Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Weaving Loom Under the Tree

I have done it. I have given in to the call of the loom. I picked it up Christmas Eve, had a little orientation from the shop owner (we are going to have a private workshop after the first of the year) but she gave me enough info to get me started I think. I'm rather enjoying it under the tree at the moment. I am going to have to create a proper space for it in my craft room. I'm thinking in front of the window.
I already have some cotton to start with. I'm thinking a tea towel or place mat. something that I can still use even if it isn't perfect. I'm so excited. I can't wait to give it a try.

The details:

A Schacht table loom. 20 inches with four shafts.

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I will take better photos when I have it set up in it's new home.


I am already thinking of next year's Christmas gifts. Table linens and socks for everybody!

In knitting news, I am half way finished with two pairs of socks! And planning some more. These slipper socks/hiking socks are a big hit and I have another request for a pair!

The turkey is in the oven and all the other ingredients for the rest of the meal are laid out and gifts are patiently waiting to be opened under the tree.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas and filled with the true spirit of the holiday!

Stay tuned......

Sunday, December 21, 2008

What a Wonderful Time of Year

I love December and Christmas and the happy feeling it brings. I wish it would last all year. The only thing I wish we had a little more of, was snow at Christmas, but snow any time is rare here and especially in December. It is never quite cold enough yet.

I love decorating for Christmas, I love all the lights on the tree. This year I put "all" the ornaments on there, I usually have themes, but there is the theme I guess you could say was Christmas, Past and Present. I have some wonderful glass ornaments that belonged to my grandmother, I have several that belonged to my mother and some handmade ones as well. Then I have the ornaments I have either collected or friend have so kindly given to me. (I have a thing for pewter ornaments) Well this year they all went on the tree every single one. I and thing it is a fabulous tree this year. It was fun remembering the stories behind each ornament as I unwrapped it, or the memories it brought back of years past decorating the tree with my mom.

Wonderful times.

Here is the night time version:
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Day time:
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Here is a great photo, the bell is the foreground was my grandmothers, the little round ornament behind it my mother made.

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Here is an example of one of my pewter ornaments. My goal is to one day have the whole tree decorated in nothing but pewter ornaments.

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Yesterday we went out for a little while to pick up just some minor necessities and it was fun to be able to go out and not be in a rush or panic for last minute gifts. We rather enjoyed ourselves. We stopped off for dinner on the way home, the resteraunt was packed, but our waitress was patient and kind and just wonderful. It is so refreshing to have a good waitperson these days, when they are busy and probably harassed by tired shoppers. I made sure her manager knew how terrific we thought she was.

While we were out we stopped by Colonial Fiber Arts and we picked out a tabletop loom! I am going to go back on Monday and pay for it! I'm so excited! I will post pictures as soon as I bring it home. It comes with 5 free lessons! I can't wait!

And then we had a Secret Santa exchange with a group of basset hound owners and my SS Pal gave me some wonderful treats including wine, but my favorite was hand etched wine glasses!

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I also have my first "paid" knitting job. I am knitting a pair of hunting socks for a gentleman at work and they are coming along very nicely. The yarn is 100% romney, natural white, sheered and spun by my blogless friend Anna. I am half way through the second sock. I am following EZ's instructions for increasing for knee high socks, as this gentleman wants the socks to come above the top of his hunting boots. He tried on the first sock and it fit perfectly. I hope to have them finished by Christmas.

I have to work this week until Christmas Eve and then again the day after Christmas, so if I don't have a chance to post before then, Merry Christmas dear readers!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Books, Cheesecake and Wine

What do you get when you mix several parts, book with one part cheesecake and one part wine?

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A warm and cozy weekend! I am recovering from a nasty virus, which would explain my blog absence, I haven't even been able to knit! I did feel the need for some fresh air yesterday so I went to a book sale at our local library and we picked up a few books. As you can see by the picture one is on Fair Isle knitting that I snagged for $.50!

Then starting to feel a little worn out by all the excitement of bargain book shopping I was in need of restoration. So we stopped by the wine store and the farmers market where I picked up a few bottles of wine and an apple carmel cheesecake. The medicinal powers of cheesecake are highly underrated!

We then came home, built a cozy fire, watched a Christmas movie and proceeded to enjoy the days bounty!

I also plan to put up our Christmas tree today. I haven't had the energy to do it this past week.

Also some have you asked about my mission to rescue Boston, let me give you a quick up date. I had a nice trip down to meet him and was able to spend some wonderful time with friends, but Boston made it clear he had no interest in me or moving to Virginia, so we decided it best he stay there, he is getting lots of attention and some new training and is probably a much happier boy. It just wasn't meant to be.

Now dear reader I am off to make way for the tree and unwrap ornaments old and new!

Happy Knitting

Friday, December 5, 2008

A Mission to Save Boston

Not Boston, MA, I think they are doing okay. But Boston the Bulldog who was adandoned by his previous owner. He has been at a vet clinic in SC for at least a month. They are desperate to find him a safe loving home. Enter a friend of mine who works in rescue for Boston Terriers, while not the breed she rescues, used to breed bullies and was contacted by the vet clinic. Who in turned contacted me, well was there ever any doubt, he wouldn't find a home here? So, road trip! He will be our first boy.
I will bring you more details and pictures soon! Wish me luck!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Cherry Cordial Shawl

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The picture makes it look more red that it is, but it as eiter too light or too dark, so I went with light.

The details are:

Yarn: Red Heart Light and Lofty Colorway: 9376 Wine 4 balls at 140 yards each.

Needles: 15 on 54" circulars. I have plenty of left over so you could use a shorter circular cord.

Also used a yarn needle and crochet hook for weaving in loose ends.

CO 60 and knit in garter stitch until you reach your desired length.

Comments:

I had not used this yarn before, it is 100% acrylic. But it is super soft. It was a little difficult the first couple of rows, because it is very easy to split the yarn, so you have to be careful until you get used to how it acts. Also, a word of caution the slubby nature of the yarn makes it very hard to tell if you have dropped a stitch so be very careful.


Overall, I'd probably use this yarn again, making for some matching mittens or a hat.

Friday, November 28, 2008

So Much More to be Thankful for...

Dear Friend and Reader,
I hope you had a joyous Thanksgiving. Our family is small but we have a lot of fun. It is however, growing every year. This year we welcomed baby Morgan to her first Thanksgiving. She is the second daughter of my cousin. She is one of the happiest babies i have ever seen. She smiled and laughed at everything and everyone. She almost went to sleep in my lap once but decided there was too much going on and she wanted in on the action. She is only 7 months old and never blinked. I bet she slept well last night I'm sure much to her mothers relief.
Baby Morgan 3

My great aunt was able to join us again this year which was a special treat to see her twice in one year!

She and my aunt were surrounded by the children...

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The kids also enjoyed a holiday treat...

cupcakes

Today was a day to relax and enjoy not shopping.

We raked leaves in the yard and afterwards we built a nice fire in the fireplace and I enjoyed some movies.

Mom Im tired can we nap in front of the fire?

I'm Sleepy

Raking Leaves is Hard Work
Raking leaves is hard work.

I finished the shawl I am going to call it Cherry Cordial Shawl I will have pictures and pattern details tomorrow.

Stay Tuned...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Getting in the Spirit

Well, I know we are just a little under a week until Thanksgiving, but I can hardly wait!
Friday morning here at Stitches and Stories were greeted with the first snow flurries of the year. This is a momentous occasion for us, it is not very often we get flurries or snow. It has been a few years since we had enough to close schools and business. So when I opened the door in the morning and saw flurries coming down fast and furious I was too excited. I knew it wouldn't last but it set a festive mood for the day.
I was getting off work at noon to finish the Christmas shopping and the snow flurries just made it all the more festive.

It is hard to see in this picture but there are flurries out there, trust me.
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I love snow, probably because it is such a treat here when we get it. But I think of people who move to warmer climates when they retire I think I would like to move somewhere, with more snow!

I have finished the Christmas shopping and today I addressed all the Christmas cards; they won't go out until after Thanksgiving. While I love Christmas, it does follow Thanksgiving, no matter how hard the retailer try to move it up to after Halloween.

I hope everyone is getting in the festive mood!

Happy Knitting!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fall FO's!

I finally have some pictures to share with you. Having put the troublesome socks aside for the time being. I made a winter set, hat, scarf, and wrist warmers. And started on a shawl.

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The yarn for the winter set, was from a long ago frogged project and I know it is Carron, but I have lost the tag for it so I don't have any other information about the yarn to share with you.

The hat is just your basic hat design, 1x1 ribbing and then stockinette stitch. The wrist warmers are from Weekend Knitting by Melanie Falick, as well as the scarf, which is the lopi lace pattern. The scarf was shameless in that it wanted to be included in the picture in it's unblocked state. I apologize on behalf of the scarf.

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The shawl is a simple pattern I've seen it repeated in many places, or something similar so I just decided to cast on 60 stitches, knit in garter stitch and see how it goes. So far I am happy with the way it is going.

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I have not used this yarn before and it is interesting to work with, a little difficult at first but once you get going it is easy enough, just have to remember to knit loosely or you will be fighting the thing the whole time. Because I have a tendency to knit tight, this is a conscious effort for me.

The yarn is Red Heart Light and Lofty, color 9376 wine. It is a super bulky yarn so I am using size 15 needles. I plan to have it done by the end of the week.

I have plans to start some wintery slipper socks as well.

Also, this weekend I have started and completed half of my Christmas shopping. I have several that need to be mailed so I made and effort to get those done so that they may be sent on their way the first week in December. I also, always buy my Aunt's gifts early so that I can give them to her at Thanksgiving when I see her. And this year my great aunt will be joining us so I have hers ready as well and will not have to ship it, which is good.

It is feeling more like fall today, yesterday it was 70! Yuk! Today it is 50F with the wind from the north so a little brisk. I love it. My yard is a blanket of orange and red after the rain this week knocked all the poor leaves right out of the trees!

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I have to tell you this is Molly's favorite time of the year, she likes to stay outside in the leaves with her tail over her nose and watch people walk past our yard. I let her enjoy it now because despite her desire to do this when it is even colder her I can't let her stay outside that long.

I hope everyone has had a lovely weekend and is getting in the holiday day spirit!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Stash Enhancement eXercise

So today was a wonderful day to go in search of some stash enhancement. I had to go to the market anyway and wouldn't you know there is a craft store right there!
It was one of those large strip malls, with acres of parking and everything from resteraunts to the dollar store there.
So armed with my reuseable canvas shopping bags and a check book, I found a central parking place. As soon as I got out of the car I could smell it. It was in the air so thick like someone burning leaves, yes it was the smell of yarn on sale!
I dashed through the parking lot, dodging little old ladies, men in walkers, soccer moms out shopping before school let out, and ran into the craft store. And yes, all yarn 20% off! Well it just so happens that I need to knit up some slippers and hunting socks, so this was a very happy event.
They also had these cute little ceramic loaf pans painted for the season and I thought wouldn't they make cute candy dishes at work? And on sale for only $1?! Must have one or two.

So on my way back to the car to deposit my new stash enhancement, I passed the dollar store, with their Christmas goodies out, well who can resist Christmas even if we haven't gotten to Thanksgiving yet? I mean even one of the local radio stations is already playing Christmas music 24/7, so I pop and find adorable wine bottle socks, which I am going to need as I have some wine to give as gifts this year.
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What a perfect afternoon!

Now time to warm up with some chili and watch a movie. Oh and perhaps a little knitting too!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Rainy Week

Well, dear reader I thought I would have wonderful pictures of the leaf peeping here. But it has rained four of the last five days including yesterday which made it very hard to get good pictures. It is good weather for re=knitting the legs of the pair of socks I just finished and decided the legs weren't quite right. But I am replacing the leg patter wit 2x2 ribbing so it is a quick knit. I will still have them done in time to include in a christmas package.

The house/buying and selling is not progressing at the rate I would like and frankly at the moment it is not progressing at all.

So I try to distract myself with happier thoughts like the holidays! Yes, only 18 more days til Thanksgiving. Hooray! My great aunt, who came to visit this summer will come back for thanksgiving, so that will be fun and i will get to see my cousins new baby girl, Morgan.

I am pouring over recipes and ideas as to take with me has our contribution to the dinner. Last year it was the greenbean casserole, which was popular. But I would like to take something different this year. I love the holidays, don't you?

Do you have any special foods on your table, maybe something that would brought to this country by your great, or great great grandmother?

One of the best thanksgiving meals i've ever had was one with the traditional American turkety and everything else was German food. And so much wine! it was a lovely meal.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Update to Saturday

The meeting with the realtor went better than I would have expected and we are going to use this lady to sell our house. she was awsome and even had a little power point show on her laptop. That isn't what sold us on her but it was a nice touch.
So another step forward in the process and we are getting closer and closer.

Also this weekend I spoke with my aunt and we had our plans for Thanksgiving! Can you believe it is Novemeber already, Christmas will be here in the blink of an eye. but, exciting news my great aunt will be joining us again this year, she is 83 and doesn't sit still for a minute. And one of my cousins has a new baby so it will be a nice big family dinner.

In knitting news,
I turned the heel last night on my sock so we are half way there!

Happy knitting

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Busy Saturday

Well the second realtor is coming today to look at the house. Hopefully, we will get a more favorable contract and can put our house on the market. It is exciting and scary all at same time.
It is awkward having someone come in your home to examine it, it feels if they are judging your ability to live in a house or something. You almost except them to shout, you've missed a spot on the floor! And banish you to some less favorable existance.
But, I just tell myself this is a necessary evil on the way to our dream so it must be done.
Wish me luck today.
I'll update you on the results. But, I feel the urge to get the process moving more quickly.
I have half a mind to forget the realtors and sell it myself!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Is it really Thursday already?

It seems impossible but it is nearly the weekend, halloween and the end of October all at once. The holidays will be upon us in a matter of weeks. But, lets not think about that right now.

Things are still busy here with attempting to sell our home and buy a little sheep farm for Stitches and Stories.

I have been corresponding with a very nice lady, Lisa at
Silver Branch Farm here in Virgnia. She has graciously offered all kinds of information and samples from her Babydoll Southdowns. Which is my sheep of choice for the size and low maintenance.
There seems to be some dispute with spinners out there as to the quality of the wool from these adorable little creatures and I'm not sure why. They are graded at 55-60, their micron count is 19 which puts in the realm of cashmere, the only thing I can think of is because the staple is only 2 inches. But I don't think it is unworkable.
I have some sample coming my way this week and will examine them. But, if there are other spinners out there with experience with wool from Babydoll's please let me know your thoughts and opinions on the matter.

Here is one of the places we have been looking at, it has a barn, another outbuilding we would convert to a chicken coop, a large garage and a cute cottage.
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It sure would be nice to have a new house for Christmas, wouldn't it?

In knitting news, I am half way through the second sock in a pair and have had a request from a co-worker to make him some red warm socks he can wear while hunting.
Anyone have any thoughts on a good wool or wool blend yarn in red for socks? I am searching around, for some to give him a cost estimate.

I hope everyone is looking forward to the weekend as much as I am. One last interview with a listing agent and we could have this baby on the market this weekend! Woot!

Happy Knitting!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

What a Week!

I am sorr dear reader for not keeping you more up to date on the goings on here.
We are in full house buying/selling mode here at the home of Stitches and Stories.
The current house is being scrubbed and cleaned to within and inch of its life, carpets are being ripped out and hardwood floors underneath, are being polished and shined.
Small items and photos are being boxed up, we have made wonderful friends at the local liquer store, by acquiring all the boxes they can spare, which means they don't have to spend their evenings breaking them down to recycle them.

Plans are being made to get measurements and estimates on things for the new house (not yet bought, but making an offer this week)

New appliances are being sought.

The girls and especially Molly (see dogster page below in the bar on the right) is particularly affected when routines or anything changes. She is very disturbed by all the changes taking place and not quite sure what she should do about it.
Poor dear, she is pacing a lot and sleeping. She is going to have a doggy spa day today. Maybe that will make her feel better she loves a good brushing.

On of course things are work are picking up with the new position, which is more public now and in the midst of all this madness I had to take time to go to a dinner to honor local business leaders in the community. It was a wonderful evening and a good time was had by all, but that was three hours I could have been cleaning or packing something.

I will post pictures of the precious cottage we are going to put an offer on soon.
It is adorable and the five acres it comes with is perfect for Stitches and Stories to start producing its own yarn! Fingers crossed there.

So please stay turned dear reader, more to come!

Happy Knitting!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Stash Enchancement

This weekend was mostly spent painting and doing odd jobs around the house, but I did take a little time for some stash enhancement and not just for yarn.

I did get a little yarn for a shawl, and then some DMC floss for my current cross stitch progect, and there was a project bag on sale so I had to get that, and oh yeah, a bottle of wine for the evening.

But please remember knit responsibly, friends don't let friends knit drunk.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

So Much Going On

Busy, busy, as busy as can be.

Things have been really busy around Stitches and Stories this week. We are in the height of house hunting and have been spending every weekend looking at houses. Our real estate agent has the patience of a saint, I can tell you.

This weekend was no exception and my blogging is starting to suffer, so I hope we find a place soon. We have looked at some strong possibilities. The goal is to give Stitches and Stories a source of it’s own wool.

But lately I have had the urge to do some cross stitching. I haven’t done any in over a year, since I started knitting. But I am ready to try and balance out my projects a little. So yesterday I spent a little time going through my stash of patterns and floss and picked out one to be stitched on linen. And it is portable, so that is nice. I have both my sock and my cross stitch with me today so I have my choice of fun projects at lunch time at work.

Cross stitch project details:
Good Friends, by Paula Vaughan leisure Arts Leaflet 2735.
On Linen 22 count.

The bathroom renovation is done.
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I have facebook page now as well.

Happy Knitting and Stitching!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Cuteness Overload!

Okay so this isn't exactly "Dogs" on Thursday today, but it is just so cute, I don't think the girls mind sharing the spotlight today.

I got to be a foster mom for about 8 hours to a little bitty kitten someone dumped and a co-worker found on his truck tire when we came out to work Tuesday morning.
He couldn't keep it so he brought to the office and somehow it found its way to my office.
She is so small and you can feel every little bone she has, her eyes still have some blue in them so she can't be more than 8 weeks old I would think. She isn't the least bit afraid of people either or at least all the people who came in my office to see her.

She was our mascot for the day, one of the secretaries went to the store and bought her some food and a proper litter box. She was starving poor thing and ate six times. She played and played and slept and slept. One of the engineers came down and baby sat her while I had a meeting with my boss for an hour and a half. So sweet to see a grown man sitting in the floor playing with her.

And as luck would have it, a dear friend and co-worker had a very special birthday Tuesday and needed a little cheering. We took the kitten down to her office to cheer her up and it was love at first sight and just like that, kitten had a home!

Isn't she precious?!

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

Things I Learned in the Bathroom

Ripping down wallpaper in the guest bath has been the baine of my existence all summer. I only have myself to blame, I started that project thinking it would be easy, just a steam iron a putty knife and that wallpaper would jump off the walls. Wrong!
Steam didn't work, the wallpaper was from the 1970's it had been up there a long time. Long enough for that paperbacked mess to become one with the wallboard. So I started and found that fabric softener was the only thing that was going to coax this baby down, so I mixed fabric softener in water and applied and applied and lost interest and had no real motivation since the bathroom is rarely used and no guests were expected this summer.
But then this weekend a change of events prompted my motivation and I finished bring it all day today! The hubby applied some spackling in a few needed places and then I scrubbed the floors and cabinets. It will be ready to paint in a day or so and fresh paint it shall have.

So lesson 1, extra strength fabric softener will bring down that stubborn 1970s wallpaper, with help from a 3 inch putty knife.

Lesson 2, a toothbrush is invaluable when it comes to cleaning tile floors, you know the ones with the little bitty tiles.

Lesson 3, bleach will clean anything but it is important to rinse it aftewards so that it doesn't then eat it. That includes the rings you forgot to take off before you plunged your hand into the bucket of bleach water, delirous from the fumes of fabric softener.

Lesson 4, it is possible to paint over wallpaper, and if possible I highly recommend it. Note to self, never attempt to remove wallpaper on your own, paint over it instead.

Lesson 5, choosing to paint over the wallpaper does not make you an underachiever, on the contrary you are quite smart!

Lesson 6, the smell of bleach repels husbands, dilute accordingly.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Private Label

Despite Tropical Storms that cause us alarm for no reason and a tempatures that are now going from the 70s to the 90s just to make us keep our summer and fall wardrobe handy, we did manage to get our wine bottled.

I present to you, the Stitches and Stories private label. Black Currant Merlot...

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Saturday, September 6, 2008

She is on her way

The winds started to pick up a little bit around here at 4:30 this morning. It is now nearly 9am and the rains have started and the winds are stronger, from some of the outer bands.

The clouds moving briskly from east to west.
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Rain dripping off the roof
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Tomato plants weighted down by rain.
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Tree tops blowing a little.
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Hanna is schedule to arrive the same time as high tide so this could be interesting.

Everyone hold on and stay safe!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Preperation

We have made all the preperations I think we can make. Water, food, batteries, supplies for the girls.
Now we wait and hope for the best.
Please everyone on the east coast be safe this weekend.

Will return as soon as we can, our substation tends to flood and they have to shut it down.

Take Care All!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Hanna

I hope everyone on the souther eastern seaboard is ready for Hanna, she is headed our way, but luckily it looks as though she will be a weak storm. But, even a weak storm can cause headaches. So hang on everyone and Hurricane Party at Stitches and Stories!


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Monday, September 1, 2008

A Weekend Well Spent

We spent a lot of time in my grandmothers kitchen when I was a child. She had a large kitchen with a sofa at one end, corner cabinet, table and chairs, in addition to the cooking area.
When you went to mammow's house you went in through the backdoor, there was even a doorbell for visitors. The front faced the water so the street and driveway were in the rear. So you walked right into the kitchen. At our house, it was much the same way, everyone came in through the back door which led straight into the kitchen. In my house our front door enters into the foyer and to the left is the kitchen, so most people come into the kitchen.

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This weekend my hubby and I spent so much time in the kitchen it reminded us each of years past when we spent time in our grandmother's kitchens.
We spent two days canning tomatoes for the winter and some we added some of our hot peppers to a few chairs for chili sauce one day.

We also bought our first pressure cooker. i read about using one on a boat to reduce heat in the cabin and increase cooking time. I thought why not to that in my kitchen on land. So far we have made a tasty roast and some chicken.

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If you are on the Gulf Coast, you are in our thoughts and prayers today.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Blue Skies and Fair Winds

We went for a little walk on the local waterfront. The variety of boats and boat folk were varied and colorful and also most enjoyable.

The sites and sounds just made you want to jump aboard one of them and sail off to some unknown adventure!

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

When Tomatoes Attack...

Okay, maybe they aren't really attacking, but when my tomato plants finally decide to produce, all eight did so at one time, making it feel like we were under attack by ever ripening tomatoes! This week we are averaging 10 tomatoes a day.

So what does one do with all those tomatoes? Well I gave some to a friend who is without a garden this year and she often gives me fresh eggs from her hens.

And this weekend I tried canning for the first time.

It is something I never learned from my grandmother and I can't say I remember my mother canning at home, but those types of activities were usually done collectively at my grandmothers house anyway. My grandmothers sister and cousin, my mother and aunt with children in tow, would arrive on an appointed day for canning or at the holiday season a day of baking cookies. I remember tons and tons of cookies, being one of the children who was assigned the task of shelling pecans for cookies. At canning time the children shelled peas or snapped beans.

But I digress.

This canning idea of mine came on rather suddenly as the table began to overflow with tomatoes and I couldn't even give them away to neighbors (who have their own gardens).

I went to the store and bought some pint size jars with lids. I decided I would try only two to start with in case I completely botched the whole thing. I also referred to "Canning for Dummies" and also About.com for "How to" help.

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Both sources had slightly different information so I had to pick and choose what would work in my kitchen. I do not have a proper canning tub with rack so I had to improvise with a stock pot and a couple of wooden spoons. Luckily, you do not need a pressure cooker to can tomatoes.

Here is my version of canning tomatoes with just basic equipment.

I boiled water in a large pot and dropped in 10 tomatoes. When the skins blistered, I removed them and placed them in cold water to cool enough to touch so that the skins can be peeled away. Then I cored them.

Place them back in hot boiling water for five minutes.

While the tomatoes were cooking the hubby washed the jars and rings and readied to receive the tomatoes, by adding a tablespoon of lemon juice.

I used a newly purchased large mouth funnel, (worth the $3 investment for sure) and spooned the tomatoes into the jars.

Hubby then used the handle of a wooden spoon to stir them around in the jars to remove excess air. He then put the lids and rings on and we placed them in hot water.

I used a large stock pot for this part and placed the two jars inside, it is important they do not bounce around and bump into each other during this process or they could break or crack, not having a proper rack I wedged a wooden spoon across the pot to keep them separated, this work very well.
You should keep them at a low boil, just hot enough for bubbles, for 40 minutes.

When they are done, I placed them on a towel and also covered them with a towel so that they could cool slowly, this took all night. But I could get the lids popping and in the morning I had good seals on both.

The hubby and I repeated this process exactly for four more jars. It took 31 medium sized tomatoes to make 6 pints.

We have plenty more tomatoes that are still very green and some in the process of turning red so I see more canning in my future.

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Consequently, not a lot of knitting going on this weekend.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Cool Website of the Day

Have you ever stumbled across a website and thought, why haven't I found this before?
That is what I thought when my hubby showed me this site today, totally amazing to me!
The Voyage of Roz Savage
She had rowed across the Atlantic and is now making a Pacific trip.

I encourage you to check it out, it is incredible.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Inspiration Comes from Many Sources

Inspiration is a uniquely individual thing. What inspires one person may not inspire another. It can be external or internal inspiration, a small child playing on a swing set trying to swing higher and higher, or personal experiences that inspire you to do better, be better, aspire to more of yourself. And sometimes it is something simpler like this:

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Becoming this:

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Creativity is not perfect like this:

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But, again there is a lesson here, while the salsa is a little too tomato-y and the bread a little fallen on one side, both are still tasty and shouldn't be judged on appearances alone.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Speaking of Olympic

Check out this tomato!
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It came from our neighbors garden. Sadly they are on vacation and I am hoping it will last until they get home. They told us to help ourselves anything that ripens while they are gone but this is their first of the "big ones" and I hate that they may miss it.

Between their garden and ours we have a bountiful table.
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I am researcing salsa recipes for all the tomatoes and peppers.
Yummy!

P.S. I got five more tomatoes today after work and three cucumbers. I'm thinking cucumber soup!