Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Grape Expectations

Welcome to another episode of grape transformations.  Witness the destemmed grapes in their new glass home....

They are all broken up about their move, but are enjoying a cozy sugar bath as they await their transformation into Grape Cordial. 

Thanks Gwenda for the tip on how to use my over abundant grapes.  I can't wait until they are ready and I can take a little nip!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Weekend In Review

After I dropped off the fabulous Feather and Fan gloves and went on a little shopping spree, the weekend got into full swing with drinks and dinner with my honey at our favorite happy hour.  It is my favorite way to start weekend. Here are a few more lovely highlights from a great weekend.

... Received a check from Nissan for the salvage of my long gone clunker I traded in. It was $150 I was not expecting!

... Bought some Fimo clay for some stitch markers that have been brewing in my head.  I will say no more, as they should be finding their way into a swap package if they come out as cute as they look in my noggin.  I will share pictures after my swap partner receives them.

... Speaking of swaps, I furiously gathered all kinds of goodies for several swap packages I am putting together.  I have learned it is just as much fun to shop for little treasures for people you barely know as it is for those that you adore and know maybe a little too well.

... On Saturday night we went to see 6' Swing at ValleyFest.  They are one of my favorite local Spokane bands and I enjoyed listening to them immensely.  They are a little swing, a little blues, and a little jazz all rolled into one.

... Sunday was the Coeur d'Alene Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.  I was the team leader for the Cardinals Against Cancer Team (the North Idaho College team) and I enjoyed every minute of it.  We had 35 members on our team and everyone had a blast.  You would be amazed at how many people join in the race.  It was fun to look at everyone's team shirts!  I think my favorite shirt was one styled after Rosie the Riveter. 

... I also got to watch the progress of the coffin Mark is making for my work's Halloween decorations.  I think he may of taken it a little too seriously, or else he should get into the coffin making business.  He even crawled into to make sure it was a realistic size.  Love him and the coffin!  We will be keeping this for future decorations outside our house!

... I have a good start on the Lace Cable Shawl as well.  It is forcing me to practice my cables.  I don't know why I usually avoid them.  I think they are gorgeous and they only look hard to do, but for some reason they always intimidate me.

Next weekend we are off to visit friends in Lewiston, Idaho so I am sure I will more frivolity to share on next weekend as well.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Love sample knitting

I finished the Feather and Fan fingerless gloves!  I was sad to turn them over to Paradise Fibers yesterday, but I have visitation rights since they will be on display in their store.  I also bought some of the Kollage 1/2 N 1/2 yarn in this color to knit my own pair. 

Now I get to cast on another project for a sample for Paradise Fibers.  I have cast on this pattern with this yarn. I have never knit with corn fiber before so this is a treat.  I have been told it drapes beautifully and I am about to find out.

Monday, September 21, 2009

My Wings Are Humming

Mondays are long. I work eight hours at my day job (the Registrar's Office) and then work another three hours teaching.  I come home tired, ready to eat dinner, and veg. 

Tonight I came home and was immediately energized because when I walked in the door Mark was just putting the finishing touches on dinner.  Taco Salad, one of my favorites.  He also showed me that he finished my new swift.

It is slick and cost less than $10 which is awesome since the swift I had been eyeing is about $40 and that was a good deal.  My Knit Picks ball winder should be arriving in the mail shortly and is bound to play nicely with this yarn swift.

If all of that was not enough to have me humming in delight, Mark surprised me with a brand new netbook!  He said it is an early birthday present (my birthday is not until December).  It is an Acer Aspire One 11.6 screen and we should have wireless in about a week and then I will really get that baby humming.  This came as a particularly large surprise because we just looked at this netbook at Costco yesterday and all he could tell me was how much he thought I didn't need it.  You think he had this planned all along, or did he just realize how much I really wanted it and how much I was going to use it in all its compactness.  With wireless I can sit in my favorite chair, I can sit outside, I can pretty much be anywhere in the vicinity of our house that I want and still blog, check facebook, and do all other sorts of nonsense online that I probably don't really need to be doing.  I can't wait to get started!  I love you babe!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Addition to the Canned Family

Might I introduce you to our Concord grapes before....

They have had an identity crisis and have changed their names to Cinnamon Grape Preserves....

Friday, September 18, 2009


I have finished one fingerless glove of the Feather and Fan Fingerless Gloves and I am loving the 1/2 N 1/2 yarn by Kollage!

Also, the handi-man has finished one of his two projects!  The niddy-noddy looks great and I can not wait to try it out and set the twist on my first ever spun yarn. 

He also cut all the pieces for the swift last night and will hopefully get it all put together by the end of the weekend.  Don't you just love the feeling of progress!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Handi-man to the rescue!

For those of you that don’t know, the handi-hummingbird has a handi-man. While as an empowered woman I hold firmly to the fact that technically I could do anything Mark does handi-wise, I don’t. Frankly, I am happy to let him take over certain arenas. For example, I can mow the lawn just fine thank you, but I have absolutely no problem letting Mark complete this chore. It works both ways. I am sure Mark could technically create my yummy tomato sauce (okay, maybe I am stretching it a bit there), but I am fairly certain he is fine with letting me do it all by myself.

The handi-man enjoys having projects to do. So, when I was introduced to these directions for building your own niddy-noddy (for you non fiber enthusiasts, it is used to set the twist on new spun yarn) and found these directions for building your own yarn swift (non fiber nuts, this is to help quickly ball new yarn) I thought of my handi-man. He was of course excited to help make this happen (hmmm, maybe I am stretching a bit again). Last night we went to the hardware store and got everything we needed that we didn’t already have at home for both of these projects. I am excited to see the end result!

Construction will not begin until tomorrow. You see, the handi-man also likes to work on his handi-cap so he is golfing with his buddies this afternoon. I will keep you posted on the progress though!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Me Time

What a busy girl I was this weekend!  Mark was away on a boys only weekend to Priest Lake so I had the whole weekend to myself.  I started off volunteering at the county fair on Friday as a demonstrator in the wool department.  We were in the goat barn (can I tell you how cute pygmy goats are!) and demonstrated spinning, weaving, and knitting.  I only knit and crochet, but Tina graciously taught me how to spin yarn with a drop spindle and I am addicted!  I also got to play with the drum carder that Paradise Fibers lent to the demonstration and took the fiber I carded home to keep practicing my spinning.

Saturday was my canning-o-rama.  I made Raspberry Vinegar which is resting for a few weeks in my basement.  I can't wait to make my own Raspberry Vinaigrette with it.  I also made some Nectarine Chutney.  It is so yummy, but I have to say it was a lot of work for only a few pints. Finally, I made some Nectarine and Raspberry Preserves.  It made the most beautiful color both in the pot boiling up...
and in the jar. 

It is the perfect blend of sweet and tart.  Can't you just hear the chorus of lids snapping as they seal shut?  Music to my ears!

I have to say I have fallen in love all over again with my Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving!  The vinegar and chutney recipes both came from that book and I have plans to use some other recipes for my over abundant Concord grapes and tomatillos.  I would recommend this book to anyone you loves to preserve their bounty, whether jamming, canning, or freezing, it has it all including some items that frankly scare me. 

Speaking of my grapes.  Somewhere in the middle of all this canning I found the time to bake my first focaccia bread.  I found this great recipe for a Concord Grape Focaccia.  So good and just a little sweet.

Sunday it was back to the fair to volunteer as a demonstrator for a few more hours.  My fellow volunteers on both days are some of the neatest people and I am sure I will visit with them again soon.  It was so much fun to share my love of all things fiber with fair-goers as well.  We got a lot of gawkers and even more questions.  I will definitely be doing this again next year!

Of course, I also enjoyed some of the finer girly things in life while Mark was gone.  I rented a couple chick flicks, drank a couple glasses of good wine, and got a pedicure.  Ah, me time....

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Happy Hearts and Sore Rumps

After driving 9 hours to Twin Falls and five days later driving 9 hours back Mark and I have happy hearts and sore rumps.  Don't get me wrong, I love spending time with my family! I just wish they were not so far away in the distant land of Twin Falls, Idaho. At least I got some knitting done while my rear was trying to find a comfortable spot in my new car's seats. In fact, my honey was so kind as to do the majority of the driving just so I could get some knitting done. I don’t know how he knows how important knitting efficiency is to me. I am sure it is not all of the yarny goodness piling up in my closet. Hey, what was he doing in there any way? He has his own closet he can freely pile up with his nearest and dearest possessions. He doesn’t need to go peeking around at mine. Right?  Hmmm….I guess I digress….

During the five days we were there we enjoyed a cold beer (okay maybe more than one) with my Grandpa and took him to Jackpot for their Sunday champagne brunch. He particularly enjoys the bottomless glass of champagne that comes with the brunch. I think we all did. After that we all threw lady luck a little homage and once we thought we had donated enough money to Jackpot, headed back to Twin Falls.

Grandpa gave me one of the coolest gifts I have ever received during our visit. Nearly 40 years ago my Grandma gave him a traveling bar when he was first elected to the National Farmers Organization (NFO to those in the know) board, and he has now given it to me. Check it out!

It holds either two fifths of booze or one fifth and a bottle of mixer. This will be perfect for going to the lake or camping or any of our friends’ fabulous house parties. Thank you, Grandpa!

I also got in some good cousin time (and maybe enjoyed another beer or two with them). Miss Kale was studying for her Medical Terminology exam so she is missing from our frivolity, but she better be there next time.

A few other highlights include:
Making Grandpa some homemade huckleberry ice cream....

Finding these hilarious cookbooks in my Grandma's stash...

Bringing home my favorite goblets of my Grandma's.  They are a soft brown that does not come across perfect in the pics, but I love them....

I left Twin Falls with a pan of my nummy enchiladas in the freezer, my sticky BBQ ribs in the fridge, and wishing I lived much, much closer. 

Friday, September 4, 2009

Wish List

Okay, so I just found the CUTEST stitch markers ever!  These Boston Terrier stitch markers seriously need to find their way to my house.  Don't they just look like my Charlie Bear?
She has many cute critters available for her stitch markers, but I am partial to the Boston Terriers for obvious reasons.  Do you think it is possible to become addicted to Etsy?
On a side note, I am hitting the road to visit my family in Southern Idaho, so do not become alarmed if you do not see me posting for a few days.  I will be back!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Casting On!

After work tonight I went to Paradise Fibers to pick up the yarn and pattern for the fingerless gloves they asked me to knit as a store sample.  The yarn is in this beautiful colorway and this is the pattern for the Feather and Fan fingerless gloves that I will be knitting. They are going to make the perfect project for our Labor Day weekend road trip!  Don't you just love them...drool...

Casting on now...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Missing You

When I called Grandpa tonight we somehow got on the topic of his favorite bbq rib place.  Apparently the owner/rib master passed away this summer, but Grandpa loved his ribs and still misses them.  Grandpa declared that the owner should have checked with everyone and made sure they were okay with the timing of his death before he just left everyone.  We both knew who he was really talking about.

It has been 4 months and I still miss you every day, Grandma.