Saturday, March 31, 2007

Longjing Tea

...My sweet sister - went to China and brought back some Dragon Well Tea for me - it immediately became my favorite - I think I like it even better than Earl Grey (Oh My!)...
It's the Man-Cub's favorite too. So when we run out - Karen will just have to trot back over to China and bring us some more. It's a very fragrant green tea with just a hint of smokiness...

...I like smoked teas - but that wasn't always the case - when I was in college, I had a Classics professor who didn't want to drive the 3 miles to the University every day and so he had a handful of us rising seniors come to his house (on Kimberly) for a seminar on Horace - as a treat during a short break his wife - also a Classics prof - would make coffee for us - until one of the other students complained that the caffeine bothered him - so she started making Earl Grey tea instead - and I was happy at this point because I loved Earl Grey tea - several days went by and all was well - then one day - she made Lapsong Souchong instead - and I HATED it - I thought - this is horrible - how could anyone drink this - but drink it I did (one has to be polite) - thinking that tomorrow she would revert back to Earl Grey - but she never did and I had to drink the smoked tea for the rest of the semester. It just goes to show that you really can get used to anything - and no matter what we're having for dinner - we always insist that the Man-Cub eat 2 bites - if you never accustom your taste buds to new things you will never like new things...

This is the tea right out of the bag - it smells wonderful...

The leaves uncurl as it steeps

- but the tea never gets very dark.

The Man-Cub takes his Dragon Well tea with about 1/2 teaspoon of sugar - but it's sweet smoky flavor is just right without it...

Friday, March 30, 2007

Hair Friday - the last installment

Hair Friday comes to an end with March - I probably won't do anything unique enough to post between now and when I get my hair cut - probably May or early June. I love this little "hair doody".

It fit my hair better when it was a little bit shorter - now the "bun" pokes out of the edges a little bit - but it is so handy - all you do is twist your hair up in a chignon - - squeeze the clip and pinch it around the bun - that's it - it lies flat and doesn't pinch or pull -
I'd get one for you - Karen - but I think your hair is too thick...

Thursday, March 29, 2007

One sleeve down - one to go...

I finished one sleeve for the Easter Sweater and it's blocking - it was easy and quick. There's no color variation in real life - the sleeve is still a bit damp. I've started the second sleeve and hope to have it finished tonight. Then the front and the collar and I'll be done. Whew!

Not that I'm sentimental or anything - but those blue knitting needles were my first pair - purchased for me by my Mom at the old Roses store in town. I was trying to knit a Dorothy Hamill sweater - but the intarsia was too much for me and after many tears I finally gave up - Mom then gave the yarn to Oveda for some project she was working on - but I've always kept the needles. I'll post another time about the old knitting needles that we found in a trunk up at Nanny's that I actually learned to knit on. I still have them too - they are size 5 and bakelite - pretty precious...

This is the nifty knit in hem - you just pick up stitches from the cast on row and knit them together with the stitch on the needle - it's very smooth looking.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Mini Kites

At our Pack Meeting the theme was WEATHER - and we had scheduled the meteorologist from the local news station to come and talk to the boys about weather, but he let us know Saturday that he wouldn't be able to make it - so we hurried and changed plans. I copied the 20 T/F questions about weather from Baloo's Bugle - then we did the little placard WEATHER opening.

Then we had lots of awards to give out. The Man-Cub got his third Bear Bead - he should be a BEAR by the end of April - Yay!

Then he got the Good Sport Award for being such a good sport at the Pinewood Derby! Check out that smile...

Then for our activity - since we didn't have a guest speaker - we made mini kites.

Instructions at - 20 Kids * 20 Kites * 20 Minutes - it was true

...and the kites really worked.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Makin' Grahams

The Man-Cub and I tried our hands at making Graham Crackers - we used the recipe at Our only substitution was Agave Nectar for the honey - thanks Karen.

The dough was very stiff.

The little roller from Pampered Chef - very handy. - That's what I used for the potstickers too.

They look like graham crackers...

These are fun to make and the results are acceptable - a little chewier than the storebought kind. I'll find another recipe and try again. I used to have a book when we lived in FL with a good graham cracker recipe - I think it was by Jane Brody. Come to think of it - that book had a recipe for marshmallows too. You can see where I'm going with this can't you - s'more's mmmmm...

Monday, March 26, 2007

The Easter Sweater

The back is done and blocking and I'm pretty happy with it. I started the first sleeve last night - the back took almost exactly 3 skeins - so I'm expecting the same of the front and hope to get both sleeves out of another 3 skeins. This is a very easy knit - you could almost read boring here - it's just stockinette - but there are increases and decreases and row counts - and it's just the thing for speed knitting...

Friday, March 23, 2007

Break a leg

The play was a huge success last night - our "tough bunny" stole the show - all the kids wanted to borrow his jacket. He had the cutest lines and said them with so much expression - he got lots of laughs.

And I realized that I never posted any finished photos of the jacket - so here's some detail I hope you can see.

The Man-Cub loves the jacket and says he wants to wear it when it gets warm enough - I'm glad he likes it so well and wish that I had been more careful to get the seams straight, etc. - as I thought it was just a one-nighter. All told I spent about $11 on the jacket. It was a ladies size small black rain jacket - that I got at the second hand store for $8 and then I bought 3 dog collars and cut the buckles off for $1 each. I already had the little grommets from another project. Oh, and I did break 4 sewing needles in the process, but I won't count that.

Hair Friday

This is really from last night - so it's Hair Thursday - The Man-Cub's big production of "Get Hoppin'" was last night so I got sort of dressed up - sort of really dressed up for here - where no one hardly ever dresses up - maybe for the prom. So this is a picture of the up-do - slightly mussed.
And here's a closeup - I should have taken the pics before the play...

First I pull my hair into a pony tail - then I just twirl a section of hair around my fingers and pin with a bobby pin around the base of the pony - and then pin the middle section back to the top/middle - it's pretty easy.
Boy did my head hurt when I took it down 'though. Thanks for the sweater, Mom.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Canadian Geese are back...

The snow is definitely melting and anytime you go outside you hear the geese honking as they fly overhead - we have four in our backyard now - I think they are the same ones who nested here last year. We give them a pretty wide berth - Jack is fascinated.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Renoir, My Father

I'm reading a really good book right now - title above - it's written by Jean Renoir and it's basically him sitting with his father talking - there are some good b/w photos of some of Renoir's works too. It's just a fascinating look back at the WWI era - lot's of descriptions of household happenings and quite a bit about the world war and the mechanization era too. It's a pretty easy read for a translation - I'm sure it's better in French 'though.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Easter Project

Of course, I don't have enough to do - so I'm going to try and make a sweater to wear for Easter Sunday. I found a pretty print for a skirt (you can see the material in the corner of the picture)- and then of course could not find anything that I liked to match it. I thought I could probably wear the sweater I made for our Renewal service a few years ago - although it's very dressy (and I still can if I don't get this one finished). So, I bought the material for the skirt - and then, wouldn't you know it - with our limited resources here I couldn't find any yarn to match it either - I was trying to match some of the green - and I wanted cotton of course.

I finally found a mercerized cotton crochet thread that matched well and I bought all 5 skeins that they had - that won't be enough of course - so I asked the clerk to reorder - the rest will be here April 3rd. Then I fooled around with the gauge all weekend - I kntted several swatches with 2 and then 3 threads on different sized needles until I finally got gauge.

I'm making the "nothing but a T" shirt from MagKnits.
So, I plied the thread together to make a pretty yarn - it has a nice sheen to it and it knits almost like a ribbon.

Wish me luck - I may not have time to post - as every spare minute from now until Easter will either be spent knitting or practicing the organ - I'm playing again on Easter Sunday - Whew!

Monday, March 19, 2007


Scrabble has always been one of my favorite games - I got a set for my 7th birthday from my cousins Susan and Gary - Mom correct me if I'm wrong...

Anyway, the Man-Cub loves Scrabble too and he's getting quite good at it - he also got a Junior Scrabble game for his 6th birthday - and this is the backside or the advanced side of his game board - the only difference being that you only get one point for each letter placed - he still won this game with 77 points.
He had the best words too - quote - hobo - sneeze and pray were all his - they would really have been worth a lot of points on a real Scrabble board.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Artist in Residence

One of the better classes in the public schools here is Music. The Man-Cub left a private school in SC with a wonderful music program - highly supported by the University's Music Department. So we were happy to find a good Music program here too. Last year's Artist in Residence was a mixed media artist and that was fun. This year it's Sergei Shapoval - a Russian musician - the opening ceremony was so much fun. Friday - the entire school put on a Russian Music and Dance show for the community.

I wish I could post video here...

Here's a link to his bio

Friday, March 16, 2007

Hair Friday - Again

It's funny to me that I can't stand to have my hair in my face now - it seems like when I was little and had hair down to my bum - Mom was always trying to get me to pull it back - but I wanted it long and loose. Not anymore - any stray little wisp of hair that wanders down to tickle my face will quickly be corralled by a clip or a headband...

I french-braided my hair this morning - I would much prefer that someone else do this for me - but in my male dominated world - that's not going to happen...

So what is a girl with long fine tresses to do - besides wish that she lived closer to Karen and Amy (who would surely braid my hair for me...)

I recline and let my hair fall over the edge - if I stand and braid I get little horns and bumps sticking out.

Sometimes I put a pretty "hair-doody" on the braid and let it hang down my back...

But more often I tuck the end under and pin it with a couple of bobby pins...

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Old Mother West Wind

We read to the Man-Cub almost all of the Burgess Bedtime Stories - and Old Mother West Wind and her children the Merry Little Breezes were prominent characters in the books - During a storm here the wind often shifts to all four directions in a matter of minutes - and it creates pretty patterns in the snow.

During the last blizzard - there were piles of snow and the Man-Cub and I sat in the living room looking out the window at the wind doing her sculpting - these little patterns would appear in the snow and the wind would swirl under them carving them just like I imagine the wind carves the Grand Canyon - then a whole chunk of the icy top layer would blow away the Man-Cub would cheer - it was great fun...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The New Pond

Well, I was going to post a joke about our new pond - As all the snow melts, we get a lot of mud and puddles. This one is at the west end of our house - but we can't even walk over to the church now = we get in the car and drive about 100 feet - sad I know - but it really saves on floor cleaning...

This picture was taken yesterday afternoon - on a cool spring-like day.

Then this morning - school was delayed one hour because of snow - and we had already gotten about 4 inches of new snow - everyone says it won't last long - once we've had a big thaw...

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Sleepy Jack

I sneaked up on Jack while he was sleeping and snapped a picture as soon as he woke up...

He is really turning out to be a sweet dog - he was such a fireball his first 18 months that we were a little worried - and he still has his moments - but his sweet moments are now more common that his naughty moments...

Monday, March 12, 2007

Pinewood Derby

The Derby was yesterday - it was a lot of fun - This is the finished "Roadster".

Here is the weigh-in - the first time we've hit the limit exactly.

The Man-Cub was a good sport - shaking hands with the other racer - whether he won or lost. His car came in 2nd in the non-tournament Time Trials - so he was pretty happy about that - and he won the award for "Most Creative".

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Baby Blanket

I make these little baby blankets all the time - I should keep several on hand - but I generally just make them right before the baby comes. Another pastor's wife here in the middle of nowhere is about to have her 4th baby - at home. She was one of the first people I met when we moved here and her oldest son is the same age as the Man-Cub. The blanket is super easy - I cast on about 100 stitches on #9 needles and knit stockinette stitch about 200 rows - or until I run out of yarn - I use 2 skeins of Caron Soft. You can see how the blanket tries to curl up.

So, to make it lay flat I crochet a border in a different color. If I know the gender of the baby - I'll do the traditional color for that - or sometimes I know what colors they are using in the nursery and I'll use that. In this case I don't know either - so I'm using some rainbow baby yarn from my stash. This is just single crochet - but sometimes I use a shell stitch for a baby girl or for a baptismal blanket.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Finishing Touches

The Man-Cub is out of school today - for their one-day "Spring Break" - haha - We've still got about 2 feet of snow on the ground. That's OK though - spring is definitely on the way - it got above freezing yesterday and will again today - Yay!

So the Man-Cub put some finishing touches on his derby car - all that's left is the clear coat. We are firm believers in the "Do Your Best" motto - and the Man-Cub has done as much work on the car as it was safe for him to do. I know he will be competing against some "Dad-built" cars - but this is his own design - we even let him use the dremel tool a little bit this time - and he can handle a coping saw as well - all the sanding and painting are his own handiwork and he's very proud of his car.

The Derby is Sunday...

Hair Friday

I saw on a blog where the owner had long hair - that she would post her hair-do on Friday - sometimes very elaborate "do's". This is my hair today - definitely nothing elaborate - just functional and out of my face. I won't go out with my hair like this. It's getting very long - almost long enough to donate again - the donated pony has to be 10 inches long. It will be the fifth time for me - I was worried that as my hair turned grey - they would no longer want it - but they do - so if you're wondering what to do with your hair - give it away. Males can donate too...