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!

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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:

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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.

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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.

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!

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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).

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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):

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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.

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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.

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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.

Quilting, Knitting, Crabs and Owls

Look at this marvelous octopus my friend K. crocheted for me! I love him! I put him on the TV stand, right in front of the cable box, so he had to get moved a little bit. I think he makes a lovely centerpiece.

When I saw my friend E. had a pink solar crab, I immediately had to have one. I am pretty sure this is the website I ordered from. It had to come all the way from China. I did order three, so I gave two away to my nieces as birthday gifts. Everyone needs a happy, solar waving crab. His arms wave and his eye stalks go up and down.

So when I saw the happy head-turning owl, I had to have him too. I found him at Zandbroz in Sioux Falls.

His head turns when it is light. But only sporadically in the room light. I am trying to decide which of these to affix to my dashboard. Both seems like it might be a little too much.

Besides my other projects, I am allowing myself to be randomly distracted by making pink and white quilt blocks. For what? I have no idea. But now I have purchased more pink fabric. Kind of defeats the purpose of being scrappy.

This is the new fabric, from The Quilt Store. Luscious, isn’t it?

The top for my one niece’s pieced baby quilt is done! Look at that fancy border! Look at all of those little pieces! Looks nifty, but NEVER AGAIN! She is getting a one-of-a-kind.

I made this quilt entirely from a pattern in a book, which is kind of unusual for me. Usually I wing it in one way or another, adding or subtracting.

This is my mom’s sock - all repaired. After I re-knit the heel incorrectly about 3 times. Apparently I need to knit more socks so I know what I am doing. It had a giant hole in the heel, so I ripped out the whole heel and leg (just a shorty, so no big deal) and re-knit. It would have been done in a jiffy if I hadn’t tried to knit a top-down heel on it instead of a toe-up heel. No wonder it wouldn’t work. Then I knit a couple of different toe-up heels, trying to figure out the correct one. OF COURSE it wasn’t one from the book that the pattern was from. That would be WAAAAAY to obvious.

You can’t even really tell in the picture where the old yarn starts and the new begins. You can tell in person, but it will be less noticeable after a few washes.

I am going to make some more denim potholders, for my Mom this time. She likes owls and mushrooms. It is quite a quest right now to find realistic looking owls and mushrooms, there are a lot of cutesy, cartoony ones, which is not what I wanted. I think this will work.

And that is a brief summary of SOME of the projects I am working on right now. Some of them are presents, so they are SECRET. Tune in later to see them. Maybe after Christmas.

Happy Thanksgiving, I will be back on Tuesday if not sooner!

More MEH recipes

I was on a tear trying out new recipes this weekend. The chicken enchiladas were Friday night (they were a keeper, the ONLY one of the weekend), then Saturday lunch was not a new recipe, it was stuffed shells I made two pans of in August and froze for later. Saturday night was uh, some kind of meat (it is just SO wrong that I can’t remember what we ate on Saturday night, must not have been spectacular) and a new recipe for potatoes I wanted to try.

This was good, but I am not sure it was good enough for the effort. That was a lot of work, several dirty dishes,  and they were not that amazing. Not as good as my go-to fattening potato recipe, that is for sure (which I will have to post later because I can’t find it right now…).

Saturday I went to Showers of Flowers, a large local yarn store, on a quest to find some yarn that I THOUGHT I bought enough of when I started the project, but apparently had not, after tearing my studio apart to find the proverbial missing skein. From my internet search, it appeared that this color was now discontinued. However, Showers of Flowers still had 3 skeins, so I bought two. And then I did a little happy dance around the store.  So now I have enough yarn to finish my shawl/shrugigan (which they call the Nancy shrugigan but I call the Christi shrug because my friend Christi made one first) (and it says one skein in the pattern but I used a different yarn because I LIKE TO MAKE MY LIFE DIFFICULT) but I am working on a million other Christmas  and niece/nephew projects.  Plus, I was so inspired by finding the yarn I needed that I bought more yarn, for a different project. Plus a few skeins that were on sale that I am sure I will have a use for.

I also went to the Trollheim Lodge Sons of Norway Christmas craft sale. I bought some new refrigerator towels. These are always good to have. And my old ones are getting very, very stained. I guess I need to do like my mom does and SOAK them in something good (not pure bleach, I guess) to see if it helps. But now I have two new, cheery ones. I have a hard time letting go of some of the old ones because my Grandma made some of them, so I am attached to them.

I THOUGHT I was done with the Octopus Juggling quilted wall hanging, but I did not do the hanger right. I guess there is a reason they make the hanging sleeves on quilts so wide – if you make it narrow, it makes the top of the quilt stick out oddly from the wall. So I am going to have to tear that off and do something different. This not helping with my goal of “finish one quilt a month.”

See it bulging?

There, see it NOW?

Sunday lunch was not something I am going to cook again, so we will just move on from that. Sunday dinner was Honey Butter Pork Tenderloin.   This made the house smell like I was making bread or cookies. The sauce wasn’t too strong on the pork loin, but it didn’t really do much for us either. It was just OK. I think I will stick with my old standard,  which I have only done on the grill. Maybe I will try it in the oven this winter. I think the secret to a good pork tenderloin is standing by with the meat thermometer and pulling that bad boy off the heat when it reaches 145°.

We also had Cheesy Corn, from a recipe I found in one of my Mom’s Reminisce magazines. I don’t know what I was expecting, but this was not as fabulous as I had hoped. It was corn. With cheese. I would rather use my cheese on something else exciting. Ken even turned down the leftovers, so he really didn’t care for it.

Here is the whole plate, including mashed potatoes that were kind of an experiment too, as I had made a while bunch a few weeks ago and froze them. They were OK, needed some extra sour cream to perk them up. No complaints from Ken at least.

Not a stellar job of plating, Iron Chef judges would deduct for presentation.

MaryAnne says she is deducting points because we should have just given HER the cheese instead of putting it on that corn.

I Return from Sabbatical

I have decided that every month of June shapes up like this one, I will pretty much declare myself to be on sabbatical and just post occasionally when I can. I was on travel so much, and pretty much frazzled when I WAS at home or in the office.

So: catching up on things, mostly my self-imposed or self-caused deadlines. I am done with the November bunny block, and have started on the December one. I had hoped to have that one done by tonight but other things got in the way. Plus I prefer that there be something interesting on TV to listen to while I embroider. Could have maybe finished it if we had stayed home to watch the golf tournament, but we went to the movies to see Men in Black Three instead, which was very good, way better than the 2nd one and almost as good as the 1st one.

Here is the November one. It is kind of disturbing that a herbivore is cooking up another herbivore for Thanksgiving dinner, but I guess these aren’t realistic blocks, after all the rabbit IS wearing an apron.

I also got my Color Affection Shawl done in time for the Camp Loopy (online summer knitting camp, yes I know I am nuts) deadline, and got it posted. It still needs blocking, and I have some loops that got pulled and need to be worked back in evenly, but it is done. I am not completely happy with the shape right now, but I think blocking will help that.

For my next project, I am going to crochet a baby blanket. I am going to use my “default” pattern that I use when I need a baby blanked quickly for a gift. That is not the case this time, but I do need a project that I can get done in a month and still stay sane. And we recently learned that we are going to have a new niece or nephew in late December or early January, so this will be something I can have done in advance. If I get it done in time I will enter it in the Boulder County Fair as well.

I also got in some work this weekend on the pieced quilt for the niece that just turned one. Would like to get that one done and quilted and entered in the fair, and then sent to her. I need to catch up on the baby quilts if there is going to be another baby!

My office decided to take Monday off instead of the actual 4th, so we have a three-day weekend. I am going to spend the day 1) Getting Leo the cat shaved for the summer, 2) getting the piano tuned, and 3) running errands and hopefully getting some sewing/embroidery/knitting done.

Will report on the garden and other projects later this week. Also, expect pictures of an angry but short-haired cat.

Progress Report

I have been meeting my self-imposed deadline of finishing one bunny block per week. The June one was a little out of sync, parts of the design had not transferred well, due to my poor ironing skills, and I needed to do some tracing in a window on a sunny day. I finally got that done and got this block done by the end of last Sunday. (Good thing there was some golf to watch/listen to.) The problem with this block is the rabbit-bride had to be wearing a white dress, which is not going to show up really well on the completed quilt. I don’t suppose I had to make the church white but it seemed like the thing to do. I did make the veil a light silver color, so maybe it will show up a bit differently.

I finished the October blockthe week before, not quite on deadline, but by the end of Tuesday. I am behind on the one for this week, but hopefully will have some time on Sunday. I have a business trip tomorrow, and am taking my Camp Loopy project, the color affection shawl (picture below.) The June one also had much less detail than this October one had.

This one was kind of a pain, but it looks nice, I guess. Now I just have November and December left.

Here is the color affection shawl. Thanks to my friend Judy, I am doing it on the size of needles recommended. Usually I go down two sizes, but she is also a loose knitter, and she is knitting it on a size up from the recommended size 6 needles. I am hoping to get to the end of the 2nd section (lavender and cream stripes) by the time I get home from my trip, and carpooling to a meeting on Friday. If I get enough knitting time on the airplane, maybe I can take embroidery on the trip to the meeting. I can’t just sit in a car and ride, it is very difficult for me. I have to be reading, or knitting, or embroidering. Usually I don’t get carsick. Usually.

I watered the flowers tonight and one of the peonies lopped over and bent its stem, so I felt the need to bring it in for a bouquet. Peonies are in my top five favorite flowers, and they are blooming happily this year. I am very tempted to convert most of the upper garden to peonies. It is half peonies and bleeding hearts anyway. Maybe I will put in an additional row this year. Can’t have too many peonies, in my opinion.

After a stressful day at work and coming home to swamp cooler problems, I declared it to be a night to sit in the driveway and have a drink and watch the sun go down. It was great. I will be making that declaration more often this summer.

Annual Knitting Brunch

I took last Friday off work to cook and clean all day – sounds like fun, doesn’t it, but it was, because I was getting ready for my annual knitting brunch with my friends from Knit Knight at the local yarn store. Fortunately, the house wasn’t too messy since we just had company a month ago. It did need some picking up, and the kitchen floor always benefits from a mopping. MaryAnne was pretty sure I stayed home to play with her all day, so I ended up spending some time throwing the ball for her to chase and catch.

I took a break at lunch time, and headed for the local Polish restaurant, knowing Ken would want to have nothing to do with going there with me. They have very reasonable lunch specials for $7.95 at Cracovia. I elected to have the Czerwony barszcz (beetroot soup with sour cream and potatoes) soup and the Golabki (cabbage roll). Since I had tomato sauce with my cabbage roll at the Bagel Deli, I tried the mushroom sauce here.

The soup is VERY pink. It is served hot, not cold. I gave it two thumbs up.

The cabbage roll was also excellent. A little filling for lunch. There were also several slices of bread, and “pork butter,” which involves lard, I believe. A little of that goes a long way.

Then I came home to more cleaning and cooking. And then Saturday morning, we had our party!

The sunroom, all set up and ready. The sunroom is pretty much the reason we bought this house.

I pull out all of my vintage linens. I do not care if they have a few holes or stains, they have character. And yes, they all have to be ironed, which is a big pain. But worth it.

My friend C. and I show off some of my vintage hat collection. The veil on mine is so long it would make it hard to eat. How did they deal with that? I guess ladies didn’t wear their hats to eat. Perhaps this was a church hat. It goes with this dress rather well, don’t you think?

I also pull out my Mom’s luncheon sets (glass plates) and my trays that were mostly wedding gifts.  I don’t remember where the swirly mod green one came from, I think I may have snagged that from Mom’s cupboard as well.

Smoked salmon/asparagus/cream cheese tortilla roll ups.

Pimento cheese finger sandwiches. All of the tea sandwich recipes are from here: http://teawithfriends.blogspot.com/

Green Chile Egg Casserole.

Prosciutto fig tea sandwiches.

Wonton Mini Quiches brought by my friend Cathy. They were excellent.

Pickle roll ups from my friend, C (pictured in hat.) I think these have: pickles, bread, and cheese. They are delicious!

More pimento cheese pics.

Dessert table: angel food cake with homemade strawberry sauce, Strawberry pretzel salad, kringle (hand carried from Wisconsin by my friend M., pictured here  with the champagne bottle making a mimosa), smoothies,  and Boston Creme Poke Cake. That poke cake is really rich, it needs LESS of something, maybe only one box of pudding would be better. Strawberry pretzel salad was good as always, I only make this when I have significant numbers of company coming, because I can’t eat it all. Everything was delicious, thank you to all my wonderful guests who attended shared food and laughs and who may never be the same after all of C’s dog stories.

The dessert table again. It was worth a 2nd picture.

We also had tea and punch, in a nice punch bowl, thanks to my friend Judy. She allows her punch bowl to live at my house and come out for the knitting parties. She also brings champagne for mimosas, what more could you ask for!

After we enjoyed our refreshments, we adjourned to the most comfortable chairs to knit and chat and tell wild stories.

A good time was had by all (I believe) and boy, did I sleep that night. (Ken hightailed it out of the house for the day, and the cats hid. MaryAnne did come out to be admired when there were only about 3 guests left.)

This is about how much help the cats were:

Sand Dunes/Santa Fe/Albuquerque Trip Report – Day 5 (Sunday)

Ken was golfing at Paa-Ko Ridge at 10:00 and wanted to get up there in time to warm up a bit, so we were up and headed for breakfast at about 7:45. We kept in mind the difficulties we had getting to the golf course in Santa Fe. This one looked easier, but you never know.

The Parq Central has a continental breakfast which was pretty good. You better like quiche if you want some protein. (They have hard boiled eggs too, but I don’t like hard boiled eggs for breakfast.) I talked Ken into the Canadian Bacon quiche, which also turned out to have a few green chiles, which they didn’t mention, so he didn’t think that was a good surprise. I didn’t find any in my piece, but then again I may just not notice them because they are so mild on my chili scale. And we had fruit and rolls, there were cereal and a toaster available, and juice and coffee.

Then we headed up to the golf course, with me driving. I staked out a flea market and a thrift store on the way that I might have to investigate when I came to pick him up. I let him out and listened to the crackling pinon trees. He had noticed the crackling/popping trees at the golf course in Santa Fe, too. He reported back to me that apparently the crackling noise comes from insects – I haven’t been able to find anything on the web about it. But the trees were very noisy.

I headed back to Albuquerque and decided to go to their Natural History Museum. I always like a good dinosaur display, and there have been plenty of dinosaurs found in NM. It is really quite a nice museum, lots of dinosaurs, including the huge Seismosaurus that was found in NM. But as I was walking around I was really noticing my breathing was kind of labored, I think I overdid on the smoke in the air yesterday. So after about an hour at the museum, I headed back to the hotel and my asthma inhalers, and caught up on some embroidery and knitting and listening to the radio.

I got the stitches picked up on the “Can this sock be saved?” sock but discovered I only had the directions along for a top-down sock, not a toe-up sock, so that project didn’t go very far. I started on my Camp Loopy shawl, and then decided I better do a swatch, which was a good thing, because that made me realize I had gone down 4 needle sizes instead of 2 needle sizes, and that was a little extreme. (I knit very loosely, so I usually drop down two needle sizes to get the correct gauge of fabric.)

I headed up the Paa-Ko golf course when it was time to get Ken, not really having had anything for lunch. I had finished the baked snow peas from Trader Joe’s (like crispy green Chee-tos) and started on the baked green beans (even BETTER than the snow peas, which had been pretty amazing). I thought maybe the flea market I saw getting set up would have a food stand or two. Well, the flea market was tearing down (wind, again) by the time I got there, and didn’t look like it had ever been very big to begin with. So then I went to the Thrift Store – it wasn’t bad, but I didn’t find anything I absolutely had to have. There was an Oranga-coo clock, like a cuckoo clock but with an orangutang instead, but I was pretty sure none of my relatives would appreciate me getting that for any of my nieces/nephews.

When I got to the golf course, Ken hadn’t eaten yet either, and he had a meal pass for the clubhouse that had been included with his golf pass, so we ate at their little cafe. He had a grilled ham and swiss and I had taco soup, neither of which I took pictures of. He said the golf course was really nice but the greens were really, really fast. Despite the fact that it was supposed to be less windy, it was still windy enough to affect their golf games. He played with a couple of guys from Dallas, which was kind of funny, because he played with a couple from Dallas in Santa Fe, also.

We headed back to the hotel and just had some relaxation time. It was good to have a kind of quiet day. SOMEONE may have had a nap. We went to dinner pretty late. I wanted just a little more New Mexican cuisine, and someone had suggested Sadie’s as a good spot for margaritas, and from my reading on Yelp, people either love it or hate it, and it seems to be an Albuquerque institution. They told us we would have a 30 minute wait and then it was only about 5 minutes. It is a pretty huge place.

They had the spiciest salsa I have ever tasted at a restaurant. Ken proceeded with extreme caution, just dipping his chip in the juice, and mostly eating them plain. I had the tamale, smothered in both green and red chile.

They smother it so much that you can hardly see the plate. The tamale was fine, a little tough for my taste.

Ken had the brisket, with some green chile on the side which was for ME of course. I really liked the green chile. It was kind of different, as it seemed to have some sort of ground meat in it. It was very tasty. They bring you sopapillas right away with your entrees, so you can balance dessert along with your meal.

And then we went back to the hotel, and I took another bath in the deep bath tub, and we were off to bed. A much less smoky day, thank goodness.

Sand Dunes/Santa Fe/Albuquerque Trip Report – Day 3 (Friday)

We got up pretty early since Ken wanted to get out golfing. Ate at the “hot breakfast” at the Hampton,  which consisted of eggs with cheese on top (they needed the help), bacon, and potatoes. We didn’t take the time to fire up the waffle machine. Ken called the golf course just to make sure he could get out this morning. The other one had told him not to bother with a tee time, just to show up. But this one said they could put him with a twosome at 8:56, so we dilly dallied around the room for a while. (He was playing at Marty Sanchez Links De Santa Fe)

Unfortunately, that was a mistake, because there was road construction on the route, and our GPS tried to lead us astray.

I got this GPS free with the purchase of four new tires, and it shows. We didn’t have a name for her for the first day, because I said I needed to experience her personality before I named her. Well, she is now named General Custer. She is pretty bossy and and doesn’t always know what she is doing, and she may just get us all killed.

The first route she told us to take to the golf course led into a gravel pit. Eventually, we got back on the highway, had to go past the golf course and come back the opposite direction because of road construction. Now, I can understand her not knowing about the road construction, but the gravel pit adventure was a little excessive. So you just have to remember to take everything she says with a big grain of salt. She did get me to the places I wanted to go pretty successfully the rest of the day, although I was on my own once I got within a mile of the golf course again.

She also thinks our hotel is about 1/4 mile from where it really is.

After dropping Ken off, I headed out for the Santa Fe Baking Company. My friend K. from college STRONGLY RECOMMENDED visiting there and I am glad to go anywhere that has baking in the title. It is really a fun little place, lots of character. I would gladly go back. The breakfast burrito with turkey sausage and green chile was good and so was the poppyseed muffin, but they had a whole case of amazing looking baked goods I would like to try.

And it was a great location, because just down the parking lot was a Trader Joe’s, and about 1/4 mile away was Looking Glass Yarn.

I had been perusing the blog What’s Good At Trader Joe’s and making a list. Unfortunately, I could only make a list of non-perishable things, because we were still going to be gone three days after I went there. We are getting a Trader Joe’s in Colorado soon, and I can’t wait!  So I loaded up my cart with:

Jalapeno cheese crunchers, pasta, snap pea crisps (have already tried these, excellent), chocolate macarons (also excellent), taco seasoning, crispy wasabi seaweed snacks (not as good as the peas or beans, which are below).

Chocolate chip cookies for Ken, hot sauce, BBQ sauce, biscoff-type cookies, more hot sauce, more BBQ sauce, Earl Grey tea, crispy green beans (OH SWEET MOSES ON A CRACKER, THESE ARE GOOD) and jerky for Ken. I did not get any two-buck Chuck wine, I still have some left from Christmas and I only have so much space in my wine cupboard.

I walked back to the car, noticing that it was still very smoky, and you could smell it as well as see it, from the fires in western NM. I deposited the Trader Joe’s stuff, and headed to Looking Glass Yarns. My friend K. from Knit Knight said they were the place to go, especially since they carry her Yarn Lover’s Lotion.

Well, I went a little nuts in there. I needed some needles for my Yarn Camp project, and I got those, but she also had a really cool sample sweater from the book “”, so I had to buy the book (I did not buy yarn and needles so I could cast on a sweater, so I did show some restraint.) I bought something that I will put in with my exchange gift at our Knit Knight Christmas party. I had been looking at all the cool novelty yarn scarves that are out right now, and I decided to go ahead and buy some of that yarn. All in all, a very good time was had. The lady operating the store was very nice and friendly, fun to visit with, and very helpful with picking out yarn.

By this time, it was 11:00 and I thought I better head for the Georgia O’Keeffe museum before I ran out of time to see it properly. General Custer GPS and I made it there OK, but General Custer can’t suggest parking spots. There was a Porshe festival going on in the Plaza, and so there were streets blocked off and I had to drive around quite a bit before I ran into the municipal parking lot, which was about five blocks away from the O’Keeffe museum, not a bad walk at all.

The museum isn’t huge, and it rotates the art on display from its collection, so you are only seeing part of the collection. I don’t think I had ever seen any of her art in person before. She was versatile. There were rough pencil sketches as well as pastels and oils on display, as well as some of the items she had used in life. They had a display of camping equipment she used to go out and camp, close to the paintings she had created from that experience.  The two short films about her life made me want to get one of her biographies from the library, as well as more information on her painting.

Of course I went to the gift shop, going home with a 2013 calendar with her paintings, a book on 30-minute art with acrylic painting (haven’t ventured into that yet but I plan to, and art books are also helpful in my quilting class), and a print of one of her poppy paintings.

I still had some time before I thought Ken would call from the golf course so I stopped at The Chile Shop. We had looked in the night before but it was closed already. I was curious about getting a ristra (the long string of dried red chiles) to cook with, and I know that some of them sold in some of the shops are just for decoration, and are coated with shellac or insect repellant to make them last longer.  So I really wanted to stop in a store that was more oriented toward cooking with them. Well, this was the place. However, when I reviewed the size considerations, I decided a ristra might not be for me or my kitchen – the proprietor said they are usually 24 inches long but the farmer has been making them longer and they are about 30 inches long (must have been a good year for chiles) and he would pack it in a big box for me, but then I thought, “Where would I put this in my kitchen?” He did not have any small packages of those particular New Mexico chiles. But I bought a couple of packages of other kinds of dried chiles, and some chile powder (mild, so I can use it in the chili both Ken and I eat), and some locally made salsa and hot sauce.

I had just gone back to the car to drop off my parcels, and Ken called to say he was done golfing, so General Custer and I made our way back to the golf course. At least she doesn’t get too annoyed when you don’t follow her directions.

We went back to the hotel and cleaned up before going to lunch. My knitting friend K had also recommended we go to the Plaza Cafe to eat, but it was closed for renovations after a fire. However, there is also a Plaza Cafe Southside, which was just blocks from our hotel. Off we went for lunch. Ken had the club sandwich, and with my usual lack of decision and indifference to eating in one ethnicity or style at a time, I had 3 appetizer-style things: tomato-orzo soup, Greek fries (french fries with olive oil, mizratha cheese, capers, other greek seasonings), and salmon ceviche two ways – with citrus and with coconut milk. They were all excellent but I should have chosen two rather than three.

Ceviche.

Tomato orzo soup.

Greek Fries.

By this time it was 3:00, and we wanted to get downtown and tour the Loretto chapel before it closed.

The chapel used to be connected to a Catholic girls’ school, but the school had closed and the Diocese did not want to buy the property, so it was purchased by a private owner and opened as a historical museum. This is a cool tree outside where people hang rosaries.

Beautiful stained glass and altar. It is no longer a consecrated Catholic church, but weddings and “other appropriate events” are held here for a fee.

The interesting thing about the chapel is the spiral staircase that goes to the choir loft. It is made entirely of wood, with no nails or screws, and no supports. It makes two complete 360-degree turns, and didn’t have a banister until one was built later because going up the staircase was freaking out the nuns and students.

The carpenter who built it appeared and made the staircase and left again without payment or leaving his name. It is a beautiful chapel, and the staircase is amazing. You do not get to walk on the staircase unless you have paid to have your wedding there, however. I forgot the good camera, so these pictures were with my phone.

Then we took off to do some souvenir shopping. We ended up buying the most in the first store we had been to, it always seems to work out that way. We stopped at one western-themed store (YIPPEE YI YO) and got Ken got a T-shirt, and I got a small package of dried New Mexico chiles (victory! He didn’t have this type at The Chile Shop), and a skull necklace to hang from my car mirror (I have an interesting collection of items on there.) They also had a lovely child’s play set called “Thirsty Cowboy” which featured a pistol in a holster and a flask, totally non-PC, which we did NOT purchase.

We then asked him if there were any stores in the area that would have glow-in-the dark Virgin Marys. (Various objects with saints on them are quite common in Santa Fe gift stores, but not luminescent ones) He sent us to Doodlets. This store kept us busy for quite a while. It was full of fun stuff for Day of the Dead, party stuff, rubber chickens, inflatable fruitcakes and turkeys, etc. I got a small coin purse that looks like a peanut butter sandwich – the two pieces of bread click together with a magnet, and the zip open at the top. They had small glow in the dark saints, so I got 4 versions of Mary, plus two miniature rubber chickens and two plastic babies. I have no idea what I am going to do with those but it will be something creative.

Back at the 1st store (Dressman’s Gifts, on the Plaza), we got some fun key chains for Ken’s co-workers, a t-shirt for me, and folk art sheep to join the folk art cats from Haiti on the shelf,  and a Dios las Muertos (Day of the Dead) magnet. The magnet is ON the shirt in the picture below.

Then we headed back to the hotel to debate where to go for dinner. We needed a break from Mexican food, so I was thinking noodles. There was a really good noodle house not far away, but there was nothing on the menu Ken would have eaten. He suggested Italian noodles, so I found a place close to the hotel via Yelp that people either seemed to love or hate. It was called Piccolino’s, and it was a total local joint – people were coming over to each other tables and visiting with each other, and there seemed to be a large number of locals.

Appetizer of bread and marinara.

I had a bowl of the pasta fagioli soup, and the stuffed eggplant parmesan and Ken had the Chicken Florentine, which shocked me, because it had spinach on it.

My soup was good but the eggplant parmesan mostly tasted of the breading.

It had a lot of cheese (rolled up in the slices) and was then covered with red sauce and baked. The red sauce was very good, it was just that the eggplant taste didn’t come through at all. Ken was happy with his.

This is the kind of place I would gladly keep coming back to until I found something I liked, just because of the atmosphere.

And then we went back to the hotel and I worked on my blog and Ken watched the news and we crashed!