Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Following my bliss.

Hubby is working today and even though the forecast was for 90 degrees it is cool, cloudy, with thunder/lightning and showers traveling through. A perfect day to just do exactly what I want to do! A little of this and a little of that but mostly KNITTING!

The pirate needs a new sweater.....no matter what his mom tells him it always ends up on the boy backwards - with the skull on his chest.
So, this Gramma thinks that he needs a new sweater with skulls all the way around!
 
The Pi Shawl is in Elizabeth Zimmerman's book Knitter's Almanac for July, I just couldn't wait another day to start! The yarn is fragile as Jared stated in his blog but his remedy also works, just overlap the broken yarn several inches and keep right on knitting!
And now, back to work....Happy Knitting!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

No complaining, life is good!

I've been quietly working on another Wallaby. I enjoyed knitting the last striped baby sweater. There was plenty of the orange variegated left so I made another for a little girl that didn't receive one last Christmas. Yet another version of the Wallaby is on the needles right now!
 
Pattern: Wonderful Wallaby - this one has a  pocket
Yarn: Plymouth Encore
Color: Ecru, Orange variegated
Amount: 3 skeins Ecru, 1 skein Orange
Needles: 8 US (even on the ribbing)

The summer is slip, slipping away. I'm enjoying it so much, I don't even know what day it is! The turkeys also think they have it made, enjoying a walk-about, and shade from the warm sunshine....
I received my unspun Icelandic yarn from Schoolhouse Press yesterday and will start the Pi Shawl in memory of EZ's 100th birthday on July 1st. I bought the yarn on brooklyntweed's recommendation, it seems a little fragile but how can I go wrong with those two knitting forces behind me?  It is going to be a throw for in the livingroom. Jared suggests 6 cakes to make a queen size throw, I bought 4 hoping to get a nice wrap for a cold winter's night.
 I want to have it done 8 - 9 - 10! I don't think it will be a problem, Elizabeth recommends the Pi Shawl for traveling and we have several short jaunts planned in the month of July. It is amazing what can be accomplished in the passenger seat of a car!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

More photos of Mother Nature's work.

I woke up this morning, and had a cup of coffee while watching the sunrise...
Hubby and I started into town for some more tornado pictures, but quickly caught these little guys carefully crossing the road.....
(I promise no more Metra/Tornado shots after this.....)
 
 I turned slightly west of the Metra and couldn't let this shot go untaken - priceless...
I much prefer Mother Nature's quiet beauty!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Tornado aftermath.

Before Hubby went to work this morning we got up and went into town to take a look at the tornado damage. The Metra may be totally ruined, not only is the roof gone but the east side of the building is gone. 
Bits and pieces are strewn everywhere...
The above photo is where Fastbreak once stood. 

News reporters say that the tornado hovered over the Metra for about 15 minutes rather than moving on. I had always thought that a tornado moved quickly and fast! Amazingly no one was injured by this tornado, had there been an event at the Metra, or the tornado hit a subdivision rather than the fairgrounds, there would have been many injuries. Yesterday the airport measured 2.25 inches of rain and in places golf ball size hail. A fellow teacher had a car out in the hail and now has many dents, and will have to replace tail lights and windshield!

The current forecast is for storms in the afternoon and evening -  as strong or stronger than yesterday.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

"Holy Tornado, Batman!"


About four it started clouding up and this is what followed! WOW! Metra lost its roof, we are told that Riders Marina and a business, FastBreak, were destroyed and there are boulders all over the Airport road. Check out Looking Thru The Expensive Dog Door for some great photos.

We, on the other hand, lost our electricity and are so far out in the county that we didn't hear the emergency warning sirens.  Hubby and I thought it was a big storm with some tornado potential.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

This and that - a quick catch up on everything.

I promised some pictures of The Chick's new nest. Here they are....
We also spent some time exploring the area. Sunday was a lovely afternoon so Chick and I drove up to Canyon Ferry and took a look around. 
Last year at the beginning of the summer, I took many photos of  flowers. This must be the summer for the birds. Here is a lone pelican on the Missouri River just below the damn.
 
I need your input on this little night stand. 
 The Chick and I have a slight difference of opinion. 
 Chick wanted a nightstand to go with her black iron bed. I suggested that we go to the thrift store, after all, whatever we found would be painted black. I discovered this little (darling) table sitting in the corner. All the work had been done for us. Someone had spent a lot of time sanding it down to bare wood. If the person had done much refinishing, he would have known that right before you stain and varnish, the item usually looks like the project is a hopeless disaster. But in the end he just gave it away, after all the work he'd put into it.

I wanted to buy it, Chick didn't  - so we left. As we were pulling out of the parking lot I began lamenting the loss of the table, "Chick, you've missed the boat, that little table is a jewel. Yada, yada. You're going to wish you'd gotten that little gem." She relented, turned the car around,  and I bought it for $3.99 with the understanding that she could get rid of it when she found what she "really" wanted.  I painted the table and Chick spent some time painting a chest of drawers black. She now has a very styling bedroom set! (My opinion - she's still looking for a nightstand.)
 I still think she has a jewel! Comment and let me know what you think!

(The Chick has the love seat from the living room set that originally went up to Helena in a consignment store. The owner is asking an ungodly amount of money for it. So I told The Chick that she can take this to the same consignment store and when it's sold I'LL take the $50 bucks!)

Also, I finished the Wonderful Wallaby for the Fire Baby. BUT I have been informed by several people that it is to girlie. Sooo, I will stash it and give the little babe a different sweater.
Finally, Hubby saw the first fawn(s) of the season on Monday, thus winning the annual contest for 2010. However, once again I was the first to provide the proof...
Look carefully and you will see the twin fawns in the background.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The second recipe request is found.

 Mexican Chopped Salad with Toasted Cumin Vinaigrette
Ingredients:
 2 ears fresh or frozen cob corn, thawed
4 reserved cooked chicken breast halves, diced
1 (15-ounce) can pinto beans drained
1 cup Monterey Jack or pepper Jack cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Spanish olives, sliced
1/2 cup tomatoes, diced
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and diced
1/4 cup pickled jalapenos, sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup cider vinegar 

Directions:
Heat a stove-top grill pan or griddle with cooking spray and set over medium-high heat to preheat.
Place corn on hot pan and cook 3 to 5 minutes, until golden brown on all sides, turning frequently. Remove from heat and cool. When cool enough to handle, slice kernels from cob. Transfer kernels to a large bowl and add chicken, beans, cheese, olives, tomatoes, apple, jalapenos, and cilantro. Toss to combine.  
For the dressing: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add cumin and cook 1 minute, or until fragrant. Remove from heat and whisk in vinegar. Add dressing to chicken mixture and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.


Oh, by the way - Hubby saw the first fawns of the season this morning! Wobbly twins in the gully!

A visit to the Chick's new coop!

I had a great time in Helena this weekend. The Chick moved into a new nest last weekend and we had so much fun decorating. I was excited to show some pictures but for some reason the digital camera down loader thingy (technical term) doesn't have power and so I'll have to buy a new one as soon as I get to town!

The Chick has asked for this recipe:
Three Cheese Chicken Bake
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
3T butter
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup undiluted
1 can sliced mushrooms drained
1 jar chopped pimentos drained
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1 package noodles cooked/drained
3 cups diced cooked chicken
2 cups ricotta or cottage cheese
2 cups shredded cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesian cheese
1/2 c buttered bread crumbs

Saute onion and green pepper in butter. Stir in soup, mushrooms, pimento and basil, set aside. In large bowl combine noodles, chicken and cheeses; add mushroom sauce. Mix well and put into greased 9x13 baking dish. Bake at 300 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

P.S. I'm still looking for the other one Chick....

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Charity Knitting

It was so nice to get caught up with all the ladies at Charity Knitting, Jo and I love them so. The ladies had knit many lovely things over the winter, from stuffed toys to sweaters. The items are headed to the local Woman's Shelter. I had a hat that I added to the pile but wanted to save the leggings until the sweater was complete. I finished it last night and will add a hat and mittens to it before I donate the set.
I have a self imposed rule that all Charity Knitting must be made of stash yarn and be a project, that when finished, is pleasing to the eye. I think it turned out well. Next week I will make the hat with earflaps using the striped pattern and the mittens will be in the sapphire color.

The sweater pattern is from a cardigan pattern, knit from the collar down, all in one piece. I have made many cardigan sweaters from this pattern. But last summer one of our charity knitters had said that she would like a pullover sweater pattern, knit with a collar knit from the collar down. I found a small size pattern, the Telemark, but not a larger size. I knit this using the Tasia pattern from Cabin Fever but did not add the five placket stitches on either side after completing the collar and beginning the body. The pattern is written in the sizes 6-12 months, 1-2 years, and 3-4 years. It worked out quite nicely and I'll do it again. Janet was pleased and, I think, perhaps the ladies will also make the modifications in the future.

Pattern: Self made pullover version of Tasia's Cardigan by Cabin Fever
Yarn: Cascade 220, wool
Color: Montmartre, Sapphire, Navy, and Straw Heathers
Amount: Stash
Needle size: 7 US

For this week's knitting: One of Hubby's fellow employee's had a baby boy recently and so I bought some yarn to make a sweater. It is a Wallaby without the pocket because what baby less then a year old needs a pocket? I saw this pattern in a stripe and the yarn making the stripe was variegated. I loved it and decided to give it a try. I like the results so far!
Today, I must get the hallway walls washed and the lodge pole pine bedroom closet cleaned out before knitting any more!

Pattern: Wonderful Wallaby - no pocket
Yarn: Plymouth Encore
Color: Ecru, Orange variegated
Amount: 2 skeins Ecru, 1 skein Orange
Needles: 6 and 8 US

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Summer, under construction.

Not even a week into summer vacation and so much is getting accomplished. I love it! I feel so productive! The last day of school the floors looked like this:
And this morning, although still not complete, they are at this stage:
I have been trying to stay out of everyone's way and so I've been going through everything on the main floor, closets, drawers, and cabinets, purging items for an upcoming rummage sale...
I'm now moving to the basement this morning. We had been in our previous house 17 years when we moved and the move was a great way to clean out forgotten items but we're not moving from this house for a LONG time and so something just had to be done for sanity's sake. My motto is "A place for everything and everything in its place."

Even though its been busy around here, I've taken time to do a little bird watching. This woodpecker stops by every morning for a drink:
There also was a beautiful blue bird that I was going to take a photo of but the robin chased it away and seems to think he owns the place!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Back to adventure knitting, again.

I have an Aran Sweater that is just begging to be finished, but I've wanted to do some mindless knitting these last few weeks. I knit four pairs of mittens that will be felted and then I'll add needle felting, when the spirit moves me.

But I'm excited about the pair of Elizabeth Zimmerman leggings I just finished. I've never knit a pair of pants before. They were not difficult and even fun to do with EZ's instructions, "Knit 20 rounds or until long enough." I love it, basically she tells us, "Do what you want, for as long as you want to!"

The leggings, I decided, were a great start to the Charity Knitting Group that I will be returning to on Wednesday!
These little pants will be sent to a toddler that will fill them out - even though they are a little long and narrow. I think that EZ was including some depth between the waist and crotch for those cloth diapers! (Do they use cloth or disposables in Afghanistan? Probably cloth...)  I definitely will make these leggings again but will shorten them 2 inches. (Because I want to!) They are about a size 24 months and so I will begin a striped pullover sweater to match tomorrow.

Pattern: Baby Leggings,
             Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac
Yarn: Cascade Yarns 220 Heathers
Color: Montmartre
Amount: Less that 2 skeins
Needle size: 7 US

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Get ready, get set........It's summer!

Most people think that summer begins on June 21st but all children and teachers know that summer officially starts at the precise moment the school year ends. Many hugs were given at the end of the day, hands were waving as the buses pulled out of the parking lot, a few tears were shed, and then the summer started at the stroke of 1:15!!
My Summer To Do List...
Sit on the deck sipping hot coffee, watching the sunrise.
Go to a great concert.
Find the best "Pick Of The Summer" book - EVER.
Get the computer room closet cleaned out.
Go skinny dipping.
Sew wool Teddy Bears for all my kiddos.
Spend some great quality time with my kiddos.
Visit Yellowstone Park.
Knit a Pi Shawl in honor of Elizabeth Zimmermann's 100th birthday. (8-9-10)
Spend a long weekend on Flathead Lake.
Turn my blog into a hardbound book.
Plan the perfect day for Hubby, from morning to night.
Go to a drive-in-movie.
Sit on the deck sipping margaritas, watching the sunset.

Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true. - Buddha

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

End of the school year near!

When the buses roll up to the front door at school during the day, you know it's field trip time. And when its field trip time, teachers know that summer is near! We've been on two jaunts in the last few school days...

The first was a tour of historic Billings. I wish I'd taken more pictures but I did take several pictures inside of the cabin where J. K. Ralston painted for many years. The cabin sits in front of the Western Heritage Center. It is always locked up and not open for public viewing, however, the morning we were taking our tour we were asked if we'd like to take a peek inside - yes, YES!
The unfinished canvas was a painting that J.K. had been working on the twelve years before his death. His wife died 13 years before J.K. and he only finished one painting during that time. This painting would have been his second. His wife did the research for his paintings, without her was he not provided the material, was she the motivator, or was he just sick at heart without her?

Today we went on the third grade rollerskating trip.....the wierdos were out!!
We had a GREAT time!