More catching up and a Panera review

Some more catching up in the New Year. Hopefully, I will get back to blogging more regularly, and these entries will be a little more coherent, rather than inspired by my pictures and what I can remember.

I actually finished a project this weekend, a hat for my niece. Will wait until she receives it to post pictures. I was developing a pattern from a picture, and it is not quite exact, but hopefully she (and her mom) will like it. If I make another one, I will have a better idea of how to do it.

Here are some cinnamon rolls I made this fall – it is strange for me to make cinnamon rolls because I grew up eating caramel rolls and calling them cinnamon rolls. But the DH prefers cinnamon rolls, so I usually make them. Using the Speedy Roll dough recipe.

Cinnamon rolls 20131020_095209

I also ate at Panera bread this fall, specifically to try their seasonal menu items. Of course, then I neglected to get this posted while they were still available. But maybe they will bring these back. The Rigatoni San Marzano pasta  – this was OK. The tomatoes in the sauce were nice, the peas were pretty pointless. The sausage in the sauce was good. Panera does a good job of cooking the pasta al dente, at least at the Panera shops I have been to. The turkey harvest wheatberry salad was also tasty, the wheat berries were a little soggy but I liked the vinaigrette.

20131026_145659

Rigatoni San Marzano pasta – Panera Bread

Wheat berry salad, Panera

Wheat berry salad, Panera

Quick dinner idea: roll up ham and cheese in crescent rolls and back. The DH will eat just about anything rolled up in a crescent roll. (Well, so will I.) Easy dinner for work nights, with a green salad or vegetable.Ham and Cheese Crescent Roll-Ups

Ham and Cheese Crescent Roll-Ups

Tried a new place in Westminster, Goody’s Eatery, for breakfast. Two thumbs up! Nice decor, friendly staff, good food.   I had the Huevos Garcia Hashbrowns, green peppers and onions, PKWY green chile, melted cheddar jack, two eggs over easy.

Goody's Eatery - Huevos Farcia

Goody’s Eatery – Huevos Farcia

Had a day off from work so ate at Taigun for lunch – on of my favorite places but not open for lunch on Saturdays. This was one of their lunch combinations, it was good. Not as good as on-the-coast sushi, but good. I really should stick to rolls in the middle of the country. /

Sushi Lunch, Taigun, Broomfield, Colo.

Sushi Lunch, Taigun, Broomfield, Colo.

And this is the duck ramen at Uncle - finally got to go there with my friend E. We had the brussels sprouts for an appetizer, which were amazing. If I could figure out how to make those we would be having brussels sprouts once a week. Well, I would be having them, at least…..

Duck Ramen, Uncle, Denver

Duck Ramen, Uncle, Denver

Tomorrow: Current projects!

Sewing for the Folsom Community Bazaar – 2013

Well, my oldest niece thinks that one of my New Year’s resolutions should be to blog more often, so here we go.

Back in October, I made my annual trek to Mom and Dad’s ranch near Hermosa, SD, for the annual Community Club Bazaar. Well, unfortunately, the Bazaar was derailed by the Atlas blizzard. Instead of a fun community get-together, we had rain, freezing rain, high winds, and then a true blizzard. Many, many neighbors lost cattle in this storm. At the ranch, we were without power for five days and phone for four days. But all that gets an entry of its own, later.

Here are the things that I made for the Bazaar! Some of them ended up being sold at the (postponed and modified) Bazaar, while some of them we donated to the Soup and Pie supper at my Mom’s church. I did forget to take a picture of the afghan – this was a crocheted afghan that someone else started, and then passed on to a knitting friend of mine who wasn’t really interested in finishing it, so she passed it on to me, and I finished it and donated it to the Bazaar, where it surprised us all by selling for $95! I didn’t really care for the yarn or the color, so that was a great surprise for me – I guess if we all had the same taste, the world would be a very boring place. I found a picture showing the afghan on my phone!

Lustrous yarn afghan

Lustrous yarn afghan

Counting by Fives Quilt for Folsom Community Bazaar

Counting by Fives Quilt for Folsom Community Bazaar

This quilt started out as something else entirely. I originally intended it to be similar to this “Field of Flowers” quilt – but then I decided that there was no way I was going to get it done in time for the Bazaar.  So I hopped on Pinterest and found “Counting by Fives” – which seemed more possible.

Counting by Fives quilt
Then I had a color conundrum. I started this quilt before taking my color class. Now I realized I had some very high contrast strips in there, while most of the other strips were about the same value. So I posted on Facebook and got feedback from my friends, most of whom voted that I go with the more blended values. So that required some ripping out. I think it required some fabric purchases as well (I always MEAN to make scrappy quilts, but really, it takes A LOT of fabric to make a quilt.)

Too much contrast in some strips

Too much contrast in some strips

Less contrast, looks better, I think

Less contrast, looks better, I think

The only fabric I could find that worked with all the other fabrics as a background was lavender. This was going to be a decidedly girly, Easter-y quilt.

After getting the top sewn, I still had to quilt it. I do have a New Joy quilting frame, and a Juki TL98E machine, so, in theory, this should go quickly? Well, not if you have to rip out a full five rows because your tension on the back isn’t so good. Now I have “new needle” on the check list for each time I start quilting a quilt. I did make a great discovery, I love Aurofil thread, and will be using that to quilt my quilts unless I find something more miraculous. It worked really well. The only problem is that the quilt store that carries it in the Denver area is WAAAAAY down south.

And of course there were Barbie doll dresses.  One of these got donated to the Soup and Pie supper rather than the Bazaar, since we weren’t sure the Bazaar would be re-scheduled.

IMG_4822 IMG_4819

Western-themed receiving blankets and burp cloths. Again, I think one of these went to the Soup and Pie supper.

IMG_4835

Horse pillowcases and crocheted potholders. The pillowcases went to the Soup and Pie supper, I already have fabric to make new ones for the Bazaar next year. My second-oldest niece also got a set of these for her birthday.

That’s all for now, more catching up on sewing/crafting in a few days!

Knitting Projects and a Surprise Visit

What have I been crafting lately? Well, despite telling myself I wasn’t going to participate in Camp Loopy this year, I am doing it again. The first month’s challenge was to knit something with yarn you hadn’t used before, that was easy enough, but it also had to use at least 375 yards of yarn. I was also on a quest to knit something from one of my MANY knitting books, so I paged through a bunch of them, looking for patterns. I settled on the Lifted Stitch Scarf from Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders, but a few rows into it, I could tell the yarn was not going to play well with this pattern, and I changed to the Ericka Scarf from the same book. The yarn is Desert Vista Dyeworks – Viso Self-Striping in the colorway Spumoni. Yes, it did make me hungry for Spumoni each time I worked on it.

I got it done before the June 30 deadline, because we were going to be gone to SD, and I wanted to finish and take pictures and get it uploaded to the Ravelry website. Here it is!

20130625_064604

Ericka Scarf Desert Vista Dyeworks – Viso Self-Striping Spumoni

Ericka Scarf Desert Vista Dyeworks – Viso Self-Striping Spumoni

And a little cat wants to help with the staging of this photograph:

20130625_064342

The challenge for the 2nd month was to knit a pattern that has been popular with other knitters, that you haven’t knit before. The project needed to have at least 1000 projects listed (or 1000 queued up) on Ravelry, and it needed to use at least 500 yards, single stranded. I chose the Stripe Study Shawl and am knitting it with Kauni – Wool 8/2 Effekgarn  (orange/yellow/red – slow color change) and Cascade – Heritage Sock in Black.

Stripe Study Shawl

Stripe Study Shawl

It has 12 asymmetric stripes, and I am on stripe number 8, but the stripes get bigger and bigger as they go, so I am only maybe half done. I HOPE I am half done. I really need some good thrilling movie to watch on TV to knit on this, since it is all garter stitch and it is getting kind of monotonous now. Or a Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives Marathon.

Didn’t get too much knitting done this weekend, but it was for a great reason. Ken’s brother and his wife and little baby *welll OK, not so little* Owen were trying to fly home from South Dakota to San Francisco on Saturday. Because of the crash of the Asiana flight at the San Francisco airport, they were advised to go ahead and fly the first leg of their flight to Denver, but they weren’t going to be able to get any further than that, so they were stuck at the Mostek B & B for at least Saturday night. Ken got on the road to the airport and I went to the grocery story and got started cooking (overfeeding your guests as much as possible is part of my heritage).

Only one picture of Owen on my camera, this is him trying on my crab hat! Will have to get some of him trying on the “mistake” crocheted hat that I am saving for one of my niece’s dress up trunks, it is pretty hilarious.

DSCN1352

We were lucky the house was quite clean since I had my knitting tea party (more on that tomorrow) and then I hadn’t been home much to mess it up, so we weren’t freaking out and vacuuming/mopping when we figured out they were going to be here overnight. Always great to see family, no matter how unexpected! Ken had never met Owen, so it was a real treat for him.

Fried chicken, Fried chicken

Fried chicken, Wishbone restaurant, Westminster, Colorado

Fried chicken, Wishbone restaurant, Westminster, Colorado

The Wishbone is quickly becoming our favorite restaurant. I believe this picture is from the meal where I suffered a small “incident” wherein a bone from the piece of chicken I was trying to eat came unattached and then flew through the air like the bone at the beginning of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Fortunately it landed in our booth and didn’t hit some other innocent diner. I thought Ken was going to have a heart attack, he laughed so hard.

Wishbone’s fried chicken is my favorite fried chicken that I have had in the Denver area. It comes with mashed potatoes (from a mix but good) and neon yellow chicken gravy. You get a cup of extra gravy, to use as you wish, whether you want to dip your Texas Toast in it or just drink it. I have learned that the best thing for me to order is the 3-leg dinner. If I get carried away and order soup as an appetizer, I get too full. Ken really likes the chicken tenders. Last Friday was National Fried Chicken day, so of course we had to eat there, with my friend Cathy who is also a  Wishbone fan.

Also last week, Leo the cat got his summer haircut:

IMG_5083

He actually seems to enjoy being cooler, and of course he gets all kinds of attention from us. And attention is what he loves best.

I don’t just eat fried chicken at the Wishbone. I am willing to try others.

Fried Chicken at the Southside Restaurant, Limon, Colorado

Fried Chicken at the Southside Restaurant, Limon, Colorado

I was on a work trip and we ate at the Southside Restaurant at Limon. I think everyone else had the chicken fried steak, but I was very happy with the fried (broasted?) chicken. Real mashed potatoes. Nice warm roll. We did not have the crabby waitress experience that several people mentioned in various online reviews.

On the same trip, we ate at Shorty’s in Granada, Colorado. This is a hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant, family-run, not the cleanest, but there are not a lot of dining choices in Granada, Colorado. I had to have the nacho cheese enchilada along with a regular enchilada. They were both tasty. No free chips/salsa here, but you do get a free serving of ice cream at the end of the meal. And free entertainment if the family’s 4-year-old daughter is there.

 

20130522_130813

 

On work trips, we usually eat at Chez Du Vall’s in Granada, but it was closed on this particular day.  Chez Du Vall’s is quite a good restaurant, we have had many meals there with meetings and with trade teams and have always had good food.

That evening, we had a dinner meeting at The Route steakhouse in Burlington, Colorado. They always have good food, too, although I recommend sticking to what they are best at: steaks.

The next morning, our meeting was at Dos Hijos Mexican restaurant in Keenesburg, Colorado. They opened early for us to have our meeting. They have a breakfast menu but usually don’t open until 10:00 a.m. Well, when I see something like “Breakfast Stuffed Sopapilla” on the menu, I have to have it.

20130523_080122

It was pretty good. Their spicy green chile is actually spicy, which I am in favor of. The sopapilla is stuffed with your choice of meat, plus eggs and potatoes. It certainly filled me up.

We didn’t have a lunch meeting, so we ate at the Home Plate Restaurant in Fort Morgan, which I would also recommend. I just had soup for lunch, because I was saving room for the dessert fruit-stuffed sopapillas. It was a sopapilla kind of day.

We shared peach and cherry around the table. They were Amazing.

20130523_133832

Fruit Stuffed Sopapilla, Home Plate, Fort Morgan, Colorado
Fruit Stuffed Sopapilla, Home Plate, Fort Morgan, Colorado

Fruit Stuffed Sopapilla, Home Plate, Fort Morgan, Colorado

Do not pass up the vanilla ice cream with them.

All in all, another tasty trip around Colorado.

 

 

 

San Francisco Trip Report January 2013, Part III

For lunch, we went to the Crab House at Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf. Oh, this place was amazing. I have been craving crab ever since we ate there.

20130118_133102

I had the clams cioppiono, delicious.

My friend S. had something for herself, I no longer remember, but I do know she liked it. AND we shared a 1/2 order of the Killer Crab in their roasted garlic sauce. Amazing.

??????????

DSCN1575

Then we went and looked at the sea lions at the Wharf. And then we went shopping at the Boudin Bakery gift shop . . . which is when fate brought us together . . .

Me and the . . .

Crab hat

Crab hat!

Of course, I purchased it immediately, and it accompanied us wherever we went.

Ghiradelli chocolate (some chocolate purchases were also made, of course.)

Crab hat

On the trolley. The same TERRIBLE busker was there singing again. I warned S. but this is something you have to hear to believe.

DSCN1584

At Lombardi Street.

DSCN1587

At Chinatown.

DSCN1588

We were in Chinatown because we had a dinner recommendation from another friend to eat at the House of Nanking. It is a small, kind of hole-in-the-wall place, but has a lot of character and really good food.

We had the fried calamari:

Calamari House of Nanking

This calamari was different than any I ever had before, it was not heavily breaded and it was in pretty big pieces. Good, though!

And then the steamed dumplings:

DSCN1591

They were also delicious, but we have never had dumplings as good as the ones at the conveyer-belt sushi place in Spokane….

And then I had the Garlic Ginger Poached Scallops, and S. had something else too, or maybe we were just happy with all of this….apparently I didn’t do as good a job this trip getting pictures of everyone else’s food! Lots of nice greens with these, you can hardly see the scallops.

DSCN1592

At the end of a long day, we were very glad to go back to the hotel and crash. Here is all the “loot.”

??????????

I like to get edible souvenirs, if you hadn’t noticed. All of those jelly beans, and the ghiradelli chocolate, were wonderful. S. and I did have to traipse all over Chinatown to find that crab magnet again, I greatly appreciate her patience there. I should have purchased it the first time I saw it. The dragon magnet also is springy and bouncy. The cinnamon bread and jalapeno cheddar roll from the Boudin bakery were also great. And I do believe I bought a peanut butter cookie there also, but it was already gone. This trip may have led to a small obsession with peanut butter cookies for a while. And of course the CRAB HAT, best souvenir ever!

S. left the next morning, and I hung around so that my brother-in-law could come get me and I could get to see my newest nephew!

baby nephew

My brother-in-law N. took this picture, and it pretty much sums up how I feel about the nieces and nephews. Awwwwwww.

2013 San Francisco Trip Report Part 2

A few more pictures from the Alcatraz garden tour. Again, very interesting, if you have any interest in plants, I would recommend it. Also just a good way to get more inside stories of life on “The Rock.”

More fuschia, so jealous.

Fuschia, Alcatraz Garden Tour

Fuschia, Alcatraz Garden Tour

This is an artichoke plant

Alcatraz Gardens Tour Artichoke

Alcatraz Gardens Tour Artichoke

.It is a large, very attractive (I think) plant – so I put it on my mental list and I have purchased one for my yard this year. It will probably not go in the garden per se, I don’t think that spot is sunny enough. I think I will try it in the flower bed on the south side of the house. We will see how it works. As of today, it is still alive, at least.

Poppies! Poppies! Oh, I do love poppies.

Oriental poppy Alcatraz Island Garden tour

Oriental poppy Alcatraz Island Garden tour

The light was shining through this one so beautifully.

Poppy Alcatraz Garden Tour

If I could capture that in a quilt of a painting, I would be happy. I have had poppies in some of my flower beds but they haven’t survived. I need to get some transplanted from my Grandmother’s poppy bed up at the ranch in SD – those are some healthy, spreading poppies. They are the traditional orange-red ones. Very hardy. But I also like the more delicate oriental ones, and I purchased some the other day, to try in a few different places around the yard. We will see if I find a place where they will thrive.

More amazing ground cover and succulents. Alcatraz was very green for being a rocky island, but most of this consisted of plants that had been brought in over the years.

Garden Tour Alcatraz

Garden Tour Alcatraz

The inside of the jail was, well, a jail. It was interesting, but I preferred the gardens! I managed to resist buying a tin cup and/or an Alcatraz Women’s Club cookbook….

And this seagull was there to tell us good bye!

Seagull, Alcatraz

Next up, more shopping and eating.

San Francisco Trip Report 2013 – Part One

Oy! This weekend – some sewing, lunch in Boulder with a dear friend that I hadn’t seen in a couple of years, Front Range Gardens nursery (peonies on sale!) an attempt at the perfect recipe for Sesame Chicken (FAIL), weeding in the garden and flower beds and planting the two new peonies, then on Sunday: Hoarding estate sale (scary!), Paulino Gardens nursery (Crowded!) and grocery store – then nap! Turkey breast in the oven for dinner, and then planting of some of the flowers I purchased. So, this isn’t a very long entry because I didn’t have much time to write. I am tired just reading about it again!

I had the opportunity to return to San Francisco this January for a work trip. I am lucky I get to travel with my current board president, who also enjoys taking an extra day around some of our work trips to do some sight-seeing. So we planned on staying an additional night and going to see Alcatraz, the Embarcadero, trolley cars, Chinatown, and whatever else we could fit into one day! And then I stayed a little longer on the last day to see my newest nephew, O.

We stayed at the Hampton Inn Airport – it was fine, just not at all close to downtown. I think it was a $60 cab fare to downtown, but since we were all there for a meeting, it made sense and was cheaper to have the meeting near the airport. But it looked to me from my internet research that the hotel was in a food desert, and that turned out to be pretty accurate. So I made sure we were well fed after we landed – the Yankee Pier Seafood restaurant at the San Francisco Airport. Both S. and I had the clam chowder, and then I had the “Triple Play,” which is 3 oysters, 3 prawns & dungeness crab cocktail, which was excellent.

Triple Play Yankee Pier

Triple Play Yankee Pier

S. had the shrimp tacos, which she said were good but were quite spicy.

Shrimp Tacos, Yankee Pier Seafood Restaurant

Shrimp Tacos, Yankee Pier Seafood Restaurant

Here is my room at the Hampton. It was nice and quiet, everything I needed in a hotel room, staff was very pleasant.

Hampton Inn Airport, San Francisco

Hampton Inn Airport, San Francisco

Sorry for the bad lighting, I am still figuring out how to best shoot hotel rooms….

Hampton Inn Airport, San Francisco

Hampton Inn Airport, San Francisco

Hampton Inn Airport, San Francisco

Hampton Inn Airport, San Francisco

The afternoon we arrived, I taught an optional short class on Facebook and Twitter to participants. Mostly on “What not to do on Twitter.” Everyone enjoys examples of Twitter mistakes.

That night, several of us walked to dinner (1/2 a mile or so) over a highway, but there was a walkway, to Ristorante Buon Gusto.  I didn’t have the cioppiono (shocking, I know) but had the pasta that I believe must have been their special that night, since I didn’t see it on their menu – it had spinach, artichokes, pancetta, and peas. I thought it was quite good. Also had the minestrone soup.

Ristorante Buon Guston, South San Francisco

Ristorante Buon Gusto, South San Francisco

We had box lunches from the famous Boudin Bakery in San Francisco for our lunch the next day, and the sandwiches were good, but the peanut butter cookie was excellent. The peanut butter cookie will appear again later in this trip report.

That night, some of the more adventurous of the group (instigated by myself and my Yelp investigations) walked to Ben Tre – Vietnamese Homestyle Cuisine. I knew I wanted the Bun Bo Hue. I kind of discouraged everyone who had not have Vietnamese food before from trying that as their first foray, so almost everyone else had rare steak Pho. We also had an appetizer platter. The Bun Bo Hue was great, but it did have congealed blood squares in it (some of you are flipping out right now) so I was glad that we didn’t order that for the whole table. Not every Vietnamese place in Denver makes it so authentic. No pictures, sorry, but if you are in that area, I give them two thumbs up.

S. and I got up bright and shiny the next morning and caught a taxi to the Embarcadero. We got there so early we even had to wait a little while in the chilly morning to buy our Alcatraz tickets. We were glad we weren’t wearing shorts like many of the people in the line. Brrrrrrr.

Then we walked further down the pier and did some window shopping and looking around, managing to hang around the mini-donut place until they opened! I am not going to pass up a chance at mini-donuts.

Mini donuts Pier 39 San Francisco

Mini donuts Pier 39 San Francisco

Then we took the short cruise out to Alcatraz. S. and I had decided that since the Gardens of Alcatraz tour was available the day we were there, we would take advantage of that, and we were glad we did. Not only did we get to see the lovely plantings and hear about how they had been restored by volunteers, but I think we got to hear more of the inside story of the island.

View from Alcatraz:

Ocean view from Alcatraz

Ocean view from Alcatraz

And some lovely fuschia. I have done in more fuschia than I care to tell you about. Maybe I will try it again this year. It is very fussy about its location, and I am not sure I have anywhere that will make it happy.

Fuschia Gardens of Alcatraz Tour

Fuschia Gardens of Alcatraz Tour

That is all for today! More tomorrow!

 

And a few more projects

It occurred to me to keep a running list on a sidebar of current projects but the very thought of that also kind of makes my head hurt. Because my favorite part of projects is starting a new one. We will see, maybe it would be a wake-up call for me and help me focus. HA HA HA HA! I think we all know better than that.

My niece prompted me to put up pictures of the horse pillowcases I made for her younger sister. I actually made four pillowcases, two for T. for her birthday, and then I thought as long as I was making two, might as well make four, so I made two for the Folsom Bazaar (October) as well. I used the method here at The Twiddletails Blog, it was the first time for me to use French seams, so I learned something as well. These were fun! If any more nieces and nephews want fun pillowcases, I am ready to go!

DSCN1334

I am ALWAYS working on at least one pair of these potholders (method at Mielke’s Fiber Arts, LLC). Grandma Clarice used to make these, and they are great, thick potholders. I have used cotton yarn, acrylic, double thickness of acrylic, they all work, just create different textures and thicknesses. These are both cotton. I vary the size of the initial chain depending on the thickness of the yarn. I think I can say that almost everyone who has received a pair of these thinks they are great. They are very durable. Unless you melt them on a burner (don’t ask).

DSCN1330

These are some I made for a Miss South Dakota fundraiser, in the school colors of South Dakota State University and University of Nebraska (OR University of South Dakota.)

20121113_113902

Here is the second afghan in the works for baby niece L. This pattern is a free pattern from Bizzy Crochet: Faeries Sampler. It is beautiful, but lots of errata, and you should read her blog entry and the comments on it too to pick up some further errata. I still have several rows to go.

DSCN1336

I swore I wasn’t going to do Camp Loopy again but my resistance is weak. I have noticed that I like to purchase knitting books, but I don’t actually knit patterns from them very often. So I have made myself a mental promise not to buy another book until I knit a pattern out of one of my existing books. So I am going to use Camp Loopy for that purpose. I am going to use this to knit the Lifted Stitch Scarf by Carol Scott from the Sock Yarn One-Skein Wonders book, using this yarn, Desert Vista Dyeworks – Viso Self-Striping in the colorway Spumoni (right). Of course, this is going to have the result of making me want to eat Spumoni. I spend a lot of time in a car in June, going to various meetings, (not driving!), so I think this will be a good car project. I hope. And I will be on the Eastern Plains of Colorado, where Spumoni sources are few and far between, so perhaps that will be safe.

DSCN1340

With the yarn on the left, Lorna’s Laces – Shepherd Worsted, colorway River, I am going to make the Twisted Spiral Neckscarf by Judy Warde, from the book One-Skein Wonders, Yarn Shop Favorites.  (Purchased both of these from Loopy Ewe, which is about 2 miles from my workplace, which is a dangerous thing.) So that will be another pattern from a book! That means I can buy two new books, correct? But wait, there’s more. I also bought this teal Kid Seta Noir (at Knit Knack), to make the Lace Spiral Scarf by Gail Owens, from Designer One-Skein Wonders.

teal Kid Seta Noir

This is NOT going to be a good car project, as there are yarn-overs, and then knitting into the yarn-overs with this tiny, tiny yarn, and somewhat larger needles to make it lacy, so I am anticipating this will be a challenge.

So I have three projects from three different books! That should mean I get to buy three more books, yes? Well, maybe I should stipulate that I should knit three patterns from books to buy a new book. Or two? Or five? It is hard when you are grown-up and have to make up your own rules. I have problems with how many popsicles I am allowed to have each day as well.

And here is a picture of a little cat, who looks so innocent, but went on, later in the night, to knock over the very nice flower arrangement that Ken got me, spilling water all over the table, narrowly missing the netbook computer. Grrrrrrrrrrr.

DSCN1331

After a long hiatus….

Ok! I am back! Sorry it has been so long, life has been crazy. But I must remember that it is good therapy to write on the blog! What have I been up to, you may ask. Well, since the Las Vegas trip, I have been in San Francisco, Washington, DC, and Orlando for work as well as some in-state trips, and in South Dakota to be a God-parent to my newest nephew! There were some great restaurants on some of those trips, and I will share those with you over the next few days.

I have also been busy sewing/crocheting/knitting/crafting when I can. With two new nephews and one new niece in the last 5 months, I have been busy. I am glad to say that they each have a crocheted afghan, although I am working on another one for baby L., the youngest, in colors more suitable to her nursery. Then I will get started on the pieced quilts for each of them.

I have no pictures of Nephew O’s blanket from December. Asking his mother to send me some. Sometimes when I get in a tizzy to mail things, I forget to document properly. He also got some “Magic Slippers” baby booties, but again, no picture.

Nephew B received the “November” baby afghan from from the Leisure Arts booklet “A Year of Baby Afghans.” I did this one as a Camp Loopy project last summer, so you may recognize it. I love this afghan, it goes together very quickly, no seaming, and looks lovely.

Leisure arts november baby afghan

He ALSO got Magic Slippers booties, with a slight modification and addition of the ribbing/sock top which apparently makes them stay on better. “Camo” colored yarn, which was a fortuitous donation from my friend Judy, when I was looking for sock yarn for this very purpose.

DSCN1676

Baby L., born March 1, received the Heirloom Baby Blanket (Coats and Clark, free pattern) – this is the one that nearly drove me crazy. All kinds of errata, but none of it on the original pattern page. You have to dig around Ravelry to find it. Beautiful afghan, though. And she gets a one-of-a-kind because I am never doing THAT again. Plus, that one really isn’t in her nursery colors, so I am working on another one for her. That is the bonus she gets for being the only girl in the latest batch of babies!

Coats and clark baby heirloom afghan

She also got some booties (notice Auntie G. running out of yarn and winging it):

20130413_092035

And…other than wrapping up baby afghans and mailing them off, what else have I been doing? I FINALLY finished the #359 Nancy One Skein Shrugigan by Lisa Limber, which I believe I started in June 2010. This was a good airplane knit, but then I ran out of yarn, and had to search for yarn in the same dye lot (after tearing my studio apart, of course, being certain I had purchased enough) (apparently I hadn’t). I made it a bit longer than the pattern suggested, and with a different yarn, so that was probably the problem. I LOVE how it turned out, I have worn it several times already, and get compliments on it.

20130413_101143

And knitting and crocheting isn’t all there is to life, right?

So JoAnn Fabric had a small flannel sale. These are all destined to be made into Auntie G.’s famous receiving blankets. Some of this has already been made into receiving blankets. I was VERY excited to find the camouflage flannel, and then proceeded to buy a bolt of it at the next store (that was all that I could find within a reasonable radius….)  And I was just looking for fish flannel this morning, and I see I have some right there. BONUS!JoAnn Fabric Flannel

I decided to do some further color work, and make some mug rugs, foundation strip-piecing. I like how the red/orange one turned out (not quilted yet, though.) I call this one Mango Salsa.

DSCN1327

I am also making a brown/white/green one which is supposed to be called “Chocolate Mint,” and already I don’t like it as much as this one. Still in progress, no picture yet.

Andddddd…. last but not least, I always have a pair of crochet potholders going. I was working on one when we went to see the Lady Jackrabbits play in the Division I Tournament in Boulder. The chicken purse approves.

Chicken purse

Let me tell you, you could smuggle things into places in the chicken purse, because the chicken purse flummoxes the security guys. They were pretty much stunned.

Las Vegas – Miss America 2013 – Day 3

As I write this Friday morning, it already seems so loonnng ago – Vegas does that to you.

Retired pretty early (well, comparatively, midnight, I suppose) because Thursday’s morning rehearsal started at 8:00 rather than 9 or 9:30, and Miss SD was first out of the starting gate in talent. So I was up before my alarm at 6:30 and went to the Miracle Mile Shops adjacent to Planet Hollywood, this time I went for the 3.99 breakfast special at La Salsa Cantina – 2 eggs, potatoes, bacon, and tortillas. This was also good! And the required Diet Coke (and water, trying to stay hydrated, Vegas is worse than Denver for being dry.)

20130110_072554

I got to talent rehearsal in plenty of time before it started. Miss SD did change her talent from Miss SD – from using “Defying Gravity” from Wicked as her song to “Hot Honey Rag” from Chicago. And, this type of stage does not allow her to do as much of what I would call “flying” tricks – but it is still a marvelously entertaining talent, especially if you can see her face, which the judges can but 90% of the audience really can’t. I can’t wait to see her do this one on the Miss SD stage, although I am hoping she does both of them.

This group had, I kid you not, out of 17 contestants, FIVE who were doing a lyrical or jazz dance and were wearing white. Wow. As my top talents, I had picked SD of course, VT who sang Habernero very nicely, and WY with an original piano composition. I really liked ND playing the piano and singing, but also knew that it was kind of non-typical Miss America talent, so was delighted when she won! Way to represent the Dakotas!

I think this was the strongest group over all (Alpha) in swimsuit – the first round of rehearsal I circled five as ones to watch: WA, CO, OK, FL and TN. And then the second time through I couldn’t really narrow it down, but I thought probably FL or TN. And was delighted that one of my first picks, WA, was the winner.

My favorite evening gowns were CA in a seafoam green velvet strapless with a beaded/jeweled band at the waist, and OK in a grey/silver satin.

It was starting to cool off outside, and I could sense that, so what I really wanted for lunch was a big bowl of soup, so I went to P.F. Chang, I love their chicken noodle soup, and it is reasonably priced. Plus you can spice it up with the various condiments they give you like red pepper sauce and hot mustard.

20130110_121714

And then I went up to the room to write the blog – these blogs on travel really take a long time, trying get in all the fun details, but I know I will enjoy reading it later and remembering, and I do enjoy sharing it with my friends who are not able to be here for the pageant!

Tried to nap, again, mostly unsuccessfully. So I enjoyed the soaking tub and read my book. Decided to just be simple and have a Pink’s hot dog for dinner. I go down there, and place my order, for a Planet Hollywood Dog: polish sausage, grilled onions, grilled mushroom, bacon (3 strips) & nacho cheese, and french fries. The lady takes my money, and says, #13 at the end of the counter. OK, I go down there. The lady at that end announces #13 right away, and I think, hmm, that was quick, but OK. I get back up to my room and I have a Polish Pastrami Swiss Cheese Dog: polish sausage, pastrami, swiss cheese & mustard and cheesy fries. Well, I wasn’t very happy, but I bet the person who got mushrooms and onions was even more annoyed. Maybe they noticed the confusion before they left the shop. I would have eaten it there, but they only had outdoor seating, and it was getting colder, so I wasn’t about to go back all the way down there. So no picture of that, because I was annoyed.

Worked more on the blog, editing pictures, and etc. I was having a craving for creme brulee – the ever-constant dessert on most Vegas buffets, but I have only been to one buffet this week, and it didn’t have creme brulee. Well, I thought, there is a little coffee place in the Miracle Mile shops, and I had seen that they had “Homemade” creme brulee. Hey, I am in Vegas, let’s go get a creme brulee. The first warning sign was when the lady didn’t know what I was talking about, I had to go show her in the case. I am pretty sure she was just going to hand it to me, “as is” – just the custard, but the other lady working grabbed it and took it to the back, to do the sugar caramelizing on the top. Then she overcharged me for it, as well as for the hot chocolate (which was really quite good) – I pointed that out and that required 2 different people to fix. The creme brulee came out, and it looked pretty good, but oy, not a good creme brulee. Lots of un-caramelized sugar on top, and the custard was not a good texture, or taste. So I was batting .5 on food for the day.

Disappointing creme brule:

20130110_174824

Time to go to the room and get ready for the evening. I was wearing my new red dress from Torrid. Called Ken and explained to him where to find my flats, which I want for Saturday night since my feet are killing me.

20130110_192539

I was meeting my friend Erin and her BF for drinks again before the pageant – the “PBR Rock Bar” has some $5 drink specials, so we thought we would try that, rather than the $12 or more drinks which are quite common here. Erin had texted me that she forgot the tickets and had to go back for them, so they would be a little late. Well, when they arrived, she was all aflutter – when she came out of the room with the tickets, TJ was on his knee in the hallway with an engagement ring!

Since she had apparently had an inkling that this was going to happen in Vegas, he decided to go with a surprise location instead of going to a fancy dinner or the top of the Eiffel Tower – and I have to say it worked perfectly – she was quite shocked! So that was very fun to be one of the first to share that news!

Enjoyed the show again – Miss SD had hurt her foot trying a more difficult move on the stage floor during her talent run-through in the morning, so substituted back to the previous move, which was also pretty spectacular. And you couldn’t tell that she had hurt herself at all. I also remembered the binoculars this time, which was helpful, it was so much fun to see her facial expressions during talent. I was sitting by a former Miss SD this time, who is one of the pageant fashionistas, so that was a fun commentary.

After the pageant, up to the ballroom for the visitation – again, the SD group is getting bigger each night! We took up a huge section of the wall for our group picture. What a hoot. And four former Miss SDs, plus our current Miss SD, so that is really pretty cool.
This is how Vegas/pageant messes with your circadian rhythms. You get all wound up seeing the pageant, and then your contestant at visitation, and then you need to do something to wind down, so you end up going out and staying up even later. So I went over to the Rock Bar again for another $5 frozen drink, and then hooked up with Erin and TJ and other pageant friends at another lounge in the hotel. This is Vegas – apparently you can carry your alcohol from one place to another quite freely.

We hung out for a while, and people watched, which is VASTLY entertaining in Vegas. I decided to make it not TOO late of a night and headed up for bed a little before 1:00, stopping at Earl of Sandwich (why didn’t we know this place was open 24 hours the FIRST night – strategy note, find out the places that are open late around the venue) to get a sandwich. I knew I had been up too late when I couldn’t find the buzzer they gave me but then discovered I had tucked it in my armpit. TIME FOR BED. But I enjoyed my sandwich first, they do good sandwiches, and then sacked out.