Monday, November 26, 2012

Ho Ho Hoooooh...shit.

I'm on Pinterest! Which is not a plea for followers, it's how I am going to try and explain my way out of this. I have seen some of the Pinterest testing blogs where beautiful amazing projects turn out looking like absolute crap in the hands of real people. I have a secret weapon, though. I am the craftiest bitch I know. Seriously. I am uncommonly crafty.

So a week or so ago I was having a quick look through endless crockpot recipes, homemade spa products, elf on the shelf (that bastard gives me the squeebie like WHOA), and how to turn a plain ordinary t-shirt into a wedding gown with three safety pins and a scissors and I saw the perfect wreath. I thought "Oh, that would be so charming on my front door!" And then  glory of glories, it was a live link and not yet another ad fakeout. HOT DAMN!

Merry Moss Wreath on

I read the supply list. Hmm, I have...none of that shit. No matter! I WILL GET IT. I had a coupon code for so I loaded all the supplies into my cart. Except for the 20x20 foam block. They didn't have it. So I googled it. No one seemed to have it. Hmm. Well, once I thought about it, my front door is a french door style, so really...a wreath that wide would look odd. I needed more of a 14-16 incher. Or 12 inches. Because it turns out what i could find was a 12x18 inch block a Amazon. So I got it.

Then I awaited the arrival of my supplies!
They arrived today and I set to work marking out my foam block and whacking off 6 inches straight away. I have no idea what a foam cutter is. I used my offset serrated bread knife. it was perfect for whacking off the big chunk. The center was....well, that's when I think that damn foam cutter would have been handy. I use a smaller knife, the big mamajama bread knife and so many curse words, but I got it done. And it was more or less even. And there was foam debris covering every possible surface in the dining room.

Then I opened up my box from Joanns. And right away I think "wow, these bags of reindeer moss are SMALL, good thing I got three instead of two!" Also: reindeer moss? This shit is not cheap. I know the directions say to stick clumps on. I somehow thought it would be more like...sheety. It's really not. It's really just mushy, moist, weird blobs of green shit. And not all of mine was bright green, some was brown. I could see that I was going to be in trouble because I didn't have enough pins. And I wasn't even sure I had enough of this green shit, either. Also, reindeer moss doesn't smell great, it's like earthy pee. Not as bad as boxwood, but not exactly delightful. Which is exactly how I want my front door to smell right? Vaguely of piss. Awesome.

So when I began to run short of pins I did what any craftonista would do: I grabbed the bottle of glue. Gorilla Glue, I had it out from gluing the sparkly fuckers back on my shower curtain hooks this morning. If you're smarter than I am then right now you are thinking of that vignette in the movie Creepshow where Stephen King gets into alien goop and grows green fur:

I'm not smart. By this time I was near tears, glopping the sides of my foam wreath with a thick layer of glue and then smooshing wads of green crap into it trying to get the best amount of coverage while really trying to stretch the material at the same time. It was very frustrating and I was actually on the verge of tears by the ends. And I have furry green hands.

But I couldn't give up. Mainly because I was in a little bit more than I wanted to spend for a project that was totally wasted. So I kept on smooshing and hoping it would stop sucking. It got a bit better, but it still does not really look like the original. The white spots don't really show in person, the flash high lights them. But my, uh, balls are bigger and it throws it off. I don't hate it, but it's not the vision I had. The size really is just right for my door, though. That part worked out very well, at least.

I am still on the lookout for tinier balls, maybe I will like it better then.

Monday, November 19, 2012

comfort food

It's cold and blah today and now it's raining. For dinner tonight we had essentially the same thing as last night. Minus the browned butter sauce because apparently butter and I are breaking up.

When I was a kid one of my favorite things for dinner was tuna patties. I suppose if we were fancier they would have been croquettes, but we just called them patties. And it seems like they were usually served with the not-found-in-nature-yellow mac and cheese from the blue box. And probably green beans.
They sounded pretty much perfect for dinner tonight even though I have not made them in years. But instead of the mac, I had them with lemon pepper pappardelle with a garlic, olive oil and white wine sauce. Kind of like meatballs, I just dumped them over the top. I also added a bit of dried lemon peel from The Spice House and plenty of pepper.

It was pretty much perfect.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


There is a chill in the air this week, it smells more wintery, the heat is kicking on regularly instead of just in the morning and evening.

It's soup weather. And knitting weather. Well, it's always knitting weather, but now it's both knitting and wearing of the knits weather, I guess.

Last night we ate one of our favorite dinners, a big batch of caldo verde soup. It's the national dish of Portugal and it is 100% delicious and comforting and warming. I make mine vegetarian-ish*, but many begin with browning chorizo or another spicy sausage. I promise you, and like all soup recipes there are endless variations, that it is plenty hearty without sausage in it.

I tried the slow cooker for it yesterday and it turned out perfectly.
Here is my very loose recipe:
2 32 ounce cartons of broth, I used no salt added chicken. Veggie works, too.Or homemade broth.
2lbs-ish of potatoes, I used red, roughly chopped. I don't peel them, the skins have all the vitamins, right?
1 large shallot, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon of minced garlic
red pepper flakes, salt, cayenne pepper, paprika to taste
1 large bunch of kale
olive oil
milk or cream

 * chicken broth isn't a vegetable, but my husband can eat chicken broth and feel OK so I sometimes use it for soup base he will eat. I often use vegetarian broth, last night I happened to have the chicken broth to use up.

Chop your taters and onions and dump in the bottom of a crockpot, cover in broth and add spices, cook for 4-5 hours on high, 7-8 on low. Taste the broth. Does it need salt? Add some if it does, I like to add cayenne at this point, too. Pepper in the crockie tends to intensify with long cooking times, so I add red pepper flakes at the beginning and ground cayenne at the end when I use it.
Once the broth is seasoned, chop up your kale and add it in and cover for 30 minutes to let it wilt and cook. Stir well, add cream or milk if you want a creamy broth, about a 1/2 to 3/4 cup. Add a generous drizzle of olive oil, just 2-3 around the pot and let everything heat through. The fat from the oil helps your body make vitamin A from the kale, if you used meat or as a base or real cream in the broth you probably don't need to add any fat unless you just like olive oil.

Serve in your favorite bowl with good bread. There is a hint of spice that is nice and warming, the kale is wilted but not slimy, it holds up well in soup. Swiss Chard works well for this, too.

And I finished a pair of socks yesterday, my Latte Lace socks using Sqwish Snuggle Toes in Latte.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I am tired

As in sleepy. Soooo sleepy. So this is pretty much worthless as far as being an interesting post.
But today was adventursome and challenging for me. Not in any major way, but for me, it was a lot of something.
Some good, some requiring me to really stand up for myself to ask that things be made right. Which is excruciating for me. How dare I ask for the thing I have arranged to happen the way I wanted it to go? But....I did. So fingers crossed that it works.

Monday, November 5, 2012

a glimpse into my marriage

Earlier this fall The Man and I celebrated 15 years of wedded bliss.

This morning around 4 am when I was finally able to fall asleep, I crawled into bed with him and it took several moments to get the cats and blankets rearranged. And as we were drifting off again, I stuck one of my icy little hands under his blanket and slipped it into his hand.

I thought it was sweet. We laid there in silence for a bit and then he said "That's kind of creepy. Your hand just kind of crawled over here."

So I was mock-offended and indignant. But then we got the giggles.
And that's why we were laying in bed at 4:30 am singing this:

This is what I think of as The Good Stuff. Also good stuff: putting ice cold hands on his warm back at 3 am. YUSSSSSSSSS!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

sqeaking in

right under the deadline!!!

Not much today.
I have another pile of crap to throw away becuase it has coconut oil in it.
This is an expensive little pile, let me tell you!

And then for good measure, how about a picture of one of the cats?

there. it's something. BARELY.

I will bullshit my way through this if I have to

I'm calling this Saturday, because, see, the time is about to change. So it's really only just after 11.

I had a shitty day. I happened to learn WHY it was shitty, though. I wore makeup yesterday. And I happened to go to the site where I like to buy that sort of thing because I am running low. And while filing up my cart with sparkly eyeshadows I looked at the ingredients. I've been using this brand for years now, but not every time I wear makeup. Lauroyl Lysine. Is in that eyeshadow. And in that mint green color corrector I used yesterday. I buffed poison all over my face. YAY. It's derived from Coconut.
So today was essentially useless.

BUT, lesson is learned and now I will be investigating ALL my makeup and moving on from there. Party on.

So let's talk knitting, shall we?
I showed my socks in progress on Thursday, today let's look at my heap of sweater:
Artichoke Cardigan by Marlybird

It is super red. And I love it and can't wait to get to the crunchy cable bit at the top..but meh..I can't be arsed to work on getting to the top right now. I have the sleeves joined to the body and I am probably 60% done, but I can't be arsed. I am tried of it. I just scooped up some good audio books with my Audible credits, so maybe soon I will settle into a frenzy of stockinette and get it done.

Then there is the sock club.
my homegrown sock club for 2012
This is going pretty well! I think I will have a couple straggler skeins to carry into 2013, but 8 of those are now finished objects. one is on hold to be something else instead and several other skeins I tossed in after taking the pic are now socks. It's been a good year for socks!

I'm socksy and I know it.
These were a few of the pairs I had going in Summer, now 3 of those are done and the Christmas ones remain to be finished, I will crank that one out as soon as I am done with the Latte Lace sock, possibly tomorrow. And then pick another from the sock club to begin while I wait for instructions for a super secret test knitting project. Exciting! I just completed a test knit and will blog  about that as soon as the pattern is released.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

I'm counting it

Technically, I missed yesterday. BUT, since I haven't slept yet, even though it's 4:12 in the AM, I am still calling today yesterday.
This makes more sense in my head.
I'm swiping a prompt from BlogHer because thanks to a migraine raging today(hence the insomnia) I am not exactly feeling inspired.

Friday, November 2, 2012
If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

I like where I live now. I could do with 100% less Governor Walker, but I like Wisconsin. But The Man and I do dream of one day packing it all up and heading for the UK. He would love to go now. We can't go now, even if we could afford it the facts are that he is an only child with parents in their 70s and he cannot pick up and move out of the country. So we have only done the most preliminary looking into this for now. Because when it's possible, things may be different.We often imagine which part of the UK we would like and at this time, Wales is in the lead. But I think we'd have to win the lotto to afford it!

Thursday, November 1, 2012


You have to read that title in the voice of Beavis. Or is it Butthead? You get the drift.  I think it's been a year since I wrote in this thing. There is no real big reason. I just felt so meh about it all. Not just blogging. About pretty much everything. Sometimes it's cyclical. I think more likely I was just worn the fuck out from the past few years. The house. My mother sending me nastygram emails to remind me I was a piece of shit. The new house. The new house is still GREAT, do not let me imply otherwise. No, it's good, it's just a whole lot of work. Coming after several years of...a whole lot of work.

I just holed up worse than usual.

Also, I'm allergic to like...fucking it turns out. Like not actually...but just about. it seems to just be the same old same old myristicin, I just didn't realize how much it's in. Not just nutmeg. Also, coconut oil and palm oil. Those two oils are in at least 50% of stuff you can get at the grocery store. And I don't just mean shitty processed food. Oh no, anything where fat has been removed that would have naturally had Vitamin A in it? A synthetic version made from Palm replaces it. Vitamin A Palmitate. In all your less than full fat dairy. And in many cereals and every single non-dairy milk analog I could find, too.  Also, beef and butterfat are good sources of it. I don't actually eat much beef, but still, who doesn't love tacos?

And that's only things you eat. I also found out it was in my shampoo. My soap. My lotion. Body wash, toothpaste, deodorant, advil, vitamins, dish soap, laundry soap, nail polish remover, ......jesus h christ no wonder I felt like hammered ass at least 50% of the time!!I only made the connection when I realized that I was getting rebound migraines more often than not when I took advil, and then after several days of knowing for sure that everything I had eaten was all from scratch I started checking my vitamin labels. Coconut oil was in them.  So I googled it. And oh yeah...this is familiar. And explains why using pure coconut oil as a moisturizer made me want to puke and die.

So about 6 weeks ago I started eliminating all those things. My migraines have dropped to maybe 1 a week (still tinkering on some surprise sources....I'm looking at you nail polish remover).  I read labels obsessively and take full advantage of online shopping through Peapod because grocery shopping now takes HOURS, I've used them forever since grocery shopping also freaks me out, but now i have even more appreciation. I found resources to make soap at home. I'm not ready for a full on cold process with lye soap making experience yet, so I am making french milled soap by melting down shredded pure olive oil castille soap, then I can scent it to my liking (or not as the case may be...still working on this!). I am using some fucked up salty ass tooth powder to brush my teeth. I use only baking soda and vinegar to wash my hair and after three weeks it stopped being a greasenest that just about made me cry. I made body butter with cocoa butter and beeswax this week since it's dry skin season and something had to be done. It smells weird because I underestimated how much the cocoa butter would smell like chocolate, but if I use it at night the weird smell is gone by morning. I found hippie deodorant that almost works. I have made milk from almonds in my own blender. And you know what? It didn't suck at all. It kicks ass on cereal.

And somehow, I started to feel..more like me. I wasn't waking up every day feeling like I was on the verge of or getting over a migraine. I don't feel quite as much sheer terror at being in my own skin. I  now understand why I used to wake up feeling good and then shower, do my hair, put on makeup and finish with the best lip-gloss ever (Buxom Big and Healthy Lip Polish in Trixie, one of the very few things on this planet I bought full retail at $20 a pop) and then instead of feeling good I'd start to feel so..not good. So off. So unwell, so anxious, so off kilter and eventually just panicked to the point of being unable to even function for the rest of the day when I would scrub my face, pull my hair back and get into yoga pants and a ratty tee and go wallow in my wretchedness and try not to cry.  Well the lip-gloss alone had 7 different palm based ingredients in it. SEVEN. By trying to make myself feel better I was making it all worse.

I ha lost my writing mojo completely, my reading mojo was barely there and my knitting mojo was in fits and starts of hyperfocused freakouts of insomnia.

It's not all bad, I did get a lot of knitting done while I was doing all of that not sleeping! And as part of NaNoWriMo, which for me will be AnnieWriMo to just get in the practice of writing again there might actually be some knitting content in this here knitting blog again.

And now, I'm going to go watch a movie and work on finishing the heel of my Latte Lace socks: