There is a project I have been working on for over 2 months now. Well, not really working steadily on it for 2 months, I lost my knitting mojo and am getting it back.

Over the Summer, we received the Boden/johnnie b. catalog in the mail. The girls looove to go through this expensive catalog and circle things that they would like (or even tape the cute doggy photos on their wall). Tall one is finally able to fit into some of Johnnie B.’s clothing and, when she saw a certain hat in the catalog, asked if I could re-create it for her…..only in gray.

After glancing at the johnnie b. hat, it seemed pretty easy……basic ribbing, some seed stitch, and a very basic cable pattern mixed with stockinette panels….seems simple!

Until I was half way done with the damn hat (3 cable repeats in) and realized that I seemed to have forgotten how much cabling pulls in fabric. I thought it would be alright and asked Tall One to try it on……oh what a mess!!! It did not look good at all. So I ripped it out, restarted the damn hat with a few extra stitches and got up until I needed to start the cabling (again). Then it sat for the rest of August and all of September until Tall One asked me how the progress was coming on her hat (actually read: she hadn’t seen me working on it for a while so wanted to know what the hold up was).


I re-worked the math to accomodate a cabling/stockinette panel pattern that I thought would look nice and sat steadily working on it every night for a whole week (1 cable repeat per night after the kids go to bed). She absolutely loooves it!!!

And honestly, I am glad that it is done! The knitting part was super easy, it’s the math and ensuring everything will flow together that is the complicated part.

It is really cute on her and the neatest part of it, the top of it looks similar to a flower (photo below does not show off flowery detail all that well).

*Note:* The hat is knitted up using Lion Brand Wool-Ease in colorway Gray Heather. I am thinking of writing up a pattern, or at least some notes, if anyone would be interested in making his/her own. The notes/pattern would be offered up for free because technically, this is someone else’s design and it would be wrong for me to make $$$ off of selling the pattern. **

And since my last post in July, I wish I could say that I have been knitting away, but that is not the truth. Hot Ohio humidity and knitting do not mix and then I went through some personal stuff that put my knitting on hold until Tall One had asked about her project at the beginning of October and my knitting mojo is back in full force!!

Tall One’s hat in progress (the second go ’round) and a new project (rav link) I’m working on for baby girl…..cannot wait until hers is complete because it is ssssoooooo soft!!!

Feels good to be back behind those knitting needles again…..oh how they’ve missed me 😉

October 11, 2011 at 7:16 pm 1 comment

gardening and music

Or in other words, the ramblings of a heat exhausted mad women.

Oh my! This heat wave as really taken a toll on us. See, us Buckeyes complain about the cold and the heat……all year long. We stock up on sidewalk salt in August and sunscreen in February. Which is why my favorite season is Fall, but more on that later.

The girlies and I have resorted to staying inside, per my request, with an endless supply of Mama-Made-Southern Ice Tea, ice cream, books, games, popscicles and silly story writing.


I thought all was loss when the tomato leaves were shriveling up and the okra was looking a little droopy. But thanks to a thunderstorm rolling in, my garden is growing beautifully (even though some things are taking their time arriving) and I enjoy grabbing my morning cup of coffee and heading out to check on things.

My sunflowers are almost in bloom, I have 11 tomatoes on one plant, experimenting with carrots that were planted a week ago, and chamomile tea will (hopefully) be had this coming Fall/Winter (next to my friend’s fireplace with knitting in my hands…..oh the good life!)

My very first tomato from my very first garden was ready for picking earlier this week!!! I was both excited and apprehensive when I plucked it from its main source.

What if it isn’t “actually” ready?

What if it don’t taste as good as I remember garden fresh tomatoes tasting?

What if a bug managed to sneak her way in and camp out inside the tomato?

But OH MY!!!!! It was all I hoped it would be and more. So sweet and oh so delicious!! My Grandma’s favorite way of eating tomatoes was a tomato sandwich with whole wheat bread, mayonaise, and cheese and that is just what I did with my first tomato.

And speaking of gardening, a few weeks ago I stumbled my way to Amber’s blog. She had made an amazing shawl that I had seen on Ravelry and I was immediately sucked into her beautiful garden and doing it all for little to no cost. (my most favorite upcycled project of hers is the arbor she built out of trashed ladders…..seriously freaking awesome! Now I need to find old ladders somewhere)

After I bit I had seen that she was having a giveaway and of course I entered…..and WON!

The book is Heirloom: Notes from an Accidental Tomato Farmer by Tim Stark, a gift certificate to  Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds (which I’ve already spent and received), and a beautiful handmade by Amber herself apron. I cannot wait to read the book this evening after the girlies go to bed.


This Thursday James and I are going to a Flogging Molly/Clutch concert up in Cleveland!! I am so excited!

So I will leave you with a few of my favorites from Flogging Molly and from Clutch.

Flogging Molly Seven Deadly Sins

Clutch Cypress Grove 

Clutch Electric Worry

Now if I can just get The Black Keys to open up for Mazzy Star I will be in heaven…..though that combo I don’t think will happen.

July 25, 2011 at 1:07 pm 1 comment

the days of summer

The girlies and I have been taking a picnic/walk to “our spot“. Its a quiet little spotwhere the creek is just deep enough to dip our feet into the cool water, relax on a blanket under the shade, and watch the clouds go by while drinking homemade sun tea and nibbling on goldfish (the cracker, not actual fish….ew!). A perfect spot for us girlies to gather and chit chat about bunnies, Harry Potter, 6th grade, what it was like “a way long time ago in the 80’s”, books, why earth needs both day and night, why Daddy sometimes works at night, or any other topics (both silly and serious) that a Mother can cherish forever with her daughters.

:: On a complete side note! ::

Doesn’t this abandoned cabin look eerily similar to the cabin in Rob Zombie’s Halloween? James made me watch the movie a while ago and it seriously creeps me out! If you have seen Rob Zombie’s Halloween, then you would know which scene I am talking about. And if you haven’t seen the movie……consider yourself a well rested person! Anyways, I am thinking of doing a photoshoot re-creating the scene…..not sure though!

July 19, 2011 at 12:32 am 2 comments

new toy and lots of food!

There is a toy that I have been wanting for….oh….probably 8 or so years now. Yes, as a grown woman I still want toys. But compared to when I was a child with a shovel, a bucket, my big wheel, and a creek… taste in toys have changed (though I still get excited when the girls ask if we can go find tadpoles, worms, or toads).

Above is my new toy! In red!! A sexy color for a sexy piece of machine!! Every time I would want this, car repairs were needed, or doctor bills had to be paid, or the girls need new clothes, or they needed new books (which is why we got a library card because I cannot afford to buy new books constantly with the way Thing 1 reads), or dinners on the town, or yarn, or new washer, or a new vacuum because the other one smoked every time I ran it, or a million other reasons that I could not justify spending the money on this baby.

And I would browse thrift stores, garages sales, people basements (joking….only my Mom’s) looking for a KitchenAid stand-up mixer. Turning up with no luck!

Until recently when we were at a kitchen store in New Philly and I was playing around with one (like how men go to the Harley shop and just sit on a motorcycle) and “good-eye-James”, as he will be called, spotted one hiding underneath the clearance table! THE CLEARANCE TABLE!! (wtf!)

The deal was buy 1 clearance item get X% off, buy 2 clearance items get XX% off, and if you bought 3 clearance items you get even more percentage off.

So basically, with my 3 clearance items I came out even cheaper than paying the orignal price for just the KitchenAid (I’m talking $80 cheaper!)

And I have been in non-stop “martha stewart” mode!

Made butter using a video tutorial/recipe that I cannot seem to find right now. Sorry! I forgot to bookmark it. But it is really easy, especially the “washing” part. The video I watched was a gentleman who recommended switching to the paddle attachment when you go to wash the butter and I would have to agree. In the video he stated that the butter gets stuck in the whisk attachment and its difficult to get out. Not sure if this is true or not but I did what the man said to do and it worked out great! Also, the “buttermilk” I saved which I used the next day in my banana bread recipe.

Made bread to go with the butter of course. When I first made homemade bread I used this recipe here. Over the years I have tweaked it and combined it with a few other bread recipes and it works for us. For me, the key to making great bread is a thermometer….learned the hard way what happens when you kill your yeast…..uck!

Made noodles using a recipe that a friend gave to me which he has tweaked and modified from an original recipe. The girls looove these noodles!

Also made cilantro pesto which is unrelated to the KitchenAid mixer but taste so yummy on homemade noodles. I used a regular pesto recipe but substituting 1.5C of cilantro and 1/2 cup of parsley instead of 2 cups of basil. I have the recipe buried in one of my cookbooks and that is what it said you can do. Very yummy!!!

Other things that I managed to make but did not photograph are:

-banana bread
-peanut butter cookies

All made from scratch using each of the attachments that came with my mixer!

So now I am on the look out for any type of recipes where I can use my KitchenAid mixer.

On another note, the girls and I have been obsessed with Iron Chef America! Perhaps it is the feminist side of them but they love when Cat Cora gets picked as well as wins. And I have re-instated my longtime love with Two Fat Ladies.

July 10, 2011 at 10:33 pm 4 comments

knitting and knitting related goods


In my last post I stated that my gardening neighbor gave me a tomato plant. Incidentally I had gone to the library earlier that day and loaned the book Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines. I instantly fell in love with the Mitered Hanging Towel and began knitting away at it when I returned home; making it just for the sake of making something. Later that very evening was when my neighbor gave me the tomato plants and that was when I knew who I was making this very towel for. As a little “thank you” for her generousity.

*photo taken using the Instagram app…… that app!

I managed to finish the Mitered Hanging Towel that evening after all was quiet in the house (i.e. the girlies are having a Harry Potter marathon in preparation for the big premier this coming Friday!) using Mirasol Yarn Samp’a in colorway #092 and Louisa Harding Nautical Cotton in colorway naut-18. Ironically, the Mirasol yarn looks as though it was dyed using tomatoes which I thought was fitting after I decided I would make this for my neighbor. All other details on my Ravelry page here. Oh, and the button, cannot remember where it came from. Probably from a thrift store/antique store bulk button purchase sometime ago but I thought it matched the finished project pretty well and I was happy with the overall outcome.

::knitting related goods::

Has anyone ever flipped through a Lion Brand catalog and fell in love with the little knitting displays they come up with?

Personally I love them! Then again, I love photos of knitting or people knitting (call me weird…its alright).

Flipping through the catalog a while ago I remembered I had some frames stored away. I picked these two photos from the catalog because they each had no advertising and very little wording. The girls thought it was pretty cool and even James said they look nice (after mocking me….with love….that our house is turning into a mod podge of “grandma’s attic” and yarn shops….and the problem is!?) I have two more pieces of knitting related artwork that truly deserve their own post. I first need to find the perfect displaying spot.

And just recently I purchased a yarn bowl from a local pottery artist. I am in looove with it and it really does help when I unwind yarn. No more rolling across the floor gathering dog hair, playdough, or dirt!! (The yarn, not me….that would be awkward!)

And lastly, I am anxiously waiting for August/Fall 2011 to arrive so two awesome new patterns can be in my possession. Of course this all means I am capable of finding not only the time to knit myself to items but also the right yarn to fall into my lap.

The first piece (above) is the Hawkmoth Pullover by designer Debbie O’Neill (ravelry link) which is coming out in the Fall 2011 KnitScene magazine and the second item is the Pioneer Shawl by Kristin Spurkland of Hei There Krissy. I absolutely love this shawl and think it would be great for layering in those cold winter months or simply wearing it as part of your wardrobe. Also, make sure you check out some of Kristin’s other designs……beautiful! (ravelry link)

Whew! That was a lot for one post but there are so many good things to share I cannot keep it all in.

July 9, 2011 at 8:47 pm 1 comment


So much good stuff has been happening around here.

For a few years now, I have been wanting to start my own garden. But I was…..(ahem)……..too chicken! So this year, after a neighbor gave me a tomato plant, I decided I would start a very small container style garden because I do not really have the space for an actual garden.

Above is my small, low-to-no cost, did all the work myself, container garden. I say low-to-no cost because the tomato plants came from a neighbor/friends garden (this is their first year gardening and the husband/wife duo put in too much because they thought only half of it would sprout up).

The lattice is in place to keep out my pesky pup who loves to run through bushes and anything else that looks of importance in the yard. I found the lattice (for free!!) in our garage and supported it with (again free!!) bricks that the girls and I gathered around the yard. The “piece de resistance” in my garden is the beautiful concrete block(s) that I found underneath our porch. After cleaning it off, I could not believe how beautiful it is.

In my garden there is:

*the girls’ chamomile sitting atop the beautiful found-under-the-porch concrete block which also acts as the main support in holding the lattice in place

*my beautiful tomatoes

*a baby tomato that I discovered yesterday

*2 hot pepper plants

*sugar peas

*okra – which I am interested in trying. I have never had okra before but my Dad (who is from the south) says its delicious

*onion (the veteran gardening neighbor said to set the bulb half way into the ground, but I don’t think I did mine far enough. However, it is growing beautifully and managed to “bury” itself into place so to speak. The above photo is from a few weeks ago.)

And lastly, my very favorite flower:


If you take a look at this post here, you will see that last year I had 1 sunflower plant.  My veteran gardening neighbor also has these same sunflowers….but thanks to a little birdie who is careless with her seed collection, managed to drop a seed my way and gave me 1 beautiful sunflower last year. After my 1 lonely sunflower sprouted it managed to drop its seeds and now I have 5 sunflower plants growning beautifully!!

So to re-cap I have:

-4 tomato plants
-2 hot pepper plants
-1 okra plant
-4 sugar pea plants
-1 onion
-5 sunflowers
-numerous chamomile plants (the girlies don’t like chamomile tea but I do, so I’m super excited over producing my own chamomile tea!)

In other gardening related news, there is a mountain lion on the loose here in our county.

As I was out in the garden watering/checking on things I heard rustling from the nearby bush. Not sure what it was I carefully approached the area; taking caution in case it was the mountain lion. Then I saw it, that recognizable color of a mountain lion.

Could it be? A mountain lion in my yard?

Nope! Just my dog who likes to hide in the bushes.

Edited to add:
In all seriousness though, there really is a loose mountain lion roaming Stark County; mainly up where my Mom, brother, sis-in-law, and little nephew live. And we live about 25 minutes south of them but still Thing 2 will not go outside even for a second!! I really hope they capture this mountain lion and return it back to the zoo……for safety reasons as well as the sake of my 6 year old babe who is terrified of outside now! 

July 8, 2011 at 10:14 am 2 comments

long time….no post!

First of all, let me greatly apologize for the very long blog abscence. There has been a lot of things happening around our neck of the woods that either, good or bad, have kept me away from photographing, blogging, or sharing words.

Secondly, I know that there has been a slight demand for a hat pattern and, sadly to say, my computer sucks and ate the majority of my documents/notes through a major upgrade! (Currently looking into a MAC……actually really looking into a MAC!!!!)

To start off, the Chunky Brimster (going on my very vague rememberance of what I did exactly) can work with any gauge yarn as it is really just a basic hat/beanie pattern. The brim part of the hat was (to accomplish the result that I was looking for) worked with short rows as a separate piece. I simply casted on the number of stitches I thought would make for a nice size brim (going on 100% complete personal taste) on the hat and work short rows until I was happy with it. Picture the beginning of a toe-up sock but instead smooshed and stitched to the front of a basic beanie/hat pattern. It really is easy and, for those that know how to do short rows, should be fairly simple (I believe for a chunky weight yarn I casted on 28-30 sts and worked short rows until I had 8-9 live stitches then worked back picking up my wrapped stitches. If you do not know how to work short rows, I highly recommend you learn because it is a skill that comes in handy rather working socks or adding a few extra rows to the collar of a sweater, the body of a hat…as seen on Melissa’s hat, or to the bust section of a sweater. Please believe me that when I say a self-taught knitter such as myself can learn short rows….anybody can learn short rows…YouTube it and you’ll find lots of helpful resources!)

Other than a crashed computer, I have been knitting lots and lots to try and keep on top of my “self promoting” hat sales as well as try and get into some craft shows. Luckily since it is Spring and Summer here in Ohio, I can play a little catch up and slowly add to my “knitting 4 sale” collection…though the girls have not been very happy with this as this is usually when I begin working on their stuff for the upcoming Autumn/Winter. Yes, Ohio sees at least 5-6 months of cold weather/snowy season when you really begin to think about it.

On the upside though, I have been trying to do a little “personal” knitting and found a beautiful hat pattern that I couldn’t help but cast on for once I realized I had the right weight of yarn.

(proudly modeled by Thing 2 who thought it was so cool the pattern actually said to block over a soccer ball. Seriously! To be a kid again and find the smallest things amusing!)

Pattern: Scallop Lace Hat by Leah Coccari-Swift (free pattern on Ravelry!!)
Yarn: Patons Classic Wool Merino in Peacock (beautiful blue-ish teal color as seen in photo of Thing 2 holding the hat blockin soccer ball)
Mods: None! Worked pattern as written!
And yes, I did hack off all my hair…..part of living with the Ohio Summer humidity/wavy thick mess I have.

On the upside of everything, the girlies and I have been enjoying our Summer with graduation parties, swimming, visiting friends, and relaxing with our days. Due to the fact that my girlies go to public school and work around a “schedule”, when Summer comes, I let them be free  to do what they want (though bedtime is still re-inforced just a little bit later for Summer hours and our Library card never tires).

June 22, 2011 at 11:47 pm 2 comments

coming soon to knitting needles near you

I’ve been on a huge movie kick lately, so I apologize for the silly blog post title.

The pattern (in the process of transferring notes into an actual “user friendly” pattern) is super easy!! For those of us who wear glasses in the rainy/snowy months. Or because you just want a stylish hat.

Hopefully later this week I will have the **FREE** pattern all finished and available for download!

March 7, 2011 at 1:40 pm 2 comments

mitts & music


After the snow has finally melted and Spring is just around the corner, I finally found time to make myself a new pair of fingerless mitts. And oh I love them so much!!! My other pair got killed in the line of duty one night while bowling down some empty whiskey bottles with friends.

For Christmas, I made both my Mom and my brother’s wife a pair of Camp Out Fingerless Mitts by tante ehm. Both of these ladies would swoon over their mitts each time I seen them and rub in my face exclaim how nice it is to drive with them. While I was driving around in a dollar store pair of gloves that not only sucked but were ugly.

So I fixed my little dilemma this past week and (finally) got around to making myself a pair using Patons Classic Wool in both Chestnut Tweed and orange (lost the ball band to know the color). My only mod, which is the same on my Mom’s and my brother’s wife, is that I knit until I was at the wrist then worked 2″ of 2×2 ribbing.

Much better!! I absolutely love this pattern as well as how the mitts fit!


There is a band that has been blaring in my headphones and that is The Black Keys which started out locally in Akron, Ohio (just a 40 minute drive north of us!!) Unlike my Mazzy Star, I have a hard time picking a favorite song from this band…..which is a good thing because all their songs are awesome!!! Though there song Howlin’ For You is usually the first song I play before others.

Highly suggest looking into them.

February 20, 2011 at 12:23 pm 2 comments

winter blahs

This weather is really taking a toll on me.

I was fine with winter, the snow, and of course the season of wool meaning that all my favorite handknitted items were placed on the girls, James, and I. Smiling as my girls bickered in the morning over who gets to wear what Mama Made hat to school (all hand knitted items have become “grab bag” style, whoever wants to wear it can wear it….unless its James…..he likes black….uck!)

Then the ice storm came last week, which knocked out our power and left us with hats, scarves, sweaters, and slippers wearing indoors. INDOORS!!

As I was leaving my mother-in-law’s house, ensuring she was okay with no power, I slipped and fell right on my arse. It was at this point that I told winter to f**k off! And that I wasn’t going to let him get the best of me. So I matched my knitting to the weather outside….gray.

My opinion was that a nice gray wool shawl was in order to combat the winter blahs. The pattern, textured shawl recipe, is a dream to knit! The textured stitch is soothing to the angst of waiting for Spring to arrive. Hand knitted in Brown Sheep Lanaloft Worsted that was recently purchased from my LYS on size 10 needles and it makes for a pretty quick project. All other notes on my Ravelry page. I should mention that not only is Lanaloft a very nice yarn to knit with, it blocks and washes really well (and smells really sheepy too….I love that smell!).

In other winter blah news…

I have been dreaming of Spring time hairstyles. You know, the types of hairstyle that don’t get smooshed or messed up by a hat.

Baby girl and I have opted for anything involving braids. Hers was done by simply dividing the hair into four sections, braiding each section, then bringing them all to the back and using bobby pins to hold in place. Mine was done by simply parting my hair on the side, french braiding it down to the nape of the neck and placing that in a ponytail. The rest of my hair was brought over to the side and placed in a ponytail with the first ponytail only using a second ponytail holder so the braid doesn’t come out. Used bobby pins to pin the hair up in a messy sort of style (still need to work on that part).

I think I can get through the rest of this winter……with more knitting and more Spring time hairstyles of course!

February 12, 2011 at 7:11 pm Leave a comment

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