we’re all a sister to someone in the family.

Sisters Cookbook

I divided the book into sections for each member of the family and included their recipes and some pictures of each family. I tried really hard to be sure that everyone from each generation had the same number of recipes and pictures included. The first section contained recipes from our grandmother, including the one pictured above which was in her own handwriting.

Sisters Cookbook

I also tried to include a few older family pictures, like the one above of my grandpa playing with a train and the one below of my grandma with one of my cousins in the 1960′s. Grandma would probably hate that picture, but I love it because it looks just like I remember her — she died not too long after this picture was taken.

Sisters Cookbook

Another picture I love is the one below of the turkeys. My grandfather was a turkey farmer when I was very young, and my memories of him on the farm are faded, so I treasure the turkey pictures.

Sisters Cookbook

There were more contemporary pictures too, like the one below of my goofy cousin doing her Vanna White pose to demonstrate her sister’s new kitchen cupboards. Isn’t she a cutie?

Sisters Cookbook

Some of the pages are pretty plain. The plan was that I provided the books with all the recipes and each person should provide stickers for their section for 11 books (’cause stickers for that many pages can get pretty expensive for just one person to buy!) But you know how that goes — trying to coordinate people living in different parts of the country isn’t easy. That doesn’t really matter anyway — the important thing is that we all have each other’s recipes! (Oooh look, there’s MeMum, stylin’ in the 70′s.)

Sisters Cookbook

It was a really fun project, but I think if I had it to do over again, I might make a Taste book like Gumbo Lily posted about this week. They look so professional and pretty and that way, everyone could just buy their own if they wanted one.

I’m sure everyone in my family all have new recipes to share — maybe we should do a taste book! Or, how ’bout a blogger cookbook? Wouldn’t something like that be fun — a book with all your favorite bloggers’ recipes??? Hmmmm……

XOXO,
Anna

A Finished Quilt

Have you all had a good weekend?  I’ve had a fun, relaxing weekend.  I didn’t mean to spend all day cleaning yesterday — I was just going to clean out the little cupboard that holds my yarn.  After that I planned to spend the day quilting.

Shower Quilt

But, when I got the cupboard cleaned out, I looked around and decided the family room needed to be cleaned.  After that was all cleaned, well, I could see the messy breakfast room, so that had to be cleaned too.  And then the kitchen.  You get the idea….one thing led to another and before I knew it the day was gone.  Do you ever do that — start cleaning and you can’t stop?

Shower Quilt

Then today, I washed and folded the fabric that I bought in Chicago last week.  Then I decided I’d go see MeMum for an hour or two and work on the binding to the quilt we tied for SweetiePie and TheFirstChild at the bridal shower.  Well, HBO was running all the episodes of John Adams and we don’t have HBO, so I bet you can guess what happened.  I got sucked into John Adams and watched the first three episodes (it’s wonderful!)  I’m happy to report I got the binding all done though!  And did I ever show you the back of the quilt?  We found this cute print with home and family words on it.

Shower Quilt

There wasn’t enough for the whole quilt, so It’s just a big giant 40″ x 40″ block in the middle of the back.  Anyway, after all that John Adams and sewing, I came home to prepare for my monthly week in New Jersey.  I made the beef stroganoff casserole and the chocolate chip cookie mix that Jewels gave us in Chicago last week (they are yummy — thanks Jewels!)  Now my lil’ family will have a few goodies to munch on while I’m away this week.

Oh, and I almost forgot — look at the goodies I got in the mail this past week!  Sweet Vallen sent me some Rose Water and it needed some padding in the envelope, so she wrapped it in that fantastic silky fabric with the big red flowers — isn’t it cool???  Thanks Vallen!  I can’t wait to try the rose water — I’ve seen lots of great recipes on the web that use it.

And that’s not all — Darlene and Thimbles sent me and Mama Bunny that adorable pincushion with some cute pins.  I was so happy to see that Thimbles didn’t forget his Mama!  I love pincushions, and this one is so cute with all the sewing things on it.  Thanks Darlene — I love the way it’s stuffed — will you tell us what you stuffed it with?

AprilGoodies

Thank you, thank you Vallen and Darlene for being so thoughtful and kind.  {Smooch}{Smooch}
I hope you all have a fun week planned.  I’ll be working in New Jersey and catching up on all of you from my hotel room!

XOXO,
Anna

Beautiful Thread, Etc.

I have a few leftover items from our weekend in Chicago. On our way home, we stopped at a fun yarn shop, Idea Studio in LaGrange, Illinois. They have some very nice yarns and lots of shop samples. I especially thought these little dresses were pretty cute.

Crochet Dresses

They made me think of a certain little Bub in Australia whose mother crochets like a dream! The woman in this shop told us all about a sock war they’d just finished (it’s mentioned on their web site). It reminded me of dish rag tag a little bit, although they were knitting fish socks ( I wish I had a picture — the cuff looked like fish scales and the top was shaped like a fish mouth) and not dish rags. And they weren’t in teams — it was every man for himself.  Anyway, if you’re in the Chicago area, we thought this place was definitely worth a visit.
Another weekend leftover is my discovery of this fabulous thread.

Thread

Am I the only one who’s never heard of this embroidery thread?  Ohmygosh, we saw a vendor at the quilt show who had several drawer-fuls of the most beautiful colors.  I wanted one of each of them to bring home with me.  I restrained myself however, and only purchased a little six-pack of pastel colors, plus a bit of red and blue for red and blue work.  I read somewhere that this is the equivalent of using three strands of embroidery floss, so I’m a little worried about using it, as I’m a two-strand embroiderer.  I’m thinking maybe the beautiful colors will take my mind off of it though.

Thread

And one last weekend leftover, I saw this cupcake fabric in a big pack at the quilt show but didn’t buy it because I didn’t want all the other prints that came with it.  I found some at the Fabric Shack.  Yipee!  I love it!  How ’bout a cupcake bunny???

Chicago Bags

Now, I have some VERY distressing news.  You’ll probably want to sit down before I tell you.

Do you see any almonds in this ice cream?

Baskin Robbins

No.  You.  Do.  Not.  That’s because we can’t get Chocolate Almond here anymore.  According to the Baskin Robbins website, it’s now a regional ice cream and is only available in the southeast.  What????  What’s up with that???  Are southern people the only ones who like Chocolate Almond ice cream?  Can you southerners verify this — do you like it more than the rest of us????  Are they rationing almonds or something?  Or maybe they’re trying to help us fat midwestern Chocolate Almond ice cream lovers lose a few pounds?  I’m distraught.  My summer just won’t be the same.  I might have to send a letter.

Ok, I’m done now.  I hope you all have a beautiful spring/fall weekend!
XOXO,
Anna