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Monday, July 30, 2007

Menu Plan Monday: Normal Life?

So, our life may actually be getting back to normal. We are finished travelling, have no house guests, we aren't working a church event, and nobody is sick. I am taking this week a bit slow and easy, and trying to reconnect with friends I haven't seen all summer.

What is on your menu this week?

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Friday, July 27, 2007

August Color Swap: Pinks & Peaches

I intended to post this last Friday, but got bogged down with the blogger mess. I will extend the sign up period to August 3 to make sure people get in. Also, I have a few more buttons to post, and need to get a hold of a woman who sent me a few that have disappeared. I downloaded them, and deleted the email, but then couldn't get them to load. Please email me again, and if you can have the images in either a jpg or gif, that would be the most helpful.

The deadline for registration this month is 12:01 a.m PDT. August 3, 2007. This is Thursday night. If you wish to sign up, send me an email me at arabianknits at gmail dot com 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. 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 August ends 12:01 a.m. August 3, 2007 and the color theme is Pinks and Peaches. Have fun! I will have assignments sent to you by the 5th of August.

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Finished Object Friday: Almost There

I wish I had a photo, but I don't. We're still recovering from the stomach illness that took hold of five of us this past week, and the exhausting schedule of the week before.

I am about half way through with my second Aran Braid Sock, which if I finish in August will mean that it took me two years to knit them. The knitting actually goes rather quickly, but I am always putting down projects for myself in favor of other projects. Of course, there were a few deadlines I had to meet over the past six months, and I am now not taking on any deadline work for some time, if I can at all avoid it.

If you have one or more finished items this week, please sign Mr. Linky below and share all you have made. Your Finished Object(s) can be knit, crocheted, sewn, quilted, tatted, beaded, papercraft, woodwork or any other kind of craft. Show off what you have made! Please make sure you link to the exact post that shows your finished item(s) rather than just to your blog.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Blog is Back

Though it is still making me do that word verification thing. I'm wary of filling out that form again, since it is what blocked my blog in the first place and left it open for a spammer to steal it.

Friday, I had blogger swallow a post. Then I rewrote it and found the word verification on it. I did that, and the post never showed up. So I clicked on the little question mark, found the form to have my blog manually evaluated and waited. That afternoon, I received a post that I was approved and that all should be well. Not so. The post I wrote Friday never was posted, and after I tried to log out and log back in as they advised, my whole blog went missing. Evidently, they count you as guilty until proven innocent, rather than the other way around.

I checked my dashboard. The posts and template still showed up on my dashboard, but nothing showed up until Tuesday, my birthday, too, when an actual spammer used my blog url. All my writing to blogger didn't net me a reply, but it does seem to have brought back my blog.

Just in case, though, I'm thinking of signing up on just about every other service and setting it up as arabianknits at blogcity, wordpress, typepad, etc for redundancy.

I'm pleased that my blog is back, but the word verification on all my new and edited posts is still there.


Friday, July 20, 2007

Finished Object Friday: Not a Snowball's Chance

Blogger is evidently possessed today, I've lost this post once, rewritten it, and now can't get the blog to show up at all, so you may not see this today.

I am behind on my blog, but it is for a good reason. Rich and I were the kitchen crew for our church's convocation this past week. We are exhausted and happy, but not so productive right now. I did get some knitting done at the Mariner's game (which they won!), but mostly I just watched the game and talked to our friends.

Anyway, the chances of the elf pants being finished in time for the class is pretty much nil. However, I will have a work in progress and can tell them how to manipulate the pattern to make them.

If you have one or more finished items this week, please sign Mr. Linky below and share all you have made. Your Finished Object(s) can be knit, crocheted, sewn, quilted, tatted, beaded, papercraft, woodwork or any other kind of craft. Show off what you have made! Please make sure you link to the exact post that shows your finished item(s) rather than just to your blog.


Friday, July 13, 2007

Finished Object Friday: More Small Pants

Well here it is, my second pair of baby pants for the class. However, it is no longer the second of two. The way the class description was written, I now have to finish a third pair at 7 sts per inch by the 26th of July. While having a friend stay at our house, take care of the home, meals and children. We'll see.

So, what have you made?

If you have one or more finished items this week, please sign Mr. Linky below and share all you have made. Your Finished Object(s) can be knit, crocheted, sewn, quilted, tatted, beaded, papercraft, woodwork or any other kind of craft. Show off what you have made! Please make sure you link to the exact post that shows your finished item(s) rather than just to your blog.

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Monday, July 09, 2007

Menu Plan Monday: Summer Guests

We had the pleasure of hosting two of our children's godparents this weekend. They left today, and tomorrow one of my best friends is coming for two weeks from Florida. She cruelly moved away two years ago, just in time to learn how to board up her house for hurricanes. Since it is supposed to be in the 90s here, with the salt breeze and no humidity, it should seem cold to her.

She's coming just in time to join our church in preparing for a regional convocation. We'll be cooking and eating together, having worship, seminars, fellowship and doing things like going to a Mariner's game, having golf and volleyball tournaments, staying up too late and eating too much. You can't say that she won't have something to do while she's here.

What is on your menu this week?

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July Color Swap Underway!

This month's color is red, my favorite color. There have been some requests for a red button, but we don't have one so far. If you make one and send it to me, you have a chance to win a prize at the end of this year.

Our participants this month are:

Please feel free to take one of the buttons above for your blog. Also, remember that at the end of this I will have a prize for one of the people who designed a button, one skein of yarn for each color theme of the year. So far, only one person has submitted buttons, those above, and if nobody else does, she automatically gets the prize. You can send me an email with a jpg, gif or whatever kind of graphic file. Thank you!

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Tales from the Kitchen Classic: Strawberry Puff

One of the families at our church, a clergy family, is moving this month. Fr. Jonathan is an Army Chaplain, and they are being sent to Georgia. We will miss them a great deal, and it is hard to think of our church family without them. Tomorrow is a work day at their house, to help them clean up their house for the new owners. We are all going over to help, and I was planning on bringing this, so I thought it would be a good time to revisit the post.

Originally posted July 27, 2005 to Tales from the Kitchen

I would have taken a photo of this, if I had chilled it properly and made it look nice, but we are savages who just wanted to eat it, so it was drippy and not so pretty and oh so good!

The recipe was from the March issue of Sunset magazine. Next time, I would use two eggs, rather than three. It's basically a choux pate, and I would normally use three eggs to an entire cup of flour. The cheese filling was so good, and I will use this technique for cream cheese frosting in the future. It lightened up the cream cheese and stabilized the whipped cream, perfect.

Strawberry Puff

2/3 cup water
5 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2/3 cup all purpose flour
3 large eggs (use 2 instead)
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 teaspoon orange zest (I left this out, we didn't have it)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup whipping cream
2/3 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 cups sliced strawberries

Strawberry Sauce
see below

1. In a 2 quart pan, combine 2/3 cup water, butter and granulated sugar; bring to a boil over high heat. Add flour all at once and stir quickly until mixture pulls away from pan sides and clumps together. Remove from heat and stir until flour is incorporated and mixture is smooth. Let cool about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. One at a time, add eggs to warm mixture in pan, beating with a wooden spoon after each addition until dough is smooth and satiny.

3. Spoon dough into a buttered 9-inch cheesecake pan with removable rim; spread evenly over bottom and about 1 inch up sides.

4. Bake in a 400 degree oven until puffed and golden, 25-30 minutes. Prick pastry crust with a toothpick in about 12 places, then return to oven and bake until golden brown, dry and crisp, about 10-15 minutes longer. Transfer pan to a rack and let cool completely. Run a knife around pan sides to release pastry, then remove rim.

5. In a bowl, with an electric mixer on high speed, beat cream cheese, orange zest and vanilla until smooth (I tossed the sugar in with it at this point). Add whipping cream and 2/3 cup powdered sugar; beat on low speed until blended, then on high speed just until mixture forms stiff peaks.

6. Spoon filling into puff shell. Scatter sliced strawberries over filling. Sift about 1 tablespoon powdered sugar over the top (I didn't do this, there was sufficient sugar in everything else). Cut into wedges and serve with strawberry sauce to spoon over individual servings.

Strawberry Sauce
1 1/2 cups strawberries, rinsed and hulled
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons orange flavored liqueur (I used Grand Marnier)

Whir the whole mess in the blender until smooth.

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Summer Vacation

We started off in Richland. Our godson was being baptised, and we took the drive out there so we could be there and join in the festivities. Our first stop was at Michelle's work, as they were having a gigantic company picnic. We had grilled salmon, pasta salad, coleslaw, rolls, corn and ice cream. The kids were excited to be there, everyone enjoyed the food, and there were fun things for the children to do.

First we had to sign away our rights to our children, so they could play on the structures. Amira and Elijah played in the little jump house for at least an hour.

Dominic and Alexander got to ride horses for the first time. Oddly enough, the horse people didn't make us sign the waiver first. Well, we all know about how notorious those jump house injuries are, and really who gets hurt on horses?

After we finished up at the picnic, we headed to Arthur and Michelle's house. We stayed up too late talking, catching up, laughing and eating. Early in the morning, Michelle's folks and sister came. I haven't seen Andrea since Elijah and Amira were baptised, three years ago, and I think it's been longer since I saw their parents. Her folks see me as one of the kids, though, so they were buying us pizza and ice cream and refusing to let us pay like somehow we might blow our after school job money. It was very sweet. They adored our children, of course, and played grandparents to them. Since our children know a good thing when they see it, they milked it for all it was worth. Another friend from high school happened to be in the area with her husband, and they came by for the day and for the baptism the next day as well. It was like a mini-reunion of sorts.

Saturday night, Matt gave his testimony, and they had a kind of examination of the candidate. Nerves aside, Matt was glad to be doing it, and he spoke well. Sunday morning was the big day, and his baptism was a splash. Get it? Splash? I crack myself up. I have pictures, but I haven't asked Arthur and Michelle, or Matt if it's alright to post them, so that will have to wait.

Well, you know I can't go somewhere without checking out their yarn shops, so I did. Matt knew of one that was about 12 blocks from their house, so I put Jerome in the snuggli and took a walk with the credit card. I actually didn't buy much. I needed a 16" circular needle, because I had left the one I needed at home, and I picked up a skein of Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock and two skeins of Patons Soy Wool Stripes. However, I really need to plug Knitty Gritty Yarns in Richland, WA. Her shop wasn't large, but it was well organized, friendly, there was a table in the front for classes and people stopped by to knit and chat, and the owner was so nice. In the back section of the shop, there was a play area with little chairs and soft cushions, toys and books. It was clearly designed so moms could shop comfortably and the children could be occupied. She took a lot of care in the layout and feel of the place.

We left Richland Monday, and I've already told you about our dinner on the way home. That was Rich and Dominic's birthday, and Tuesday was when I did their birthday dinner at home. We gave Dominic his presents at the park in Richland before we left, so he had some fun things to look at and do in the car on the way home. So, for dinner at home, I made lasagna, salad and Italian bread. We had a banana cake with lemon-cream cheese frosting for dessert. Dominic picked the meal and the cake, because we let birthday people pick their meals. Rich has very willingly given up the right to this, because obviously birthdays matter to little people more. Speaking of birthdays, mine is in 18 days. Just, you know, reminding you, in case you forgot.

Where was I? Oh yes, back home. We cleaned up from our family party, and did lots of laundry and got ready to leave again. This time for Eugene. We took the long way there, though, stopping at my BIL's new house in Vancouver first, for dinner, then at Rich's folks' in Gresham to spend the night. On Friday, we drove down to Eugene, making a stop at Rich's grandparents' in Salem. After lunch with them, we made it the rest of the way to Eugene. A friend was waiting for us with dinner, and nice beds for us and the children. We pretty much crashed at her place, and got up to meet with one of my virtual friends at Black Sheep. Michelle was lots of fun, and her children were sweet. We stayed together as a group long enough to see the spinning wheels, and live chinchillas. Which I now want. The boys hit it off right away, and went to see the animals with Rich and Amira, and her daughter stayed with us mamas, to see all the booths. They were a delight, and it was so fun to spend time with someone who loved all this fiber stuff as much as I do.

We saw so much that was pretty and interesting, but one of my favorite things there was this:

Everything, including the rocks, branch, everything, is needle felted. I was impressed. My photo doesn't do it justice. Of course, I bought a lot of yarn.

After spending the morning at Black Sheep, we went to lunch at Track Town Pizza. We had a nice drive through campus, and I showed the kids a lot of places Rich and I used to go, and places I used to hang out in while I was in college. We went to the potluck at Black Sheep and came home to rest for the baptism the next day.

Mike and Rachelle came down from Corvallis with Kyrie, they left Ben with his grandmother, to be the godparents for Jerome. They actually took a trip to her parents, just so they could come and be godparents for Jerome. They left Olympia on Saturday, went to Eugene on Sunday, back to Corvallis and home on Sunday night. Rich's folks came down with our niece, Kayla, from Portland. The service was beautiful. Fr. Bryce gave a wonderful sermon, and it was a joy to celebrate this new member of God's family with the man who married us.

Jerome had been playing with the cat's dish at our friend's house, and we kept moving him away from it. So, when he got to put his hands in the font, and nobody stopped him, he was thrilled and was perfectly behaved for the entire baptism.

We were so happy to have Mike and Rachelle there, sharing in our joy and promising to help teach and guide Jerome in the faith. I wish I had a picture with Mike in it, but the only one we had was the side of his face. This was during the prayers over the newly baptised.

This was during the peace.

Our trip didn't end there, however. Rich's folks took our older four back with them to Portland, and Rich and I took Jerome with us to lunch with Fr. Bryce and his wife, plus our friend who took us in for the weekend. We went to a nice Thai place and had a great time. From there, we drove down to Klamath Falls, where our priest and his wife had reserved us a place at a resort so we could take a rest and have a little time to ourselves. We explored the lake, the farmland around town and a little bit of downtown Klamath Falls. And I bought yarn. Of course. Jerome even let us sleep in, so we were pretty well rested. The drive from Eugene to Klamath Falls is beautiful (take 58 to 97 rather than I-5), and the weather was perfect. We headed home rested and more relaxed. We got to Rich's folks pretty late at night, crashed and slept in as much as we could and gathered everyone to go home the next day.

We've kind of been recovering ever since, because we have had cleanup and organizing and then a holiday and now houseguests coming, but it was a lovely trip and so much fun. Which is good, because it doesn't look like we'll be travelling much the rest of the year. Everyone is coming to us from here on out. We have Arthur, Michelle and Matt coming this weekend, my friend Lisa coming a couple days later with her son and it looks like one of my cousins and his family coming in the next month. We're hoping to talk another cousin with her family to come this December, too.

So, that's it. That's what we did for our summer vacation. The rest of the summer looks pretty busy too, but should be lots of fun.

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Finished Object Friday: One of Two

I have been working on a deadline to get two projects for my class later this month finished. One is completely finished and the other is almost there. I'm hoping that in the next couple days I'll have it.

On Tuesday, I put this one aside to work on my second set.

Here's another shot of these little pants, for scale. I think I will be making lots of little pants in the future.

I started my idea for these as a quick Christmas project several months ago, when we were talking about what kinds of things we'd have for our Christmas in July at the shop. I know that I can really only do smaller projects on deadline right now, with the kids and such, so I came up with the elf hat and baby longies. I'm making two variations, and a third idea that people can experiment with on their own. These are quick to knit, and take less than 100 g of worsted weight yarn. Plus, they are adorable! Who doesn't love tiny pants?

If you take my class, you get the pattern for free with the class payment, and you get it before anyone else does. I won't be selling the pattern until after the classes are finished. The hat pattern will be in the shop by the 17th, however.

If you have one or more finished items this week, please sign Mr. Linky below and share with the internets all you have made. Your Finished Object(s) can be knit, crocheted, sewn, quilted, tatted, beaded, papercraft, woodwork or any other kind of craft. Show off what you have made! Please make sure you link to the exact post that shows your finished item(s) rather than just to your blog.

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Monday, July 02, 2007

Menu Plan Monday: Back in the Saddle

I am back on track with the menu planning. Rich did the cooking tonight so I could take a meal to one of our priest families. Fr. Jonathan is an Army Chaplain, and his family is being relocated to Georgia in a couple weeks. They are in the middle of packing and moving and the military movers are there this week, so folks from church are bringing meals.

I have two birthday reports to write, vacation descriptions, lots to tell you about Jerome's baptism and the Black Sheep Gathering, some knitting photos to share and a couple foodie commentaries in the works. That should keep me busy blogging, when I'm not, you know, taking care of the house, the kids, and trying to get some time in for the cooking and knitting and all that other stuff I write about.

What is on your menu this week

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Some News

This bonnet

is scheduled to be available in November. How do I know? Well, because I designed it, submitted it to Storey Publishing and had it accepted. They are putting out a sequel to their One Skein Wonders book, called 101 Designer One-Skein Wonders. This is my first published, paid for design, and I'm really excited about it. I know it's relatively small time, but I am really excited, and it is a start for me. I hope to have more designs published in the future, and this was a good way to try it out.

I have been wanting to share for a while, but until I had my contract back to them, I didn't want to say anything. So, look for the book if you want to see this pattern and tell me how you like it.

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