Sock Swap Pictures FINALLY

Finally, finally,the camera came home and after a couple of days, the cord came home, too! Here are the long promised pictures of the awesomeness my sockapalooza upstream angel sent.

WARNING: You may experience fits of extreme jealousy!

Mmmmm... Yummy stuff to bake: A coconut brownie mix, scone mix and a white chocolate raspberry pie mix. Do you have any idea how hard it was to not scarf all this down pre-photo?

Twisted Sisters Sock WorkbBoo. This covers every aspect of making socks from plying the yarn to finishing techniques. An emergency skein of STR and a skein of Socks That Rock in woodsy fall colors:
Two - count em - two bags. One is a nifty little project bag in a gorgeou bright puzzle print and the other is a larger quilted bag with angels on the fabric. It's big enough to carry "road trip" knitting. (You know, when you're going somewhere and it's a long drive and you have to take 3-4-5 or 6 projects along to work on in the car.)
The best for last: Look at these socks! Perfect color (with little beads incorporated in the pattern), perfect fit and the best feeling softest yarn.. mmm... She even sent all the remaining yarn in case I needed to lengthen the socks. (Not gonna - I love them as they are.)

The other thing I've been working on are these: Awww, grandbaby socks. There's not really a pattern, but I blatantly copied the toe style from Colin and incorporated nupps which I just tried out on a practice piece recently.


Meat Loaf Ain't for Sissies

Cooking was something learned after I'd set up housekeeping when I was very young. Mostly the way things were figured out was simply by eating things somewhere and trying to remember what they tasted like they had in them. (That was almost in English, wasn't it?)
I had some burger I needed to use and thought I'd share the 'recipe'. It's not really a true recipe, because there is so much leeway in the ingredient list. Some things are 'must haves' and some things are 'good to haves'. Anyway, here ya go:
This makes 2 good size meat loaves. One for dinner and one for either freezing or sandwiches for lunches the rest of the week.
First off, set the oven to preheat to 350 F.
In a 'big ole ginormous' bowl, put all the following ingredients
  • 2# or a little more of the leanest ground meat you can get (we use a lot of turkey).
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 large or 2 regular ribs celery diced up
  • Either 3 slices of stale bread torn to bits or 1/2 cup uncooked quick oats or 1/2 cup of your favorite bread crumbs.
  • 1 small bell pepper diced up (red is really pretty, but all colors taste good)
  • Either 1 clove garlic crushed up or a liberal sprinkle of garlic powder (We use lots more cause we like garlic)
  • 2 eggs
  • A big ole generous squirt of ketchup (probably 1/2 cup) Squeeze the bottle til it makes that gross noise one time!

Spices - If you don't get a little happy with spices, you have a big bland chunk of baked meat ((shudder)). I use the following, but experiment away - use a little more than you think you'll need (trust me on this)

  • 1 Tablespoon (or more) Old Bay seasoning and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper sprinkle of dry mustard


  • 1 Tablespoon (or more) of salt free Everglades seasoning a little tiny bit of chili powder and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper


  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons (at least - we think more is better) of Italian seasoning, a pinch of cumin, a pinch of extra rosemary and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper
The idea here is to use a fairly strong combination of spices that you and yours like the taste of. Obviously at my house we likes da cayenne pepper....
Take off ALL your rings and put them in your pocket. Now start squishing this up with your hands. Keep squishing until everything is all mixed up and the texture of the meat has changed from little ground up squiggles to a uniform consistency. Pretend it's kids play clay! If you're PO'd or irritated with anything, now is the time to let it out a little.
Divide this into 2 fairly equal parts. Put it into 2 baking dishes. (8 or 9 inches across) Smoosh it down and use your fingertips to dimple the top until it looks like a really bad case of cellulite (you know, chubby thigh)
Mix up 1C ketchup and 1 C water and pour equally over the two meat loafs. Put in the oven for an hour. Mmmm good.
Other stuff that has made appearance in meatloaf depending on what's in my produce drawer that needs to be used.
Chopped up spinach leaves
Shredded carrot
Shredded zuchini
Green onions chopped up
Handful of chopped parsley
Cup of drained canned diced tomatoes (this is very good)
Things NOT to use EVER (trust me on this)
Cabbage in any form
Turnips in any form
More than a leaf of cilantro unless you really like meat that tastes 'green' (too vegetabley if that's a word)
Corn, peas, green beans
Anyway, enjoy. It's actually really good and easy and sort of fun with all the squishing.
Oh, put your rings back on


One li'l picture

I haven't forgotten this blog. I've just been waiting around for the camera to come home. Maybe tonight it will come back.

I do have one li'l picture. It's this:

That's the yarn I ordered for the Clapotis knit along. If you want to join, or just see what's going on, you can go here.

For other stuff, it's a rainy dreary day and I am feeling wonderful! Seems like a contradiction, doesn't it? The thing is, I slept about 7 hours last night. For most people that's no big deal, but around here it practically qualifies as a miracle. Evil cat (Princess) usually decides around 2:00 am that she really, truly needs a bowl of hot water (yep, hot water). When she tries to wake me up, Lucy (the dog on my header) tries to protect me and usually ends up jumping on me trying to get to the cat. Gooooooood morning! Last night, everyone was good and let me sleep in 'til 4:30.

For some reason, I was thinking about life lessons this morning. One that is hard to learn (or was for me): The world does not revolve around you. No matter how much we want it to, it just doesn't work that way.

It was such a shock when this dawned on me when I was younger. After you get used to the idea, it's really sort of comforting. It frees you up in so many ways. You don't have to be cool. You don't have to worry about how to be the center of attention. No wasted energy wondering why everyone doesn't like you. You can go on through your life making sure that the ones you love know they're loved. Make your little area as good as you can. Hopefully try to make someone else's area a little nicer.

PLUS you can stop wasting time judging everything. Here's an example of the trying not to judge.... (trying)

At a small local store, we were waiting in the checkout line. The counters are set up in a confusing way and a young man went to the wrong side of the counter and was told to get in the back of the line. The clerk was an older (late 60's) lady and got really upset with him, telling us he was stupid and should pay attention, etc... We're usually the people that say hi to clerks, try to be pleasant and thank them for taking care of our transaction. She was busy being upset to the point of being rude. As we were leaving, the first thought you have is "What a B***h!" Then, it occurs to you, she's at least in her late 60s. You KNOW she doesn't want to be working on her feet as a cashier at this stage of her life. She must have a great need in her life if this is what she has to do. (If you've never done it, let me tell you, it's work! Hours and hours on your feet on concrete.)

Oh well, enough brain farts for one day... hopefully some nice pictures soon..


Can't wait to tell this one....

OK OK gotta tell you this...
Remember how I was whining about how life in general sucks and we've had some problems and I needed to remember that things work out?? Of course you don't. But, that's fine. I'll reiterate a bit here. Through my life, it's always happened that things work out. Often not the way I wanted, but the way they needed and usually in a much better way than I wanted.
Well, hubby changed jobs in early June to a commission only line of work. Can we say broke??? Thank goodness for Aldi stores and thank goodness we aren't big shoppers and thank goodness I can juggle like a circus star to keep creditors at bay. BUT, you kind of start to worry about all the responsibilities you have to take care of. You know, you sleep about 3 hours a night, no extras, no yarn even...
We got the Pittsburgh house sold!! Yes, it was a deficit closing (meaning we had to come up with more than we sold it for to get out from under the payments), but we won't be paying utilities through the winter again on a house we don't live in. Lemme tell ya - heating a 100+ yr old house in the northern part of the country ain't cheap. Not only will we no longer have that house payment, utility bills and dare-I-say-it the ridiculously high Allegheny County taxes, there was a small mistake made by the closing company in estimating the amount of money we needed to send to complete the deal. I take full responsibility for the mistake. For some reason, a southern accent does not translate well when you tell people in the northern part of the country that you've already paid expenses involved in the transaction. Soooo, when we got our packet of paperwork back, there are two, count 'em, two checks in there. The total is not hugely impressive, but it will surely help out around here.
AND, the husband had a deal 'come back from the dead'. One that was not going to work no matter what is now going full force and looks like it's going to come to fruition over the next couple of weeks.
It may not seem like much to you, but to us these represent the glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel and the first steps towards black out of a sea of red.
THAT's why I b*tch at myself about having a little faith and being patient. I just turned 50 (eewwww) and you would think I had that figured out by now.
The camera isn't back from it's little hiatus yet, but when it is you will be treated by the wonderfulness that is my Sockapalooza package. I've taken everything out of the box, fondled it, petted it, made the husband pet it, and put it all back in the box so you can see a re-enactment of the unveiling.



I've got to have the most generous swap pal ever! The socks are perfect. PLUS, there were so many gorgeous yummy excellent extras in the box. When the camera comes home, you'll get to see pictures, but I warn you, you'll be soooooo jealous.

Seriously, Michelle sent a wonderful thoughtful package that was better than I could ever have hoped for. It's one of those weird emotional days I get every so often, so I'll go finish crying now (in a good way).


Happy Birthday...

Yep, it's today.
It's so funny, my hubby wants to make a big deal out of birthdays. For him, there is the obligatory day off work, dinner out, singing the birthday song and reminders for days before and after "It's my birthday!"
My birthday has never been a big deal. I don't remember any birthday celebrations growing up. I only remember two as an adult. One was the day my dad married my stepmother. She's been a great gift to our family for 24 years today. The other was one where my first husband planned a party and then took off for hours leaving me to make excuses for why he wasn't there - bleah... The cake was good, though.
Today has potential for a very good day. I'll get a brand spanky new PA driver's license. HOORAY! I'll be legal. I haven't driven for a while because I'm such a chicken about getting caught with an out of state license when we've lived here for a while. PLUS, we get to send off the paperwork that will conclude the sale of the house in Pittsburgh.
That will be the end of two mortgages, two sets of local taxes and two sets of utility bills. Whew!! What a relief. I may have to jump up and demonstrate my disco diva dance moves! With husband's change of job, struggle does not even begin to describe the effort to pay for both houses.
One thing that will prolong my birthday is that my son will get the date wrong. He has NEVER gotten my birthday right. He will call on the 11th to wish me happy birthday. He always thinks it's the 11th. One thing, he IS consistent about wishing me happy birthday every year. Hmmmm... I wonder if I can extend the spoiling from my husband to include all five days??


AANNDDD They're Off!!

The sockapalooza socks are gone. So far from home. All the way across the country. <> They've been such a part of the family, we miss them already. In addition to the orangey socks, I sent a pair of lacy socks in a bright pink/yellow Sockotta cotton. It just seemed too hot to not send some cooler socks in a summery colorway.

She's also getting the lotion, some cable patterns for socks charted onto fridgie magnets, stitchmarkers and a weirdass little bag to keep the markers in. The bag got worse and worse the more I tried to fix it.

I embroidered it, sewed it together (sewed is a relative term here) and then washed it. EEEeeek. I'd never used that type of embroidery thread and the colors bled. Mmmm... well then I thought I'd tea dye it since the color was relatively light. Poor baby. She's getting a dirty looking little bag with color bleeding onto the fabric, but by George she's getting something that I'm sure down to my toes that no other participant is getting!!

I forgot about taking the picture until my husband got back from the post office. Ahhh well. Maybe she'll post a picture of it on her blog as the fugliest present she ever got. I would agree.

Non-sock related. I'm still plugging away on the MS3. With the current clue, we seem to be going off at an angle. Almost a lazy L shape. The fabric is beginning to look like feathers down this section, which is appropriate since the theme is 'Swan Lake'. If the rest is as pretty as what there is so far, I can see making this one again, which is a major commitment for a project polygamist like me.

For some reason, I thought I'd gotten the number of projects down, but looking around, I see that they are still multiplying.

  • The Dad afghan (I hardly ever work on this one.) It was started while staying with my dad right before he passed away last year. It's one of those projects that makes you cry a little bit even as you are remembering the good things.
  • Mittens for donation - I still need to make 3 more pair
  • Cream color shawl
  • Grey shawl
  • Multi-color mitred rug from leftovers that will get felted when finished
  • Crochet curtains for downstairs bathroom
  • Lilly of the Valley Scarf
  • Socks for other-mother.

Plus I finally found a cute sweater pattern for the great-nephew that is eluding me at the moment. I haven't cast on for that yet, thank goodness. I probably should since he is due to arrive in this world next week sometime. (Oh Geeze - Great Nephew?!?!! - It seems like his mom, my niece was just in diapers herself a few months ago)

On the animal front, our chicken now has a round fuzzy butt. Yep she pretty much finished her little molting spree by plucking out her tail feathers the other night.

It looks like the not so fun issues we've been dealing with around here are starting to get resolved. It hasn't been fun. Kind of like that stupid joke about praying for patience - RIGHT NOW! I'm still learning to trust that if we do our best, it eventually will work out the way it's supposed to - even if it's not necessarily the way I want it to. Any kind thoughts you sent this way are greatly appreciated.


Wool in August

OK, is it my imagination, or am I crazy. It's waaaayyy over 90 degrees outside and I'm knitting on a shetland wool shawl. Draped over my lap, no less. Have I whined yet we don't have air conditioning? I think you've all heard enough about that so....

The MS3 stole is so pretty. It's not my knitting skills it's Melanie's pattern. The woman has skills plus she's got a very sneaky little evil twist. The instructions were extremely specific about putting a lifeline in a particular row. The only explanation given was you may need it. OK, I understand about lifelines, but why in that row? Why not the row below or 10 rows later? Hmmm... she's keeping mum about the whole thing until tomorrow. It ain't fair I tell ya! Torturing all those innocent knitters out there... Geeze Louise. I wish I could hold that many people in suspense over days and months. Skill, pure skill.

Animals are passed out in little baby heat comas all over the house. The only thing moving is sometimes a mouse. Yes, another one. We got rid of the one mouse and now there's another one. Unless it's the first one wanting another cat spit bath with a beer shower chaser. Someone or something will catch it soon, and we'll be mouseless again.