Thursday, November 29, 2007

Meaty, Cheesy, Melty!

Our new neighbor(s) may well be full-on crazy. I've noticed many a strange thing in the past few weeks, one of which I photographed. I present to you this evidence:

That is their car under there. The sign is tied to the front and back bumper.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


The long weekend has given Paul and I a surge of energy for making plans to do more things outside of the house. While talking about the things we wanted to do, we realized that we have lived here for 4-1/2 years and have yet to experience a New England pastime: Candlepin Bowling. Last night we sought to rectify that oversight.

We met Arturo and Sam at Sacco's Bowl-Haven in Davis Square. For those of you who are unfamiliar with candlepin bowling, it is similar to regular bowling in that you throw a ball down an alley and try to knock stuff down. The differences are that you throw three times each turn, the pins are straight and thin and the lanes don't clear out the pins between throws so you have the added element of the fallen pins when you are bowling.

Being in Bowl-Haven feels like a trip back in time. The alleys are really old and the scoring is all done manually. The vintage photograph on the wall didn't look all that different from the current state of the place.

After finishing our games of bowling, we headed over to Rosebud. Rosebud is a dining car that was built in 1941. The little dining car had a full bar and plenty of seats so we happily settled in until we closed the place down at the late, late hour of midnight. While we were there, the bartender showed me a book about diners of New England. Rosebud was on the cover and there were a few pages about the history of the restaurant on the inside of the book. I read that at one point the diner was a dive bar/strip joint. None of us could figure out how strippers could possibly dance in the tiny place and the bartender didn't want to discuss that part of Rosebud's history.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Secret Tijuana Deathmatch

With the long weekend, we have been able to fit in lots of fun things. After a little bit of Christmas shopping and some Christmas knitting earlier in the day, we set aside the evening to spend it with these lovely folks.

Arturo, Sam and Becky

We invited them over to play games, which turned into playing one really long game. We participated in a Secret Tijuana Deathmatch courtesy of Cheapass Games.

Our Deathmatch Pawns

Paul was the victor by virtue of being the richest among the still standing players.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Tofurkey Day!

Happy Thanksgiving! And, a happy Thanksgiving it was. Complete with my first ever homemade cranberry sauce. If I had known it was so simple to make, I would've made it long ago.

It was also a great Thanksgiving because we shared it with Becky. To make a nice evening even better, Becky played Word Search with me. Paul won't play it with me, something about hating hating hating that game. Becky talked video games with him though, so it all evened out.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Problem Solved

Over time Paul and I have broadened the scope of our cooking which resulted in an accumulation of spices that exceeded our previous form of spice storage: a plastic shoe box. We had been cramming more and more into that overflowing box. It had gotten to the point that an avalanche occurred whenever we needed to use any of our spices.

Just taking the box off of the shelf meant there was a mess to clean up and then nearly everything needed to be taken out of the box to locate the desired spice.

A solution was required. Paul and I discussed our options and settled on watchmaker storage cases. We ordered some from a Canadian company and, after a messy conversion, have this to show for it:

A tidy shelf!

And storage containers that show off the spectrum of spices.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Stop the Presses!

Is that Paul in a yarn store? With a smile on his face?!?! It sure is. He voluntarily went yarn shopping with me today. I'm going to turn those two skeins of Lamb's Pride into something which he says will qualify me for the "Best Wife Ever" award. Stay tuned for the big reveal.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Fugly Mat

This project has been in progress for more years than I would like to admit, almost since I started knitting. It originated from my desire to try out a variety of yarns and stitch patterns. The "concept" for this project was to make squares of equal size from cotton, silk or a blend of the two. I went with any color and texture of yarn that I wanted to and tried out a bunch of stitch patterns. Over time I ended up with a big assortment of random colors of squares. I worked under the assumption that I would eventually sew the squares together into a big blanket and that the randomness would work out well.

At some point I felt the need to start batching the squares to get a better picture of what I was working with. During that process, I ended up with 3 batches of squares including this one:

This is perhaps, the ugliest thing I have ever knit. It is wonky and I think the colors are all wrong. Since making some of these squares I have learned more about gauge and drape so I can look back and know why this is so wonky. But, I put it all together and would feel bad throwing it away. So, I kept it around while I thought it over.

Finally, I offered it to Jack.

Jack likes to be by me while I knit and since he isn't allowed on most of the furniture he is often splayed out on the floor. He seems to appreciate his little pad of knitted softness even if it is hideous looking.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Works in Progress

I feel the need to take stock of my current works in progress. I like to have projects that are of varying levels of difficulty and size so that I can match projects to my knitting needs. Here is what I am currently working on:

This mess of stuff doesn't travel with me. It sits by the bed and gets worked on here and there before I go to sleep.

What is that mess for, you might ask? It is meant to be a pillow cover for the couch. Our couch has been pillowless for far too long. And, judging by the pace at which this is being knitted, it will be pillowless for quite a while longer.

This is another project that has been a long time in the making. I have been working on this bit by bit for over a year. It is my first colorwork project and has already taught me a lot. However, it doesn't appeal to me as much as simpler knitting does. I need to knit more of this so I can become faster at it, thus making it more appealing. Later.

This is the project that I am most focused on right now. It is going to be a cardigan for me (see the little orange photo?) and I am knitting it up FAST! It has been nice to knit on larger needles (size 8!) as most of my recent projects have been on needles ranging from size 0 to 2.

Speaking of size 0. I have been knitting these socks on the train. They make for good subway knitting however, I am getting a little bored of these and will be glad when they are done so I can move on to some socks that are in a pattern other than stockinette.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Candlelit Dinner with a Side of Felting

Last night Bonnie and Craig had us over for dinner...anyone notice a theme? It seems that we really enjoy cooking and eating with friends. We sure do. Bonnie made a sweet potato soup with white beans and corn. It was the perfect dinner for a cold evening. I brought over a loaf of garlic rosemary bread fresh out of the breadmaker.

Not only did they share their great soup with us but they also let me use their washing machine so I could felt the boxes for my dad's Christmas gift. Here is a visual rundown of the finishing portion of the project, which took as long if not longer than the knitting portion of the project.

Lots and lots of ends that needed weaving in.

Pattern: Mason-Dixon Knitting - Felted Boxes
Yarn: Classic Elite Artisan Wool Alpaca
Color: 085
Variations: Eliminated the handles

Leave your coat in the car.

One of the good things about having this blog is that I can use it to share things with my family and friends. However, it makes posting some of my projects kind of difficult since I like to make most of the gifts that I give to friends and family. I imagine that as it gets closer to Christmas I will start stockpiling photos of finished objects and then have a big reveal after the gifts are received.

For now, I will just say that I was invited to accompany Bonnie to a bead and gem show. I took home quite a haul and spent Sunday evening making some gifts.
Here is a peak at my bead show goodies:

It was an intense shopping experience. I was forewarned to bring snacks and water, to wear comfortable shoes, bring an empty bag and leave your coat in the car. Now that is some serious bead shopping.

Dinner with the Newlyweds

On Saturday, Abby and Jeff ventured down from the Granite State to visit us and scratch Tchazo's butt. It was great to see them, share a Freestyle Chili dinner and a few bottles of wine.

Abby and I bored the boys a little with some knitting talk. Abby has been using Ravelry and I had yet to set eyes on it....until tonight!! I was surprised that I got my invite so soon since the last time I had checked I was 5 thousand-something in line. I'm thinking it is going to be an amazing resource.

Minimalist shot Minimally

I have been meaning to get some good shots of my finished Minimalist Cardigan. It has been done for a few weeks and things (sunlight and Paul) haven't aligned in a way that have allowed me to decently document my sweater. Oh well. I'll get around to it. For the mean time, I present to you a minimally documented Minimalist Cardigan.

This blocking required the use of a very large towel.

I am happy with how the seams came together but it took me a really long time. I didn't want to end up being sloppy about it so I worked a little and then took a little break and then worked a little until it was all seamed up.

This is what you get when you try to use a stool and a camera timer to photograph your sweater. Eh.

Pattern: Minimalist Cardigan from Interweave Knits Fall 2007

Size: Small

Yarn: Classic Elite Classic Silk (9 full skeins)

I knew when I started this project that the edges would roll. After being worn for a day, the edges are rolled into little tubes. I am still debating whether to let it be or to incorporate some clasps. Other than the rolling, I am pleased with the fit. The yarn is holding its shape well and feels fine against my skin.

What this means is that I have now tipped the ratio of successful to unsuccessful sweaters in favor of successful. Yay!

Spontaneous Tibetan

On Friday evening, I didn't even let this goof take his shoes off when he got home from work. I grabbed his hand and pulled him out the door. I was on a mission: go on a date before Friday night tiredness set in.

We went to a Tibetan restaurant in Teele Square in Somerville. It was tasty and a good deal. Impressive enough that this may become our new go-to place for Tibetan food.

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