Friday, March 30, 2012

Birthday Cake

One of Max's favorite things in the whole world is Birthday Cake. He has told me "Happy Birthday" out of the blue on occasion, and then asked for birthday cake. He's a funny guy.

If you want a really great birthday cake, might I suggest:
Make a Guinness chocolate cake
Make some buttercream icing
Make some cherry topping

Frost the cake with the icing and add some cherries upon serving. It is a tasty treat.

Friday, March 16, 2012


I should be posting garden stuff, but the yard is so yuck I don't want to be out there much. Also, we seem to have another rush of ants, so that's a bit off putting. Still, the tomato plants seem to be taking off, and we're going to have a decent number of strawberries if I can remember to get some netting up to keep the birds away. I think the mild winter really helped them get established since they were planted in the fall, the strawberries that is, not the tomatoes, those are new.

I'm all about the herb gardening right now. I got several new plants to toss outside, and I think they're all doing well except the cilantro. Kind of shame that I managed to keep cilantro going all winter, but now that spring is here they are dying out. I've got few mint plants out front in the bed along side the house, bordered by concrete so that it doesn't take over the neighborhood. Looks like it's already starting to branch out and make itself at home, so that's happy. I've got another thyme plant, so that I don't fear so much when I harvest from the other plants, they've always been so tiny. I picked up a third chive plant, and some dill. Of course I've been chopping off chunks of parsley, rosemary, and oregano and chucking them over the fence because the plants are completely out of control.

Last time my mother in law was here, she wanted to grab some of the rosemary and try and grow it at her house, but it ended up left on the porch out back. I thought instead of chucking it over the fence I'd see if I could do anything with it. I've had 3 pieces of rosemary going for three weeks, but only one has started to root. I'm going to let it go another week before trying to plant it. The other two I've trimmed shorter and basically am starting over with them.

All the while I bought some basil at the supermarket for curry, but then managed to not make it until the basil was starting to turn. Since I already had the rosemary up there, I salvaged a few pieces of the basil and popped them in water on the windowsill too. After 2 weeks I have some nice roots, and I'm going to see if they will start to grow in pots. The basil has done so well that I'm keen to try some oregano too.

If these plants grow well in their pots then I may end up with some new rosemary and oregano plants to share with friends and family. That would be pretty cool, I think.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

In Betweeners - 8 Bit iPhone Case

I needed something to keep my fingers busy while I wait for the next pattern in Sock Madness to come out. I have several things that I could do, but nothing that I wanted to do. Suddenly on Sunday I remembered that I had the black iPhone case hanging around waiting for a design. I dragged Jeff and Max into the stinkiest Michaels I've ever been in so that I could grab embroidery floss. A horrible fake cinnamon scent seemed to be haunting the building.

I worked on it a little bit on Sunday. Then on Monday I got right on it just after a cup of coffee. I'd managed to knit most of the goomba before Jeff left for work. I didn't get a lot of time for progress during the day, as I'm a little leery of sewing with Max climbing in and out of my lap.  When Jeff got home I was plugging away when I realized that I'd misplaced the pipe and the piranha plant wasn't going to fit. I had to pick out all of those stitches. That was a bit disheartening, and I put it aside until after Max went to bed.

Then I couldn't get sleepy. Then Max kept waking up screaming, only sleeping for 45 minutes to an hour, and then I was so close to done that I just stayed up to finish it. I didn't go to sleep until 5 in the morning, and I'm not at all sure how I am awake right now. I'm a bit of a butter finger, but other than that I'm hanging in there.

I'm extremely happy with the outcome. It's already been pressed into service, and no, you can't have it.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


I'm officially IN the Sock Madness competition this year. Our first pattern of the year was for Dicey, by Colleen Miller. (Note the pattern won't be available for the general public until the competition is over.) In general the sock was a toe up pattern with a heel flap and cables. That accurately describes what happened, but completely misses out on the fun. The trick to Dicey is that you roll dice to determine where your cables go. It's completely stupid how this made the sock so much more fun to knit than just following a prescribed list of where to cable.

My socks are warm and cushy, made from Knit Picks Stroll Tonal in the Thunderhead color. I knit them on US 1 1/2 (2.5 mm) needles and got a gauge of 8.75 sts and 12 rows per inch.

We have to knit to a certain width and length to keep things fair in the competition, so these are a little big on me. The cables draw things in enough that they aren't uncomfortably large, just not quite a snug fit. I am a little hopeful that after a trip through the washing machine they might be a little closer to my size. Regardless I will be keeping them and wearing them as much as possible. They are super cozy house socks if nothing else, and are serving me well this weekend during a cold snap.

I had two weeks to complete a pair, and was done in 7 and a half days. I didn't really buckle down and focus on finishing as fast as possible. In future rounds I will have to beat a certain number of people to progress, but this time I just had to beat the calendar. I took my time to keep from injuring myself. I know my wrist will hurt before I am done, but there is no reason to start off that way.

We had around 300 people sign up to compete this year and at the halfway mark there are only 66 who have completed their pair of socks. I'm curious how many more will come in over the next week. This weekend has seen a lot of completed 1st socks, and the 2nd does tend to go faster. I would guess that there should be near 200 people who finish, but only time will tell.

Meanwhile it is time to sit back and relax. I'm going to watch some Game of Thrones, and have a glass of wine.