Tuesday, September 30, 2008

County Fair

We were lucky to be visiting TN the weekend of the county fair. I have never been before, although the park where it was held was my primary walking/camping spot when I was in college. I moved away 20 years ago and the fair started right after I left.

Ds with a prize pumpkin. It was fun seeing all the vegetables, but many of them were wrinkled and dried out by the time we saw them.

My mom had three entries and they all won blue ribbons:

Her barbie outfit won in the Doll Clothes category. Yes, that is a tiny fair isle purse and a pair of knitted pants. . .

Fair isle hat in Accessories.

Cardigan in the Knitted Clothing category. This sweater is from a Susan Duckworth book. Anyone remember her from the '80s? The sweaters are typically a combination of intarsia and cables, so they're very intricate and rich looking. Sometimes the silhouettes are a bit boxy and oversized, with drop shoulders.

I bought some corn meal that was ground on premises in a big gas powered grinder. It was $1 per pound, proceeds going to the volunteer firefighters or some such. I also bought some honey from the family of a boy I went to school with, but I missed seeing him, talked to his mom instead.

I worked on my cardigan a little bit and when I got home I noticed this:

I made two ribs in a row instead of alternating rib and cable. I'm glad I caught it when I did, so it was only a few rows to rip out.

Spent yesterday cleaning my rugs (aka dog toilets) on the driveway. I used Eucalan and Nature's Miracle in water. I put the wool rug away, so it won't be soiled any more, but put the jute rug back down. It's a cheapie from Pier One anyway, but I still feel like I can smell it. Hope this puppy trains soon, this is getting old. She's so sneaky.

The gas situation was bad up there too, but I got out early on Saturday and filled back up. Now I'm at 2/3 of a tank after the trip home, so I might spend some time today hunting out a gas station. I don't want to get into a bad squeeze like I did last week. . .

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Late Summer Garden

Oops, I guess it is Fall, technically.

We found this little guy floating the pool. He only needs a tiny Pina Colada, but we pulled him out and let him wiggle away.

The okra is 8 feet tall now and bearing a lot. I've been making shrimp gumbo in the crockpot, and freezing a lot of okra. I'm visiting my parents in TN this weekend, so I'll take some of it to them. (If I can find gas, that is. . .).

The sedum is almost the only flower that blooms this time of year, so it makes me happy. I got a few little transplants from dh's aunt and uncle in Illinois a couple of years ago and they are doing so well despite the heat and drought. Bees love these flowers.

The last Mortgage Lifter tomato.

Tons of Green Zebras (an indeterminate) still going strong. I just got this Tomato book, which I've been poring over planning what to plant next year. This book gives history and information on about 100 heirloom tomato varieties. The photography is beautiful, a great coffee table book. It has a long list of seed sources in the back too.

I also mostly read Heirloom by Tim Stark, which is bunch of essays on tomato farming and other things. He supplies all the fancy restaurants in NYC, so it was kind of fun to read about the chefs and their requirements. He lost me at the point of discussing Amish/Mennonite baseball (his farm is in Pennsylvania Dutch country). I give it about two stars.

I've been suffering under a nasty sinus infection for the past two weeks, but today is the first day I'm feeling almost better. I'm making slow progress on a cardigan, and reading a lot. We are having our broken and dangerous stairway railing replaced, so I've got workers in the house this week. I plan to spend today driving around searching out a gas station, so I can make the trip this weekend. See you next week. . .

Thursday, September 11, 2008

So I Sewed Again

I made the collared wrap Tshirt from The Latest Ottobre Woman. Here it is in magazine.

And here's mine.

I posted a Pattern Review Here. I think my New Year's resolution 2 years ago was to publish my 100th review there, and this makes number 99. Oh so close.

Here's a closeup of the collar and neckline.

Here are the front pleats.

I like how it came out. Totally wearable and the fabric is a thin cotton knit which will be very comfy (I sweat so much it's ridiculous, y'all.)

I want to make a pair of pants from that magazine, but I don't have anything suitable on hand. I guess that means a fabric shopping trip. Yay!

I've been working on some wash cloths out of organic cotton, unbelievably soft stuff. I ordered some of the new cotton/acrylic blend yarn from knitpicks for a sweater, so I've been studying patterns on knitty for a cabled cardigan of some sort. The yarn looks so nice I just want to jump in with something.

I've been crazy busy with kids' activities lately (and their neglected schoolwork), so I hope things settle down soon. Waiting for some fall weather too, it's been humid and threatening rain but NOT RAINING. If it's going to be so damp, it should just go ahead and rain already. My tomatoes are coming to a halt, but the okra continues on.


Sunday, September 07, 2008

Kitchen ReDo (Sewing for a Change!)

We repainted the main floor rooms a couple of weeks ago, and my kitchen went from a tasteful pale green to a Bright! Spring! Green! I took down the old curtain over the window at the sink.

It had become pretty dirty and faded. Basically it was a box pleated, lined curtain, stapled to a board. I wanted to reuse the board, but holy cow, the maker had used some kind of construction-grade staple gun. I had to enlist dh to pull the staples out for me with serious tools.

I used This Fabric from Reprodepot.com. I lined it and made it two widths of fabric wide, which was about 88 ins. The finished curtain was 36", so that was enough to make it look full. I measured off 6 in. widths and folded into some pleats, then stapled it (lightly) to the board.

I love how it looks. I got the pleats a little uneven on one side, but I think I can take some pins and fix that without even taking the thing down. . .

Next, to replace the chair cushions. I bought these old striped ones at Crate and Barrel, so I looked for some solid black ones from them, but couldn't find any. My kids sit at the bar and eat on these, and wipe their hands on them all the time, so they have to be washable.

I have no idea how they're going to stand up to the washing, but I bought some fabric protector and treated them. I'm hoping that will help a little. I have a few yards of the fabric left, so it will either be a round tablecloth or back up in case I need to make new seat cushions.

It's funny, I made 5 of these. The first one was the prototype to test my pattern and I completely screwed up by putting in the zipper without leaving space for the ties. Also, I did a lapped zipper and I quickly decided to go with invisible for the rest. By the third cushion, I had worked out all the kinks and they came out great.

This project was the one that finally forced me to buy some tube turners (Dritz Quick Turn Fabric Tube Turners) for the ties -- all I can say is *Hallelujah!* and *Why didn't I do this years ago?* I might make a few bags now that I can turn the handles quickly and without hurting my hands.

I hung some artwork that had black frames to replace dh's 70s tole paintings that we had on the walls. (Don't get me wrong, I love the retro 70s feel of the tole paintings, but I was ready for a change.)

I just ordered a couple of black jute rugs to replace the old ones, and then the kitchen will be finished. Yay!


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

February Lady Finished

I really like how this sweater came out. If you're interested in the gory details, you can read my Ravelry entry. I used Lion Brand Cotton Ease, color Hazelnut.

Yesterday I bought some buttons, it took me almost an hour at JoAnns to find three I liked that were big enough. You know how frustrating it is when the buttons are too small and keep coming out of the buttonholes.

I love the fact that this design was originally a baby sweater found in Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitter's Almanac. I was looking through it last night, it's one of those little books that you can just pick up and put down as time permits. It has patterns along with little snippets from her life, which make it quite sweet and interesting. I know there are some knit-alongs for the book, but many of the projects are for cold weather climates (September's is for handknit tights, I can't imagine ever being cold enough to need those, personally.)

This is the second EZ design I've made this summer, the last was the Baby Surprise sweater I made as a gift. I'm really enjoying making these. EZ was a genius. She designs for circular needles, so there is minimal sewing up. I love it.

I'm also realizing that this is the 4th garment I've made from Cotton Ease. Knitpicks has a new cotton/acrylic blend I want to try, guess I'll head to Ravelry to read some reviews of it.


Monday, September 01, 2008

Tomato Time

I've been working on ways to use all the tomatoes coming in. Here is a salad I made the other day. (Tomatoes, basil, fresh mozzarella, olive oil, red wine vinegar, kosher salt, pepper.) I think it's my favorite.

Here's salsa I made yesterday. Maybe it's guacamole, I put avocados in it, plus the regular ingredients for salsa or pico de gallo, basically what I had on hand. Very tasty.

I made gazpacho, but it's not very photogenic, particularly because I used green and red tomatoes. It looks kind of disgusting, but it tastes great and it's a good way to use cucumbers, which I have an excess of too.

But mostly these days, I'm in love with The Crockpot Lady. She posts a crockpot recipe every day, complete with an honest review of the result, i.e. whether the kids would eat it. She appeared on The Rachel Ray show recently, which I missed. I tried her macaroni and cheese recipe this weekend, and it tasted good, but separated, like many commenters had mentioned. I've made the cream cheese chicken and onion soup pot roast, which have been winners.

I actually bought a new crock pot this week. I finally figured out that mine, pictured here, doesn't have an actual *high* setting, the Low is more like Warm, and the High is Low. I bought This One on sale at Target because it has interchangeable, different sized liners. The High setting seems to work on it.

I really want to try her crock pot tomato soup this week. Of course, I'm the only tomato eater around here and I seem to cook a lot of things for myself that no one else will eat. Maybe they'll grow up eventually? Even dh?? Nah, not a chance.

A visitor on the porch. He hung out there for a couple of days.

Maybe I'll try poke sallet next? I went to the park yesterday and saw this, along with a bunch of wild muscadine grapes growing in the woods.

I just finished up a long, exhausting knitting project. Hope to post it this week.
Subscribe with Bloglines