Thursday, March 30, 2006

6/7 X 2!

It's the end of another week (as my diet week goes). This week I exercised 6 out of 7 days again. I'm really proud of this. I get a little green star on the calendar each time I exercise and Claire gets a little orange star each time she practices her piano. She's doing really well, too!

Here's what I did this week:

Friday I did this,
Sunday I did this (I taped an earlier episode),
Monday I did this ("Get Fit!") and walked for 45 minutes,
Tuesday I did this (I taped an earlier episode),
Wednesday I did this,
& today I did this (extra credit for doing Fit TV's Carribean Workout in very non-Carribean Western Pennsylvania).

I'm making much quicker progress on the second sock than I did the first one.

I really, really tried to start sock #2 at the same place in the color wash as sock #1, but, as you can see, I wasn't too successful. This is a lot easier when the sock yarn has a definite stripe to it. Kate says that she doesn't care...she likes it just the way it is. (She must have seen the maniacal look I was getting in my eyes!) The lady at Knit Wits, whom I called to ask for some pointers, said that many people prefer to have the socks a bit different. (She must have heard the maniacal sound in my voice!) I'm so transparent. I hope to have the socks done this weekend so I can begin 3 bear sweaters for Kathy. Mom is having knee-replacement surgery on Monday so I'll be knitting in the waiting room. This is the first time I've knit for cash...I'm a bit nervous that everything will go wrong! You know how you can make something a hundred times (like your favorite cookies or whatever) and then you try to make it for someone else and it's a disaster? That's what I'm afraid of.

Some day I'd like to make this for me!

Isn't it fantastic?? I saw it on the Yarn Harlot's review of Inspired Cable Knits by Fiona Ellis. I think I'd make it exactly like the picture...same color and everything. The ties on the sleeves may have to go though. I can just see me getting sucked into the copier at the church or being dragged down the street by the school bus. Now, where can I get the model's thin thighs?

Friday, March 24, 2006


I finally finished the demon sock!!

Even as I was finishing up the last few rounds I mentioned to Keith that I couldn't believe how much trouble this sock had given me and I dropped stitches! Right at that moment! The sock is posessed, really. I checked my gauge again and it matches the pattern, but it looks really big and baggy, don't you think? Socks look so nice and...well, the pattern pictures. Do you think they block them first? I can't imagine blocking socks. What do you think? The sock looks really pretty on Kate, though.

Too bad she won't be getting a matching one. (Just kidding.) I think it should be my "thing" that I never make matching socks. There's a great idea there somewhere! What does Yarn Harlot call that? SSS. Second Sock Syndrome? So true. But I will make the second one because I'm just wired that way. I don't even abandon books I dislike unless I really, really can't bear it. I am going to try to start the second sock at the same place in the yarn as I started the first one, but it will be tough. I figured I could work the ribbing and see how well it matches up. I wouldn't mind reworking the one inch of ribbing a couple of times to get it right. This yarn (Trekking XXL) says on the band "for best results work with alternating skeins". What does that mean? I've heard of doing that if you have to use more than one lot number of a particular yarn, but I'm not sure why they would recommend it in this case. Anyone? In other news...I lost two pounds this week, yay. Notice that's a little "yay", not a big "YAY!!!!!". I know, I know. A two-pound weight loss is a healthy amount. I know, I know. I have to be patient. I know, I know. It's not all about the numbers. But I would have been a lot happier with a three or four pound weight loss. Seems like that would better match the hard work I put in last week. But, I'm going to soldier on. I can still drop a nice amount by Easter and should be able to reach my goal by Mid-June.

Don't know why I took a picture of these guys working outside my house.

Yesterday they interrupted my nap. Elliot thought the bulldozer was awfully cool. I get a kick out of the guy whose head is peeking up out of the street. I don't even know what they're doing out there. They're from the gas company. Should I be concerned?

Thursday, March 23, 2006


I am very pleased to announce that I did my exercises 6 out of 7 times this week! (My "fitness" week runs from Friday to Thursday since my Weight Watchers meeting is Thursday night.) "Why only 6 days?", you ask. Even God didn't do cardio on the seventh day!!!

Here's what I did:

Friday I did this (I taped an episode earlier this month),
Saturday I did this,
Monday I did this,
Tuesday I did this,
Wednesday I did this again,
and today I did this again.

Hopefully it will pay off on the scales tonight. I do feel pretty good and I guess that's what's important. (Really, it's about the numbers!)

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

I did it!

I DID IT!!!!

Don't Look Back

Yeeeeeeeeeeeee-haaaaaaw!!!! We found out in church on Sunday that the Povertyneck Hillbillies (our local country band) will be played nationally beginning this week and their CD ("Don't Look Back) is now available in every market in the country! Awesome. When I say "local", I mean really local...their fiddle player, Chris Higbee (in the hat), lives about a mile from us, is a member of our church and my daughter's violin teacher (when he's not touring, which isn't very often anymore). I am so happy for the guys! Just to check it out I went to Amazon and found this. "Kinda Cool, Ain't It?" The link in this post is a different link than the one on the side bar. I just found it myself and haven't really checked it out. Looks like you can listen to some music there.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Signs of Spring

Yippee! I saw many signs of Spring today...

1) I'm wearing my daffodil apron, so it must be Spring.

2) I saw a robin (or two, or three). This is my collection of robins. I thought they'd qualify for Project Spectrum since they're red-breasted. Now, technically some of them look a bit more orange than red, but I'm still counting it!

3) Work is progressing on this spring-like, yet Satan-spawned sock. (Recognize the bag, Kathy?

4) Walmart had these pretty cupcakes to celebrate the end of Winter.

I think the kids really enjoyed them. Smile!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Quick Post

I've got some things to do this morning before I get Claire to her friend's birthday party, but I wanted to post the recipes for these two great quick breads.

The one on the left is a pumpkin bread from the Fannie Farmer Cookbook. I don't actually eat pumpkin bread, but Keith and the kids apparently love it, so it must be good. It smells great when it's baking, I can tell you that! The bread on the right is White Nut Loaf. I have no idea where the recipe came from originally, but it's the nut bread my mom has always made. I know that one's good. I like to toast it for breakfast. Yummy!

Pumpkin Bread

1 1/2 C flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1 C pumpkin puree
1/2 C vegetable oil
2 eggs beaten
1/4 C water
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/2 C chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Sift together the flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda. Mix the pumpkin, oil, eggs, water, and spices together, then combine with the dry ingredients, but do not mix too thoroughly. Stir in the nuts. Pour into a well-buttered loaf pan. Bake 50-60 minutes until a straw comes out clean. Turn out of the pan and cool on a rack.

White Nut Loaf

3/4 C sugar
2 Tbls. vegetable oil
1 egg
1 1/2 C milk
3 C flour
3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3/4 C chopped walnut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix sugar, oil and egg. Stir in milk. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add oil mixture to dry ingredients. Add nuts. Pour into loaf pan. Let stand for 20 minutes. Bake 60-70 minutes or until center is when checked with clean knife.

The great thing about both of these recipes is that they mix up so quickly without needing a mixer or anything. I guess that's why they're called quick breads.

Friday, March 17, 2006

I can explain...really

You see, I went to get an eye exam and order new glasses at our local Sears. The only way to get to the Optical department (the only way, I assure you) was to walk through the purse department. Even though I just got a new purse from Kathy, I've been needing one (really, needing one) with a longer strap. Did you check out the price tag on the purse? Click on the picture to zoom in. It was originally $30 and was on sale for $7.49!!! So, you can see how someone that has a thing for purses would just have to buy this cutie.

The next picture shows what happens when a half dozen or so kids from the Jr. High band come over after school...on a band day.

Look at all that black! I guess it's not all bad. I found this on the piano bench.

Seriously, they're good kids; very polite and quite entertaining. I think they're filming a movie this afternoon.

If you go here and then select DEPARTMENTS, ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS, DUNBAR TOWNSHIP and scroll down you can view the video the kids made during Super Bowl week. It makes me smile.

Snagged the kids for a photo.

They were so excited to be on my blog! Aren't they dear? Life is good! Don't believe the hype that "today's youth" are doomed. Check out this quote..."The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority, they show disrespect to their elders.... They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents...and are tyrants over their teachers." Know who said it? Socrates!

Catching Up

I haven't posted for a while. Here's why...

This is the plastic that's covering part of my carpeting so the workers can put new windows in the parsonage. This plastic is so's like a giant roll of tape. How can I get some of that to use every day? Can't you just see me covering everything with it? Can you say Monk? But the good news is...they are almost done putting in 18 (!) windows and they are really nice. This is the window in the dining room.

The old windows were so drafty we could see the curtains blow even when they were shut. It's a lot warmer and a lot quieter in the house now. The men are doing a great job. The first day they arrived around 7:30 AM and Elliot kept saying "Hi Dave", "Hi Steve". Now, I have no idea what their names are, but I guess Elliot thought those were good manly names.

While we were escaping the cold and the noise in my bedroom, I finished this for my mom.

Now both of her scarves are done. I think I'm over the "funky yarn scarf" thing. I'm working on the socks again, but don't have a good picture so far. I haven't been able to concentrate or knit without interruption for a few days so I set them aside to finish the scarf. Claire has been invited to a birthday party at the rollerskating rink tomorrow, so I should get some more done then. Thanks to Anny for the adivce about the ladders. I'm willing to try anything at this point! She sent me "good sock vibes" too.

(Wow, it's cold in here...there are still windows out as they work on the kitchen. I wish I'd learned how to knit some of those fingerless gloves!)

Now, on to Project Spectrum. Here is one of my favorite red purse from Macy's in NYC.

It's not a fancy purse, nor is it an expensive purse, but I love it because I actually walked into Macy's and bought it. Kate and I went to New York in November and had a blast. We'd both move there in a New York minute. We might even take the rest of the family with us. (Maybe.)

Our local JoAnn Fabrics is going out of business (sad), but they are having amazing sales (glad)! Look at what I got for $5.42!!

Two sets of circular needles (of which I have none), a cool tape measure and a counted cross stitch kit that's all PURSES!!!! Whoopee!!

Think I'd better go warm up now or I'll have pneumonia just in time for Spring!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

This doesn't look right

So, this is where I am with my socks right now.

I know, I know...I'll never get anywhere if I keep starting over. I just wasn't happy with it and what's the point of working on something if it isn't making you happy? I'm going to cast on again (thank God for band concerts!) and give it my all. Keith says I really need to commit to finishing the sock this time. I think he's worried about me! I also wound the portion of the skein that I'd already used into a ball hoping it would stay neat. I did my darndest to keep it loose, but it's still too tight. I'll have to tug to get it out as I knit, at least for a while. In the words of Sponge Bob, "pourquoi?!?"


I'm getting frustrated. I'm making these socks and I'm not happy with them. I'm having trouble with the ladders that appear when you begin stitching on a new needle. Know what I mean?Everything I've read has said to tug the first and second stitch a bit tighter, but it doesn't seem to make a significant difference. I'm pretty sure that it will look better when stretched over a leg, but it still bothers me. And I'm pretty sure that no one (except maybe another knitter) would even notice them, but it still bothers me. I don't even know if you can see them in this picture.

And another thing. Why does this always happen to my yarn when I try to pull it from the skein??!?

Does everyone else always make a ball of the yarn first? This always happens. Knitting these socks isn't nearly as enjoyable as it was supposed to be. Althought I love the Brittany bamboo needles. I'm not even crazy about the colors. I'm not usually into pastels, but I thought this would be nice for Spring. I'd really prefer these socks that the Yarn Harlot made. Much more to my liking.


Monday, March 13, 2006

God Bless the United States Postal Service

Hard work does pay off! I set aside my knitting today to do some long overdue housework. I steam-cleaned the carpets on the first floor while Elliot was at preschool and also scrubbed the kitchen floor on my hands and knees with ammonia (yuck!). If you're looking for a really good way to work your triceps, I highly recommend floor washing. The floors are cleaner than they've been since we moved in four years ago! The laundry is started and I've got a plan for the rest of the week. So, what's the reward? This! All of this came in the mail today!

The flower pot, Mary Engelbreit book, and awesome purse (I have a real purse fetish) are from Kathy. Who but Kathy would send me polka dots through the U.S. Mail?! The purple bag is from Keith. It's a knitting bag from JoAnn Fabrics. I saw it on the Internet and sent him an e-mail that it would make a really nice gift for me. I didn't think he'd actually buy it! I love it. It's got cool pockets and a drawstring top that you can cinche up over your knitting. There's even a seperate bag for needles. Sweet.

This is my first entry for Project Spectrum.

I collected a bunch of red things from my kitchen. I love red. Love, love, love red. If you notice, even my kitchen is red. The speckled canisters are not vintage. The glasses are vintage. Aren't the little juice glasses adorable? The black and red items are Mary Engelbreit. Elmo sits on the shelf above my stove. The cherry wreath is from, yep, you guessed it, Kathy.

Well, the rain and storms are here. Guess I should finish this up and move along with the laundry. Hubby is making spaghetti for dinner and I'll be running to the library. We have no other commitments tonight! Wow! What a rare treat. And a thunderstorm. Sounds cozy.

Sunday, March 12, 2006


Uh-Oh. This could become addictive. This is the second scarf I've made this week and it only took me about an hour. I realize that everyone else has already jumped on (and maybe off) the fuzzy, skinny scarf bandwagon, but I just started. It's just amazing that you can make something so pretty with so little effort! The color of this yarn is beautiful (Patons Allure- Sable) a champagne...very shimmery. The scarf is for my mom. She wears them year-round at work to keep the back of her neck warm. I made one last week out of the left over pink fuzzy from Danika's poncho and have one more to make out of black. Only ten stitches, garter stitch, it doesn't get any easier than that!! Time for church. Can you imagine me telling my husband I missed church because I was blogging (or worse yet, knitting!)?

Saturday, March 11, 2006


Got back from Knit Wits a little while ago. My mom got me this...Yay Mommy...

and I got this (and these)...

to make this.


Friday, March 10, 2006

Life Is Good

I just love this line of clothing and accessories. Life IS good! So much negativity out there. It's nice to see a positive message for a change! Plus, this guy looks just like my friend, Brett...Birkenstocks and all!

Thursday, March 09, 2006


P.S. I gave the little poncho to Danika last night at church. She and her grandma loved it. (Although Danika may have been slightly more excited about the cute purse-like gift bag I put it in!) It fits just fine and is surprisingly warm...just right for these first days of Spring.

Good Genes

So, while I'm bragging about Elliot's little genius brain, I thought I'd post some pics of some great stuff my family has made. Today I'm just focusing on my parents, grandmothers and my sister. Some other time I'll go on and on about how talented my children are. There are a lot of pictures...Enjoy!

My dad made this (the garage, not the little boy...I made him).

What? Yes! Of course it's a working elevator. This has gotten a LOT of use and the clearance bar on the top is a new addition; leave it to my dad to find a creative way to add a handle.

Then, my dad made this for Elliot to put his cars in. I was expecting something like a milk crate on wheels, but I forgot, Dad goes all out!

Did I mention that Elliot probably has well over 300 Hot Wheels cars? And that's just the small size...we have countless other trucks and cars of various sizes. (Really, it's getting to be quite a problem!)

My mom did these floral prints in pastels when I was very young. They were in my grandma's bedroom for the longest time and now they're in my room.

Mom also stitched all of these things.

She made towels for every month...they're lovely. And the pillow case (one of two) was a present for our 10th wedding anniversary.

My grandma made this quilt for me. She pieced the whole thing by hand and quilted it by hand on a big quilting rack.

She made one for each of her four grandchildren. I remember her sitting at the end of her diningroom table with a little cardboard box that had all of the pieces in it. She would sit there and watch "her programs" and put it all together. She obviously had a lot more patience than I have!

Grammie made this needlepoint.

She also made beautiful beaded Christmas tree ornaments and did a lot of knitting. I wish she were still here to give me advice now. I have her rocking chair and it just occurred to me that it's a chair specifically for knitting...the arms are very short and just long enough to rest your elbows but not interfere with the knitting needles. Cool.

My sister has this bizarre ability to look at a room full of beads and figure out how to put them together to make something really cool. I would be beside myself with such a big decision to make. She made these for me or my daughters over the years.

I've been trying to convince her to make knitting markers and things for crazy knitting people like me. We'd buy them, right? Clearly she doesn't understand just how far-reaching the whole knitting revolution has gone!

This has been a nice way to realize how much talent there is in my family. Believe me, this is just a sampling of some of the projects we all get involved in. My dad builds a lot of miniatures, too; perfectly to scale. He does all of this just because he has fun doing it. Grandma sewed nearly everything she wore and a lot of clothes for the rest of us. She taught me to sew when I was only ten. She also made the best hamburgers and coffee in the whole world. Wow, I really miss her.

This was painted by...I have no idea who painted this, but it's above my computer and I think it's pretty.

Now, on to more pressing matters. See this? This is the inside of my knitting bag. Do you see anything in here? No!

It's been a long time since I haven't been working on something. But, the good news is...I finished four loads of laundry this morning and cleaned up the house! Probably just a coincidence.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Poncho Post

I whipped up this poncho for Danika, a sweet little friend from our church. If you remember, I was making her a cute baby kimono before the Knitting Olympics began. I was going to finish it, but it really seemed so baby-ish, and even though Danika is only 18 months old, she just doesn't have a baby attitude. She's much more of a diva than that! I thought this would be a lot cuter with her little jeans or something. Unfortunately I think it may be too big...who knows...I didn't really use a pattern. I used big needles and it was only 20 stitches across...speedy! If you look closely (click on the picture) you can see some family photos on the buffet behind the chair. Wish they were more clear...they're some of my favorites.

Friday night I'm going to see the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater's production of Swingin' It, featuring the music of Frank Sinatra and Cole Porter. My mom got tickets for us. It will be a nice night away for me and I'll be spending the night at her place...a mini retreat! Saturday I'm taking her to Knit Wits in Greensburg. To be honest, part of the reason I made the quickie poncho for Danika was to free up my time to start something new. I wonder what it will be? Something for moi, perhaps? Imagine that!

Look what we did!

Last week (Friday?) I finished this. I'm really happy with the way it turned out. I didn't follow the pattern completely when it came to finishing the neck band. It said to leave some of the seam open and use buttons to close it. I elected to just sew up the whole thing. It's a lot neater and will be a lot easier for Claire to put on and take off.

Elliot got these cool Lego robots on Monday night. He spent yesterday putting them together. Didn't he do a great job?! He's so smart. I helped him assemble the first one and he followed the directions in the book and put together the next two. I have to just brag here and say that the box said "age 6" and Elliot, smart and handsome boy that he is, is only 4 (and a half)! Isn't he just adorable? Hey! It's my blog! If I want to go on and on about my kids I will!!