Saturday, May 31, 2008

Bartholomew's Socks are Done!

I've got "They Call Me Bruce?" on in the background. It looks like it was filmed in the 80's. Supposedly this Asian guy travels to the US as an adult at the belated request of his dying grandpa, and he looks just like Bruce Lee...

Anyway. I present an FO! "Bartholomew's Tantalizing Socks", by Cat Bordhi, in her book "New Pathways in Sock Knitting: Book One".

The cuff splits open in the back of the sock. I don't like how the "Star Toe" works out for me. It gets bubbly at the top - I think I prefer toes that concentrate the decreases on the sides, instead of making round toes with symmetrical decreases all the way around.

In celebration of finishing those socks (FINALLY), I got the cast-on-itis. I started Kris' Brunhilde hat this morning on the ferry. Bobbles are almost done. I hope it fits - Randy's hat was too big, so I am making it a snug fit on my head. Hopefully it'll work.

This afternoon, I also cast on for the January (!) Rockin' Sock club pattern (and yarn). The pattern is called "Serendipity", and the yarn is called "Dragon's Dance".

Here is a little treat I bought myself today at Hilltop Yarn in Queen Anne. It's Hand Maiden "SeaSilk", 70% silk and 30% seacell. It's a heavy laceweight, just a little lighter than STR Lightweight...actually, they might be about the same weight (they are next to each other on my coffee table right now). The color is off in the picture - it's actually a periwinkle color, and kettle dyed, I think - very pretty!

I was thinking of making a lacey scarf with this, but now that I see it's a heavy laceweight, I am thinking maybe some lacy fingerless mitts?

Friday, May 30, 2008


I got an email last night from a close friend.

She told me her fiance broke up with her.


I think he got spooked by a bunch of life changes piled on top of each other - moving, new careers, getting married.

She is devastated, but of course life goes on and she has a lot of stuff to take care of right now, so she sounded like she was slogging through. She is an incredibly tough and hard-working person, and while, on the outside, it looks like the stars line up for her, I have seen her work her ass off over many years to make these things happen.

I send her my thoughts.

I hope he comes to his senses. However, I also hope she can move on through life and not expect anything. That, in itself is very difficult, but if anyone can do it, she can.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Jeff in Seattle

My friend Jeff is up in Seattle this weekend! Yay!

Jeff and I met in Davis, while we were both in college. I think we actually met at our interview for Unitrans, the student-driven bus system for both the University of California, Davis, and the city of Davis. Anyway, we were both bus drivers for a while, but he stuck with it, eventually went into a managerial role at Unitrans, and now works for a transportation planning company in San Francisco.

I did not enjoy having to give up an evening with Daniel, however. But, I will see him tomorrow evening, and then Sunday. :) (He called and wondered what he was going to do with all his free time...)

Here is a shot of Jeff enjoying a mojito at La Isla, a really tasty Puerto Rican restaurant in Ballard (my 'hood!):

Here is my ubiquitous "shot from my hand" picture of Jeff and me outside, near Archie McPhee's in Ballard (near a boat sales store):

Here are three Lab-looking dogs, that their owner obligingly posed for me!

And here is Jeff, posed out by some of the fishing boats in Ballard. He later had his hand out, and I made an obscure Star Trek reference comparing him to Zephram Cochran, but it took him a minute to get it (he is as much of a dork with Star Trek as I am :) ).

I Gots My Box

I got home from work yesterday, and decided to grab the mail before coming upstairs to my condo.

What did I find? Why, I had a package! From Otto Strauch, no less!

[please, a moment of silence for the giant *SQUEEEEEEE* which erupted from my mouth]

You know that I hauled it upstairs in the elevator, and tore into it, as soon as I set everything else down.

The box itself was quite large, and weighed roughly 15-20 lb.

After tearing everything open, these were the contents of the box:

Two drums (one in cardboard), wooden pieces, a foam-wrapped bit, a smaller cardboard box, and the instructions and packing receipt.

The cardboard box held the nylon drive band, along with the batt picker, crank-handle, table clamp, and necessary screws and washers.

My first part of the review? Set-Up. Setting up the drum carder is EASY. They "tell" you to "read all the instructions before assembly". Rubbish, I say! I'm an engineer, I say! I put a car together (10 years ago), I can assemble a drum carder! (This has gotten me in trouble in the past, of course...) But, lo and behold...let me repeat: Assembly. Is. Easy.

I got this puppy built in under 30 minutes. The only thing that is still an issue is adjusting the distance between the two carder drums.

If you want a scale reference, the table my carder is sitting on is an ordinary IKEA "Lack" coffee table. The whole thing is a lot bigger than I imagined, but..having seen big ol' Pat Green carders, I realize this is pretty dang compact.

Here she is, in all her spiny glory. Keep your hands off the drums - the edges of the spines are somewhat badly machined and prickly. Especially the licker-in drum.

One very useful piece of advice Mr. Strauch gives on his instructions is to card some waste fiber through before you start carding "real" fiber. Why waste perfectly good fiber, you ask? Well, he explains that there is often machining / manufacturing dust caught in the carding cloth / on the carder drums, and that this preliminary "cleaning" with fiber will help to remove it all, so you don't turn any precious merino/ tussah blend dingy gray with metal dust! They also do not recommend carding any fiber in the grease, as the grease can clog up the carders and transfer off into other fibers. I would think if you were working in the grease, you should probably have a separate pair of hand cards or something for that purpose. While I don't mind working in the grease, I prefer to work with washed fleeces. My "waste" fiber is part of an old Lincoln lamb fleece that I bought at least three years ago (before I moved to Seattle, I know that), and is still only partially washed!

To run it through, I opened up the locks with my fingers, and then s-l-o-w-l-y fed them through the licker-in drum. The gear ratio on the Petite really slows down the carding process. You can crank all day, and it will just mosey along, picking up fiber at a leisurely rate. I guess this is for the best, though.

Here is a shot of me feeding a small amount of Lincoln lamb fleece through the carder. I'm probably just going to toss this into my "bird nest" pile, to give to my friends who are amateur birdwatchers, and like to leave piles of fluff for the birds outside their apartment.

All in all, I am looking forward to finishing off the Lincoln "practice carding", and moving on to getting into neat blends of fibers. I also have to experiment some with the doffer (?) or "knuckle saving batt picker", as Strauch calls it. It's basically a big ol' hook with a T-handle on it that you use to pull the batt off the big drum, supposedly. This might take some practice.

Monday, May 26, 2008

To The Canoe!

I went canoeing for the first time today!

I'm pretty used to kayaking by now, though I would not venture so far as to say I'm any sort of expert. I can basically "do it". And, I think that is part of the popularity of paddling - unless you have shoulder problems or something along those lines, there really isn't anything keeping anyone from getting out there and trying it. The safest places are still waters, but I definitely want to try whitewater kayaking one day.

Canoeing differs from kayaking in a couple of ways. First off, a canoe has you sitting higher in the water. Most kayaks have you sitting low and quasi-submerged in the water. Canoes use a paddle with a handle on one end, whereas kayaks use a paddle that has a paddle at either end; depending on the style of paddle you have, the opposing paddles can either be at the same angle, or offset 90 degrees (which I prefer). A canoe is also a little more flat-bottomed than a kayak, and I think it's a tad more likely to capsize when rough waters hit (if you're not prepared).

Both kayaking and canoeing can be done alone, or with others in your boat (tandem). We were originally planning to rent kayaks, but the University of Washington rec center only rents canoes and rowboats. Anyway, we all piled in - Daniel and I got a boat, as did Tori and Ryan, and Dave and Chiako. (Igor was on-call for work).

Here is Daniel. I turned around to take this picture. Yes, we were all safe and in our PFD's, but I was mad because I forgot my kayaking PFD (it is rather more comfortable than the ones you get at a rental house, and it is actually designed for paddling, so it gives you more clearance in the armpit area than these rental ones).

Behind Daniel, you can see the UW Husky stadium.

Here are Dave and Chiako, moving ahead of us around some trees. The weather was quite nice - it was overcast, but neither especially cold nor hot, and not windy on the water, which was a nice treat. The white fluff on the water is from cottonwood trees (or so Daniel tells me).

This is kind of a crappy shot, but if you look really hard in almost the exact center of the picture, you can see a great blue heron (I thought it was an egret, but I now have changed my mind to heron). The concrete pillars in the background are freeway overpasses. Yes, this is somewhat-urban paddling...really, the car noise fades into the background when you're busy checking out wildlife. We also spotted a duck sitting on some chicks (?), and another heron, as well as a couple of flocks of Canada geese.

Here's a shot of the other two boats.

On our way back to Tori, Igor, and Ryan's place, we stopped off at a "public" rock wall on the UW campus. It's open, but the sign posted says you can't use it unless you're somehow affiliated with UW. Tori, Chiako, Ryan, and Daniel climbed a smaller wall - I tried and my sandals slipped, so I stopped right there (Ryan, Tori and Chiako went barefoot). Daniel then tried his hand at bouldering. (This picture looks way more impressive than the wall was. I mean, it was high - maybe 12-15 feet? - but the gravel on the ground makes it look much taller, I think...)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

New Recipes I found

Absinthe Cupcakes

Tomato Soup Cupcakes

The best buttercream I've ever made. I made this a while back, but never shared the recipe:

Ingredients are simple: good butter, powdered sugar, and a little milk or half-and-half.

1) Start creaming the butter with some sort of electric mixer (either a handheld, like I have, or a big ol' countertop one).

2) Add some milk / cream / liquid to work the butter into more of a paste.

3) Start adding the powdered sugar. Somewhat slowly. Keep mixing. The mixture will thicken up.

Keep adding sugar and mixing until it's sweet enough and light enough in consistency for you. You may need to add more milk, but I barely added a few tablespoons' worth to 2 sticks of butter and it came out just fine.

Notes: Refrigeration will set this frosting. You can add any flavors you want. I added orange flower water and vanilla to mine, but the butter taste overpowered them both. I would add a lot more vanilla next time. This is something you should try as you're making it...but I'm just one of those people who could eat butter off the stick, so maybe I'm weird or something.

And the butter makes a difference - make sure it's fresh and doesn't taste like refrigerator weirdness. Seriously. I like salted butter for this, or you could use unsalted and add a small pinch of salt. I think it brings out the butter flavor. Again.. I like butter. :)

Another Mosaic

I can't get enough of this thing! You, too, can Mosaic: Step 1) Cut a hole in the box. Step 2) Put your junk in that box... Oh wait. Uh, I mean... Go here, to BigHugeLabs' Mosaic Maker.

This time, I picked "food" as the Flickr tag (click on mosaic to enlarge):

Image hosted @

I'm SO sorry - I didn't get the credits-tags that come with the pic before BigHugeLabs moved on and left me in the dust! :(

The cool thing is that there are a couple of pictures at the end which feature Donna's, which is a local coffee house chain in Baltimore.

Flower Mosaic

Image hosted @

[I don't know why it's posting so small... you can click on it to enlarge]

1. Tiny white flower, 2. BW Rose, 3. the rocks and the flowers, 4. Orchid, 5. Bloom, 6. summer bike, 7. Yellow and Brown, 8. AsiaticLilly, 9. Flower, 10. Woods and sky, 11. Zeus, 12. Day 234: Yellow Flowers, 13. Wild Geranium, 14. summer bike, 15. Douceur de Normandie, 16. flora, 17. summer bikes, 18. AsiaticPinwheel, 19. bloomed tulip, 20. selfportrait with butterflowers, 21. Day Lily, 22. Untitled, 23. Dancing in the sky, 24. Easter Lilly, 25. Untitled, 26. spring time, 27. Rapeseed Field 2, 28. Reflecting pool and deep blue sky, 29. What a column, 30. Among the Wildflowers, 31. Untitled, 32. Cropland, 33. red flower, 34. Reflecting pool, 35. IMG_2402, 36. Miniature Sunflower

Lazy Saturday WIP Update

I did not realize when I travelled to Daniel's house on Thursday night that my sock pattern was missing the page with the instructions on how to turn the heel. I still haven't absorbed that part of sock knitting, especially when Cat Bordhi is switching between methods in her book, New Pathways for Sock Knitters: Book One. This is Sock 2 of "Bartholomew's Tantalizing Socks", although right now it looks more like a "Bartholomew's Tantalizing Legwarmer". I had to stop right at the point where the heel instructions begin, so I was out of knitting on Friday night and Saturday morning. Horrors! I had to buy a newspaper on the ferry in order to gain access to the crossword puzzles and keep myself occupied for an hour with no iPod (my battery had died).

I think Liz was right. She thought I was knitting the skein of Blue Moon's Socks That Rock "Metamorphic" shown above at the wrong gauge for the yarn. Notice the weird pooling. Not that I particularly mind, but I thought that most STR yarns were set up for striping effects (?). Ah well. STR Mediumweight is, by far, one of my favorite sock yarns.

Next up is Ms. Marigold from Zephyr Style. She's been on the needles awhile. If I can finish up the Bart's Sock soon, I'll take her up for a bit of mindless travel knitting. It's going to become a circular piece of knitting as soon as I pick it up again. I think I made the V-neck too deep, but I don't care at this point - I want this thing done. I think it would have been far easier if it had been done in the round from the beginning, although I appreciate their usage of a circular needle for the back-and-forth knitting. If you haven't read about my Marigold before, it's done with KnitPicks Elegance yarn in Barn Red. It was cheap, I'll say that - I got the 6 balls of yarn for something like $33, and they are an alpaca/silk blend. My only (seemingly perpetual) complaint about KnitPicks' yarn is that it is plied too loosely for my taste, resulting in a splitty yarn. Meh!

I haven't progressed beyond the last pictures of my 2-at-a-time Magic Loop socks (using Noro Kureyon sock), nor on my cotton chenille blanket, so I didn't feel like reposting the same pictures.

I would REALLY like to get these projects done, though, so I can start new ones and be excited about new things! This is why I am exceedingly glad I have today to myself. Time to knit, laze around, and do whatever - with no guilt!

Beautiful Saturday, Part 2

Since I only get to post a max of 5 pics per post, I thought I'd finish up showing off my recent purchases here.

Here are my Biblelicious Earth shoes from my local neighborhood shoe store, Market Street Shoes. I needed something comfortable, that was also work appropriate. I should mention that I also put an order in for a pair of black Dansko sandals. They were immensely comfortable, but the 37's were too small, and the 39's too large. Does the store have 38's? Of course not. So I ordered them. I wanted a different color (I like the red and brown), but I didn't want to be committed to buying them in the event they weren't everything I hoped for; if the store doesn't already carry the color / style, you are committed to purchasing the shoe. (My feet are weird, and it takes a LOT of searching to find shoes that will work. I am pretty sure I annoyed the saleswoman helping me in the shoe store - I know she brought me over 15 pairs of sandals to try on - pretty much any sandal in the store that wasn't a high-heel, or looked like an old-lady shoe...too much ;) ).

I stopped in at the local fair trade store on my way home. I almost bought a salt-crystal candle holder. But I was good. I have enough candles right now ( I just bought this one in Maryland, and I am burning this one right now). I did, however, buy a set of cloth napkins. Yes, I realize I could have bought a yard of fabric at the store and cut it up into cloth napkins and sewn the edges down. But.. I don't own a sewing machine, and didn't like the idea of sitting there, hand-sewing stuff down. So, I supported Fair Trade and Local Business alike, and bought a set of cloth napkins. I think they were made in Thailand... I recycled the paper tag telling me where they were made. Eh, 4 for $15.50 wasn't bad at all. I am looking forward to using them, and reducing my dependence on single-use paper towels. (Although where raw chicken is concerned, I will still go for my unbleached paper towels to wipe up the mess, then spray my vinegar / hydrogen peroxide cleaner onto it to encourage antibacterialness, and wipe again.)


I got this a few days ago. My bento box, from Japan! Silly metric measurements, I didn't convert in my head, and... it's small. But cute! I think it actually will be enough for a lunch. I still will need to take my bigger box in order to store snacks, etc., but I like it! It's microwave safe! Hurrah!

I wanted to show off (to Priscila, when she checks in on me here), the inaugural dinner made with the 10.5" Lodge cast iron pan she got me for my birthday (THANK YOU!). Burgers, plain 'n simple. I bought the 85/15 (meat/fat) mix from Trader Joe's, and threw some garlic chunks into it as well as salt. The burgers developed a nice brown crust on them. I ate a burger with some avocado and cheddar, and Tony Chachere's cajun seasoning...

Finally, here is the book I just got in the mail today (yay!). Deb Menz's Color in Spinning. It is a larger book than I anticipated, which is always a pleasant surprise. I can't wait to dive into it!

My next post will contain WIPs, for those who like reading about such things.

Beautiful Saturday, Part 1

I woke up early today. As in 5:30 AM. Yes, another Duty Day for Daniel.
Which is fine - it actually gets me started early, which is nice sometimes.
After dropping Daniel off at the shipyard, I drove onto the 6:20 AM ferry home from Bremerton. I went straight for the Jiffy Lube, and got my oil changed (it was about 100 miles over the recommended change mileage and a month past the due date; I usually am more on top of things than this...). Then I came home, showered (we attended a Navy "family day" barbecue on Friday, and we both smelled like charcoal smoke...but the chicken was good!), started off two loads of laundry (consecutively) and headed down to Pike Place Market.

I wanted to use my gift certificate that Jeanelle had gotten me for my birthday. I also exchanged a few things that Kris had bought me; it was very kind of them both to think of getting me anything for my birthday, and it was much appreciated. (For the record, Kris gave me the receipt for the items she bought, and she said that it was OK with her if I exchanged them.)

Here is my haul. A set of aluminum potato spikes (they help to cook the inside of the tuber as the outside is baking away), a Microplane grater with a larger hole size than my zester, a set of tongs, a whisk, a ladle, and two different wine corks - one is silicon, and one is meant for champagnes... I am looking forward to using it for the 22 oz beer bottles, as well (to keep the fizz in!)

I then went up and down the Pike Place Market briefly, in order to use up more of the parking time I'd paid for. I bought some produce - white peaches, Bing (?) cherries, and a large bunch of peppermint. I also got cheese at the Beecher's cheese store. I'm very excited - they now sell a raw milk version of their Flagship cheddar. Sweet Jesus, it's fabulous. It's a little more tangy than their traditional Flagship (which is similar to any great cheddar). I also bought a piece of this wonderful Anise and Lavender goat cheese. Kris was generous enough to have bought a pound's worth of it a month or so ago for one of our "Cheap-Ass Wednesday" potlucks (what we have christened the dinner that traditionally follows our Wednesday night pilates class). Anyway, the cheese is also wonderful - it is mildly herbal while having a very fresh and almost grassy flavor from the goat's milk, with that goaty tang you expect from a fresh goat cheese....and it's almost spreadable. The picture is later because I loaded the pictures incorrectly today, and I am too lazy to go back and fix it. :) Blogspot is pretty inflexible about allowing me to cut and paste pictures within the blog.


After I got home from that, I put away my newfound cheeses, put the mint in a water glass, and then potted up some plants. Pictures to follow. I put my tomato seedlings, which are still quite small (?), in big pots, and I also put my six strawberry starts (the one plant I bought this year, I am proud to say), in a long rectangular pot. I had a lovely white butterfly hanging around me while I was doing all this - it must have been flitting around for 20 minutes in my mini-garden.

Here is a picture of the sun streaming through the trees in Ballard:

Here is a shot of my potted garden. The diamond trellis holds star jasmine, the square pot in front of it holds a passionflower vine. The pot to the right of the diamond trellis holds a honeysuckle vine, around which I have planted annual flowers (which are growing up nicely). The strawberries are in the terra-cotta colored plastic rectangular pot. There is a lavender plant in the black pot in front of the passionflower vine. The other smaller pots are assorted herbs (borage and basil, maybe some mint? I can't recall.)

Here is my haul from Pike Place Market:

Here is a shot taken in the middle of the street as I walked into Ballard. I was on a quest to buy shoes. I bought a pair of Earth shoes that look vaguely Bibletastic.... If you look really hard into the background of this picture (towards the vanishing point), you can see the Olympic mountain range, still covered in snow. Gooorgeous!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Book Reviews

I had $50 worth of Barnes & Noble gift certificates from work (there is a program at work called "Pride @ Boeing", and when you do something that someone else appreciates, they can nominate you for points towards this program). Anyway, some of the most valuable awards on there are the gift cards. I'm sorry, but I don't really need a(nother) work-related t-shirt or mug.

Boeing also has an employee discount at B&N. So I decided to combine the gift cards, the employee discount, and Daniel's B&N membership to buy myself a few new books.

1) Elizabeth Zimmerman's Knitter's Almanac. This little book has 12 projects to carry you through the year. I love her conversational tone, and the fact that her instructions make sense, even if they are far less detailed than some other patterns out there. I wish I had known this woman - everything I ever read by her or about her is amazing.

2) Shannon Okey's How to Knit in the Woods. I think this little book (perfectly sized for travel), will become very useful when I am camping this summer, and want to make something other than socks - although the book includes two sock patterns. :) I like that she reminds you that cotton is not a smart thing to bring camping - it takes forever to dry out (think "wet pair of jeans"), and you are better suited to things like bamboo, wool, or even this neat yarn from Dale of Norway called "Hauk", that is wool treated with Teflon(!).

3) Lisa Myers, Carol Sulcoski, and Laura Grutzeck's Knit So Fine: Designs with Skinny Yarn. They do a great job of explaining why items knit in a finer gauge will fit you better. I thought the example in the beginning, using a Barbie doll, was great. They had Barbie in two knit tube dresses with shaping - one was in a fine yarn, and one was in a bulky yarn - guess which one hugged her curves better? They also reference Big Girl Knits by explaining how large yarns will just make you look...large.

4) Moon Outdoors' Take a Hike Seattle: Hikes Within Two Hours of the City. I am looking forward to getting to use this book most weekends this summer. I envision scanning a PDF of one of the hikes out of the book, emailing it to friends, and saying "We'll be here at X appointed time. If you would like to meet us, great. If not, great. If you want to carpool, let me know."

And I also recently acquired another book, but I haven't had a chance to look into it yet. It's called The Best Places to Kiss in the Northwest: A Romantic Travel Guide. The link actually goes to the newest edition, but I have the one from 2007. I actually got this as another "atta-boy" from work. Also looking forward to using it! :)

Finally... Daniel gave me a coupon from his B&N membership, so I used it to buy one last thing:
Deb Menz's Color in Spinning. I think this is one of those great reference books that everyone needs - like Alden Amos, EZ, et al.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I Won Something!

Just a skein of yarn, I think, but that is still damn cool!

I won it from the One Scheme of Happiness contest. According to Katie, I won based on my "original recommendations". Seems there's not many nerdy folk entering over there! ;-) (And I will have to thank Daniel for introducing me to the Weather Warden series... it's like a tarted-up Harry Potter!)

I think I won the yarn. Honestly, I'd prefer the yarn or the storage Cube by Schrodinger, but, you know, whatever - contest winners shouldn't throw stones!

I will let y'all know when I do receive whatever it is I'm supposed to receive!

Thanks again, Katie!


On other fronts: I apologize for not posting recently. I've been caught up with a bunch of stuff. I still need to post about my Baltimore trip, and getting to see all my friends and family, and I am contemplating starting a new blog (in addition to this one) that would focus on living in small spaces, and people I know who make the most of their spaces.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Contest over at OneSchemeOfHappiness

Go on over and check this out: One Scheme of Happiness

If you tell her I sent you, I get an extra entry! :)

She has some great prizes up there, mostly knitting related, but the necklace is pretty awesome. :)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Tuesday WIPs

I leave for Baltimore tomorrow (for a long weekend). I keep wondering what projects to take...something portable. Socks! I think I am going to take the Tulip Toes booties and my second Bart's sock. I made a copy of the Bart's sock pattern out of Cat Bordhi's book, so I could travel lighter and not destroy the book further. I think it's time to have that book laminated and bound or something.

Without further "adieux" (as Zap Brannigan says), I present my current WIPs (except for the chenille blanket).

1) Luv Gun. This gun needs some love. I have to stitch it together, stuff it, and knit up the three hearts (i.e. six heart halves) and sew / stuff them. It shouldn't take too long. I just gotta do it.

2) Ms. Marigold vest. I realized I finally have knit enough stockinette to join the damn thing and go off in the round for another 10" before I suspect the ribbing will hit, and then the FINAL DETAILS! Holy Mother Mary. I really hope it fits, otherwise it will be a gift for my sister (who is about 5 sizes smaller than me).

To recap, I am using KnitPick's alpaca/silk blend worsted weight. It feels nice, but it is very loosely plied, and I don't like that because it makes the yarn "splitty", but otherwise it's very soft yet tough. I haven't decided whether or not I am going to add the flouncy flutter-sleeves on the vest.

3) "Tulip Toes" booties (from I finally decided to knit the second sole, and mark the place where the MC and CC met, since I am using a variegated yarn. I am hoping it will make knitting the rest of it simpler, and I can just finish them and be done with it. :)

4) I wanted to share my new book. I bought it on my birthday at Weaving Works. Meg Swansen is freakin' awesome. Sooo many beautiful pictures in this book - tooons of inspiration! I really want to knit some lace, but I am going to be GOOD and finish my WIPs (most notably, that huge-ass chenille tape blanket.)

I think the final decision has been made. My WIPs to take with me on my plane ride to Charm City will be "Bart's Sock 2", and the "Tulip Toes" booties. :)

I really want to spin right now....but it's time for bed. :)

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Beer Bottling

Randy, Kris, and company made a beer at Gallagher's a couple of weeks ago. Daniel and I happened to have time today to go bottling with them. The beer was amazing - Kris' friend Ken and his father, Ted, decided to make a hefeweizen, but they added orange peel and coriander - an herb & a spice (technically speaking) that are traditionally used in Belgian witbiers (or "white beers") instead of hops as a finishing flavor/ agent. The whole thing was rather tasty, and an attractive dark blonde color.

As usual, we set up the bottles, washed them in the machine, then I poured the beer and Daniel capped it as it came out. It turns out he has the strongest "capping arm" around. :) We poured five growlers (jugs that average 64 oz each), and then there were 5 cases of 22 oz bottles. I took two growlers and called it good. Ken and Ted took two cases each, Jeanelle took a growler and a case, and Kris and Randy took two growlers. I suspect Kris and Randy would have liked more beer, but it's not like we're not going to drink this all together (for the most part) anyway. :) Eh, I didn't do too badly - $14 for two growlers isn't bad. We also implored Ted to store the bottles we didn't end up using - nobody else has any room!

Afterwards, we walked to the Edmonds farmer's market, then walked back to a local Mexican restaurant and had lunch there. I managed to find a tostada that only had a corn tortilla on the bottom, so I ignored that and ate the rest (though I did have a bunch of corn tortilla chips...sigh).

Daniel and I came home after that and grabbed our stuff in order to make the 3 PM ferry. We've been putzing around Bremerton all day - well, mostly him. I had a headache on our way home, so I slept most of the ferry ride to Bremerton, and then let him take my car to fill up on a sale that was happening at Fred Meyer. Then he was awesome and made one of his Designed Dinners with a broccoli and carrot stir-fry side. :)

Sunday I got home early (Daniel had duty), and then I hit up the farmer's market, followed by the Bellevue mall, and Trader Joe's, then pilates & a wine bar for dinner, where I was very proud that I kept the total under $10. :)

Have some pictures! :)

Here's Ted, showing his beer off:

Here is the (over?)zealous bottle-brigade. Jeanelle was really getting into it and doing a Bottle Dance of the Northern Pacific Paralegal Bird :)

Here is Ken. I love these pictures where he looks totally serious, because he is really anything but:

Here's my "hot pouring picture". :) hehe. At least I kinda look skinny in it. ;-) is one I got of Daniel capping beers... "Smokin' weed, cappin' beers, cappin' beers beers beers..." (anyone who recognizes that slightly messed up quote gets a high-five.)

The Big 2-7

I had my birthday yesterday! :) (02 May).

What a great day! First off, I had the day off work as part of my flex-time schedule, but even if I hadn't, I would have called in sick.

I had spinning on Thursday night, so after I took Kris and Randy home (yeah, Randy came to the class! I think it's neat that he is getting back into working out more - Kris said he used to take a martial arts class), then I drove onto the ferry because I was lazy and didn't want to run home and make a run for the bus. I spent the night with Daniel, and Friday morning he went into work later (no duty, which is always nice), so I took the 9 AM ferry home. Before I left, he gave me my birthday present - the entire Sex & The City series on DVD! I'm stoked. It even comes in a gorgeous velveteen box. I'm going to subject him to it ;) - my friend Priscila pointed out that most men try to resist the SATC, but when they end up watching a couple of episodes, they get hooked because it really is a funny show.

After I got to Seattle, I drove out to the U-Village outdoor mall, and decided to try getting a manicure & pedicure. I've never gotten one (save for the acrylic nails I got for senior prom in HS), so I thought it would be nice. I went into this spa that I had heard advertised on NPR several times... "InSpa. Everyone's Everyday Spa"... and I found it lovely that it didn't smell like acrylic nail compound, nor did it have 80's posters on the wall showing FloJo-style talons. I paid ahead of time for an Express manicure, since that's all the front-girl said they had time for. 20 minutes later, there was no manicurist in sight, so I asked for a refund and walked out, more than a little miffed. The lesson? Make an appointment.

I went shopping around the mall half-heartedly, but I've been feeling fat lately, even though I recently tipped the scales at 149 (below 150! Yeah!), so I guess I wasn't very interested in clothing. Also, I wasn't particularly impressed with anyone's spring offerings, although I did like a couple of dresses at Banana Republic. I got a truffle at Fran's chocolates, and then an iced tea at Starbucks, and ended up making my way back to my car after a brief interlude at Barnes & Noble.

After the mall, I went up north to Whole Foods and, well, bought some food. I got herbs for the tea recipe I received from Delta of Venus in Davis, CA (chamomile, mint, & licorice root), and bought some really good lowfat yogurt, which you can see here: Relaxing and, well, I couldn't find the other flavor, but I think it's something like lavender and honey (?).

After WF, I finally went home, showered, swept the floor, did the dishes, and did laundry. My sister laughed at me when she called and commented on what exciting lives we lead. :-)

I had a couple of hours to hang out, then it was time to decide on where to go for dinner. I ended up picking Restaurant Zoe. The food was great, as it was the last time I went there. Daniel was not impressed with the banana sundae dessert, but he was expecting something else (more like a banana split, I assume). I had a green tea pot de creme for dessert... WOW it was rich and delicious. :) I also had a couple of drinks - the pre-dinner one was vodka, Pimms, cucumber and lime - quite nice and refreshing. The second one was a capirinha, but I didn't finish it. Good, though! Kris and Jeanelle teamed up to get me presents from Sur La Table - I was so excited! Kris got me sea salt caramels, a box grater, and a steel mixing bowl. :) Jeanelle got me a gift card - I think everything will be put to good use! :D

I think this was a fabulous birthday. I could feel the love through the phone line as my family and close friends called to wish me well. :) I can't believe how time flies when you're having fun! Cliche, yes... but true. :) pictures! I forgot my camera...