Lego Mania

My blog has been neglected for a bit – seems like life gets so busy as the holiday season starts up, I can’t believe it will be Thanksgiving in four days.  It seemed like Halloween was just a couple of day ago.  Sometimes, it seems like the older I get the less I enjoy the holidays – I feel kind of like a Grinch this year.  It makes me sad to see Christmas decorations going up in stores the minute Halloween is over.  Oh well, that’s the way it is.

Building Brothers

Our two grandsons have really been into playing with Lego Blocks this past couple of weeks.  Whenever they come over after school it is the first thing they want to do.

Busy Building

It is really refreshing when kids want to play something besides video games.  They do enjoy Nintendo and Playstation, too – but the past few weeks they have been having Lego Mania.  You can see in the above picture I still haven’t put away the two Halloween Candles on the fireplace – I think they’re cute and haven’t gotten into Thanksgiving mode yet even though it’s just days away!

Whistle While You Work

Just listening to them while they build and play is fun.  You can see how their minds are working and what sort of things they have going on in their imaginations.  Both of the boys are so different – they invent and act out stories about totally different things.  Darrin was whistling to himself while he was building.

Lego Mania

Actually, I really enjoy playing with Legos myself!  It is almost like knitting – making something block by block instead of stitch by stitch.  I built myself a really cool Lego house with a garden and everything.

You can click on any of the pictures for a larger view.

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This, That and The Other

This blog post is kind of a mixed bag – definitely a reflection of how life has been lately!

EarCozyHatI started on a quick. new knitting project – a hat for my husband.  It is based on a childrens’ hat pattern – Ear Cozy Hat by Fiber Trends – I redid the math to make the hat in a large adult size.  I’ve made this pattern numerous times in the small sizes.  It is really nice because it covers the ears and keeps them warm – however, the ear flaps are much nicer than most ear flap hats because they are made with short rows and don’t hang down strangely and they don’t need ties to keep them in place.

JackHatBeg

Jack Hat Beginning

The wool is lovely, Karabella Aurora Melange – it is so soft yet bouncy feeling and is 100% extrafine Merino Wool that is machine washable, always a plus for a hat.

In other knitting news, I finished up the Pet Bed I was knitting with Knit Picks bulky, hand dyed Wool of The Andes in the Island Breeze colorway.  It took three skeins.  Now, I need to felt it and see how it looks.  I’m hoping the fabric gets a lot thicker and the sides will stand up on their own.

PetBedUnfelted

Pet Bed Unfelted

This is the second Pet Bed I’ve knitted – the first one never ended up being felted because my dog, Gidget, likes it just the way it is.  She spends a lot of time sleeping on it and hates me to pick it up off the floor. There’s a picture of that in this post:  She Likes It .  For the first Pet Bed, I used a felted bowl pattern and just made it bigger.  I wasn’t totally happy with the how the bottom turned out, so, for this bed I came up with my own pattern that has 9 segments to form the circular bottom.  It seems to lie nice and flat.  After I felt it and see if it turns out well, I’ll write up the pattern and make it available on this blog.

Yesterday, I baked some Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins, they are based on a recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip muffins that Mary Jo baked recently for our knitting night.  I altered them a bit to make them more cake-like by adding less oil, one more egg, more flour, more cinnamon, a bit of nutmeg and a bit of milk.  They turned out well – not very sweet but very good.

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Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

Finally, I wanted to share this picture of our two grandsons having an after school snack and playing Nintendo DS – they bicker so much that it was wonderful to see them cooperating with each other!  You can see how much they really do love each other even though they tend to bicker over everything.

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Brothers Cooperating

You can click on any of the pictures in this post to see a larger view.

Halloween 2009

This is another post I’ve been meaning to do all week and haven’t gotten it done because I took too many pictures and couldn’t decide which ones to edit and use.  I get snap happy with my cameras and never know when to stop!

Halloween seemed like a two day holiday this year – on Friday, Oct. 30th, the elementray school our grandchildren attend had their Halloween celebrations.  Kindergarten through Second Grade went on a parade around our tiny town and got treats from the businesses and post office.

HalloweenParade

Nephi (Optimus Prime) in the Halloween Parade

Third through Fifth Grade had a costume exhibition – some of the kids had fantastic costumes.  Afterwards, all the classes had Halloween parties.

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Darrin the Mummy

Then on Saturday it was time for trick or treating.  We usually have around 100 trick or treaters come to our house – this year I thought there might be a lot more than usual because the weather was so nice and it was on the weekend.  However, there were only 47 trick or treaters this year.  Perhaps the nice weather and weekend combined made families decide to head somewhere else on Saturday.

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Optimus Prime and the Mummy

Our grandkids wore the same costumes they wore at school and ended their trick or treating at our house so they could help give out treats – they really enjoy doing that.

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Darrin giving out treats.

Along with fewer than usual trick or treaters this year, they started coming later that usual as well.  Our first trick or treater didn’t come till 7pm!  They usually start shortly after 5pm. 

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Nephi giving out treats.

It ended up being a fun and Happy Halloween! 

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Toothless and Happy on Halloween!

If you would like to see more pictures from Halloween, here is a link for a set of Halloween pictures on Flickr:

Halloween 2009

You can click on any of the pictures in this post for a larger view.

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Shania, Larissa and Friends

Taos Wool Festival – October 2009

Finally, over three weeks since the event, I’m writing this post about the Taos Wool Festival!  I took so many pictures, it took forever to go through them and decide which ones to use.

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Taos Wool Festival - October 2009

The Wool Festival seemed a bit bigger and busier than last year, it seemed like there were more booths around the sides and more in the middle area, too. Of course, last year it was rainy and cool for the Wool Festival and this year the weather was gorgeous – sunny but not hot and just a hint of a breeze.  The Ravelry Meetup was in the center area of the festival, there were quite a few people there – Mary Heather from Ravelry was there and I recognized a few others from the Ravelry Meetup in Santa Fe in September.  The highlight of the Ravelry Meetup was meeting Stephanie Japel and Paula from the on-line class with Stephanie for the Fitted Raglan Shawl.  You can read more about that in this post – Finished With Mirth . 

Ravelry Meetup at the Wool Festival

Ravelry Meetup at the Wool Festival in Taos

It is always fun to look at the various fiber producing animals – alpacas, llamas, sheep and goats.  Some of the goats are so tiny and cute. 

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Very Soft Bunny

This year there were also a lot of rabbits shown at the festival.  Some of them were so soft, it was a treat to stroke them.  Some of the rabbits looked like little, furry dogs.

FuzzyBunny

Fuzzy Bunny

There were many booths selling yarn – lots and lots of yarn in millions of yummy colors! 

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Beautiful Colors

 It was really wonderful to see all this beautiful wool.  It looks like a cheerful yarn rainbow.

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More Yarn

All this yarn for sale was just the tip of the iceberg.  There were also many booths selling fleeces and roving for spinning and spinning equipment as well.

Yarn 3

Even More Yarn

There were also booths selling finished goods made with wool – rugs, hats and many other unique things.

UniqueThings

Unique Things

Some of the booths I enjoyed from previous years were back – I love the knitted animals that are for sale in this booth.  The patterns are available, too.

KnittedAnimals

Knitted Animals

Lots of interesting people were there, too.  It was fun just to sit down and watch.

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Spinning Lady

One of the nicest things was meeting up with three young women from our La Jara Knitting Group and looking around the festival with them! 

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Nicole, Joanna and Mary Jo at the Wool Festival

 Afterwards we went out to a late lunch and had a fun time looking around Taos.

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Joanna, Mary Jo and Nicole at the Taos Plaza

My husband managed to maintain his patience while walking around the festival – he was even gracious enough to carry my lime green Namaste knitting bag for a while without getting (overly) embarrassed!

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My husband with my Namaste bag and our dog.

All in all, it was a very fun day.  It would have been EASY to spend a lot of money on all that beautiful yarn but I managed to restrain myself and only bought three skeins – one worsted weight, one DK weight and one sock/fingering weight.

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Purchased at the Taos Wool Festival

You can click on any of the pictures for a larger view.

Busy Birdfeeder on a Snowy Day

It snowed a LOT here on Wednesday (October 21, 2009), that didn’t stop the birds from coming to visit the birdfeeder in our back yard though.  In fact, it seemed like there were more birds than usual.

Lots of birds at the feeder despite the snow.

Lots of birds at the feeder despite the snow.

Along with the usual House Finches there was one bird that was a similar size and had a similar beak to the finches but had yellow markings instead of red.

Is the bird with yellow markings a Goldfinch?

Is the bird with yellow markings a Goldfinch?

I’m not sure what it is – it really doesn’t look like a Goldfinch.  I’ll have to look it up in the bird book.

House Finches and one mystery bird with yellow markings.

House Finches and one mystery bird with yellow markings.

The birds were bickering with each other over the last seeds in the feeder.  We fill this feeder with black oil sunflower seeds every single day and they eat the whole thing before noon.  House Finches are the most common birds at our feeder but there are a few other types once in a while.  A group of five Ring Necked Doves hangs out under the feeder eating the seeds that get dropped.  Every once in a while, Brewer’s Blackbirds hang out underneath, too.

Bickering Birds

Bickering Birds

Our front and back yard looked like a winter wonderland in the morning.

Snow in the back yard.

Snow in the back yard.

It kept snowing all day!  The snow built up to 8 inches deep towards the end of the day.

Snow in the front yard.

Snow in the front yard.

 You can click on any of the pictures for a larger view.

Carrot Ginger Cookies and a New Knitting Project

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Carrot Ginger Cookies

These Carrot Ginger Cookies I made today turned out very well. They have lots of finely grated carrots in them along with freshly grated ginger. They are very light and delicate tasting – the fresh ginger gives them such a nice flavor. Even though they have LOTS of carrots in them – they really don’t taste like carrots. I think they will go very nicely with a cup of tea.

I rolled the balls of dough in coarse Demerara sugar before baking – next time, I will use a finer sugar. The crunchy, strong taste of the Demerara sugar kind of overpowered the cookie.

Carrot Ginger Cookies

1 1/4 cups white sugar
1 cup butter or margarine
1 egg + 1 egg white (if you double recipe, just use three eggs)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup finely grated carrot (about 3 normal sized carrots)
1 1/2 tsp. freshly grated ginger root (about 1 small root)
3 cups flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beat in vanilla. Stir in the carrots and ginger until well blended. Mix the cream of tartar, soda and salt with the flour. Stir in the flour a cup or so at a time and mix well.

Roll the dough into 1 1/2 inch balls. If desired, roll balls in sugar before placing on baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 – 14 minutes until slightly browned and top springs back if touched.

The dough is quite soft, it might help to refrigerate it before rolling into balls. I usually make a double recipe (or even triple) of cookie dough and only bake one or two pans and then put the rest of the dough in the fridge in a tightly sealed container or bag. That way, you can bake a pan or two every day or so and always have fresh cookies on hand.

*****

In other news – I didn’t have to report for Jury Duty today (Friday)! It was such a relief – I was dreading it so much. I had called the phone number on the summons earlier in the day on Thursday and then again around 4pm to check on the status of the trial and the recorded message said the trial was still scheduled. So, I had started getting everything ready for the next day – clothes, charge cell phone, get purse packed up with the needed stuff, etc. For a couple of days, I had been trying to think of a small knitting project to bring along in the hopes I might knit to fill in the tedious hours of jury selection – finally decided to make the Shetland Shopper Market Bag. My friend, Emmy, knitted this bag and it turned out very well. So, I cast on for the bag with Adara (cotton/linen blend) from Elann and was happily knitting away on it when my husband came home from work.

He asked if I had called to check on the status of the trial, I told him I had and that it had not been cancelled. So, he called the number to check again and it WAS cancelled! I was in disbelief, it must have been cancelled at the last minute. I even called the number myself to make sure it really had been cancelled! What a relief – it seems like when you get all ready and prepared for something, then it never happens.

So, I shall think of the Shetland Shopper as my lucky knitting project!

Shetland Shopper Market Bag - Beginning

Shetland Shopper Market Bag - Beginning

I felt so happy and relieved today that I decided to bake the Carrot Ginger Cookies, had been meaning to try them for a while. It was originally a recipe for Bunny Carrot Cookies that I modified quite a bit.

You can click on the pictures for a larger view.

She Likes It

Well, I finished knitting the pet bed for my little Cairn Terrier, Gidget.  The pattern was for a felted bowl, I used a bulky wool yarn and worked more increase rounds to make it bigger.

Gidget's Knitted Bed

Gidget's Knitted Bed

Guess what?!?  She likes it………just the way it is!  It doesn’t even have the ends woven in yet and hasn’t been felted.   As soon as I finished binding off, I set it down on the floor to see how big it looked.  Gidget came right over and sniffed it and then stretched out next to it and put her head on it to see if she was going to get in trouble.  When she didn’t get in trouble for putting her head on it she proceeded to put her whole self on it! 

She really does seem to like it just the way it is- I’ve picked it off the floor several times when she’s gone outside to potty and the minute she comes in she looks for it and I have to put it down again.  I do need to get the ends woven in but, now, I don’t know whether I should try to felt it or not.  She has already put a couple of snags in it with her claws so I’m thinking that perhaps I will just felt it a bit – just enough to get the wool fibers sticking together so they won’t snag.

I think I’d like it better if it was felted very firmly – it wouldn’t look so floppy and messy when it’s on the floor.  Hmm, I just wonder which way it will end up in the end???

This week I have been so unfocused.  I wanted to get a post done with lots of pictures of the Taos Wool Festival but I took so many pictures I can’t even decide which ones I want to edit and put in a post.  On Friday, I have a summons to Jury Duty and I’m really not looking forward to that.  I’ve reported for Jury Duty several times and it involves many hours of sitting around while people are interviewed and a jury is selected.  Today, I tried to think of a simple, small knitting project I could start and then bring in a little bag in my purse to work on – I’m not even sure if you are allowed to knit.  I could see where it wouldn’t be a good thing during a trial but it shouldn’t hurt to knit during all that endless interviewing of prospective jurors.  Time will tell.

You can click on the picture for a larger view.