Thursday, August 28, 2008


I'm no longer allowed in Menards by myself. I ran up there today to see if they had any yard games discounted - we're having some friends over this weekend and I wanted to give them something to do other than the usual eating, drinking and merriment. I don't know why, they seem to be good at the usual.

Menards was out of the aforementioned games but oh did I find goodies! For those of you who don't have a Menards near you I'll explain. It's a strange store. I don't typically enjoy shopping there but today, by myself, without Ken dragging me through the lumber department I was in heaven! Retail therapy heaven. I called my friend Lisa and told her I was no longer allowed in Menards and why. She asked, "Did you buy a gallon of milk?" I didn't but I did see it there. Milk and lumber. And plumbing and appliances and windows and beef jerky and barrels of cheese balls. It's so strange.

Anyway - I did find some good deals, This table for example:

real wood. $34 but it doesn't match my coffee table you say?

Head over to the paint department. One can of spray paint later and we have this:

a table that does match my coffee table. that's were the industriousness comes in. I even got a marriage proposal for being so crafty and clever.

And how fortuitous! Menards is close to a yarn store I love but don't get to very often because it's so far away (and Ken is usually with me when I go to Menards).

This lovely hank needed to come home with me. It's Jitterbug "Gauguin" and not surprising at all it's the same colorway Cami chose for herself earlier this year when she was yarn crawling through Milwaukee. We're connected that way.

That's all I got for today. A new and then improved table and yarn. It's been a good day.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

fatboy fodder

he's too embarassed to show his face. but isn't his backside adorable?

I bought this doggie diaper in the hopes it would stop him from marking in the house. He hates it. But not more than I hate cleaning up dog pee.

sorry, buddy. I'm going to win this one.

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

lacking fodder

I haven't been cooking anything exciting. I didn't do last week's TWD. I haven't gone anywhere exciting to write about nor taken any good pictures lately. I'm sure ya'll are sick of hearing about my case of the clap (although it's getting bigger and lovelier every day). So that doesn't leave much to say.

I do, however, have exciting news to share - evidently the birthday celebration has begun. If you don't know, I'll be thirty-ten this year. The gift-giving has commenced. Cami thought I needed some cheering up last week and presented me with this:

Truth be told, she's a terrible secret keeper and it was KILLING her that she had to wait another whole month to give me my birthday present.

One of her favorite things is fountain pens. I love when someone gifts me with a favorite thing of theirs. She loves them so much and wanted to share that love with me. It's wonderful. Just holding it in my hand makes me know I'm holding something special. It's so sad to me that the art of writing with pen to paper has been replaced by email or even worse, texting. When was the last time you sat and wrote a real letter? Having a pen such as this makes the task even more enjoyable.

I know I've thanked you more than once, Cami but thank you, again. It's lovely. You're lovely. Happy Birthday to me!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

while at the market

I went to the market to gather the fixin's for a steak dinner the other night and the first thing on my list was wine. It'd been a while since I had a good bottle so I was on a mission. My grocery store has quite a good selection so my choices were many.

I decided on an old favorite - Robert Mondavi. I really enjoy both his cabernet and merlot. With the nice porterhouses I selected I went for the bold cab. But then I turned and saw what I call the step-children of wines - the blends. My eye was immediately drawn to this label. I knew it was coming home with me.

Bottled by Montevina Winery in California, Wild Bunch is a blend of Zinfandel, Syrah and Barbera. I thought I'd like it since I'm a big red girl. And like it I did! I love the label too. But the best part is trying a new wine and finding yet another good choice to add to my list. If you have the opportunity to go wild I don't think you'll be disappointed. I never am.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

My First Potato Ho Down

Is there a bad way to fix a potato? I seriously doubt it.

For fun, Cathy and Krysta created a Potato Ho Down. Each month, viewers send in their potato recipes. Can you imagine? Within a few months we could have a virtual potato cookbook!

ETA: my Potato Ho name - "Gussie Gail"
Here's my entry: Rockin' Potato Salad

Now, I know, pretty much everyone makes potato salad and I've learned folks are finicky about their potatoes when you're talking salad. I've also learned a lot of those folks who make potato salad make it the way their mommas did, back when they was young. I guess I fall into that category only mine is way better. Sorry mom!

I don't usually like recipes that are shared instructing 'a pinch of this and a dash of that' but I've been making this so long I don't measure anything. I tried to pay more attention this time but it's still going to come out in dashes and pinches I'm afraid. I offer this photograph as help:

First you take your potatoes and throw them in a pot. Cover them with water and boil them till they're fork tender. I cooked mine for 18 minutes plus another 4 and then another 3. See how you gotta be careful not to over cook them? How long your potatoes take might be different based on how many you're cooking, their size, the type of stove you're using, alignment of the planets - hell, I don't know. Just don't over cook them. I don't peel mine till after - you might want to peel and even dice them beforehand. This recipe offers that sort of flexibility. Still with me?

Next, boil a few eggs. How many depends on how you like your egg to potato ratio. I like mine good and eggy so I used three eggs to five good-sized potatoes. And here's an egg tip for you: want perfectly hard-cooked eggs every time? Never green? Put your eggs in a pan and cover with water. Put on the stove and bring to a boil. Cook for two minutes, boiling good. Remove from heat, cover and set your timer for 18 minutes. Maybe your potatoes will be done by then too. When your timer goes off run cold water in the egg pan for a few minutes. Add some ice if you want to. No, it's not an egg cocktail, we're cooling down them eggs and stopping the cooking process. Perfect every time.

Dunk your potatoes the same way when they're done - cold water and an ice bath. When they're cooled, peel them and cut them up into bite-sized pieces. How big depends on the bite size you're dealing with. Your family got big mouths? You can get away with bigger pieces. You don't want them too small though, the potatoes will break apart while you're stirring everything together and you don't want to be left with nothing.

Now pile everything in a bowl - potatoes, eggs, onion, dill pickles (I use relish cause I'm lazy that way), salt, pepper and some spoonfuls of mayonnaise. Add a few squirts of mustard while you're at it. Here's where the picture comes in handy. You don't want too much mayo but too little is just as bad. It's a process. You may have to do it a few times before getting it right. I had to add one more spoonful of mayo after this shot was taken so I'd say that was about a cup and a half? Please don't quote me on that and please, for godsake don't use Miracle Whip.

Now this all sounds like a typical potato salad, right? Here comes the rockin' part, my little secret ingredient - Italian dressing seasoning. You know, like Good Seasons? I used to use liquid dressing but had an 'a ha!' moment when I thought of using just the seasoning packet. It gives the salad just the right kick without changing the consistency of the salad. Don't use a lot - for this five potato/three egg salad I used maybe two teaspoons. It's brilliant! Just you wait!

I always take potato salad anytime we're invited anywhere in the summer. It always gets rave reviews. Try it. And do come back and tell me how yours turned out.

Who's a ho? I'm a potato ho! You make this salad and you might qualify too!

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green market finds

Trader's Point Creamery hosts a green market every Friday night throughout the summer months. I've been meaning to get over there all summer. Well, yesterday I went. It was small-ish, maybe 25 vendors or so. A lot of organic, grass-fed meats to choose from, some fruits and vegetables, a tea lady and flowers! I love getting hand-tied bouquets from farmer's markets.

And pure maple syrup for tomorrow's waffles. Mmmmmm.

and here's a little something from my own farm:

It's going to be a Caprese salad soon. Fresh Basil, olive oil and maybe some balsamic vinegar. My mouth is totally watering!

Stay tuned for my potato ho down submission!

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when something is growing on your bush

be sure to be specific when you share the news. Ken's co-worker (and my good friend) made me blush profusely today when I told her I had red tomatoes on my bush. She said, "I'm always interested in hearing what's growing on your bush but perhaps you should see a doctor."

I wanted the floor to swallow me up. But no such luck. I had to stand there and take it. Usually I have to head South for that sort of abuse. Good news is tomorrow I'll be picking up some lovely fresh mozzarella cheese and a bottle of wine for a perfect summer dinner - caprese salad. With my own, home-grown tomatoes. I can hardly wait.

even better news - Ken wanted to make sure my camera was indeed broken and it seems my lense was just jammed. Yay me!
AND I'm making progress on the "clap". Talk about needing a doctor! Amanda would have a field day with that one! I'll be starting ball three tomorrow which means I've offically entered the black hole that is the center stitches of the Clapotis. If you don't hear from me soon send help.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I'm wearing the United Nations

I was talking to my mom and she shared a funny thought she had as she was getting undressed the other night. She was looking at her clothing tags and laughed when she realized each bit of clothing was made in another part of the world. "It's like I'm wearing the United Nations." She mentioned it to someone she knew and that lady looked at all her tags and realized the same thing. This morning I looked at mine: Peru, Vietnam and India. Three nations. On my body.

So now I'm curious - what nations are YOU wearing?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

TWD - Blueberry-Sour Cream Ice Cream

I look forward each week to my Tuesdays with Dorie adventure. This week was almost a bust when I discovered my camera was sick. How can I do TWD without a camera? Even now, I'm having trouble getting the pictures posted because Ken's little Sony uses a mini disk as it's media and my computer doesn't like mini disks. I'm waiting for him to get them off the camera for me. We'll see how that goes.

This week Dolores of Chronicles in Culinary Curiosity chose Blueberry Sour Cream Ice Cream as our recipe. I think I have an ice cream maker. Haven't seen it in a while. Should be in good shape once I find it considering it's one of those appliances we used hard and heavy when I first got it but since then I haven't even seen it. Don't even ask about my bread machine.

This ice cream was . . . interesting. I used mixed berries because that's what I had. I wish I'd thought to run the puree through a sieve before adding the creams to make the custard. It's pretty seedy. But the color is beautiful and the texture is smooth and creamy. Very Nice. I think it would be lovely with a lemony cake or even some sort of shortbread cookie. By itself it's pretty rich and after a few spoonfuls I was done. My favorite part of TWD isn't the actual tasting anyway - it's everything that comes before: studying the recipe, searching out the ingredients, the creation of the dish and of course, the photographs.

I was going to put up an actual video of the ice cream churning but you thought family vacation videos were boring? It was purple goo going around in circles with an annoying whirring sound in the background. You ain't missing a thing. But you might be missing a little without trying this ice cream. Check out Dolores' blog for the recipe. It's something a little fancy - a little different and real pretty. And if you know me, you know how I love me some pretty food.

What's next? Granola Grabbers. Well, now, doesn't that sound healthy? Mmmmmm (please note dripping sarcasm). Maybe we'll skip next week TWD and opt for a new cocktail recipe. Who's with me?

Monday, August 11, 2008

romancing the blues

I think I've figured out the cause for the crappy "clap" picture below. My camera, she is broken. Evidently it can't handle a nose dive AND a bounce on ceramic tile. (it was an accident!)
Tomorrow is Tuesdays with Dorrie and I've got pictures to take! We're all screaming for ice cream. I hit up the boy-child for his Nikon but it isn't anywhere to be found - at least not when I woke him before noon to ask. So I snagged Ken's little Sony. We'll see how that works. On the up side, Sony takes movies so ya'll can see live churning action if I can figure out how to upload a video.
Till tomorrow I am pictureless. It is a sad day indeed. Say a little prayer for my Canon, would ya? I'll take all the help I can get.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

no cure for the clap

when i told my friend susan the title i was planning for this post she said, "are you knitting more washrags?" i laughed and laughed. do you all remember the washcloths i was knitting for hookers in canada? i'm certain camilla becher remembers. dirty hooker cloth stealing whore. now i have to knit more. oh damn. more knitting. how will i ever cope?
on to the "clap" update. it's all i've been doing so i have been making some progress.

crappy picture. crappy lighting. get over it. it's knitting and it's completely gorgeous. focus on the positives, folks.
that's all from the nuthouse. they limit my internet time. :) carry on crafty ones.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie - Black and White Banana Loaf

Blogger was being finicky about posting pictures but there is, as they say, more than one way to skin a cat. Flickr won't let you post date your posts so I uploaded the picture to my Google/Picasa album and pasted the URL rather than uploading a picture through Blogger. Take that Blogger! I love post dating. It's like blogging in my sleep. While I'm warm in my bed tonight, Blogger will post my Tuesday With Dorie post right at midnight. How rediculous is that?

This week's TWD entry was selected by Ashlee of A Year in the Kitchen. You can find the recipe on her blog. Go look how stinkin' adorable she is. And she cooks! Great choice Ashlee!

The cake is dense, moist and the flavors compliment each other so well, each bite is like a party in your mouth. I enjoyed this recipe very much. It had all the things I love about cooking - varied ingredients, new techniques, fresh aromas in the prep as well as the actual cooking and rum! What's not to love about chocolate, bananas and rum?

Next week we're making ice cream!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Cami is a Pushy Bitch

She even titled this post herself.
The original post was up only for a few moments, without title, without text because she's been bugging me for days to post a picture of my knitting. I tried explaining to her, taking a picture would require me to stop knitting! And who would want to stop knitting on this:
she also didn't know that hostas bloom so I had to offer this as evidence:
nice weeds, melly.
ETA: I stand corrected. Evidently these are indeed surprise lilies. They came up in a bed of Hostas so I thought...
I'm still learning my yard. Seems old Mary had some tricks up her sleeves!
and finally, what made me dash back into the house:
a brand new cicada, drying it's wings. do not click for bigger. -shudder-
it's like we're being overrun by aliens. send help. or yarn. yarn would be good.
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Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Twist Collective

Quite possibly the best online mag I've ever seen. Easy to navigate, graphically pleasing, frickin' awesome!

Check it: Twist Collective

My apologies to my foodie friends. This is yet another knitting related post. Check back soon. I'll be cooking something eventually. We gotta eat!

Friday, August 1, 2008

love (1)

Sorry for the delay in posting. I've been knitting! Oh how I've missed knitting! I do like to sew but I need to knit.

I was a happy girl when the mail came yesterday. I ordered a Ravelry T. I was so jealous when Lotusknits got hers . But I'm guessing there's a big difference walking around with disagree (1) on your boobs than the one I got. :)

I hope I don't have to explain it too often. Or will it just be obvious to everyone? ;)

Robin called me out of the blue Friday and said she just couldn't LIVE without some Koigu. Evidently only one store in town carries it and she needed me to help keep her in check so she didn't go crazy. Well, no one was there to make sure I didn't go crazy and I left with this amazingly lovely Malabrigo Silky. It's gonna be a Clapotis when it grows up.

The picture really doesn't do the yarn justice. It's actually a deep Merlot with hunter green patches not this pasty reddish color with silvery accents. It's perfectly lovely and I can't wait to have it all around my neck this winter.

If I have to explain this post to you, you just aren't cool enough. If you know Ravelry, you understand everything from the love (1) to the "Clap". And if you don't, well, I just feel sorry for you. :)

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