Oops, Fell Off Again

Yes, I kinda fell off the internet again.

Robin is still wandering the country in training. I hear from him, usually a short Facebook post, about once per week. He’s on trainer #4, and I’m hoping will be done soon. He’s spent a couple weeks waiting for trainers, but at least he’s been being paid for the waiting.

Two weeks ago Ron started orientation with Schneider, half of last week was kinda flail-ish with getting his truck and getting it fixed and cleaned, so today starts his first real week. He left stupid early this morning, and will be back Saturday, so home Saturday night through Sunday night. So far he’s happy with Schneider, and his shoulder is enjoying not dealing with tarps.

The dogs are Not Pleased with being crated all day. Once we settle into a more predictable pay schedule and pay off some bills that have accumulated, I’m hoping I can get a daily service to come and let them out around the middle of the day.

Thanksgiving with the extended family-by-choice was fun. 8 of us total, which meant we all had “real” plates and flatware, and the house was pretty much full.

Last weekend we bought a Charlie Brown Christmas tree – Peanuts brand and everything. We were at Ace Hardware, and saw a pre-lighted 18” tree, and we considered it. I wandered through the aisle of holiday stuff and found the Charlie Brown tree and snagged it. It’s a proper straggly thing, crossed-boards base, one red ornament, and a “Linus blanket”. It’s sitting on top of the living room water bottle (to be fairly safe from toppling by playing dogs), and Christmas presents are being piled on/around the “Christmas Chair” nearby.

Natter about craft shows at the local high schools can be found on the Otter blog.

Yesterday we went to the storage locker for a couple Otter-ish things, and cotton duck from my fabric stash. In the afternoon we made an apron for Ron from said duck. It’s fairly long, and the bottom turns up and is attached at the sides, and the edge stiffened with some leather, so it forms a big pocket to catch chips when he’s woodcarving.

I also shopped the stash for upholstery fabric, and made new slipcovers for the bolsters that live on/around the couch. They’re 2-3 couches old, and an icky faded blue that do not match the blue couch we have now. Once I had the covers done (which didn’t even take too long), we decided to pull the old dead foam out of the bolsters, and re-stuffed them with fiberfill from Sweet Potato, Ron’s co-driver bear, who has developed holes in multiple seams. So now we have a pair of cylindrical bolsters that look nice and are actually useful again.

The Water Resources Christmas luncheon and staff meeting is on Thursday, so last week I made myself a new shirt and vest. Both had some issues, but were solved. I just need to put a hook and eye on the neckline opening of the shirt. I should consider ironing it, too, but I don’t know if I’ll get that far.

Wait, What?

How did we get over halfway through March?

Vests came out pretty well, except for a minor issue trimming one, which pressed out. I wore them to the floodplain managers’ conference, and one of them to a meeting last week. In other sewing news, I also made a couple sorta-scrubs tops, one of which turned out fine, and one of which had to be rescued from a failed attempt at a boat-neck. And I looked at fabric at Spoonflower.com, and have a rather large wish list.

Took Metra and Amtrak to and from Springfield for the conference. From now on I’m paying the extra for Business class on Amtrak – slightly nicer seats, more legroom, priority boarding, and access to the something something club at Union Station – a nicer waiting area with snacks and drinks (including alcoholic, at certain times of day).  You can access the mumble club and get priority boarding by paying for it, which is what I did, and accidentally making 2/3 of the trip in Business class.

There are four more snakes in the house. Two weeks ago we went to the local herp/exotic animal show, and a Corn Snake and Irian Jaya carpet python followed us home. Yesterday we went to a big twice-yearly show, and almost made it, but a King Ratsnake and Water Python jumped out at us. I was also admiring Reticulated Pythons, but they’re tooooo big. And smart, from what I understand.

Today I went to Ikea and got some more shelving, triggered by evicting various things from shelving we had to make room for three of the four new snakes (My water python baby in a half-size Cambro tub (9″x12″-ish as Kajura (sex unknown) is so tiny).

The biggest chunk of shelving is on the second-story landing, replacing the laundry hamper, and holding new hamper bins. I don’t know why I didn’t do that years ago, much more useful than a hamper with unused space up above. The other pieces are under the windows on my side of the room and Ron’s.

Made a small rib roast for dinner, with new potatoes boiled, drained, cut into chunks, and added back to the pot they cooked in, where onions had been cooking in butter/margarine, seasoned with Penzey’s Fox Point seasoning (salt, alliums alliums alliums, and green peppercorns). Yum yum yum.




Higgledy-Piggledy Month

Since I last posted things have kind of turned upside-down and inside-out and higgledy-piggledy.

Ron and Toshiba have amicably separated, as of February 1.

Ron is working on getting a CDL (Commercial Driver’s License) endorsement, so he can drive big trucks. At this point he’s passed the written exams for his CDL learner’s permit, not sure when he gets behind the wheel.

Since Ron has been at home, he and Robin made most of the baked goods we sent to the Capricon Cafe – banana bread, corn muffins, and many different kinds of scones (I did a few scones).

Nageswari definitely seems to be getting more used to us – she’s been seen out soaking several times.

Robin cleaned the pantry a couple weeks ago. Wow, space!

I could *not* come up with any good ideas for birthday/Christmas presents for my Mom, and finally in a fit of possible insanity I ordered her a reproduction china doll (with soft body) similar to mine, and sent here a couple Japanese-style outfits. She was thrilled. Happy dance, happy dance, happy dance!

More natter about things that have been worked on over at the Otter blog.

Last Monday I fell off the step-stool while spot-cleaning snake enclosures. Ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch. Mostly just stiff Tuesday, pretty sore and uncomfortable (and stayed home) Wednesday and Thursday.

I was going to do some sewing last Monday afternoon, but instead I spent the day flopping around the couch being sore and headachey (did go to acute care, they didn’t think I needed imaging after physical and basic neuro exam).

We have new neighbors (house to the north sold, finally), Mom, Dad, and four grade-school-ish boys. They seem very nice.

The weather last weekend was insane. 30-40 degrees F would have been warm for Capricon weekend. Mid-60s was mind-boggling. Then last week lower-70s.

Had the house open to get fresh air in much of last weekend.

Then it got cold again, and so for the last week or more I’ve been reminded on or off that my sinuses hate big temperature swings.

Capricon: Robin commuted and worked for Dave, Ron commuted and lurked around the Cafe a bit, I stayed home.

We have a new stove, since the oven died in the old one (a while back).

Also a “portable” countertop dishwasher. Was not willing to sacrifice more floor/counter space to a larger unit.

Got rid of the full-sized dish drainer and mat, and obtained a small mat and a roll-up grate-mat that can sit across the sink for larger items that don’t go in the dishwasher (cast iron, larger pots & pans, etc.).

The downstairs bathroom faucet has been replaced with a high-arch bar faucet, with a hose adapter, and there’s a coil-y hose with good spray head hanging on a rack in the bathroom. Watering snakes is much simpler now.

Got the drafting table mostly cleaned off again (see Otter blog), and used my big cutting mat.

Did sewing this weekend – two vests and a jacket, all un-lined. The jacket is kimono-style, vests have kimono-style collars, and square shoulders. Finished the vests, except for a good pressing that will hopefully tame trim issues on one, hand-sewing on the jacket to go.

Vests are to wear over mock-tee shirts at the annual floodplain managers’ conference next week.

Waiting on a new enclosure for Fezzik, Tanami, or Nageswari – depends on how big they all are when it arrives in a couple months. Yes, a long wait, but worth it.

Catching Up

Oops, I see its been over a month since I last posted. I blame the journal app I got for the iWhatsit (Day One). So to recap:
 Mid-September: Cleaned the dining room and the front entry. I can now use the dining room, and the doorway between the front entry and dining room is actually passable. IIRC I posted on the Otter Blog about it.
 Late September – Early October: The HVAC system at work went berzerk. It was up over 90 degrees F for a couple days. It still isn’t exactly fixed, but it is back to the same chronic state of not-quite-broken we’ve been living with for something like 10 years now. Low bid system, etc. etc.
 Various personal things were personal things. There’s been angst and ups and downs and Ron’s gotten really sick of not getting more than 6 hours of sleep a night. I suppose we should just admit than the term I’m avoiding is “insomnia”.
 Otter Necessities stuff has been happening. See the Otter Blog for that.
 Also for making chocolate babka. Or rather, marzipan-chocolate babka. Yum yum yum.
 Pippin is Pippin. Elrond is old, weak in the back end, has questionable vision, and is more or less senile. Back-end weakness means we’ll be replacing throw rugs at some date in the future, but for the moment he seems comfortable and reasonably happy, so we’ll put off the replacing of the throw rugs, thankyouverymuch.
 Been calling arborists today to see about getting the Tree of Damocles removed. The one right by the power and phone lines to the house. Fortunately, the neighbors are OK with having the work done from their side of the fence (which is only inches from the tree, at best). Yes, finally. I didn’t realize how long it had actually been since the Tree of Damocles incident.
 Guitar and banjo lessons are going well. I’m up to playing 5 of my 6 strings, and I expect to be formally introduced to string #6 in tomorrow night’s lesson. Working on learning “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring”. Got the triplets (faster) down, now working on the slower bits (which involve things very like chords, except they only involve two strings at a time, not 3+, and which initially broke my brain when I tried to wrap it around actually playing two notes at a time – in theory was fine, execution not so much).
 Robin seems to be one of the more dependable employees at “his” Little Caesar’s, including understanding the operation, disassembly, and reassembly of dough-mangling machines. AFAIK he hasn’t learned to run the register/customer service yet, because he’s been too busy trying to keep up with making dough, pizzas, and doing dishes. See above, re: dependable.
 We’ve discovered that there’s a pretty good Indian restaurant 2 or 3 doors down from Little Caesar’s. Unassuming/unimpressive little hole-in-the-wall with the simple name “Indian Bistro”, but clean, the food is good, abundant, and more or less cheap. Ron and I like the Aloo 65, which I’ve taken to calling “danger potatoes”, which are bright screaming red, spicy, and served with raw onions. The (vegetable) samosas are big. Like half a pasty in size.
 Last week I was watching something Bollywood while waiting for our food. Not sure what was happening because I don’t speak Hindi (I assume it was Hindi), but I was able to identify the smart (-aleck) kid, the heroine in the form of his beautiful older sister or mom, bumbling pickpockets who were outwitted by the kid, auntie/grandma and her comic-relief spouse (gargling floor cleaner instead of mouthwatch, thanks to kid), handsome hero (possibly kid’s dad?), and the Other Woman who the hero was romancing at that point. And then there were the musical numbers. I have no clue what they were about, I really don’t know the tropes. But they rival, no, exceed, any of the big Hollywood musical production numbers.
 I think . . . I think I need to watch some more Bollywood stuff, with subtitles. I expect American pop culture is equally inexplicable if you don’t know the language.
 Saturday night we went to see “Young Frankenstein”, the musical, at Cutting Hall. It was pretty good. It wasn’t a complete re-do of the movie, but it was clearly a direct descendant. Ron, Xap, and I all want to know how in the world they were stuffing all those sets back in the wings. We’ve been back there, we know how much room there . . . isn’t. And nobody was bitten by bats.
 Saturday and Sunday we worked on garb, a vest for Xap that didn’t go quite as planned, and had the side seams and front buttons replaced with lacing. But it came out pretty well, I think. Xap did the majority of the work, I advised, did a little pressing, and some top-stitching.
 Cut a Folkwear-pattern vest out of muslin, and tried it on Ron and Robin. It fit Robin with relatively minor changes needed. Not so much Ron. Teslacon is coming soon, so I didn’t want to wait to mail-order a pattern that went larger for Ron, but Reconstructing History had one I could download, print, and tape together. Which we did. And despite adding 4″ in length, it still was too short, too tight in the arms, and needed other changes. Printed out another copy to go up one size, decided what additional changes to make, and Ron and I have been puzzling over the collar. Today, after fussing about with muslin pieces and puzzling some more over the directions, I determined that the pattern and directions for the collar are . . . pretty much useless.
 I did find one blog/review about the pattern, and the author also had collar capital-I Issues. I’m going to have to come up with the collar on my own. I think I can do it, but it annoys me.
 3rd annual staff meeting for work on Thursday. Meeting stuff in the morning, in the afternoon we’ll be seeing the a project to burn off coal tar underground/under water (I think) in the City of Ottawa, IL.
 – Posted using software from hardware

Last weekend and last week and today

Friday night of last weekend we went to REI so I could get a new sunblock shirt, since my previous one has been AWOL for a year or two, and a new hat. Because a sunblock shirt and hat are a lot less annnoying than sunscreen goop.

Saturday morning Ron and I went and got manicures (first ever). Due to a mis-communication, now I have short nails on both hands, not just the left.

After the manicure we hit the farmer’s market, where I was beguiled by lemon cucumbers when intending just to get a summer squash to have with dinner. And then I needed some sweet onions to put into yogurt with the cukes. And we stopped at Eurofresh for yoghurt.

I also ended up (refrigerator) pickling some, in not-sweet brine with Vindaloo and lots of garlic, because it looked like too much for salad. Silly me, I question if I can make too much yogurt/cucumber/onion salad. One of the (plastic) jars of pickle also has baby carrots, because there was space.

Sunday morning Ron and I went to the Bristol Ren Faire, with Xap, Pat, Cathy, and Becky. The fair is big, and will be even bigger next year. Found a very nice lightly-used surcoat at Felix’s that fit Ron, but resisted. Had a surprisingly decent pasty, with a proper not-flaky crust. Saw Dirk Perfect and Guido Crescendo, The Swordsmen. Hot and sticky. Cheese fritters are decadent. Got funned out before the rest of the group.

So, Ron and I left about mid-afternoon, and proceeded to the Illinois Beach Resort, which is in the Illinois Beach State Park, which I’d visited the previous Tuesday while inspecting some watersheds that drain to wetlands in the park.

Sat on a bench on the beach in the evening and snarked wedding party (awful colors – hot pink and bright blue, bridezilla-ish behavior, doofusy photo setups). Discovered that I’m a wimp, in terms of walking on the beach/rocks.

Monday morning we sat on the beach for a bit longer, but rain looked iminent, so didn’t stay past mid-morning.

After we got home and schlepped things in, I kept Ron company while he sorted glass to re-figure-out what he’d gotten for a couple stained glass projects, and put labels on the pieces.

In the afternoon I got a pounding sinus headache, so I took some Alleve and a hot bath, and Ron went out Ingressing. Then I made a garlic/mustard/kofta kabob seasoning rub for the boneless leg of lamb. After that I went back upstairs and sewed the front extensions, sleeves, and side-seams on two of the kosode I cut out Friday, and trimmed the necklines.

Worked on doll clothing over the course of the week. No new pictures here, but a couple and more natter to come on the Otter Blog, which has been neglected of late.

Left work a little early yesterday, on account of the storm, and wanting to get Robin to work dry. I left at 3:30, and didn’t get home until 4:40 – normally a 30-45 minute trip. There was a semi on its side on southbound 59 over 90, I think the wind blew it over. Both 59 and Bartlett Roads were closed north of Higgins. Chaos, disorder, panic, cats and dogs living in sin, yadda yadda yadda. But we got Robin to work on time.

This morning started out with a trip to the ER for Ron, at 3-ish, for what we thought was a kidney stone – trip was to get pain meds. But nothing showed up on the CT scan, ER doctor suspects its Ron’s back. But pain meds achieved.

Meanwhile, Robin, who had been stuck at work until 1 AM, over-slept and missed half of his farmer’s market job with Modelmaker. And he was back at work at 5-ish today. Oops.

After Ron and I got home and got showers, we set out to get the prescription for said pain meds filled. CVS at Smith & NW Hwy was closed, no power, so we hit the Walgreens at Palatine & NW Hwy, where we succeeded.

After that I got a haircut, where I learned that we wouldn’t be grocery shopping at Eurofresh, as they were closed. And when I commented that I guess we’d be going to Jewel, another customer said it had no power and was closed, too. Mariano’s was open, but I wasn’t interested in learning a new store.

After that we tried a different nail salon, where we got no-chip manicures, and although the ladies also didn’t speak the best English, they understood the trimming instructions. They also seemed rather distressed at me wanting clear polish, and I let them talk me into a very light pink – light enough that it looks fairly natural, if rather shiny.

Another couple stops, back home, flopped around, I took a short nap, then out to Toreo for dinner, since we never did get groceries. The power was back on in the Eurofresh strip mall, but they weren’t open (not surprisingly). I really hope they had a backup power source to keep the meat cases, etc. running.

To bed soon, since I set the timer on my nap to limit it to a half-hour, and so I’m still tired.

More Doll Clothing

Oops, meant to post this a week or so ago:
 Shortly after MuseCon I posted pictures and nattered about Japanese-style doll clothing. At that point, I’d finished these kosode (robes) and kariginu (vest) from a set of fat quarters:

 I’ve finally finished the last two pieces made from that bundle: a robe, the exact name of which escapes me, which is essentially a kosode without the overlapping front extensions:

Back view, to show off being picky about the placement of the koi:

And this hakama-style skirt. Which is more of a muted olive in person:

And now, the fan-pattern kosode, which I meant as a bottom layer, with the hakama. Sorry, I still haven’t gotten my PVC display stands made yet:

And the layered robes. You’d probably actually want a plainer kosode as the center layer (instead of hiding the koi), but you get the idea:

And a more casual outfit of kosode, kariginu, and hakama:

You may notice that the flowers on the kariginu also show up on the large koi robe. And the koi three of the five fabrics. I wouldn’t have thought of using an olive with the other colors, but it works. Which is an advantage of using fat quarter bundles. Granted, the collars for the koi robes and the kariginu didn’t come from the bundle, but they’re good color matches and work.
 – Posted using software from hardware

Semi-Random Natter

I know we’ve been doing things since I last posted, on Wednesday, but my brain seems to have turned to mush.
 Wednesday evening we had our guitar and banjo lessons. The Music Room is having a recital for adult students in October, and my instructor asked if I’d like to try to have something ready. I’m brave/foolish, so it looks like I’ll be working on “Scarborough Fair”. In preparation, I’ve been working on learning my first two chords. The excitement, it is incredible.
 Friday I meant to go to work, but was tired and whiny and had a bad case on don’t wannas. So Ron came home about mid-morning. I was feeling better in the afternoon, and my noon conference call ended in time to make the first matinee of “Guardians of the Galaxy” (Robin had to work at 5:00, so it was that show or go without him). In the evening Ron took me out to dinner.
 And then Ron didn’t sleep much at all (an hour or so?), for reasons.
 Saturday morning we went to Woodstock to pick up two tabletop printing presses and other letterpress things. I drove.
 Ron was pretty much a zombie, so not a lot else got done on Saturday.
 We did go see a Gershwin musical, “Crazy for You” at Cutting Hall. In 20/20 hindsight it would have been a better one to start with – real sets, good costumes, not much of a plot, but happy and fluffy, and a very full house. OTOH, I’m not a dancer, so not sure if I could have gotten a part – lota and lots of dancing.
 And yesterday’s matinee featured an un scheduled appearance by a bat, who reportedly bit an audience member. Bats don’t scare me, but I can’t say I’m sorry we missed that.
 Yesterday I made sweet refrigerator pickles – AB’s summer fruits (plums, pears, and lemon), with added starfruit, key limes, and peaches. I went a little overboard, as pickles are won’t to do, and ended up with five quarts.
 I also have most of a quart of thinly sliced red onion soaking in the citrus sweet pickle juice from last summer’s pickling attack, and a quart and a pint of key limes on their way to becoming pickled (brined) limes, ala “Little Women”.
 After re-reading “A Little Preserving Book for a Little Girl”, a book from Project Gutenberg that’s a combination storybook, instructions, and recipes, I may try some jam or something next weekend. A SMALL batch. I also got two modern books (ebooks) of small batch preserving recipes by the Food in Jars blogger.
 Just exactly what I play with next weekend may be left to Robin to see what looks good at the Farmer’s Market.
 I have a board and brackets for another shelf in our room, where I’m going to move my dolls. Once somebody does three edges of the board with the router, which he didn’t do yesterday, for no adequately-explained reason. Hopefully that has been rectified, and Ron can get the shelf up this evening.
 – Posted using software from hardware

Busy Weekend

It was a busy weekend. But first, a couple updates on older stuff:

Sewing: Not happening, because I’m working on leather instead.
Knitting: The yellow, blue, and purple mittens (of which Pippin stole one) aren’t much farther along, because see above.
Robin’s floor: Still there, but he says it needs work. Being that this week is spring break, he has some time.

New stuff:

Cranky Prognathodon is Cranky: I have to be in Springfield at 8:30 am Wednesday morning for a meeting. Bleah. If my boss hadn’t approved me for an overnight stay I’d probably have been cranky at him. But he did so I wasn’t. Well, I’m still cranky that I can’t do the meeting by phone, but I place the blame more on politicians than my boss.


Last Sunday I assisted and accompanied Ron on a quest for coffee, as in, the ability to make it at home. We have a blade grinder and a drip coffee maker, but the results of the grinder are at most charitably described as “inconsistent”, and the coffee maker is another thing to sit on the counter. Plus, we have an Breville electric kettle that we like a lot and use regularly, so we don’t need another thing to boil water. We got this nice basic (and not stupid-expensive) pour-over coffee maker from Ace Hardware, a hand-cranked burr grinder (because electric ones are bulky and stupid expensive) at Williams-Sonoma, and some whole bean coffee and a nifty  storage canister at Norma’s Coffee Corner, a coffee shop just down Northwest Highway.

So, Ron and Robin have been doing coffee in the mornings. I really like the smell, but can pass on drinking it.

Yesterday Ron got some more beans at Beans and Leaves, a coffee and tea cafe (with music circles some evenings) in Long Grove, and stopped at Crate and Barrel for another couple more canisters. And other things, that I’ll get to down below . . .

Pickled/Preserved Kumquats:

I picked up a couple little bags of kumquats, to try pickled kumquats, ala the infamous “Little Women” pickled limes of Amy’s humiliation, or preserved lemons. Saturday evening I cut them in half, and packed them in a Mason jar with salt. I decided that doing them in layers was not resulting in good packing, so I dumped it all in a big bowl, mixed it up, then packed it all into the jar (quart):

photo 1.JPG

Reading instructions at various websites, mostly this one at the “Food in Jars” blog, and this one about preserved lemons, the process is supposed to pull enough juice out of the fruit to make a brine, but kumquats are not especially juicy, so I added bottled key lime juice (and some more salt, to keep them covered):

photo 2.JPG

Looking at them yesterday morning, Ron suggested I’d added too much juice, so I poured some off, and added a little more salt. Now they get to sit for several weeks and ferment.

Not-Tagine Pilaf:

Thinking about preserved lemons made me think of a tagine that I’d made before, which is supposed to use preserved lemons, which you fry for a bit in butter. I didn’t have have preserved lemons, so I used fresh. Fresh lemon slices fried in ghee smell amazingly good, and the peels, while kinda bitter, are soft enough to be edible.

This time around I didn’t want a stew, so I made more of a pilaf. Fried the lemons (2) and browned chicken thighs (4), removed the chicken, added onion (one absolutely ginormous one, because I forgot that I’d just bought leeks, and had started cutting up the onion), and some orzo. I got the onions (and lemon and orzo) fairly brown, then added rice (1 cup), water (3 cups), a bunch of garlic puree, and chicken and vegetable base, brought to a boil, then baked at 350 for 45 minutes.

It was yummy. It was also too much rice. I was trying for just a little bit of pilaf, but got more than I wanted. Next time 1/2 cup.


When we got married we got Corelle dinnerware, 8 servings. Its nice, but not a pattern I’d have chosen. We never ever use the tiny cups, and the rimmed saucers are annoying to use as small plates, as they have divots to keep the cups in place. And everything has ridges/sharp corners, which are wonderful if you want to accumulate hard water stains. So I end up bleaching the dinnerware every couple/few years when things get bad – especially if tannin from tea of fruit is involved.

A while back I was looking at the Crate & Barrel website looking for small plates to use instead of the Corelle saucers. Not just because of the rim on the Corelle saucers, but also to encourage us to take smaller servings.  I found these little square 6″ dessert plates by the dozen, but didn’t buy at the time, because I wanted to look at them.

As I wandered around Crate and Barrel yesterday, I remembered that on-line shopping, and took a look. I found the plates, and also smallish square bowls. They’re nice plates, but I liked these appetizer plates, from the “Roscoe” line better. They’re about the same size (6″ round), and just feel nice.

So waffled, and looked, and pondered. Here’s the whole Roscoe line. The Roscoe white isn’t as bright white as the square box-o-bowls. The bowls in the box, which I do like, despite interior hard water stain-catching interior corners, are a bit smaller than the Roscoe bowls. In the end, since we couldn’t get a good color match, we decided to intentionally not match. We got the box of 6 square white bowls, and then from the Roscoe line 8 of the dark grey appetizer plates, 8 light grey salad plates, and 4 orange bowls, for when we want larger bowls.  None of the stuff is very pricey, so even with two more coffee canisters, it didn’t break the bank.


When we got home I bleached all the Corelle, and Robin packed it away (except for the platter and two bigger serving bowls, which get used fairly regularly). Ron went through the other cupboard, and Robin packed up a whole bunch of coffee mugs, plastic cups, and we got rid of some somewhat mangy plastic cups/mugs. The Corelle is now Robin’s, probably also the mugs if he wants them.  We’ll probably also pack up our “good” Noritake stoneware, which is nice, and I could possibly have gotten appetizer plates to coordinate with. But I didn’t.

So now all the coffee paraphenalia is off of the counter. If we pack up the Noritake, as well as two salad bowls I don’t use – anybody need a salad bowl?  One is wooden or bamboo, the other is glass in a wood or bamboo base (which it lifts out of), free to good home. – I should be able to get some more things off the counter.

Where are we going to put this packed-up stuff?  Robin says the storage locker is getting full, I’m thinking maybe we can make space in the pantry closet. But packing up the Noritake then putting away boxes will have to wait until I get to the Container Store and get some boxes (cleverly, I asked for boxes at Crate and Barrel instead of bags, so we could use them for the Corelle).

To wind up:

And I did a bunch of work with leather and cleaned up bits of the dining room this weekend, too.


Stolen Knitting and Not-Dead Dog

Much of the weekend I was working on something like 40 pouches. More natter on that on the Otter blog.

But I did get a bit on the current mittens. As is my wont, I work on both mittens, doing a bit on one and then the other, so they leapfrog. This pair has a section of narrow bands on the fingers, and then a section of Komi geometric patterning on the palm and thumb. I’m making them top-down, got the last narrow band done on one mitten, and on Saturday afternoon was going to get the second one to the same point.

Except I couldn’t find it. I knew I’d worked on it earlier in the day, but it was gone. It bugged me all evening. I looked, Ron looked, Robin looked, Marmaduke looked. It stayed gone. I started to cast on a replacement, then pulled the cast-on back out. Hunted some more. I looked out in the yard, on suspicion of thieving by Pippin. No mitten.

I went to bed annoyed with the missing mitten. It hadn’t re-appeared come morning. We went out to get breakfast. When we got home, I decided to check the back yard again, in daylight (the flashlight function on my iPhone is impressive, but still…). Ron volunteered for that job, and found it. Pippin had stolen it, and since the (little) balls of yarn were tucked inside and the mitten pinned shut with the working needle, there was no tell-tale trail of yarn leading out the dog door, like the other time he stole knitting.

In Pippin’s favor, having seems to be the thing, not chewing. So the mitten was undamaged. And I suspects he only steals knitting that’s fallen on the floor, which I think this mitten had done. Knitting left out on a table, the arm of the couch, or even in an open tote bag on the floor seems to be safe.  And as soon as Ron walked in the door with it, he knew he was in trouble (not a lot of trouble, but still).

Anyway, here’s one of the two mittens, ready to have a bunch of ends from the narrow bands, which are alternating blue and purple, darned in, and then start in the palm patterning, which will be in blue:


Alas, I forgot to wear purple for St. Urho’s Day yesterday. Sob sob.

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, Robin and I are both wearing orange and green. I have a green collared shirt, unbuttoned about halfway down over an orange T-shirt (and a denim skirt and navy leggings). Robin’s wearing an orange shirt, olive drab kilt, and black vest. I know Ron was talking about wearing orange and green yesterday, not sure he remembered this morning. I currently have Flogging Molly playing on my iWhatsit. Going to switch to Gaelic Storm if I have much loaded, or whatever vaguely celtic I have. And I have leftover corned beef and potatoes (not a cabbage fan) from last week for lunch, so I think that’s festive enough.

If wearing both orange and green makes you twitch, deal. My mother was Catholic, and a Kennedy (no relation to those Kennedys, AFAIK). Dad is a Scandihoovian Lutheran. Robin is just contrary. So orange and green it is.


Catching Up, Over Thataway . . .

I have a big catching-up post covering the last week, but its over on the Otter Necessities blog.

You really do want to go take a look, it turns out that Robin’s room actually has a floor! There’s photographic proof and everything!

And I condensed my yarn stash, but pictures of neatly-stacked bins in a closet really aren’t interesting, so there aren’t any. Here or there.

I finished a set of mittens this week, and have started another. The finished mittens are purple with yellow flowers, made from the leftovers from my purple, yellow, and orange Komi mittens. The mittens I’m working on now are yellow (a different one) and blue leftovers from socks I made several years ago, and some more of the leftover purple.

The purple and yellow mittens definitely need blocking. I keep looking at these mitten blockers, but I don’t like the cutouts that allow you to use the thumb bits as wraps-per-inch gauges, I’m afraid that they’ll snag floats. And the other thing is that most of the mittens I make have pointy tops.  The other choice are these longer gauntlet/wrist warmer blockers, which have smooth thumb pieces, but don’t narrow down for ribbing around the wrist.  And don’t have pointy tops. Maybe I’ll e-mail the seller and ask if I can get the mitten blockers with smooth thumb bits.

Or I could get Robin to make me a wooden pair with smooth thumbs, and pointy tops. We might even have plywood or other lumber of a reasonable thickness in the stash…