Friday, November 28, 2008

Free For All Friday

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope everyone enjoyed the day. I walked into the kitchen early yesterday morning to find that my husband had been busy with this:

He used to bake his own bread all the time but hasn't in quite a while. He works for a slave driver (himself) and doesn't have time for frivolous pursuits like baking one's own sourdough. But we were asked to bring rolls and sweet potatoes to Thanksgiving at my brother-in-law's and he decided to make the rolls instead of buy them. Here they are, all finished:

He also made bread stuffed with sausage and cheese (yes, it really sucks to be married to a great cook):

I meanwhile made glazed sweet potatoes. Here's the recipe, though I modified it by not pre-cooking the potatoes and I used maple sugar and syrup instead of brown sugar. Sweet potatoes, butter, maple syrup and bourbon - can you possibly go wrong with that combo? I think not.

Anyway, Brian and I packed up our respective culinary creations and headed over to the brother-in-law's for this (picture taken before the table was loaded up with food - they did feed us, I swear):

My sister-in-law sets a much more elegant table than I do. I can't even recall the last time I set my table, actually, much less made it as pretty as this. Here's my niece displaying the effects of a sugar high (but doesn't she look elegant surrounded by the crystal?).

California Seasons Still Freak Me Out

I'm still not used to how the seasons work in California. Here in the Bay area, winter is the greenest time of year. And instead of dying or going dormant for the season, plants grow like crazy. Here's what's going on in our back yard right now. Freaks me right out.

Peas are up and thriving:

As are the onions. Or maybe that's garlic - I didn't check the label. Either way, it's green and growing:

And the figs are ripening:

And the roses are blooming:

I may never get used to it but I definitely enjoy it.

It's Baaaaaack...

My knitting mojo is back and in spite of some time spent mucking around on Facebook (I joined recently and oh.good.god it is crazy out there) I've managed to make some knitting progress. I finished sleeve #1 on the Ribby Cardi and am nearly half-way through sleeve #2.

Now that it's actually a little chilly here (at least in the mornings and late evenings), I'm looking forward to wearing this one. I also picked up some yarn at Purlescence for Clapotis. (I may be one of only about 36 people in the whole freakin' country who hasn't knit Clapotis yet.) Anyway, this is Twisted in the Thraven colorway from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. Lovely stuff and each skein contains outrageous yardage so it's a very good value. I should have plenty to make Clapotis plus a little something extra - a hat or fingerless gloves or something.

And I have a new project to start in the near future. This is the Mohair from Nebu Rock Textiles I bought at the Retzlaff Winery last May. I'm going to turn it into the Lily Cardigan from Marie Grace designs.

I think between that, the Clapotis, Ribby Cardi and the newly finished February Lady Sweater I should be pretty well set for warm clothes this winter.

Stay-Cation, All I Ever Wanted...

Well it's not all I've ever wanted, but I'm certainly excited about it. As of yesterday, I'm on vacation until Monday, December 8th, and I'm not going anywhere. I'm hanging at home and I plan to accomplish some things I've wanted to for quite a while but haven't yet found the time. Things like framing some fabrics my mother bought when we lived in South America over 40 years ago, hanging pictures, clearing out the garage, etc. My plans aren't exactly exotic but I'm hoping by the end of it I'll have a home that's less cluttered, more relaxing, and where possessions I enjoy are easily visible instead of somewhere in storage. And of course there will be some creative time too - I'll be engaging in a biscotti-baking frenzy and of course there will be knitting and spinning. A vacation wouldn't be a vacation without some of that.

Happy Holidays.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Half Full

Well for the first time in I don't know how long, I woke up happy the morning after Election Day. Or at least half-way happy. I'm angry and saddened by the choice made by my state, and even more upset that in many cases their choice was made out of fear, just as four years ago our country made, out of fear, the catastrophic choice to re-elect the self-serving arrogant jerk who is about to become our ex-president. Anyway. Rather than rant (more), I'll point you to two people who I thought expressed my thoughts on this but more eloquently and a bit more gently than I could. First was Sydney (you should check out her blog anyway - she's doing some cool things these days), and the second blew me away - I'm sure many of you have already seen this but if you haven't watched Keith Olbermann's special comment on Proposition 8, take a look.

I'm hopeful that over time, and not too much time, this terrible decision will be reversed. And that's all I'm going to say about that. Besides - we've got a new president coming in and while I'm not so naive to think that everything is going to be fixed right away, I'm very hopeful that important and beneficial changes are coming.

She Shamed Me Into It

Not doing a meme, but getting off my butt and blogging again. I have been a bit quiet lately and Donna pointed it out. No crises in my life, just a bit busy, and I did lose my knitting mojo for a while, but it seems to be back again as of this weekend. More on that in a minute - here's the meme:

1. Link to the person that tagged you and put the rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 weird or random facts about yourself.
3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and link to their blog.
4. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a note on their blog.

1) I can wag my little toes from side to side independently of all my other toes - a trait only the women in my family share. My husband thinks it's creepy. I think he's jealous.

2) I taught Archery for years, coached an un-beaten team for 3 years and I'm quite good at Riflery too. I love guns and target shooting. I used to own several bows (they're long gone) but don't have any firearms as I think the risk of owning them, especially as I live in suburbia, is way too high.

3) I hated mushrooms as a kid. It all started when my mother read me The Story of Babar, in which the king of the elephants eats a poisonous mushroom, turns green and dies. She then served mushroooms at dinner that night. I thought for sure she was trying to kill us. I wouldn't touch them for years. Now I love them (but still won't forage for my own - I'm still afraid of turning olive green and wrinkly - and dead - like the late king).

4) I used to be extremely quiet and shy. Shut up.

5) I used to weight lift like crazy. Loved it, loved it, loved it. I was strong as hell and at one point I could bench press 115 pounds while weighing about 95.

6) Learning foreign languages comes easily to me (I majored in Spanish). I needed one more class to graduate from college and chose to take German because the professor was extremely good looking and if you have to look at someone every morning at 7:30, isn't it much nicer to do so if they're just gorgeous? Yes it is. I got an A. Because I studied.

7) As the years go by I've developed into a rebellious rule-breaker. I'm breaking the meme rules right now by not tagging anyone (booyah!). But if you decide to do this meme, let me know in the comments so I can come take a look.

Fiberous Pursuits

Work continues on the Ribby Cardi. It stalled for a few weeks while I lost my knitting mojo, but has progressed nicely now that I have found it again. I have done the back, both fronts, and most of one sleeve. This picture does not do it justice by any means, but it's all I have.

When one actually works on it, this sweater just flies along!

I also started this but can't for the life of me remember when. I think it was sometime last month. It's the Falling Water Lace Scarf - I'm using Malabrigo Lace in the Velvet Grapes colorway. I'm pleased to see that I'm actually knitting something that isn't red.

I've also been working on something new, just for fun. I got my hands on some untreated wool, and I'm going to process it myself. I started with small portion of the actual wool haul, just to see how it went and if I was out of my mind for even trying.

Here it is in completely raw, untreated form:

Riso needed to inspect it.

I pulled out the parts with heavy dirt and put it in a bin for a soapy-water soak:

Several soakings and water changes later, here's what it looked like as it was drying:

Then I hand carded it:

And spun up a bit (long draw) to see how it turned out.

It's rather rustic looking but I kind of like it. I plan to dye it and then I think I'll use it for some of the charity knitting I'm doing soon. It'll make some nice dense knits which while too warm for my area, will probably be appreciated by someone in a colder climate.

Gratuitous Healthy Dinner Shot

I made this a little while ago - spaghetti squash with a simple tomato sauce (diced tomatoes, onions, garlic, kalamata olives) and parmesan. It was fab.

And A Question

These were given to me by a co-worker. Does anyone have any suggestions for what one can make with a large bag of persimmons?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Breaking News

"Barack Obama has been elected the 44th president of the United States"


I don't care if he's black, or if he is or isn't a Muslim (and how very bigoted for those who spread that rumor to have presented it as if there were something wrong with that, not to mention a lie). I do care that people in my country recognized a need for change, and voted with hope instead of fear.

(Mrs. Quimby, that, along with the fact that Webs is going to start shipping Malabrigo Sock in the next few week, means that I do believe I won't be moving up Nawth to be your neighbor. It would have been fun, but I'm happy there are now good reasons to stay here.)

Now let's just hope that enough people in my new state recognize bigotry and injustice when they see it and vote No on Prop. 8.