Sin Committed

I feel like the naughty child who broke her favorite toy after being repeatedly warned that she had to be careful. [insert heavy sigh here] I sorrowfully admit that I did not take care of my hand knitted items correctly and should not be allowed to receive anymore.

Do you remember those lovely hand knitted socks my MIL made me for Christmas?

(They are the green ones on the far right).

Well, truth be told they were a little bit big for my feet. I didn’t say a word, but my MIL noticed right away when she stopped by the day after Christmas for brunch. During our last visit to Dan’s grandmother’s house (my MIL’s mother), Gran let the cat out of the bag that my MIL was fast away knitting me a smaller pair. Truly, she’s the best.

But, I digress. I was trying to explain why I shouldn’t be given hand knitted socks again.

My MIL advised me that I could machine wash the socks, but that they needed to air dry lying flat. Basically, they were made from superwash wool. I’m a knitter; I understood perfectly.

Today was laundry day. I bet you know where this is going.

Oh, yes, I did the worst thing possible to these socks. After washing them in a load of other clothes, I grabbed everything out of the washer and tossed it into the dryer. Socks and all. I set the dryer for medium heat and walked away.

While pulling the clothes out of the dryer, I spotted the socks. My heart sank. I knew exactly what I had done wrong. I ran upstairs to try them on. The ribbed band was much tighter than I remembered. [I think I might have moaned at that point.] Determined to see if I could even get them onto my feet, I tugged the ribbed band over my heel.

Wonders of wonders. The socks fit perfectly now!

I don’t think this redeems me though. Maybe if I ate bread and butter for a week and knitted only with acrylic yarn. Maybe then.

PS. Don’t you love the pink bunny flannel pajamas my 5-year-old niece picked out for me?

Free Hi and Poor Jake

After I got back from the Pottstown Knit Out, I couldn’t resist writing the pattern up for the Hi dishcloth. I got such a kick out of knitting it up for the class. Unlike my Dishcloth in a Dishcloth design which never really came out the way I envisioned, the word ‘Hi’ is easily recognizable.

Should you care to knit yourself a dishcloth that will greet you every morning, the pattern can be downloaded for free by clicking on the link below.

Surprisingly Jake did not assist in the photography which is perhaps why it is missing that extra something. Poor Jake is feeling a little under the weather.

Of course, we still went for our walk this morning after Jake gently reminded me what time it was. Plus, he received his after-walk treat. He’s not THAT sick. He just has a minor ear infection. He came down with it because I was just bragging the other day about how he never gets ear infections in the wintertime. I jinxed him, you see.

However, he was sick enough to wake me up at 4:30 this morning. After a good ear cleaning, a treat, and ample cuddle time, Jake went back to sleep. I had no such luck.

Rum Brownies with Yarn

“Why add rum to your brownies?”, you ask.
There are several good reasons: (1) rum tastes good, (2) the children aren’t allowed to eat these which means more for you, (3) it makes a dense, almost fudge-like brownie and (4) Why not?.

Recipe:
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
2 tbsp strong, black coffee
6 oz good chocolate, your preference of sweetness (I used dark bittersweet)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
3/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
3-4 tbsp rum

Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and walnuts together. Set aside.
Heat the sugar, butter and coffee over low heat until the butter is melted. Remove from heat. Add the chocolate and vanilla, stirring till the chocolate is melted. Add eggs, beating well.
Pour the chocolate batter into the flour mixture. Mix well.
Pour the brownie mixture into a greased 9-inch square baking dish.
Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
With a toothpick or fork, poke holes into the top of the brownie. Pour the rum over top. Let cool.

The brownies taste good with or without new yarn arriving in the mail, but if you have the choice, I’d encourage you to have yarn arrive on the day you bake these up. Or any other day.

Behold 100% bamboo yarn.

It was handspun by the talented Bobbi of Kitty Grrlz. She named it Ice Princess.

London Bound and More! Yarn

I changed my keychain over to this London bear last night because it is official now. We are going to London!

And we are not going alone. Dan and I are bringing with us a group of 7 from our family and friends.

It all started with an innocent enough conversation Dan and I had my sister-in-law Michelle. (My MIL will not be surprised it’s her daughter’s fault that we are traveling to another country. Michelle has been traveling since she was in high school going to places like China, South America, India, Turkey, etc. She just adores it!) Well, she complemented me on a pin I was wearing. I thanked her and then promptly informed her that I got it in Mexico. When she looked shocked, Dan informed her that I meant Mexico in Epcot, Walt Disney World. (grin) By the end of the conversation, my SIL had volunteered to be our tour guide in either London or Mexico, since I was quite nervous about traveling alone. At first, I refused. I have silly fears about getting lost or offending somebody because I don’t understand something or becoming overwhelmed by everything. It’s silly, I know. But, Dan really loved the idea. I had no desire to keep Dan in a pumpkin shell … and Michelle did promise that she would come with us and make sure we didn’t get lost. So, it was agreed upon.

Then, we told our friends and Dan’s father who were giddy about coming with us, since none of them have been. Even my godson, who is turning 4 next month, is coming!

Perhaps because of the small crowd we are bringing with us, my worries are mostly gone. I’m so excited about going now. Of course, we aren’t leaving for another two months.

In the meantime, let me show you the yarn I got recently.

First, there is the loot I brought home from the Pottstown Knit Out.

The two skeins in front are 100% alpaca spun in a bulky weight. They are from a local alpaca farm called Walnut Grove.

The skein in the back is hand-dyed mohair from Mountain Colors. I purchased it from a LYS, Olde Peddler Wools.

Then yesterday, Mandy of Sew Spun surprised me with a box filled with her stash that she had cleaned out in the hopes of organizing her new craft room.

What a lovely surprise! Thank you!

Help Me Pick out Tiles

First, I wanted to let everyone know that my Dishcloth class at Pottstown Knit Out went well. Thank you to everyone who left me comments with encouragement and advice. I appreciated it. I didn’t take pictures of the event because even though I brought my camera it never occurred to me to pull it out of the bag, but I’ll post pictures of my loot in a day or two.

Right now I need your help in deciding which flooring to put down in my bathroom. I’ve stared at the 3 choices for over 48 hours and I am no closer to making a decision.

Option A:
Vinyl flooring made to look like hardwood.

Pros:
Matches the flooring in the rest of the house, except the kitchen. However, when the kitchen is remodeled, hardwood flooring will be put back down. I could try and explain in 100 words or less how closely the vinyl hardwood matches the hardwood we have in the rest of our house, but a picture speaks 1,000 words.

More Pros:
Vinyl is just as good at resisting water damage
Easier installation
Softer on the feet
Warmer in the winter months

Cons:
As Dan would say, “It’s silly to install fake hardwood floors”.
Only a 15-year warranty. Practical me never wants to relay the floor again. Ever. (Dan dismissed this concern. He says that 15 years is the minimum time frame; it should last much longer than that. Besides, in 15 years we may want to relay the floor.)

Option B:
Concrete tile

Pros:
Notice the similarity in the old vinyl flooring and this concrete tile? It matches the blue and maroon color scheme very well. Even Dan was surprised at how closely it matched the old flooring. Eerie good.  
Lifetime guarantee
Surprisingly cheaper than the vinyl flooring

Cons:
Hard
Cold
More labor intensive installation

Option C:
White porcelain tile

Pros:
Brightens and lightens the room
White tile matches all the accessories: white sink, white toilet, white tub, etc.
Lifetime guarantee, same as concrete tile

Cons:
Same as concrete tile: Hard, Cold and More labor intensive installation
Most expensive option
Every speck of dirt shows up on white. It will require me to be more diligent in my cleaning habits.

Options A, B, and C lined up like little soldiers.

Which one do you think looks best in my blue bathroom?

Trading Yarns and a Pin

Last week, I decided to partake in a Yarn Swap.

It was so much fun! I went shopping in my yarn stash and stuffed the largest box I could find with wool, cotton and rayon. All those little balls of leftover yarn I had been collecting for years were sent off to somebody who would use them. I was left with room-to-grow space. Oh, it felt so good.

Two days ago I received a box from my swap partner, Susan of Loom It and Made 4 You by Susan.

So much for all that room-to-grow space. Such a pity.

Most are in colors that I would never buy for myself. I love blues and browns a bit too much and my stash has suffered from my lack of imagination. These yarns will spruce things up a bit.

Speaking of breathing new life into something, I finally rescued a fiber ACEO, miniature art card, I had made over a year ago. It had been languishing in my craft drawer.

Last night, I stitched a pin clasp to the back of the ACEO.

Voila. Instant pin. I plan to wear it on Saturday when I attend (and teach at!) the Pottstown Knit Out.
The nervousness is starting to set in again. I’m going to go practice in front of the mirror now.

Christmas Card Factory

Every January, I put up all the Christmas cards received from friends and family along with all the decorations. Last year, I also purchased the lion’s share of the Christmas cards I would need in December, so I wouldn’t have to do any running around in November. I had planned to do the same thing again this January.

All that changed when I was inspired by Mette’s tutorial on how to make your own Christmas cards from tea bags.

Well, I didn’t have any tea bags sitting around, since I only drink loose tea these days, but I did have a stack of Holiday cards.

It was so much fun that I got a little carried away and ended up making 42 cards. Not all of them were made from old Holiday cards.

These two were made from an old LP cover. For nothing says Merry Christmas like two Vikings dancing a polka in front of a pine tree, right?

This one is actually an old hot pad cover. I just peeled off the image from the pressed cardboard and adhered it to a blank card.

This cute guy I did steal off of one of the cards we got over the holidays.

Yet, the vast majority were made by cutting tree images out of the cards we received. First, I made a tree template from cardboard, specifically a box from the breakfast bars we eat occasionally. Then, using a quilter’s applique trick, I fussy-cut the images I wanted from the cards. Finally, I either glued them directly onto the cards or glued them onto a small piece of cardstock.

Before Shot of Our Bathroom

It didn’t always look like this. Dan and my MIL will vouch for me. The floor was in tact during the holidays.

Two days after Christmas, I noticed that the floor felt funny, like it was squishy. Once the guests all left, Dan peeled a small section of the vinyl floor up. Sure enough, the wood floor underneath the vinyl was sopping wet. At first we couldn’t figure out what was causing the leak until Dan went downstairs in the basement and punched a small hole in the ceiling. It didn’t take long to realize that every time we flushed the toilet, water leaked down from the bathroom floor.

A quick call to the plumber fixed the problem: a crack in the wax seal.

On New Year’s Day, Dan ripped up all the vinyl floor that had been ruined from the leak.

Isn’t it lovely? groan.

Part of the subfloor needs to be fixed, specifically the section around the base of the toilet. The entire bathroom will need a new flooring, since the vinyl can’t stay like this. So we are going to use this leak as an excuse to remodel the bathroom with a new paint job, new wall cabinets, smaller vanity, tile flooring, a ventilator fan, and perhaps new lighting.

The tile that wraps around the entire bathroom will stay as is though. It’s in perfect condition and I like blue. Besides, why fix what isn’t broken?

The good news is that one of my neighbors is a contractor. I know he does good work, because he’s built our shed, the back porch, the front porch, and goodness knows what else.

Tomorrow if the weather is better (it’s raining now), I’ll head down to our local flooring store to pick out tiles. Dan is letting me choose which colors will go on the floors and the walls. He admitted to me that if it was his choice he would pick white or off-white. I don’t know how he can stand living with me. I adore color!

The Joys of being Sick

Being sick is no fun, but there are a few perks.

1. Sleeping more hours then you are awake.
2. Watching your favorite movies, sometimes twice over because it’s too tiresome to put in a new movie.
3. Lots of hand sewing time!
4. Lots of knitting time!

I think most of my free time came from the fact that I only cooked one meal during the entire week I was sick. Dan handled all the other nights, which is to say that he went out to a local restaurant and paid for our meals. grin.

With all that free (knitting & sewing) time, I finished 4 projects.

A traditional dishcloth without yarnovers (holes)

A Headband

A dishcloth within a dishcloth

Dan’s silk tie, which he’s getting tomorrow (3 Kings Day)

(Please don’t ask me how long it took me to tie this tie. I watched 1 You Tube video and 1 pictorial guide before finally coming up with this version. Thankfully, Maria the dress form wasn’t wearing any pants or you could see that the tie came down way too far on her).