Monday, November 27, 2006

The bestest folks ever!!!

Oh boy am I behind once again. You can tell how badly behind I am by the date - - see this post says it's Nov. 27 (which is when I first started it) but today is actually Dec. 5th! oops

I'm very, very sleepy and my wrist is acting up again but I just couldn't let another day go by without publicly thanking all my friends for throwing me a kick-ass surprise 30th birthday last weekend!

They tricked me into thinking I was going to an all girls bookclub (reviving an old group) but instead it was a sneak attack by a roomful of my favorite folks (and lots of drinks)!

I had an amazing time and was so happy that all of my friends got to meet one another since they are all constantly hearing about each other. Everyone seemed to have a great time -- just check out a sample of the a plethora of photos that were taken (damn it that some won't upload!). I wish I could share more but either I looked completely awful or one or more people in the picture was doing some borderline inappropriate.

Once again, thanks to JJ & Terry for hosting and throwing the shin-dig and all of the behind the scenes helpers (like Natalie and her husband Augie who drove me there and then pretended to need to go to the liquor store because they needed to stall me a little).

You guys have no idea how much it means to me to have you all there, oh crap, now I'm getting all teary eyed- shit, shit, shit. OK, I love you guys are you happy now, I said it!


Adam and Jana's husband Vinny - I can't even begin to explain the cow costume story right now
JJ's husband Terry (who's a physical therapist) wrote a story for me about Idgy and his bum leg - - -I will most definitely share a picture form it when the blog will allow me to add more pictures
All the ladies - - I think it speaks for itself
Jana and I enjoying ourselves (they gave me a boa and a crown and we made good use of them)
Chris, myself and Jana still having a grand old time
Nikki, me, Terry and JJ with Terry posing in a t-shirt Nikki had made up for us with an old prom photo on it
All my loot - -don't get me started on how great it all is!!!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Food, glorious food! And crafts, glorious crafts!

Look at all the yummies I made on Friday!
First off, that orange rectangle on the left is the most fabulous pumpkin cake-like thingie that my SP sent me the recipe and fixin's for (I forget it's proper name right now). I had originally planned to make it and bring it with me to my friend's book club (more on that in another post) but some big mice (family) got into and made it unpresentable. Oh well, more for me :-)
If it's ok with my SP I'll add the recipe later, but I can understand if she wants to keep it a secret so she can impress folks.

Now I will share my most stupidest moment of the day.
So here I am perusing the directions and pulling things out of the cabinet because I like everything on the table from the giddy-up. I see that it calls for pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, clove etc. etc. (don't get ahead of me if you already see where this is going). So I grab everything except the pumpkin pie spice because, well why would I have that on hand? I can't figure out what could possibly be in it that isn't already listed on the recipe and of course mom's not home to ask, so I have to fend for myself which basically means make a run to the store.

Once there, I read the ingredients and it includes all of the other spices I had already pulled out of the cabinet - but I'm still not getting it. I figure it must be the sulfite balancers or some such nonsense that will make all the difference to the recipe. I head home with my magic spice and find mom is also now home. I ask her what she thinks could be in pumpkin pie spice and without looking at the recipe lists all the above ingredients. I smartly reply "yes, you would think so, but it calls for this in addition to those items."

Or does it?

Now all of the pieces fall into place.
"Ah crap!" I say.
"What is it?" my mom asks.
"Yeah, I bet it said 'or'".
"Or. I bet it says pumpkin pie spice OR these 45 ingredients."
"Oh" says mom.
"duh" says I.

Moral of the story. READ, don't peruse directions. It could save you an unecessary trip to the store.

That being my biggest problem is really quite good considering that I also decided to try my hand at making bread from scratch. I found two recipes on the Farmgirl Fare website that I wanted to try. The first was for Beyond Easy Cheddar Dill Beer Bread, which truly lived up to it's name - and the second was for Oatmeal Toasting Bread. I made the beer bread in the morning on Thursday and brought it with me for Thanksgiving dinner, but in my rushing, failed to capture it on film. However it seemed to be a hit and I plan to make it again, but I'll play with the ingredients a bit as suggested by Farmgirl- maybe sour cream and scallions or something fun like that.

As for the Oatmeal Toasting Bread, it came out great if I do say so myself. While it took much longer than I anticipated with all the rising time (didn't know I would have to let it rise twice) having that much time between rounds allowed for me to make everything else on my to-do list so I was quite happy.

While I was making a mess of the kitchen, I decided to also make JJ some mini birthday cupcakes - look how pretty they were. I say "were" not because they were consumed, but because once at her house they were placed near the hot stove and all the icing melted off. Well actually I was intrigued to see that it was the chocolate frosting that really didn't handle the heat too well but the vanilla looked relatively good considering all things. I wish I had taken a picture so you could see the before and after.

And to address the crafty side of things, I also took a shot at dollar-bill origami and made a little box and a ring to go with JJ's birthday present from me and Nikki. You gotta love the world wide web, you can find directions on how to do just about everything on there!

Keeping the mailman busy!

In case you haven't heard, I have become a bit of a swap addict. It started with a couple of simple knitting swaps but them I found Gimmie Your Stuff and picked up 3 new swap friends from around the world (yay!). Earlier last week I sent out my packages and have already received two of mine!

The first to arrive was from my new friend Adeline in Singapore. She sent all sorts of yummy treats, including a new favorite of mine, Haw Flake. Of course due to the packaging I wasn't sure if it was candy or fireworks at first but I put it in my mouth anyway and it turned out to be quite tasty. I'm assuming it's some type of dried fruit???
Also included in the package was some wonderful aloe face wash which I've been using since I received it, some fun homemade jewelry, bracelets, beads, stickers, rainbow colored yarn etc. etc. It was a great package and I'm so excited to have made a new friend and swap pal. Thanks again Ade and happy holidays!

Then I received a package from Claire in Scotland who is also a crafty kinda chica and who likes to knit! She sent me some pamphlets about Scotland, pretty little beads, cookies (also big yum!), stickers, pencil with Nessie on it, cute little change purse, Christmas decoration, beautiful handmade paper and a rockin' disco scarf -- cousin of the disco tie ;-)

Big thanks goes out to you too Moosh!

Perty ain't it?

Once everyone recieves their packages, I'll post pictures of what I sent out - for now you'll have to just use your imagination!


Friday, November 24, 2006

There's a reason it's called a dirt mall

Wow, it's been a very busy week and it's not even Thanksgiving's fault!

I'll try to catch you up more with pictures than words, since from what I hear the exchange rate is a thousand to one ;-)

Last Saturday I went on a mini road trip to the flea market. It was a gray and dreary day and the ground was soggy from previous rains but the temperature was fairly mild and I enjoyed myself immensely. I don't get to go there to often, but I definitely plan to make more time for it in the future. I am a true people watching connoisseur. My favorite subjects can usually be found in great numbers at the flea market - other good places to people watch: train stations, buses, renaissance fairs, concerts, family functions. I am also a major pack-rat who tends to fall for the unusual, odd, campy and old. My favorite finds will include a mixture of these genres.

Sadly, I didn't take too many pictures because I'm not so brave with the camera when I'm alone in a setting like that, however I got a few shots to give you an idea of the surroundings. I also have a few pictures of some of my many treasures...

I wish I had a panoramic camera so you could see how far it stretches. Also, there are 3 (4?) buildings which house permanent units for the hardcore flea marketers
you can sell ANYTHING and eventually someone will come along to buy it

The day is coming to an end
As I was wandering around I came across a pile of old cookbooks that caught my eye. It was the uber brown and shiny turkey on the cover that first lured me over to the table but it was the next book that made me break out the singles...
Why yes, that is a jello mold with olives, tomatoes, lima beans and mandarin oranges suspended in it! Olives and Jello?
No, maybe you didn't hear me, I said OLIVES & JELLO!!!
After I got it home I even checked the recipe thinking maybe it was a beef consume mold (gross but somehow slightly less awful) but no, it actually called for "fruit flavored gelatin" - sadly, no specific "fruit" was suggested however :-(
My favorite moment was while I was flipping through the book laughing and gagging at the same time the 96 year old gentleman selling it commented to me on how the books had such tasty recipes inside. I tried to joke about the jello mold possibly not being an appropriate hostess gift but I fear I may have inadvertently made fun of his wife's holiday tradition (Aunt Bethany's jello with cat food comes to mind) So I decided that in the end "yes, yes, I see that", was the best response possible.

My brother noticed that first book also has an entire chapter dedicated to cooking with frankfurters which appalled him at first but like watching a car accident, sometimes you can't help but want to take a quick glance. You'd be surprised at how much you can do with them. Especially if you have some mayo, onions and of course more olives, on hand, Please believe me, I am not joking about this, some things are too sacred to joke about (like hotdogs).
Lastly, I found the gem for only 50 cents can you believe it!?! I'm sure I could have haggled with the woman but it just didn't seem right. This is art we're talking about after-all and I figure when I take it to the Antique Roadshow and get 80 grand for it I don't want to feel bad for cheating the woman out of a quarter. Actually I won't be cashing in this badboy, this fine item is earmarked for a friend who shares a taste for the distasteful. Hope it's enjoyed!

Tomorrow hopefully I'll finally find time to post about my first international swap package and all the baking that's been goin' down. I don't like to post unless I can share the pictures - you know how it is.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Later or tomorrow expect a crazy long post about all the excellent mail I've been receiving!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

My what a lovely bag you have

Why thank you I made it myself!

That's right, this Sunday was "make your own handbag day". Amy, one of the regular knitting chicks, found out about this great place where you can get together with your friends and pick your own fabric to sew your own bag - kinda like "Build A Bear" for grown-ups.

Although the selection wasn't all that large, it was still enough to make it really difficult to settle on just one thing. So I didn't, instead I made mine reversible! My only problem was that at the end they added a ribbon around one side (ok, they helped a little) but when it was sewed on it was stitched through the purse so the black thread shows on the other side. I was not so thrilled because it was such a pretty purse and now it had a blemish, but then I remembered the ultimate miracle cure...
Stitch Witchery
If you're not familiar with it it's only the best invention ever for all your sewing needs (mishaps)! Basically it's this fusible iron-on webbing that glues your material together. Usually I use it for hems that have fallen and I'm too lazy or uncoordinated to fix, but it's also great for attaching things like this. You just rip off a strip, put it between the fabric, cover with a towel, spritz with water, iron and voila, all better for under 2 bucks!

Enough about that, on to the pictures....

purse in progress

now with the lining (finished photos to be added later - Blogger, you know the drill)

All done!

Thanks again to Amy for the fantastic idea! I can't wait to do it again!!!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Who's got the bestest SP? I do, I do!

Looky what my pal sent me today....
Too pretty to rip open, but I did it anyway!
You may be wondering why I would be so excited about receiving a box containing pumpkin pie filling, chocolate chips and coffee but it actually does make sense and is part of a very clever theme: these are all a few of my pal's favorite things. These ingredients were to accompany the included recipe for chocolate chip pumpkin squares (yum!!) and the coffee is to enjoy with the squares. I can't wait to make these. I had to hide the bag of chips from myself and I'm hoping to make them either this weekend or for Thanksgiving. I doubt they'll be for Thanksgiving though because to be completely honest, I don't want to share with that many people - just the immediate family :-)

To top off it off she also sent me Knitting For Peace
which is a new book that includes patterns for different charities and their back-stories as well as stories about past knitting charities. The best thing is, I was recently checking this book out online because I thought it was such a great idea but I didn't think I should splurge on yet another knitting item.
I love the book and the thought that went into picking it out. Thanks so much SP!


Sunday, November 12, 2006

Stitches, finally!

Welcome to Baltimore convention center, the yarn capital of the world (for a few days)! Sadly,we were not permitted to take any photo's inside the convention center so you really miss out on how breathe-taking the whole thing really is. The best way I can describe the event is to say it was like being on acid inside Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. The colors were so bold and the textures were so enticing that I was tempted to nibble on all the soft, delicious fibers. Really, there's not much more I can say about it, so let's just look at some pictures shall we?

The view of the city from our room:

Jana & Amy before we headed off to dinner (it was a wee bit chilly if you can't tell from the wind kissed faces):

Ahhh, the 3 of us inside Stitches (ok, they did allow some pictures):

And finally, what you've all been waiting for... The stash!
Sadly, I can't show you all of it because some items are presents (shhh). I also have a pattern on it's way to me since they sold out at one of the booths. Apparently a lot of vendors were caught off guard by the size of the convention in Baltimore vs the smaller version that was held in Atlantic City the last couple of years. Many said they had to have emergency shipments sent in since their stock was so thoroughly picked over.

What do we have here? A few circulars, some knitterly post-it notes, wool wash, super soft lace yarn (I've been waiting to give it a shot for quite some time now); some Socks That Rock yarn, because it was just too tempting not to see if it really does rock; Noro Aurora because well because it was shiny and I'm easily distracted by shiny things; and the creme de la creme (is that how you spell it?), Stitchy McYarnpant's new book signed by Stitchy herself! The best part was that I picked up the book to just leaf through it and the woman running the booth said I could have it signed if I want, and I must have said something along the lines of "whahuh, by who?" and then Stitchy steps out from behind a wall and says "by me" with a big ol' smile. Yeah! My only regret is not getting her to sign a book for my SP. I almost did but then wasn't sure if she would want it or already had it or who knows what. So, if you read this sometime after January pal, I'm sorry I didn't get you a copy of the book, but hopefully what I did get you will make up for it ;-)

Friday, November 03, 2006

Where will I be this weekend?

(This is a teeny tiny aerial shot from last year in AC - - the one I sadly missed.)

At Stitches east of course!!! I am so friggin excited! I'm heading down with 2 of my knitting partners in crime, including Jana who was gracious enough to offer to drive because, and I quote "my car is the biggest and therefore-MORE YARN!" I must say, Jana is a thinker.
OK, I need to go work on my wish list and look into all the stuff to do in Baltimore. Our plans loosely go like this: yarn, lunch, yarn, super-yummy dinner & drinks, possibly some knitting, sleep (dreaming of yarn I suspect) and return home (where we can roll naked in our new stash if one so desires). Not a bad way to spend the weekend, eh?

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