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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Recipe Round Up: Quick Sesame Noodles with Cabbage

I started with a recipe that was posted to a Lenten board I read on Facebook. The recipe was woefully small for this family, and relied on a few more packaged/dried/instant ingredients than I wanted to in a recipe that already had ramen noodles as its backbone. I also added a couple things to it to bulk it up for our family and changed proportions to match our tastes. This was surprisingly easy, tasty, and an excellent dish for Lenten or abstinent meals, if you aren't avoiding all oil.

10 packages ramen noodles, reserve seasoning packet for another time, or discard (substitute refrigerated or higher quality ramen as you wish)
1/3 cup safflower oil
1 large onion, finely diced
2 1/2 pounds cabbage, cored and finely shredded
1/4 cup sesame seeds
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sesame oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1 pound fresh or frozen peas (optional)
1/2 cup chopped scallions, to garnish
Sri Racha to pass at table

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook ramen noodles until chewy and soft, about 4 minutes. Drain and rinse to remove extra starch. Set aside.

While noodles are cooking, heat oil in large skillet over medium high heat, and sauté onion and cabbage to soften, about 5 minutes. Add in cooked noodles, sesame seeds, ginger, garlic, sugar, soy sauce, and sesame oil. Cook another 2 minutes, then add peas, if using. Heat another minute or so, taste to season with salt and pepper.

Serve garnished with scallions and pass sri racha at the table.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Yarn Along: Crocheting and Yarn Club

It doesn't seem like there has been a lot of progress on Nejat's blanket. I'm further along, but I really wish I were at the white border already. We'll be doing a lot of driving this week, or rather, I'll be doing a lot of riding in vehicles while other people drive this week, so I should have more time to work on this. I also have two other projects in my knitting bag if I need to switch things up a bit.


My May yarn club shipment came this week, too: Sweet Georgia Tough Love Sock in Pavilions. I really like this yarn and I plan on making these socks with it. It came with a few beads (enough for a rather small project), an "I'd Rather Be Knitting" license plate frame, and a pattern for a beaded shawl, which is nice, but I'd rather make it in a solid or semisolid color.

I did finish one of the five UFOs from last week's photo. It was a swatch for a design proposal to Knit Picks. And I turned it in Saturday, so we shall see. I should hear back by this Saturday. I like that they tell you when you should hear from them, with an actual date. I have two more swatches to make for magazines, and a proposal to get the final editing done for another magazine submission. Also, the UFOs. And I decided to add another project to try to finish by the end of this month. Because I need more deadlines. If I finish it in time, though, I will get a credit at the yarn store, as part of our yarn club. If I finish one of those UFOs, I will also get a credit, because the yarn was from the yarn club, but it will be smaller, since it is past the deadline.

Again, if you haven't already liked Arabian Knits Designs on Facebook, please do. That's where I put updates and testing opportunities and other design news. Your liking it gets me more visibility with folks who may not know about my patterns and that helps me. Thank you!

I've done a little more reading this week in The Terror of the Southlands (Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates). I also skimmed through a couple books trying to decide if I wanted to commit. I didn't.



Also posting to Keep Calm and Craft On, Yarn Fanatic Party, and One Project at a Time

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Monday, May 18, 2015

Stitch Fix #3


Thank you everyone who has signed up using my referral link. It has helped me get these more than the once or twice I expected to be able to do so this year. If you are interested in learning more, I wrote about my first experience on the blog, and you can do a search on my Stitch Fix posts.

Some people have had different stylists, even when they were happy with the one they had had. So far, Liz has been my stylist for each fix. I'm extremely pleased with how she is doing. I think she is reading me and my style preferences pretty well, and also pushing me a little out of my comfort zone with clothing and color. This time I asked for lots of color, and she delivered. I asked for a denim jacket in either an indigo or a dark blue, and a pretty, go with everything, purse that would fit my wallet, planner, keys, phone, etc., without being monstrous. She wasn't able to find those this time, but will keep her eyes open for me.

Item #1 41Hawthorn Dita Sleeveless Ponte Dress - $68

I LOVED this color and the cut and style. The detail just above the waist keeps the dress from being boring, and while it is fitted a little in the hips and waist, it isn't a sheath, which is more flattering to actual, human women of any shape and size, especially if they have to do more than stand in one position. However, as you see below, it was too small. I couldn't zip it past the middle of my back. It technically fit over my hips and belly, and without squeezing or pain, but still doesn't fit quite right there, as you can tell from the wrinkling. If I can get this in a larger size, I will definitely buy it, but in this size, it has to go back.


Item #2 Market & Spruce Julia Utility Jacket - $78

This is one of my favorite shades of green. And the details on this are exquisite. Rich said that it looked like a boyfriend type jacket, which needs the cuffs rolled up to give the impression of wearing his clothes, rather than hers. It was feminized in subtle ways that delighted me. There is slight shaping at the waist and a little flare at the hips. This keeps the jacket from being too boxy, and follows the shape of a female body. Then there is the navy with white polka dot trim on the pockets and inside the lining. I wasn't sure about keeping it, because I am still looking for an indigo denim jacket, and this is a little too close to the same style, and I don't really need to have multiples of the same or similar style jackets, especially at this price for multiple similar items. However, Rich loved it and, even though he wasn't thrilled with price on it either, he thought it would go with more of my clothes (see my skirt above for an example) and could go with skirts, dresses and jeans.

Item #3 Market & Spruce Adler Embroidered Shoulder Knit Top - $48

Honestly, if I had seen this while shopping, I would have thought that it was nice and just moved on to the next thing. As I follow directions, though, I did try it on, and the color and cut and fit were lovely. This will be great for our hot summers, and the shoulders form a slight cap, so I think I could even wear this to church. I especially liked the lace and embroidered detail on the back and shoulders. I forgot to have Rich get a picture of that on me, though, so here it is laid out on our bed.


Item #4 Lavender Brown Blair Silk V-Neck Blouse - $78

Her note said that she knew she had included something that had a looser fit than I usually liked, but she thought the print and color might be interesting to me. It was, and it was a silk blouse, and I really wanted to give it a shot. However, it was both too loose in the shoulders and body and too tight at the hips. And it reminded me of nurses' tunics over their scrubs at the hospital. I also thought it made me look older than I am. So, sadly, this is the only thing I really hated in the box. I did like the turquoise color in both the lighter and darker shades, and she was right that I like big floral prints.

Item #5 Gilli Astra Sleeveless Maxi Dress - $74

The order sheet called this red, but I think it is more a coral, or almost mango, color. If I had seen this in a store, I would have fled. I am rather averse to orange, so anything that even tends that way makes me nervous. However, as I try everything on in the box as instructed, I was happy with both the color and the cut and fit. The ruching at the bust, the band just below and the gathering below that, are really flattering, and the coverage is such that I can wear a normal bra with it. Rich loved it on me, and the kids just said "Wow!" when they saw me in it.

The style card for this dress was the only part that hurt in this fix. I had asked for a denim jacket, either indigo or dark blue, and the style card showed this dress with almost exactly what I wanted. Only it wasn't in the box.

I think this is a success. Three items are staying, two are going back, but if the cobalt dress had fit, I would have gotten the entire box to take advantage of the 25% off discount, which would have made the silk blouse free (plus taken a little more off of everything else), and I would have given it to someone else who actually liked it.

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Menu Plan: May 17 - 23

We did have our Ascension Day picnic last week, after Jerome's baseball game. It was fun and the food was wonderful. I think it's the second year since we've lived here that we managed to do it. Next year we will try for picnicking on a hill.

This week, we have so many things going on, so I have meals planned that are either quick to make, or easy for other people (besides me) to make. There are no birthdays and no major feasts this week, however.

Remember that the Psalms are according to Eastern numbering in our daily Bible reading, also I Kings is the original designation, it is I Samuel in western Bibles (II Kings is II Samuel in the west, III Kings is I Kings, and IV Kings is II Kings).
What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Yarn Along: Starry Nights and UFOs

The rain started on Monday, and I haven't been able to get a decent outdoor photo this whole time. So, this is the best I could do, indoors, with my mediocre photography skills. I'm still working on Nejat's blanket. The pillows aren't started, but since, again, she doesn't even know when her birthday is yet, I can get those done as I am able.

The photo that follows may shock you. Avert your eyes if you are easily offended. They are all of my UFOs from THIS MONTH. These do not include the UFOs I have that I've put aside for the moment. These are just the ones I have been or should have been working on recently. Some are design swatches, so they won't need as much time or work, but still, they are unfinished.


I most definitely need to get on these. Especially the two on the left, as they have deadlines. I see some late nights in the near future.

Speaking of designs, I am going to try again with the magazines. I have three design proposals for two magazines right now. They each have a deadline in June, with one of those almost completely ready to send. There is also another that I am pitching to Knit Picks for one of their early spring collections. Actually, I am quite proud of that design. If it weren't for the rather limited number of designs that they are selecting, I'd say that this was a shoe in, but they are only seeking six to eight, and there will be a lot of other people submitting, so it's not quite so guaranteed. Again, if they don't take it, I will either offer it to them as part of their IDP, or pitch it to another magazine if it matches their themes (I can probably get it in for a spring submission, and if not, fall or winter would work, but not summer). If nobody wants it, I'll self publish. I told Rich that I had almost achieved the holy grail of cable knitting, and if I could work out (later, eventually) the other part that would make this aspect perfect, it would be even better. We decided that should be called the holy ciborium.

I'm comforted, even though a design I thought was excellent was rejected recently, that so far no rejections have come back with a request never to send a proposal in again. In fact, each time, they tell me when the next call for submission will be, so they must be willing to at least consider my work. I try to remember that this is a lot like writing novels or essays, and that for every acceptance, I'm probably going to see 10 rejections. It's still kind of discouraging, though. My ratio is actually better than that: Three acceptances, seven rejections. That's not too shabby. I'll try to remember that. Rich is my biggest cheerleader, though, and his (very typical male pilot) response was that if they rejected that design, they were fools. I can, at least, recognize that it may simply have not fit with the other patterns they chose, wasn't quite how they envisioned the theme being played out in the issue, or that they may have thought it was not quite the right color scheme and didn't want to take the time and effort to rework that. There are a lot of reasons for a rejection. I just kind of wish they'd liked it enough to hold on to it for a future issue. In any case, it is ready to resubmit to another magazine and we'll see how it does there. If that is a no go, then I will put it aside until the fall and try to publish it myself in late fall or early winter.

Again, if you haven't already liked Arabian Knits Designs on Facebook, please do. That's where I put updates and testing opportunities and other design news. Your liking it gets me more visibility with folks who may not know about my patterns and that helps me. Thank you!

I have to be honest and admit that I have read absolutely nothing this week. Not counting Facebook and our readings for Morning Prayer.



Also posting to Keep Calm and Craft On, Yarn Fanatic Party, and One Project at a Time

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

For My Stitch Fix Stylist

It turns out that I own 22 skirts and eight pairs of pants. I didn't count my dresses and shorts, but I'm fairly sure the ratio is similar. I think this says something about me, but it's not something I want to change. I've decided that if I had to pick a phrase to describe my style, it would be: Retro Feminine Casual Chic. But casual the way they thought of it in those retro years. Not a suit, not a formal gown. Casual skirts and dresses, and pants. Jeans and shorts set aside for hard work and play, rather than every day wear. Dresses and skirts really are more comfortable to me, and I think they are more flattering to my figure. I'm not a no pants or shorts kind of person, and I wear jeans often enough, though usually with a nice sweater or top with some accessories. I don't iron my jeans, though. So, in my next and future fixes, I'm probably going to be looking for more casual dresses and pants other than jeans (because my four pair of blue, cream, black, and flannel lined are really enough for me - though a silver pair that is really silver, but not lamé, would be pretty cool). These boxes coming have really been my motivation to lose weight, too. My husband laughed and said that it wasn't going to be my health or energy level that got me to lose weight, but the thought of wearing pretty clothes, and I think he's right. Thank you, Liz, for your work picking out things I would love. I can't imagine how difficult it must be to try to match the selections with my preferences and Pinterest board and measurements and weight, all without never really seeing me or meeting me. So, here I am in my natural habitat:



If you sign up using this link, I get another credit to use toward a new box!

P.S. I counted. I have 26 dresses (including my wedding gown, some I am keeping for sentimental reasons or in case I get pregnant again, and one I plan to give to Amira when she can fit in it), and 11 pairs of shorts (including some cut offs made from old jeans). I am considering giving away about three or four of the skirts, about the same of the dresses, and I'd like not to fit into some of the shorts ever again, as I keep losing weight, so I can give those away, too.

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Monday, May 11, 2015

Menu Plan: May 10 - 16

So, baseball began. Only we didn't get the call and Jerome wasn't placed on a team. Even though we registered and paid and the check was cashed. I realized this when I started seeing pictures of the baseball/softball parade on my friends' Facebook feeds. So, I called, and found out that he had slipped through the cracks. They hastily put him on a team and he was slammed into real life last week. He's missed all the practices before the games began. He also missed almost half the games. We are going to be having a talk with the coordinators about this, but even though I was tempted to tell them to forget it and refund our money, Jerome really wanted to play, so we let him try. He's struggling a little, because this is his first year in actual baseball instead of t-ball and he missed all the practices. He's doing remarkably well for all of that, but is having trouble with catching and is discouraged about it, so if you think of him, please offer up a little prayer. Anyway, that made our schedule a lot more hectic last week and we get to continue with that theme for the next few weeks.

Nejat is turning two this week. I can't believe how quickly she has been growing and learning new things in the past four to six months. In December, she was still wearing size 12 month clothing, and now she wears 24 month clothes. She can run and jump, she can speak in pretty decent sentences, and her words are much more articulated than they used to be. She is finally catching up. She is a lot more rambunctious than Amira or Alexander or Dominic or Jerome were. We were kind of hoping for a mellow little girl, but she is active and curious and we love that. She's not a baby anymore. We're kind of out of babies here. Usually that's about when we have another. We're not sure that is what God has for us, though. It's a little daunting to think that Nejat may be our final baby, and we are still open to having more, but things are changing a lot, and barring a surprise, late in life pregnancy, we are wondering if she is our last baby blessing. That's a bittersweet thought for us.

We are excited to celebrate her second birthday, though. While looking through pictures with her of when she was first born and first at home with us, the contrast of how tiny she was and how big and strong she is now couldn't have been more stark. I am so blessed and relieved that she made it - that we do have the modern facilities and treatments that allowed us to keep her in longer and keep her blood sugar up and her temperatures more steady and enough nourishment in her. Even just 15 years earlier, it would have been a much larger challenge. We are blessed to have this memorable little one. Big one.

The Paschal season is coming to a close. We have only two more weeks. Fortunately, baseball and ballet schedules permit us to have our picnic for Ascension Day together as a family. We're going to try to find a small incline, which is what passes as a hill here, to eat it on, to try to get to a high point for the Ascension. We might even bring a kite to fly. I'm also excited because we have another dance this weekend. We're getting the word out there and people are coming, which is nice.

We're getting the asparagus this week, which thrills me, and we'll continue for as long as they offer it. I am hoping to make some pickled asparagus this year, and to blanch and freeze a lot of it for the summer, fall, and winter. At $0.50/lb, you can't really go wrong. We'll be eating it in egg dishes, roasted, steamed, grilled, and so on for quite some time. It's a good thing everyone likes it. We had so much to eat on Saturday that we ended up having snack tray for dinner, then we had our Mother's Day meals, so the ham and beans is on the docket for tonight. Fortunately, it is made already, so we only have to make cornbread and toss together a salad.

Remember that the Psalms are according to Eastern numbering in our daily Bible reading, also I Kings is the original designation, it is I Samuel in western Bibles (II Kings is II Samuel in the west, III Kings is I Kings, and IV Kings is II Kings).
What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up.

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Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Yarn Along: Finished and Finished!


Just in time for the heat to hit us, I finished Elijah's sweater! He is delighted, which thrills me, and told me that it was comfortable, which is high praise from him. He is very sensitive to textures and how things feel, so I'm glad that this feels nice to him. The good news is that even though we are in the high 70s, sometimes reaching the low 80s, during the day, the nights are still cool, and honestly, even in the 100 + degree weather in August, he wears sweatshirts and wraps himself up in thick blankets. Being a desert climate, while the sun is up, it is hot, but we're high desert and there is almost always wind, and the evenings and mornings are usually still cool (or at least cool, relative to the high daytime temperatures - our temperature spread can be up to 40 degrees). Also, Rich pointed out that since our kids grow up and not out, he'll probably still fit in it this fall.

Another finished item is the working pattern for Ventus! My testers have it now. I found a couple errors in it, and had to upload an edited copy, but it is ready for them to work on it and help me find problems and places that need clarification. Yay! Ventus should be ready for publication by the end of this month, or the beginning of June.

If you haven't already liked Arabian Knits Designs on Facebook, please do. That's where I put updates and testing opportunities and other design news. Your liking it gets me more visibility with folks who may not know about my patterns. Thank you!


I have started a late birthday present for Nejat. Her birthday isn't for another week and a half, but I already know this will be late. It is crochet, and I am slower at that, and it is a relatively large project, an afghan with some fiddly sewing on of appliqués at the end. Plus I want to make matching pillows. The good news is that Nejat can't read calendars yet and doesn't know when her birthday is. I found this photo tutorial to be of inordinate help when getting started with the star blanket pattern. The instructions were kind of confusing to me as a beginner, and seeing how it was supposed to work made it much simpler and quicker.

My reading is still somewhat limited. A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter has been our read aloud book as we drive. Rich drives, I read. I'm almost finished with my brain candy book: The Terror of the Southlands (Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates).



Also posting to Keep Calm and Craft On

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Sunday, May 03, 2015

Menu Plan: May 3 - 9

I'm pretty disappointed with myself, because I missed the deadline to get our order in for the $0.50/lb asparagus. Last year, it happened for six to eight weeks, and I'm hoping to get another text this week. That means no asparagus on the menu this week. Lots of ham, though. We made a huge ham Saturday, and we've been eating off of it for a few of our meals already. I still haven't posted the quick noodle recipe, but that is forthcoming.

Remember that the Psalms are according to Eastern numbering on our daily Bible reading, also I Kings is the original designation, it is I Samuel in western Bibles.
What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up.


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Friday, May 01, 2015

Yarn Along: Late and Not Finished

So, I still haven't finished Elijah's sweater. My modified goal was to be finished by the end of April, and that obviously didn't happen. I have around half the second sleeve to finish and the neck to do. This weekend is my modified, modified goal. I've done a little bit of other knitting, but nothing significant. I've been trying to focus on this sweater and finishing the pattern writing for Ventus.

If you haven't already liked Arabian Knits Designs on Facebook, please do. That's where I put updates and testing opportunities and other design news. And I don't post multiple times a day, or even once a day!

I've only done read alouds with the kids for school, our daily Bible readings, and a little in a brain candy book: The Terror of the Southlands (Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates). This is the second book in the series, and it is fun, light, and an easy read.



Also posting to Keep Calm and Craft On

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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Menu Plan: April 26 - May 2

We did pretty well with our schedule last week, I think, and we have a relatively normal schedule this week without too much extra in it. I'm pretty excited, too, because we have a swing dance coming up and Rich and I get to go and have a good time together. Meals are fairly simple this week, in the hopes that I can keep up with school work and kids' schedules and trying, desperately to get a few knitting projects and a design project ready.

Oh, also, I forgot to mention earlier that the verse numbering for our Bible reading schedule is the Eastern numbering. The Psalms are where you will usually see the biggest difference.
What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up.


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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Recipe Round Up: Chorizo Breakfast Casserole

So, I found this recipe on pinterest for a chorizo casserole, and it looked and sounded great. But it also used pop can biscuits and had very little instruction involved. This is what I made with the idea. Sorry there is no photo, we ate it too quickly both times I made this.

1 recipe biscuit dough
2 pounds chorizo
1 large onion, finely diced
1 pound mixed peppers (I used anaheims, but a mix of sweet and hot would be nice), finely chopped
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded pepper jack
12 eggs
1/2 cup milk
sliced avocados to serve
salsa to serve
sour cream to serve

Preheat oven to 425 F. Lay your biscuit dough out in a single layer on a large pan, I used my lasagna pan, and bake for 12 minutes. (I just cut the dough into squares, rather than use the cutter for circles.) Set pan aside.

While biscuits are baking, brown chorizo, crumbling the meat into bite sized pieces. Add the onions and peppers to the pan and cook until the onions are soft. Spread this mixture over the baked biscuits. Sprinkle the top with the cheeses. Whisk together the eggs and milk and pour evenly over the top.

Bake for 15 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave pan in the oven with the door closed for another 10 minutes. Remove, cut into squares, and serve with avocado, sour cream and salsa.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Yarn Along: Encouraging Projects


I finished the highlighter yellow, baby runway safety set. The grey really tones it down, I think, though it is still blindingly bright. I still haven't finished Elijah's sweater, but I am a lot closer. Perhaps this weekend. Some of the graphing is giving me trouble on Ventus, so that hasn't progressed as far as I'd like, either. Vogue Knitting's deadline for their holiday issue is next week, and I have been trying to get a small project swatched and sketched and written up for them, but it just hasn't been working the way I want, so I may postpone it for their winter issue. It's been a bit frustrating on both the designing and knitting fronts.


Rather than keep on with these projects that are getting to me, I made an instant gratification headband to give to a friend's wife. It's surprisingly encouraging to have a project that is simple, relatively mindless, and quick. There was nothing complicated about this, I could do it while talking to others, while teaching the kids, while checking facebook, while watching a movie with Rich. The instructions say to graft, because she doesn't like how the three needle bind off looks, but I didn't want to have to mess with grafting knits and purls and keeping track, so I did what I usually do, and that is to turn the work backwards/inside out, and do the three needle bind off on the inside. Honestly, even I, who knew where I did it, had a hard time finding the bind off on the headband. (In fact, the bind off is visible in that picture, see if you can find it!) And on the right side it is completely invisible. More so even than when I do it for shoulders or other pieces. Probably because of the cables.

Anyway, this makes 13 finished objects for 2015. Which isn't too far off of my goal for myself this year. I did miss one of the pairs of socks, as I just couldn't get the baby socks to work last month, and I don't think I will get the second sock I am working on right now finished by the end of this month. So that is another goal I didn't quite meet. But, it's not too bad for a homeschooling homemaker, who is mother to eight. Now that I've completed some other things, too, I feel more ready to tackle something and just get it done as well as return to the trouble making graph.


I'm still looking for people willing to test a pattern for me in the next couple/few weeks. I should have the pattern ready by next week. My goal is to have it published in mid- to late May, if anyone is willing to take a shot at testing the knitting on this pattern, and if it can be tested pretty soon. It is an adult sized, kerchief style headband. I made a doll sized version as my sample, which is what is in the photos (if it matters, the color is truer in the second picture), but this would be sized for an adult. It shouldn't take more than a few nights to a week once the basics of knitted lace are mastered. Yarn required is a fingering weight. I made mine out of a cotton/wool blend. I would not recommend a variegated yarn, either a solid color or subtle semi-solid. Skills required: Basic knitting, yarn overs, decreasing by k2tog and ssk, casting on at the end of a row, knitting in the round, reading a chart. It shouldn't take more than a few nights once the basics of knitted lace are mastered. Please e-mail me or leave a comment with contact information if you are interested in test knitting this pattern as soon as you can. Then, request to join Ventus Test Knitters on Facebook. Please also check out Arabian Knits Designs on Facebook, for updates and testing opportunities and other design news. Thank you!

So, after more than a year, I have finally finished Christ in His Saints! I cannot recommend it enough. It took me that long, because it really took that long to read each figure, rather than to rush through the book. I wanted to take in something about each person discussed. I told Rich that I started to underline, and then bracket, portions of the book when I first started reading, but I really think the entire book should have been printed on highlighter yellow paper. It is that good.



Also posting to Keep Calm and Craft On

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Monday, April 20, 2015

Menu Plan: April 19 - 25


We're finally back to our normal, hectic schedule here. School is back on track full time, activities are back to normal, and we're all a little slammed. But the weather is beautiful during the day and this is the greenest and prettiest time of year here. It's still freezing or below in the mornings, but we're in the 60s and 70s during the day. We are late getting our garden started and ready, as usual, but Rich has been having a great time playing with the dirt, and we've planted four more fruit trees this spring.

Our older boys have a couple jobs in our farming neighborhood, which is great for them as it earns them skills and money, and great for us, because now they have skills to use in our yard. This makes our school schedule a little crazy, because I have to make sure they are finished by lunchtime most weeks, so they can leave after lunch to go work. It's pretty exciting for them, though, as they get to drive four wheelers and have a little more financial freedom and do stuff that strengthens their bodies a bit.

In the meantime, however, one of my cousins had a a heart attack from which he seems to be recovering, but he is only 46 or so, so this was unsettling for him and his family, as you can imagine. Please be in prayer both for his health, and for the comfort of his wife and sons. Our friends with the preemie daughter have been dealing with some set backs lately and could also use some prayer.

In other news, we finally got tired of not having a place to go dancing and started a monthly dance. We've held three so far, and they are doing alright. We're hoping to open it up to more people and keep building it up a little more. So, if you are in the area, come join us!

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up.


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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Yarn Along: Better Late than Never


That's what I keep telling myself anyway. This has been a kind of disappointing couple weeks for knitting, actually. Elijah's sweater is still not finished. One sleeve is just about completed and the other still needs to be done. I made the size that would just fit him, because I wasn't sure that I would have enough yarn to make it a little looser. Now that I'm nearly finished, it is obvious that I would have had enough yarn to make it roomier for him. However, as the yarn was discontinued and I had a limited amount of it, I went with the greater estimate of how much yarn I would need. I don't particularly want to make it all over, though, so it will fit him for the windy days and cool nights this spring and likely go to someone else by the fall. Unless he doesn't grow that much.

Aside from not really having the time to work on Elijah's sweater, I didn't get much time to work on Ventus while we were traveling, as I was either busy or sick. Also, I had been working on a coordinating pair of baby booties to go with a bonnet I'd made, to give to a work friend of Rich's, but I only had enough yarn to make one and a third of them. I even chose a third coordinating yarn to do the heels and toes on them, and still didn't have enough. I gave up at that point and frogged.


Cute bootie, though.

I'm also making a set with a vest and hat for this couple. Because we know them through Rich's work, and since I had that dayglow, hideous, florescent yellow yarn, Rich mentioned it to the fellow, and the two guys thought it would be perfect to make a runway safety vest for their new little boy (who will be arriving any day now) so he could come to work with his father. So, I have made the world's ugliest baby sweater vest. Rich said to look on it as an act of love. That is what is pictured up top there, it needs the ends woven in and that's that. It is so blindingly bright it will keep that child awake. The hat is a bonus, as I figured he might as well have a matching set of ugly. It will forever give them a story about their first born child and that wacky lady who made the revolting sweater and hat set.

I wanted to make the booties to give with the bonnet so the fellow's wife wouldn't think that I have no taste at all. I'll give them the bonnet, and if I can find the time, I'll whip something else up that is nicer looking to give them as well.

Since I was traveling, I did shop for yarn, and I picked up quite a bit, since we visited several places with nice yarn shops. I also came home to my Paradise Fibers yarn of the month club package, which was a treat.


Here is the yarn I picked up at our home town yarn shop. The red, mink, lace weight yarn is something I had my eye on last summer when we visited, but didn't get. This time I did. There was one more skein of it that I didn't buy because I knew I'd be buying other yarn, but if it is there when I return, I will. The creamy white yarn is really cool. It changes from cream to pink with UV light. It doesn't even have to be full sun, just real sun light, even through cloud cover, or a UV lamp, I suppose. There is another color that goes from the same cream to a lavender color. I'm going to get some of that and some HiKoo Simplicity in the same base color when we go on our next trip and I have a couple really great plans for what to do with them.


The next shop I visited is pretty neat, and when we used to live in the area I never really had a chance to shop there as much as I wanted. I picked up a few skeins of American and locally produced yarn. The pull skeins are a cotton wool blend raised and spun in Virginia. The other two are a natural alpaca and wool blend whose color name is based on the names of the animals who produced the fiber. That was made right there in that county.


I've been trying to match a ribbon color that came attached to a tag on a dress for a few months now. I want to make a cropped jacket to go with the dress. The ribbon was lying across the fabric and I thought that it looked really nice with the plum color of the dress. It's not something I would have chosen had I not seen it that way, so I tucked the ribbon in my knitting bag and it's been following me along ever since. There was a perfect match for that ribbon. One skein of it. And it's possibly discontinued. So, if anyone out there has six or seven skeins of Lang Amalfi lying around in this same color #760.0078 (it was sometimes also only known by the last two to four numbers, 78 or 0078), especially in dye lot #70703, I'd be happy to buy them from you. The other two skeins are nice wool that are in a similar color family, and I bought them just because they were pretty.


And here we have my yarn of the month selection: Frolicking Feet Gradient DK in Silvered Spruce. A little bit of sock yarn for darning came with it, but I think I'll use it in color work with baby or other small objects. There are four more months of the yarn of the month club after this. I don't know if I will do it again, because of some things that have changed at the store. I'm trying to give them a fair shake to work out the kinks in the system, but it hasn't been as great as it used to be. We shall see. If I don't do it again, though, that will free up some money for a Yarn Box or Knit Crate subscription for Christmas, or even a Magnolia Society Sweater Club, which I held off on this year.

If you didn't see the announcement a couple weeks ago, Saint Helena is live on both Nimblestix and Ravelry. Again, if you like it, it would thrill me if you favorited, queued, or bought it.


I'm looking for people willing to test a pattern for me in the next month or so. I should have the pattern ready in a couple weeks. My goal is to have it published in mid- to late May, if anyone is willing to take a shot at testing the knitting on this pattern, and if it can be tested pretty soon. This is a bit more complicated than Saint Helena, being knitted lace, with patterning on both sides. It is an adult sized, kerchief style headband. I made a doll sized version as my sample, which is what is in the photos (if it matters, the color is truer in the second picture), but this would be sized for an adult. It shouldn't take more than a few nights to a week once the basics of knitted lace are mastered. Yarn required is a fingering weight. I made mine out of a cotton/wool blend. I would not recommend a variegated yarn, either a solid color or subtle semi-solid. Skills required: Basic knitting, yarn overs, decreasing by k2tog and ssk, casting on at the end of a row, knitting in the round, reading a chart. It shouldn't take more than a few nights once the basics of knitted lace are mastered. Please e-mail me or leave a comment with contact information if you are interested in test knitting this pattern as soon as you can. Then, request to join Ventus Test Knitters on Facebook. Please also check out Arabian Knits Designs on Facebook, for updates and testing opportunities and other design news. Thank you!

Because I was traveling, I had more opportunities to read. I finished up The Jane Austen Rules: A Classic Guide to Modern Love, which was fun, though I still don't really like her quoting of Simone de Beauvoir, even though nothing she quoted was wrong or offensive. We read a little more of A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter aloud on the drive. I'm nearly finished with Christ in His Saints! Didn't quite get it finished during Lent. Not even if I count by the Eastern reckoning.



Also posting to Keep Calm and Craft On

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Menu Plan: Partial Week


Christ is Risen! The Lord is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

I've been MIA for a while, as we had the opportunity to celebrate most of the Triduum and the Paschal feast with our church family "back home" as well as getting a chance to rent a house on the beach near our old house while Rich went to a conference for work. After that, we traveled to spend some time with one of Rich's cousins and his family. It was a beautiful and holy time for us.

Sadly, the "vacation" part for me wasn't much of a vacation as I had to drive Rich to the ferry at 5:30 for the first three mornings so he'd be at his conference on time, and the final night we were at the beach house I was so sick I didn't get to sleep most of the night, even though we could sleep in the next morning. I spent all the time at his cousin's sick, too. Though functional. Just not sleeping or eating well or feeling well. On the positive side, I think I've lost 15 pounds. Sunday night, we were able to return to our church and Fr. David prayed for me after I received the Eucharist and, for the first night in five, I was able to sleep all night without pain or feeling sick. That following day I was completely well. I am so grateful to God for His sacraments and priesthood!

We returned late Sunday night, or rather, early Monday morning, and were blessed that Rich had been able to take that day off, too, so we had a day to rest and recuperate. Tuesday night, Rich and I took a trip back to the west side, for him to take an all day class with his boss and another co-worker the following day, and I did some yarn shopping, walking around town, and resting while they did that. That was really my vacation. The hotel had a pool and hot tub, so I availed myself of the hot tub with its jets on my shoulder and back (oh! that morning, I went into the utility room to check the laundry and either the way I opened the door or the cold of that room tweaked my shoulder injury from way back in 2011 when we camped at Yellowstone, so my shoulder hurt and I couldn't turn my head all the way that day - it got better the following morning, but I'm still hurting a little). I finally found the exact shade of yarn I've been looking for to match a ribbon I have, that I'd like to use in a short jacket to wear over a dress. There was only one skein left and it appears to be discontinued. I bought it anyway.

In any case, here is our menu, such as it is, and the Bible readings. Here are last week's:

April 5 Deuteronomy 11-13, Psalms 56, Proverbs 11:26–30, Mark 9:2–29

April 6 Deuteronomy 14-16, Psalms 57, Proverbs 12:1–5, Mark 9:30–50

April 7 Deuteronomy 17-19, Psalms 58, Proverbs 12:6–10, Mark 10:1–31

April 8 Deuteronomy 20-22, Psalms 59, Proverbs 12:11–15, Mark 10:32–52

April 9 Deuteronomy 23-25, Psalms 60, Proverbs 12:16–20, Mark 11:1–19

April 10 Deuteronomy 26:1-28:14, Psalms 61, Proverbs 12:21–25, Mark 11:20–33

April 11 Deuteronomy 28:15-29:28, Psalms 62, Proverbs 12:26–31, Mark 12:1–27

What is on your menu this week? If you want a recipe, ask and I will provide it as soon as I can. If there are any starred recipes, I will follow up separately with a weekly recipe round up.

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