Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

My neighborhood is great for Halloween and some houses go all out - lights, decorations, music - the works. My street in particular sucks for Halloween and after getting 11 kids the first year and 9 kids the second year... we've opted out. Instead we dress up and head over to the street party that is just one block away. Mostly it's adults that are much older than me and Max, and no one that we really know very well, but we always stay for an hour or so, drink some wine, have a hamburger or something and then call it a night.




Max will be dressing up in his usual "doctor" costume - scrubs that my sister sewed for him several years ago, as well as a surgeon's mask. This year I'll be going as an "accident" and making full use of my crutches, walking cast, bandages and ankle brace that I acquired earlier this year when I sprained my ankle.

I love Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Baby surprise jacket

It took a few times to get the gauge right but finally I started the baby surprise jacket, knit two rows and lo, I needed a row counter. And the one I have was being used for the green frivoli hat. So now that I'm done with the hat, I've returned to the jacket.

IMG_3629
IMG_3630 IMG_3631

Not alot of progress but it's so pretty. And I think I've gotten a hang of the pattern so that I can knit without having to follow along too carefully. Of course, the even rows are my favorite but all in all, it's a good knit. I'm using Cherry Tree Hill yarn, tropical storm I think.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Green frivoli

This hat is meant for a 4 year old... so on me it is pretty much cutting off all circulation in my head.

IMG_3619 IMG_3618 IMG_3614 IMG_3616

Turned out super cute and it will be so warm! Good thing because it was freezing last night and we still haven't turned on the heat in our house. Not literally freezing but there was supposed to be scattered frost in the area... whatever that means.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Orange Frivoli finished

The pompom bobbles a little but I'm okay with that. It's so cute! I love making baby stuff. And kid stuff! It's all so small.

IMG_3613

I'm about half done with the other hat, then I can give them both to the Dad.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Rain

Even after hoping for rain for a week or so now, I can't help feeling sad and gloomy because of it. Still, it's the perfect weather for hot tea and knitting.

Knitting
I'm working on another Frivoli, this one in green Mission Hills 1824 Wool. For the brother of the baby of my coworker who is due in a week or so. The colour is discontinued but it's a really nice dark green.

Also started the baby surprise jacket using Cherry Tree Hill yarn but I only made it to row 2 before realising that I would need a row counter and the one I have is being used for the Frivoli hat. Stalled for now.

I really want to start is the Short Row hat but with the other two on the go, I feel like I need to wait.

And I really want to go out and buy the holiday issue of Interweave Knits so I can make the Koolhaas hat... but I'm way over my monthly budget so I have to wait until next weekend.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Tatami Kimono

My friend Erin B. has finished knitting another project, the Tatami Kimono. She often knits larger objects than I usually do and so naturally they take much longer to finish. Then again, she usually gets something to wear when she's done. This one looks amazing!



She says, "I really am happy with it. It's the first project I've done where I can't find any mistakes (or at least haven't yet), and I think it fits pretty well. There is nothing more annoying than following a pattern to a T and then having it not fit right. My next project will be much smaller."

Maybe a hat?

:)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Best pie crust ever

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup butter, cut up into tablespoons
1 Tablespoon sugar
3 Tablespoons sour cream
¼ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup ice water

Place all the dry ingredients together in a food processor until combined. Pulse until butter is the size of large peas.

Beat together 1/3 cup ice water, and sour cream. Pour about half the mixture into the flour mixture, pulse. Keep adding liquid until the dough forms together in a ball.

Turn dough out and divide into 2 pieces, flatten (but do not knead) and refrigerate for an hour.

Makes the best pie crust ever! Suitable for chicken pot pie, pumpkin pie, and apple pie.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Autumn

Max and I went for a walk today. The purpose was to look for signs of autumn. Since the weather here has been unseasonably warm, looking for it was an adventure in itself.



Friday, October 19, 2007

Chicken Pot Pie


Oh, yum! Was this ever the best dinner. Max and I already managed to finished off half of it tonight. The rest tomorrow I guess. :) Loosely based on the recipe from Better Homes & Garden New Cook Book but no peas, only a little green onion (which Max didn't even notice) instead of the onion, dried porcini mushrooms instead of fresh, and grilled potatoes instead of turnips. The top crust is compliments of my brother, leftover from when he was visiting. So delicious, so good. Max loved it. Perfect treat for another difficult week.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Orange Frivoli

There is a couple who works at my office and the wife is pregnant. She is due in a couple of weeks with her second child. Soon they'll have two boys! Originally the plan was to make a hat for the baby and one for the older boy as well, in the same pattern but different yarn. I was a little late getting started since I was side-tracked by other things but there's still a possibility I might get the other one done as well. Here's the baby hat, with four repeats completed:

IMG_3551 IMG_3552

The pattern is Frivoli and the yarn is Kollage Delicious. I'm using US size 3 needles. The green sleeve is from a bottle of liquor. My Mom remembered that I like to use them for my knitting so she brought me 3 more when she came to visit.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Orange hat

Another hat for another cousin for Christmas. He likes orange so hopefully he will like this hat. The pattern is the Cap Karma Hat with the decrease modifications by Brooklyn Tweed. The yarn is Kollage Delicious, two strands held together.

Officially, I am done knitting hats for Christmas.

Any others are extra.

Like the one I immediately cast on using the leftover yarn from this hat. It will be for a coworker's baby boy. He's due in a couple of weeks. Plenty of time! :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Red scarf complete

I sent off my scarf to the OFA yesterday, along with a note of encouragement, washing instructions, and a few snack packs of Raisinets. Hopefully it will get there by the end of the week.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Dinner at Geranio

Our anniversary dinner at Geranio on Thursday was wonderful. There was complimentary champagne, free dessert, and the meal was delicious. A sampling of what we had...

Duck cannoli, wine, and champagne Veal Scaloppini with roasted potatoes Fettuccine Alfredo with smoked chicken Tiramisu and coffee

Saturday, October 13, 2007

USPS @ssholes

(In a loud angry tone) So apparently USPS discontinued ground shipping to Canada in May. WTF! At Christmas I mailed a very heavy box, probably 25lbs for $19. Today, they wanted $23 for a 5lb box because ALL THEY HAD WAS PRIORITY. WTF! ARGH!!! And if I could get it down to 4lb, well then! Then it would ONLY cost $15. That is the same! The same gouging. The same ridiculous. So I said forget it. And I drove home. Angry (but no accident - that's progress right?). And I called USPS and lodged a complaint. A fat lot of good that will do I'm sure. They gave me a claim number... so I will try following up and see what progress has been made. Probably another "Sorry for this inconvenience." Useless.

I guess my brother will have to wait until Christmas to get his shoes that he forgot at my house on Tuesday.

Max had to endure all kinds of shouting and door slamming when I got home. The guy is a saint.





(In a tired defeated voice) I'm done. End tirade.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Red Scarf update

I'm almost done! When I measured last night I was at 55 inches.

IMG_3498 IMG_3508 IMG_3497 IMG_3501

It's hard to photograph the red accurately but let me tell you, it's bright. The brioche rib stitch creates a great squishy fabric. I should be done tonight and once I bind off, I'll soak it and then let it hang to dry. On Saturday I can send it off to the OFA.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Anniversary

Dear Max,

Has it really been twelve years since we first met and five years since our wedding?

Although it sounds like such a long time, it doesn't feel like it at all. A little while, maybe, since we were kids in highschool, kissing for the first time... but only the blink of an eye since we were standing in front of our family and friends to exchange wedding rings.

Our life together is good, really we have a good life. You make me so happy, take care of me so well, and I miss you when we're not together.

You look great in your new tie! See you tonight... maybe we can watch the wedding video after dinner? I'll be thinking about you until then.

Love, Nicole

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Family weekend

My parents and my brother arrived at my house on Friday night, a little later than I had expected but still in time for dinner. Immediately Max turned on the grill and cooked up the steaks. We also had the Tomato Tart, sun-dried tomato ciabatta, a red wine from California that my parents really enjoyed and a Three Berry Icebox pie with whipped cream for dessert. And coffee. My parents love coffee and we made more coffee this weekend than we had made all year... for breakfast and dinner everyday. After dinner we watched O Brother, Where Art Thou? and I got to knit my red scarf.

Saturday
My parents don't sleep much and they were up pretty early on Saturday. Reluctant to get up at the same time I would if I were going to work but no wanting to spend as much time with them as possible... I got up. And so did Max. He's such a great guy. After breakfast I drove my Mom to the post office and then to the grocery store. She says I drive like a little old lady but I'm okay with that. My Dad and Max stayed home to fixed the shower fixture in the guest bathroom. After lunch we all went into Alexandria. Parked at my office so I could show them where I work. They were really impressed, which seems funny to me because that's just where I work. We walked down to Old Town Alexandria, looked in the stores, walked around the Torpedo Factory Art Center and then went back to the house. I was so tired and took a little nap. We made Chinese for dinner and everyone helped out... I made the rice, my brother stirfried the baby bok choy, my Dad and Max helped with the beef and my Mom did everything else.


After dinner we all went for a walk in my neighborhood and then played some Wii Sports. More time for knitting.

Sunday
I didn't get up as early on Sunday but still earlier than I would have normally. I took my parents to the West End Farmer's Market and we brought home some apples, a cucumber, some potatoes, some cherry tomatoes, a bag of lettuce greens, and a loaf of crusty Italian bread. That was for dinner.

For lunch we went to Rosa Mexicano. We ordered the double size guacamole to share. I had the French toast - it was so huge I ended up sharing part of it with everyone.
Waiting for our table at Rosa Mexicano

Afterwards we went to the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery and then to the Old Post Office Tower so we could go to the top of the tower. By then we had been walking for 4 hours so we went home. My Mom made Salad Ni├žoise for dinner for us. There was a bottle of merlot for my parents. We had apple pie for dessert, which my brother made, and it was so delicious.



I watched Iron and Silk with my parents and knit, Max studied, and my brother read his book.

Monday
Finally slept in and felt alot less tired. Max went to the gym with my brother. My Dad helped me repot my poinsettia that is still alive from last Christmas. My Mom finished fixing all my clothes that needed to be taken in or sewn up. For lunch we went to the Silver Diner and it was a big hit. My parents were so impressed with the crab cakes.

Eggs Benedict Crabcake for Mom Crab Cakes for Dad 3D Burger for Marc Club Sandwich for Max Burger Basket for Nicole

Then split up and went shopping at the outlet mall. I went to the fabric store and the shoe store with my Mom. Max took my Dad to the book store and then went with my brother to a whole bunch of stores. I bought some fabric so my Mom can reline my winter coast and a pair of shoes. For dinner we had grilled pork and chicken chorizo sausages, tomato and mozzarella with pesto, hummus and veggies, and bread. For dessert we had the pumpkin pie that my brother made on Sunday. A nod to Canadian Thanksgiving. After dinner we all watched March of the Penguins and I was able to knit some more. My red scarf is at least 3 feet long now... more than half way done!

Yesterday
We all woke up at 5am. My Dad finished packing the car (although, of course, a couple of things were forgotten) and they were ready to leave by 5:45 am. Still very early but since we were up, Max and I made a pot of tea, showered, and got ready for work. I called my sister at 8 am to let her know that my parents had left on time - thinking that either she was going to be on nights and just getting home or on days getting ready for work or sleeping over at my parents' house. None of those apparently because I woke her up. Oops. Still she sent me a nice note to thank me for all the things I sent back for her with my parents. My parents and my brother arrived home at 4pm, safe and sound.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Pink Striped Hat

I finished this hat earlier this week, during breaks from cleaning and tidying the house. It's for my little cousin - hopefully she still likes pink alot! It's reversible. Which side do you like better?

A
IMG_3442 IMG_3441

B
IMG_3446 IMG_3448

Normally I don't like the purl side but this time I do, and much more than the knit side. Especially because of the subliminal C that forms, which is my cousin's initial.

Red Scarf update
I went out to lunch with a friend yesterday and was able to squeeze in a quick shopping trip to Knit Happens! Picked up some good bright red yarn on sale for $1 per ball, and with 6 balls I should have more than enough. Max thinks it's too bright to be unisex but if I worry about that I'll make myself crazy. I'm going to use the brioche rib stitch. So far I have 7.5" wide and 2" length. I like it and it's super easy to remember so I don't have to look at a pattern (and it's not boring garter stitch)

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Getting ready for company

Since Friday night, there has been a flurry of activity to get the house ready for my family to visit. Max has been such an enormous help and a really good sport about it all. Tidying up, making the bed in the guest room for my parents, inflating the airbed for my brother and making that bed, dusting, cleaning bathrooms, washing laundry, wiping down the cabinets in the kitchen, grocery shopping... and there's more, so much more I couldn't mention it all.

There have been lots of lists.

Last night was for vacuuming. With two cats in the house, usually that is left to the last minute in the hope that the house will look presentable when guests step in the door. Trust me, Sunday would have been too soon.

My cats, of course, are upset that not only have they been shut out of their favorite rooms (and room with a door has been closed to cut off the floating hairballs) but most of the open spaces, all of their hard work has been done. If you have cats, you know what I mean.

Tonight, after work and yoga, there will be baking. I need to make the crust for the Tomato Tart and the pie crust for the Icebox Blueberry Pie (from America the Beautiful Cookbook) for dinner on Friday.

I'm leaving work early on Friday so that I will be home in case they arrive early but also to get more grocery shopping done, assemble the Tomato Tart, and probably tidy up some more. In my wildest dreams I imagine that none of this needs to be done and that leaving work early means I can take a nap before they arrive. Ha! I'm exhausted already but who's counting.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Red Scarf update

So Norma has been saying, just one... just one scarf.

Good thing. That's about all I'll be doing... maybe. I decided last night that the pattern was not working for me. Looked off with the yarn and needle size I had chosen. I discovered that I had less yarn than I thought I did... and with my parents and brother coming to visit this weekend, it seems unlikely that I will have time between now and then to buy more, and really unlikely that they will want to go to Knit Happens so I can get it while they are here... and after they leave, well that's less than a week to not only buy the yarn but knit the scarf too (since I deemed it necessary to start over).

I think that is more pressure on me than I want, so for now... maybe one.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Christmas hats

As you may know, I've been busy knitting hats for my family for Christmas since... well, last Christmas. My parents are coming down from Canada this weekend to visit. When they leave, they're taking this pile with them.



After taking inventory, there's only two hats left to knit. Phew! What a relief. Not to say that my Christmas knitting is done but at least I'll be done with part of it.