Wednesday, December 15, 2010


One of my friends here in the condo units recently told me about a company that is located right here in Leelanau, MI.  I've seen a company just like this highlighted twice before on Carol Duval's Christmas show on HGTV and I suspect this is the same company.   Carol showed a lady's messy basement, full of old wool sweaters and pieces of wool.   Then she showed the things the woman made with her wool after she felts it.   If this isn't the same company, I'd be surprised.

Anyway, my friend bought a pair of mittens from the company she was telling me about (Baabaazuzu is the company's name)   Funny enough, this past Sunday the local newspaper had an article about this same woman and her company.   Well, my friend's pair of mittens were to die for, I wanted some.  Then when I saw the newspaper article I looked Baabaazuzu up on the internet and decided I was getting myself a pair.   I walk the dog every day in very cold temps, my hands freezing in spite of the fact that I have some nice warm gloves, I knew these mittens needed to be mine so yesterday I took off for town.  There were 2 shops that are very close to where I live and since I was in town anyway, I found the closest shop.
I knew I wanted the denim color and I thought I wanted a hat as well as mittens in spite of the fact that its so expensive this close to Christmas.  Oh well....the hats were not in the color I wanted but there they were, my mittens.....

These items are all a mixture of  sweaters and assorted other wool items, all felted by this lady and her employees (yes she now has quite a few employees and her things are sold all over the country).   Nothing matches, my 2 mittens are in the same colorway (denim) but they don't match.  The vintage buttons that decorate the mittens also don't match.    Here they are, my wonderful, warm mittens...

Check out the web page, she has hats, headbands, vests, jackets...well...anything you can make out of felted wool, she makes it.   I definitely still want a hat in the denim colorway.  I know I can't make anything as great as she does but I think I'll go to Goodwill and get some old jackets and see if I can make myself a hat.  If my hat fails.....I'm going to go back to the shop and get one.  Its VERY cold here in Traverse City and why not have something that's going to be so wonderfully warm I won't mind going out to walk the dog.   Hey!  Maybe I should make the dog a jacket out of this felted wool too.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Biscuit's Coat

I have to show off this coat again, I think I posted a picture last spring when I made it but....he never wore it.   Biscuit has been wearing it this week because its windy and cold out.  Today he wore it while it was snowing, wet flakes (31 degrees out so, almost rain, but definitely snow).  Polar Fleece is water-resistant so its a good jacket for wet snowy days.  Anyway, the coat is made out of a remnant from JoAnn Fabrics.  I bought some Sherpa from JoAnn's on line and planned on lining the coat with the Sherpa but when it came I realized that might be a pain in the neck to sew so instead I lined it with the same polar fleece that's on the top.  I ended up quilting it thinking that would look pretty nifty (and it does).    I had a little piece left so made him a pocket and of course, had to embroider on it.   I used the Sherpa to line his belt and really love how that looks as well.

The nifty thing about polar fleece, if you've never used it, its like felt. You can cut it and you don't have to worry about the edges fraying.   So I cut a pocket out with my pinking shears and sewed it right into the back, I didn't have to finish the edges or hem it or anything.  

I also put a buttonhole on the back because Biscuit was wearing a halter with a clip for the leash that ended up on his back instead of around his neck when I made the jacket. Nowadays he wears a collar and doesn't need that buttonhole, I'm thinking of sewing a tiny piece of that polar fleece across the buttonhole to keep the wind off just in case the wind goes in the buttonhole....(besides, it would look nicer that way).

For a pattern, I took a little coat I had bought him at Pet Smart, it was a cheap little coat, very lightweight.  I didn't like the way it didn't fit all the way down to his tail and all the way up his neck.  Store bought jackets seem to be too long, too wide or just a little too narrow for Biscuit.   Little boy dogs can't have much under their belly but most of the store bought coats just have a little strap around the belly, I felt like he needed more under there there so I made the belt around his belly wider, making sure it didn't go too far down, for obvious reasons.  I also made the piece around his neck wider so he has the equivalent of a scarf around his neck.   I put the belt higher than the store-bought ones because he apparently is shorter from front to middle back...or they just put them in the middle. I added a collar because I think it looks super but also, when its windy I can put the collar up and it gives him a little more protection around the neck.

To make sure the thing fit the way I wanted it to, I got out my pattern-making paper...SOIL SEPARATOR which you can buy at Lowes or probably Home Depot for around $20.  It's something I think they put down before they lay sewer pipes.  The stuff resembles Do-Sew which is sold in fabric stores only theirs is gridded.  You can cut it, baste it, try it on...and even trace a pattern with it.  So I traced the store-bought jacket and then proceeded to enlarge it to fit.  Since I have a lifetime supply of Soil Separator in one roll, I made several pieces until I was happy with the final fit.  Then I used my Soil Separator  pieces for my pattern.

Here's the result, I think the sweater is fabulous and Biscuit gets compliments every time he wears it at the park. He doesn't look so cute in the picture, unfortunately he hates having his picture taken...but then who doesn't?  You can't see them but he has little blue bows in his hair, thanks to Pet Smart's hair cutter.    People have complimented him on his beautiful coat, I had to take the bows out darn it, they matched his coat but too many people said boys can't have bows but I did leave them in for Thanksgiving.........

Next one will have Sherpa  around the bottom or maybe I'll get up the nerve to actually line it with Sherpa, I think the Sherpa would be nice and warm because it would fold around him and fit next to his body better.  I just bought him some doggie-paw polar fleece for the next jacket.  :-)  Am waiting for my fancy new sewing/embroidery machine before I make the new jacket.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Knit Cotton Washcloths & cast on rag

These gems are easy to make and you're friends will love you if you make them a dozen for Christmas.  Tie a bow around them and give them to everyone.

Machine:  Standard Gauge, I used Brother 970
Material:  100% cotton, I've found people like the natural color or white so they can bleach them if necessary.   Use 1 strand 8/2 cotton or 2 strands 16/2 (available from weaving shops or Stephanie's Yarn Shop, Bybee TN).
Directions:  Begin by making yourself a cast on rag using  100 needles.  I used Cotton Crochet thread for mine. Tension--whatever knits easily with the yarn you bought.
Pull forward every other needle and thread up your crochet thread.  Knit across, right to left, hang cast on comb on the loops.
Pull forward every other alternate needle and knit back to the right.  Now you have all 100 needles in work with a stitch on them.  Continue knitting for 50 rows.  Pull forward Every other needle and bring up the cast on loops that are on the cast on comb tryto keep the loops in the cast on comb.  Hang the loops on every other needle.  You should now have a loop on every other needle along with a stitch on every needle.  Pull forward all needles and knit across.   Knit 30 or 40 more rows and latch tool bind off.

Now you have a cast on rag.  Its so handy to use this rather than waste yarn every time you want to start a washcloth.    Go to the hardware store and get yourself a round metal bar that is a few inches longer than the cast on rag and weighs about 8 ozs.  You can hang it in the hem you created when you hung the loops and that will take the place of a cast on comb for your wash cloth. (If you have a Bond you can of course use one of your weighted metal bars.

These are knitted using the tuck buttons as well as the slip buttons at the beginning and end of the cloth to create a pattern.  I don't change the pattern row count as I push in the different buttons.
Machine tension loose, I used 8 on my carriage and a medium antenna tension
Pattern:   xoxoxo
              oxoxox  (x is tuck (or black), o is plain (or white)
Hang cast on rag on the bound off edge directly on needles.  Place weighted bar in the hem.
Knit across with ravel cord
Ewrap cast on with your washcloth cotton.  
Set up machine for 1x1 tuck stitch shown above
Turn on KC button and knit across.  Every other needle should be selected.
Push in both tuck buttons and continue knitting for 17 rows (total 18 rows counting 1st row)
About this time I add claw weights to each edge to make sure the edge stitches knit off properly.
Push in slip buttons and continue knitting for 10 rows
Push in tuck buttons and continue knitting for 162 more rows
Push in slip buttons and continue knitting for 10 rows
Push in tuck buttons and knit for 17 rows, ending on right.
Turn off KC button and knit 1 row to the left.   Latch tool bind off.

Washcloths will be loosely knit but shrink when washed.  
Wash and dry your washcloths and  steam them if you wish fold them and they're ready to give to friends.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Towels are done, sweater's coming along

I managed to finish 35 of these and made the sign late last night.  I have 7 blanks left and may get some more to make for Christmas presents.   People really do like them, they're lint free, prewashed (by me), washed once again after sewing to remove the stabilizer and the iron and my arm got a workout, getting the wrinkles out after the second wash, for some reason they are sooooooo wrinkled its almost impossible to iron them although if you pay more for them, you get pre-ironed.   Oh didn't kill me.    Hopefully the church will sell them all and that's my part for the Bazaar.

I have yard work to do, dead flowers to get rid of and hoses to get in.   It was pretty cold this morning when I walked the dog at 7:30 so I really need to start getting out some warmer clothes.  Also have to finish putting the film on the bedroom windows and the door in the sewing room.   Why is it I always am behind in everything I do?  I could have been working on these towels for a year, I knew they have a bazaar every Oct.  Well, I might go ahead and start soon, I would have liked to make knitted dishcloths to go with them and package them up with raffia ribbon, a towel and washcloth as a set.  Might do that next year, I have some really nifty paper ribbon that is red and white polka dots   I think I bought it once for this very purpose.

Meanwhile, my sweater is progressing, I've knitted 20 rows (I know that doesn't sound like much but remember I'm going around a humongous circle which is getting smaller by the decreases every 9 rows.  In fact after the second decrease row I was amazed at how fast I got back to the beginning.  I will have to make a swatch on the knitting machine to chart the sleeves although I have to wait till I get to the section of the circle where I put stitches on hold for sleeves to be inserted, then I can figure out how wide the top of the sleeve has to be.    I suspect the sleeve will be similar to a drop shoulder sleeve, straight across at the top (obviously I will look at the diagram in the pattern which isn't near the computer as I write this).    Anyway, I am convinced I can knit the sleeves on the machine which will make the whole thing go faster.    Our local LYS has shawl pins and I'll get one for this wonderful sweater but no sense rushing......

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Working Day and Night

Well, I am working day and night but I'm enjoying every minute of it.   Our church is having a baazar early in Oct and one of their booths is called "Country Kitchen"  I had the brilliant idea that I had a bunch of flour sack towels and I would embroider redwork designs on them.  Turned out I didn't have as many as I thought I did.  Oh well I started in and you see what I got done before I ran out of towels.  So I went to a local store and got 21 more towels.  I'm now working on the last 21.  I'm doing the Days Of The Week designs on them.

When I say I'm working day and night, I mean it, I start early in the morning after walking the dog and cleaning up around the house I begin on the towels, stopping for lunch.  Then in the evening when my favorite TV shows come on I begin working on my hand knit project (the circular cardigan).  
So if you wonder where I've been---here I am, in my sewing room which is the perfect room for machine embroidery.  I can close the door when I'm done and leave things out, ready for the next day.  Perfect!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Border's done, now to decrease & decrease & decrease, etc....

I finished the border after I measured it against the HK'd one which luckily I didn't unravel yet and the MK'd one measured the same as the finished one with only 661 rows.  So then I had a dilemma, do I keep on going or do I go ahead and quit now.   Well, really that was a no-brainer, who wants to continue on for another couple hundred rows which seem to take forever when the thing was big enough already.   So I quit and started picking up stitches with my HK needles.   Now I can start another sweater on the machine while I HK this in the evening.  At least that's the plan.

I worried about how I was going to figure out how in the world to pick up 363 stitches on 661 rows, the pattern said pick up along the edge, every other row.  Well, I finally decided to just start picking up.  I counted out and marked every 100 rows and picked up evenly around.  When I was through I counted how many stitches I had and saw that I didn't have enough so joined it into a circle and knitted a row, increasing evenly around until I had 363.  Surely there's an easier way to do this but that's what I did.

After I had the proper number of stitches which I felt was important because the pattern calls for evenly decreasing so many rows until you come to the center and the decreases are really pretty if they are all lined up from border to center.   So in the picture above you see my finished border and the first 9 rows.  The makrers show every 10 stitches because I must decrease every so many rows at the markers.   This will go much faster than the border did even though its just plain knitting because I'm decreasing so many stitches often.   Once this is done I feel I might be able to do the sleeves on the machine although I guess I need to swatch on the machine and maybe chart out the sleeves with Knitware software.   That should work, right?  I hope so, I really want this done for Christmas.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Border will be done this week......

Hopefully I'l have this 858 rows done by the middle of this week but today I have a hair appointment so can't work on it although I have just done 25 rows this morning and will knit when I get home time permitting.   Here's a small record of my project since I started this border
510 rows
400 rows
600 rows

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My Circular Cardigan

I've been working for over a year on this circular cardigan. I love the design and I love a circular cardigan. I bought one a few years ago when I was visiting my daughter in Tacoma. Loved the sweater, it was so comfy and cozy but it pilled savagely as soon as I washed it. To make it worse, it was a soft acrylic and stretched out of shape, making it narrower and longer. Anyway, I liked it enough to want to make one. Then I found Nigella, a sweater pattern from Berroco. It called for a super yarn spun from rayon and cotton. PROBLEM...the border is over 800 rows but a very easy lace pattern to follow. I got past that and then started the actual circle. As I knitted on this thing on and off I realized the yarn was actually stretching out of shape as I knitted. It was getting longer and longer and when I got down to the end of the circle, I realized, this was NOT going to be a sweater that I would like any better than the one I bought because of the properties of the yarn. This was a sweater that should be carefully folded on a shelf and worn only on special occasions.......not the sweater I had planned on wearing all winter when I needed something to snuggle into.   We all know a soft cotton will stretch out of shape as we wear it. Rayon is known to be iffy when washed so the combo is not my favorite for such a sweater. I finally gave up when I was supposed to be down to 17 stitches and still had 50+ on my needles (yes I was HKing this project and made a mistake or two while knitting).

I decided that as much as I loved the sweater I would have to abandon it.BUT I couldn't do it, I HAD to have that sweater so I went to my LYS and bought some wool yarn that I have knitted with before and like a lot. Shepherd's Wool by Stonehedge Fiber Mills. Its a soft Merino and should hold its shape. I also decided to change my needle from size 8 to size 7 after measuring, I think I was knitting it too loose. Then I decided, I just couldn't redo that border. I can't do it again...800+ stitches......until I realized I could probably do it on the machine. So I got out my LK 150 and spent half a day recreating that border pattern.

I'm now up to row 100 on the LK 150 and the results are great!  I must say, this pattern looks good from both sides.  Once the million rows are finished, I will turn it on its side and knit on another million stitches and start knitting circular which can't be done on the LK 150 but that's ok.  You are working your way down from lots and lots of stitches to around 17 stitches so every time you decrease evenly around you are working with less stitches, quite a bonus I think.
and BACK

I also think this pattern would be great as a peplum on the bottom of a pullover (with quite a few less rows of course).    See the pretty scallop?
I'm working furiously with the machine part of this sweater because I want to get it onto my HK needles.  I like to have something to HK in the evenings while I'm watching TV or traveling around.    MK is for day time for me these days.

What will I do with the tons of cotton/rayon yarn I bought?  I'm thinking it would be a super yarn to use for something like a bolero.  It can easily be machine knitted and its really a nice yarn for a smaller garment.   

Monday, August 16, 2010

Northwestern Michigan Fair

I spent a few hours each day for 3 days at the fair last week. Why? Well, the first day I went the kids were bringing in the 4H animals and I enjoyed looking at their animals as well as talking to the kids. One girl was rocking a sleeping calf's head in her lap and I asked her if she had just bought the calf or was selling it. She was selling it and said her last year's calf was being shown this year as a steer (ready for someone's freezer) She didn't seem sad or grossed out about it so obviously this girl lives on a farm and knows the difference in pets and farm animals. Still, it was nice to see she loved her calf enough to cradle his head in her lap. The kids had a hard time this year because it was sooooo hot last week, they had to spend a lot of time with their animals keeping them hydrated and hosing them down when they got stressed from the awful heat and humidity. I must comment, the barns were spotless every time I went through them, kudo's to the kids for their hard work.
The second day I went I wanted to watch the draft horse show, I love those gigantic animals.
The 3rd time I went though I went to see the needlecraft exhibits and what won prizes. I took pictures but we obviously weren't allowed to touch anything so there were times I questioned the lack of a ribbon but couldn't inspect to see why someone didn't get one, all I could do was marvel over the workmanship of the knits and the beauty of some of the entries.

I got myself a Rules Book and next year I plan on entering some knits, both hand and machine and I was thrilled to see Machine Knit was one of the categories although there were no machine knits entered. You'd better believe I came home, unraveled what I had done so far on that forever-project, Nigella, the circular sweater from Berroco. I did a gauge test on it and confirmed what I already knew, it was too loose and I am starting over with a smaller needle. I wish I could knit it on the knitting machine but its circular and would have to be grafted together later, I just can't graft stitches well enough to attempt it.

Here's some pictures that I took of knits that I would have been proud to enter, had I made them...enjoy!

Monday, August 9, 2010

This was a busy but fun Weekend

The weekend started for me on Friday evening when my son and Daughter-in-law and I went to the park, downtown Traverse City. We had tickets to Paella In The Park. Paella is a Spanish recipe which apparently is open to interpretation (just Google Paella and you'll find lots of recipes, all using different ingredients, combining rice with meat, beans, vegetables, and/or seafood, with saffron and olive oil. The festivities included 7 chefs from 7 area restaurants all well known for their cooking fare. Each chef was paired with wines from the Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula ( ) The chefs each made 3 versions of Paella, fish, meat and vegetarian. We had our choice of 3 of any of the 21 varieties made. We also had our choice of 5 different 2 ounce samplings of wine from any of the wineries. The lines were long but these guys knew what they were doing, the lines moved fast and we were served fairly quickly. The wine was DELICIOUS as was the Paella I chose (I had one with a combo of chicken, duck and artichoke. Next I chose one with sausage and mussels (told them to hold the mussel)which was my favorite because it was hot off the cooker and spicy hot to eat. The wine I chose was a white fruity winecalled Late Harvest Riesling from Chateau Grand Traverse, I'm not really a wine drinker the other 2 I tried were Chardonnay's and I only got 3 drinks from the 5 tickets in my pocket.

Also on the agenda was a concert. Opening the concert was Rootstand, a local group who plays Reggae/Celtic/Bluegrass followed by Blues Traveler, a blues-based rock group. Actually Bluegrass can get boring after the first couple songs (my opinion, naturally)and I felt like Rootstand was more of a country-type band. Anyway, I liked them.

The opening picture shows a balloon in the background, the stage with Blues Traveler and some of the crowd that was seated in front of us. It was definitely dusk when I took the picture. Somehow my son wrangled a seat on the balloon but it remained tethered, it just raised and lowered a few times, never going much over 3 feet off the ground. (I have no idea why)...

Personally I enjoyed Rootstand's music more than Blues Traveler's but then its my age I guess :-) Anyway we went home tired, full and happy. There was a heck of a crowd but plenty of room and food so it was an enjoyable evening.

Saturday was the opening day for the Northwest Michigan Fair. I'm ashamed of myself for not having something to enter but anyway..we went Saturday and watched as the 4H'rs brought their livestock and other goodies to enter. We walked through the horse barns and the livestock barns. I stopped and talked to a young girl who was sitting in a pile of fresh hay with her calf's head in her lap, the calf was taking a nap. She told me she was going to sell the calf and that the calf she raised last year was sold to a 4-H'er who was showing the steer this year. She was also showing a steer that will be sold during the 4H Livestock Market Auction. That brought back lots of memories of my kids doing the same when we lived in the U.P. of Michigan years ago. Sunday we went back and watched a Draft Horse Driving show. We also walked around checking out rabbits, llama and alpaca barns. Fun. I peeked in the 4H and adult exhibition buildings to see what knits had been entered. I swear next year I'm going to enter a knit but need to find a book with the rules, etc. Will ask when I go back to see the results of the judging later this week. Here's some photos of the animals we looked at yesterday.....
And the 4H winner of the draft horse pulling event was a young boy who definitely was at ease with his horse and never had a bit of trouble following the judges wishes, (back up, turn, etc).

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

New to me Web Site and iPhone Apps

Here's a comment I got from my latest bed runner note.

I saw on another site where your first Knitting program was 'Mom' by a someone on the west coast.
Well, that was me, and I have a new 'Mom' for the iPhone. I'm not trying to sell you something...just reminiscing when I used to sell in Alles Around the world knitting, and sold 'Mom's Knitting Computer Program' for the Apple II and Radio Shack and IBM.

I'm retired now, and have written a hand knitting program modeled after my original 'Mom' You might see it on and search for 'Touch and Go Knitting" or my web site at Nice to run into someone from those times. You are one of the only old customers I could find ,Richard Foy 801 547 9328 Layton, ut"

I wanted to past this note on here because I really was a Mom user but quite by accident. I bought my first knitting machine in 1987 as a present to myself for working all those long years...and immediately decided that a computer should work for me charting those patterns. Almost immediately after I bought the machine I moved to South Carolina where I met a woman who was an expert knitter and had money to burn. She bought the Mom program because her husband was one of those old guys who worked with computers back in the early days. She thought he knew all there was to know about computers but actually he was futzing around with the home PC and didn't know beans about it (I suspect he was working with them pre-DOS days and maybe was doing data entry or something. Anyway--he didn't know beans about the software and neither did she. She gave me a copy of Mom and asked me to figure out how to use it and show her. Well, I took to Mom like a duck to water. I loved the program. It made sense to me and surprisingly enough, when DesignaKnit came out I was thrilled to see that the Original Draw part of DAK was very similar to Mom's design entry. You went from point to point. How easy was that. My friend never could figure it out even when I tried to show her so I inherited the program from her and was very happy with it.

I just now went to the App store with my iPhone and sure enough, there it is, "Touch and Go Knitting" Of course I'll get it and play with it, I love iPhone Apps and keeping in touch with what's going on. Good Luck Richard, I'm glad you found me.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Bed Runner

Here's a photo of a bed runner at a hotel I stayed at last week. The cool thing about bed runners is that you can quickly quilt or knit or weave one and change it with the seasons because they don't take a lot of fabric and really make the bed look great.

Now here's the one I just knitted on my Brother 970 standard gauge machine.

I wove it using the 1x1 pattern just because I wanted to weave but I think tuck stitch or a fairisle would look just as great. In fact I almost wished after I started that I had done it in squares like a quilt so I could embroider in the white squares. Oh well, as I can make them to match your mood if you want, they're small so the next one may be knit squares with a fabric backing on it.

I used Tamm 3 ply for the knitting yarn and Red Heart's TLC Baby, 2 skeins of color New Mint Sparkle, for the weaving yarn. I planned on 70 inches so that it would lay across the bottom of the bed and overlap just a little but had just a little yarn left over after my 700 rows and decided to go ahead and keep on going so ended up with 730 rows using all 200 needles for the width. I bought a ball of Patons Astra for the worm trim and knitted 5 stitches 8 rows all the way around to give some body to the edges. I thought I would put a fringe on it if I needed more length but it turned out just fine.

Some bed runners I've seen are narrower, this could easily be folded in half and placed farther up toward the middle of the bed as shown here:

This could be made on the Bond or the mid guage machine just as easily as on the standard gauge machine.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Summer Salad for 2

picture from free clip art web site,

We've been eating out too much lately and decided to cut down so I've been making a meal out of fresh summer veggies and a protein. The bonus is, the salads only take about 30 minutes to put together, including cooking the chicken. Today's salad was one of the best so I thought I'd share it with you (I should have taken a picture it was so pretty but we gobbled it down so fast I barely had time to write the ingredients before I forgot them. This salad picture is from free clip art web site,
NOTE: everything I put in the salad is part of my vegetable crisper or "salad shelf". We eat just about the same salad often but I vary the protein and the seasonings. Here's tonight's salad, it was exceptional, especially the chicken:


8 ounce skinless chicken breast
McCormick Perfect Pinch Rotisserie Chicken Seasoning (found in the spice section of your grocery store)
Salt and pepper
Olive Oil
Chardonnay Wine yeah I know I used it in the chili too, I have this bottle, might as well use it :-)
No Stick Cooking Spray
Iceberg lettuce--I sometimes add baby spinach as well
Wash the lettuce and set in refrigerator wrapped in a paper towel or return to plastic bag you bought it in at the store, leave it there for at least 30 minutes to help crisp it.
6 Vine ripened cherry tomatoes
1 each sweet yellow and red peppers
1 bell pepper
2 stalks Green Onions
10 Seedless Green Grapes
2 Tbls Green salad olives
1/4 cup Craisins
1/2 cup Parmesan flavored croutons

NOTE Everything is cut into bite size pieces.

Cut chicken into small bite size pieces and sprinkle with Rotisserie Chicken Seasoning and salt and pepper (not too much salt, the seasoning has salt as well)
Pour a little bit of Olive Oil in your non stick fry pan, put on high heat
Add spiced chicken pieces and stir. Continue stirring until chicken is pretty much cooked through, then turn down the heat. Be careful you don’t want it to be overdone or the chicken will become tough. If necessary as you stir the chicken add cooking spray to the pan to keep the chicken from sticking. Sprinkle more seasoning on the chicken as you stir and it cooks. Add about 1/4 cup wine to the pan and turn heat off. The chicken will continue to simmer and cool down in the wine and seasoning while the stove cools down.

While the chicken is simmering and cooling in the wine, prepare your veggies.
Wash the veggies in cold water and set aside.
Tear lettuce into small pieces and put in salad bowl (Not too much, you can add more later if you need to.)
Chop your veggies into small pieces and add to salad bowl
Cut grapes in half if they are large
Add a couple tablespoons of green olives to the bowl
Sprinkle in the Craisins
Add your chicken pieces
Toss the salad then cut the croutons in half and sprinkle around on top

I don't put salad dressing on the salad until we are ready to eat. I like one kind, my friend likes another so we each add our dressing individually. Nothing else is needed for this dinner, you have your protein, your fruit, your vegetables and the croutons are your bread (unless you aren't watching your starchy carbs of course).

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Flowers and another fabulous recipe

Today I walked outside and found the first lily blooming. I bought 2 at the Iris Farm this spring. (M-72 5 Miles from Traverse City.) Also its been so hot and humid my hibiscus thinks its in a tropical paradise and its blooming.

Then I went to coffee at our clubhouse where friends meet once a month. The ladies started talking about Beer Biscuits and they sounded so good I came home and tried them. You need a package of biscuit mix,sugar and beer. Use the recipe on the package for regular biscuits but mix 5 tbls of sugar in with the mix and add beer instead of any other liquid called for. Mine took 1 1/2 cups mix, 5 tbls sugar and 1/2 cup beer. They warned not to use lite beer, I used Samuel Adams Boston Lager.

Boy, those biscuit were so good, we sat down to eat leftover chili (from the recipe previously posted) and we ate all 12 biscuits. Do try this recipe, its fabulous. The sugar and beer make the biscuits puffy and really gives them a great texture.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Not everything turns out as expected....

Tuesday I started my "after the 4th" garden flag. It was going to be a generic-type summer flag, something I could use summer after summer. So Tuesday evening I sat down and started. I thought I'd try something different with the actual flag so I got out my serger manual and learned how to do a rolled hem. Boy, that turned out super, and it was VERY easy to do on my Babylock Evolve. Nothing to it, I had the whole thing hemmed and the casing sewn in. Ready to roll with the embroidery machine!
The first thing one has to do is get the Tweets sewn because they are the biggest part of the design and there's a lot of stitches to them. Also its a bit dense so you have to make sure you have a good stabilizer and hoop it tight. I use a sticky spray behind the flag fabric to help hold the whole thing down flat onto the stabilizer and I baste the area around the design with the help of Embird, my chosen software. So I started. The Tweets take 3 hours to sew out. There's 53,333 stitches in the Gardening Tweets design. No biggie, I sewed until I was tired and then turned off the machine. As long as I didn't move the design area around before I started sewing, I could start again. I marked on my color chart where to start the next day and went to bed. Whoops, I forgot the sticky spray sort of disintegrates over fabric got a bit bubbly as I continued to sew...In spite of it, Wednesday I finished up the tweets.

For the dog in the corner, I added a hat from an Embroidery Library Sunflower Sam design and some daisies from another design I have in my stash. The dog will be running through the daisies under the bird tree, wearing a sun hat. That turned out as expected, it didn't take nearly as long to sew the dog as it did the tweets. Next I sewed 2 butterflies and then the lettering at the top and I was done. The whole design has 84,621 stitches and the machine told me it would take 157 minutes. I really don't know how long it took since yesterday as I was sewing I had to stop and take the dog to the groomers, stop again to pick him up, stop again to eat lunch.....but finally I was finished. I had about 30 minutes before I had to leave for another appointment. I wanted to get the flag out so thought I'd steam it a bit to see if I could straighten out the fabric some.

OH NO....which is not what I actually said....I'll leave that up to your imagination...I turned the iron on and set it at the highest setting so that it would steam. Touched the iron to the fabric and MELTED IT! I was sick!!! My flag was ruined.

I turned the iron off and went to get my hair cut and realized as I was sitting there that I hadn't really ruined any of the embroidery, just the flag fabric. So I came home and cut the design out (hopefully far enough away from the embroidery for a seam). I decided to make a blank flag and sew the embroidered part onto it. Not sure how its going to turn out, maybe the whole thing will be a waste of time but you never know....
Here's the design as its planned out on the computer:

And here's the unfortunate leftovers after melting the fabric:'s the final flag, not perfect but its outside anyway. Luckily its inside my courtyard and no one can get close to it unless the really want to come in and inspect.

Not too bad, considering.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010



1 lb ground round
2 15.5 oz cans dark red kidney beans
2-1 lb cans plain diced tomatoes
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 pkg sliced fresh carrots
4 ozs water
1 green pepper
1 yellow onion
¼ cup Chardonnay
1 package Carroll Shelby’s Chili Kit
1 package Colby and Monterey Jack Cheese
1 pkg sour cream
OPTIONAL: 1 can beer

With food processor, chop half large onion and half green pepper and ¼ cup carrots into small pieces, set aside
Brown ground round until all pink is gone
Drain ground round and set aside in bowl (I rinse my ground round in a colander you won’t notice the difference but your waist will, its a trick I learned from a friend who cooked for schools). Don’t rinse fry pan but add previously chopped veggies and cook until onions are clear.

Turn burner down to low and switch to a 4 lb sauce pan. Add tahe ground round.
Sprinkle salt and pepper into meat mixture and stir well.
Add diced tomatoes, tomato sauce and water.
Add half Chili spices from package. Stir and taste, if necessary add some more spices until it tastes the way you prefer your chili to taste (I use the whole pkg).
Sprinkle a little Cayenne pepper from package into pan but careful; don’t use much until you do the taste test.
At this point, add ¼ cup Chardonnay or of course you can use water to make it a little more soupy.
Put lid on pan loosely and simmer until you’re ready to eat.

To serve, put cheese and sour cream in middle of table and let people add if desired.

HINT: If chili is too spicy or too thick for your guests pour a little beer (or water) into it, simmer just a bit and it will be just right Leftovers are fabulous over brats, smoked sausages or franks.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I forgot my latest FINISHED HK project

The Booga Bag! As I was sorting through stuff in the garage and closets for the garage sale, I found some handspun yarn that I had made and thought wasn't all that great. I never like my handspun yarn until I haven't seen it for a while and then when I find it again I love it. What happened during the garage sale search was, I put the yarn into balls and found freebie patterns that I thought might be a suggestion of what people could do with the yarn and packaged each different yarn up with a printed pattern. Well---ended up as I was searching for suggestions I loved everything I came up with and ended up keeping all the packages of yarn with the patterns I printed. YIKES! Yet more project(s)for my ever-growing list!!!!

While I was sitting in the garage during the garage sale I started knitting my pink yarn. I decided to make a Booga Bag and was afraid the yarn was too thin (it probably wasn't). I didn't want to take the time to measure it with the wraps per inch method so just doubled pink and white yarn together and started knitting with size 11 needles. I figured if it came out too big, so what, I'd have a big purse. Well, I did have a big purse when it was done. It was a bit thick as I knitted it and I was really a bit worried that it was too thick to felt but threw it in the washer and ran it through 3 cycles. Son of a gun, I love the purse. Its big enough to be a knitting bag if I want or of course, a bag for everything I own when I go someplace. I found some pink and white fabric in my stash and lined it so that nothing will poke through, just in case I stick something that could possibly poke through the felt...and my Booga Bag was done. I'm thinking I'll dig out my new book, "Felt It!Stitch It!Fabulous!" (30 new uses for old sweaters) and try a couple of the flowers they needle felted or maybe knit some fabric and felt-then cut into flowers per the directions to decorate the purse.

By the way, if you haven't see this book, look it up. The author suggests you go to Goodwill and Consignment shops and buy wool sweaters and comes up with some fabulous ideas for the felted garments. Personally I'm thinking I can knit fabric on the LK 150 with all the handspun yarn and then make what's in the book....(more projects...the ideas just keep on coming).

So there you have it, what I've been doing since Spring.

OK, so I've neglected my blog

So much going on. I've traveled a bit, am busy exploring the surroundings in the Traverse City area and otherwise have occupied my time since Spring arrived. OK, now its summer and a nice fairly cool one. I've got bird feeders to fill, flowers to plant and take care of, tons of weeds thanks to the bird feeders and other things to keep me busy but I haven't forgotten my fiber addiction.

I'm still hand knitting the circle sweater from Berroco. I'm nearly finished with the body which is a huge circle, getting smaller and smaller as I get to the center. Then I have 2 sleeves to make and I'm done. Yaaay! I've been knitting it since before I sold my house in SC, The sweater is named Nigella and I love it still but wish it was finished. Its made with Berroco's Touche' which is a cotton/rayon blend and should be great for even now on cool mornings and evenings.......why can't I get with it??? Here's a picture of Nigella:

A couple months ago I traveled to Pontiac, MI with a friend to meet his sister and while on the road, we stopped at Frankenmuth, MI to visit Zeilinger Wool Co. I heard about Zeilinger's back in Asheville, NC when they came to the fiber fest every October to pick up fleece to take back to MI to process for people. I ended up bringing home fleece from Zeilinger's (naturally)...2 lbs of Alpaca to spin. Its yummy stuff and spins up soooo nice. Its soft and's a picture of the fleece and my sample spun up..I am planning a soft, warm jacket with the finished project, probably I'll make it on the LK 150 so that it can be made in a week instead of a year... While I was in Frankenmuth I picked up a Spin Off magazine and saw an ad for a wool processor in East Jordan, MI, Stonehedge Fiber Mill. Wait a minute---I had seen that ad before so I looked it up on Google. Son of a gun, East Jordan isn't all that far from Traverse City so one Saturday morning my friend and I took off for East Jordan. Down the lane (a long lane) we found a 100 yr old farm where the owner has spinning machines and processes wool. Her wool, Shepherd's Wool is beautiful stuff. I've bought it from the local yarn shop here in TC last Fall for felted hats and was very impressed at how nicely it felts. Anyway, I went into her little building full of all colors of yarn (why didn't I take pictures of that???) and found mill ends. Yarn that is almost perfectly spun by machine but maybe has a little slub in it or maybe its not quite the right color. (she dyes her yarn as well). She sells Shepherd's Wool to yarn shops all over the country and its featured in magazines. While I was there 2 more women came in to shop...I'm not the only one who travels that long lane. While there I bought a pattern for a colorful helmet hat, featuring her yarn and then bought the mill ends to go with the pattern. That, I gave to my DIL but there's enough ends for both of us to make more than 1 helmet hat (or whatever we want to make). I also got myself a lb of beautiful merino. SOOOO soft and luscious, here's a picture of that wonderful stuff: I also picked up a pattern featuring Shepherd's Wool, called Noni, a laptop bag with power cord pockets. Love the pattern and will probably dye some of my white (unknown origin) fleece and spin/knit the bag.

Also on my agenda is writing the pattern for my beaded bag, made on the LK 150. I have the pattern written but want to "perfect" it by making it one more time and then will get that posted. Shame on me for neglecting all this stuff for so long but what fun I'm having in my new life...........( my excuse and I'm sticking with it).

So you can see I have lots of projects going on and need to spend more time at home working on them....easier said than done.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Spring has arrived in the Northern Lower Peninsula

Well, last week it looked like spring, today it looks like almost-spring but the daffodils are up and it was actually hot out Friday. Today we are expecting rain but that's OK.
I spent Friday planting bushes along the wall next to my house. There was one lonely rose bush living there and that's it! So I moved the rose bush and planted 6 spreading yews. Also had a patio in the back of my courtyard that was pretty sad. It was brick and the bricks were all askew from the winters over the past few years so I had the bricks taken up and a wooden deck built. Unfortunately either the guy building the deck didn't buy enough wood or was trying to leave a place for water to drain between the deck and the brick wall behind it and left left about 18 inches. I hated how that looked and a friend suggested we take the bricks and lay them in that 18 inches. Mike (my son) came over and laid the bricks for me. NOW I have a nice deck, I won't fall off the back end of it thanks to the bricks and I'm a happy camper. There's more work to be done with the yard but at least it has a start.
The first picture is a view of my courtyard from the front, my house is on the right and is bordered by the brick wall on the back and neighbor's house on the left.

The second picture shows courtyard from the back (view from the patio).

I still have work to do on this side of the yard but not sure what I want to do with it. All it takes is money and time.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Biscuit's New Coat

I've been putting both a sweater and a coat on Biscuit every morning when we walk because its been down in the teens here in the mornings and he's very low to the ground & doesn't have a lot of hair on his tummy. Last time I went to JoAnn Fabrics I found a really pretty piece of fleece. It looks like tie dye and is a great shade of blue, perfect for a boy. So I brought the fleece home with the idea that I would make Biscuit a warmer coat and eliminate the sweater/coat deal (he hates it when I dress him so at least I will only have to put one thing on now). Well of course its warmed up this week so the coat may sit in the closet all summer but that's ok. When its down around 14 degrees out and maybe he will be warmer and not mind me dressing him.

Every jacket he has is either too big or so small I can't fasten it around his belly so I took the jacket that is a little too large and I used it for a pattern. On lots of the sewing web sites the seasoned seamstresses talk about using "sewer paper". That's "sewer" as in toilets and waste water. I went to Lowes and bought the sewer paper several years ago and for around $20 you get a lifetime supply, especially lifetime if you sew as little as I do. Its very similar to Do Sew that fabric stores sell. You can trace a pattern on it, baste it and use it for your pattern. So I traced the larger jacket onto the sewer paper and then tried it on him before I cut out the fabric. Every step of the way I tried the jacket on him until I thought he would bite me if I tried it one more time. The result is a coat that will keep him warm, especially his belly and fits him with room to grow when I leave his hair longer for warmth in the winter.

I bought some sherpa at and lined the belt with it and I made the belt a little wider than the store-bought jackets so that more of his belly will be covered. Then I bought an embroidery design of a doggie bone at and made a pocket just for the embroidery design. I quilted the top layer of fabric with cotton batting under it and then used more of the blue fleece for lining so its 3 layers. Every step of the way I tried it on him.

I love how it turned out so much that I think I'll make him some more jackets, the fabric store has all sorts of cute doggie-coat-fabrics I can use and I do think he could use a nice rain coat as well since spring is traditionally rainy. I'm thinking I'll make the raincoat next while I remember how I made this one. (probably would be a good idea to write down what I did but knowing me, I won't.

One thing I learned while sewing this fleece. I have a presser foot that is called a "zigzag" foot. It has a plastic insert between the 2 feet and eliminated the problem of fleece curling up and getting caught in the needle. It sure did make the sewing easier. Another thing I did was switch from a regular sewing machine needle to a Jeans needle. I was having a lot of trouble with the thread breaking and the Jeans needle eliminated that annoying problem.

I also remembered from my knitting/fleece days that a longer stitch works better with fleece but when I did the quilting I did use the default stitch length. Sewing fleece onto the batting and quilting it with batting was easy, it was the sewing fleece on fleece that was troublesome without the zigzag foot and jeans needle. (now if I remember these things....)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

New Food Processor

I really like watching the Food Channel and all the cooking competitions. Finally the other day I broke down and bought myself a food processor. I went on the internet first and read the review and comparisons and decided on a Kitchenaid which was rated just a little higher than Cuisinart only because it came with a small bowl as well as the large one. OK, I thought, small bowl would be handy since there's only one of me eating here most of the time. Also the Kitchenaid had a thingy to hold the blades. So I got it home and son of a gun, it only had 1 speed. On and Off...that's it! Well, it did have a pulse. I went back on the internet and looked at the Cuisinart again and it has an automatic adjustable speed with the dough blade so took the Kitchenaid back and got an 11 cup Cuisinart. No little bowl but oh well....also no holder for the blades. Well--I bought a plastic bowl with lid to hold the blades. That works.

So I hooked the thing up, took out a couple boneless chicken breasts and proceeded to chop for Biscuit's dinner. SON OF A GUN... that sucker had the meat chopped faster than I could blink. YEOW, watch out for the fingers! I then decided to try to make some Cottage Fried oven baked potatoes. Got the recipe off the internet. It called for grated parmesan cheese so off I went to the store for that (yes I had some in a can but wanted to try grating cheese after all :-). Got some garlic and some butter also called for in the recipe and went home. Whoops, forgot the brush to brush the potatoes with the butter sauce. Oh well...proceeded to clean the potatoes and chop. I couldn't get it to chop the whole potato. did come with the DVD but who had time to watch a DVD, I wanted to CHOP! Ended up cutting the potatoes into 4ths and then chopping into very skinny little pieces. NO GOOD but cooked them anyway. Unfortunately I didn't believe the person who wrote the recipe who said it took 1/4 TBS butter and I plopped some butter into the pan, added the garlic and salt/pepper and melted the stuff. Poured it over the potatoes. YIKES they came out so greasy I had to throw them away. Got out some more potatoes and proceeded to make them again. These came out ok (yes I used 1/4 TBS butter this time) but they weren't all that good. I had shredded a lot of Parmesan (more than called for, of course) and didn't bother to use it because I already knew the potatoes were too skinny and didn't taste all that good. Oh well.........

Next day I watched the video. There just had to be a way to chop a whole potato. Sure enough, there was. I chopped up a potato and took it over to show my neighbor who also has a food processor and didn't know she could chop a whole potato.

Now I've ordered a book from Amazon, The Food Processor Bible. Can't have this expensive thing sitting on the counter every day doing nothing.

Oh, tonight's menu? Grilled Tilapia with Latkes (require food processor for best results according to the recipe) They also say: "The best latkes are golden and crunchy on the outside, soft and tender on the inside, and perfectly seasoned". Think I'll follow the recipe to a "T" on this........

Will post the results (if they turn out decent)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Very Best Barbecue I've Ever Made

SmileyCentral.comOK, maybe you won't think its the best, maybe yours is but yesterday I fixed a meal that would rival any restaurant I've been to.
Mashed Potatoes & Gravy
Green Beans with crispy bacon
Leftover Beef Roast and 1 lb beef stew meat
Dessert: Fresh Fruit mixed with Dole Tropical Fruit

I had 2 leftover bits of roast beef in the freezer. Both were a bit tough.
I decided to buy some stew meat that was on sale and since the last 2 meats I had bought at this local store were tough I decided to get some Meat Tenderizer as well.
I bought "Spice Supreme" brand Seasoned Meat Tenderizer and sprinkled it over both sides of the stew meat. I put the meat in the fridge and left it overnight. The next morning I put the stew meat in the crock pot and set it to cook for 3 hours on low.
I poured some KC Masterpiece original Barbecue sauce over the top of the meat and added some water to the bottom of the pot. I left the house and when I got home the crock pot had switched to "warm". I checked the meat, it was pretty tender but I wasn't quite satisfied with how done it was so turned it back on low for 2 hours. I figured what the heck, I'd go ahead and throw those 2 pieces of roast beef in with it while I was at it. I added a bit more barbecue sauce and left it. When I came back to the crock pot later in the afternoon I couldn't believe it. The roast beef was as tender as the stew meat and was all delicious. I put the whole thing in a storage container and put in the fridge for later. Later I ate some of the meat but not a lot, I decided to save it for the next day and make the rest of a super meal when I had time. Later I froze it.
Two days later I got out the meat and let it thaw. I put it in a 8X2 pan and poured a bit more barbecue sauce over it and put it in the oven at 300 degrees until hot and then turned down to 200 degrees to stay warm until everything else was finished.
I had bought some Angel Hair Coleslaw veggies (you know the packaged prepared stuff?)
I wanted a certain kind of coleslaw sauce but couldn't find the brand I used in South Carolina (my favorite) so grabbed one and hoped it was good. WOW...Litehouse brand Coleslaw Dressing & Dip. Super stuff. It comes from Sandpoint, Idaho...where my dad grew up. (not why I bought it but....) That stuff is delicious. I mixed it up with the cabbage and put it aside in the fridge to blend the flavor of the mix with the cabbage. Soooooo good!

Green beans were canned but I like to buy that already cooked bacon, put it in the microwave for 2 minutes and you have a couple very crispy thin slices of bacon. Crumble it over the canned green beans, add some salt and pepper and bring to boil, then simmer until the rest of the meal is finished. (My version of Southern Green Beans that hopefully are a little more healthy than the original version that I dearly love but shouldn't eat.

Then I cooked the potatoes and using the juice from the roast beef (saved in the freezer days earlier) and a package of Brown Gravy Mix as well as some corn starch, I made a delicious gravy for those potatoes. Turned out sooooo good.

Dessert was 1/2 cantelope that wasn't all that ripe (that had me worried so I cut it into small chunks and hoped the rest of the fruit would sweeten it some). 1 small watermelon that WAS ripe. 1 can Dole Pineapple in its own juice and a jar of Dole Tropical Mixed Fruit (I highly recommend this fruit). I mixed all the fruit in a bowl with a little of the tropical fruit juice (not a lot) added some green and red seedless grapes and sprinkled some chopped date pieces over the top. Then I sprinkled 4 packages of Splenda over the whole thing, tossed it all together and put it in a plastic container that seals tight. When I was ready to serve that fruit, I turned it upside down so the juice would moisten the whole bowl full of fruit. Delicious!

What a great meal. I'm writing this, not because I think everyone should try my meal (but feel free)....but because I wanted to remember how I made the whole thing because I'm definitely going to be making this combination again and I don't want to forget how I made it.

If you try it, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hat finished

Yesterday I put my helmet hat in the washer with very hot water and felted it slightly to make it fit a little more snug. I knew it wasn't going to felt evenly because I had used 3 different types of wool and I was right. The top (cream color) didn't felt as fast as the other 2 wools, the red felted the most unfortunately because its very lightly spun wool. The green did as predicted, its Brown Sheep wool and a great felter. So---in the end, I didn't make it through even 1 wash cycle before I had to get it out and stretch the red to fit my head. What to do....the cream was still too loose and big. Suddenly I had a brainstorm. I got out my Clover needle felting tool, put the hat on the hat dryer I have (which is a styrofoam ball) and felted it with the tool. Then I put the hat on my head and stretched the still-damp red wool. Now the hat fits like a dream. Its great. If you look at the first pictures (previous post) and these pictures, I hope you can see how smooth the top now is. Yaaaay for the Clover tool, it didn't take long at all to felt that cream down with it.

I also did a crab stitch crochet all the way around the outer edge of the hat with the green yarn and that helped shape the back edge where I actually stretched it some wearing it wet--and wanted it to fit a bit snugger there. And of course I braided 2 ties on the front. I really love this hat, too bad its going up to the 30's today and won't be cold enough to test the hat in windy 20 degree weather (and I'm complaining?)

Next? I'm going to go back and tackle the lined slippers on the LK 150.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Yes, I'm knitting

I have had a horrible case of bronchitis since Christmas and can't machine knit or do much else because the idea is to rest, drink water........etc...... So I decided to HK. My daughter in law made a cute helmet hat a couple weeks ago and I liked it so much I wanted one. I dug into my stash and found some green Brown Sheep wool, some red wool spun in a Third World Country and some cream colored hand spun yarn my daughter sent me from Tacoma. Perfect! The pattern is a freebie from Knitting On The Net, Ear Flap Hat by Leef Bloomensteil. I don't have ties on it yet and I think the ear flaps are a bit too long so will put it in the washer tomorrow to felt it just a little. Here's pictures of the hat so far......