Sunday, May 18, 2008

Wow, it's been a while, huh?

Genesee Cream Ale:

Some people might kid me about drinking a "cheap" beer, and to tell the truth I bought it mostly so I could have some 12 oz cans to use in making beer can chicken tonight. However, I actually like it. It's smooth, mild and unpretentious, just about the flavor you imagine when you think of "having a beer". This would go really well with hotdogs at a ballpark. And at ~ $5.50 for a 12 pack it's easy on the wallet.

Speaking of wallets, what is it with gas prices lately?! I filled up on Friday, and gas here is $3.89/gal! My solution?

Last week I biked to work twice. It was a bit of a slog (~ 7 miles) and takes me about 45 minutes to an hour, but it's better than paying those exhorbitant gas prices. I've added a new basket to the front and added more comfortable hand grips, and I plan to keep biking as many days as weather allows.

Good news! I passed my first degree orange kung fu test!! I was nervous but I practiced hard and did really well.

We had a garage sale last weekend, and it was long overdue. I can't believe how much JUNK we had in the house and now it is all gone! I wish you could see our basement...there's actually a floor in here. Plus, now we have an area where I can do my exercise tapes. I especially like Richard Simmons and the bellydancing series by Veena and Neena. Seriously--if you want a really good glute and thigh workout, try bellydancing.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I'm back!

And with so much to update. In no particular order:

Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat

A definite cherry scent, and a pleasant fruity tang in the taste, though not as much as the Red Bach. Enough, however, to counteract any bitterness and make a smooth flavor. Goes well with barbecue, especially the sweeter Kansas City style rather than the more vinegary St. Louis style.

Trip report for the IX Indoor Amusement Park:

The entrance:

The first ride:

A pretty standard Crazy Mouse...but I really wish they'd go back to the Zyklon they had about 3 years ago, or even a Wild Mouse. I don't like spinny rides...blech...

Now: Sooper Looper/Fireball...

...or a Stargate? :-)

More later.

Monday, April 7, 2008

My package has been sent to my Potter Pal

I can't wait till she gets it. I had such a great time in this swap and I am looking forward to participating again. And of course I can't wait till I get my package. I hope it gets here tomorrow, as we'll be leaving for vacation (of course I will post pictures).

Friday, March 28, 2008

My favorite class at Hogwarts

Which Class at Hogwarts Would You Excel at?

You excel at Quidditch. You're either a jock or just love the game, but then again who wouldn't. You're a natural on the broom and there may be prospects of you making it to the big leagues.
Take this quiz!

Quizilla |

| Make A Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

No, it hasn't taken me this long to recover from St. Patrick's Day :-)

We went to Pj Mc Intyre, a local Irish pub. It is my new favorite place. The burgers are fantastic! And the lobster bisque is incredible. In short, all the food is good. If you come to the west side of Cleveland, go to PJ's.

Ok, on to beer: an old favorite, Foster's (in a pint can)

Very smooth, no bitter bite, consistent from can to can. No, I've only had;jadkj

um, that was the cat. (ES, you don't have a cat.) Er, well, yes! On with the review.

This beer stands well alone as well as matching with a great many foods, pizza and wings being my usual choice.

OTN and FOs:

I did in fact take the lace off the needles and block it; it turned out quite nicely as a dresser scarf instead of a shawl. I only need to cast off and it will be done.

My nephew's shawl: I've finished the second skein and will be heading into the third, so it will be three skeins long or as long as it gets by the time he's christened next month.

I found the Noah's Ark instructions!

My husband's socks have been started, with my hand dyed sock yarn. I set two clothes trees 13' 6" apart and wound some Knit Picks Bare superwash fingering weight yarn around them, tying it off in sections approximately 150", 50", 75", and 50", the two larger sections each a different color and the 50" sections left white. This produces a large stripe of A, a small stripe of white, a medium stripe of B, and a small stripe of white. This was calculated for a woman's medium-large foot, but with my husband's size 14 feet I was happy to find that the stripe pattern does not break down. For the dye I used both KnitPick's powder acid dyes and Koolaid. One tip for the KP dye: a little goes a long way, and rinse thoroughly.

Oh, and I did in fact figure out the collar of my dress and finished it in time for Easter. I even found a matching hat! I almost had matching boots as well, but my size was sold out.

Until next time,


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Samuel Adams Brown Ale

For as much as I like Sam Adams, I have to say I'm a bit disappointed. Not that this is bad by any means, just....average. However, it is better in my opinion than the Honey Ale, which is bitter far beyond the expectations of something made with honey. I suppose I had been expecting something more along the line of mead. Which by the way I will happily review if anyone would like to send me some. ;-) I continue to drink it, I think it's growing on me. Not a favorite, but ok.


I've been sewing, and finished a cloth baby's book for a christening present, as well as two pairs of shorts and a top for my daughter. I've also cut out and gotten a great deal done on a dress for myself (hopefully for Easter) but have gotten a bit stuck on the collar and have taken a break.

Knitting-wise I have ended and am preparing to block the ex-shawl which is now as predicted will be a dresser scarf. I think I may use the rest of the laceweight to make a pi shawl eventually. I'm also making quite a bit of progress on the prayer shawl and am almost done with the second of three skeins. On that note, at Pat Catans today I saw assorted packages of Homespun mill ends, three skeins (enough for a shawl) for only $5.

I'm also using up some worsted weight odds and ends to make a log cabin blanket and have recently done a bit more work on it. I think this will be a long term project.

I've had to pause on the Noah's Ark I was working on, as I've lost the instructions :-(

I think I will be starting a pair of socks for my husband soon. However, none of the sock patterns I have go large enough for his feet, so I will need to do some calculations. My second concern is, will the 100 g I have be enough? I may need to use a provisional cast on , work the feet, then divide the remainder in half and make the legs as long as possible. He has also requested a sweater, but again, the one book I need, EZ's Knitting Without Tears is missing. ARRRGH. However, I think I may have lent it to a friend and I was looking for an excuse to call her anyway. But, even if I had it I would not I think finish the sweater before warm weather, so no particular hurry.

Another short review: Makers Mark Whiskey
Smoooooooth. No "bite" at all. If it doesn't sound too odd, a "waxy" or "crayon-y" aftertaste. My husband says this is the oak and tannins. I still think I like Tullamore Dew a little better, but Makers Mark is also a winner.

I should have a few more reviews after being St. Patrick's Day and all. ;-)

Erin Go Bragh!

Friday, March 14, 2008

I had written another post but it disappeared :-( So here is another one.

First, the Quidditch answers:

1) C. Professor Grubbly-Plank

2) C. Dumbledore's Giant Mistake

3) B. Viktor Krum

4) A. Sonorus

5) B. Swedish Short Snout

6) A. Troy and Moran

7) C. 10

8) C. Bomb

9) B. Fountain of wine

10) A. Yes


I have finished a scarf for the trade box at the camp out I'm going to. I used Red Heart in the Camouflage colorway and an H crochet hook. Chain about 22 and then do stretches of double and triple crochet until the skein is used up. This makes a good average sized adult's scarf. After machine washing and drying with a dryer sheet it is surprisingly soft.

I've also just finished the bag for my Potter Pal....can't wait until it's time to mail the package.

Now, I'm off to go watch the Stargate movie.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Circus Boy

is the name of today's beer, a domestic hefeweizen from Magic Hat Brewing Company in South Burlington, Vermont.

A very normal beer. You might think that's a criticism but it's not. If you're thirsty and want a beer that's not too fancy to go with your hot dog while you're watching the Indians (Go Tribe!) pick this beer. I'd buy this one again.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

So much news

First, the beer from two posts ago is Redbach.

Now, a new beer, Buffalo Bill's Brewery Orange Blossom Cream Ale:

A very orangey smell when first opened. A foamy mouth feel, like other cream ales. Bitter aftertaste. I don't really taste much orange. Sadly, a rather average beer. I don't dislike it, but there's nothing very unique or interesting about it. If you like an orangey beer, get some Blue Moon Ale and put an orange slice on the rim of your glass.


If you like swaps, join the next Dishcloth Swap (see link on sidebar). I got my package from my dishcloth buddy and it was GREAT!! She made a Chinese theme and included Sugar & Cream yarn in a self striping colorway I hadn't seen before, fortune cookie stitch markers, soap that looks like fortune cookies, chocolate covered pretzels, two dishcloths (using the Peaches & Cream ball band pattern, also seen in Mason Dixon Knitting), and an insulated beer tote. (Can you tell she reads this blog? :-)


The Mother Bear Project

If you can knit, please make a bear for this project. You can get the pattern from them for a small donation, or it's also in the book Knitting for Peace by Betty Christiansen. A very small investment of time and yarn to help comfort a child in Africa affected by HIV/AIDS.

I sent one, and I got a very nice note back from Amy Berman (the founder of the project) thanking me. It was handwritten and from the comment, I could tell she really had seen the bear so it wasn't a form letter.



A prayer shawl for my new nephew's baptism. I'm using Lion Brand Homespun in the Tudor colorway. As much as I usually prefer natural fibers, I'm really liking how it's turning out. I didn't realize when I picked out the color, but it has a nice self striping effect.

A gray shawl in laceweight, which being in laceweight, I can only knit on for a little while before wanting to go blind. This is a very long term project. In fact, I suspect it may end up being a dresser scarf just so I can be done with it.

A stashbusting log cabin blanket for my daughter. Follow this link and scroll to the bottom to learn how. I organized my stash and found out that for some reason I have, in scientific terms, roughly a freight car load of acrylic worsted weight.

A scarf for Threads of Compassion. If you have a Dollar Tree in your area, especially if it is a big one, check out the crafty section. Mine has a fair amount of Lion Brand Fun Fur, Funky Fur, ribbon yarn, and ladder yarn for only $1 a ball (regularly about $4-$5). Two or three balls is enough for a scarf. I am keeping this one on my Knitlite needles and as it is in garter stitch saving it for the movies. (Yes, I knit in the dark at movies.)

I think that's all for now. Oh wait, I just cast on for another bear. And I promised my husband a pair of socks and a sweater.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

How to Spend a Nice Winter Day

From the Defeat the Winter Doldrums Dishcloth Swap:

If money were no object, and the day was just perfect - not to hot, not too cold, sun shining, slight breeze - how would you spend a perfect day out that had been given to you in the middle of a cold and blustery winter?

Fairly much as we spent it this weekend; going to the zoo or the Metroparks and taking a walk, with a little picnic. Maybe there would be a special program or naturalist-led walk. If the day was very nice I would probably not be able to resist going to the garden center and looking through the new seed packets and seed-starting kits.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Best Beer Ever

Go out right now and buy this beer.

I'll wait.

doo dee doo....

Ok, you're back. Now open it and take a drink. Is this not great? This is a Belgian ale with cherry juice and it is full of win and awesome. Beer that tastes exactly like cherry pop. $1.99/bottle at World Market. Sweet, with a sour cherry aftertaste. This would go well with dessert, like a big slice of cake, or if you are a masochist, a handful of Sour Patch Kids.



Friday, February 1, 2008

2 More Beers

bottled by Okocim Brewery, Poland

Sharp, stingy, unpleasantly bitter taste. Reminiscent of the Blatz I reviewed earlier but not as nice. I would not get this again.

Hue Beer
brewed and bottled in Hue City by the Perfume River, Vietnam.

I never had Vietnamese beer before. The initial smell is fruity and bready. The taste is very complex and I'm having a hard time describing it. It's full and not very bitter and I seem to taste it most on the back of my tongue. My husband suggests describing it as tart, light, and crisp with no aftertaste. This would go with Vietnamese or Thai food. (Ok, that was kind of an easy guess, but after having some now I want Pad Thai.)

Quidditch Answers


1) b. Voldemort and Wormtail plotting to kill him

2) a. it vanishes after a few hours

3) c. Malfoy attacked Harry when Harry's back was turned.

4) Snape

5) c. The special protection Harry received from his mother would also pass to Voldemort

6) d. 77

7) b. The Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures

8) Neville

9) a. 30th

10) a. Navy Blue

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Another Beer Review

Hirschbrau Doppel Hirsch

This was $2.79 at my local meat market K&K Portage Market. It is a very smooth beer with a nutty taste and no bitterness. It packs a bit of a punch at 7.2% alcohol by volume (most American beer is about 5%...see this chart for a comparison. The smell is a bit woodsy and smoky; an altogether pleasant beer and one I would buy again. It would go excellently with sausages or smoked cheddar.

Go see Rambo

My husband and I just got back, and it is a really good movie. Yes, it is *quite* graphic as far as blood, violence, and implied sexual violence, but I felt really positive afterwards. I don't want to spoil it for you, but rest assured that it is a happy ending.

If you are interested in the movie, you are probably aware that it deals with the horrific violence in Myanmar/Burma. Seeing this movie made me want to do something, but I'm not sure what. Of course I can't go there, but what organizations exist to help the Burmese people? Doctors Without Borders? Is there a local Buddhist temple who could use donations? I really don't know and would appreciate any suggestions.

I just sorted out my stash, and woah buddy do I have a freight car load of worsted weight acrylic. I see some charity afghans in my future. Actually, during the movie I worked on the center patch for a log cabin blanket. I'd made one for a friend's baby and my daughter wanted one, so this one will be hers. I think Project Linus will be getting another donation. Or, maybe another few bears for The Mother Bear Project.

I'm also finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel for my daughter's Noah's Ark. I did not realize when I first cast on how BIG the ark is! However, once I get that done, it's smooth sailing as the animals are small.

I have just found out about Peaches & Cream yarn. I thought it was the same as Lily's Sugar & Cream, but it's not. For one thing, it's softer, and also more economical; a 2 oz ball is ~$1.35 at WalMart, and a 1 lb cone is ~$6.50. In comparison, at Joann's a 1 lb ball of Bernat Handicrafter is $7.99, and a 1 lb cone of Lion Cotton is $11.50.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Parseltongue Challenge

Here is my translation and sources:

Power hungry Slytherin
loved those of great ambition.
In Slytherin you'll make
your real friends,
Those cunning folk use any
To achieve their ends.

SS/PS Ch 7, p.118 (softcover) The Sorting Hat from Harry's first year.

There is no good and evil, there is only power and
those too weak to seek it.

SS/PS Ch 17, p.291 Harry and Quirrelmort


My Pal is the BEST!!!

Look at my HSKS4 swap parter sent me:

Here's a closeup of the pin:

And here's me wearing the pin:

:-) :-) :-) :-) :-)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Cleaning up

Bleah! I have spent most of today cleaning the basement...and I'm not sure if it looks any better! I have so much junk that I need to throw away or give away or sell or something. I think after I finish this post, I will go to ebay and try to unload it.

Swapping update: I am still eagerly awaiting my dishcloth swap partner. BTW, for the posting contest: I call them dishcloths. I don't particularly like the term dishrag, as it seems to imply something raggedy, not something handmade and nice. If you use it on your face, then it's a facecloth. For the sock swap, I am having so much fun emailing my spoiler and spoilee, and the bag is turning out A#1. I wish I could be more specific, or post pictures, but she might see it.

Speaking of bags, I am firming up details for another knitting commission, this time a black and gray felted purse from the same lady who ordered 4 scarves from me at Christmas.


Monday, January 14, 2008

Swapping fun

I'm having a blast getting involved with swaps and knitalongs. Right now I am making something for a Gryffindor friend, and am also twitching to start a new baby sweater for Living Alternatives. I think probably the February Sweater from Knitter's Almanac. I just finished EZ's Baby Surprise Jacket for them, as well as a pair of booties from a Debbie Bliss pattern. I think I'm going to use up my Lion Brand Micro Spun, then not buy it again. As with the Simply Soft, I find it far to "splitty"; it comes unplied and snags far too easily.

Well; back to the Gryffindor project. BTW, I think that Wool Ease #171 Gold and Red Heart Super Saver 0376 Burgundy make excellent Gryff colors, if one wishes to use acrylic. If you wanted to go with wool, try Patons Classic Merino Wool in Old Gold and Burgundy.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Dishcloth Exchange Questionnaire

1. Do you knit, crochet, or do both? Both

2. What types of needles do you enjoy using for making dishcloths? Any non-metal ones. After a Christmas present of KnitPicks Harmony needles, I am especially into them right now.

3. What types of cotton do you enjoy using for making dishcloths? Is there any that you've been wanting to try? I like plain ol' Sugar N Cream, and I would like to try some of the stripy colorways.

4. What color(s) are your kitchen and bath decorated in (if any)? Neutral colors, so anything matches.

5. What are your favorite colors for yarns? Bright, strong colors. Least favorite? Pastels.

6. Do you like Winter, or do you count the days until it ends? I like it, because then I get to wear all my handknits. :-)

7. What's your favorite way to brighten your day when you're down in the dumps? Go to tai chi or kung fu class, cast on a new project, take a trip to the bookstore

8. What is your favorite treat to indulge in and when your down in the dumps? Dark chocolate, especially the fancy kind from World Market.

9. Do you drink coffee? Tea? Cocoa? All of them, decaf whenever possible.

10. If you could take a vacation starting tomorrow and go anywhere for one week and money were no object, where would you go and what would you do? I would go to England and visit Blackpool Pleasure Beach. (And ride all the rides until I was sick! :-) Then I would go sightseeing and buy loads of English yarn and candies.

11. Do you have any allergies or aversions your pal should be aware of? No

Friday, January 4, 2008

Happy New Year, everyone!

I hope everyone had a great New Year. We did a small bit of a pub crawl, so here are the reviews of the beers we sampled:

1) Sam Adams Christmas Ale (draught): Dark amber, nice head. Bitter but smooth taste, similar to Guiness. Spicy aftertaste. Would go well with pizza rolls.

2) Red Stripe (bottle): Smooth. Not bitter, mild. No pronounced aftertaste. Similar to Bud. Would go well with hot wings.

3) Smithwick's (draught): Weak head, very dark color. Smooth and slightly bitter. Bit of a peaty aftertaste. Would go well with corned beef.

4) Guiness (draught): Strong head, extremely dark color. Clear, light taste. Not harsh. Not much of an aftertaste, maybe a very little bitter. Would go well with sausages.

and, for the beer I am drinking right now...

Blatz (can): Highly carbonated, so a very spicy, bubbly initial taste (sort of like the first drink out of a new can of Coke). Mild and inoffensive, surprisingly good for being one of the cheapest beers in the supermarket. A sour aftertaste, so pair it with something strongly flavored...I'll be trying sushi as soon as the rice cools off and I can roll it. I think something salty like Doritos would also be good.

Well, now that you all think I'm a lush :-) on to my knitting.

Here is the latest hat I made for Fairview Hospital:

They gave me one skein each of pink, blue, and white and said I could make solid colors or patterns, but to not mix pink and blue on the same hat (to make it easier to sort them for boys and girls).

Here it is modeled by the stylish Teddy:

No, the hat is not down too far on one side, he only has one eye. I got him the Christmas I had just turned three, and his eye fell out the same evening. All subsequent attempts to attach an eye have been unsuccessful...for some reason they kept coming out, so after a few years we gave up.

This bear has been everywhere! Girl Scout campouts, operating rooms, delivery rooms, you name it. You can see the hospital bracelet on his arm, which is a souvenier from the admissions nurse when I went in for my tonsillectomy.

Pause while I roll the sushi....

Yummm...yes, the Blatz does in fact go well with the sushi. Unfortunately I am out of wasabi, so I had to substitute Sriracha hot chili sauce. It was really good!

And more knitting:

This is how far I've gotten on a Baby Surprise Jacket. I'm using KnitPicks' Harmony needles 4mm and Bernat Sweet Stripes.