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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday: Quick and Easy Brownie Frosting

This one is kind of a lazy hint, that I think most people know already, but here it goes anyway. Use chocolate chips for frosting brownies.

Last night I made a batch of brownies. They were supposed to go with us to Home Group, but that was cancelled. So, after the kids went to bed, we made brownies anyway, because why not have two people eat a pan of brownies after eating a full dinner and two oranges? There's nothing wrong with that. Why are you looking at us that way? It's only natural, you have no right to judge!

Anyway. So, I made the brownies, and got out my trusty Belgian dark chocolate chips. When the timer went off, I checked the brownies, pulled them out and dumped about a cup and a half of chocolate chips on it. Let that sit until they started to melt, and spread it all around with the spatula. Then I turned on the coffee pot, and we had three brownies each while we watched Pride and Prejudice. If you really want to be fancy, you can press chopped nuts into the melty chocolate chips.

This definitely works for me!

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Scavenger Hunt

Because I can not resist any contest, and the Joneses are giving away a $20 gift certificate to the restaurant of your choice if you win this, I am posting my finds in the bloggityville scavenger hunt. $20! This is the big time! That's a date night for us here at Arabian Knits, and we would do a lot for a date night. So, anyway, I think I should get some credit for creativity in my selections. We'll see what Darren and Sara think.

Since I am also a copycat, I will likely host a scavenger hunt of my own sometime this year, once I come up with a good prize for it. Watch this space for details.

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Madrona & Yarn

Fiona Ellis was inspiring. Her talk gave me lots of ideas for designing, and some encouragement. It was also just a fun time, as she was quite humorous and entertaining. And I finished the knitting for one of the designs I'm submitting to a book. You didn't know I was working on book designs, did you? Wish me luck! When I spoke with Fiona Ellis, she was quite encouraging of my design endeavors as well.

On Saturday, I went shopping at the market and had a couple books signed by their authors; Leigh Radford, Fiona Ellis, Kristin Spurkland and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee were signing books on Saturday. Rich and I brought all the kids, and had a great time showing them the yarn and fibers and tools. We also enjoyed watching the astonishment on people's faces when they found out that all five children were mine, and enjoyed hearing their compliments on how polite, well behaved, interested, focused and cute our children were. This is the same reason I like taking them all to Trader Joe's, it's fun watching the disdain from the zero-population, aging hippie types while also seeing their shock at how calm and orderly the kids are, and how well received by the staff they are. Anyway, this is what I bought:

From left to right, Fly-Dyed Monarch sock yarn from Angora Valley Fibers, in Raspberry Creme, Socks that Rock Lightweight from Blue Moon Fiber Arts, in Velvet Moon, Fancy Image Hand Dyed Merino Tencel in shades from the palest sky blue to periwinkle, Fancy Image Hand Dyed Merino DK in blues and aquas. I always choose the yarn of which there is the least or the last skein when I shop at Myra's, but I love her yarns and she is one of the most generous people out there. When a lady at the yarn shop was looking for a color yarn she didn't have in at that moment, she immediately offered to dye it for her. I only see her once a year at Madrona and she remembers me by name and is always so helpful to me.

I think this is a better shot of the Monarch. The colors range from a deep reddish brown to a bright raspberry pink.

I forgot to mention how nice and informative the fellow at their booth was. Alexander wanted to know how the circular sock machine worked (and, by the way, I'd love a circular sock machine, should anyone be wondering), and we got a mini-lesson right there. We also found out it took about 10 minutes for someone who knows how to use the machine well to make a basic pair of women's socks. 10 minutes, folks! Think of how many pairs of socks I could have!

I was hoping this would show the colors better in the Merino Tencel, but I'm not sure it does.

The photo I took of the Socks that Rock yarn didn't come out as well as I'd like. I've never bought their yarn before, though I've seen it and admired it at shows and fiber festivals for the last four or five years. This year, I bought it in solidarity with them, since they were treated so shabbily by the credit card person at their bank. You have probably already heard about it elsewhere. Rich and I think they have a great case for a lawsuit, though we don't know what their plans are. I was disappointed to see people jumping to conclusions about the bank employee in posts and comments around the blogosphere. This person whose sex nobody knows was not more likely to be male, just stupid, though I know some people seem to think the two the same. Sara has it just right, I think. The assumption that it's those men out to get us women sickens me, especially when it is based on exactly zero evidence. I don't think men are more likely than women to make idiotic business decisions, or to be ignorant of the draw and success of sock yarn, how many people really get the whole knitting thing anyway? But, of course, it's because they are big bad evil men out to destroy a couple women's business that this happened. Exactly. I figure at the least that person was fired, or at least I hope so.

Back to nicer things. I'll leave you with a parting shot of Jerome waiting with excitement to go shop for yarn.

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

Over at I'm an Organizing Junkie, Laura has something called Menu Plan Mondays. Since I like to plan our weekly meals to save money, eat healthfully and keep my sanity come dinner time anyway, I thought it would be fun to try to post my weekly menus each Monday along with her. I will provide as many recipes as possible upon request.

Monday: Salsa Chicken, Corn and Black Beans with Southwestern Rice Pilaf from current Fine Cooking

Tuesday: Chicken and Noodle Casserole and Salad

Wednesday: Macaroni and Cheese, Fruit Salad and Green Salad

Thursday: Cous Cous with Lamb Tagine, Harissa, Laban bi Chiyar, Pita Bread, Hummus, Baba Ghanooj, Gatayif for dessert - we are having our mechanic over for dinner, the one who only charges us what he pays for parts and won't let us pay him for his time

Friday: Lentil and Brown Rice Tacos

Saturday: Shredded Beef, Rice Pilaf and Peas noted that I had an abundance of pasta and rice this week, so I'm switching this to Sweet Potato Rolls and Salad

Sunday: Superbowl Potluck - I'm bringing Cornbread and Honey Butter

What are you making this week?

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February Assigments Sent

Well, we have 12 participants for this next month of color swapping! I hope you are all ready to spoil your partner and have a great time. Please answer the survey on your blog, if you haven't already. Also, please send a quick note to your partner just to say hi.

Remember that this month's colors are brown and tan, and try to come up with something creative and fun with that in mind. Also, February is a short month, so you'll need to send earlier than you think.

These are the February participants:

Have fun!


Friday, January 26, 2007

Fetching Photo

Well, last night I had Rich take another picture of those Fetching gloves. They are still somewhat blurry. I'm beginning to think it has something to do with the gloves themselves. They don't want to be captured in photograph!

Anyway, I am finished trying to capture them. This is the picture taken last night. You have the detail shots of the left glove in progress if you want to see the cables better.

I will be going to Madrona tonight to listen to Fiona Ellis. I hope to see some other knitters from our area as well, and if you are going, please come and say hello!

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Tales from the Kitchen Classic: Melanzane al Forno, the Cheater Way

Since this is what we are eating for dinner tonight, I thought this was an appropriate reprint.

Originally posted December 7, 2005 to Tales from the Kitchen

I have an incredible recipe for this, but in order for me to make it in a hurry, I have come up with a cheater version. Pictures will come tomorrow. I made this tonight, for our vegetarian meal.

Melanzane al Forno

2 medium eggplants, about a pound each
12 cloves garlic
1/2 cup olive oil, with 2 tablespoons reserved
2 cups tomato-basil pasta sauce, homemade or jarred
1 pound frozen, sliced mixed peppers
2 cups shredded mozzarella, provolone and parmesan

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Slice off green stem end of eggplants and cut in half lengthwise. Score a diamond pattern in the meat of the eggplant with a sharp paring knife, being careful not to cut through the skin. Slice the garlic into slivers. Slip about seven slivers of garlic in each of the eggplant halves. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

In a large frying pan, one that can hold all the eggplant in one layer, heat almost half a cup of olive oil over medium heat. Carefully put the eggplant in the pan, skin side down, reduce heat to medium low and cover. Cook for about five to ten minutes, until the skin is browned and wrinkled. Turn with a slotted spoon and cook three to five more minutes, until the flesh is browned, and soft.

Carefully put the eggplant in a 9 X 13 pan, skin side down. Cover the eggplant with the tomato sauce. In the frying pan, splash in about two tablespoons of olive oil and add the remaining garlic silvers. Stir to cook, add peppers and saute in the oil. Spoon over the sauce and sprinkle the cheese all over the top (you can either shred them yourself or buy a bag of mixed Mediterranean cheeses). Bake for 20 minutes.

While they are baking, make a salad and start some salted water boiling for pasta. Cook about a pound of pasta, any kind you like, in the water. The eggplant needs to rest about 15 minutes, to be cool enough to eat. While it's doing that, drain the pasta and toss with olive oil, ground pepper and crushed garlic. If you really want to be fancy, you can infuse the olive oil with chopped garlic and use that instead of just tossing the whole mess together.

Serve the eggplant with the pasta and the salad. We serve a half to adults and a quarter to each child, so this meal feeds our whole family.

Melanzane Photographs

Originally posted December 8, 2005 to Tales from the Kitchen

Here they are, in all their blurry glory. I forgot to put the camera back on landscape after taking some detail photos of something else.

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Poulet au Vinaigre

Tonight I made poulet au vinaigre from the new Fine Cooking issue. It was served with browned potatoes, as they suggested, and steamed green beans. Because I had no desire to go to the store to pick up three ingredients, I made some substitutions. We had no champagne vinegar, so I used apple cider vinegar. As I believe that the first duty of wine is to be red, I didn't have a dry white wine in the house, but I did have flat champagne! We had neither creme fraiche (can you see the accents if I put them in: cr ème fraîche?) nor heavy cream, so I used sour cream instead. Also, we had some organic, free range chicken pieces in the freezer, so I took those down yesterday instead of cutting up a whole one, it was six drumsticks and four thighs. It turned out quite lovely, and everyone agreed that we'd like to have it again.

These are the two onions, thinly sliced, in butter with the salt and pepper just added.

This is how they looked after they were cooked down and with the vinegar added. Oh, the recipe called for fresh tarragon, we didn't have any, but we had dried, so I cooked it with the onions.

The last of the chicken being dredged in flour. I added the salt and pepper to the flour, rather than doing it separately to the chicken to remove one step from putting dinner together.

Here is most of the chicken browning nicely in butter. I need to tell you about this butter, it is Jana Valley butter from New Zealand. It has a much lower water content than most American butter (unless you get it freshly churned or make it yourself), and is priced even lower than the grocery store butter, it is 8.8 ounces at $1.29. It is unsalted, and tastes very good. We buy it at the outlet store every time we are there, because you never know how long something like that will last. I think we will be picking quite a bit of it up the next time we go. I will take a picture of it in the wrapper and out, so you can go see if any stores near you carry it. It's lovely butter.

My plate just before we sat down to eat. I later went back and got more of the sauce to put over my potatoes. We have three drumsticks left with quite a bit of the sauce.

Oh! I almost forgot to tell this story. As we were eating dinner, Dominic reminded us of the story of him being about two and a half or three years old and eating green beans. I was at a women's meeting with two friends, and Rich was home with the boys (there was no Amira yet). Dominic was dawdling over his dinner, as usual, but he wanted a treat. Rich was in the kitchen getting a treat for Alexander and said that if he finished his beans, he could have the treat. Well, that motivated him, and he ate them up and told Rich so. Rich got him his treat and returned to the table to find all of the green beans, split with the seeds eaten out of them. He had eaten the beans and left the pods! Rich said to me later that night that he had to give him the treat anyway, since Dominic had obviously done exactly what he said he would. He said it was too good to make him eat the rest.

Anyway, since I've actually done my menu planning again this week, we have all sorts of good meals ahead of us. Monday was the saucy meatballs; Tuesday, nacho breakfast; Wednesday was homemade herbed tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches (on homemade bread, thank you very much); tonight was the poulet au vinaigre; tomorrow will be melanzane al forno with garlic and olive oil pasta; Saturday will be Italian beef sandwiches on pane all'olio. I haven't figured out Sunday yet, because we don't have something I thought we did. Probably lamb and garlic sausage cooked up with onions, garlic, tomatoes and beer and served over rice with a salad.

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Moral Dilemma

Rich and I are in a bit of a quandry regarding a moral dilemma facing us right now. A friend of ours, we'll call her Norma, is getting married soon to a man we'll call Sam. When we first found out about Sam, we were really excited for Norma. She wants to be married and we are very pro-marriage here in the Arabian Knits household.

Since then, however, we have learned things about Sam that lead us the the firm conclusion that this is an illicit relationship and that the marriage will be invalid. We have this understanding because of the clear teaching of Jesus in the scriptures as well as it being the position of the historic Church and all the Fathers. We decided, at that point, that we wouldn't even try to go to the wedding. We did not want to be witnesses and supporters of an invalid marriage.

Well, another issue has come up. As you well know, there are all sorts of other events that surround a wedding. We just received an invitation to one. Our first thought was to try to go, after all this is, as I said, a friend of ours. We'd get to see her and bring a gift. However, both Rich and I pulled back from that right away, because it is still supporting something morally wrong.

We have debated about it, and part of the equation is that Norma and Sam's church does not recognize the authority of the Church Fathers, nor does it seem to take Jesus' words at face value. If this were a minor issue, we might let it pass as a point of individual church governance, and not say or do anything about it, but it is not. If this isn't merely our understanding, but the understanding of the Church, we cannot condone it. So, we don't want to go, and we don't want to send a gift.

It makes us feel a bit awkward, though, and we don't really know how to deal with the friendship from here on out. We wish her the best, and we do want her to be happy, but we don't believe true happiness can follow from something that goes against the teaching of the Lord. This wouldn't be such a big deal, as we don't see Norma all that often anyway, except that there is a bit of family history with her, and we anticipate it coming up in discussion that we didn't attend, didn't send a gift, didn't try to work it out, etc. We have yet to have these kinds of discussions with the people who are most likely to bring it up, and have tried, for the most part, to put aside theological differences, rather than debate them, for the sake of the relationship. There is also the issue that we are teaching our children our church's understanding of the nature of marriage and what constitutes a valid marriage, and it is contradictory to put them in situations where we are, seemingly, fine with an invalid marriage. How can we tell them that it is wrong, but then expose them to it and act as though it were alright?

We do not believe in delivering a sermon to this woman, as she has not asked our counsel. On the other hand, we are admonished to encourage, build up and correct our brethren in the faith. We do not want to appear rude, but fear it would appear even more rude to explain our reasons for not attending or sending anything and we cannot compromise on our beliefs. How would you handle such a dilemma?


See How Well I Have Them Trained?

Last night, as we were saying our bedtime prayers, Amira pointed out a spider on the ceiling. It was a moth. Rich told her it was a moth, and not to worry about it, and can we get back to the praying, little girl. Elijah looks up, worriedly, and asks "Is it near the yarn?"

I am so proud!

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday: Breakfast for Dinner

This is my first time making it in time for a Works for Me Wednesday!

Tuesday and Sunday nights are always quick dinner nights at our house. It is often a challenge to find something to eat that can be prepared quickly, taste good, fill us and actually provide some nutrition. Breakfast for dinner is how I sometimes handle nights like that, since it requires almost no thought or preparation. We had it for dinner last night, in fact. Scrambled eggs and toast, breakfast burritos, fried eggs and bacon, or, like last night, Nacho Breakfast.

Nacho Breakfast - Or How to Eat a Bag of Chips for Dinner

Take a pound of sausage, any kind of sausage you like. Brown it and render the fat over medium low heat. Whip up 15 eggs with some black pepper. Add a cup or more of salsa to the sausage once it is browned, stir it to heat and evaporate some of the liquid, pour the eggs over and cook as for scrambled eggs, sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese, about a cup or two and cook until the egg is cooked to your liking.

Serve each person a plate of the eggs over a bed of corn chips, top with some more salsa and sour cream. Sprinkle with chopped scallions and olives, if you like and have hot sauce available for those who want it. This serves six very hungry people or eight normal people.

It works for me!

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February Color Swap Update & Buttons

Hello Color Swappers!

I have been trying to get partners sent out to each of you over the last couple days, but I'm waiting on a couple responses. Everyone who signed up initially, please check your email to see if there is a note from me and let me know that you got it, and you are in, if you haven't already.

Jana has made two buttons for our swap that people can use. If you have a talent for making buttons, please submit some as well. Here are Jana's:

If you want to use these, please save them to your own server. Thank you!

If Katie in KS is reading this, please email me.

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Tales from the Kitchen Classic: How to Make Clam Chowder

Originally posted June 7, 2005 to Tales from the Kitchen

Take three adults, buy them shellfish licenses. Bring buckets, shovels and eight children to the beach. Dig up butter clams, manila clams, cockles, horse clams and clams you can't identify by name. Leave sand shrimp on beach, because they are either too small or are carrying egg sacs. Keep clams in large buckets of clean seawater so they don't die while you figure out what you are going to do with them.

Head back to camp. Allow everyone to ooh and ahh over your clamming abilities. Go shower the muck off. Come back to eat lunch, and allow the clams to exude their sand into the water.

At dinner time, steam the smaller clams with butter, lemon juice and garlic and serve up with the hot dogs, bratwursts, cashew chili, potato salad, baked beans and chips. While all the kids are clamoring to make s'mores, thwart them by putting a giant pot of large clams to cook directly on the fire so they have to wait, because you realize they will run out of oxygen in the buckets and die if you don't. Do this twice.

Remove shells and store clam guts in a ziplock bag in the cooler overnight. After cleaning up the campsite the next day, start lunch. Assign someone else to degut the clams and chop up the meat. This includes skinning the "neck" and chopping it, too. Have someone else dice the leftover potatoes. Set the giant pot (washed) over the fire and cook four strips of bacon and the leftover onions (about two cups) from the bratwurst together with some butter and the last of the garlic. Do this until the bottom of the pot appears to be ready to fall out. Add about two thirds of a gallon of whole milk, so you don't have to bring it back home. Stir, stir, stir. Add the potatoes, clams and a bit of half and half. Season with salt and pepper.

Let simmer while you pack up the camp site. When the galloping hordes descend to let you know that they are starving, decide it is cooked enough. Remember after you serve up that there was a whole bunch of celery you could have diced up and sauteed along with the onions, garlic and bacon. Decide that it doesn't really matter.

Eat with lovely toasted whole wheat rolls, leftover potato salad and soggy corn chips.

Bask in the compliments and wonder of those around you who are astonished that you can make such a dish with no recipe, and only the leftovers from camp.


Originally posted June 28, 2005 to Tales from the Kitchen

Here is a photo of those clams we dug up on the camp out. Enjoy!

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Hidden Treasure, Hidden Projects

Everyday Mommy is hosting a Hidden Treasure Award contest. You can nominate blogs in several categories beginning on February 1, 2007. She will be announcing the winners close nominations on February 7, 2007. Voting will begin on February 8 and run through February 13, with the winners announced on Valentine's Day.

Here on Arabian Knits, I've had a couple hidden projects. There is this:

Here is a detail shot of the tassel. Both of these photos show the color better than the picture of the whole bookmark.

I also have a very blurry photo of my Fetching mitts. I haven't had a chance to take a better picture, so I am posting this until I do get a better one.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Tales from the Kitchen Classic: Dinner Last Night

That makes it sound impressive, doesn't it?

Originally posted May 30, 2005 to Tales from the Kitchen

Stopped at Trader Joe's on the way home from church. I needed to pick up a few things, and I browsed a little as well. I found the roasted corn that I had heard about, so I picked that up. We had chicken thawing at home, and canned black beans and rice. So, I bought some of their salsa verde and roasted garlic salsa. At home, Rich grilled the chicken while I sliced strawberries for shortcake. I made an almond buttermilk shortcake and we had heavy cream in the refrigerator already.

Lisa called and wanted to drop off some things she no longer needed, as she is moving, and we invited her and her son to come to dinner with us. After that, I put some rice on to cook, and heated up both the salsas with the roasted corn and a can of black beans, very minimally drained. Heated that up while the last of the chicken cooked and the rice finished steaming and Lisa made a salad. She also brought strawberry swirl ice cream.

We served with a bed of rice, sliced grilled chicken on top and the salsa/corn/black bean stuff on top, salad on the side. It went over well with all of the grownups and kids. Dessert went over even better.

I split the shortcakes, piled on strawberries and drizzled with the strawberry syrup made with the sugar, piped some whipped cream on and sandwiched the top on, then topped with a little dab more of the whipped cream and another drizzle of strawberry syrup. We scooped some ice cream on the side.

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For Kelli Update

The final tally at Boo Mama's was $8799.36. However, please see this post just in case you got a call verifying that you intended to give money to this fund. Kelli says thank you, in case you didn't see her post. The money raised was enough to cover 18 months of COBRA!

Dinner Last Night: Saucy Meatballs

I have pretty much given up trying to maintain this blog and my cooking blog. I thought it would make more sense to have separate blogs for the separate topics, but it was just another thing to try to keep up, so we're back to all topics, all the time, here on the Arabian Knits channel.

This is what we ate for dinner last night.

Saucy Meatballs

2 pounds ground beef
2 large eggs
2 cups fresh bread crumbs, from 2 slices of bread
1 large onion, minced
1/2 cup milk
6 tablespoons dried dill, separated
2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons butter
24 oz medium egg noodles
24 oz frozen French cut green beans
2 1/4 cups water
1 1/2 cups sour cream
fresh dill sprigs, optional

In large bowl, combine egg, bread crumbs, milk, 3 tablespoons dill, nutmeg, paprika, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; using hands or wooden spoon, blend well.

Shape mixture into 1 inch balls. In large skillet, over medium-high heat, melt 4 tablespoons butter; add 1/2 of the meatballs; cook about 12 minutes, turning frequently until browned on all sides. Remove to a plate and repeat with the other half of the meatballs

Meanwhile, prepare noodles according to package directions, add green beans to boiling, salted water along with noodles.

To drippings in skillet, add remaining 2 tablespoons butter; melt over medium-high heat. Return meatballs to skillet along with water and remaining 3 tablespoon dill, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Increase heat to high; bring to boil.

Reduce heat to low; cook, covered, 5 minutes until meatballs are cooked through. Stir in sour cream; cook 2 to 3 minutes longer until heated through.

To serve: Drain noodles and green beans; arrange on serving platter. Spoon meatball mixture over noodles; toss quickly. Garnish with dill sprigs, if desired. Makes 12 servings. Serve with a salad and some fruit for dessert and you have a nice family meal.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Way to Go!

Boo Mama helped raise over $8414.34 for Kelli! That isn't the final total because Susie was donating 20% of her income from blog designs and makeovers done that day for Kelli as well.The Lord worked a great miracle through His people yesterday.

Thank you to all who prayed or gave of your finances. Kelli will definitely be able to make that payment to COBRA and stay on the list for her kidney. God used a bunch of mommies to help this woman, most of whom didn't have much to spare themselves, but each person offering what she could made a huge amount in just one day. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A Little Levity

This is probably one of the funniest blog entries I've read in a long time. Go check out Antique Mommy's January 14 post for a big laugh.


Reminder for Kelli

Today is the 16th, and I wanted to remind those of you who can to go and donate to the fund to bless and aid Kelli and her family. Even if you cannot give any money, please pray for their family today.

Can You Really Call it a Weekend

On day six? I knew it was a bit of a stretch calling our five days a long weekend, but now it is a six day weekend. Considering that a week is only seven days, well, I'm not so sure that weekend is the right word. Perhaps vacation. Maybe instead of makeup days, they will get rid of the week break in February.

However, Alexander is missing his debut as a motivational speaker this morning because of the snow and ice. He was scheduled to go speak to a moms group at a local church, as the representative from his class, to ask them to help make 1000 letters to send to soldiers at the U.S. hospital in Germany. Since this needs to be done in time to send them, I'm not sure how it is all going to pan out.

We still have two Christmas packages that haven't been sent from our home. One is ready to go, the other is still not here! Unfortunately, it is the present for our godson. And his parents have already gotten their presents. I need to get to the post office to mail those as well as a partial skein of yarn to a woman who ran out as well as my Color Swap package. It was all ready to go today, and I don't know if I'll be ready to go today.

There is a meeting at our yarn shop this morning, and if the roads aren't too bad and they haven't cancelled it, I will go. There will be books and toys for the kids, and I'll set them in the corner. I was going to miss it, so I could go be there for Alexander, but he's not going. Since the shop is near the post office, if I can get there, I can go to the post office, so that will be my test.

Yesterday we stayed at home, and tried to get some things done. I made two cherry pies and a huge pan of cinnamon rolls. The kids sledded (is that a word?) down the big hill and we got a bunch of dishes taken care of, though not all of them, bathed all the little kids and got a few more chores done around the house. On Saturday, while I was at the shop, Rich built a sled for the boys. It was so cool! They had a great time sledding down the driveway, and Rich thought yesterday might be their last chance to do so, so he blocked off the top of the hill with our van and the bottom of the hill with his work truck and let them sled on the big hill in the afternoon. I was going to do manicures and pedicures with Amira, but she was a cranky pants, so she napped it off instead.

It turns out that the kids can probably sled today as well, so there were some things we could have gotten done during that time and just let them have at it, but no regrets, it was a fun time. I'm still waiting to see about that meeting. But, we have cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting for breakfast, so it's already a good day.

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Monday, January 15, 2007

January Colorswap! & Other Notes

I had a lovely box of fun things sent to me by Juli and it came this week. It was full of some wonderful goodies, both to knit up and to drink.

Inside, there were two kinds of coffee, some white chocolate cocoa, teas of all kinds, two bookmarks, and yarn! There was a skein of Dune in golds, purples and greens, a skein of a boucle yarn with a metallic thread wrapped around it, two yarns from Australia, one a ribbon with a sheen to it and the other a novelty type yarn with just about every color of the rainbow in it, also there was a ball of knit-cro-sheen in white with gold thread.

Thank you so much Juli!

I am looking for a ruffled shawl to make. We have the pattern for this one from Fiber Trends at the shop, and I can buy it at a discount, but it's not quite what I'm looking for, I think.

This one, though, is the one that set my heart on a ruffled shawl, and I can't find the pattern for sale on the website. I've just lost it. I saved the picture and thought I'd saved the url, but cannot find it anywhere. I'm going to try a couple more searches to see if it comes up. Otherwise, if anyone out there can identify it, I would like to buy it and make it.

This next photo just cracked me up. I am easily entertained. I saw it on a mommy blog and thought I'd post it here for you to enjoy.

Have a great day!


Sunday, January 14, 2007

February Colorswap: A Box of Chocolates

Well, yet again, I am getting a later start than I wished. This is your reminder about the February Color Swap. I have received my package for January (I'll post about my goodies later!), and Julie should be receiving hers from me soon. I have been trying to check other people's blogs to see if they have received their packages yet. Please let me know if you don't receive either a package or word about it by the end of the month. Also, if you haven't sent your January package, please try to do so by the 20th this month.

To participate in February's swap, you must either be a member of KnittingMothers or be a knitter with a blog you update frequently. In fact, even among the knittingmothers, I'd encourage those few of you without a basic blog to begin one. I want people to be able to get to know each other a bit. If you wish to sign up, send me an email with your full name, mailing address, email address that you check regularly, and blog url. This is open to knitters worldwide, but I am going to make a big effort to pair people within the same nation or at least continent, since there is only a month in which to allow for something to arrive. These registrations need to arrive in my inbox by 12:01 a.m. on the 20th of the month preceding the swap month. For this month, that means by Friday night, the 19th, my time. I am going to limit the swap to the first 50 respondents. Please feel free to spread the word about this, though.

The first thing to come to mind in terms of color is, of course, yarn, but please don't limit yourself to that. Handmade cards, candles, soaps, bath salts, stationery, candies, chocolates, knitterly tools or gadgets, knitting themed accessories and roving/fiber for those who are spinners as well are all good idea for gifts. Knitting something for someone would be a lovely gift. Including shipping, the minimum price for this swap should be considered at $25 (remember, that includes shipping and any packaging). I know how difficult it is to determine the monetary value of something handmade, or handspun or hand dyed, and I do not consider those things as cheap, but please keep in mind a general sense of the price of the package being sent. Participants should expect to receive one package and to send out one package for each round of the swap. Packages should arrive by the end of each month, preferably earlier.

Remember that registration for February ends 12:01 a.m. January 21, 2007 and the color theme is Browns and Tans for all those Valentine chocolates.

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Friday, January 12, 2007

For Kelli

Since yesterday and today were snow days and Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. day, we have a five day weekend here at the Arabian Knits home. Well, the kids and I do. Rich works harder on snow days, he worked 11 hours on Wednesday, 14 hours yesterday (his day started at around midnight and went through until almost 6:00 p.m. with about two hours in the morning when he came home to rest a little and get cleaned up in the shower) and will likely be a long one today (and someone from the field actually called his boss to complain that he couldn't find Rich - he never called him! - and that he thought he was home in bed! Grrrr. Fortunately, his boss knows Rich better than that, and the fellow who called to complain) as today all the slush and snow is rock solid ice and it's 19 degrees out. Whee! He gets Monday off, at least, so long as the ice starts to melt this weekend, but he said the weather map showed four large H's on the border to Canada, so the cold weather is likely to stick around. Can we send the high pressure system back to Canada? Shouldn't it have to go through customs or something? If we wanted it, we would have moved to Canada. Our little frustrations, though, are nothing to the woman's I'm going to tell you about.

I learned about Kelli from Boo Mama, who is a riot. Kelli posted all sorts of funny comments to Boo Mama's blog, so Boo Mama went to investigate. She read all sorts of things on Kelli's blog to impress her about Kelli, but the most touching thing about her was that she was in a strong marriage to a good man, a mother to two wonderful teenage children and that she was in need of a kidney and was on the waiting list for one, because without it, she will die leaving those children and her husband without a wife and mother. She had to leave her job several months ago because of her condition, and it was through her job that the family had their insurance.

Boo Mama came up with a plan to love on her and her family. She has set up an Amazon Pay Page that will be accessible on the 16th for people to give at least $1.50 that will be donated to Kelli's family. Please read more about it here. The money will help their family offset the costs of COBRA, and the post transplant medications. There is no huge goal here, financially. Not everyone who reads this will be able to contribute, but if you will pray for Kelli and her family, along with or instead of your monetary contribution, perhaps a miracle can take place for them.

I will be checking back at Boo Mama's page on the 16th and praying and offering what we can to help a sister in need. I simply wanted to ask my readers to consider doing the same, or at least to be in prayer for this woman and her family. Even $10 would help this family a little bit. Pray, the Lord will fight for them.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

You Would Scream Too, if Your Pajamas Bit You

Poor Jerome! He nursed last night, and went to sleep, and was cozy in his crib, and then woke up screaming. We rushed to him, and Rich said he still kind of smelled (we'd just changed his diaper and outfit from a blow-out of epic proportions), so we took off the new pj's to see if more had arrived and a big, black spider jumped out! It wasn't poisonous and it doesn't appear that he was bitten anywhere - and we checked everywhere - but, ugh! Cree. Pee. I would have screamed too.

Jerome fought me when I tried to put him back in his pj's. I think he knew the creepiness originated in them. Now, we check all his clothing before we put anything on him. shudder.

Speaking of screaming, I had a nice run in with the morons at Fed Ex again. For three days, they tried to deliver a package to me. It was between the 28th and the 30th of December. I wasn't expecting any more Christmas gifts, and the only people we could think of who might be sending something would have told us (the person who never tells us had already sent something that we received) to expect it. You'll remember how Fed Ex can't ever find our home, and then sends us letters at our address! telling us that our home doesn't exist. And how they somehow were able to find our home when they had a package to deliver to someone who lived 21 blocks away from us.

Anyway. They left a message telling us that the driver couldn't find our home (why is it that UPS and the USPS can find it? What is wrong with their drivers? Why also does it take another day to get a message to the drivers with directions? Don't they have radios on the trucks?) , and I returned the call. This was the 28th, remember, and their message was still talking about the power outage and that they hoped to have packages delivered by the 22nd. After I left a message with the directions to the house, a complaint that they are the only people who can never manage to find us, and do so regularly, I also told them that their message was out of date, and that I hoped they had gotten the packages to those other people who were waiting.

The next day, no truck, no package, no return call. I got online and tracked the package and saw that it came from New York, but still had no idea from whom it could be. So, I called again. The message was still out of date. I mentioned it again. I also told them that the package was unexpected, and had I known I was getting it, I would have asked the sender to use a different company to send me the package since they are so unreliable. I got a return phone call. I asked the lady if perhaps they just changed drivers daily and that was why nobody could find our home. She didn't know. She seemed to be competent to write directions down, though, and I figured I might see the package on Monday, and hoped it wasn't perishable food.

Saturday, as I was getting ready to go the the shop (I'm working a few days there again, whee!), there was a Fed Ex truck that drove into our driveway and dropped off a package. It was this:

I had won a drawing from Random House's Potter Recipe Club! They never emailed me to tell me I won, which is why I didn't know it was coming. What a great book, though! I'm having lots of fun planning with it.

I almost tried to put this cake together for our anniversary party the next day. At the same time I was cooking food for 24.

Rich and his folks talked me down, though, and pointed out that nobody would notice if we didn't have it.

I'm thinking of making this one sometime next winter, or maybe for Amira's birthday. March 10th is still winter.

So, I guess it was worth the Fed Ex hassle. But Random House? If you are out there? Use UPS next time.

In other book news, I received this book

from my St. Martha's secret pal for Epiphany. Marilyn drew my name, and unless this was a book she got on a huge sale or that she already owned, she went way over our price limit. I really like it, though. It has very clear photos and instructions, and is organized like a text book with simpler concepts and projects first, progressing to more difficult things later.

I picked Annie's name, and I know she does scrap booking, so I went to a "paper crafts" store in town (I learned that they aren't just a scrap booking store, but an all encompassing paper crafts store), and picked up some vellum, decorative paper and adhesive, sticky, textured, Disney themed things for her. They just went on a trip to Disneyland with their two boys. Anyway, the lady at the store had to talk me though the purchase, and she spoke slowly and clearly like we do to the men who come into the yarn shop looking for yarn and patterns for their wives. It was quite amusing.

I have been a little busy bee with my knitting. I finished Fetching, though I need to get a good picture of the finished set still, I finished a present for my colorswap partner and I decided to make another soap sack, this time for my friend Lisa, who lives in Florida. I was going to give her a store bath puff, but I thought this would be prettier.

Since I have no photos of Fetching or the present to show you, I will distract you with some shots of how I picked up the sts for the thumb on Fetching and the detail of the cuff.

I threaded my needles through the upper and lower sts before I unpicked the contrast yarn. That way, if any unravelling tried to happen, it couldn't go anywhere.

Here are those sts taken out.

And here is that fetching cuff. Get it? Fetching cuff? Ha!

I do have a photo of the leaf lace soap sack. I modified Judy's pattern and came up with this.

I still haven't posted about the boys' Christmas play. Alexander stole the show as Tiny Tim, so much so that one of the teachers called us during the power outage to make sure she was able to tell us how well he had played the role, that multiple people had commented on how he was just the perfect choice for that character and how glad she was that we put together a costume that fit the period as well as it did (there were several not so period costumes at the play). There were two vignettes done that night (amidst lights flickering and twice went out as the storm grew), and Dominic was a wise man and wore a tunic and hat that Rich got in Turkey, and a vessel (to carry myrrh) as a prop. I haven't uploaded all the photos from that night, but here is one of the boys afterward in their costumes.

This is kind of a catch all post. I have something important to share with you, but I will do it in its own post.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Elijah's Epiphany Vest

Is there a synonym for vest that begins with E?

Well, this is it. I received this yarn in a one skein swap and had been looking for a pattern to use it with for some time. I decided to wing it, and make this vest. If I were to redo it, I would do the v-neck a little differently, to make it neater, but Elijah doesn't care, and I just wanted to be finished, so I didn't rip back. The wrinkle on the one armhole is because of how it is sitting, not puckering.

I am also almost finished with my second project, I have ends to weave in, some blocking and I need to decide about embellishment. So, I cast on for Fetching, but the size 6's were making too loose a fabric, slipped on to my hand too easily, and this yarn pills, so I cast on with size 5 needles. I have smaller than average hands anyway, I guess.

It is so nice not to have deadline knitting looming! I am thinking of all the things I want to knit this year. Fetching is the first thing for me, I have a design I'm working on, there are a couple shawls, sweaters and socks in mind to make or finish. It may sound selfish, but I am glad to be knitting more things for me.

Since I have all of last year's projects listed and photographed and posted, I think I will retire the list in my sidebar and start over with 2007. After all, I already have an entry, and am pretty close to a second entry for the list.

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Last Two FOs of 2006 and First Two of 2007

I finally have the pictures uploaded for you to see.

Nora really loved this, and it was a really quick project to do. It took me about three hours from start to finish. You can buy a kit from The Yarn Garden or go in and buy a skein of the yarn (which makes three of these) and they will give you the pattern for free. The kit comes with a lovely, fancy, sweet smelling soap that is wrapped in what looks like hand made paper, enough yarn to make one and the pattern. I used a honeydew soap I got at the Grocery Outlet.

These are from Last Minute Knitted Gifts and though they said it would take about two hours, it took me about three hours to complete these. However, I still have a bit left of the angora, and it was a 55 yard skein, 10 gms I think, so I need to think of something to use it up. These have no destination, it doesn't get cold enough here for Jerome to need 100% angora booties, unless we lose power, and they are too small for him anyway. The only new babies I know of coming up are due in March, I believe, one in this state, and I don't think that even the NE (where the other will live) is all that cold in March, though they would be cute on. Anyone pregnant with a baby in Newfoundland? Or Alaska? Barring that, I will just set them aside for a baby due in the dead of winter.

I am also one round and one end woven in from having my first FO of the year finished, and about 23 very short rows from having my second FO of the year finished. The first one is a vest for Elijah, an Epiphany gift, that will be posted here. The second won't be posted until its intended recipient receives it. It is a small project, but I thought she ought to get first view.

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Year End Review and Goals for the New Year

Well, I finished 26 knit items this year. Most of them small things, with a few larger things thrown in the mix.

Pictures of the last two are still on our camera, and I never got a photo of my FIL's Santa Sack with the cinnamon nuts in it, looking all nice and bumpy and bulging.

The two most exciting things finished this year were, of course, Jerome and our 10th year of marriage. Rich and I celebrated our anniversary on New Year's Eve, with friends from church and Rich's parents, about 20 other people at our home. It was pretty low key, but lots of fun. We had a blessing prayed over us at church, and since the 10th anniversary is tin or aluminum, Rich made me an aluminum foil crown. No photos of that, picture Jughead as an Arab female.

I don't know that I really think of this next list as resolutions, but they are some knitting goals for the year. Last year's goals were met with modest success. I finished two entrelac projects, did more of my own designs, started my Christmas knitting in time to actually finish it, and knit more from my stash (though that was made easier by the crazy stash enhancement done in 2005), but I didn't really knit more for myself than usual. So, I will try again this year.

Ranee's Goals for 2007

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