Monday, September 29, 2008

It's My Blogiversary

It's hard to believe it's been a year since I wrote my very first blog post. I have had so much fun and have made so many wonderful internet friends. Friends that help to inspire my own creativity. I have also enjoyed getting to know you through your blogs. It's so cool! I wanted to thank you for reading. It's a great feeling to know that someone is reading you blog. Right? When I thought about celebrating this milestone I knew a giveaway would fit the bill. What's a celebration without some gifts?!

Here are the rules of this giveaway:

1. Do not post this giveaway on your blog. This giveaway is for my readers old and new. Even if this is the very first time your have read my blog you are eligible to enter.

2. Leave me a comment. Any comment you wish and tell me how long you have been reading. The deadline is Sunday October 5, 2008 at midnight central time.

That's it! I have a few fun prizes that I am giving away. This is a peek at the gifts. I have lots of surprises up my sleeve. Whether your interests are a knitting, quilting, cooking or reading I have something for each interest. O.K. don't forget to leave me a comment! Good Luck!

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Reveal

I am thrilled to announce that my very first sweater is finished and wearable.

Here are the details:

Pattern: Wicked by Zephyr Girls.

Yarn used: Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece colorway coral. I purchased 5 skeins. I used 4 skeins and a 1/4 of the fifth skein. I had massive knots and yarn barf in one of the skeins that couldn't be undone. I'm sure if I didn't have that problem i would've used four skeins. The feel of the fiber is perfect.

Needle size 7.

The neckline is so pretty. It is the only part on my sweater that is a touch too big.

I knitted the sleeves mid length. Kntting them at this size gives me more options. I can wear the sweater alone or with a shirt underneath.

I started knitting this sweater in early May. I got bored with my project and set it down for about 6 weeks. I'm glad that I blogged about this sweater. You all inspired me to get back to it and finish it. Thanks so much for getting me back on track.
We are going out of town for a wedding. I am wearing it for some of the festivities. Hooray!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Little Saucy

One of my favorite garden delights. Basil tomato sauce. I have been making this sauce for over 12 years now. I don't think that I could end a summer without having jars of this goodness in my pantry. Looks yummy right? It's so easy to make. Can I show you how?

Let's go out to the garden and do a little picking. We have lots of red ripe tomatoes. Now if you don't have a garden head out to a farm stand or farmers market. The price for bulk canning tomatoes is very reasonable.

Look at all of this basil. Mmmmmm! I sure hope I can use it all. I also planted lemon basil and cinnamon basil. The lemon basil tastes great with zucchini and chicken and fish(yuk). The cinnamon basil I haven't used yet. Have you tried cinnamon basil? If so what did you make? Alright lets get on with sauce making. We need to skin the tomatoes. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add tomatoes a few at a time to remove the skins.

Plunge the fruit into ice water to stop the cooking process. Slip the skin off.

Cut the tomatoes and add them to a large stock pot and start cooking.

I like to use a potato masher to crush the fruit. It works great.

Next chop up the basil. Add it to the pot. Bring the sauce to a boil and simmer on low for about 2 hours.

Make sure your jars are sterilized. Follow the directions that came with your water bath canner. Add 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice and 1 teaspoon salt to each quart jar. If you are using pint jars it's 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Fill with the basil tomato sauce.

Place jars in your water bath canner and process for 45 minutes. If you don't want to can your sauce just put it in freezer containers. It tastes just as good. There is almost nothing better than opening a jar of summer sunshine in the cold of winter. My favorite way to use my sauce is add a little heavy cream and parmesan cheese. Serve it with pasta. You could also add some tomato paste and it tastes better than spaghetti sauce. I hope you give it a try. I promise you won't regret all your time and effort.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Buzzing Around

Last week as I was knitting along on my Wicked sweater I was surprised by a hummingbird. I looked up from my project and he looked at me and darted away. Immediately I ran to the basement to find my mother in laws feeder. I mixed up for sugar water and hung the feeder. Since last week I have seen the little hummer one other time. He buzzed past me when I was carrying groceries into the house. This morning when I let the dogs out I saw him again. I grabbed my camera and ran outside with me red robe on. I was able to get pretty close. I hope you can see the sweet little hummer. I think he may like me. He was buzzing in and out of the trees. He would circle semi close to me and then go to the feeder. How thrilling for me!

Wicked is coming along. The body is finished. I knit 2 sets of increases for the hip section. Now I think it's a touch too long. That's o.k. I am leaving it. I am almost finished with one of the 3/4 sleeves. I have to knit the twisted rib to the edge. Then on to the next sleeve. I really wanted to have it done by now. On a personal note I am getting ready for a job interview. It's for a part time position. My full time job has cut our hours due to the economy. Please wish me luck and if you want say a prayer. This job sounds like a nice place to work. I would like to get hired! I'll share more about it later. Got to go! Have a great day!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Just Peachy

I spent part of my morning making peach jam. I am so thrilled that the peaches came from my very own peach trees. I planted them in 2004. This is the first year I have gotten a harvest. My peaches are so darn sweet and juicy! I had to compete with all kinds of insects to see who would get the most of the harvest! I was able to can 6 jars.

My very favorite way to use this scrumptious jam is in a PB & J sandwich. There is something so utterly delicious and tasty about peaches and peanut butter. When I think about taste I am reminded of a scripture that means so much to me.
Psalms {34:8} O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! God is so good!

I was also able to make my much anticipated peach custard. A whopping 4 quarts of golden goodness!

The custard was really good. It was a standard custard recipe. It did have a few ingredients I would never of thought of, like ginger. The only change I would make to the recipe would be to leave out the ginger. I am not a ginger fan. I should know better that to follow the recipe to a T.

Yesterday I spent a lot of my day off knitting on my Wicked sweater. I had an idea to follow the measurements of on of my favorite ragland sweaters I bought a few years ago at Talbots. I love how this sweater fits me. It kind of hides my middle section which is a good thing! Maybe it's the 3 1/2" ribbing on the bottom? I turned the sweater inside out and did some measuring. I proceeded to use the waist measurements and to knit the ribbing just like the bottom of the Talbots sweater.

I was hoping to show it to you today finished. I had great plans. I was a head of schedule. Things were looking well. I cast off the sweater after all of those K2,P2 ribbing rounds. I couldn't wait to try it on. I slipped it over my head. I ran up the stairs to the full length mirror in the bathroom. Agh! No good. I looked like I tried to stuff myself into a stovepipe. I also noticed that I cast off a tad too tight. Maybe I could pull it off. After pondering for a few minutes I knew if I left the sweater as is I would never wear it. I needed a few increases for my hips. Mind you my hips aren't huge. I think it would look more pleasing to my eye if the sweater was a bit more A-line shaped. My decision was to rip out the entire ribbing. Ripping is not an easy task. You look at all of your work and fight with your mind to make your fingers unleash all of your time consuming stitches. Oh well. I have gotten pretty good at ripping! Today I will keep chugging along on increasing. Then I will try it on again to see how it fits. I will finish this sweater!!!
Thanks so much for stopping by today. I always enjoy reading all of your comments. Until tomorrow....God Bless you!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Lil' Carmel Dumpling Bag

This was my Labor Day weekend project. This pattern was published in Interweave Knits Magazine fall 2008 issue. After surfing through a few finished projects on Ravelry I got inspired to knit up this cutie!

This Lamb's Pride Bulky yarn called out to me to become a dumpling bag! The colorway is Prairie Goldenrod. I love the variegation's of the yellow and gold colors. To me is speaks of September. The official start of fall.

I learned an interesting technique with this bag. The I-cord handles are knitted separately and then joined together on your circular needle.

It's really cool to see it come together. Even I could do it!

To put some final touches on the lil' dumpling I added an embroidered vine all the way around. The stitch used is a simple chain stitch. I also added some french knots in a pretty red berry color.

The bag only took a day to knit. A few hours to embroider. I did most of that in the car. Then I had to search for the rings for the handles. I went to Michael's and Hobby Lobby and had no luck. Yesterday at work I got an idea to use napkin rings. On my way home I stopped at Pier One and found several funky napkin rings. They may be just a touch too big but I like the finished look. I washed it this morning and was so surprised when I pulled it out of the washer. I jumped up and down thrilled with how it felted. It's so darn cute! More dumplings on the way!