Monday, September 22, 2014

Ah, nuts!

Dad's neighbour has a black walnut tree that over hangs my parents' yard. Every year, they are inundated with walnuts.

When I'm there, I help him pick them up off the lawn. He stores them in his shed until winter, when he puts them out for the squirrels (mostly for the amusement of Ladydog). He got so many this year, that I thought I might bring some home for my squirrels
I'll save most of them for when it snows, but I put some out on Sunday to see what the squirrels would do.
It took him a while, but eventually this little guy realized something new was afoot in the yard.
He sniffed, and sniffed, and sniffed... and then he found them
And sniffed some more...
Before deciding the bird feeder had better grub....
Oh well, he'll figure it out eventually.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Wonderfully warm weekend

The last week has been unseasonably cold and more than a little rainy, with it even dipping below freezing one night. But Friday night blew in a breath of fresh air, along with a nice warm weekend. 

I took advantage of the weather, put the top down on the car and headed up to Mom's. My brother's family was visiting, so I got to see the girls and finish up a few custom orders for the shop.
Miss Rowan was quite insistent on helping out, so I promised her as long as she was good, she could dye up a couple of skeins before we were done. (Her's are the crazy purple ones on the end.)

Today my attention has been all for Eve. I was hoping to get her finished today, so I settled down on the couch and set to it.
Miss Peno kept my extra yarn safe for me. Sadly, as usual, I've underestimated how long it will take to complete. She should be done this week, but not tonight. I'll get back to her as soon as I finish up dinner, and a little seasonal dessert..
Apple crisp and French Vanilla ice cream - definitely worth taking a break for.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Cats in the kitchen

For a long time, I've admired the fabulous aprons that Araignee makes and frequently wears. I've been meaning to sew one for the longest time, and even found the perfect pattern, but I've just never gotten around to it.

But while making jelly, the fact that I NEED one was definitely apparent (thank goodness jelly washes out!). So making one got bumped up my to-do list.

But then Dave sent me to the mall. He needed some computer part or something (still not sure what it was, but they were out of it whatever it was..) and on the way out I passed a kitchen store with the cutest little apron display.

I moseyed on in for a look, not expecting much - afterall it's the kind of place where even a salt shaker is well out of my budget.

Imagine my surprise when the aprons were actually affordable. I certainly couldn't make one for any cheaper.

I was still trying to talk myself out of it - making one would be so much more fulfilling, wouldn't it... but then I saw this one...
The style was perfect, green is my favourite colour and when you looks closer...
How could I resist?

They also had a sale on fridge magnets...
so I scooped up some that reminded me of a certain someone...
"I am far more handsome in real life."

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Well that's not a poppy...

With the weather cooling off, my gardens are winding down... but the plant that originally I thought was a poppy, then a black-eyed susan just keeps growing.
I've been waiting and waiting for it to bloom to see what it is. It's getting there..
I hate waiting.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to bring some of my recent botanical success inside.
I know most of you think I have a fantastic green thumb... but only when it comes to outdoor plants. Indoor plants I murder with abandon. But I love orchids, and I've wanted one for a very long time...
They were on sale at the grocery store and I just couldn't resist. Hopefully I can keep it alive... and away from a certain someone
He certainly doesn't look like a vegetarian.. but he loves his house-plant salad.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Inchin' on Eve

There hasn't been much time for knitting since casting off Highgarden (thank you for all the lovely comments... and so sorry about the wait for the pattern... but I have a plan).

When I have been knitting, I've been working on Eve.
She's coming along - I'm about halfway done. But I'm lucky if I can get a full repeat done each night. That's going to change tonight though. Wednesday nights are my "nothing but knit" nights.

I'd like to get this one done because I'm dying to cast on for a new project. I think I've found the perfect shawl for my handspun and angora...
The Curious Collective shawl
There's a little KAL going on for it, and if I get Eve off the needles soon, I'll have enough time to complete it for the KAL. Then it will be time to kick it into high gear for Christmas knitting.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

FO: Highgarden

The rain has stopped and it warmed up a touch (though it's still cool) so Mom and I took advantage of the sun to do a little photoshoot of the Solo Cat shawl.

I'm now pleased to properly introduce you to... Highgarden
Highgarden is named for one of the estates in George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire Series (or Game of Thrones, as it's better known by, thanks to HBO). Highgarden is a land of plenty, and the shawl draws on that through it's botanical motifs, starting with flower buds, moving on to leaves, leaves and more leaves.
It's going to be part of an e-book I'm releasing in the spring (sorry... you'll have to wait that long for the pattern)

As you can see, it's a nice wide, asymmetrical crescent shaped shawl. I discovered the technique when I knit Auburn Wave early this summer. I liked the construction so much, I wanted to see how it would look with a more complicated lace pattern. I had the Solo Cat (in Gilded Rose) sitting there... and it all just came together.
The construction makes it sit quite nicely when it's wrapped. And the eleventy billion beads that I used help with the drape and weight to keep it in place.
Finished size is about 60 inches wide and 20 inches deep - so not huge, but not small either. A nice size to wrap comfortably around you shoulders on a cool evening. 
I'm so pleased with how the knit on edges turned out. They made such a difference to the final product.
As mentioned in a previous post, once I got the edges done, The cast on edge looked a little odd. But some i-cord ending in a few little leaves solved that problem nicely.
I think it adds a nice little bit of whimsy to a very romantic look shawl.
Now I just need to talk my prince into taking my somewhere fancy....

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Last harvest

No knitting today. I woke up to a cool autumn breeze and the pitterpatter of rain, and I knew I had work ahead of me.Time to bring in the last of the green tomatoes before they rot.
Not as many as last year - this summer was much cooler - but still a respectable four cups. Last year I made salsa verde with the last harvest. This year, I thought I'd try something different.
Pickled with garlic and dill and a few pearl onions. I have no idea how they'll taste... but they do look pretty! I got six jars from the haul and according to the recipe, they should be ready to eat in three weeks.

Next up was the jalapenos. My plan was always to make some hot pepper jelly for someone on my Christmas list with them.

I didn't get as many peppers as I'd hoped, but I was quite proud of my modest harvest. That is until I stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few more - just to make sure I had enough...
Yeah - the store bought peppers are on the top... mine might be small - but they are mighty, I'm sure. Concentrated heat - or so I'm assuming.

This was my  first time making jelly, so I was a little nervous, but it's surprisingly simple.
You blend everything up with vinegar and sugar ( I left the seeds in, so this jelly should be smokin' hot) and bring it to a boil. (And not to a boil-over... like I did... nice sticky mess to clean up there...)
Then you strain it, and put the juice back on to boil. Add in your certo and food colouring (that's where it gets it's colour from - it's a very pale green if you don't - kinda looks like snot) and seal it in jars - it's as simple as that.
I went with purple for my colour... because why not??? I got 12 quarter-pint jars out of the batch. A nice little Christmas gift, if I do say so myself!

Dad had asked, that if I had any peppers left, could pickle some for him (He likes to slice them up and put them on sandwiches. As it turned out, my meager little pepper harvest was actually enough for the jelly (you only need 2/3 of a cup!) so I had all the store bought peppers and lots of jars.
These ones I did seed, and pickled them up with some garlic and yellow onions - got three little jars. And if he likes them, it's easy enough to pickle some more!