Monday, March 28, 2011

Socky Sherbet

This weekend, while sprawled out on a couch during a girls' weekend, I finished the Sunday Swing Socks. As soon as they were done, I put them on and went for a walk along the beach hunting for sea glass. It turns out, I am a MUCH better sock knitter than I am sea glass finder ... even after consuming an entire bottle of wine and some Poochi Poochi Sake.

These socks were so unbelievably easy to knit. So easy that I never actually printed out the pattern. I looked at the pattern online and knitted from the iPad for the first round or so and then realized that the spacing was six stitches and eight stitches and that was then end of my need for the pattern. I did goof at one point and switch the eight and the six so one repeat is off, but I am pretending that it never happened and in fact, that last bit of the sentence is going to self-destruct as soon as you click away from this entry. Seriously. It will. Though you shouldn't click back and double check or my secret Sycophant Zombie Army will have to come and assimilate you into the fold.

Anyway, I digress. These socks are easy. Though I suspect that if these were your first socks, you might want to refer to the pattern a little more than me. I didn't alter anything in the pattern, except the cuff/ribbing, which I had started before I determined what pattern these socks were going to be. I'm not sure what the pattern calls for but a simple k1,p1 rib works fine.

Also fine? The yarn. It is ArtYarns and it is lovely. I am a fan of ArtYarns yarns and am bummed to hear (from several unrelated sources) that the woman who is ArtYarns is a bit of a yahoo who is trying to re-brand herself and in doing so is pricing her self out of the market. Well at least for cashmere. Which these socks are not. But still. I don't like the word on the street. Assuming the sock yarn stays affordable, and you are interested, I'd say it is a nice knit. Not splitty. Not knotty. Smooth and flowy and squishy. I'm not sure how it will wear and if the colors will fade (Koigu I'm looking at you ... fader!) as I have only used the ArtYarns cashmere and silk before, but I am hopeful. Really hopeful. I have a skein leftover, as well as a bit left over from each skein that I knit the socks from and am thinking kid socks (though these aren't superwash which could be tricky with the under three crowd).

So, as the great Charlie Sheen would say, these socks? WINNING, Duh!

Yarn: ArtYarns Ultramerino 4, less than two skeins, color 127.
Needles: Addi Circs, size 2.5 mm (US 1)
Pattern: Sunday Swing Socks
Time: 4 weeks!
Care: Hand wash and dry flat in shade.

Friday, March 18, 2011

I Tried

Yesterday, for St. Patrick's Day, I decided to spread my culinary wings and make corned beef in the crock pot. I somehow ended up with a slab o' beef that did not include a spice packet, inconvenient as that is the other ingredient in 99.9% of slow cooker corned beef recipes. The internet told me to use pickling spices, to which I thought, vodka? 'Cause I use that to pickle my liver ... other than that, I have no clue what makes up pickling spices. By this point, both of my kids had decided to climb the walls and/or eat dog food, so I said, "to Hell with it!" quit my research and tossed in some mustard powder, black pepper, white pepper, a truck load (about half a cup) of garlic cloves and water. I cranked that baby up to high and hoped for the best. Which it turns out, was a good way to go as severalhours later the corned beef was quite tasty. I took my tasty corned beef, put it on some bread with the garlic and coleslaw and made a Reuben sandwich. Because you know, nothing says Happy St. Patrick's Day like a Reuben.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Thank You Sr. Sheen

I've had this big plan, or rather, BIG PLAN to make cake pops for Jillian's upcoming birthday. WINNING! I've even dropped some murmurings about fancy cake pops. BI-WINNING! It is all very exciting. Or rather was. You see, I've had this plan for awhile and was quite bummed when Starbucks started carrying cake pops (in hindsight this probably was the universe telling me to get the hell off the cake pop bus - a bad batch of tigerblood must be why I missed this sign). I was bummed because it both took some of the wow factor away from my future unveiling and also raised the bar being that the Starbucks ones are pretty darn good.

So, with that in mind and knowing that my kitchen is perhaps the world's, or at least my town's, most sucktastic kitchen and such sucktasticness usually negatively affects my baking (yah, dozens of loaves of blank tasting pumpkin and zucchini bread I am talking to you), I decided, for probably the first time in my life, to practice. I went out and got all the fixings and dudes, if I had a tail it would have been wagging on hyper drive, I was so psyched. My kitchen was where it was at and beat anything 99% of the world was doing. I baked the cake and it tasted good. No, GOOOOOOOD. WINNING, duh! Then after it cooled I made the cake ball mixture and it was, well okay. The frosting was meh and took away from the greatness of the cake. But I could use different frosting for the final product so no worries. Tail? Still wagging happily. Once all was mixed, it was ball making time and that wasn't too bad either. My balls were not perfectly round, but they were okay. I tried a few other shapes and they were less okay than my balls (yes, that makes me laugh), but not too totally terrible. Next was stick insertion and even that went well. The last step, the most crucial step, the dipping. The dipping, it is where things went ... downhill.

BYE WINNING! I dipped and I dipped and then I dipped some more and apparently you need a degree in physics or rocket science to get this done right because my balls turn to crap. Lumpy dripping balls of crap. My fingertips radiate not sunshine, but death. My Adonis DNA has let me down. I've watched the Bakerella Cake Pop video, repeatedly, and even another cake pop video, repeatedly. And yet, without fail, my dipping turns to dripping and my pops become massive balls of FAIL. My tale is not over yet, DEFEAT IS NOT AN OPTION! I shall continue to drink tea made of pulverized dinosaur fossils and practice. And practice some more. And if things look still bad, well then I can only hope a team of Vatican assassins take me out before I break my baby's heart with substandard birthday fare.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011


Another Tuesday, another chance to wow you with ten things! This week? Ten Favorite Smells and with that, we're off ...

1) Teen Spirit. COME ON. You had to see that coming a million miles away. A mulatto, an albino, a mosquito, my libido, YAH! I have no idea what Teen Spirit smells like ... locker rooms and desperation? Wait, I think that is the NFL. (Oh, and for the record, I realize that you will now have that song in your head for an eternity. You're welcome.)

2) Cookies baking. I suspect that this one is on everyone's list. Well, everyone that is you know, human.

3) L'Occitane Aromachologie Volumizing Shampoo and Conditioner. These are really flowery girly smelling (especially the shampoo, the conditioner is a but more muted) and I typically prefer more herbal smells for hair products. This stuff, however, wins me over. I remember using it at the Four Seasons hotel in Miami after my aunt died. I was sadder than hell, beat down and generally dog tired, but this shampoo/conditioner managed to perk me up a tad. When the smell wafted out as I scrubbed the shampoo in, I felt pampered, and in fact, when I use it now, the smell still is pampering to me.

4) A burning fireplace. But not mine. I can never really get my fireplace to send out that fireplace smell. Well except for the one time I forgot to open the flue and almost killed us all. But normally, when I am not burning my house down, I can't smell 'fireplace' in my own home. I can, however, crack my bedroom window as I am going to bed in the Fall and winter, and smell it from my neighbors.

5) Steaks on the grill. Because apparently I am, smellematically anyway, a pyromaniac.

6) Philosophy Amazing Grace. About a month or two ago I was at Sephora and there was a jug of Philosophy Amazing Grace hand lotion on the counter. I took a pump, rubbed it in, and was IMMEDIATELY transported back to Florida. There is something almost sunscreen-esque about the scent that makes me feel like home.

7) My newborn babies. When my kids were brand new, but you know, cleaned up, they had this delicious smell. Kind of like oatmeal? I dunno. I can't describe the smell, and suspect that there is some sort of biological pheromone thing going on to help a hormonally wrecked new mom glom onto her new baby. Whatever the reason, my babies both smelled Del.I.Cious when they were brand new.

8) Sunshine. I remember as a kid, coming inside and my mom giving me a hug and saying I smelled like sunshine. At the time, I thought it odd. Now that I am older, I know what she meant. A day in the sun has a scent. A yummy scent. And it is not body odor, you know, in case you were worried.

9) Coffee. I suspect this is a common one. But that is okay because coffee, coffee smells gooood. I love the smell of coffee so much, that after a night of stitching and bitching at our local Starbucks, I don;t mind walking out smelling like coffee. In fact, I like it!

10) Beer breath. I know, that is weird. The opposite of baking cookies and coffee. Really weird. I am not sure what whacked childhood trauma it taps into, but I find there to be something sexy about beer breath. Mind you, the owner of the beer breath can't be falling down drunk or it turns from sexy to repulsive in seconds. But in the right circumstances, I find beer breath hot.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011


In between all of my cowl knitting, I have been working on my old Knitting Olympics/Ravelympics sweater. I'm plodding along without much motivation, but it is a brainless sweater that cruises along. Now that I have the front, back, and hood done, you'd think I would crank out the sleeves and be done with it. You'd think wrong. Instead, I've been working on a pair of socks. I dug out some yarn I scored at last year's SnB Holiday PartySwampamajig and balled it (I'm a Baller, yo), but wasn't sure what I was going to do with it. I batted around the idea of pedicure socks but couldn't commit. So I started the cuff and then carried it around in my knitting bag. Because you know, why not carry around random yarn?

It turns out my aimlessness was fortuitous as Linda is making a pair of socks and recommended the pattern she is using for my yarn and badabing badabang, I got me some actual socks on the needles.

Though this picture is some what crappy as one of my beloved little snowflakes took the camera battery out of the charger and put it ... somewhere unknown to me (JERK!), and I had to use our old camera, it doesn't totally hide an error I made in one of the socks. I was watching the snooze fest that was this year's Oscars and was moving along nicely until BAM, Jude Law and Robert Downey, Jr. appeared and were entertaining. That split second of shock was enough to have me all hinky in my sock. But not so hinky that I ripped back. I did tink, but the tinking is noticeable and yet, I am okay with it. One might consider this a sign that my kids have started to beat me down. If it gets much worse, if I let errors roam free, please stage an intervention.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Not Half Bad

This week's Ten on Tuesday ... 10 Things to Like About March. Wow, that is kind of hard. My husband is a big fan of listing things he likes about months and even has a favorite month that DOES NOT CONTAIN HIS (OR MY) (OR THE KIDS') BIRTHDAY. I love him more than lobster, but I would swear this is weird. Apparently though, not so much? People seem to categorize this type of stuff and I had no idea. Anyway, when the husband talks about months he likes there are things like pitcher and catchers, spring training, bonfires and FOOTBALL! But me, I say, meh. I like seasons ... hello Winter, goodbye sweat ... but months in particular don't turn my crank. That being said, I am up for the challenge. Or at least I think I am. Let's see.

Ten (I hope) Things to Like About March

Number 1: My wedding anniversary! Not only did I marry my husband in March, we actually met for the first time in March, nineteen years ago. HOLY COW. Nineteen years. Hard to believe I met my husband when I was three years old [snort]. Anyway, this year is our seventh wedding anniversary and so I need to go find some copper and wool. Yah, wool. My husband is married to knitter so how easy is that for him? I mean, obviously, I could knit him something from wool, which could be easy and make me a nice and loving wife, but HA, No. We are talking about me here.

Number 2: Spring. My anniversary is on the Vernal Equinox and so I know for a fact that Spring starts in March. Truthfully, I'm not so into Spring. Lots of rain and mud and muck when I'd rather have the snow. I do, however, like flowers and I also like trying to grow veggies in my death beds plant beds, all of which require Spring like weather, so yippie Spring!

Number 3: One of my favorite (and embarrassing to admit to) television shows, Nikita, has a few weeks off before it's next new show. While I am irked that I have been left on a cliff for weeks, that means there is going to be a new Nikita in March ... yeah March! HELL. That was a total lie! I just looked up the link for Nikita and in doing so saw the preview for the next new show on APRIL 7. Hell and damn!

Number 4: March is a short word to write. So you know, if you are in school and have to write the date out, and like, spell it, then March is MUCH BETTER than, say, December. There are three whole extra letters in December.

Number 5: For most of March kids are back in school which means less rush hour traffic. I don't really deal with rush hour traffic anymore, but I remember getting annoyed when school was out and all of these extra people, extra people who were in my way doing stupid fun things while I was going to work, would be clogging up the works. So Woot! Woo! March! Go with your lighter traffic load!

Number 6: I like the cold. I like long sleeves. I like scarves. That being said, I also like skirts and so March is kind of a compromise for this conflicting set of likes. I can wear a long sleeve shirt with a scarf. And a skirt. My legs are blindingly white, but they are exposed to natural light which is kind of nice. There is a counter-argument to be made for no skirts and no shaving of the legs, but we will just ignore it for now.

Number 7: Each Day in March has some observance. A few of my favorites: 3/5 Multiple Personality Day; 3/7 National Crown Roast of Pork Day; 3/8 Be Nasty Day; 3/14 National Pi Day (Why? Because it is 3.14, the value of Pi); 3/28 Something on a Stick Day; and of course, 3/31 Bunsen Burner Day.

Number 8: March Madness. Now let me preface this by saying I don't like basketball. Not at all. And living in a state where Women's Basketball is King (or perhaps Queen) in the sport hierarchy, well, that sucks when you like College Football and even baseball. Howsoever, I LOVE MARCH MADNESS! I love filling out the brackets and watching the drama unfold. The brackets appeal to the orderly OCD part of my brain and the drama, well duh, who doesn't like drama. Last year I let a not-even-two-years-old Jillian fill out a bracket. All of her picks revolved around Sesame Street which is why she is probably the only person in the world who pick Murray State (Murray is a character on Sesame Street) to win any game at all. I mean come on, how great is it that?!?

Number 9: St. Patrick's Day. My husband is an Irishman named Patrick. So I must like this day, as per our marital contract. And well, his day is in March, so you go March!

Number 10: The last snow storm of the 'year' is typically in March. Not to beat a dead horse, but I like the cold and I like the snow. Usually March has the final-hurrah snow storm. It's never much, but it is there. In fact, of my last six wedding anniversaries, three have been snow-filled, so those seem like decent odds for March snow.

Yes, I know, I WAS stretching it. [ETA: I just read this list and realized I forgot March's Spring knitting patterns ... D'oh! That is better that traffic. And here, Easter candy! Geez, I forgot a couple of goodies!] Maybe there aren't a lot of awesome things to love about March, but. BUT. But there are some good things, I mean come on, Multiple Personality Day? I like it. Me too.