Thursday, April 6, 2017

Food Glorious Food

 Above is a beef and mushroom soup with Parmesan cheese grated on top. It was amazingly yummy, I made enough to save for two more days lunch but over the course of the day ate all of it. I have no clue why it was so good as I didn't do anything strange, brown the meat and onions, add broth and water, bay, carrots, mushrooms, and potatoes. Cook for awhile. It was tasty.

To the right is what my husband calls 'your rice weirdness' it is based on a Japanese dish a friend made for me. Hers had dashi and a bunch of Japanese specific ingredients. I  make this a bit differently. I prefer to use leftover rice, but you can start with uncooked it just takes longer. I cook the rice in chicken stock and water. I cook it in a lot of liquid and cook it to death. I mean the liquid is mostly gone and the rice has broken down and thickened the soup, think porridge. Then I beat an egg and dumb it in, not stirring the soup while you do it. That seems strange but it works, it further thickens the soup and adds protein, but you don't necessarily end up with bits of cooked egg. Just dump it in and wait a moment then stir. Take it off the heat and add sliced green onion and cilantro, stir them in and serve, top each bowl with peanuts. The first time I made this for my dad -he is a bit picky- he saw what I was doing and said "I thought you said you were making soup not gruel." I laughed and handed him a small bowlful, and said in the tone he used on me as a kid "just try it, if you don't like it you can have something else to eat." That got him. Before I had finished serving Mom and me, he was asking for a full bowl.

I have been making lots of bread lately. Banana bread, which I make in huge batches from the last forgotten bananas that I tuck into the freezer until I have a stupid amount of, then thaw and make loaf after loaf thinking we can't possible eat this much, I better freeze some, only to have it gone before I can. My kids have no interest in either soup above but can inhale a loaf of banana bread in an eye blink. Ordinary homemade bread, pita bread, Homemade hard rolls to go with the bbq pork Jim made this week.

What are you cooking?

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Spin the Bin Challenge

I used to talk about wool and spinning on Wednesday so this is perfect for today. I found out about the spin the bin challenge and am participating! The challenge is on the Completely Twisted and Arbitrary Spinning group on Ravelry. Basically you are supposed to comb through your fiber stash and select a bin full of fiber to spin within the year. The rules state each entry - you need 12 - must be at minimum 2 oz and you can split a larger amount across multiple entries. You have to post a picture of your bin with all the fiber present to enter and you can't take anything out of the bin once you start (ie change your mind) without replacing it with two entries. Your pictures have to be clear enough so they can tell you spun the yarn from the fiber, so most everyone posted a bin shot and then the fiber all spreaded out so you could see it easily and you also have to list what the fiber is, who dyed it, and the quantity. Then you add pictures of the finished yarn.

Here are my bin fibers:

The top row:
1-2) Camel & Wool blend. I bought in 2016 from a guild member’s stash, no idea how long she owned it.8.6oz.
3) Southdown. I bought as a whole raw fleece in 2015. 9oz.
The middle row:
4-5) Royal blue dyed by me, Lincoln Longwool. I bought in 2010. 8.20oz.
6) Cotton. I bought in 2015 from a guild member’s stash in a grab bag, no idea how long she owned it. 3.75oz.
7) Teal blueish dyed by me, Lincoln Longwool. I bought in 2010. 5.55oz.
The bottom row:
8-9) Afghan hound, given to me by dog’s owner in 2012. 11.1oz.
10) Brown sheep wool, dyed by me in 2014. Blending with a bombyx silk and merino blend I bought in 2016 from a guild member’s stash, no idea how long she owned it. 2.7 oz of the first & 2.8oz of the latter for 5.5oz total.
11) Yak! bought in 2015, 2oz.
12) Cotswold, given to me as a raw fleece in 2013. 5.7oz.

I am not looking forward to the cotton - it is terrible cotton, but I figured this was the only way I was likely to spin it - it came in a grab bag and luckily the rest of the fiber was a nice alpaca. I am also not looking forward to the Afghan hound, as it is very smelly, if anyone has a suggestion on cleaning tips I would greatly appreciate it. I am excited about the yak and the Lincolns.
The brown sheep blending with merino/bombyx silk is to be the ply strand to more of the brown sheep that I have waiting and will be where I start. I originally had 8oz of green roving that I split into thirds (horizontally) then I spun the first two halves on separate bobbins and this spin will hopefully make two bobbins to ply against them.

I should probably get to work! 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Crafting on -1- Sweater Complete & Socks Cruising

Joining Nicole at Frontier Dreams for my first ever Crafting On. I am a bit sad the yarn along is over, but I am looking forward to making new friends and finding new inspiration at Crafting On.

 First I took this last week for the yarn along, then reading that Ginny was done, did not post about it so here goes. It is finally done. I love how it turned out! This is Mouse's favorite sweater now and he wore it to school on Friday and Monday. It is Elizabeth Zimmerman's Percentage system with six Pikachu heads done in Intarsia in the round with insanity. He gave me a kiss for each row. I actually did each head twice as I pulled in too much the first time trying to do it a stranded colorwork.

 My socks are coming along great! The pattern is Mina Philip's Vanilla sock recipe. The yarn is 75% Correidale and 25% Nylon. My spinning guild did this dyeing project last fall, one of the ladies has a knitting machine so she whipped up two stranded knitting blanks for everyone and we got together and dyed them. The above shot represents the colors better, but I wanted to show that I have the heels done.

This is what is on my spinning wheel right now. Brown Sheep wool that I dyed with acid based dyes. I have two bobbins done and ready for me to make the single to ply it with. I also finished a new podcast video, link here.

I am looking forward to seeing what everyone is working on! ~Julia

Monday, April 3, 2017

Monday Musings - April the third

 I have been sick for all of March. Many different sicknesses, which thankfully hit me much harder than my family. I am finding that getting back to normal is very slow going, I am struggling against napping and not eating much before I am full to the point of feeling ill. I had lots of plans on what I was going to get done today. I have wasted the day, I fell asleep taking a bath. No worries it is a small tub, but now I am stiff and got nothing done.

The girls had a sleepover birthday party on Saturday. Beaver has joined the La Crosse team and had another game this Saturday. It was their fifth game this week and their first lost in nine. I felt bad that they lost the first game I managed to attend. He really loves this game. His girlfriend was there wearing his jersey. She is very sweet. Mouse took advantage of the siblings being gone to play some long board games with Jim (Agricola & Caverna.) Jim and I cuddled and talked all Saturday night, it was a nice date night.

I need to warp my loom and weave some charity scarves for my weaving guild. The yarn is donated to the group - they give lessons for seniors and they have all this yarn the students can use, but most prefer to bring in their own, so the cupboards where quite full and they are expecting another donation. So we picked some yarn out and are making 4-5 scarves each that will be given to an organization that helps the homeless. It lets all of us help out and lets those of us would are less experienced weavers get in more practice. I have chosen two shades of hunter green and a brown.

I need to finish a video I have been working on and make another. I have neglected my business and household equally. In working on the next video, I have fiber prep and spinning to do.

If I get some time for myself...
I will work on my socks and sweater.

I am grateful for...
Cuddles, giant piles of stuffed animals covering me when I woke up from a nap, my girls getting to be older in that they can be sent to clean up their room and do it without too much fussing, and Yorkshire puddings.

Prayerful intentions...
This week I am praying for health and healing in the lives of several babies and young children, and in thanksgiving for a friend's pregnancy.

Join me in musing by linking your post in the comments.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Yarn along 5 - Sweaters are scary

I have been focusing on this sweater and it is really coming along. The title of this post is two-fold, one I have been focusing on this one as the color-work in the other sweater is scary and I don't want to screw it up and rip it out again, and two the armhole row of this sweater was terrifying! It made no sense. I eventually, knit a sample and went for it. It worked but I will think long and hard about knitting from a pattern by this designer again. It works and it is lovely, buut the pattern is confusing and now help ore clarification is available and while looking I found lots of people got stuck exactly where I did. I have four balls left and more to go, so I am hoping the yarn holds out! Until I tried it on I was thinking if necessary I could skip the sleeves but I think it needs them, so fingers crossed. After all the stress of the armhole rows and all the double twisted rib, getting to stockinette for a while is great. Photos by the girls.

I am still reading Aiden Amos' Big Book of Handspinning. I also have broken with not reading fiction and am re-reading the Sign of Seven Trilogy by Nora Roberts.

I finished my second video, this one shows me dyeing, preparing, spinning and ply wool into yarn.

Joining Ginny and the other Creative Ladies of the Yarn Along! ~ Julia

Monday, February 13, 2017

Monday Morning Musings- 13 Feb

My dishes are half-done and my house is half clean. I am on my second cup of coffee. Feeling a bit overwhelmed with everything I have to do today and this week. Best roll up my sleeves but I have multiple to do lists and not enough time.

Mouse has been sick so I ended up staying home with him on Friday while Jim and the girls went to our friend's for game. They came home in high spirits and Mouse slept through the night. I got some knitting and mystery watching done - and skipped the dishes!  Saturday Jim and the kids played board games and did some work on the school work Mouse missed being sick. I got together with friends from college and had a nice time, we do this event once a year. It started as a birthday party as a lot of the people had spring birthdays within the club, and has evolved into a get together. Very small turn out this year due to adulting and sickness, but those of us who did come had fun. The family is invited but it never works out that we all go. Sunday we got some chores done around the house and I got more knitting in, this sweater looks like a sweater now!

I have a show on the weekend and it always seems like there is a ton to do for that, especially as it has been a few months. Things always seem to wander. Time to track them down. I need to make new table clothes, in order to do that I need to actually clean up my studio, rather than shake my head and run out of the room! I want to organize it to be more work space and less storage.
I need to finish and up load a few new videos.
I have spinning guild this Friday.
The house needs to get all the way cleaned - my parents are staying the weekend.
I also want to finish cleaning the cellar.
We have 4H tonight, the kids are making Valentine's day cards for a local nursing home, so I have to get all that stuff together.
I need to update my budget sheet for Jim - we have a weekly budget meeting - and did not do that this weekend. We are trying this to curb my random spending - I am much less likely to buy junk if I know I will be telling him at the end of the week - and he needs a better picture of what we need to spend money on to help us plan and save. I think it is working we are not fighting about money anymore and I think having a spreadsheet of what we are actually spending money on (ex $19 on present, $3 on wrapping, and $1 on candy is likely more useful for planning next year than $23 target) One side effect is I have started my Christmas planning already.
And likely a thousand things I haven't thought of.

If I get some time to myself...
I will go to the gym, this has been sliding lately with other responsibilities getting in the way, but I need to make time to strengthen myself.

I am grateful for...
computers, paper, old friends, new ones, and coffee oh and Hedge-Kittens (we saw a set of pictures of a orange tabby cat who adopted hedgehog babies -CUTE- and everything has been Hedge-Kittens since. Badger loves cats and Bunny loves anything cute.)

Prayerful intentions...
I Pray for civility and understanding for the people and leaders of this nation. In that order, if they can't understand their opposition's view point they can at least be civil and polite to each other.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Yarn along 4 - Socks! a bit late.

I am a bit late! I finished my socks! and got through the decrease row on Mouse's sweater, So I will have pictures that are more interesting than endless stockinette in blue next week. I am pausing the book Bloody Old Britain as I have read about two pages since last week. Hoping that leaving it on the nightstand will prompt slow progress but a book about a breakthrough in the way archaeology was conducted through aerial photography should have more photography and less flowery turns of phrase. I am re-reading or perhaps reading as a novel instead of a reference book, Aiden Amos' Handbook Of Handspinning, working towards my COE.

I did this too.  (

I started a podcast on crafty- fiber-y goodness where I talk about what I am working on and challenge myself to stretch, there will be more working videos & tutorials in the future. 

Joining in on the yarn along a bit late week! ~ Julia