Archive for March, 2009

She probably already grew out of it.

Last week, I finished the Autumn Leaves Cardigan for Ellie.  The whole time, I thought to myself, “Gosh, this is coming out so huge…maybe she’ll be able to wear it at the very end of the summer.  Maybe I should have made it out of wool and she could wear it in the winter. Maybe we can belt it and make a dress…” And so on, and so forth

autumn-leaves-ellie

Yeah…about that.

It fits!  Apparently my lovely sister gave her this instead of formula.  Goodness me. 

Anyway, it is way cute and all the family looked and admired, once I forced them all to look and admire.

Here’s a slightly more informative pic, along with a link to the pattern.

autumn-leaves-3

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More universally appealing list of things I want…

I realize that the first version of this post was somewhat boring (a coffee table? People don’t want to see coffee tables!) so I’m making a second installment that will focus more on things I want and less on things I really need. 

Windchimes.  That look like pinecones.  AND cost less than $10.  Yes please.

pinecone-windchime

Happy Vegetable Bags.  Want.

Please don’t tell me I wouldn’t wear this.  I’m talking to you, David.

fascinator

I want this basket because it looks French.  Please don’t judge me.

basket

To quote the description: “…glowing LED awesomeness”  Wanty want want.

sun-jar

These are all things that make me wander away from a shopping party, only to  recall that other pesky list of things I actually need (food, rent money, a new coffee table).  Then I do just what Maria from The Sound of Music would do, I cry a little, then I wait for the sun to come out.  Then I run away to Switzerland.

I am greedy

David says I should make a “things I want” feature on this blog.  Although I feel that my entire life could be tagged as such, I’m inclined to do it.  I mean, I have a blog for pete’s sake…how much deeper into the sea of self-importance can I really sink?  Well, I guess we’re about to find out. 

 

 As I mentioned a while back, I’m moving soon.  Again.  Ugh.  Well, not really ugh because I secretly like to move. And this apartment will be the best one ever—even better than the super modern glass-walled condo we’re in now.  Why? Two reasons: Fireplace and Yard.  Also extra attic room with slanty ceilings.  So three reasons.  Whatever. 

 

I say ALL THAT to introduce my first “Things I Want” (maybe there should be a more clever name for this? “I’ll Be Needing That”? No, that’s not really more clever at all.  Oh well.) post.  I will attempt to make these as reasonable as possible (ie not too expensive) and if you want to buy me something from this list, feel free to let me know via comments and I will gladly supply you with my address and contact information—even if you’re a stalker.  I don’t care. 

Like all good Americans, I love tv, but experience a certain amount of shame that I love it so.  A wall mount is the perfect solution because then you can be all “Oh we only watch tv sometimes, so we keep it tucked away in the corner” when your friends are over, then pull it out and watch it for 6 hours straight without having to turn your head.

A faux bois lampshade.  The light fixture in the dining room is ugly.  I will need this to cover it up.  Plus it’s from Etsy, so you can be sure it’s cool and indie.  Just like me.

  coffee-table

For those of you who have seen our current coffee table, I will admit that this is a departure.  That is because this coffee table is made for a Grown Woman who needs space for knitting, netflixes and 4 days worth of wine glasses and dirty dishes.  Obviously, my 22 year old self was not made aware of adequate coffee table dimensions before I bought the tiniest table in the world. 

 bed1

David and I have only once lived in an apartment that did not have a guest room, and yet we have never had a proper guest bed.  My poor parents.  Well, that must end now.  We’re getting a real bed.  You’re welcome, guests.

curtains

This new apartment has a lot more windows than our last few apartments, so we’ll need to get some additional curtains.  These are perfect because, if I had it my way, every surface of our home would be covered in some combination of bird, branch or leaf motifs.  I have a feeling, though, that David will not be so excited about these, so they may not make it.

Well, there you have it.  Mind you, this list is just the first quarter inch or so of the tip of the iceburg, but it’s a start, anyway. 

Maxwell’s Story

It’s funny that I have hardly mentioned Maxwell on this blog, because our lives seem to revolve around him a lot of the time.  I’ve been meaning to tell the story of how Maxwell came to be ours (or rather, how we came to be Maxwell’s), so here goes:

maxwell-tired

 

When David and I first got married, we lived on the first floor of an old white house in South Jersey. David was working nights at that point and I was looking for a job.  I didn’t really know anyone in NJ, so I was lonely a lot of the time.  After watching all the movies we owned (twice), I started to think of how nice it might be to have a dog around the house.  Growing up, David and I had both always had dogs, so it seemed like a good idea. 

maxwell1

 

I started searching on petfinder*, where they put up all the sad pictures of pound puppies in the area.  It is a dangerous place.  Well, I found a few cuties with good descriptions and finally, about a month later, convinced David to go to the Camden County Animal Shelter with me**.  When we got there, the noise of the dogs barking was deafening, but there was one little brindle pit-mix who stayed quiet.  He was just sort of leaning on the wall; looking up at us, saying “can’t you see I really don’t belong here??”  So, we took him outside, where he replaced the wall with my legs, leaning against them so fully that if I had stepped away, he would have just fallen over.  We came back the next day to take him home.  “Sure he’s housetrained and crate-trained!  Of course, he knows basic commands!” the shelter employees assured us.  Lies. We found out real quick that Maxwell definitely needed to be housetrained and basic commands?  Please.  We are still working on crate training—it’s been 4 years and I think he’s more resigned to his fate than he is trained…

maxwell

My whole life, I have always wanted a cuddly dog.  Growing up, I had two dogs that should have been okay with cuddling—a Golden Retriever (Sandy) and a Maltese (Ziggy).  Sadly, they weren’t really into that sort of thing.  But now I have a pit bull, and he’s the cuddliest dog I have ever seen.  He will drape his body over your lap, curl up behind your knees while you sleep, or nuzzle his way under your blanket on the couch.  It’s really ridiculous, sometimes, but I love it. Also, it makes up for all the bad things he does, like the time he killed a cat***, or how he can escape from every crate ever made, or how he freaks out at other dogs when we walk him, only to play happily with them once they come close, or how, just last week, he got out on the balcony and caught a pigeon and wanted to bring it inside. Cuddling is basically the only reason we haven’t given him back to the pound. 

maxwell3

 

I will add this short disclaimer, though: Having a pit bull is a big responsibility.  One that we didn’t really think through all the way before taking him home.  They are great dogs and we’ve never had a problem with him, but we are EXTREMELY CAUTIOUS around kids and we always let people know about him before they come to our house—he loves company, but some people have strong feelings about pit bulls. He’s wonderful and we love him, but the perception people have of this breed, along with the fact that all dogs can be somewhat unpredictable, can be problematic. 

 

* If you have feelings, you should probably not go on petfinder until you’re ready to get a dog because you’ll want one.  Immediately.  Like I said, it’s a dangerous place…

 

** If you have feelings and you’re not ready to bring a dog home with you, you should AVOID ANIMAL SHELTERS AT ALL COSTS.  You will physically not be able to leave without an animal.

*** It was actually a kitten, but I just can’t write that sentence out because it was too horrific.

A Splendid Table, Indeed…

I believe “soaker” is the word the weatherman used to describe last Saturday’s weather. But the Irish Spirit is not water soluble and the St. Pattie’s day events took place as planned. The festivities in Lexington apparently started well before I woke up at about 10am.  When I peeked out the window, I saw about 20 runners sloshing by, with their fancy running clothes saturated by a misty drizzle. Apparently, running a St. Patrick’s Day 3k is a good way to justify drinking 10,000 calories worth of Guinness later on.  Smart people, those runners. 

 

Later, David and I got ready and walked down to Alfalfa for brunch with Raven and Donnie.  We got a table right by the window and realized about 5 minutes later that we are the smartest people in all of Central Kentucky.  Why? Because the street right outside our window (where it was now raining in earnest) was lined with dozens of sad and wet merrymakers waiting on THE PARADE TO START!  We got to watch the parade pass right by us while enjoying our Alfalfafries and cheesy grits, without getting wet!

 

Over the last year, we have watched several of Lexington’s parades and we now realize that they all have the same ingredients: Horses, fire trucks, one marching band, one bagpipe band, cloth banners followed by disorderly and ragtag groups of children/dogs/roller derby women, one float and about 12 delivery trucks with streamers taped on. 

parade-collage

This parade, however, had 3 things that we’d never seen before. The Acolyte Precision Drill Team, Awesome Girls Dancing with Hoops and a Small Group of SHEEP Herded by Two Sheep Dogs. 

parade-collage-2

Thus, Lexington’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade was the best one yet.

 

After the parade, we walked across the street to the library, where Raven and I annoyed Donnie (who had the flu, but we didn’t know at the time…sorry, Donnie!) and David (who did not have such a good excuse to be annoyed) by looking at all the knitting books page by page, in order to find something for Raven to knit for her sister’s baby (A BOY!). We also checked out the Splendid Table’s How to Eat Supper cook book.  Oh man, what a good one. Last night, David and I made the Chicken Curry with Gentle Spices, in which you discover that curry does not come from a curry plant, but is a mix of other spices.  Apparently, we are the last to know.  Anyway, we served it over instant brown rice (a food miracle in itself) and it was our best curry ever! As an added bonus, it did not stink up the entire house! So we paired it with Chardonnay from a box (please don’t judge us—it’s cheap and better for the environment) and ate on the balcony.  A lovely evening, indeed. 

curry-1

 

We ate it all.  And when I say we ate it all, I mean we pretty much squeegeed the pot with old bread.  I probably shouldn’t tell you that, but it’s true.  See?

curry-2

Dear Prudence…

The Prudence Easy Sweater Vest is angry and jealous.  Neglecting it and all other knitting projects was one thing, and she even forgave me for that brief tryst with the Jane Austen Dress, but now I have clearly crossed the line.

autumn-leaves-1 

 

Dear Prudence will not come out to play. She does not really want to be touched right now. She is not happy.  And who can blame her? She is no competition for the fast and easy nature of baby clothes. And the wool…it’s a bit outdated now.  Did you know it was nearly 80 degrees here this week?  Yes, I know it’s snowing now, but how can I be expected to return to wool when the weather has already dictated that it is now cotton, silk and linen season?  I can’t. I fear that Prudence will have to remain in her current unfinished state until October, when I am in more of a wooly mood.  This may change at any moment, though, so I hope she waits for me.

prudence-easy-1

 

A word about this little baby cardi: It’s the Autumn Leaves Cardigan from Ravelry and I’m knitting it in Peaches & Creme natural, undyed cotton.  It will have wide, short sleeves and a wide, swingy body.  Today, my plan is to purchase buttons for it and fabric for the Jane Austen, and then they will both be done and out of my system. 

autumn-leaves-2

 

Maybe then I will return to you, Prudence…

Ellie’s Fate is in Your Hands Now…

Magic happened in my kitchen last night.  I dipped a sieve into my biggest available pot, filled almost to overflowing with milk and buttermilk, and when I lifted it out, it was full of ricotta cheese curds.  Ever since I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, I’ve wanted to make some sort of cheese, but the cheeses that she made in the book all required me to order rennet online.  That requires forethought.  Do I need to say more about why I haven’t done that yet? No, I didn’t think so. 

 

Ricotta is another story entirely.  It takes two ingredients: 1 gallon of whole milk and 1 quart of buttermilk.  If you have a pot and a stove, you are pretty much in business.  I got the recipe from 101 Cookbooks (a beautiful site, full of things I want to make, but which mostly also require forethought, so…)

 

So here’s the Pot o’ Milks

ricotta-1 

David was embarrassed of our straining method (a CLEAN pillowcase.  The thread count on that bad boy is about 14, so it’s basically cheese cloth.  I made my aunt sleep on it once and it actually hurt her face.) I say that it is inventive and efficient. 

ricotta-3 

The finished product: approximately 4 cups of the mildest, creamiest ricotta cheese ever.  I had some last night with some honey drizzled on top.  Mmmmm…

ricotta-4 

Tonight: Cheese Blintzes!

 

On a totally unrelated note: Last weekend, I visited a yarn shop near where I work in Georgetown, KY called Stone’s Throw Artisans.  A lovely and cozy shop that blends the best of my two favorite yarn stores in Lexington—in other words, it was fairly hip/bohemian-y, but still managed to be super friendly, non-intimidating and welcoming. Unfortunately, when I went there, the owner told me that they are closing next month because sales were down.  It’s such a shame that a sweet little shop like that has to close.  Stupid economy.  So of course, even though I wasn’t originally planning on buying anything, I felt bad and bought the yarn for Ellie’s Jane Austen Dress.  And then I knitted it like an obsessed freak all weekend long.  Sweater vest?  What sweater vest? 

 

The yarn I used was perfect for this project because it is meant to breathe and it’s a cotton blend, which is always good for the babies.  The only downside was that it hurt me to knit with it.  I guess because it’s a cabled yarn or something, but my finger now has an abrasion on it from where it rubbed along.  I suffer for my craft (and my niece), I tell you.  And the pattern?  Adorable and fun, but it resulted in about 45 million loose ends to weave in.  45 million.  Ends.  To weave in.  Ugh.  But it’s done and that means it’s DECISION TIME.  Because, although this would make a perfect midriff-bearing top for Ellie, I am really not into that sort of thing on a 1 year old, so it must have a skirt!  Now, I could purchase new material for said skirt, but man, wouldn’t it just be great if I could use fabric that I already have??  Yes, it would be great.  But David says it will look too random and thrown together.  I leave it to The People to decide.  Here are the stash options:

#1: Monochromatic

#1: Monochromatic

#2: Classic

#2: Classic

#3: Vintage-ish

#3: Vintage-ish

#4: Flower Child

#4: Flower Child

Option #5: Buy New Fabric (I was thinking a Khaki Linen?) 

What do you think?