Joyknits!

Knitting, spinning, pets, food and other thoughts


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Happy Holidays!

After a mad burst of stash enhancement yesterday (must have knitting for the trip – photos later), we’re packing and getting ready for our annual marathon trip  to Kansas City (via Springfield to pick up my Mom) to spend Christmas with our daughters & families. As usual, I’m nowhere near ready to go, but I’m sure we’ll make it somehow.

I’ll be back posting after we get home from the trip. Herewith you see most of the decorating that’s gotten done – hope everyone has a wonderful holiday!


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I’m reading …

and really enjoying An Irish Country Christmas by Patrick Taylor. I’m having to read it in bits and pieces here and there, though I’d love to sit down and just read it right through. There was a scene early in the story where the cat, Lady MacBeth, knocked over a pitcher of milk, then jumped up to the top of the drapes – the mayhem that ensued when she came down gave new meaning to ROFL – I had tears in my eyes, I was laughing so hard. Then another, where the doctor’s black lab (Arthur Guiness) ran out on the rugby field during a game and made off with the ball … I love the characters (and some of them are really characters!), and plan to find the previous 2 books as soon as I can.

I’m nearly done with the green Trekking socks, and have a serious yen to start something else for trip and visiting knitting, but I’m not sure there’s anything suitable in the stash – gee, I wonder if I can fit in a little stash enhancement on Saturday? I’ve been seeing several yarns that looked really good …

Yu Shiang (yuxiang) Eggplant

Yu Shiang (yuxiang) Eggplant

Last Saturday, we had lunch in Kirkwood (St. Louis County) at a little place we like called Steak & Rice. We shared an order of potstickers, then Himself had Duck with 8 Precious (shrimp, krab and a bunch of other ingredients) and I had Yu Shiang Eggplant with Pork – it’s so good, I hardly ever get anything else there. I would really love to figure out what’s in the sauce, because that’s what pulls the whole dish together. I’ve found a recipe in Mrs. Chiang’s Szechwan Cookbook by Ellen Schrecker (©1976; a gift from a friend years ago) that sounds like it could be in the right neighborhood, but I suppose some research may be necessary 😉

As an antidote to the really icky weather outside, here are a couple more orchid pictures. I’m so glad it decided to bloom now, instead of while we’re gone to Kansas City over Christmas!

blooms are about 1" across

Mini Cattleya: blooms are about 1" across

orchid2


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I think it might be winter!

It was 12F when I got up this morning, and only got up to 16F this afternoon. Not so cold, I’m sure, for those of you farther north, but pretty chilly for southeast Missouri in December. We got some ice overnight, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as originally predicted, for which we’re thankful. It was, however, slicker than it looked. I found myself very suddenly flat on my back in the middle of the driveway – no damage as far as I can tell, but certainly an unwelcome surprise! The birds have been emptying the feeders pretty fast, so it’s a good thing we got another bag of sunflower seed the other day.

On Ravelry, I recently mentioned drafting the Border Leicester fleece I’ve been spinning, and had a question  about it, so I’ve added a page with a short video clip of the process, if it’s helpful to anyone.

There were some nice goodies in the mailbox today. My order from Nancy Bush at Wooly West came –  I got her Knitted Lace of Estonia, plus a pair of 2-size sock blockers (these are 9.5 and 10″ – a different size on each end) and a really cute sock blocker needle gauge (~3¾” overall) that I simply couldn’t resist.

sockblockers sockgauge

After I brought the house plants in from their summer outside, I noticed bud stalks on 2 Mini Cattleya plants. They spend the winter under lights in the basement, but one of the buds was open today 🙂 (Note: The flowers on this measure a maximum of 1″ across – we’re talking seriously mini here!)


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Icy morning

It started with rain Tuesday evening, then we got up to ice on Wednesday morning. It was really quite pretty and didn’t last long enough to be a problem as long as you were careful where you stepped, as there were some very slick spots.

Ice-coated grape vine

Ice-coated grape vine

Iced fern

Iced fern

In addition to photos of her lovely completed Evangeline mitts, Paula at  PJBKnit posted a link to a peanut butter-flavored dog biscuit recipe the other day, and since I’ve been in a baking mood, I tried them. I don’t have a dog bone cookie cutter, so I just cut them into rectangles with a pastry wheel. Toby doesn’t care about the shape, but he sure likes the taste!

After the icy start, Wednesday finished with a beautiful sky:

Wednesday evening - not quite full yet.

Wednesday evening - not quite full yet.


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Too close for comfort

Because the supply looked pretty low, I actually measured out the flour before I mixed up anything else for a batch of cookies, and this was all that was left – definitely cutting it close.

Phew!

Phew!

Himself was making pitiful noises recently about “regular chocolate chip cookies” (ie. nothing but chocolate chips) so I baked some yesterday, and tried out a new kitchen toy tool. The racks worked out fine for cookies, but I don’t think they’re sturdy enough for anything much heavier than cookies or cake.  new-racks

I also wanted to take some cookies when I took the cats in for their annual checkup/shots. The vet and the gals who work for her are all really nice, and take good care of the critters, so I like to take some goodies along occasionally. The cookies were well received. Understandably neither Amber (13+#) nor Maggie (~10.5#) was particularly happy about the visit, but they were ready to eat after we got home. Here they were waiting to be fed – what’s unusual is that they’re not usually quite this chummy 🙂

Waiting for dinner

Waiting for dinner

We’ve had lots of neat evening skies lately – I liked weathervane against the clouds.

Weathervane & Clouds

Weathervane & Clouds


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Leftovers

We’re still working on that huge turkey – I commented that I was considering getting a slightly smaller bird next year (perhaps a mere 18# instead of 22#?) but Himself didn’t seem too keen on that idea, so he’d better not fuss about eating turkey soup, turkey and gravy, turkey casserole …

Turkey SoupI seem to be the only one working on the leftover pecan pie, fortunately it keeps pretty well. Just add whipped cream. :)Chocolate Kahlua Pecan Pie

The weather’s currently got the construction project stalled – next step is to pour the basement floor, and there haven’t been enough warmer days in a row to do it. It doesn’t help that we got a late start because it kept raining. (/whine)

Knitting is mostly for a deadline project, but I have been spinning some nice Border Leicester roving that’s aged in the stash for a couple of years. No specific project in mind yet – I guess I’ll see what it wants to be.

Border Leicester Roving

Border Leicester singles

I was poking around YouTube (looking for a particular Christmas song, but haven’t found a version I like yet), but I did find To Morrow, an old Kingston Trio number, and the scary thing is that I remember most of the lyrics, which are a bit of a brain twister.

Friday Evening Sky

Friday Evening Sky