Tuesday, August 31, 2004

African Violets Blooming

My houseplants have severely dwindled down since my cat Cosmo has come to live with us. Cosmo is famous for jumping on attacking and giving no mercy to my houseplants. I have managed to salvage a couple that I keep hidden in a room that the door remains closed. I also have a terrarium that I keep a handful of plants. My two African Violets live in the terrarium. They have been blooming all year. They love it in there. I use a special fertilizer specific for the plant once every two weeks. I do have two orchids that live right next to them that have never bloomed. They are both Phalenopsis type orchids. I got one about 6 years ago around Easter at an Orchid Show in Portland Oregon. It was a baby and had not bloomed yet. The second one I got last year at Lowes on the clearance rack it was not blooming either. I am a sucker for plants on the clearance rack. You know the ones that are half-dead. I feel like they are calling to me “please save us!” So anyway, I am still waiting for them to bloom.

Here is an updated photo of the fountain grass. I bet Cosmo would love to play in that grass. My pink dwarf Oleanders are beginning to bloom also.

I am starting to get excited about planting this fall. I am still deciding on the plants, that is half of the fun.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Tea Time

I love a good cup of tea. I am particularly fond of Celestial Seasonings Tea. Have you seen the artwork on the boxes?

I just love the artwork. Plus each box of tea has a couple of short quotes. Like this quote from Emily Dickinson “Good times are always mutual; that is what makes good times.” Here is another one from Henry Ward Beecher “The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one often comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won’t.” I have tried several different flavors and they are all good. Some flavors I have tried are Perfectly Pear White Tea, Bengal Spice, Imperial White peach, Chamomile Green, Honey Lemon Ginseng, & Madagascar Vanilla Red.

I remember when I was a little girl and my grandmother would make me a cup of tea with milk and extra sugar. We would hang out talking and sipping our tea. To this day when I have a warm mug of tea in my hands, it brings feelings of comfort and home.

Knitting Progress on the Butter Bear Sweater

I have started back up again. The pattern starts with the front piece. There was one part were I had to rip out a little. What happened was I set it down to go see what the dogs were into and when I came back to it I must have picked it up backwards and finished working the row but I mistakenly went back down the row the way I was coming from. Of course, I did not know this until I was a couple more rows up. I noticed a weird looking hole, I counted my stitches, and I did not loose a stitch so I ripped down to the whole and that is when I figured out what happened. I do not like to rip down because it is so scary trying to get the tiny loops back onto the needle right. A couple of the loops end up facing the wrong way and I need to turn them around when I get to them. Well all is well now and slow and steady wins the race. I continue on the front until I reach 17 inches in length.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Summer Movies

I love Movies. I could watch movies all day long for days at a time. I also have a ton of favorite actors that I will watch their movies to support them even if the movie does not look that great. I like all kinds of movies action, adventure, animation, drama, artsy fartsy, love stories, comedies. I do not like movies that are horribly bad. It is not easy for me to watch movies that are scary. I like scary movies that have a good story but not the ones that do not have a story and it is just a bunch of killing and silent parts with load noises to make you jump. I do not like the scary ones that have a real creepy visual part in it, like that movie the ring with that creepy girl dragging her self out of the TV screen. That stuff gives me the heebe jeebe’s.

Anyway, I thought I would go through the movies I saw this summer. Most of them will be action adventure due to the fact that is my husband’s favorite kind. I cannot drag him to the girlie movies or the artsy fartsy ones. I usually go to those by myself when I get the chance.

The Day after Tomorrow

This was a good movie. It was about the next ice age and how it happens. Dennis Quaid is in this Movie and I think he did a great job. The movie did have several parts that were not believable like when the wolves that had broken out of the local zoo were chasing the kids around the cruise ship that had floated down the city street. Especially after one of the kids had beaten the wolf and there was meat left around. Why would the wolves risk injury by continuing to chase the kids? Just a thought. There was a funny part at least to several of the people sitting in the theater with us. In the movie all, the Americans were running to cross into Mexico because it was safer from the flood that was coming. Mexico was closing their border because there were too many people. We were all laughing because we live in New Mexico and we would have been amongst those people running into Mexico. Anyway over all it was a good movie.


Great Movie, awesome graphics, unbelievable story and it was told well. I of course went to see this movie to watch Brad Pitt in a loincloth jump around and do manly things. I really do not care for the long blond hair on guys look, but I will let it slide for Brad. This Movie was so good I would have seen it even if Brad were not in it. I highly recommend it.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

I had to see this because I really liked the first two movies. I did not like this one as well. It was good but I do not think I like the main characters getting older. I was disappointed in the new Dumbledorf. I probably spelled that wrong. The new Dumbledorf was sloppy and comedic. It was still good and I will probably still watch the next sequel that comes out. In addition, I am inspired to knit a Hogwarts scarf. I just love the story base from the books. I would have loved to go to school at Hogwarts. I so wanted to have magical powers when I was a kid. Now I am reduced to living vicariously through Harry Potter, me and the rest of the hundreds of thousands of adults hooked on the story.

I Robot

I did not want to see this but darling husband did. It was not that bad. The whole robots taking over the world thing does not sit right with me. Although I am a huge Terminator, fan and love those movies. The difference is in the Terminator the robots were just trying to get rid of a select group of people manly one guy. However, in I Robot they were taking over the world. Another reason I did not want to see this movie was the human qualities of the main robot. I hate getting emotionally attached to these robots and crying when something goes wrong. (I cry easily at movies) Two examples of movies with human like robots that were emotional: Bicentennial Man with Robin Williams & A.I. Artificial Intelligence with Haley Joel Osment. Both movies were tearjerkers where it had you crying over the robots. Overall, I am glad I went to see this movie it had great action and awesome graphics.

Spider Man II

This one I wanted to see. It was great even better than the first one. Tobey Maguire makes the perfect Spider Man. He is the average Joe that you want to win in the end. Spider man was one of my favorite hero’s I liked to watch on Saturday morning cartoons. I also was fond of Ice Man & Aqua Man. May be they will make them into a movie too. Anyway Spider man is a must see and if you have not seen it yet where have you been.

The Village

I did not want to see this movie but hubby did. I was scared to go. The previews made it look so scary. Then I saw some things written on it from people on the web and they mentioned it was not that scary and it had knitted shawls and things on it. Then I was looking forward to seeing it. I loved this movie. I loved the writing on this movie. It had great lines and wonderful believable acting. I will definitely watch this movie again. When the movie ended and I looked around at the people in the theater, I was probably the only one that liked this movie. I think the problem was that the advertisements made the movie look so much different from the way it really was. If you like artsy fartsy movies with great lines and great acting you have to see this movie. If you are looking for the Blair witch project this is not it.

Alien Vs Predator

Who thought of this? Of course, I was dragged to this one last Friday. Do not get me wrong I love the Alien Movies at least the first couple of ones. I was not a fan of the Predator movies. My husband told me there was a comic book on Predator I did not know that. So hands down, I wanted the Aliens to win out over the predators. Overall, this movie was not bad. I liked the story line. It takes place in our time Oct 2004. A chick kicks butt in it. Although she is not as cool as Laura Croft in Tomb Raider, she still held her own. The parts where Alien and Predator were fighting I kept thinking of WWF and a big smack down, or worse thoughts of Godzilla & King Kong duking it out. As I said, the story line is good and if you are a Sci Fi Fan you will need to check it out.

Well there is the list of movies I saw this summer. I am sure there were plenty of good ones I missed that I will need to catch on video or on DirecTV. Which ones did you see and really like this summer and would watch again?

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Felted Cat Toys

Here is a fun and easy way to make some cat toys. First you will need some plastic cat toy balls with the bell inside. Then you will need some yarn made of natural fibers. I used some leftover Lamb’s Pride that I had from the felted pocket bag I made.

Next, you tie the end of the yarn onto the plastic ball. Then wrap the yarn around the ball until all the plastic is covered. Tuck the end into the wrapped ball.

Toss the wound balls into a zippered pillow cover protector. Set your washing machine at Hot temperature. Add a couple of drops of liquid dish soap. Put the cycle on the lowest water level. Put in the pillow cover with the balls in it. Also, put in a couple pairs of old jeans. Check the balls every ten minutes in the beginning. The first time I checked some of the ends of the yarn had come out. I just cut those off with some scissors then tossed them back in the case and back into the washer. Make sure your washer does not hit the rinse cycle while you are still trying to felt. Keep felting until you get the result you want. Once you get the desired amount of felting put the felted balls on a clean dry towel and wrap them up to absorb all the moisture. Then let dry on a towel for about 24 hours. They come out lightweight and make a jingling sound when the cat bats it around.

Cosmo had a lot of fun this morning playing with his new toys.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Holy Tornado Batman

Well no wonder I have not done much gardening this year. It looks like I have the remains and mess from gardening days past. I like watching those shows Clean Sweep and Mission organization. So I decided to tackle the garage gardening area and clean it up. The worst part was sweeping. I even got a blister from sweeping. Who knew you have to wear gloves when sweeping the garage. I hate sweeping. It is so in efficient. There is always a little dirt left. Me I am a vacuum person. If I could have wheeled out my vacuum and sucked up the garage with out consequences to my vacuum I would have done it. You know that commercial where the homemaker says she had been racing vacuums under ground for almost a year now and she uses a bagless. Well I have often wondered if those people exist and if so how could I join. I would take vacuuming over sweeping any day.

Well I finally finished the garage and it looks so much better. I think I will be ready this Fall to do some more gardening.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Frogging in the Butter

Progress on the Butter Bear sweater, not so good. I made a couple of swatches using different needle sizes to try to match the gauge. The pattern called for a size 10 ½ needle. I sort of matched the gauge with a size 12 needle. So I started the project but did not care for how airy the knitting was looking. I decided I liked the look best with the size 10 needle. I started the project for the fourth time using the size 10 needle but since it was so much smaller, I cast on for the biggest size in the pattern. It was looking great.

After I got far enough along I measured the width and realized the sweater would be tight fitting. I would rather it be more comfortable and be able to wear a t-shirt underneath. So a frogging I went and ripped it out again. My husband at this point thinks I am nuts. I would rather rip it out now then continue on not being happy with the results and never wear the sweater. Besides, I am getting lots of practice with my knit and purl stitch.

I watched the movie Gone with the wind the other day on Turner Classic Movies. I hate the ending of that movie but I always get sucked into watching it. Anyway Scarlet cracks me up. This post on frogging brings to mind a couple of the quotes from the movie.

Scarlet: "I can't think about that right now. I'll go crazy if I do. I'll think about that tomorrow."

Also by Scarlet: "After all tomorrow is another Day!"

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Tomato & Blue Cheese Soup

Yesterday I whipped out The Soup Bible by Debra Mayhew. I decided to try a new recipe. I found the Tomato and Blue Cheese soup under the rich and creamy category. It looked easy enough.

3 pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled, quartered, and seeded
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or butter
1 leek chopped
1 carrot chopped
1 ¼ quarts unsalted chicken stock
4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
3 tablespoons whipping cream
several large fresh basil leaves
1 cup cooked and crumbled bacon, to garnish
salt and freshly ground black pepper

I went to the grocery store to pick up my ingredients. I had to have a produce employee help me figure out what a leek was. I was confused with the leeks and the bok choy because nothing was labeled. The leek looks like a huge green onion. Much of the ingredients I already had at home. For the bacon I use the already cooked stuff and just put it in the toaster oven for a minute and a half.

1) Heat oven to 400 degrees. Spread the tomatoes in a shallow baking dish. Sprinkle with the garlic and some salt and pepper. Place in the oven and roast for 35 minutes (I did not peel the tomatoes but I did seed and quarter them)

2) Heat the oil or butter in a large saucepan. Add the leek and carrot and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring often, for about 10 minutes until soft

3) Stir in the stock and roasted tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.

4) Add the blue cheese, cream, and basil. Transfer to a food processor or blender and process until smooth, working in batches if necessary. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

5) Reheat the soup, but do not boil. Serve garnished with bacon.

The recipe serves four. I did steps 1 through 4 in the afternoon. After blending it smooth I stuck it in the fridge then just pulled it out to reheat when it was close to dinner time. I served the soup with grilled cheese sandwiches. My husband likes pepper jack cheese in his sandwich and I made mine with Swiss cheese. Both complimented the soup well. Plus there is plenty of leftovers to have later on in the week.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Thank You

I would like to pay a tribute to all the people that have visited my blog. I am new to the blogger world and find that the people involved are some of the nicest people around. I only wish more lived near me so we could get together like some of the bloggers do in the big cities.

I would also like to point out a wonderful inspiration to me and that is Lisa. She has a great knitting blog called knittikins. If you get a chance check out her blog. Lisa recently finished knitting a poncho. She did an awesome job. I have been so torn lately with all the ponchos they are selling at the mall. I really want one but do I buy one or do I try my hand at making one. I am such a new knitter that I fear if I make one it won’t be in style anymore by the time I finish it. But then I see how well Lisa’s turned out and I am inspired to give it a shot. Maybe I will do both buy one and make one. I love her idea of adding a flower pin to the lapel.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Knitting with Butter

I finally decided on my next knitting project. I already have a couple of knitting books, several magazines and probably 30 free patterns downloaded onto my computer. I guess I have high ambitions for my knitting. Therefore, it was hard to figure out what to start on next. I keep going back to the Stitch’N Bitch book. I decided on the sweater pattern named Scully. For my first attempt at knitting a sweater, I thought it looked like an easy enough pattern to start with. In addition, it has an intarsia pattern on the sleeves and I am very interested in trying my hand at that.

Scully Sweater from Stitch'N Bitch Book

The sweater is done in a dark grey worsted weight yarn with a skull and crossbones motif done in white yarn on the sleeves. This is not exactly my style, so I decided to change it up a bit. I decided to knit my sweater yellow and knit a teddy bear face motif on the sleeves.

First, I had to tackle the motif using graph paper and the same dimensions as the skull and cross bones. I found a free bear motif off the internet and I modified it to fit into the graph. This took forever and lots of white out to get it how I wanted it. Not to mention I was blind for about an hour after looking at the graph paper for so long. I am happy with the results.

My Bear Motif

I have chosen easy care yarn for my sweater. I plan to wear it around the house so I will need to be able to just toss it in the washer on a regular basis. I chose Red Heart yarn in color-cornmeal for the sweater. I chose Caron simply soft in white & black for parts of the bear motif. Then lastly Lion Brand Wool blend Ease in color-chocolate Brown for the bear’s face.

The more I looked at the yellow yarn I chose the more I kept saying “It’s Like Butter”. So I decided to call it my Butter Bear Sweater.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Rascally Rabbit

I have a little furry visitor that comes to my yard in the early evening. He has been coming by for a couple of weeks now. He munches on some grass then lays out in the shade under one of my trees. He is very fast I think he might be a baby jackrabbit. I hope he makes it out there in the big scary world. I love to watch him. He is so cute.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

DIY Tote Bag and Patch

I made this bag from a pattern in the Stitch’N Bitch book. It is a great tote to store knitting projects you are working on. I chose a light green fabric with a yellow bee pattern for the bag. I found another fabric that had a picture of a bear in different sceneries in square blocks. I think the fabric was for making pillows or something. Anyway I chose this fabric to make my patch for the front of my bag. The patch is a bear sitting with a bee hive scooping out some honey. The bear has a little book sticking out of his pocket titled Guide to Insects.

It came out just how I pictured it. It was not hard and it did not take long to make. I made it from start to finish in one afternoon.

Friday, August 20, 2004

The Only Knitted Music Video

I saw this referenced in a Knitting Magazine from England. It asks if you remember Walkie Talkie Man. It is a video with knitted objects. All the knitting was done by Laura Faggione and her staff. If you want to see the video go HERE.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Knitting is my Cup of Tea

I started knitting a couple of weeks ago. I had wanted to learn for some time now. I finally went to the book store and scoped out the books on learning knitting. I spotted the book called Stitch’N Bitch by Debbie Stoller. It is an awesome book that is also fun. She teaches all the basics and then some. Plus there are pictures of each of the steps. I highly recommend it if you are just learning how to knit.

Well I started out and my first project was the Go-Go Garter Stitch Scarf. I used a lighter weight yarn then what was specified in the pattern because I wanted a laceier airy look. I also made it a little shorter because I am short and I did not want it to be two long for this bulky style scarf. It turned out great and not that bad for my first knitted object.

My second knitted project was from the book Felted Knits by Beverly Galeskas. I made the Pocket Purse pattern. I modified the pattern a little and made it a little wider. This was lots of fun and it knitted up real fast on a circular needle. The felting part was time consuming and very hairy. For felting I put the knitted bag in a zipped pillow case cover then tossed it in the washing machine with some old jeans and towels. I used hot water with a little of liquid dish soap. I stopped the washer every ten minutes to check the process and stick my hand in the pocket and the bag to make sure it was not felting closed. This is were it is hairy the thing shed worse than my dogs and smelled of wet sheep. This took for ever but finally the bag was the size I wanted. It took several days to dry completely. I am happy with the results. Although I probably will not felt something so large again. Maybe just hats, mittens and booties. I call it my Root beer bag. It kind of reminds me of a mug of root beer.

This is the Knitted main body, two I-cords, & a pocket before stitching together.

This is the bag stitched together before felting.

Finished Root Beer Bag.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Mexicali Night

I made chicken enchiladas for dinner last night. It is kind of my own concoction. First, I stick a can of cream of mushroom soup in a crock-pot. Then I put two uncooked frozen chicken breasts in the crock-pot and cook on low for 3 hours. Once the chicken is cooked, I take the breasts out and shred them with two forks. I put the chicken back in the crock pot and stir in 2 cups of cheese I used pepper jack but any cheese you like will work. Then I also mix in a little garlic and chopped olives. Stir it all up and this is your filling for your enchiladas. I make four enchiladas out of this recipe.

Spoon the mixture into tortillas, roll them up, and place in a sprayed casserole dish. Then top the rolled enchiladas with your choice of green or red enchilada sauce then sprinkle with shredded cheese and a couple of chopped olives. Cover and place in a 375-degree oven for about 20 minutes or until the sauce is bubbling. Dish out enchiladas and top with sour cream, salsa and guacamole. Serve with refried beans and a tossed salad. Walla it’s Mexicali Night.

Enchiladas rolled up in dish

Chicken Enchiladas

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Quilting Therapy

I started quilting a little over a year and a half ago. I had always wanted to try it. I started making one a little after my cat Pusskins came up missing and never came home. He was a black long hair with a pom pom tail with two kinks in his tail. In some cultures, the kinks in a cat tail are considered good luck. Pusskins and I had a special relationship. He found me about 9 years ago. He was outside my apartment door sitting waiting for me. He had no collar and no tags. He was kind of skittish. He kept coming around. I started putting food out for him and made a little shelter for him. Soon he started coming in the house and made friends with our Basset Hound Brandy. They kind of had a love hate relationship. Anyway he quickly became a momma’s boy and we shared special times together. He really did not care for anyone else except for me.

He was an indoor / outdoor cat that mostly stayed around the house. When we moved to New Mexico, I kept him inside for several months before letting him out. We have a dog door for the dogs so it was not an easy task. Soon he was able to go outside and seemed fine for several months. Then one night he went out and never came back. I looked and looked but never found him.
I was pretty messed up about my loss so I decided to make a quilt in memory of him. It was great therapy because I was learning something new and it took up lots of time. I designed the quilt myself and just kind of made it up as I went along. I designed the quilt as a five blocks across and five blocks up. I made the blocks first that was the most fun. It has a black cat motif and hearts on it. I have finished the front and back of the quilt and now I need to attach them together with some batting and then do the quilting. It is on the back burner at this point but I plan to do the quilting by machine. Otherwise it would never get done. Here are some photos of the front and the back.

Fabric on the back of quilt

Peach Jamboree

We had a large storm this past Friday night and it blew most of the peaches off our dwarf trees. The chickadees have been gathering for a peach jamboree. My garden has sadly been neglected this year. I plan to do some major planting this Fall. I have several plants that did not come back after last winter. I have lived here for two years and am still learning about gardening in the desert. I have absolutely no shade in my garden. Therefore, I need to find plants that are full sun. In addition, I need to find plants that can tolerate below freezing temperatures in the winter. We do not usually have two many days of below freezing but it does not take many to kill a plant.

My Rose of Sharon is doing very well this year and is putting out beautiful blooms. My fountain grass I am so excited about. It is finally starting to bloom its long feathers. I planted it a year and a half ago and it did not bloom last year. I can’t wait to see it in it’s full glory.

Monday, August 16, 2004

About Me

I am a homemaker that lives in a small town in the state of New Mexico. I live in the desert. I am married and although we have no children, we do have two dogs and a cat.
I am constantly trying and learning new things. I enjoy making things and working with my hands.

I love gardening
I enjoy working in my yard. Planting and tending to the garden. I like to plant small plants and watch them grow. Although I live in the desert, I do not particularly like cactuses. My current obsession is with ornamental grasses. I like so many plants.

I enjoy baking and trying new recipes
My favorite thing to make is desserts. I do not consider myself a good cook. I would say I am a cook in progress. Does not mean I cannot enjoy it. It just means that others might not enjoy it.

My latest Hobby and Obsession is Knitting
I just started a couple of weeks ago and I am severely hooked. I am a newbie but with lots of practice and many mistakes soon, I should be whipping out those patterns in no time.

I like scrapbooking.
This hobby I started this year, and am currently working on a scrapbook of my last vacation. Although I only have a couple of pages done I plan to finish it within a month. So it is crunch time and I need to get it together and put aside more time to work on it.

I also sew.
I am currently working on a quilt. I will tell you all about it and post some pictures.

Let me see what else about me. I love watching movies, all kinds of movies. I love a good cup of tea. I love books. I currently am on a classics fix. I like watching reality TV. I am a huge Survivor fan and Amazing Race fan. I also love Oprah, although she is on reruns right now I usually start watching once she puts on new shows after summer break. I hate to admit it but I am also an OC fan.
I love animals, especially dogs and cats. I have always had some kind of pet in my house. I believe a house just is not home unless you got some furry creature cuddled up next to you.

Grin and Bare it

Bare with me while I set this blog up this week. I will do my best to get it up and working. In the mean time I will introduce you to my lovely pets. Brandy is my Basset Hound and she will be 10 years old this October. Haley is my Italian Greyhound and she just turned 2 this last July. Cosmo is my cat and my precious baby boy and he just turned 1 this last March.