Thursday, August 31, 2006

Sewing Room - Before

I have pictures today, yay!

I am going to have an L shaped table in this corner, mimicking the current setup. I will be adding some overhead cabinets and some cabinets under the double window at the end, with cushions on top like a window seat.

The contractor had made some mockups on the computer, but he kept all the copies -- I'll try to get one of his pics up when I get one. It's much easier to see it on paper than have me describe it.

Next, will be a really large cabinet with doors between the two windows. More storage under the windows. And then in the corner shown here, a gigantic bookcase, which will be fabric storage, mainly. I also have a lot of storage under my island cutting table, so I think it will work fine. There is room for a sitting area with a chair and a table or two under the eaves in the front part of the room.

I'm thinking that having the built-ins will not be a drawback if we have to move again. The big cabinet could easily be converted into a TV cabinet or armoire and the sewing surface would make a double computer desk. . .

The weather is finally changing a bit, we have rain from Ernesto, thankfully. Also a few thunderstorms this week, so I haven't had to water so much. Am trying to make the most of the end of summer. Went swimming one day this week, it felt so decadent, doing it alone in the middle of the day. The joy of back-to-school. . .

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Sewing Room Reno

Well, Blogger sux, because I can't upload any pictures. We'll see if this post gets lost or not.

Anywho, I called the contractor today and work begins on the new sewing room renovation, as soon as he comes over to pick up a check. I was going to post some *before* pictures, I'll do it when Blogger lets me. In the meantime, you can see my old sewing room. Actually, you can see some photos of the new room (the one that's painted robin's egg blue) in its *before* state. Take a look at the fabric. I'm going to make some window seats and use that fabric on the cushions (curtains too). The cats will have their own sunny beds under the windows, woo hoo. . .

This guy who's doing the remodel is building the cabinets from scratch. We looked at premade ones, or at least using premade doors and it's cheaper for him to do it all. He really felt funny when I made him go into some sewing machine shops to check out the mechanism for sinking the machine into the table. He's a really young cute guy and I guess he felt weird going into an *old lady shop.* Whatever. . .

In knitting news, I went to two yarn shops today. The first one is 5 min from my house, a nice cute shop, but no selection. I NEVER buy anything there, but I WANT to. Does that make sense? There was an Stitch N Bitch or a class or something going on and of course then people are in the way and you can't get to things and I HATE THAT.

So, I drove to the other shop, (where I always end up) and got some Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran to make some wrist warmers from the latest Knitty. I had some Cashmerino leftovers that my mom gave me from a sweater she made, but it's the Baby kind. Maybe I can adapt the pattern after I make it once and use the yarn I have.

I also bought some maroon colored Douceur et Soie (Knit One Crochet Too) to make the Kiri shawl. I want to make a lace shawl to wear with the dress I'm making for dh's holiday party. Of course, now I'm realizing I might not have enough fabric, here's hoping I can find something in a similar color if I can't get the dress made. It's a pretty standard holiday color, so I'm not too worried.

Interesting, it let me upload a piccy of the yarn for you, enjoy. . .

Monday, August 28, 2006

Hoppin' John

So last week I read The Member of the Wedding. It just seemed fittin' since it's set in a town resembling Columbus, GA (whose kids are at the Little League World Series right now). It's also set in August, the dog days of summer. I have to admit I picked it up and started it because it's a slim little volume, and I was feeling overwhelmed. It's good in that Eudora Welty/Flannery O'Connor/Faulknerish kind of way, southern gothic, maybe?

Anyway, whenever I read a novel, I always want to eat what the characters are eating. Surely I'm not the only one. The pages of my books are so stained, it's embarrassing to lend them out.

Most of this novel is set in the kitchen, where the characters (the cook, a 12 yo girl, and a 6 yo boy) are eating and talking and playing cards. The main character is Frankie the 12 yo girl, and her favorite food is Hoppin' John. So I made some last night and it was wonderful. I served it with cornbread and sliced tomatoes, although in the book, they have baked sweet potatoes and buttermilk along with the cornbread.

Here's the recipe, from the back of the Ranch Style Beans Blackeyed Peas can:

Hoppin' John
2 T olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 clove minced garlic
2 cans black eyed peas, undrained
8 oz. Kielbasa, thinly sliced (I use any smoked sausage)
1 cup uncooked rice
1/4 t crushed red pepper
1 can chicken broth

Heat oil in large skillet. Saute onion, celery and garlic. Stir in remaining ingredients, heat to boil, reduce heat and cover tightly. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until liquid is absorbed. 6 servings.

Yesterday I typed in a post about Fabric Stash (I've been cleaning out) and it got lost, so I'll come back to it this week. I just got a bid on sewing room cabinets this morning, so that project might be going forward soon. I'm sew excited, heh.

Friday, August 25, 2006


I'm back to socks again. I guess I'm not really out of my rut. I'm using a different pattern, but of course it's also basically a ribbed sock, which is the kind I always make. I am using a 2X2 rib in a waffle pattern from the Sensational Socks book. The yarn is a 80/20 merino nylon blend from Ellen's Half Pint farms. It's very nice but a little crunchy. I hope the crunchiness will lessen upon washing.

I'm knitting it on size 1s, but I hate these needles because they're too long. I think they are bamboo, I'm not sure what brand, but they're 6 inches long and I prefer 5. I might run out and get a new pair of Brittany Birch 1s and change them out. I just don't like these needles.

Today I'm going to clean out my sewing room, start getting organized in there, catch up on my podcast listening. I read the paper a while ago and discovered some 11:30 am matinee movies and man, is that tempting! I haven't been able to see a first run movie (besides Cars and Aquamarine and that kind of crap) in years. I'll probably be good and stay home, but it's good to know I COULD go if I wanted to.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Beware of Coyotes

It's not the kind of sign you like to see when you're going for a walk in the woods. I'm freaking out every time I hear a squirrel rustling the leaves.

Dd went camping with the girl scouts last weekend. I opted not to go. One of the chaperones had some chest pain and ended up going to the emergency room early on the first morning. She stayed at the hospital a couple of days, heart disease runs in her family.

So, I'm back to Curves and walking, but having this sick friend means I'm eating oatmeal for breakfast. . . My mom had heart failure 18 months ago, so it's in my family too. I'm thinking heart disease is much more likely for me than coyotes.

I got this kitchen towel finished:

I have terrible embroidery skillz. The towels are really good practice for me. I never start liking my handwork until I get to the end of a project. Things start out really bad and then I suddenly figure it out and improve.

I don't have much to report otherwise. Every time I walk into the sewing room I want to cry because the Charlotte's Web Shawl is lying there with a hole in it, needing to be fixed. I think I might take her to my mom for a consultation. She'll know what to do. I need to put her away so I don't have to see her and get depressed.

My contractor came by to look at building in sewing room shelves. I think I'm going to put some window seats in for storage underneath. He's trying to figure out how to recess the machines into the sewing surface. We'll see what he comes up with.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

When Will it be Over?

Here's my excuse for not knitting. Man, they like to hog my spot!

I'm still working on some embroidered towels, but last night I burned the crap out of my fingers (trying to cook -- danger, danger!) and had to stop. They're feeling better today after a couple of hours soaking in ice water and sleeping with Sudocrem on under a cotton glove. One glove - just like Michael J.!

I have officially reached the point of being tired of summer. I just want it to be over. I am tired of being outside. I am tired of chiggers and mosquitoes and poison ivy. I am tired of 90% humidity, even if it is only 90 degrees. I don't want to pull weeds anymore. I want all my plants to die so I can stop watering them.

Look at my lovely cherries:

On the tree, they look kind of nice, huh?

Well, they don't stay on the tree. The drop off and make a big stinking mess.

I keep biting them, trying to see if any are worth eating. They are either mealy and sour, or mealy and sweet. The sweetness almost tastes good, but the texture is so nasty, I can't get past it. My fantasy of making pies and jellies is all down the drain. The other thing I know is that if we don't rake them all up, we'll have little baby trees to pull in the Spring, ugh. . .

I still haven't figured out the variety and dh has been hounding me about what to do with them. Are you supposed to pick them from the tree? Put down a cloth and shake the tree? Who knows?? Are they worth picking? Would anyone eat them? Ack. . .

Other than that, I've had a nice quite week with the kids at school. Ds is taking it very well, which is surprising. Also, I have a contractor coming today to take some measurements for my new sewing room cabinets. Can't wait to get to work on that project.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


Here's a towel I made yesterday. I think it will be a present for my mother. Do you think the ladies in the knitting guild would enjoy drying their hands on it when she hosts a Knit-In at her house?

The embroidery designs are from Sublime Stitching. They really have some cute things. However, I ordered several of their cotton towels (this is one in the photo) and I'm not terribly pleased with them. I was ironing on a pattern, following their instructions, which say to use highest setting (cotton/wool) and no steam. Well, highest setting is Linen on my iron, so I used that and completely scorched and ruined the towel. Lesson learned, cotton is next highest and wool is below that. . .

Also, even though I'm following instructions, I always have some bare spots. Take a look at this pic.

See the mixer and the spoon? It's not really that big a deal, I can just fill in with a pencil, but it's annoying. Also, I noticed that my towels, which were stacked on a bookshelf and probably in the sun, were yellowed a bit. That one is my fault I guess, but isn't the sun supposed to whiten?

My other complaint about the towels is that they are a strange size and shape. A big square, too big for a bathroom towel and a strange shape for a kitchen towel. I have trouble folding them right.

The verdict from me on these is that Sublime has the cutest, kitchiest designs, but Aunt Martha better quality in the tranfers.

You can pick up Aunt Martha at JoAnn's. I just googled and came up with several places that sell them. I've used these quite a bit for big Girl Scout projects and I never had any issues with the transfers not coming out well. They have some cute things too.

And while I'm at it, I have to say how much I love A - Z of Embroidery Stitches. The photos are clear and wonderful, everything is broken down step by step. I really want to start doing more embroidered embellishments on handknit items.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Socks that Rock

I finished a pair of socks from the Sock that Rock yarn at Blue Moon Fiber Arts. Colorway is Lagoon and I used the Medium weight instead of light weight. I had to adjust my pattern down from 66 stitches to 54 (I use a multiple of 6 to do a K4,P2 rib). I could tell when casting on that the yarn was much thicker than I'm used to for socks. I hope it's going to be comfy to wear. I used a size 1 needle for the 1X1 rib, and size 2 for the rest of the sock. I never like to pass judgment on a yarn until I've washed and worn the socks for a season, but it was nice to knit with.

I put the kids on the school bus this morning, hooray! It's raining, so my walking plans are out, but I'm going to try and get out a bit anyway.

Yesterday I went to Hancock's and almost cried at the lack of decent fabrics. I came home with some black lightweight denim (a skirt for me maybe?) and a piece of burgundy tie dyed rib knit -- I'm thinking Fall Tshirt. Hoping the fall Burda Plus lands in my mailbox soon. I wasn't too excited by *yet another* Plus suit pattern in the August Burda WOF. I want to see some casualwear, please. . .

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Bombay Dreams

We went to see this last night. Funny thing was, in the opening act, there's a guy dancing around with a sewing machine on his shoulders like a boom box. It was kind of weird. Later on, they used it in a slum scene to show a bunch of women sitting around in the slum and sewing (!) in the background.

It was a fun show, classic broadway story, done Indian style. Dancing is spectacular. This song is totally stuck in my head.

I know I've been way OT lately, but I hope to have more sewing and knitting content soon -- like tomorrow when school starts. Yippee!!!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

More Tetons

Boat crossing Jenny Lake, Grand Tetons.

While I was in Wyoming, I went in a bookstore and picked up Close Range: Wyoming Stories. This is the book I was searching high and low for back in May or so. It has Brokeback Mountain in it, which I wanted to re-read after seeing the movie. I have to say they did a nice job with capturing the spirit of the story in the movie. However, I think the story had some comic elements in the language that couldn't be conveyed in the movie without making the character's speech sound a little hokey. . .

I googled the movie and found out it was filmed in Alberta, Canada. It really looks like what we saw in Wyoming though. I watched the movie again yesterday and knitted a bit.

Last night I read an article in the New Yorker which featured an old professor of mine, Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit. He has a new book out, featured at his website, which makes a case for the *new journalism* coming from bloggers and individuals rather than traditional media outlets. The article pretty much dissed the whole idea, saying we will always need reporters, etc. but I think it's an interesting idea. This coming from someone who never reads political blogs.

Of course seeing his name got me thinking about his class (administrative law) and I don't remember much except we were required to write comments to whatever agency regulates auto safety (NHTSA?? too lazy to look it up) about the automatic shoulder belts in cars. This was 1988-89 and cars had shoulder belts that locked into tracks along the top edge of the door and automatically closed across your chest. I remember taking the position that they were a nuisance because your hair got caught in them and that they painfully pummeled your breasts. I was trying to be a little bit funny in it, but I think I got only a marginal grade on the thing. I don't remember if we really submitted them to the agency or not, but you'll notice that cars don't have those seat belts any more.

I had no idea that this guy had such a presence online. I don't remember him making much of an impression on me at the time, other being a pompous ass, and I think that is THE primary requirement to become a law professor.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


The tomatoes are finally getting ripe. Maybe I'll have a sammich today for lunch. The last time I successfully grew them was 6 years ago, when I was pregnant with ds and ate tomato sandwiches all the time. At the time, I had imaginings that he WAS a tomato, growing in there. Weird, I know.

Tuesday I hosted a back to school pool party for the girl scouts here at my house. They were good, and I didn't have a whole lot of prep to do, or cooking, but it was a long party and *the moms* sat outside in the heat watching the girls swim for a couple of hours, which is always exhausting.

Yesterday was a trip the kids' dentist for cleanings, some back to school shopping, Kindergarden open house and parent meeting, then my book club last night. Of course I drank too much wine at book club and probably slurred a few profanities in to the ear of one of my buds, but maybe she thought it was funny rather than obnoxious. A girl can hope, anyway. . .

My August Burda WOF remains unread, still in its plastic wrapper. If I can just survive this week, then next week BOTH OF MY CHILDREN WILL BE IN SCHOOL ALL DAY. I am shouting because I can't believe it. The only immediate plans are to get my hair cut and colored and to return to Curves. Maybe I will actually SEW.

Monday, August 07, 2006


I'll try not to bore you with too many vacation photos. We went to Wyoming, flying into Jackson. This is a photo from a beaver pond showing the Grand Tetons.

Here is a bison, rambling along. He had a little bird trailing him and eating the bugs he was kicking up.

We saw a lot of wildlife: a bull moose (no photos, too far away), elk, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, osprey, bald eagles, kingfishers, hawks, crows/ravens/magpies, pelicans, ground squirrels, chipmunks, long tailed weasel. . . That's all I can think of right now. Luckily we did not see any bears, wolves or coyotes.

We went to Yellowstone as well as Grand Tetons. I know the picture would have been better if the geyser had been going off behind me, but I didn't want to wait around 90 minutes for the next one. Note that I am wearing the jacket I made at knitting camp and I loved it. I can tell I'll get a lot of wear out of it this winter.

Today I'm working on the laundry mountains. Tomorrow I'm hosting a girl scout swimming party, so I've got a lot of work to do. I need to take the kids shopping to get ready for school. There are 3 or 4 back to school parties for the kids, plus orientation and my book club meets this week. Crazy. . .
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