Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Wednesdays over at the Small Things blog is Yarn Along day, where knitters and crocheters share what bit of needle goodness they're working on and what they're reading. Time for this week's installment.

I have two brand new projects that I've begun this week, having shipped off the charity hats on Monday.  The first is some Easter knitting, but since the recipient just might read this blog I'll only mention that it uses some lovely lavender yarn.  Now my lips are sealed...for another five weeks.  My other project is a baby sweater.  No, I'm not expecting a baby and I don't know anyone who is, but after trying my hand at a doll sweater a few weeks ago, I feel ready to tackle a bigger garment.  I don't quite feel ready to tackle something adult-sized, however, so I'm going with Elizabeth Zimmermann's February baby sweater from The Knitter's Almanac.  Other than hats, I've never attempted one of Zimmermann's patterns before.  Her instructions are so short and simple that they terrify me.  So far I'm doing fine, but I'm already nervous about the sleeves.  We'll see if this is a finished product next week or on its way to the frog pond.  Fingers crossed.

For reading I'm continuing my Laura Ingalls Wilder theme from last week and am reading A Family Collection.  Twenty years before beginning the Little House series, 40-something Laura wrote articles for the Missouri Ruralist.  In them she chronicles life on Rocky Ridge Farm with Almanzo and dispenses wisdom on everything from spring cleaning to how to get hens to lay more eggs.  The subject matter can be a little dry at times (I don't have a huge interest in the dangers of wooly aphis near apple trees), but it's fun to think of the real life adult Laura going about her bread baking, food canning, and housekeeping.

What are you reading this week?  I'm always in the market for a good book.




Monday, February 27, 2012


I promised myself that by this week I'd have an even dozen hats ready to ship to Bright Connections for their trip to the orphanage in Kiev.  I had ten finished going into the weekend and then I hit the wall.  Midway through #11 I became totally sick of hats.

Thankfully the Oscars were last night and sitting on my couch for three hours didn't seem like a waste of time at all if I was making my twelfth hat in the process.  So about the time my beloved Jean Dujardin was winning his Best Actor Oscar, I was doing the last rows of decrease on the cap.  And right after The Artist won for Best Picture, I wove in the last bits of yarn.  Yes, I was manic about wanting The Artist to win and I don't care what my sister says, Jean deserved the Oscar over Clooney (but maybe just by that much).  I was a little bummed Viola Davis didn't win, but otherwise I considered it a successful night.

And I won my award by finishing this project and not having to make another damned hat for the next six months.  Freedom!


* Fear Not The Fair Isle

Friday, February 24, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. -- Inspired by SouleMama

I should just call this my Wordy Friday instead of Wordless Friday, since I can't seem to just post the dang picture and keep my mouth shut.  Foghorn is getting tired of being the hat model for my charity knitting, but I'm making for kids ranging from 5 to 18 years so I need some idea of what head sizes I still need.  This particular hat was made from wool yarn purchased at the estate sale of a friend's grandmother last summer.  I bought a couple bags of brand new acrylic yarn and mixed in were two two-ounce skeins of brand new wool yarn, still in the wrappers.  And the wrappers looked like they dated from the early 60s.  (I couldn't resist giving you a shot of that as well.)  One was bright blue and one black and I've had no idea what to do with such small amounts.  Enter the hat-making!  It turned out to be one of my favorite hats in the bunch.   I find it amusing that this yarn, purchased during the Cold War, has now been made into something to warm a Russian orphan.  Funny old life.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


In her post today, the wonderful Alison over at Embrace the Struggle tagged me to tell eleven random things about myself and to answer her eleven questions.  Then I'll keep the fun going by tagging eleven bloggers myself and give them a list of questions.  

And without further ado, eleven things you never wanted to know about me:
  1. I'm a huge Beach Boys fan and my high school class ring has picture of a surfer under the stone.
  2. As a toddler I had such tight curly hair that my mother couldn't get a comb through it without the help of detangler.
  3. I kissed the real Blarney Stone.
  4. I have my mother's brains and my father's personality (heaven help me).
  5. I have brown eyes, my husband has blue, and both our children have a hazel-greenish eye color that exists nowhere else in either family.
  6. I love roller coasters.
  7. My thigh circumference is the same as a super model's waist.
  8. In a childhood fit of Addams Family-mania, I made tombstones and crosses out of popsicle sticks and put them in the backyard so I could see my "cemetery" from my bedroom window.
  9. I hate my long nose (and, as my sister recently discovered, that little bit between the nostrils is crooked).
  10. I had pink-tinted hair in high school.
  11. I have four piercings in each ear although I rarely wear eight earrings at once.
  12. I provide a taxi service for a neighborhood dog named Buddy, who shows up at my house when he's wet and tired.
  13. I'm 5'4" tall and I'm the "tall one" in my family.
  14. I love Buster Keaton movies and if I'd had a boy the second time around I was going to name him Keaton James.
  15. I didn't go to my prom.

And now to Alison's questions:

  1. What's your #1 pet peeve?
    People who nearly run me off the road fiddling with their cell phones instead of driving.
  2. What facial feature do you find most attractive on the opposite sex?
    Broad shoulders.
  3. Are you a clutterer or a neat freak?
    Clutterer...big time.
  4. Which subject were you the worst at in high school?
    Science, especially biology and chemistry.
  5. Dogs or cats?
    I have both, but I only intentionally got the dogs, so I'd have to vote for the canines.
  6. Who was your favorite child star growing up?
    Melissa Gilbert (goes with my Little House obsession).
  7. What skill do you still want to master?
  8. If you had unlimited money and time and didn't have to work, what would you do daily?
    Knit, read, watch t.v., and help out with shelter dogs.
  9. Who is your favorite cartoon character?
    Scooby Doo.
  10. Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
  11. Which social cause interests you the most?
    Animal rights.

11 Questions for My Tagees:
  1. Who is your favorite singer (or band)?
  2. Cary Grant or George Clooney?
  3. Cancelled t.v. show you miss the most.
  4. Most annoying habit.
  5. Best facial feature.
  6. Favorite season and why.
  7. Did you see The Artist?
  8. Favorite book as a child.
  9. Have you seen the first person you kissed in the last 10 years?
  10. Favorite movie made before 1970.
  11. If you have children, who are they named after?  If you don't, who is your pet named after (or what inspired the name)?
  12.  Sidney Poitier or Denzel Washington?

  13. What country would you like to visit before you die?

  14. Have you ever seen a dead body in person?

  15. Favorite book or movie that makes you want to eat.


  1. Post these rules on your blog.
  2. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
  3. Answer the questions set for you by the person who tagged you.
  4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag.
  5. Let them know that you tagged them.
  6. You legitimately have to tag 11 people, but if you don’t know 11 bloggers, tag as many as you can.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Wednesdays over at the Small Things blog is Yarn Along day, where knitters and crocheters share what bit of needle goodness they're working on and what they're reading.  Well, as a confirmed bibliophile I've been lurking and checking out others' links for a while now.  I decided to go ahead and jump in myself, so people who hate knitting and/or books can feel free to stop reading now and find a fun online game instead.  (May I suggest Words With Friends on Facebook, to which I am currently addicted?)

Anyone who saw my blog yesterday will know that my current project is hats, hats, and more hats.  Today I finished up a pink one with a pattern done in small bits of leftover Roving Acres yarn.  I couldn't bring myself to just toss the remains of my favorite yarn, even though I only had three small balls of it left.  (Think slightly bigger than a golf ball.)  Turns out it was just enough to use for the contrast on the pink hat.  I'm already casting on for another pink hat, which will be #8.  (I'm hoping to get an even dozen by the time I have to ship them out next week.)  The pattern comes from the Knitting Workshop companion book by Elizabeth Zimmermann, with the color blocking pattern coming from her The Opinionated Knitter.

On the reading front, I'm this close to being done with The Wilder Life:  My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie.  It's the perfect read for anyone Laura Ingalls Wilder-obsessed.  (I was thrilled to read this and find out I'm not the only one.)  I'm now driving myself insane wanting to visit the Laura home sites.  Since all of them are a minimum of a nine hour drive from my Ohio home (and most much longer), my only hope may be the Laura and Almanzo home in Springfield, Missouri.  Sounds like they've got the best stuff anyway, like Pa's fiddle and Laura's lap desk and the little china box she got for Christmas as a child...  I salivate just thinking of it...

Feel free to join the Yarn Along with Ginny here.


So Mad I Could Knit

I Heart Roving Acres Yarn

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


I've been knitting for about 10 months now, having been a lifelong crocheter.  I've managed to work my way up from dishcloths to socks to (wow!) an American Girl sweater.  I lack the confidence to try a real sweater or an intricate shawl.  I also panicked at the thought of doing Fair Isle patterns or Norwegian patterns or anything involving more than one color.  I had read instructions in various knitting books and it just seemed too tricky, too complicated, too fraught with peril.  I imagined myself with strands of colored yarn going every which way, tangled and knotted and tying up my fingers like a straitjacket.

Enter Elizabeth Zimmermann.  I had heard her name on many knitting blogs and knew her to be quite popular (and quite radical back in the 1950s when she came out with daring ideas on the ancient needle art).  I have several of her books and she has a witty, dry humor that I love.  Her patterns, though, were as intimidating as the aforementioned two-color knitting.  They're more vague than I'm used to and seemed to assume I actually knew what the hell I was doing (which is never a good idea).  Now I understand the Zimmermann fan base.  I picked up Knitting Workshop on VHS from the library.  I'm assuming this was a PBS weekly series, produced in the early 1980s.  The tape starts with the basics, which I already knew, casting on and so forth.  She then had us start a hat and since I have a ton of wool gleaned from the Hobby Lobby clearance racks, I figured that was as good a project as any.  After having me merrily knit an inch of knit two, purl two ribbing and increase evenly around the hat in stockinette stitch, she announced that we were going to learn color blocking.  In other words...knitting with two colors.  Yikes!

I prepared myself for a complete disaster, got out a second color, and followed along.  And the result was astonishing.  I could actually do it.  Turns out it wasn't nearly as difficult as I had imagined.  It helped that she has a suggested technique, namely using Continental-style knitting for one color, American-style for the other.  (For non-knitters, this means that you knit one color with your left hand, one color with your right.)  The benefit is that your two strands of yarn stay separated, no great tangling of yarn and colors.  Zimmermann also has very specific ideas about what is and what is not necessary when color blocking and her advice made the whole process quite simple.

I started off with an incredibly basic little color pattern on my hat.  I was so amazed when I finished the first three rows to see that I was doing it successfully that I stayed up way too late that night finishing it up.  It was nothing to write home about for others, but for me I had painted the Mona Lisa.  Over the week I gradually stretched myself to try more complicated patterns (well, as complicated as you can get on something as small as a hat).

My incredibly simple (but awe-inspiring to me) first attempt on
the left.  My Sidney Poitier-inspired challenge a couple days
later on the right.

Thanks in part to Turner Classic Movie's Oscar film festival I managed to churn out half a dozen hats this week.  I had an unintentional Sidney Poitier film festival by watching In the Heat of the Night one night, followed by The Defiant Ones the next night.  (I'm thinking now I need to get out my own dvd of Lilies of the Field, which features Mr. Poitier's fine acting combined with him working on a church roof in all his gorgeous, muscular, shirtless beauty.  Sigh...)

The downside to all this knitting is that there are only so many heads in my family and only so many who are willing to wear hats.  (The Vulcan, my mother, and sister all turn down offers of hand knit chapeaux.)  Enter Bright Connections, a group working to improve the lives of Russian orphans in Kiev.  I found a post on JoAnn's forum asking for donations of hand knit hats and scarves.  Bingo!  The perfect intersection of knitting and philanthropy!  I need to get the goods to Sacramento by March 7 so they can be taken with them to Russia.  I'm hoping to have a full dozen hats done in time to ship them out next week.  If you'd like to read more about Bright Connections, please check out their site here.  If you're interested in donating your handy work, please contact

For those interested in the patterns I used, the basic hat came from the companion book to Knitting Workshop.  The color blocking patterns came from another Elizabeth Zimmermann book, The Opinionated Knitter.  And I leave you with a quote from the divine Mrs. Z:

"Really, all you need to become a good knitter are wool, needles, hands, and slightly below-average intelligence. Of course superior intelligence, such as yours and mine, is an advantage." 


So Mad I Could Knit

The Warden Went A-Froggin'

Friday, February 17, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. -- Inspired by SouleMama

Told the Vulcan not to send me flowers for Valentine's Day as they jack the price up for the occasion (meaning I didn't expect him to get me anything).  Instead he sent something Foghorn is really happy about -- an iced cookie arrangement from Cookies by Design. 



Thursday, February 16, 2012


Last week I mentioned my foray into the world of the infomercial -- namely buying the Bake Pop pans for making Cake Pops.  The results were good, but to me not nearly as delicious as the Cake Pops I'd had at a friend's party.  In a fit of Consumer Reports-like mania, I decided to whip up a batch of real Cake Pops and compare the results.

I used the standard Cake Pop technique of crumbling a baked cake and combining it with canned frosting, followed by rolling the mixture into balls.  After they spent a few hours in the fridge, I dipped the balls in the same Wilton Candy Melts as before.  (I get no points for my decorating abilities on either type, but I was trying for taste, not appearance.)

And the verdict?  Which was superior -- the Cake Pops or the infomercial Bake Pop?  Well, it depends on who you ask.  The Inmates and I all found the Cake Pops far superior.  They had a wonderfully flavorful, moist center.  Others, such as The Vulcan, found them much too sweet and preferred the cake-only center of the Bake Pops.  In fairness I have to say The Inmates and I are sugar-addicted.  We're tempted to sprinkle sugar on top of our Froot Loops.

I guess the winner depends on your personal preferences.  I will say, however, that the process of making the real Cake Pops was not nearly as painful and time-consuming as I expected.  It takes the better part of a day, from start to finish, but most of that time is spend waiting for cake to cool or for cake balls in the fridge to get firm.  The actual hands-on time is not much more than with the Bake Pop pans and the clean up was much easier (although it may have helped that Foghorn didn't assist me the second time).

My conclusion?  If you prefer a less-sweet Cake Pop, the Bake Pop pans are a nice option.  If you're strictly looking for something to save you time and effort, the pans don't really make much of a difference.  And if you consider high fructose corn syrup to be a fifth food group, go with the traditional Cake Pops.



Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Anyone who has met me or has read more than three of my posts knows I'm wild about animals, particularly the domesticated ones.  To misquote Will Rogers:  "I never met a dog I didn't like."  And dogs almost always like me.  I have no doubt animals pick up on a person's vibe and can sense if a kindred spirit is before them.  Given how many times I've been French-kissed by strange dogs, they obviously tag me as their kind of gal.

There is one dog in this world, though, who inhabits a unique place in my life and my heart.  His name is Tristan.  I met him only once, almost exactly a year ago, and I doubt I'll ever see him in person again.  He has, however, affected me in a way that few others have in my lifetime.

My mother's pal, Jumpin' Jack
On occasion I help out the rescue group Recycled Doggies, transporting dogs from "death row" at the high-kill shelters.  It was on my first such mission that I met Tristan.  He was one of about a dozen dogs being rescued that day from the rural Clinton County shelter in Ohio.  I had dragged my mother along and it was while she was in the van wrestling with a furry, overly enthusiastic (but incredibly lovable) pooch named Jumpin' Jack that Tristan was literally dragged out of the shelter.  I was standing outside in the cold, a light snow coming down, and the poor, breathless rescue worker asked if I'd hold his leash while they retrieved more dogs.  Tristan was flattened to the ground, his ears back, shaking and obviously terrified.  As I said, dogs tend to love me, so I crouched down and talked to him and stroked his head no reaction at all.  It wasn't that he was afraid of me or just nervous about where he was headed.  This dog was frozen in fear and there was a blankness in his eyes that was like nothing I've ever seen.  I've often described it as post-traumatic stress disorder.  He looked like he was in shock and not quite mentally there.  He had been so afraid of being removed from his concrete cell in the shelter that he had fallen into the trough where animal waste accumulated in an effort to get away from the people approaching.

My interaction with Tristan literally lasted about five minutes or so and yet that dog haunted me.  I knew he was on his way to safety, he had a foster home to live in until he was adopted, but I couldn't get that face out of my mind.  What in the world had someone done to him to make him that scared?  And what would become of him?

Thoughts of that shell-shocked dog might have continued to overwhelm my thoughts if not for a tragedy that ocurred just a week later.  I received an e-mail on the morning of March 1 from my mother.  I knew there was trouble when it started "I feel like I can hardly breathe."  There had been a fire the night before at the home of Shannon DeBra, the founder of Recycled Doggies.  In all about a dozen dogs and one cat were killed, including Jumpin' Jack.  (Two dogs who survived later had to be put down due to the severity of their injuries.)  My sister wrote a lovely tribute, with all the details, on her blog here.

St. Jimmi, settling into her new home
Between Tristan and the fire, I was in no clear mental state when I went to a big adoption event of Recycled Doggies' at Red Dog Pet Resort in Cincinnati on March 5.  It was my birthday weekend and we had gone out to lunch before heading over to the event.  The hardest part may have been trying to steer my kids from the signs and the slide show showing the deceased dogs.  I had told them about the fire, but said that all had survived, they were merely injured.  Foghorn never seemed to notice, but The Professor caught sight of the slide show and briefly said to me, "I thought you said they all survived."  I assured him they did and tried to distract his attention.  He never said a word about it, but I have no doubt he knew.  It was in that charged emotional atmosphere that we adopted St. Jimmi and brought her home.  I didn't save Tristan, couldn't save Jumpin' Jack or the others, but at least we could free up a spot in a foster home by adopting this dog.

In the months to come I would see periodic updates about Tristan on the Recycled Doggies Facebook page, enough that I was reassured he was being loved and cared for.  His foster mom, the divine Lori, officially adopted him last fall.  Only someone with her kind of patience could have helped him make the progress he has.  She has dealt with his night terrors, his fear of leashes and strangers and going outside.  Lori has a website chronicling her weight loss efforts, through which she is raising money for Recycled Doggies.  Please check out the page she has dedicated to Tristan here.  There is a special place in hell for any person who would abuse a dog so badly.

Tristan with his Christmas present
from "Aunt Shannon".
When I found out about Lori's Dog-Lbs. project I immediately made my per-pound pledge and left a comment about having met Tristan briefly.  That began an online correspondence which has evolved into a treasured friendship.  I sent Tristan a Christmas box of goodies, including a knitted dog bone (pattern found here).  "He" sent me a gorgeous flower arrangement.  (Foghorn said, "It's really from his mom, isn't it.  He didn't really order flowers, right?")

Christmas flowers from Tristan.

He and his schnauzer brother love to play tug-o-war, so for Valentine's Day I knit a critter with nice long arms and legs, perfect for doggies to get their mouths around.  (Free pattern found here.)  Lori posted numerous pictures, including the dogs eagerly anticipating the box-opening.  She later e-mailed me that Tristan took it to bed with him that night.

This dog was labeled "unadoptable" and was literally hours away from death when Lori stepped in to save him.  He's been abused and traumatized.  And a year after his rescue he is one of the most-loved dogs on the planet, by those who connect with him in person and by those of us who adore him from afar.  Happy Valentine's Day!

Tristan and siblings playing with
his Valentine gift.


How Do I Love Thee?

* Sunday in the Park With Dogs

Sunday, February 12, 2012


My daughter, Foghorn, is a sucker for an infomercial.  In the past she's tried to talk me into The Potty Patch (for the dogs, not myself), Perfect Brownie, and The "Ove" Glove, just to name a few.  If she'd been around during my childhood she'd no doubt have pestered for the Ronco Smokeless Ashtray and The Pocket Fisherman.  Her latest request was for the Bake Pop pan set.  I had never even heard of a Cake Pop until the party of a friend's son last year.  They were tasty, but I'm always suspicious of infomercials, so instead I got a book from the library.  I'm an admitted unenthusiastic cook and when I read the line about allowing an hour to roll four dozen cake balls, they lost me.  I happened upon this $20 Ronco infomercial pan at Meijer and in some kind of delusional haze purchased it.  I actually had second thoughts the minute I got home and had planned to probably return it, but I left it out and Foghorn caught sight of the box and I was doomed.

Today we purchased the required cake mix, Wilton Candy Melts, and nonstick cooking spray with flour (Wilton's Bake Easy), none of which are staples in my kitchen.  Unfortunately I hadn't read the part where you're supposed to add a box of pudding mix to the batter, so we had to leave out that step and the taste of the cake might have been improved by its addition.  Otherwise it's standard cake mix production, with the exception of adding an extra egg and using milk instead of water, cutting the amount in half.

The batter goes into the sprayed bottom of the pan.  I hoped neatness
wouldn't count.  (By the way, I used Wilton's Bake Easy
spray rather than a grocery store brand spray simply
because I was already at Michael's getting Candy Melts.
It worked really well and none of the cake stuck,
a complaint I had read about with these pans).

On goes the top, also sprayed.  The directions said
to spray the outside as a little of the batter might rise
through the holes during baking.

A little batter might go through the holes?!?

The escaped cake was easily scraped off the top and I was
left with a plate of scraps.  Seems like there should be
something I could do with those little cake bowls.

I have a lousy oven that never bakes anything evenly,
so I was unimpressed, but not surprised, by the look
of the baked cakes.
They were hardly perfect circles.  They came out more egg-shaped,
with a ridge around the middle from the overflowed cake batter,
making them look sort of  like Saturn.

The Saturn rings were easily pulled off.  The reusable sticks were
dipped in melted Candy Melts and then pushed in the bottom.
After 10 minutes in the fridge, the sticks were allegedly anchored
into the cake.

We've never done anything with Candy Melts before, so
Foghorn and I had to learn as we went along.  No points
for technique for either of us.

I don't care what my husband says, there is something decidedly
obscene about the pink ones.  I feel like I just came from a bris
(They did, however, give me a great idea if I'm ever
invited to a bachelorette party -- Penis Pop, anyone?)

We decided to try to jazz them up by decorating with a contrasting color.
Foghorn used a spoon.  I used my old standby of a plastic baggie with
the corner cut off, making a decent frosting bag.

Yeah, okay, Martha Stewart wouldn't be impressed, but for
our first efforts I didn't think we did so bad.

So, was the Bake Pop pan worth it?  Not sure.  I think the pans definitely made the process slightly easier, as it skipped the rolling and mixing of the actual cake.  The candy dipping was still time-consuming, though.  And I'm not sure about the taste of the cake.  My friend's cake inside was moist and flavorful.  Mine tasted like...well...cake.  Foghorn took a bite and said, "It needs a filling in the center."  The pudding in the mix might have helped.  I keep wondering if I could slip some white chocolate chips or something in the batter, to make up for the lack of frosting.  I'll give the pan another shot, although in fairness I should probably try my hand at a regular batch of Cake Pops to compare the difference in effort.

There was a massive amount of clean up.  I had drips of hardened Candy Melts all over my counter that had to be pried loose with the plastic scraper I use on my pizza stone.  Foghorn leaned over the drying pops and got her hair in one, leaving hardened white on the tips of her locks.  When I went to wash my hands in the bathroom I discovered hardened candy on my faucet, towel, and light switch.  I cleaned up the remainder of the melted pink candy in the frosting bag by inhaling it out of the hole.  Foghorn wrinkled her nose and said, "You look like you're sucking a wiener -- and I'm not gonna tell you if I mean a hot dog or the other kind."  Yep, unfortunately the apple don't fall far from the tree.


Meet the Inmates:  Foghorn

Two Sides to Every Person

Saturday, February 11, 2012

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. -- Inspired by SouleMama

Thursday, February 9, 2012


At Chicago's American Girl store.

Foghorn had one American Girl doll to start last summer (Kit, in her Depression-era garb) and for her birthday received Kanani, a Hawaiian-themed gal in a flowery tropical dress.  Grandma made all three of them matching sundresses in a mermaid-pattern last summer, which looked danged cute and the dolls have been wearing these dresses ever since.

The matching mermaid dresses.

It's now February and with the snow flurries blowing around out there, I have to say the dolls are starting to look a little chilly to me in their sleeveless frocks.  I've been wanting to graduate from knitting socks to knitting a garment a little more challenging, but I can't quite bring myself to start something big and ambitious like an adult sweater.  Instead, I decided to try my hand at doll clothing.  Complicated enough to stretch my abilities, yet easy and quick enough to not be quite so intimidating.

I made Kanani a matching outfit using leftover yarn from Foghorn's January socks.  It's the Serenity sock weight yarn with Deborah Norville's face on the wrapper in the "Spring Fling" color.  (I often wonder how a woman goes from being a journalist on the Today show to hawking yarn.)  Spring Fling made cute striped socks, so I thought it would add a little pop to an outfit.

The Eyelet Hem Skirt is a simple A-line design, super easy, and available for free on Ravelry here.  It has an elastic waist and cute picot edging.  This item was a breeze and I thought it came out pretty nice.

The Retro Cardi didn't work out so well.  I'm not sure if there's an error in the pattern or if I messed up in some way.  (I would think it was just me, but I noticed someone left a comment on the author's blog, asking about the same problem I was having.)  I had to make some adjustments, but I ultimately managed to salvage it.  It called for tiny 1/4" buttons and my mother had cute vintage pink ones, which go perfectly.  It's hard to see from the picture, but the front has a lovely cable-like design.  The pattern is free on Ravelry here.

I was a little afraid Foghorn might be so delighted she'd want a whole outfit for Kit as well.  Instead she annoyed me by barely glancing at Kainani and instead going on about how every other kid in her second grade class as an iPod Touch and why can't she have one, especially since The Professor has a Nook.  (The whole 7th grade class was just provided with Nooks, part of a technology pilot program, but this knowledge didn't make Foghorn any less indignant.)   She better watch it or I'll knit her a stinking iPod and make her really mad.




Wednesday, February 8, 2012


The 2012 Food Stamp Challenge has come to an end and we didn't quite make our goal of spending less than $400 on groceries.  In fact, we didn't quite make it by a long shot.  We did, however, shave about a third off our average 2011 food bill, which means we succeeded in funding our Grayson County Humane Society "Angel" donations for the year.  In addition, we saved another $20 or so beyond that, which I'm rounding up to a $25 donation to Recycled Doggies.

Our former Recycled Doggie, St. Jimmi, got reprimanded by the vet at her 6-month visit last year for having gained a whopping 17 pounds since  moving in with us.  I have been diligently taking her for walks most days and trying to limit her food intake.  Unfortunately, Jimmi is a confirmed food thief and edibles are not safe from her unless behind lock and key.  We've been giving it our best, though, and I thought I noticed a little slimmer physique on my pooch.  Today she had her one-year visit and...drum roll, please...she gained two pounds.  I was given advice by the vet on how to keep her from pilfering from the pantry, swiping from people's plates, and stealing the other dog's food. I was told to bring her in for a weight check in a  month.  If she doesn't lose at least three pounds, it's diet dog food for her.  I think the mere thought is already starting to affect her.  She tried, with vigorous determination, to get onto the kitchen table to steal the remains of a fresh-baked loaf of bread.  If past exploits are any indication, I'm going to have to watch out for this dog's ingenuity in the face of hunger pangs.