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I know you’ve been dying to know the updates for a few of the things that have been going on around here lately… broken motors and messed up knitting can weigh on a blog reader’s mind.

Broken Motor Update:

Well, it looks as if the broken motor can be fixed!  It was brought to a machine shop this week and they did something to make it all better.  Now Paul is lost somewhere in the garage putting all the pieces back where they go.  I haven’t seen him for a while.

On a side note, a conversation we had:

Me: “Ugh. What if he [the guy at the machine shop] can’t fix it?”

Paul: “Well, I have a motor that is 90% done – it just needs to go to the machine shop for one thing- so I’ll just use that one.”

Me: Silence.

Me again: “What???? You already have one practically ready to use?”

Paul: “Yes.”

Me: “How many motors do you have?”

Paul: “Total?”

Me: “Um…. I guess.”

Paul: “Four.”

Me: “Where are they?”

Paul: “In the shed.” [NOT the new garage we built to hold all his car stuff.  He has so much stuff, he apparently still has to store it in the shed with the lawn mower.]

Me: “Do you mean I spent all this time feeling badly for you because your most favorite-est hobby was squashed and you weren’t going to be able to race for the rest of the season, and you already had all the things you were going to need to fix the situation?????”

Paul: “But, it was going to be a pain in the neck to get that motor going if this one couldn’t be fixed.  That’s what was so upsetting.”

Me: Silence.  For a long time.

Messed Up Cocktails for Two Socks Update:

They were not messed up.  I had one of them turned in the wrong direction.  Duh.  Here they are, both ready to move onto the heel:


Wendy Knits Summer Shawl 2014 KAL Update:

Part #2 is done.  A fun, easy to follow pattern:


What if….? Scarf Yarn-That-Hurt-My-Hands Update:

I got new yarn.  Painted Sky in a pretty blue/purple colorway:


The color changes in the lighter color are more subtle in this Painted Sky colorway.  Hopefully I’ll be able to get a better picture when I’ve got more done.

New Project Update:

I’m about to start the Urban Lace Infinity Scarf, also with Painted Sky. (It’s a really nice yarn!):


It might or might not be a present for someone who may or may not read this blog.

Doodlebug Craft Update:

We made these last week, and after a week of drying they were finally done! Glass Gem Sun Catchers:


On a side note, they are going to be three in a few days and I just can’t believe it. They are growing up so fast.  A couple snippets from this past week:

Running around with big girl and big boy underpants on their heads and giggling uncontrollably.

Splashing around in a kiddie pool, and using the hose to pretend to be firefighters.

“I’m really tired.  I might fall asleep during lunch at Grandma’s.”

“Auntie Liz, I want to tell you something.  That moose crashed through the wall.” [telling me about a part of a book we read earlier in the day]

And my favorite: “I love you, Auntie Liz….I will miss you when you go home.”

Now that you have been updated, I’m sure you feel much better and can get on with your day.

Ice Cream and Veggies (but not at the same time)

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On Saturday, there was a post on Facebook stating that it was National Ice Cream Day.  And since I believe everything I read on Facebook, I told Paul and we quickly adjusted our errand date night to include a stop at an ice cream place.  After all, ice cream aficionados like us HAVE to have ice cream on National Ice Cream Day.  Back home, after a very yummy PB Mallow (vanilla soft serve with peanut butter and marshmallow topping) for me and a milkshake for Paul from Kurver Kreme, we were watching the news and they reported, “Tomorrow is National Ice Cream Day.”  Hooray!  Two days of ice cream.

In the meantime, I made a trip to The Spinning Room yarn shop to knit for a while and start all my things that needed to be started.  The Sea Glass Cowl, made with Autumn Wind, just flew off my needles and is already done:

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A really simple pattern – this would definitely make a quick and easy holiday gift.

I also started the What if….? scarf……


…..and very quickly discovered that I cannot use the Tangier yarn in this one.  It is took thick to use with size 7 needles which made it very difficult to knit.  So much so, that my hands were hurting.  And no, my hands weren’t hurting because I was knitting too much.  It was the yarn.  It also has a fair amount of silk and cotton in it, which means it is not very stretchy and therefore harder to knit with.  So, now I have to wait until tomorrow, and stop at the yarn shop on the way home from babysitting to grab a new yarn.  And no, I’m not waiting until Wednesday afternoon when I will be working there anyway.

But, let me tell you, here is a nice way to knit and then find out you can’t knit something:


So relaxing and peaceful out on the deck.  Even when you are realizing you are going to have to start over.

And finally, I started the second section of my Wendy Knits Summer Mystery Shawl 2014 Knit-a-long scarf.  Looks pretty much like it did before (but now we are adding short rows) so you are not getting a picture of that yet.  Picture to come when I’m done with the second section.

Ok, but really, the greatest thing about this weekend?  We got to dig into our very first ever CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) delivery from Patroon Land Farm!:


There are some collards there that I don’t think we are too keen on, but the CSA gave us a recipe for collard slaw that we will try.

We had some yummy salad with lettuce, frisee and broccoli (some from the CSA and some from my garden)….


I also made these totally yummy Corn Cake Stacks with Arugula and Cheddar:


So delicious!  Especially with fresh, sweet corn. These are from the The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook: 100 Delicious Heritage Recipes from the Farm and Garden.  (click there to get it on Amazon)  And here is my learned-from-watching-cooking-shows-fancy-pants way of getting the corn off the cob:


We ate the corn cakes with grilled pork chops and grilled zucchini, scallions and broccoli.


(Yes, my food styling skills are seriously lacking.  Except for the corn cakes.  They pretty much look like the recipe picture.)

So good to eat fresh veggies and so good to know we are supporting a local farm and food bank.


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I’ve got finishitis. I said recently that I wanted to finish one of my languishing not-done projects before I started another project, but now that I have finished one, I’m on a roll and getting some other things done too. Now, I want to finish ALL the things.  Sometimes you just get that spring cleaning thing in your mind… even though it’s the middle of July.  Plus, I did start a knit-a-long project and have two more projects to start this Saturday, as you will see, so getting more things done to balance those out is not a bad thing.

So, first up are the finished Through the Loops Mystery Sock 2014:


In my last post, I think I told you I started them in “March-ish”.  Well, I was right if you consider January 15  “March-ish”. Love them.

Then I finished my Hidden Gusset Mitts:


I only have a picture of one since one is in the yarn shop as a class sample, so, yet again you will have to trust me that they are both done!  A really fun knit, with some lifted increases to make that diagonal pattern.  Fairly quick too – they would make a great gift.  There are still spots left in the class I’m teaching for these, which starts next Wednesday so if you are local, call The Spinning Room to sign up!

And now I’m finishing my Knitter’s Brewing Company Mystery Sock VI: Cocktails for Two socks that I started January 31:


I’m pretty sure these are supposed to be mirror images.  Hmmmm.  Notice anything?  I have no idea what’s going on or what went wrong.  And I’m pretty sure my friend Lisa’s – who also knit these socks and finished them a long time ago – do not look like this.  I’m pretty sure that cable-y looking part on the left sock is supposed to be slanting toward the left alongside that ribbed part.  I started the sock with the orange marker first and got to the point you see now, then started the one with the green marker and put it down after about two inches.  Just picked it back up after many months, and started knitting from where I left off.  I swear I’m following the instructions.  And I can tell you this:  I’m not starting over.  I just can’t stand the thought, and I’m so determined to get them done that I’m going to continue telling myself that if I’m following the instructions correctly, then it will all work out in the end and that this probably actually does look the way it is supposed to.  I’m such a weirdo. [And really, maybe I should consult with Lisa.  Who will probably tell me it's wrong and that I should probably start the one sock over which I will probably think about and then probably do.]

Ok, but now on to the good stuff.  The STARTING of things!

I started the Wendy Knits Summer Mystery Shawl 2014 KAL last Saturday and had to first clue done on Monday:


So far so good.  I love the colors in my Periwinkle Sheep Single & Looking yarn.  The colorway is called “Summer Garden”.  The second of three clues comes out tomorrow.

Also, The Spinning Room is having a Christmas-in-July-and-August knit-a-long, which starts tomorrow, to help us get a jump on Christmas knitting.  All I had to do was tell the shop what I was planning to knit and, if I finish, I get entered into a prize drawing.  Fun!  So I am going to knit the Sea Glass Cowl with this:


(Autumn Wind Hand-Dyed in the “Lily Gardens” colorway)  And, since that is a very small project, will knit the What if….? scarf with this:


(The navy blue yarn is Cascade 220)  I can’t start these until tomorrow.  I read that to mean I have to start both of them tomorrow.  Even though I have quite some time to finish them, and another knit-a-long to work on which I will need to finish a part of before next Saturday. But really, I’m just too excited, so I will have to.  If you are a knitter, you totally understand.  If you are not a knitter, it’s just another example of what a weirdo I am.

Broke 101

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Reading the title of this post, you may be thinking this will be some sort of tutorial for what happens when you go broke.  Spend all your money.  None left.  Well, you would be wrong.

When a drag racer is going down the track and something happens to his/her car so that it needs to stop and be pulled over to the side of the track, you may hear people say “He/She broke.”  [This is different from when you hear them say, "He/She broke out" which means the racer crossed the finish line faster than he/she said they would and therefore lost the race.]  There is usually a collective gasp because the “break” is often times preceded by a puff of smoke out the back of the car.  Then there is a  collective “Ugh” when all realize this is probably a big deal, especially if the car needs to be towed off the track.

Well, people.  That is what happened to Paul this weekend.  Booooooooooooooooo.  I was not there to witness the carnage as it happened.  Only later, as you will see.  On his very first pass down the track, he felt some shaking then a noise, with that puff of smoke out the back and then everything stopped.

He came home upset, understandably.  While at the track, they were able to do a little investigating as to what happened.  They found this:

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Bear with me in my not-very-articulate car parts knowledge.  But that up there on top is apparently a bent rocker arm with a crack in the circular part of the one sticking up.  Then there is half a circle that should be whole.

I felt terrible for Paul.  When the car does that, you just know it’s not something good and it could mean that the engine block got damaged and that is REALLY bad.  As in, need-a-whole-new-engine bad.  As in, a bazillion and a half dollars bad.  So, even though I don’t usually help with car stuff – except for helping to take off the hood or sit in the car and press the brake pedal to bleed the brakes – I offered to help.  What did he need help with you ask?  Why, pulling the whole engine out of the car, of course.  Easy peasy.

First was getting the car out of the trailer and into the garage:

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….which was so much easier with our new garage.  Just one little push from me to get it rolling out of the trailer and it was done.  With our old garage, there would have been a ton of pushing up a humongous hill.  You know, the hill which is actually the lip of the concrete into the garage but seems like a humongous hill when you are pushing a 4000 pound station wagon from a dead stop.  [And also, as you can see, "my" car is no longer a priority.  Just pushed off to the side.  Literally.  Since it has no engine.]

I undid lots of bolts, as directed, and took lots of things out from under the hood:


Aside from the spark created when I put a wrench somewhere I thought I was supposed to put it, all went well.

Then I worked the crane thing:


And it was surprisingly easy to lift that 500 pound thing out of the car.

Empty car:


Then I went inside for a knitting break while Paul did some other stuff.   This is a good time to tell you I finished one of my knit-a-long socks:


I’m well into the second one and will hopefully be done soon.  I’m getting a little bored of them to tell the truth.

I went back outside just in time for the big reveal of the carnage.  Paul took off some cover thing and we saw this:



Top and bottom left, and bottom right are pictures of a piston with a big hole in it.  We could see right into the oil pan. (I think.)  Top right is the head, and the hole in the left side of the head is where a valve should be.  It was in the oil pan.(I think.)

If you non-car people aren’t yawning by now (the car people are on the edge of their seats, though), I’ll just let you know the good news and be done:  the engine block was not damaged, which means these things can be fixed and replaced.  If it doesn’t cost a bazillion dollars.  Now that I think about it, the title of this post could be about going broke….

P.S. This is how organized my husband the engineer is:


He used up all my label-making tape. [And also?  what does one do with all those "extra" nuts, bolts and washers?  I guess you never know when you'll need one.  Or eighty.]


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So much knitting and spinning going on!  I won’t bore you with another picture of my red roving that I’m spinning.  But, I’m making progress and will show you when I’m done.  Which has to be soon, since it is a fair submission and the items are due in a week. (I think.  I better check.)

But, look at this cutie patootie Tiny Tea Leaves sweater that I finished:


….complete with the REALLY cutie patootie hippo buttons:


And now I’m on an I-better-finish-an-unfinished-project-before-I-start-another-becuase-the-unfinished-pile-is-bugging-me  kick.  Don’t you have those?  So, I’m finishing my Through the Loops Mystery Knit-a-Long 2014 socks that I started back in March(ish):


One sock almost done.  The other 1/2 done.   The toes will have stripes!  I’m determined to get these done asap.

HOWEVER….. (did you notice that there is always a HOWEVER…)

There is this other mystery knit-a-long starting.  And I wanted to use my new Periwinkle Sheep yarn:


So I have today to finish those socks, since this knit-a-long starts tomorrow.  (Hmmmmm.  In my head I can totally do it.)

Ok, and then there is this, which finally arrived in the mail the other day, and I’m dying to start them:


I ordered this six weeks ago, not realizing that it would take six weeks to get here.  It was one of those impulse buys.  If you remember, I’m not terribly patient.

Impulse buy + six week shipping = buzzkill.  But, now that it’s here…..

I’ll let you know how things turn out.

Synesthesia – do YOU have it?

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I was supposed to blog about synesthesia a while ago but it got lost in a jumble of knitting, spinning and food items.  I heard about Synesthesia on a podcast when a woman was talking about associating certain people with colors.  As the podcast went on, I realized that I have a form of this, the “spatial sequence” form.

According to Wikipedia: “Synesthesia (also spelled synæsthesia or synaesthesia, from the ancient Greek σύν [syn], “together”, and αἴσθησις [aisthēsis], “sensation“) is a neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway.  In spatial-sequence, or number form synesthesia, numbers, months of the year, and/or days of the week elicit precise locations in space (for example, 1980 may be “farther away” than 1990), or may appear as a three-dimensional map (clockwise or counterclockwise).”

So, when I think about days of the week, I picture them in a circle in my mind like this:


When we are “on” a certain day of the week, my view of the week ahead (or days that have passed) is from that certain day, as if I am standing on that day, looking around the circle.  If I’m trying to think of something happening in a week and a half, I picture going around the circle one and a half times, from the day of the week I am “standing” on.

Same with months of the year:


If I’m picturing getting some knitting ready for Christmas, I’m standing on July, looking over to December.  Weird, I know.

As for numbers, here is how I “see” them:


When I am thinking of a certain number I am picturing it on that line, which is not straight and I have no idea why.  It makes another turn when I get to 100.  Curiously, the days of the week go counter clockwise, but the numbers go (somewhat) clockwise.  If I’m counting, I’m traveling along that line.  Same with picturing years.  Again, weird, I know.  I asked my husband if he thought of things like this and he looked at me strangely and said no.  Anyone else think like this?

Weekend “Adventures”

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Let me preface this blog post, after that intriguing title, to say that by “adventures” I mean “what usually happens around here”.  The first adventure was the large amount of yard work I agreed to do Paul and I did together.  We had to move several piles of dirt and reeds that had been taken out of the pond:


(there were many more than this picture would indicate) and put them in the woods:


My favorite kind of yard work: The hard, boring kind.  Luckily it was a beautiful, not-hot day.

Then there was lots of weeding and tidying up of the beds in front of the house.  As I was trimming back the huge mound of flopped over daffodil stems, there was a sudden flurry of activity that scared the bejeezus out of me.   At first I thought there were rats coming out of it.  But then I realized they were three baby bunnies.  UGH!  I had totally messed up and disturbed their nest.  No more cover or protection since I had chopped it all away.  They ran for additional cover around the corner, under some lilies, next to the house/chimney.


Smack in the middle of this picture, you can just make out a little bit of fur.  I felt terrible!  They stayed there for some time.  I checked on them later and they were still there, then in the morning they were gone so I assumed their mom came to get them.  When I looked online, I was relieved to see that at the size they were, they can likely survive on their own anyway, and that the mom stays away during the day to lure predators away from the nest.  She likely came back around dusk and found them.  I hope.

Our other adventure was our yearly trip to the Washington Park Playhouse to see an outdoor musical.  This year there are two productions and this month it was “Hands on a Hardbody”.  It was about the lives of the various people taking part in a contest to win a truck by being the last person with their hand on the truck. A musical about this.  We were intrigued.

It was a beautiful night to sit outside and I did a little knitting while we waited for the show to start:


Does this tell you how exciting the show was?:

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Not really.  [This was Paul joking around at intermission about how "exciting" it was. Pretty convincing.] That first picture of the stage is pretty much what we saw the whole evening, except sometimes during a song, the car would turn and people would sing/stand on it.  Entertaining enough, but not one of our favorites.  We really enjoy the Park Playhouse and go every year, but I guess we can’t love them all.  We are hoping to enjoy the August production of “Oliver!” a little more.

Paul also worked on “my” car, which is not normally terribly remarkable, but I walked outside and saw this and it was just kind of funny:


That’s him in the car, apparently doing some sort of loud, grinding of spot welds on the floor.  I think.

And finally, in preparation for lunches this week, I tried a new salad recipe:  Quinoa with Tomato Basil and Mozzarella


It doesn’t look terribly appetizing (I had to arrange the red tomatoes to give this picture some color) but it is really tasty!  I used my cherry balsamic vinegar in the dressing, and I added some fresh corn.  A great, cold salad for hot summer days!  Plus, it’s from the Pioneer Woman and I pretty much love everything she does.  I love her cooking show.  I love her ranch.  I love her blog.   She’s up there with Martha and Ina in my book.

I’ve got a busy week ahead.  Stay tuned for knitting, spinning, doodlebug adventures and who knows what else?


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Lately I’ve been obsessed with smores.  It probably has something to do with this humongous chocolate bar from Hershey’s Chocolate World that we had on hand:



And this is totally the time of year for smores right?

They, or some version of them, keep popping up on my computer.

I saw them here: Huffington Post Smores Article

And here:  Martha Steward S’mores Cookies

And here: Cookies and Cups Smores Fudge Bars 

So, on the 4th of July, we had a little cookout and despite the grill being on, I made some smores in the oven!  I printed out recipes for the last two and decided to try the Cookies and Cups recipe because it had homemade marshmallow fluff – something new for me to try.

First I crunched up a bunch of graham crackers and made a crust, while I melted a large hunk of that chocolate bar together with sweetened condensed milk:


Poured the chocolate on the crust and let it cool/set:


While that was happening I heated the sugar, corn syrup and water to 240 degrees:


….using my candy meat thermometer.

Whipped up some egg whites:

Then, poured the 240 degree syrup into the egg white veeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrry slowly.  I’m not showing you a picture of that because I only have two hands and one of them was holding a pot of 240 degree syrup.

Seven minutes later it was marshmallow fluff:


And IT. WAS. SO. GOOD.  Better than the jarred stuff.  Absolutely.  [I have a little leftover and will be making myself a peanut butter and fluff sandwich.  Something Paul thinks is gross.   What?????]

Spread that on the chocolate, toasted it in the broiler and dug in:


So. Yummy.  Toasty gooey marshmallow with melty milk chocolate and crisp, buttery graham cracker.  The best smores ever.

Later, I took a nice, neat picture, after it had set up in the fridge:


But it is really not that great cold.  Popped it into the microwave and it was gooey, melty and sublime again.

Later that night, a beautiful sky behind us:


….while we watched our neighbor’s fireworks from our deck:



Spinning and Yarn and such

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I finished spinning one batch of roving:

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(this yarn is brown in real life. not gray.) 100% wool from the local Sleighbell Farm.  I have not measure the WPI (wraps per inch) but it is 107grams (3 3/4 ounces) and approximately 240 yards so I think it is probably a light worsted weight.

And then I resumed spinning the next batch:


This one is a wool/silk blend by Fiber Optic Yarns that I got at Rhinebeck last year (I think).

What they say is true:  Practice makes perfect.  These are not perfect.   Way, way far from it. But, my spinning is much better now that I’ve been spinning somewhat more regularly.   It is becoming thinner and much more consistent.  No big blobs and skinny bits right near each other.  These are the yarns that I will be entering in the fair competitions.

So there was that.

Then there was the starting of this, for a cutie patootie:


A Tiny Tea Leaves cardigan.

Then there was the progress in my garden:

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And the lesson from my friend, Yvette, that this means broccoli is a little past the harvest time:


If you can’t see them, there are yellow flowers in there and the head of broccoli is spreading out.  I picked it anyway and on Yvette’s suggestion, left the rest of the plant since it may grow some more little offshoots to pick.  I also got some garlic scapes from Yvette to try since I’ve never cooked them before.  Thanks for everything Yvette!

Then there was this:


Bubble mowers are a never-ending source of fun!