Funky Scarf Sneak Peak

I cast off the funky scarf last night and is she a cutie! I am giving a sneak peak only because I have to give her a little Eucalen bath, give her some shape and add a final funky touch and then she will be ready for her full pictorial spread.

I hope my secret pal likes her. She wanted a funky pattern and this pattern is about as funky as this novice knitter could be. So I used a self-striping, soft yarn in beautiful fall colors (since she loves autumn) to kick up the funk a notch. I like it so much, I am going to make one for myself! The photo is a little misleading because the magenta color isn't quite so neonish in normal light.

And Criquette has been helping me get my housework done so I have more time to knit. Here she is taking a little snooze before folding mountains of towels. Now if only I could get her interested in vacuuming...


Bad Blogger

I realize I haven't posted in 2 weeks. I've thought about it, and even started to a couple of times, but couldn't download my pictures, so have just been procrastinating in the hope that Blogger Beta was the one with the problem and that, if I ignored the problem, it would *magically* go away. And guess what? It did. I can now post again with no problems! So here is what I've been up to (besides being very busy with the back-to-school rush at work) the last couple of weeks...

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We spent several days down at the Redneck Riviera (aka "Lake of the Ozarks") at a relative's wonderful old stone and log cabin. We love it down there - no phone or TV although there is plumbing and air conditioning. It's like camping only better. I spent lots of time knitting (I worked on 5 projects, including the Funky Scarf), shopped at the outlet mall, went antiquing and caught up on sleep. One of the highlights was a trip to a cute little LYS in Osage Beach. The owner was so friendly. My hub was with me - well, he sat himself down at the table with the knitting chicks and just made himself at home. He asked lots of questions about their projects, learned about the importance of stash and then picked out the yarn for a scarf I'm going to make for his sister! He told me later that now he understands why I like hanging out with knitters so much.

So here is a not very good picture of 4 of the projects I worked on - the 5th is the funky scarf,which I am not yet ready to unveil. The 2 balls of yarn are the ones he chose - Noro Kureyon (#139) - he has good taste, doesn't he?

Starting at the top and moving clockwise are: a green basketweave kitty blanket for Bitsy BonTon, a basketweave man-scarf I've been working on for months now, the 2 balls of Noro, the lengthwise urban camo scarf and *surprise* Miss Rosa Parks finally decided what she wanted to be and became a gorgeous scarf while down at the lake. Therapy can be a good thing...It's the same pattern I am using for the funky scarf, so I will show her in her unfurled glory when I finish the FS.


Sunday Supper: Creole Green Bean Stew

The beautiful weather has put me in the mood to cook. Fresh green beans were on sale, so I decided we needed some green bean stew. This is based on a recipe my sister-in-law makes for all family gatherings, but since I rarely follow a recipe, this is what I came up with:

As with all great cajun and creole food, first you make a roux. It's not at all hard. For this dish, I made a lighter version called a "butter roux". In a heavy soup pot, melt 3/4 cup Smart Balence and 1/4 cup olive oil over high heat. Stir in 1 cup flour until you have a paste. Continually stir the mixture until it starts to turn a medium golden-brown color. (You always want the roux to be a bit darker than you think you want because the finished gravy will look somewhat lighter.) Lower the heat a notch or 2.

Now add 1 medium yellow onion that has been chopped into small pieces. The roux will stop browning once you add the onions. Stir, until onions soften. Add 1 can fat-free chicken broth and stir until blended with the roux. Stir in 2 tbls. cajun seasoning (Zatarain's or Tony Chachere's) , 1 tbls Mrs. Dash, and 2 tbls garlic powder. Add 3 cans of water and bring to a light boil.

Add 10-12 new potatoes that have been cut into small chunks. Keep at a light boil, stirring frequently for 10 minutes. Add 2-3 pounds of fresh string beans that have been trimmed and cut into 2" pieces. Add 1 package of Hormel real bacon chunks and return to a low boil. stir well, turn the heat down to simmering and cook an additional 10 minutes.

Test the potatoes - it may be ready to eat at this point, although I like to turn the heat down to the second lowest setting and let it barely simmer for another 15-30 minutes. I like this served over brown rice for the main course, but my husband, who likes meat at every meal, prefers this as a side dish.

Bon Appetit!
(This dish doesn't freeze well because of the potatoes, but tastes better as leftovers the next day.)

Bitsy BonTon's Roll of Approval


Signs of Autumn!

I woke this morning to a beautifully grey, somewhat dreary day and I was excited! The temperature was in the low 60's and there are signs of that fall is peeking around the corner. The Weather Channel is predicting lows in the upper 50's and daytime highs for the next several days in the mid-70's. I love being able to fall asleep with the windows open. I ventured out into the garden and found these... more evidence that autumn is on the way.
Kousa Dogwood

Winterberry Holly

Beauty Bush

Scouting for a winter home - has not heard about about Criquette the Grasshopper Slayer

Abbie & Chloe have the prance back in their step and have been really frisky and playful. Criquette is wilder than her usual wild self and demands play time. Even the cranky Bitsy BonTon is hanging around and wanting to play. My own "summer-funk" is almost gone - my mood is lifting and my energy and motivation are returning. I am ALMOST at the point of wanting to do my fall cleaning of the entire house.

Walks! More Walks! More, more, more!

Play with me or I'll shred you!

Play with me or I'll crawl all over you and drool on your yarn!

Alas, 'Rosa Parks' Jr.'s identity crisis continued, despite some brief, intensive therapy.

Not a simulation

After frogging the fourth attempted project, I decided she needed some quiet time to reflect some more, so have sent her to the stash house indefinitely. Hopefully, she will snap out of it in time for me to knit her into a lovely Christmas gift.

Meanwhile, I found a replacement yarn, a charming little self-striping number by Trendsetter, called "Tonalita". She knew exactly what she wanted to be and even what size needles she wanted me to use. The pattern is probably an experienced beginner level pattern, easy enough, but I have had to learn how to do SSK's and short row stitches and it is definitely challenging my limited attention span. Here's the progress I made since starting it last night...

This yarn is soft, fuzzy and yet has quite a bit of body. It does split rather easily, so I really have to keep an eye on it. This isn't something I can knit while I watch TV! But I am having a lot of fun with the pattern and the surprise from watching the various colors come off of the ball. I am already in love with this scarf and will have a hard time parting with it but I think my funky scarf pal is really going to be happy with it!

The sun is now coming out and the temps are still comfortable and there's a little breeze, so I feel my garden calling me so I'm off to enjoy this late summer day and to dream about autumn.