Friday, May 29, 2009

Billy Goat Gruff

Oh my gosh, these goats are cute! This one has Scotty yelling, "They can't climb up here!" as he tries to get a break.

True. True. But they can wait.

Eventually, you'll have to leave your perch, and then they will get you! (They chased him 'round and 'round this trampoline and I could not stop laughing... it was like one of those Laurel and Hardy sketches, where they're being chased by a mummy? Too funny!)

And when they catch you, they will love you up like nobody's business.

Of course, there is such a thing as "too much love" when it comes to a baby goat! They just can't seem to help themselves...though both my mom and dad have already jumped on my case for not schooling them enough. Bad habits start young, and all that....hmph.

They are so curious. I think I read somewhere that it's a myth about goats "eating anything", and that they can really hurt themselves when they eat the wrong this matchbox car, for example. I think I always did hear about how they'd eat tin cans and stuff, or was that a kid's book? Anyway, nope! Not good, not good at all.

Is it possible to die from too much cuteness? Can you just keel over and wither away from "darling"? Because I think I might have a bad case of it...just looking at these things makes me feel faint! And when I rub behind their ears, and they push me with their noses, well, then, I can't be expected to withstand all of that coming at me at once.

The goats have a little 'kennel' to go into...they are so so so small! It helps them feel safe to cuddle in an enclosed place. There's some straw to make a bed. Or a nest. And the chickens, who share the yard with the goats (or, "goaties" as Scotty calls them), keep laying eggs in the goats' bed.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

::Finished:: Little House

I finished one of my personal projects...I knitted this shawl on 7.5 circular bamboo needles. It was my first project with circular needles, and it was my first project with yarn-over increases. I have tried to cast-on to circular needles before, but I found it...annoying. The cast-on stitches would roll and swirl and get all jacked up and I'm sure a more experienced knitter would laugh at my confusion, but I just never did get the hang of it.

This simple shawl started with a three stitch cast-on. At the beginning of each and every row, I made a yarn-over increase (which made this sweet little scallop all along the edge). This was nice for me, because the first three stitches sat right on my little stumpy needles, and by the time I had increased enough to move the stitches out onto the nylon attachment, there were enough rows that it stabilized the whole project and kept it from twisting around on itself. Very helpful!

That's it, by the way. Cast-on 3, knit every row, yo increase for the first stitch of each row. I thought I was following a pattern I read on a blog I like (Eyes of Wonder, in the side bar), but I misunderstood that pattern and when I re-read it, after getting half-way through this shawl, I now see that I have no idea what the original pattern is asking me to do. So, you know, these things have a way of working out.

I had this project out-and-about and on the needles this last weekend. It was blustery and overcast on Sunday, but it really wasn't rainy. So I'm not sure how, but the corner of my shawl got wet. Erik was all, "Ugh, gross! That smells like goat! I never want to smell it again!" And I agreed, it did have a rather...distinct....smell when it got wet. But I was all, "Yay! It smells like the 'fair'! I'm so happy! I love it!" The yarn was a gift from my mom from their vacation to Wyoming. I had been holding onto it since last summer, and I am happily convinced that I've found just the perfect project for this perfect, perfect yarn.

I cast off at one point, and the shawl wasn't long enough ~ to comfortably drape across my shoulders ~ or to reach my waist. Harumph. I ended up UN-casting-off and continuing on for another 20 or 25 rows. It seems right now!

Do you want to hear a secret? I made this little cape because I wanted a reason to use a shawl pin. Could you just swoon? Edging ever-closer to my Little House daydream!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Something happened recently, and it reminded me of a story I had written on my original blog (I've kept an online journal since 2004 on Blogger) and I went back and tried to find the story. There's no way to search or anything on that blog, so I ended up sifting through quite a few posts (there are over 600) and still couldn't find it...yet!

But the reason I'm even mentioning it, is because I read some stories that I loved! I know I wrote them, so it sounds ridiculous, but I loved reading them, because they were about my kids, or something I was doing that turned out to be hilarious in retrospect, or some other moment in time that seemed insignificant but oh, gosh, to have all those pictures and memories right kind of takes my breath away. There are many times, I have wondered, what exactly is it that I'm doing here, with all this....but seeing all that, in one place, I'm glad I looked (ignoring my self-imposed policy of never, ever, poking through the angst that is my archives) and I'm glad it's there, and I'll gladly keep typing these, into the ether, because nothing felt better than reading the tiny little moments, the silly conversations, and quiet nothingness, of a lovely own, lovely life, that is.

Also? I had a filthy little mouth in that journal! Oh my...I swore a lot! And it makes me laugh when I read it, because it sounds exactly like what I'm thinking in my head. Just so you know.

When I find that post I was thinking of, I'll port it over here, and that may happen every so often, as the occasion arises. Kind of like the turtle story, I suppose!

In the meantime, I took this picture Sunday night when I was doing some baking. I just got another 30 eggs from my mom's chickens (I know! 30!) and even though there are now FIVE DOZEN eggs in my refrigerator, I had a couple from an emergency grocery store run when I was in between gifted eggs.

Can you tell which eggs are from the store and which one is from my mom's chicks? It's crazy how bright the yolk is! They are so fresh, and so yummy! I like a scrambled egg in the morning, and nothing's better than a free-range egg, but The Boys prefer pancakes. I'll pop two eggs (three if they're small-ish) into the pancake mix, and I swear, you can taste a difference!

(This does not look very appealing, but trust me when I say, it turned in to some mighty tasty banana nut bread.)

She also got two tiny baby goats on Monday! I missed the goats' arrival, but I'll did see them yesterday when I dropped off Scotty. Oh the cuteness. Holy moly. They are so wee, and they belt out the baas as soon as they see you exit the house. Then, when you get into their little yard, they run right up to you (they are being bottle fed once a day, still) and they love on you and follow you everywhere. No matter where I went, I had my cutie-pie shadows. Scotty wanted to feed them "a snack" from his playhouse, which consisted of fake play food. Mom convinced him that the goats would prefer some oats!

I was out there Monday morning (thank you, three-day weekend!) and we were futzing around with the horses, collecting eggs, and poking around in the gardens...her corn is about up to my waist already! I love that farm; it will always be home to me.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Monday was a very big day for our family....Scotty pooped on the potty!

Now, Scotty will be four years old in a few months. And he's been potty-trained for years. He wears a pull-up when he's sleeping, mostly because I prefer not to create extra chores, by way of sheets that need stripping, washing, and replacing, three extra times per week.

Furthermore, Scotty has been well-schooled in the benefits that we all share, when we crap in the toilet. Things like... skid-free underpants... the love and general acceptance of our peers and family members... not needing to hide in shame under tables or behind couches, until somebody follows the stench to our unspeakably filthy drawers. It's a good life when you take care of business, as we have been trying to convince him for some time.

Today, he went in his pants. Twice. And we had a nice conversation about how there's a better way, there really is. And then Erik and I both hid from our children and cried, because we're pretty sure that he will be sent home from second grade for crapping in his pants. He doesn't actually do this at school...he's managed to get himself onto a schedule where he's only pooping on our watch.

I went back to working in the yard, and Erik went back to practicing guitar, and before too long... Erik found Scotty pooping on the potty! (Here's where one might legitimately ask why he would still be pooping, three sessions in, but let's just assume here that we can wonder, without really actually hoping to hear an answer, and move on, shall we?)

What a Big Day! We broke out Great Grandma's tea cups and had a Very Special Kool-Aid Toast. To Scotty! L' Chaim! Salud! Cheers! Lots of hugs, lots of happy jigs, and lots of crossed fingers. One in a row...let's hope this is the start of something beautiful.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Always Be Closing

Sometimes, when Scotty is really being annoying (come on! he's three!) he starts whining for milk, and he just won't let it go. Even as you're getting the milk out of the refrigerator, and filling his sippy cup, he'll stand there yipping at you.

When he does this, and Erik has absolutely had it, he'll turn to Scotty and say, "Milk is for closers!" and when that happens I just laugh and laugh and laugh. [That link, btw, not safe for work or small children. Or people with delicate sensibilities.]

Erik and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary at the beginning of this is the same day as our 17th anniversary of 'being together'. I joke and tell him "Every year is getting longer!" but the truth is, every year is getting better. I love him so much, I love our little family so much, and he makes me laugh so hard. You know what he's good at? He is really good at making me laugh when I'm taking myself, or life, entirely too seriously.

We're total opposites ~ he says I'm chaos and he's order ~ but like two puzzle pieces, we fit together perfectly when notched together.

Photo: Reel Life Wisdom

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tea Cups

We're coming up on another anniversary of my grandmother's "occasion" I won't be celebrating, I'm sure you'll understand. It's been 20 years, so I'm getting right up to that point where I've lived without her longer than I lived with her. Which should make me terribly sad, but honestly, it makes me crazy happy...I just realized when I wrote that sentence out that she's still in my heart, all this time, she's still with me. I talk to her, think about her, wonder what she would have thought about my kids (she would have found them to be adorable, in case you were wondering).

My mom gave me two things that were hers. The first is a platinum and diamond watch, which sounds like a lot of look, but it is so old and beautiful, so delicate. It's made by Hamilton, shaped into leaves, and has a rectangular face. My guess is that it is from the...40s? Here, forget it, I'll take a picture:

She split the tea cup collection with her sister, and then split her share with me, so I also have this, which is all good:

Several sets, like this one, have the cup and saucer plus their own matching cream and sugar. Oh, the sweetness. Could you just swoon?

They are all unique, and they're all made in England. The bottoms say either "Royal Albert" china, or "Fine Bone" china. I have always loved this little fellow, with his matching salt and pepper shaker, perched on their own precious little tray. Oh gosh. These make me so happy!

A couple of weeks ago, I got the idea to hang some of them in the kitchen, using one of "those things". Or, as I said when I called my mom, "What do you call those things, they have hooks and they're stretchy, like they stretch out like an accordion but you hang them on your wall? Aunt Barbara had one?" Which led to me these on ebay. The price is right, but the shipping was as much as the item in some cases, so I thought I'd wait on it.

Until just a few days ago, when I dropped Scotty off at my mom's house and drove past her neighbor's house...the one who has "free" stuff on the side of the road? But all the time? Because he doesn't want to bother taking it to the dump? As an example: There were three broken plastic milk crates and a broken lampshade against the fence, with a sign marked "free". So naturally, I'm used to not looking as I drive by, but as my eyes skipped across...I saw this on top of the second broken crate:

It's perfect! My friend Marjan, who loves her bible, would probably say, "Seek and ye shall receive" and my friend Donna, who loves her Oprah, would probably say, "You put it out into the universe, and it came to you", but I'm just little old me, so I said, "Lucky day!" and grabbed it.

This weekend I washed the cups and got ready for the big display. I considered painting the rack, but then thought there was something so sweet and retro about it. Maybe I'll paint it later?

Yes. The delicate tea cups, from the 1950s, don't fit on the sturdy nubs, from the 1970s. Such a good idea! Sadly, not good enough. I'll keep thinking, but if you have anything to offer, now would be a good time.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Draft Pattern Update

I've had these two purses I made a couple of weeks ago with Alice's draft pattern, and I just love them. I've been kind of struggling with how to embellish them, but I finally decided and I'm quite smitten. I made a medium sized purse in cream colored cotton yarn, and a small sized purse in red cotton yarn.

The red was never an was screaming for daisies from jump, and I heeded the call. I used french knot embroidery to attach the yellow center to the pedaled discs, and my be-daisied bag looks utterly like Alice's, but without her sophisticated color palette. I haven't picked the lining fabric yet, but I think it will be a snap to find something in my stash that will work.

Alice emailed me the pattern and I had the small red one made less than 24 hours later, and the cream was made over the next few days. I mean, I've been admiring her bags for-evah, and I couldn't wait to make one, and I wanted to be able to give her timely feedback, and in case I never mentioned it, I'm a smokin' fast crocheter, so, boom-boom-boom, there you go.

And there they sat for two weeks. Because, you know, you can't rush these things.

The larger bag, though (unbelievably!) even better than the smaller, was less obvious to me. I played around with some different ideas, but really, they would have ended up being basically copies of some of the nifty things Alice has already done. I just felt so compelled about those daisies, like I didn't have a choice about them, so I wanted to have something "all me" for the second bag. I pulled out different embroidery floss and felt pieces, and after fooling around with a few, I ended up piecing together this sweet little dragonfly.

I'm in love. He's got a brown body, and red felt, both made from the wool blanket I cut and dyed last winter. I'm using a combination of backstitch and frenchknots to attach the pieces.

I'm not done....with either one....but I like them both, so far. I like them very much! Alice, if you an believe it, will be making this pattern available, for free. I'm a fan.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Batter Up

For Mother's Day, I got the best presents from my boys! Scotty made a drawing for me, and his pre-school teacher took a sweetie-pie picture of him and it was pasted inside. Tommy made me
a "coupon book", with several that were provided by his teacher (photocopied; things like 'breakfast in bed', or 'I will do the fill in the blank chore', or 'Alone Time for Mommy') and that's very sweet. But my very favorite were the several that he made on his own. In his own shakey print, he had written what he knew would be my favorite, most used, most loved coupons: 'Play with Tommy'. 'Watch a tv show with Tommy'. 'Read with Tommy'.

Oh my gosh. What that kid does to my heart.

He was quick to tell me that the coupons can be reused, and never expire. So I've been spending his handwritten coupons with the abandon of a drunken sailor on shore leave. We get to read, watch our favorite show (Berenstein Bears), and play. When I get to pick, we play Guess Who and card games. When he gets to pick, we play catch or go to the batting cages.

We started going to the batting cages last week, and quickly slipped through $25 worth of tokens. *cough* We'll need to pace ourselves! But for now, it's been too fun to resist!

I don't know...I'm no expert, but shouldn't the elbow be 'up'? Closer to his ear? Moose, I could use your expertise!

I could watch him for hours! Of course it only takes about 20 minutes to blow through 100 pitches and 15 bucks, so 20 minutes it is. It's been most enjoyable when I've been able to pick Tommy up from school and it's just me and him while Scotty is at my mom's. Less festive, but still ridiculously fun, was the one time that I had to keep Scotty in my lap while I sat on the stairs that go into the cage and Tommy was inside batting. Oh boy. Have you ever tried to put clothes on a cat? Kind of similar. By the time he was registering his complaint in High E, straight into my ear, it was time to go. Thankfully!

And I think it's paying off already! Here he is at practice. Level swing, strong cut, eye on the ball...nicely played! You can't tell in this picture, but he's wearing a t-shirt that has the Superman emblem on the front, but instead of an "S" it has the symbol for "Pi". Scotty has one with dirt splashed across the Pi symbol, as in "Mud Pi". I've got my only little Nerd Herd going.

And that's proud papa on the bench. Normally, I go to practice with Tommy on Sundays. (Yes, they practice on Sunday afternoon! Don't get me started. ggrrrrr. But it was the only available time, so I've heard!) Erik stays home with Scotty, as part of our divide and conquer strategy, and I knit or crochet or do some embroidery or whatever hand work I'm currently obsessed with. I don't usually mind getting some sun, cheering him on, and crafting. Good times, good times. But, since it was Mother's Day (!!), Erik went and I stayed home and gardened with Scotty.

*sigh* Life is so good.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Homemade Granola

I struggle quite a bit with Tommy's eating habits. He doesn't share my angst. He would happily forgo the healthy meals I make (often at great personal aggravation) in favor of potato chips, cheese, pizza, and fast food. He gets fast food about once a month. He asks for it every day. So when I stumble across something that is healthy, that he'll actually eat, I am all over it.

I found out he likes granola when I bought a double package from Costco last month. But it's expensive! And, I'm trying not to buy packaged food so much. Fortunately, there are a ton of great homemade granola recipes out there. Here's the one I've been making, that ALL my boys are quite smitten with:

1/4 c. butter
1/2 c. honey
3 c. oatmeal (I use quaker rolled)
Walnuts and raisins (1/2 c. nut/ 1/4 c. raisin, but add these ~ or anything else! ~ to suit your taste)

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium high heat (don't scorch). Add honey and stir. Add oatmeal and stir to coat. Turn out into ungreased casserole dish (9 x 13) and bake in preheated oven at 400 degrees fehrenheit for about 10 minutes. Stir, then cook 5 more minutes. Stir and cook 5 more minutes. Remove from oven, stir while still hot, to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

When it cools, you can add whatever nuts/dried fruit you'd prefer. Like I said, we use walnuts and raisins.

It took me quite a bit of experimenting to figure out how to get it crunchy. I used to cook it at 375 for 10 minutes. Then it was 375 for 15 minutes. Then I read a different recipe that cooked at 400, so I tried that, and that's where we pretty much settled in. This is also about half the butter most recipes I've seen call for. I made it with 1/2 cup of butter once, and it was way to buttery for my taste.

In previous incarnations, it would cook but not get crunchy. Don't let this stop you from eating it! It's still very tasty, even when it's a bit softer than I think of for granola. Tommy LOVES it! It's much cheaper, since I get honey, butter, oats, walnuts AND raisins in bulk at Costco; and I know there are no preservatives and I don't use any salt when I'm cooking it (though you could, if you're sensitive to the taste, add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt to the recipe above). Those are serious bonuses, and it means that even if it cost a bit more to make it, I still would.

Erik and Tommy both love this granola. They ate two batches in three days once! And then, every time I think that Tommy is on the road to a healthier future, I catch him doing something putting chocolate syrup on the homemade granola.

Monday, May 11, 2009

:: Happy ::

I hope everybody had a wonderful weekend, and spent a special day yesterday with your mamas. I was so grateful for the sunshine and a few hours spent gardening with the kids. Erik really made it a special day for me, involving lots of lazy mommy time, where I got to cuddle and he got to feed them and ferry Tommy to baseball practice.

I weeded the front yard and finished moving and expanding the kitchen garden I've got in a raised bed that I can see from my kitchen window. I took a break on the front stoop, watching bees and butterflies taking advantage of the flora in our yard. Scotty scooted in close and sat next to me. "Hi Scoot!" I said. And he said, oh it slays me, he said, "I'm so happy mommy." I know how you feel, kiddo.

As a pre-Mother's Day gift, I got a package in the mail last week from Pippa for the swap we were in. Oh my! It was a box full of beautiful, and I'm still catching my breath! There were two beautifully embroidered dish towels and two coordinating pot holders. There were four cotton dish rags...two pink (hello, favorite color!) and two that are the sweetest variegated yarn. I love variegated yarns!

Look at the beautiful embroidery detail! Oh gosh, you would not believe the craftsmanship on these...the binding on the hot pads, and the sweet little flowers....I have a long way to go!! Such an inspiration.

I put a few of the dishcloths in this eggplant-colored bowl to keep handy near the sink. I'm on the lookout for something more spacious (I am, apparently, obsessed with teeny-tiny bowls!) but I'm going to wait until I get a curtain on the window so I can get a better idea of the overall look. There are two great views from this window ~ the San Francisco Bay and my kids riding bikes in the court ~ so I'm thinking it will be a valance so it doesn't obstruct my line of sight. It would be nice, however, if it stopped me from having to look at this filthy window. Ahem.

Included in the package were an adorable sunflower card and recipe folder. Look at the little bee hives in the corners! I love these! She started me off with two sweet recipes. I thought I'd make them today, but some last minute changes in the schedule means that I wasn't involved in any kind of "brunch" situation. So they're due up, for sure! I've already added two more sweet recipes for ice cream cake and cinnamon biscuits. And there you have's my new desserts recipe folder! I often find a recipe I'd like to try while flitting across the internet, so I keep it handy with a pen and I hand-write them in.

Thank you, Pippa! I love these generous, thoughtful, and oh so beautiful treasures!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Feathering My Nest

I'm taking a piece of advice from my mom. Shhhhh! Don't tell her!

My mom is very talented. When I was little, she tole painted (oil paint on wood). I found this duck in one of her sheds and confiscated it for my kitchen. It doesn't actually match at all (perhaps it was originally made to go in Grams' cornpowder blue kitchen?) but do I care? I do not care. Not at all. I love it!
She's a gifted drawer, too. Pen and ink stuff. She never paints or draws. Hasn't in years. But she quit smoking almost four months ago (go mommy go!!!! I'm so proud!!!) and, in a fit of needing something to do with her hands, she's been crocheting non-stop.

The first thing she made (and this was before she quit smoking), was a huge white yarn-quilt for her bed. She was so angry at that thing! I think she finished it out of spite. When it's on her bed, if you tell her you like it, she will growl and tell you it "I hate that bastard".

Then I showed her how to make a rag rug using thrifted sheets. She went insane! She made about two dozen. I ended up with a few of them. She was really mad about that. Holy. I begged her for the one in my bedroom, and she was all, "Absolutely not! Get away!" I left empty-handed, but the next time I saw her she threw it at me and yelled, "Don't ever ask me for anything again. Ever!" Which, I'm sorry, if you know my mom, it's just so funny. What do you say to that??? "Thanks" seems so...inadequate? unnecessary? Yeesh.

My mom is making a blanket right now.

Me: Who's that for?
Her: I don't know.
Me: Are you keeping it?
Her: I don't know!
Me: Are you going to give it away?
Her: Mia! I. Don't. Know.

Now mind you, she won't even look up when she's saying this. She just hooks away, all hunched over, cursing at her yarn. Really, she does not make it seem like a fun hobby at all. But anyway, the point is, I don't think I have ever made anything that I didn't know where it was going. First of all, I like thinking about the intended recipient while I'm doing the work.

But the main thing is...I don't really make things for myself, or my own house, or my own kids. Isn't that...odd? I've been trying to change that in little ways...I've crocheted my own dish rags lately. Last summer I made a little pouch for our park passes. For Christmas two years ago I "made" fleece blankets for The Boys (have you seen these? You cut fringe, and tie two layers together? It's not rocket science!) but that's kind of it. Isn't that so peculiar?!?

I was working on a blanket I've been making for Erik, and it came up in conversation with my mom. She responded in a typical fashion.

Me: You know, I never make stuff for myself.
Her: That's stupid.
Me: I mean, I love to make things, and then I almost always give them away.
Her: I wouldn't.
Me: Sometimes, even when I start out making something I think I'll use, if somebody likes it I'll give it to them.
Her: Don't do that.

Alrighty, then.

Here is a list of things I'm currently working on:

Embroidery that I am currently thinking will be made into a curtain or valance for my kitchen window.

Erik's blanket.

Purses to test Alice's pattern draft. Oh yes, these are mine!!

A felt and embroidered tea pot cozy. For my Grandma Dot's beautiful old tea pot!

A knitted shawl, using some of the yarn my mom brought back from Wyoming from a sheep farm she visited.

My weaving sampler on my loom ~ almost done!! I keep thinking it's almost done, but I need to confess that I have no idea how far this warp will go. : /

Of course I did put all of these projects on hold to make a very happy blanket for one of my favorite 5 year olds, but that's okay...I'm sure that will happen again before it's all said and done! But really, it just feels so right to start feathering my own nest.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Bowl of Good

Just because I'm sure there's somebody in The Internets who will totally know that I am not crazy when I say that I was using this, my-new-favorite-recently-thrifted-tiny-happy-bowl, to collect scraps from my embroidery project, and it just looked so beautiful that I had to take a picture.

Totally not crazy.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

:: 24 Hours ::

From this:

To this:

In 24 hours!

Honestly, though I mocked it, and it is a bit of a hot mess, it's sort of growing on me! Little Zacky-Roo will get it today. I hope he likes it.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Ugliest Cat in the World?

When I picked the boys up from school today, it was another blustery kind of afternoon. I was just daydreaming about getting cozy with a fire and my favorite guys when I saw a really ugly cat dart part way into the street and try to eat something spilled there. It was probably a tortoiseshell calico, but it looked all mottled and funky because somebody, some lunatic, had completely shaved her. (BTW, I can assume it's a girl, because virtually all calico cats are girls. You should take the over/under that an orange tabby is a boy. You can google it, but you should know that my mom owned a pet store for like, 30 years, and this is something I do not joke about.)

So she slithers out to her roadkill snack, and Scotty pipes up from the backseat: "Hey, look! It's a... squirrel!"

That's one ugly cat, my friends.

Monday, May 4, 2009

:: Swap ::

I mentioned that I participated in a 'swap' for the first time, and now that it's over I can share without fear of 'ruining' a surprise! Pippa got her package over the weekend and sent me a lovely note to let me know. The swap was for "pot holders and dish towels". Just to let you know, when I signed up, it was dishtowels. Which I can do. Then it evolved and added pot holders. Which was problematic. Then they got the bright idea to include a recipe. You're killing me, here.

But Pippa was so warm and welcoming and encouraging. She really made it such a fun experience, and I hope everybody was as lucky in their partner-ings.

I crocheted two dish rags and two...I don't even know. The square solid ones are supposed to be dish towels. They are too short to be helpful as dishtowels, but too thick (though I love that waffle weave!) to be dish rags. They could actually pass as potholders! I have a couple in my own kitchen, and I use them constantly, for everything, but they truly do defy description. I wipe counters, grab hot food, lay them as a make-shift trivet, and wipe my hands on them.

I also made two proper pot holders, from the general directions in Stiched in Time. I embroidered some cheeky fruits and vegetables from the Sublime Stitching designs, because I knew from our email correspondence that Pippa loves to garden. (BTW: How have I gone this long without zombies?)

I also found out that Pippa and her family are great campers (we have so much in common!) and I think this little caravan and pup-tent are the sweetest (also from Sublime). I embroidered them using a really traditional idea of redwork, then took off on that a bit for some "aquawork". These are actually proper kitchen towels, and are of a size, shape, and fabric that should be quite useful in the kitchen!

The recipe I sent was Rachel's Afghani Chicken. I love this meal! It all cooks up in one pot (I use our dutch oven) and that is always a blessing when it comes to clean-up time. It's always delicious and it's a great 'company' dinner since it requires little of the hostess but packs a punch in presentation and taste. It calls for saffron threads (expensive! at least here...and I get them at either the proper meat butcher's or the Afghan specialty store near my work...I've never seen them at a 'regular' grocery store in our area) but in a pinch (and you know I've been in a pinch!!) you can use tumeric, which is readily available in any spice aisle.

Thanks again, Pippa, it was so lovely! And I do believe she'd approve, since all of these items were either made with thrifted or repurposed materials!