Monday, December 14, 2009

Things I found on Monday.

OK, I am daydreaming about shopping and knitting for myself and others and found some lovely things online, waaaaayyy too close to Christmas to actually acquire them for myself, and way too close to Christmas to start and finish for others (if knitted) but I wanted to share photos.

Exhibit A: These handknit slippers are amazing! I plan to make about forty pairs in 2010 and give them to everyone I know until I burn out on them. I can't wait to knit a pair - I hear it takes no time, at all - and I'm planning on gifting a pair to a friend who is out of the country until after New Year's!

Exhibit B: Oh. My. Word. Have you seen this AMAZING knitted throw at anthropologie? It looks like a big, clean sheepie just laid down on your couch and you cuddled right up. I would luuuurrrve to own this darn thing. The photo doesn't do it justice. Hurrry! Go to the Anthro website and check it out for yourself in all of its glory. and PS: It is on sale right now. I am sad that it will never be in my home, but it wouldn't really go with our things here in Austin, Texas, anyway. We need a GIANT KNITTED SWEATER approximately one night each year.

And, since we are already discussing anthropologie, here is another item that I think is amazing: the anthro bird nest Christmas tree topper. Since we have a tree that is all silver and white, I think this would look so cool on top, but let us consider, for a moment, the SHOCKING price of this little whatzit: $389. I'm sorry. What? Is the cardboard made of recycled giant sequoias??? Is the tinsel platinum? ? ? ?Even with the price, I love it - but it is one of those things that you could probably make on your own - a variation of it, anyway. So here is a photo, to immortalize it - that way, years down the road, I can make one:

Finally: I love this stationery. I love all things french bulldog - to a ridonkulous level. I want kitchy frenchie stuff all over my home and I know I cannot do that because all of a sudden, I would turn into one of those people who wears t-shirts with glitter and a photo of my dog on the front. I get it. But I love this stationery, anyway. You can buy it at - which is a lovely place to purchase paper items. . . if you are not shopping at Hayden Avery, of course.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Great Day.

Today was great. The Longhorns won, the weather was perfect, and I did something I really wanted to do: I took a class taught by Jared Flood - you can find a link to his blog on the right. It was fantastic. He is a great teacher, I learned so very much, and I really look forward to employing some new skills. The class was focused on lacemaking, and the project we worked on was a lace sampler, teaching a few different lace patterns combined with several general knitting tips.

This photo is seriously awful - the yarn is not really that dark, but in the evening light, it is hard to see it. I also haven't entirely completed the project. The main body of the knitting is complete, but I am searching for a lace edge pattern to add to it. Finally, I will need to block the knitted item to truly show all of the intricate stitching. Blocking involves wetting a knitted item in cold water, then pressing most of the water out of the item, and finally stretching the item. I will post a photo when it is entirely completed.
I am also working on a scarf for Steven's sister, seen here in burnt orange to the right. I love this yarn - alpaca and merino - and the color and pattern are also pretty great. This is my first exposure to knitting cables, and I love it. I will definitely be knitting something for myself in both this yarn and the cabled pattern sometime soon.

Finally: here is a photo of the photo provided to me graciously by Elizabeth, of the twins wrapped in their handknit merino baby blankets. I have been meaning to post this one for ages.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

It really is winter.

It is Sunday afternoon, it is fifty seven degrees and it is wet, wet, wet outside. In some parts of the world, this is summer. Here, it feels like winter!!!! Lucie is wearing her hoodie in the house. I have on jeans and a sweater. We have a fire going in our fireplace. It is lovely. I have found that our fireplace does not, in fact, put out much heat, at all, but I love it anyway. Because we cleaned out our backyard earlier in the summer, we had a ton of extra firewood. I believe we will probably have to bring in a bunch of wood to the garage to let it dry - if it really is a wet, cold winter, we are going to need some dry firewood.

All of this fantasizing about winter makes me crave soup. Again. But soup reminds me in general, of eating, and pretty much when I think about eating, I always crave a hamburger. I'm about to go spend a couple of hours at the gym to pre-burn off all of the calories I want to eat for dinner tonight. I want a burger and fries from someplace amazing. Now, how to convice Mr. Weller that this is what he wants, too?

I have lost just south of 17 pounds so far. I am starting to feel more like a girl and less like a combo sloth-hippopotamus.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Things we accomplished this weekend.

See friends, check. See family, check. Love dog, check. Eat soup, check. Obtain more soup, check.

That is a total of FOUR different kinds of homemade soup consumed in one week. This count doesn't include the Chicken Posole from Fete Accompli or the can of soup I ate one day at lunch last week. That is a land speed record for me on soup eating - I don't even like soup that much!

I started decorating our house for Halloween. It will be full throttle this year because we are hosting our dinner group in October! I am very excited - I always put out a few decorations but when you aren't hosting a party and you have no trick or treaters, no one gets to see your efforts but you and your mister.

I bought a pile of fabric remnants at Fanny's the other day - each piece was about fifty cents. I am embroidering them and adding borders and trim to make decorative tea towels for all of the holidays. . super cute! I will post a photo of the Halloween one when it is completed, hopefully tonight!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

It is under seventy degrees. Pretend like it is winter!

It is so funny to me that we all run around, craving soup, wearing sweaters, etc. when it is like 65 degrees outside. I know we actually dipped into the fifties last night - with the rain and the cool temperatures, it actually does feel like Autumn. . . I also know that may not stick around too long so I am taking advantage of it, too.

I have been trying to be better about finishing leftovers in our fridge (not as a personal goal, but mostly this is about keeping the fridge cleaner. .) I peeked in there this morning and took note that there are THREE different kinds of soup in there! Last Friday, I went to lunch at Fete Accompli - and the smart shop girl asked me if I would like to sample their soup of the day - Chicken Posole. It was soooo delicious, I ordered a cup of soup with a half sandwich, and then left there with another generous quart container of the soup for us to eat over the weekend. There is a little left in the fridge.

There is also some (way too old) vegetable soup that needs to go, but I am a little fearful about pouring it out - I am thinking I will freeze it and then pop that ice block out in the yard for the deer. . . Finally, there is a two quart container of butternut squash soup that I made Tuesday night. I love butternut squash soup, but this is so very thick, I have a hard time with it. .. I will probably thin it with some skim milk for dinner tonight.

Tomorrow night, the Wellers will be attending a dinner at a friend's house that has a menu made up of 'soul food' options. The host actually said it was a 'slightly trashy' feast. I am taking a good old Texas sheet cake to complement the menu. mmmmm.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

little victories!

I have lost a total of 14.6 pounds on Weight Watchers so far. I am so proud of myself. (flipping hair and spinning on my heels.)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

And now, for something a little serious.

This is cheesy, sort of, but sometimes I am in total awe of God and nature. It is nice to be reminded about the natural world we live in. Examples: (a) the hummingbirds in our yard. They are so territorial about our feeder. I love sitting out on the deck and hearing the buzz of their insanely fast little wings as they dive bomb each other. . . and I now can recognize their little teeny peeping chirps in the trees. The amazing tiny-ness of them just entirely fascinates me. (b) rain!!!! The weather has changed so much in the last week. We have had quite a bit of rain compared to the rest of the summer and every time it even looks rainy, we are all being a little nicer. I think it is because we are happy for the break. The best part of rain, which I haven't seen in a long time. . . rainbows. It is a terrible photo which doesn't do it justice at all. . . but considering that I was actually driving at the time - not condoning that, by the way - it turned out okay. Huge double rainbow. sigh.
c) Owls. I was just telling my mom the other day that we hear a lot of owls in our neighborhood. . .but haven't heard them in quite some time. Then, Tuesday night, I went out on our front porch and there was this owl in the trees maybe 50 feet away. Assuming it was a 'he' - you could hear him hooting to another owl way off in the distance. That sound is occasionally a little eerie late at night when it is very still, but Tuesday, it was almost like it was reminder that we share our neighborhood with them.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Well, poo.

The dishwasher panel reverse side is the worst of all possibilities. It is beige. Gross. I am re-evaluating Plan B, because all of a sudden, the black dishwasher just isn't that bad. I mean, it could be beige.
I have now lost 12.8 pounds on weight watchers. I don't feel like I look any different, but I am really proud of myself.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Our lovely kitchen. and getting lovelier.

So, I have lost just over 11 pounds on Weight Watchers thus far. This is the time that is most difficult because I lose steam and start to think I am doing well and then kind of mess up on the eating plans. . . .so I am re-dedicating myself for the upcoming week.

Our house is starting to really look like a home. I have been making a true effort to keeping (most of) our house picked up, we have started hanging much more stuff on the walls, and I repainted the kitchen over the weekend. It looks very updated. I have an electrician coming Friday to change a number of sockets and switches from the icky 80's almond colored plastic to just plain white plastic. I also have plans to re-face the dishwasher. I got to thinking that a stainless dishwasher would look so much better in the kitchen. I did some research and learned that no one has ever heard of a "Crosley" brand dishwasher. (you?) Apparently they are made by Maytag, but I think they're the 'lower end' Maytag line. The dishwasher is fine - does an adequate job as long as we scrub the dishes before they go in the machine. . . so I am not in the market for a new one anytime soon. Sometimes you can buy a new door panel for your dishwasher. I started looking online for one and didn't have much luck. I then called a Maytag dealer/repair place in town, and asked them about my Crosley dishwasher. The gentleman on the phone told me that they 'didn't carry that manufacturer'. .. I had to educate him that Maytag makes Crosley. Clearly, this is a very popular kitchen appliance line. I provided my model number to him and he was able to look up available parts for my dishwasher. The good news is that there is a replaceable door panel - and also reversible - and one of the door panels comes in black with aluminum on the reverse. That was exciting to learn. . . until he told me that the parts for my particular machine ceased in production in late 2008. Why couldn't I decide to do this last year????

So, our dishwasher is black, currently. I plan to try to remove that door panel today to see if maybe luck is with me and the reverse is aluminum. If not, I move to plan B, which is to buy a roll of stainless sheeting and re-cover the dishwasher. I priced it out yesterday. I can buy a roll for about $55 and shipping, which isn't terrible. I will have a ton of leftover sheeting if I pursue this option, so if you would like the leftovers, let me know.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Week One.

Well, this is not normal, and I never expect for it to happen again, but my positive obsessive thoughts and actions worked. I lost 4.4 pounds this week! I assume that two pounds are H2O and the rest might actually be real. . . . but yay!!!!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Here we go.

Ok, so trying to have a baby makes for a bit of stress and obsession. I am trying to be more relaxed and not think about it ALL the time, but it is there. You do obsess about it when you live by your calendar. . .

AND: My body has suffered through my obsession. Between the legislative session and the slight bit of comfort eating that I have done through the baby-making process, I have gained a bit of weight.

So, I joined Weight Watchers (WW) last week. And, I am going to begin knitting like crazy. The knitting is just downright fun, and the WW helps to give me something else to obsess about. My first weigh-in will be Wednesday, and I am praying that my body didn't try to go into starvation mode this first week and hold onto every ounce. . I would like to even just lose maybe half a pound to prove that I'm headed in the right direction.

Weight Watchers makes you end up eating a TON more produce than you normally do - and for that reason, summertime is a really great time to start a structured eating plan. I am really looking forward to going to the farmer's market this coming Saturday - but for that reason, I need to eat everything in our refrigerator this week. I am up to this challenge. :) (I mean, Mr. Weller will help me, but he isn't someone who can eat just vegetables as dinner - or eat a tiny portion of chicken and a whole plate of veggies.)

Updates on this course of action to follow!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


I have to say that this was probably my best birthday in the last five years. We spent time with my parents on Saturday - working in the yard and then went to lunch at Blue Dahlia, on East 11th Street. - I think I love the interior more than the food, but the food is also very fresh and very abundant, so it is one of my new favorites.

Monday, my actual birthday, my mom came in and we had lunch at East Side Cafe (I could eat there every day, I think) and went furniture shopping. We found a dining room table that is actually massive enough to the fill the space in the dining room, but wanted to leave it and come back later. Steven went with me to check out the table/chairs that evening, and we agreed to get them! (Yay!) We went to dinner at Guero's with friends, and it was lovely. I haven't done a 'big thing' for my birthday in a long time, and it was really a very good time.

On Tuesday, Steven and I went and bought the table/chairs. We brought home the pads for the table. (They are plastic covered heavy cardboard (I guess) with thick felt backing). . . The table and pads have clearly come from a home with a white cat. Gross. The pads are in the back of my car and I plan to thoroughly vacuum and then steam clean the felt tonight. The table will come home Friday, when my dad (thank you!) will pick it up with Steven and the trailer. So exciting! I will post photos when it is arranged in our dining room. After buying the table, we met up with family/friends for another birthday celebration (not really mine, but sort of) and went to Blue Star Cafeteria. I highly recommend the Garden Vegetable Bowl. Fresh sauteed veggies over boursin cheese grits. Amazing.

Now, I have to stop eating out!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Busy as a . .

I have been very busy over the last six months and have failed my blog. I am back and have a lot of catching up to do. I have made many things: Socks for Steven - I don't have a finished picture, but I will track down his feet and get one!

I also made a cutie baby sweater. It is a butter yellow, but again, I took this photo with my phone and it doesn't really do it justice. It was a class to learn a particular technique, and I now have the modified adult pattern for this sweater. . . which I plan to begin knitting for myself in the fall. . . . The sweater itself is super soft and I haven't yet given it away. I am saving it for someone special - maybe my own, probably someone else's, but nobody has had a little girl so it is in a drawer, now. I love it, though, because of it's color and the lace pattern - so I sometimes just take it out to stare at it!

Then I made this: Something for myself - and that doesn't happen very often! It is a scarf, made of silk and mohair yarn that I bought in a yarn store near Chicago. It is actually not quite finished, but I will model it when I am done. . . .

Then I started the summer baby gifts. A mystery animal hat for a baby boy, and a bumblebee hat (below) for a baby of unknown gender:

I have also knit matching socks for each hat but don't have photos, currently. Next up, finishing my scarf, maybe beginning a few Christmas knits. . .

Friday, March 20, 2009

Let the Games Begin.

I just like that post title. I intend to use it multiple times.

I have been kept really too busy for blogging as of late. . . even if I do have spare time, when I come home from work, generally the last thing I want to do is park it in front of the computer and type. .

I've had a lot on my brain and have had a difficult time sleeping this week. I think that a couple of nights of decent rest can really help, and I plan to walk Lucie for a long time this evening so that she is tuckered out, too. (and that will result in better sleep for all of us.)

I had such an enjoyable Saturday morning last weekend, I have decided that I should share. With others, I worked for five hours on a farm - called Johnson's Backyard Garden, , a 20 acre organic farm just minutes from downtown Austin. The farm is actually a co-op, where members pay a certain dollar amount for a box of vegetables each week.

It was damp and cold and we arrived around 8 am. Our first project was digging up and bundling green garlic. I was hungry by 8:20 because the garlic smelled so amazing. That was a very muddy way to start the day. We moved on to picking broccoli, and later picked collard greens. We picked and bundled spinach and then had to push the farm truck that was stuck in the mud. Once we were too cold to really do any good in the field, we went into the shed where we washed and bagged arugula and mixed salad greens. Finally, we got in an assembly line and put together boxes for that day's delivery. Each box contained about the same things: oranges and grapefruit from an exchange farm, broccoli, garlic, mint, flat-leaf parsley, kale, swiss chard, mustard greens, collard greens, spinach, arugula, salad greens, and beets. There were cats underfoot and roosters crowing. Everyone was so friendly and I felt very invigorated when I left. We have enjoyed new recipes all this week as a result of the assortment of early spring/late winter green leafies that I brought home.

Friday, March 6, 2009

mmmm. cupcakes.

As the legislative session blazes on and my ability to hang out in the kitchen decreases, I begin to look back on recent accomplishments with fond memories and I really look forward to summer again..

My most recent and favorite kitchen experience was the day House committee assignments came out. In a suite of three Republican offices, three members lost out big time. I went home and made this recipe. You can find a much better link on smitten kitchen, and the cupcake recipe was posted there. They were officially called Whiskey, chocolate, and beer cupcakes and playfully referred to as "irish car bomb" cupcakes. I called them what they were in our office: Bitter cupcakes filled with sad disappointment.

I have to say that disappointment has never tasted so good. I will definitely make these again.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

yarn and cars

It is a little frustrating to knit in the car. You feel confined and, if you're like me, a little barfy. I can't look down for too long without a headache or some nausea. . But I am not really talking about knitting while riding.

I was thinking about cars and I was thinking about knitting and that is how we get this whole post title. We went to test drive a Honda Pilot last night. I love it, and when we find one that has what we want, I will be very excited.

I am thinking about knitting. Over the past two weeks, I have knitted up a cutie little sweater and I am happy to have it done. It was super easy and was a nice resting project after the houndstooth terror.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

an update on the stuff I make

I haven't been feeling particularly talkative lately, so my blog is lacking in text. . .

I have officially finished the sweater for mom. It fit her perfectly and would never fit me, so I am very pleased with it. As soon as she models it for me, I will post a photo (taken with a real camera and not my phone). . .

In December, I painted some onesies for a new boy named Bodie. His dad is very into microbrews and these were born:

birdwatching at wal-mart

Have you ever seen the flock of wild parrots that we have here in Austin? I have heard they're in Temple, too, but I don't know if it is the same group.

I have seen them a few times, always in the winter. Once, they were in the trees at the CVS on Lake Austin Blvd. Another time, I spied them in the parking lot by Starbucks in Tarrytown.

Most recently, I was walking out of Wal-Mart in North Austin when we saw them in the grass, hanging out with the commoners (grackles). . They are apple green in color.

I tried to snap photos with my phone, but the quality is sub par. . . These photos are sort of like those 'Magic Eye' puzzles that make you look really hard to find the picture in the static.