Monday, July 31, 2006

My blocks came!

Lucky me. My quilt blocks came from Tammy and they are wonderful. So crisp and evenly stitched and tidily pressed. The stipey one is my favorite because it's the kind of block that you can spend lots of time rearranging, deciding how the block should be turned. It looks a little different each way.

And Tammy sent extras too--a fluffy (pink!) scarf for Beebs and stitch markers for me. These are totally fun and above and beyond. Thanks Tammy!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Least-documented feline member of the household

Meet Daisy. She's my mom's kitty and is staying with us for about a year while my mother builds a house. Daisy is considerably older than Hen and Edgar (15 v. 3 and kitten), and it shows. She doesn't like them, but they keep trying to be her friends anyway. Daisy often talks about "kids today" and "impertinence". We've started calling her the Dowager. She is a good kitty, though. Her best trick is giving backrubs if you lie down on the bed, and she really really likes to be brushed. In this picture she is saying, "Why is your guest room wallpaper so ugly?" She is quite frank.

In other kitty news, how could this creature possibly be the same one that pulls out all your embroidery floss and turns it into a mangled ball?Oh, it kills me when the cats do things that cats are supposed to do or things that storybook cats do, like fall asleep in baskets with toy cats, and play with balls of yarn while you knit, and lovingly groom one another. Someone ought to write a book about the cat that ties knots in embroidery floss.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Thank you, thank you, thank you

Really big thank yous to all who left me a note with something nice to say about the Frounchess Bag. I'm trying to figure out if Blogger lets you get at commenters' emails, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't. Too bad! I think I'm going to spend some time familiarizing myself with Blogger's inner workings. It could be helpful and who knows, I might come up with some usefuls tools. Anyway, it is so exciting to be a whiplash winner! Thank you.

I've got a lot I want to do this weekend, but no pressure to do any one thing, which is really nice. I think I'll spend some time on the Grace sweater. I had been not working on it because I got to the point where you begin to make the shoulders and the shoulders were two different sizes. I was trying to work with it, but was finally set right by Knitters Who Know Better Than I, and I took that part out. Will try again.

The images up top are my finished blocks for Tammy, which she received. Yea!

The banana bread recipe is based on a recipe from the La Leche League cookbook, Whole Foods for the Whole Family, which has some really great bread recipes (even if the cover image is a little dated and makes you think that the book only has recipes for noodles and sauce).

1 3/4 C. whole wheat flour (or 1 1/4 C. flour and 1/2 C. wheat germ)
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/3 C. oil
1/2 C. honey
2 eggs
3 overripe bananas
1/4 C. hot water
3/4 C. walnuts

Mix first 3 ingredients in a medium bowl.
Mix next 4 ingredients in a large bowl
Add dry ingredients to wet alternating with the hot water.
Stir in nuts.
Pour into a bread pan and bake for 55 minutes at 325, or what I like best, pour into 4 mini bread pans and bake for 40-ish minutes at 325.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Porch Life

The oppressive heat and humidity that had been sitting on us (and apparently most of the nation) lifted this weekend leaving us with the kind of summer weather one dreams of. I spent lots of time on the porch today having coffee, blowing bubbles, and stitching stitching stitching. My blocks for Tammy for the quilt block swap go out tomorrow, and thanks to an industrious morning, they are looking pretty good. The above is a sneak peek.

The quilt block swap works pretty neat in that you get to choose what kind of block you would like. This could mean a specific pattern, color combination or both. Tammy requested sunbonnet sue blocks, and I requested ones that were gray, blue and green. The other cool thing is that there is a new round each month, so new people can join or you can take a break or whatever. Pretty neat.

The cooler weather also meant that I wasn't afraid to turn my oven on. Beebs and I made banana bread. Yum. There is something about making banana bread that makes me feel like the best mom ever. Probably because my mom used to make it, and it uses whole wheat flour, and it saves those three poor overripe bananas from the rubbish bin, and it's good quality together time. Now, that's something you don't get with every baked good.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Mr. Tortilla strikes again

Monday, July 17, 2006

For the Ladies

I finally finished printing the skull shirts for the knitting-bookgroup ladies. Now we just need to get ourselves together so I can distribute.

Confession: I ate two doughnuts and a medium coffee with cream a sugar for breakfast every day last week. Why? Because Beebs started a new camp, and to get from the camp to my job I drive by Dunkin Donuts, and they have a drive though which just makes it so easy. I noticed though, that DD has a new marketing look--they are fully embracing their 70s airport color scheme and adding international symbol lookin' graphics. I think it works. And speaking of food, Elie made the most wonderful dinner tonight: cold fruit soup, warm brie, and garlic string beans. mmmmmm.... That's so not what one expects from a Monday night dinner. What a wonderful man. What a nice surprise to come home to. I love summer.

*Did you see a bird in the hand's sneakers? Tumbling blocks pattern! I kinda want some.

Friday, July 14, 2006

The Frounchess Bag

Who was the Frounchess? The Frounchess was my dear, late cat who, according to family legend, used to put on her purple underwear, her boots and her pocketbook and go out and run errands while we were asleep. I think that this is the pocketbook she used. At least, there's nothing fussier than a ruffle, and fluffy, fussy ruffles evoke the Frounchess, and this bag has ruffles to spare.
Seriously though, I've been meaning to make a bag like this for a while, and WhipUp's current Whiplash competition got me motivated. I believe this belongs in the "fancy" category. Some of the ruffles are from new fabric, some are from stash fabric, and some are recycled---the blue and white material one down is an old pillowcase and the aqua floral at the bottom was a garage sale shirt that had a nasty yellow ring around the collar. I cut off the collar, but left the buttons.
I lined the bag in a dark blue print with contrasting chicken floral print pockets. (I can't wear my chicken print fabric addiction on the outside.) There is, of course, the all-important cell phone pocket. I also added a little yo-yo corsage. Those little circles are addictive! The handles are taken from a necklace idea that I've seen floating around the blogs--the ones made from marbles knotted inside fabric tubes? I took that idea, but used pony beads instead, and I love the result. It's firm and textured--more substantial that a fabric strap, but less cumbersome (and less expensive!) than a wooden or bamboo handle.
Again, Whiplash, thanks for the fun!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Chicago Proper

We just finished up a lovely visit with Elie's brother an his family (including adorable cousin Ethan!)---it was so nice of them to travel out here from Miami to visit us. We took their visit as an opportunity to go up to Chicago and do touristy things that we haven't done before like go to the Taste and Shedd Aquarium and probably the most fun of all, Millenium Park and the Crown Fountain. The fountain, if you're not familiar with it, is actually two large rectangular boxes built of glass block. Where they face each other, the boxes display video close-up of faces and every so often the faces "spit" a stream of water. There's also water about and inch deep between the fountains. The extra fun part is that you're allowed to play in the fountain, which if you're a little kid on a hot day is just about the best thing ever (especially if your mom lets you go in in your clothes). It's free, it's great, and we went there both days we were in Chicago. Plus, it reminds me of all the good things about living in a big city that I miss---all sorts of people enjoying the public domain. I don't have pictures yet, but I will.

Also, I made the above pincushion for the June-July Pincushion Challenge. The theme was flowers and I went with embroidery rather than a shape. It's pretty sweet. I think it will be for a friend who is away for the summer. They say that cotton stuffing is better for pincushions--firmer, cleans your needles-- so I tore up some cotton balls to fill it. It took more than I would have imagined, but I do like the resulting weight.