Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Still strippin'....

Clearing the walls of wallpaper, glue, etc......

It's going to be awhile...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

If anyone asks.....

what I gave up for Lent, just tell them my sanity.

I am in the process of scraping wallpaper from the kitchen walls in preparation for patching, priming, then painting:
This is two days worth of work.  It's going to take awhile.

While swabbing and scraping I am listening to A Voyage Long and Strange by Tony Horwitx.  I like this review.  We covered Mexico, Central and South America in 6th grade social studies with Mrs. Keough.  That woman made the Spanish entrance into the New World a fascinating story and there are very few characters in Horwitz's account that we didn't cover in her class.  The fact that I recall them this many years later (about 35 years ago) really says something about the passion that she had for her subject.  Hats off to you, Mrs. Keough, where ever you may be.  Much of the Viking information Horwitz covers was new to me, though.

In a curious intersection of narratives, I started listening to this book while finishing Barbara Kingsolver's
The Lacuna (I've saved you a click and linked you to my favorite review).  So Cortez was invading Mexico both in fiction and history in my literary life.  I recommend both books.

Meanwhile...trash has continued to litter my day.  On my way out to the car this AM, I just missed stepping in a "fur ball" deposited by my car by one of the neighbors' indoor/outdoor cats (those pesky neighbors again!).  Upon returning from picking up the trash at the end of our lane, I stepped in a second deposit of dismembered vole that I didn't see until it was tracked into the house.   It was pretty "fresh", so that little foray must have happened while I was out.

Not much fiber happening around here just now.

I need your opinion...

What do you think....too passive aggressive? 

To:  All of our neighbors on the lane


This morning I found myself reflecting on my (misspent?) youth while humming the tune of Alice’s Restaurant. Now normally in our household Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant” (if you’re too young, or just happened to lose that decade, search it on You Tube) is reserved for noon on Thanksgiving Day.  But it’s come up several times in the past weeks especially on Wednesdays, as I have donned disposable gloves to pick up scattered trash at the end of our lane.

You see, the refuse collectors do not pick up scattered trash.  And when the trash is taken up the evening before collection, animals get into the bags during the night and scatter it around while they rummage for food.  When it’s windy, it’s scattered even more by the wind and passing traffic.

If your schedule requires that the trash goes out on Tuesday evening, one way to deter the animals is to make up a spray bottle of household ammonia and water and thoroughly spray the outside of your trash bags when you deposit them at the end of the lane.  Of course, this doesn’t help with the windy part.

Please do this to help keep me from rummaging around in my distant (and your recently discarded) past.  Thanks!


Thursday, March 17, 2011


This just in.  FWIW...I wrote to my congressman, several times.  Even though this is what it says on his wiki page:

"Media appearances

Rep. McCotter is a frequent guest on the late-night Fox News Channel television show Red Eye w/ Greg Gutfeld. McCotter's appearances on the show come in the capacity of a panelist on the round-robin style talk show, which brings together a few guests (usually some combination of a comedian, a political commentator or analyst, a Fox News on-air personality, and/or a political figure like McCotter), along with host Greg Gutfeld and regulars Bill Schulz (a comedian) and Andy Levy (a commentator), to discuss and joke about topics in news, entertainment, politics, sports and gossip. Host Gutfeld was the former editor-in-chief of men's magazines Stuff and Maxim in the U.K."

Wonder if he gets paid for those appearances?

Yep, I wrote to spittin' in the wind.

PS:  But it's okay to use public funding to "inform the public" like  this.  Again I say: Grrrrr....

More stuff...

Some things that are coming to completion...
The third prayer shawl.  I'm not lovin' this lace pattern.  There is more of this yarn in the stash for shawls but they won't be Atwater Bronson Lace.

If you get Spin-Off Magazine, there's a gallery of helix scarves in this issue.  If you read carefully, there are more online....many more.  Mine is one of them.  You can see this one and the pattern for it at Spinning Daily
This is the alpaca that came from Liz at Sundown Alpaca Ranch.

And this is the quilt top for the high school senior(s).  It will get turned in to church and the Leisure Timer's group will do fabric paint handprints in all of the white squares.  We'll meet in April and put the backings and bindings on, then they will be distributed to be tied.  So, it's not really done yet.

And despite all of this, I still feel like I'm not getting anything done this week.  Stupid lost hour to DST.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Last night I had the privelege of attending a "Hands-on Cooking and Baking Seminar" at Schoolcraft's Culinary Arts program:

We did this once before a couple years ago, but I guess it wasn't blog fodder.  Last night there were about 26 of us.  We broke into two teams.  One group went to the baking/pastry area and the other group went to the cooking area.  My friend, Mary, went to the baking area and I went to the "hot kitchen".

No hats for us as you see in the video, but we did get aprons.  The cooking team made three soups.  The one you see below was my area of responsibility:

Veloute of Mushroom Soup
 I've looked online but haven't seen any recipes quite like the one we used.  This stuff is to die for!!  Of course it has real butter and cream in it, along with a ton of button and shitake mushroomsThe online recipes are lacking leeks, celery, and the technique of sweating the mushrooms to enhance the flavor.

The fun things about these opportunities are the little things you learn from the chef sweating mushrooms, how to clean leeks to get rid of all the sand, and ways to tailor the roux to the recipe at hand.
We made two other soups: Vegetarian Red Lentil and Louisianna Chicken and Shrimp Gumbo.

The bakers finished the bread you see in the above photo along with baguettes, two types of scones, cookies, and stromboli.  

At the end of the class we did a tasting meal, then we loaded up shopping bags and soup containers to bring the rest home.  I polished off the mushroom soup for lunch.  Dinner will be the red lentil soup.  Did I mention I love home made soup?

Fiber update:  The third prayer shawl is finished and awaiting a bit more fringe twisting before wet finishing.  Am also in the middle of  piecing a  High School Senior Graduation Quilt.  I do at least one every year, but that's the only visual reference to it that I can find in the archives.

And I am still waiting for my new loom (Christmas present !?) to arrive.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Some of the reasons I haven't purchased an e-reader

Insecurity  I like my things, electronic and otherwise, to have a reasonable level of security.

Irrationality  What is magical about the number 26? What if print books self-immolated on the 27th checkout from the library?

Proprietary  Electronic items of a proprietary nature have a shorter functional life than open ended electronic items...which are transitory enough IMO.

Just my personal opinion....but am glad to see I'm not alone.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Comfort, Comfort My People......

Two new prayer shawls ready for delivery:

Both are easy care fibers.  The darker one is acrylic and knitted.  The pink one is bamboo, Aunt Lydias number 10 crochet bamboo to be exact.

This one will be delivered to the church prayer shawl ministry tonight and will go to whomever can be ministered to by a warm shawl over their shoulders in a time of distress.  The pattern is The Mystery of the Trinity (Ravelry Link)  from The Prayer Shawl Companion.

It took awhile for me to get along with this pattern.  In the beginning I ripped it out several times, mostly because it is very difficult to "read the knitting" as you are working it.  Finally, I charted out the stitch pattern and it was smooth sailing from there.  In fact, I will cast on for another of the same pattern tonight.  The yarn is a Bernat worsted acrylic.

This one will be delivered to a friend at brunch on Saturday.  She's had a really rough year.  I'm hoping that the feminine pink will remind her that spring is on the way and brighter days are ahead.  Hoping that this light weight shawl will feel cozy over the shoulders as she settles in with a good book.  (I'm also hoping that she doesn't read this....I don't think she has the time.)

There's a third prayer shawl on the loom.  This one for a first time mom-to-be with a difficult pregnancy.  She's been on bedrest and baby girl  isn't due for another 8-9 weeks.  I've been on bedrest during pregnancy and it isn't fun.  (Remember how your back aches when you try to sleep in the last trimester?  Translate that to "stay in bed except to go to the bathroom".)

Hoping to get this one woven off and sent out this weekend.  Maybe it will be a comfort during these remaining weeks of pregnancy and perhaps it can even serve as a nursing shawl.

More about this bamboo crochet thread:  I dyed some of this at our guild dye day (actually, it's the bamboo I'm painting in the pictures).  This stuff dyes beautifully with fiber reactive dyes.  I'm looking forward to getting that warp on the loom.

Speaking of looms:  I got a call earlier in the week and my new loom will be shipped at the end of next week.  As Carly Simon sang:  .Anticipation.....