a place of my own

So, Marti wrote a few days ago about organizing her little crafty space and I know the whole; “show us your workspace” thing has gone around a few times. I even showed off my space in the garage awhile back but I’ve never showed you the craft cubby. About a year ago I decided that I needed to carve out a little space in our little house for me. So I did.

This is the north end of my living room.
workspace-wall.jpg
This is what hides behind it.
my-craft-workspace.jpg
These are my yarn bins – stuffed I tell ya! I may need more soon, time to start stacking :)
yarn-bins.jpg
And because its Halloween I will remind you of Halloweens past and show you the first jack-o-lanterns ever carved by the girls – all by themselves.
jackolanterns-07.jpg
Toots

Monkey See, Monkey Do

Our oldest daughter, Aurelia, aka “the Bean” – age 6, has started her own blog;
The Bean Patch.
She writes in a journal each day at school and we thought it would be a grand experiment to have her begin blogging. Stop on over and say hi, she is just too excited to have her own space and her own official e-mail!
beans-avatar.jpg
Toots

Squeak in the Night

A quick post tonight. First, Saebra’s contribution to our holiday decorations;
her “Flapping Bat”
saebras-bat.jpg
She says the red writing is actually bats caught in the sunset – it looks Japanese to me!

I’m finishing up a layette set of my own design for a class that I’m teaching this winter at WEBS. Here are a few pics of bits. This has been a by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of piece. Now that it’s almost done I’ll work up a second set and write the pattern as I go. Then I might offer it up for test crocheting. If you’re interested let me know.
layette-boots.jpg  layette-bonnet.jpg layette-bonette-detail.jpg

Toots

The Long and Winding Road

The only reason I wish I’d brought my camera on Saturday was for the view. I’ll get to that.

Karen, the WEBS Store Mgr, picked me up at 6ish on Sat morning and we headed down to the store to get ready for the trip. Our Peter Pan bus was already there with Driver Dave rearin’ to go. I think he was confused by a bus full of women wanting to go to what he repeatedly called a “country fair” :)
I got to direct traffic and sent most of the cars to park behind the building for the day, and at 7:30 we pulled out of the parking lot, everyone accounted for and on time. The good folks at WEBS included a goody bag with maps, Eucalan samples, needles, Classic Elite Duchess yarn and a pattern for a cabled hat. We headed down 91 and hopped onto 90 west and here is where I missed the camera. Coming down into the Berkshire valley in Lee, up and over into West Stockbridge the views were breathtaking. I shouldn’t be surprised by that, I grew up over there after all, but still! The sun was behind us, the foliage was at absolute peak perfection and all the little valleys were filled with mist. Calendar perfect pics folks
We got to the Duchess County Fairgrounds around 10 and the ladies off the bus, through the Main gate and gone in less than 2 minutes. I started my wander through with Karen and Gail, the Kangaroo Dyer and the first thing we saw was… a Kangaroo! Gail was just tickled. I made it as far as the first barn with them and I got happily tied up talking to Barb Jager of Jager Farm Icelandics in Haydenville. After that I wandered pretty much solo for the next 4 hours – it was glorious. I saw the Harlot but let her have the privacy to shop since I’ve already met her and I knew she was fighting the flu, I ran into Katy several times, hawking Melissa’s book – There’s a SECRET inside!! That was me, not Katy, she was much more subtle and restrained with postcards and stickers –
I ran into Jess, and got a button (whee!) I saw Melissa and Amy, Dena and Mary, a couple of lovely teachers from NJ that I had helped to find the perfect sock yarn a few weeks back at the store, and of course the Ravelry/Blogger Bingo mosh pit that happened at noon.
I said hi to Stitchy and made plans for dinner with the boys, I crossed off a few squares (Cece was actually on the bus with me so I cheated a bit and had her crossed off by 8am) but really – Holy mass of humanity Batman! I only lasted about 15 minutes and I just couldn’t stand the crowd anymore – nothing wrong with any of them! They were just too many for me. So, I headed over for some famous Artichokes French, just trust me – best green vegetable at a fair Evar! I ate lunch under an awesome oak tree, wandered into the food hall, sampled some wine and cheese and sweets, bought some peanutbutter fudge and ended back up with Karen and Gail.
Somewhere in there I managed to pick up a few things from Autumn House Farm, Hudson Valley Sheep&Wool Co, Simpler Thyme and Jager Farm. We made it back to the Happy Valley at 6 and I was sound asleep at home by 9.  Oh. And I started a Clapotis on the bus.
A great trip, I loved not having to drive, walking the barns alone but running into people that I enjoy and seeing all those happy faces. Yarn! Fiber! Needles! Animals! Wheels! Absolutely to be repeated in 12 months.
autumn-house-farm-sock-yarn.jpg best-soap-evar.jpg hudson-valley-sheepwool-co-sock-yarn.jpg jaeger-farms-icelandic-laceweight-circus-tent.jpg
webs-give-away-goodies.jpg icelandic-minis.jpg bagged-rhinebeck-goodies.jpg clapotis-in-progress.jpg
Toots

My Favorite Plum

 homemade-cider.jpg

Right. So.
You’ve made all the apple sauce you can fit in your biggest pan. You’ve made apple pies. You’ve told the kids to “Go get an apple!” every time they have asked for a snack for the past 2 weeks.
What’s a family to do when there’s still a peck left?

Make cider :)
saeb-grinding-apples.jpg re-grinding-apples.jpg pressing-the-mash.jpg apple-cider.jpg
The last few years we have had our own press – thanks to the hard work of the Hubby – but we used to cut and core the apples before placing then in a food processor to get our mash. It felt too high tech, like we were cheating somehow. So, the Hubby made a grinder and we tried it out this afternoon. He builds stuff good.

I’ve been cutting, sewing, and dyeing up Halloween costumes for most of the afternoon I’ll be able to finish up in the evenings this week.
Yesterday in Rhineback was an exhausting blast. I did not take my camera, I figured every other blogger in the world would have pics and I could send you over to see them if you choose. I’ll have pics of my goodies and a full story later tonight or tomorrow. Right now we’re off to the opening of the new playground at the Bean’s school.

Toots

N-37

Bingo Anyone?

pic-of-me.jpg

That’s me and I’ll be wearing this, and my favorite new orange bag

chxbetty-pin.jpg

The following ladies need be prepared for a looming sticker to be

placed upon their names!

AnnieMichelleMary Louise & MollyJulianneClairePamMarieNorma,

AmyKathy,  Monica, AmyMelRuthSharonKimberlyElisaJessJeri,

AnnieKatyJeshGlenna,  Jen, and Susanne.

See you all in Rhinebeck!!

Toots

Prairie Girl

 brunette-doll1.JPG brunette-doll2.JPG brunette-doll3.JPG

As promised, pics of Ember’s birthday present (it’s a project I’ve had on the back burner for a bit) I hope to be able to get more of these done soon and into my Etsy shop for the holidays.
Ember has named her Seneca Carmelina and apparently hasn’t let her out of sight yet.
brunette-doll4.JPG
Toots

Revolution

Yup, wicked good

Kim Werker is awesome. Not only is she adorable and completely captivating in person but she is lovely and sweet and has a hysterical family to boot.

Her book launch party for Crochet Me – the book, was today at Webs and it was a blast. It was the kind of event you hope for as a spectator and the kind you pray for as a business owner. There was a great, enthusiastic crowd, Kim’s presentation of the material was informative, funny, touching and moved at a great pace and the trunk show was amazing.

I didn’t take pics of the sweaters – go get yourself a copy of the book, or better yet, get a copy at one of her events and you can see the garments for yourself :)

I have my signed copy of the book and I just need to decide if I’m going to make the Victorian Wrap, Mesmerize, or Leaves first!

Right at the end, as wine was being spilled and wine glasses were getting broken – I told you it was a good time – Jess from Ravelry stopped by. Double Whammy!

I Kinneared them both. That’s Kim Werker – oh so chic, and Jess with Kathy Elkins
kinneared-kim-werker.JPG kinneared-jess-and-kathy.JPG
AH, another awesome day in Sara-ville. Sadly though I missed a birthday party for my friend’s middle daughter but I was able to send along the Hubby and munchikins with a great gift. I’ll elaborate tomorrow, with pics

Toots

You’re In the Army Now

Ooo ooo ooo,
luna-hogsmeade-raw.JPG luna-hogsmeade-pinned.JPG 
Tomorrow is the book launch for Kim Werker’s new book, Crochet Me: Designs to Fuel the Crochet Revolution at 2. I’ll be working but it should be a blast. I love seeing enthusiastic crocheters – sometimes I get a little knit overloaded (like it’s the only craft in the world that you would need yarn for)
That and the crochet class that I have been teaching have really got me hooking again. I have a great group of really enthusiastic ladies of all skill levels who seem to be having a great time. This is the second Crochet 1 class that I have taught at Webs and each time I have been just tickled by the percentage of my students that learned how to crochet as children but don’t think they know how to anymore – they sure do pick it back up real quick :)
Anyway I was inspired to do up a quick little project to wear tomorrow, A Luna Lovegood scarf. I took some initial sketches in the theatre while watching Order of the Phoenix and then I scoured the internet for pics of the scenes from Hogsmeade. By the time I got around to actually making the scarf someone else had sussed out a pattern. I added a few little tweaks of my own and used the yarn that first came to mind in the theatre and I’m thrilled with the finished project. Once it finishes blocking tonight I’ll add the fringe.
luna-hogsmeade-upclose.JPG luna-hogsmeade-chain-up-close.JPG
Toots

…keeps the doctor away…

apple-slices-up-close.JPG
Clearly my cousin Geoffrey does not win, though he did guess correctly, “…yeah I wouldn’t know the first thing about knitting nor do I know any lady knitters.” Silly boy – we need to hook him up.
food-mill.JPG
Yes, it is a food mill. Yes, we made apple sauce. We’re calling it Fall Field Trip because most of the apples came from the girls class trips to the orchard, nice mix of Macouns, McIntosh and a peck of Courtlands from our trip to Atkins with my Mom 2 weeks ago. We managed 6 pint sized mason jars which are now in the deep freeze till the holidays when the sauce will be thawed and given as gifts. Yum
applesauce-on-the-boil.JPG
I’ve been grinning all day in anticipation, I really have. I LOVE giving. It is next to impossible for me to keep the girls holiday and birthday presents secret from them. Patrick and I have completely failed to keep our holiday gifts from each other for the last 12 years.

So, the spoils: one Cookie A Flicker Sock Pattern, one set of 1.5US pony pearl needles – these are my favorite for socks, and a gorgeous skein of Franklin in Cherries – there’s a better picture of the great, subtle color change here.
applesauce-prize-pack.JPG
Our winner? Blogless Kate. She’s a newer knitter that’s churned out some pretty cool stuff so far and is dying to try her hand at socks. Serendipity? I’ll have to start her out with something simpler that will keep her interest. Anybody got a favorite first sock pattern? Jaywalkers? Horcrux’s? Let me know.

Oh and the bonus? The apple sauce recipe is mine and Kate gets a copy.
The story for the bonus? Hee hee

When I was a kid I cooked a lot with my Dad’s mom, Nanny. A great cook she was not – ask my Aunts about the hockey puck cube steaks or our family tradition of burning the rolls every Thanksgiving – but she was a great baker. She had a 60’s era Betty Crocker Cookbook for kids, probably belonged to one of those Aunts, and I loved working my way through the recipes. When I was 8 or 9 she got me my own copy from England Brothers – I was ecstatic!

I subjected my family to all sorts of experimental meals. Ask my Dad about the “Meatloaf Rings”. It was supposed to be a ring of delicious meatloaf with a pile of fluffy mashed potatoes nestled in the middle. Well the rings separated and we all ate meatloaf turds that night. Dad made some horrible sarcastic comment, thinking that it was Mom who had made the meal, and I think I focused on baking for awhile after that.

I totally forgive you Dad, it is one of my favorite childhood stories and I laugh till I cry just thinking about it now. The adult that I am now would have said the same thing :)

Once I refocused on the baking I found the “Caramel Applesauce” recipe. I made it to bring to our big Christmas Eve dinner with my Mom’s family one year and it was a hit! I made it every Christmas till I went off to college. Of course back then I labored along with a potato ricer for the right texture – Oh Hail the glorious and ever-so-much-easier food mill. Somewhere between Massachusetts, Long Island, Massachusetts, Georgia and Massachusetts I lost the book and the memory of it. Not until Patrick and I moved back to the Bay State in 1998 and were going to celebrate the holidays with the family did I think about my favorite apple sauce recipe. I scoured Mom’s cabinets for the book, ransacked the attic of my Grampy’s barn (that’s where the detritus of all our lives has somehow ended up over the last 40 years) but to no avail. I even checked the local B&N for a Betty Crocker book with the recipe but I found nothing. On a whim one day I decided to use something new; the internet. Keep in mind that we had only just discovered that we could use the computer for much more than e-mail and games – heck, eBay was less than 2 years old. So I searched for the Betty Crocker website and e-mailed Betty with my dilemma. She e-mailed me back about a day later – Shock of all shocks! This internets thing works! Not only did she thank me for my interest and “endearing” story (a much edited version of what lies before you) but she included the recipe – Thee recipe!!

*Joy*

It has been modified a bit over the years and Betty never recommended a food mill or a potato ricer, hers was just chunky, but it is a family favorite. I’m not giving away my secrets – except to Kate, but here is the original recipe. Give it a try and see if it doesn’t become one of your family’s favorites.

Caramel Apple Sauce

6 Med Apples              1/2c water
3 tbs butter                 ¼ tsp nutmeg
1/2c brown sugar       ¼ tsp cinnamon

Melt sugar and butter in large stockpot over med heat. Peel, core and chop apples into approx ½ inch pieces. Toss apples in stockpot till well coated. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Raise to med-high heat and bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 mins.
Serve warm or cold, approx 8 servings.

Thanks for playing along. You guys crack me up.

Toots