31 October, 2008

NaBloPoMo - Are You?

As my sweetie reminded me, National Blog Posting Month is almost upon us.  A post a day for all of November?  Are you up for it?  I'm going to do my level best!!!

29 October, 2008

Heat, Halloween, Useful UFOs, and Cabbage

The Month of No Heating continues, although  I did dial it up once again this week for a little guest. Lily had a playdate and I didn't want them shivering all afternoon.   I've got the thermostat at 10C [as low as it can be set], which is approximately 52F.  I consider that as close to "off" as we can afford to be, given that evenings are now freezing.  Given my commitment to cool, I was flabbergasted a moment ago, when I walked in from the laundry house, to notice that the kitchen radiator was warming up.  Apparently the house is/was colder than 52F.  Who knew?  I'm not going to turn off the furnace, but I think we're definitely saving some money!!

Today was a down day here at Casa KnitFarm. The kids are on half-term break: Monday we headed to an indoor playplace to meet with a couple of friends, Tuesday we had another buddy over and then had family movie night (we give Night at the Museum two thumbs up, by the way), and today I planned to head to Castle Acre for some craft activities.

Instead, when I woke up this AM, I decided to have a lazy day. It was lovely, and still is, actually. We did carve pumpkins, though.  Designs by kids, carving by mom. Lily's is a classic jack-o-lantern with a bat beauty mark on the cheek. David's is a haunted house backlit by a full moon.  The results are pretty darn good - pictures tomorrow perhaps.

Costumes are being prepped for tomorrow's party and Friday's party.  D's got a vampire cloak, white shirt, and fangs. He needs face paint, but is otherwise set. Lily is going to be Rapunzel.  Easy peasy, as we have the perfect princess dress and a tall pointy hat.  I discovered a great use for a UFO, too - a half-finished yellow mohair scarf is easily converted into a long lush braid for Rapunzel, with some strategic wraparounds to bunch it in, like a plait.  I'll attach it to the inside of the tall princess hat and we'll be good to go.

On to cabbage....I made Frugal Upstate's cabbage roll casserole last night, almost exactly as she posted. I didn't have fresh onion, so subbed a hefty tablespoon of granulated onion; I also used more cabbage, about 6 cups total, I'd say. I used tomato soup, as suggested. Didn't add any sour cream garnish.  WOW, was this tasty!  I am  kind of abashed at just how fast this casserole is disappearing, especially since Lily refused to eat any, and David ate only a small amount.  So very yummy. I will definitely be making this again when DH is back, so we can have three of four here to consume it.

25 October, 2008


Yesterday, I played host to some out-of-town friends. Way out of town...as in, from New York state! Jim and Pat are traveling through the UK and Ireland on their honeymoon, and went far out of their way to come for dinner. It was a wonderful evening, and I added that extra-special touch for their comfort. We call it... central heating!

Yes, I turned the heat on for the evening. That means I will have to go at least one extra day past Halloween, but it was worth it not to have shivering guests at the table.

My friend Jill in the US, worried about the effects of this lack of heat pledge, has got my local weather on her computer. She wrote to warn me that Monday's supposed to be a good frost.  Fear not, Jill and other Gentler Readers, the furnace is lit and I have the heat set to kick in at 10C (approximately 52F). I may go crrraaaazy and kick it up to 12C, too.  So, we'll have heat well before the house and pipes get to freezing.  At least, that's my plan.

Getting back to visitors, if you come to stay, I promise to put the heating on if it's autumn or winter.  We have a guest bedroom, and it's nice and tidy (not even any clean laundry, SusieJ!).   I can cook, after a fashion, and the pub does a world-changing lamb shank.  We'll even make a fire in the fireplace for you, and bake cookies.  Did I mention the castle around the corner, and the Queen's country house down the road 5 miles? Just let me know when you're in this neck of the woods, Gentle Readers, and our door is open.  But not too far, or the heat'll escape.

20 October, 2008

Linky Love - Cabbage Roll Casserole

So...one of my fave bloggers posted her weekly menu, and mentioned making cabbage roll casserole. That made me prick up my ears, since I looooove cabbage rolls but do not love the labor involved in making them. I left a comment that it sounded like a grand and yummy menu item, and mere seconds (OK, maybe an hour!) later, this post appeared: Frugal Upstate: Cabbage Roll Casserole.

How cool is THAT? Sounds seriously yummy, especially now that we're heading into cold weather.

Thanks, Jenn at Frugal Upstate!!

17 October, 2008

Rievaulx; Other Knitting News

I am quite excited to see that Kelly Without a Net (a brilliant blogger I follow) has now published her cowl pattern. I have been reading about on Ravelry and her blog - it's called Rievaulx, after the abbey, and it looks yummy! I especially like the version with the rolled edges.  Check it out here.  Jill, I think some of that soft pink Elann yarn you gifted me a while back is destined for this...

Other knit updates - the wrist warmers are done and are AWESOME!  I highly recommend the pattern - doing the 6x2 ribbing for the body of the mitts definitely made for a better fit.  This was an easy knit and a good way to use up 40 grams of DK wool.  Not to mention how well they are helping me resist turnign the heat on!

I'm halfway through Clue 3 (aka the heel) of the Mystery Socks, and still liking them very much.  Pictures shall follow in daylight, when the Broken Camera of Doom tends to do a better job.

15 October, 2008


There's nothing quite the headache one gets from lack of sleep. Hoping buckets of water - both imbibed and showered in - will help me get through the morning.

I do NOT look like this lovely creature when I'm still awake at 1 AM. For more drawings and paintings by this artist, check out his web site.

13 October, 2008

Thank You, Shopper Friends!

Yay for commenters - you've given me some great links! To answer a couple of comments/e-mails, I checked out Walmart.com and Tarzhay.com first, since that's where I used to buy most of the kids' clothes (in person, not on line). They don't have nearly as much on line as they do in the stores, and none of this season's was the right kind of dress.

Kohl's looks good, and Amazon's section could keep me browsing for A LONG TIME.

My favored places for dresses have always been thrift stores (charity shops here) and the last three dresses were actually finds sent over by my mom before she died. So it's a little extra-sad to part with them. I might keep them and make a pillow case for Lily, though.

E-Bay looks very promising indeed - thanks, Elizabeth, for the search tip. I found a couple of lots of the exact sort of dress, going for 20 dollars for three dresses. I think there'll be some bidding happening after payday here.

You all rock - thanks for the good ideas, and now, I promise to get back to regularly scheduled blogging.

Speaking of which, I have not knit in a few days. I've been reading Miss Tey, and the Mystery Socks are currently staring accusingly at me form their spot next to the laptop. Wednesday, guys, I promise!

12 October, 2008

Favorite Authors: Josephine Tey

I'm feeling inspired to talk about Josephine Tey tonight. That's actually a pen name - her real name was Elizabeth Mackintosh. I have all eight of her books, and have read them all several times. My favorites are like comfort reading - I think I read them at least twice a year.

The first Josephine Tey book I ever met was The Daughter of Time, a wonderful story about Richard III. My mom was reading this, and passed it on to me, when I was perhaps 11. I know we were living in New Haven so I couldn't have been older than that. I thought it was great then. Now, I think it's fabulous. And I love Richard III. I practically cried when I saw his portrait in the National Portrait Gallery in London. [If you ever visit York, check out the Richard III Museum there...it's in Monk Bar Gatehouse of the walls of the city. Very cool!].

Another super-favorite of mine is Brat Farrar, about an imposter you can't help but love.

Seriously, all the books are wonderful. There's just something so polished and lovely about her writing, and the stories. They never grow old for me.

Perhaps Favorite Authors will become a recurrent blog topic. I do have so many favored and favorite authors, after all. What do you think, Gentle Reader?

11 October, 2008

Any Power Shoppers Out There with Advice?

Lilybean has grown out of all her casual dresses, and does NOT like wearing trousers or even leggings with a tunic.  I've been browsing a little on-line, and I found this sort of dress at Lands' End.  It's a simple jersey dress that's not too short.  However, I'm NOT interested in paying 30 dollars apiece, since I'd like to buy three or four. Military family budgets just don't allow for 30-dollar play dresses. KnowhutImean?

Anyone have a favored on-line retailer?

Here in the UK, everything costs double what it does in the US, and to go with that, it seems like Boden is the only place where you can find really simple, casual dresses without a logo or something.  And that's double the normal UK prices.

I'd be interested in either UK or US links - if you have any, or any tips on where to look, hit me in the comments.  KThxBye!

Saturday Random, with Knitting and Lego

First, the Lego bits. Small D insisted I blog this creation. It's James Bond being threatened by a villain, in an Egyptian setting. D's very proud of his work, and Mistah Bond will never surrender the jewel. So I'm told.

I'm proud of my work, too - had a great day of knit and chat yesterday with Afton, and the wristwarmers (a.k.a. The Furnace Wars Weapons) are trucking along after two days of knitting. I chose to do this Basic Mitt pattern instead of Fetching from Knitty, because the lack of ribbing at the top of Fetching wouldn't work for me, and I didn't feel like fiddling with it. This shot is a bit too bright - the actual colours of the wool are dove brown, pale gray, and very pale blue.

Last, but definitely not least, a picture of my Mystery Socks. The sun has turned them vivid pink, but they are really a pinkish lavender. This is Clue 1, finished. I've had a peek at Clue 2 and I think I will do the basic version (no gorgeous cable) because I need to shorten it to adjust for my calves, which don't look great with sock over them.  Needles are teensy size 0 Clover bamboo, and I looooove them.

Today's a glorious sunny day, and doors and windows have been thrown open wide.  Later on, we'll be going round the neighbors' for a playdate and pizza tea.  Sounds nice to me!

09 October, 2008

Napoleon Dynamite: Bunny Version

[edited to fix broken link - sorry!]

If you have been reading a while, you might remember this post (30-second remakes of famous movies, starring cartoon bunnies). I watched another one yesterday - new to me. Napoleon Dynamite a la Bunny. Pretty funny!!

08 October, 2008

I Think It's Half a Pica Off....

Try the Eyeballing Game - this is an addictive little app that tests your ability to eyeball geometric shapes/angles/etc. I'm not too shabby at it, I must say. I think small D would enjoy it quite a bit!

[The post title refers to a family in-joke. Which is probably funnier if you lived in a house with three copyeditors/proofreaders, as I did...]

07 October, 2008

It's a Major Award!

(Who out there gets the reference?)

Toni, whose fiber blog is  A Little Yarn on the Side , has bestowed this award on me.  She's too kind, and I'm NOT worthy!  But I do feel quite special :)

Many thanks, Toni, both for the award, and for your inspiration to live more richly.

I'm now tasked to pass the love along, and I'll choose a random bunch from my most-followed blogs.

Lynn at Never a Dull Moment, who started blogging after I'd mostly stopped, and completely inspired me to start again. Knitting, needlework, kids, kitties, and all the fun of life. Go check out those Saturday skies...they'll make you green with envy if you're not in the Sunbelt!

Marianne at Busha Full of Grace. She truly is filled with grace. Her writing, and the love she has for life and everyone in her life, are inspirational. We could all aspire to be a little bit more Busha. I love you, man, and I don't even know you except through the Blogosphere.

Meredith at Like Merchant Ships is an amazing, frugally fabulous blogger. I'm continually wowed by the things she can do with time, talent, and frugality. She's not too active posting right now, being very much with child, but I look forward to more posts when she's ready.

and finally, David at The Wit Farm. [Yes, I'm shaming you into posting, although I don't even know if it's possible for you to post from Away right now.  I miss reading your stuff, and I'm not the only one!]

Now, the rules for accepting their blog awards:

1. Please put the award on your blog.

2. Add a link to the person who awarded you.

3. You must nominate at least 4 fellow bloggers for this award.

4. Add links to the recipients.

5. Leave a comment so the recipients know they have received an award.

Keeping Warm

I empathize with the kitty.  My son, though, could BE the kitty. When I allow him to turn on the space heater, he is Right. There. On. It.

However, there'll be precious little space heater time this month.  And no radiator heat!  We have vowed to make it to Halloween before turning on the heat.  There are sweaters, sweatshirts, warm socks, and down throws galore in this house, and as God is my witness, we will USE them.

D. left last night for a month to sunnier climes, and that's lucky for him.  Not so lucky for us, who will be both missing him and shivering.  I will particularly miss the radiant heat he throws off at night. Seriously, if I had known my husband was warmer than electric blankets, we might have married far sooner. 

This afternoon, I shall curl up with a cup of cocoa and some wooly knitting until it's school run/ballet run time.  The Mystery Socks are both finished through Clue 1, awaiting Clue 2 tomorrow.  No picture, not because of spoilers, but because Bad Camera has no battery and Good Broken Camera needs charging.  I have the Revontuli to work on, but I may have to put it aside for some wrist warmers (like Fetching), to keep my knitting hands supple and warm.

The Yarn Harlot is a lot funnier about her own Furnace Wars than I am.  [You'll have to read back in her archives a bit, but this post confirms that she lasted until 5 November last year.  Plus there's a cool free hat pattern in the same post.  Bonus.]

05 October, 2008

The Verb a Knitter Created...

Oh, my. Wow. If you don't usually read the Yarn Harlot's blog, please go right now and check out this story about the ultimate in kinnearing.

Again, wow. I've mentioned kinnearing here before (to do with me, Other Susie, and a now-not-much-a-stranger-on-a-train-anymore [Liz]).

In other bright spot news, it's LDS Conference weekend, which means to those of us here in the UK, much later church times. [OK, the down side is church on Saturday evening, too.] I like sleeping in. Heh. Especially on a rainy morning...

We made the first fire of the season last night in the living room fireplace.  Nothing gives me autumn/winter wam fuzzies quite like a fire and some hot chocolate.  Especially when we've vowed to keep the heat off until Halloween!

03 October, 2008

Socktoberfest Begins!

While surfing my favorite blogs, I came across a link to the perfect Socktoberfest project. It's a Mystery Sock! How cool is this?!

[In addition, I've discovered a new favorite blogger - her posts are colorful and interesting, and oooooh, my goodness, the knitting. Just gorgeous. Browse a little and check out those striped hoodies.

So, let the good times roll. This should be a good challenge for the Month of the Sock - a sock outside my Plain Vanilla comfort zone, AND the first sock I've made that's not a superwash wool. The yarn is one I bought as a souvenir at this summer's Pensthorpe Mediaeval Spectacular (which was, rather). It's from the Mulberry Dyer, purveyors of natural dyes and things that have been dyed naturally. Very nice!

This incredibly blurry picture is not artsy, it's what happens when the good cameras are a) lost and b) broken. The color of this wool is fairly true-to-life, however, so try to imagine a really clear picture of wonderful handspun, hand-dyed wool in place of my hideous picture.