Knitting, spinning, pets, food and other thoughts


A family & foodie weekend

My brother Bob*, sister-in-law Hiyam and nephew Eric came for a visit last weekend. We had a nice visit, and cooked up a storm! I had already made a big pan of sweet rolls from our grandmother’s recipe (one of those recipes that starts out “1 cup of water, 2 cakes of yeast, and flour to make a sponge …” – it’s in her handwriting!) – fortunately I’ve made it plenty of times, so it makes sense. We had those for breakfast 2 mornings, and there were still a few left.

Muttie’s rolls.

On Saturday, Hiyam treated us to a Lebanese dinner, hummus, and her Mom’s cookies – wow, what a feast! Hiyam brings her Mom’s cookies when we gather at Christmas; they just melt in your mouth and everyone loves them! I didn’t get a good picture of her, and since I want her to keep on speaking to me, I won’t share the only one I took πŸ˜‰


Hiyam’s Mom’s cookies.

While we were cooking, Eric (the family roller coaster fan) went up and played at 6 Flags outside St. Louis, but of course he made it back in time for dinner! His dog Buster (a rescue) stayed home with us.

Eric & Buster.

My brother, Bob & me.

*If you’re into action & adventure/pulp fiction, look up Erwin K. Roberts here, or on Amazon πŸ˜‰


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Wild(life) and wonderful!

Quite a bit of wildlife lately, all on a very small scale …

And a very nice package in the mail from Needle Arts Book Shop – Marsha’s delightful to deal with and she sends such nice packages! I ordered another Japanese pattern book, and 3 books by Annie Maloney, which have lots of charts and fun illustrations. I haven’t had a chance to sit down and go through them in depth yet, but I’m looking forward to it.

On the construction front, looking through photos from about a year ago (no siding, drywall, flooring, etc), we really are making progress! Earlier this week the flooring folks fixed a major buckle in the hardwood floor and replaced some split boards (they must not look as they’re putting them down?); today the new bed was delivered; the broiler is supposed to be fixed tomorrow so that it will light correctly – fingers crossed on that one! Maybe it will get finished one of these days πŸ™‚



It must be the season for amaryllis, as I’ve seen others around the blogosphere. This one was an “orphan plant” someone left in the church basement for adoption last year. After a long spell of creative neglect, it was moved into the basement to keep it from freezing and recently showed signs of growth, not just 1, but 2 buds. Really nice and bright in this spell of dreary weather πŸ™‚

I succumbed to a sale at Interweave Press and ordered a book and 2 DVD’s – I’m afraid the book is leading me into temptation, as I’m already gazing longingly at several spindles in the excellent photos … (sigh).

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New books

Since I’ve got a fiber gathering coming up on Saturday, we did our errands today. The Home Depot visit was unusually light, with only 2 screwdrivers purchased and a quantity of paint cards brought home.

Another stop was Barnes & Noble – I wanted to look at 2 knitting books, which they didn’t have in stock, but consoled myself with a few other books πŸ™‚

I’ve still very pleased with the red sweater. The other side of the fabric is also attractive, and I’m thinking of ways to use it.


Books & things

I thoroughly enjoyed Julia Child’s book, My Life in France, and in a total change of time and place, I’m now reading An Accomplished Woman by Jude Morgan (link to a short blog interview with the author). If you like Jane Austen or possibly Georgette Heyer, this is fun!

Today’s mail brought a nice surprise. In 1998, my afghan design was published in Country Woman Christmas 1998; it’s been reprinted in Taste of Home Christmas 2009, and I just received a copy.

I’ve been thinking about making a rain garden when we get done with all the construction mess, so I looked online this morning and found a really neat brochure on rain gardens,Β  as a PDF from the Wisconsin DNR, which seems to cover the topic very well. They have information and plant lists for heavy clay soils (that’s us!) as well as sandy soils, and many of the plants are native here as well.


Decisions, decisions …

The library called the other day β€” not 1, not 2, but all 3 books I’d asked about came in all at once and I can’t decide which one to read first, and how to fit the reading in with knitting and other deadlines – eek!


Native color…

or at least mostly so. Apart from the phlox, these are flowers that are native to Missouri. I ordered a new book from the Missouri Conservation Commission website, Native Landscaping for Wildlife & People that I hope will be very helpful when we get past the construction phase and start to put things back together again. It’s got lots of information and excellent photos.

I waited too long to photograph the sunflower – it seems to have been mugged by a squirrel, as I found it on the ground several feet from the plant this afternoon.

This is eventually going to be my corner – it’s getting to the point where it’s easier to visualize the shape and size of the rooms. πŸ™‚


More knitting …

I’ve been knitting Samantha’s Christening Shawl from my Shawls booklet for the Winter edition of Seasons of Lace, and it’s quite addictive. The pattern stitch is Crest of the Wave, it’s currently up to 312 sts (78 sts in each quarter), and large enough to form its own knitting bag. This is probably the last time I’ll be able to spread it out flat until it’s done, as I almost lost some stitches at a couple of the corners. The yarn is Alpaca Sock, and very nice to knit with.

I made a big dish of scalloped potatoes the other day – it’s amazing how fast the food processor slices up 2 large onions, and pretty good pile of potatoes! I could hardly stuff them in fast enough to keep up with the machine. What a great improvement over slicing them all by hand, especially the onions, which usually make my eyes water horribly. This was followed by a pot of chicken soup, which turned out very well, so we’ll be set for a couple more days πŸ˜‰

The current Patrick Taylor book, An Irish Country Village, kept me up last night – I kept reading “just one more chapter” until much too late, but these books have been such fun! I would recommend reading them in order (instead of #3, #1 and then #2), but even if you don’t, they’re very enjoyable. I keep thinking our Amber is SO like Lady MacBeth, the cat in the story.