Girl’s Night in the Yarn Studio

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We had a spontaneous girl’s night in my new yarn studio.  Lauren and Lindy came over to hang out and we painted our first skeins of yarn in the studio!    Lauren knits and crochets and has a love for yarn.  Lindy now has an appreciation for the art of hand-dyed yarn!     (She is an amazing artist!  I hope this reawakens a spark of creativity for her!). Lindy was pretty surprised at how much fun she had.  She is really good with watercolors, so I can see why she loved this so much.

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Look how proud she is!

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We were playing.

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We can’t forget Max!  He is still helping me pose my yarn!

We ended our night eating Mexican bowls at Fuzzy’s along with a margarita.  It was a great spontaneous night with my girls.  We all had a great time.  The girls were tickled pink with their own creations and are eager to cast-on.

On a side note – this would be a great craft to do with your kids.  The math you use is ratio and proportion and would be a great lesson to teach the kids.   They can see math used in a fun creative way.  You need to figure how much dye to use per weight of yarn.  You can also teach fractions with diluting  colors.     Just an idea 🙂

Happy Knitting Friends!

 

Tammy

 

Christmas Cookies

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Merry Christmas!

Look how pretty!

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You all know my daughter–in-law, Lauren.  This is her pretty momma, Amanda.  Amanda hosted a cookie decorating Christmas party for her daughter’s band mates.

Isn’t this a wonderful idea!  I told Amanda about the Craftsy/Blueprint cookie decorating classes and she learned how to do all this from those classes.  Before I took the classes, all I knew was to slab some store bought icing on top of the sugar cookies.  This is so much better and so fun to do.  She said they all had a super fun time!

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Anytime I have the cookies and icing out, everybody that comes over dives right in and has a blast decorating them.   It’s worth the time to watch the classes.

Thank you Amanda for letting me share pictures of your beautiful cookies!

Happy Knitting and Merry Christmas!

 

Tammy

 

Crack me up.

I love this guy!  He’s very much like my inner child, mine is just not so colorful.

I discovered Stephen West from KnitStars.  I had seen him around Ravelry but he is so “loud” with his colors, I just passed right on by his patterns.  Nothing at all wrong with being “loud”, it just didn’t speak to me at the time.

Then I signed up for KnitStars.  I fell in love with this guy!  He is so charming and such a handsome man.  My husband calls me a 9 year-old all the time.  That’s my child like personality he is talking about.  Stephen West has his “child” out on full display and I LOVE it!  Mine is safely hidden away here at home where it’s safe.

I admire people that can be themselves.  I don’t care how different or unusual you may be.   That just makes you a rare jewel instead of a commonly found one.  The rarest jewels are the most valuable.

I’ve been working in my dye studio.  I ordered some equipment that arrived broken and had to be returned and replaced, so here I wait.  I’ve been playing with some yarn and have actually dyed some.  I’ve also been trying to come up with a label design for my yarn.  Don’t laugh.  Well, okay, laugh if you must.

I’m trying to draw an Alpaca with a daisy on its head and a daisy garland around its neck.  I have the drawing skills of an 8 year old.  My high school art teacher told me I had great ideas but I could not draw worth a darn.  She was right.

All three of my children are amazing artists.  My daughter had to do some community service at the Art Institute in town and the instructor begged her to stay and offered her a scholarship.  She wasn’t interested at all.    Both of my boys can draw anything.

My dad was a hippy.  Big time hippy.  I have  a very unique upbringing.   I’ll have to tell you the story of the time he came over to babysit my kids with his friend the “Contract Killer” in tow.  I ended up taking my kids, my dad, and the contract killer friend to the OBGYN with me. (I’m not making this up.)  At my Dad’s funeral, he came up and was super nice and friendly and told me to call him anytime I needed someone “taken care-of. ” 19225222_10208904777800047_5592424525265611726_n

This is my dad.  He was the most unique person I’ve ever met.  I loved him so!  We used to color Mandala’s together.  He had a big collection of gel pens and we would lay on the floor together and color.    We would color for hours and talk and talk.   I may not be able to draw, but I love color.  I think that’s why I love the 70’s so much.    I love that Bo-ho style that is so popular now.  It’s my style.  Mandala’s, macrame, knitting, flowers, animals….I’m so happy that this stuff is cool again.

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One more thing!

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It’s my current knitting project!

Happy Knitting Friends!

Tammy

Bungee Fitness

I have found the funnest way to get some exercise!  It’s Bungee Fitness.  I found this place by chance, driving errands one day.  I’ve seen a video on youtube and it looked like so much fun.  We had our first class today and it was a blast!  We’ve signed up for more.

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Lindy, Lauren, and Tammy

I had a horrible neck injury 12 years ago from being hit from behind at a stop light.  It threw the soft spongy disc between the vertebrae into my spinal cord.  I was told that if I tripped or fell, I would be permanently paralyzed for the rest of my life.  It was a big deal.  It required neck surgery to fix it.  Long story short, I injured my neck again and damaged two other discs in my neck.  I was told never to exercise again other than walk.  Twelve years later and I have become a couch potato.  (always knitting, but in the couch nonetheless).

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This type of exercise is so easy on the joints!  I’ve had knee issues all my life and this did not hurt my knees at all!  I did a ton of squats today and no knee pain!   I’m overweight and out of shape.  This was the beginner class.  I had to stop and rest during the class.  It’s a real workout.  My face was red as a beet and my hair was all wet!  The girls were all sweaty too.  It’s a workout!

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This is Lindy and I after our workout!  Yes, I get extremely red in the face when I work out.  Lauren was worried, she thought I was going to die.  I was hoping the teacher wouldn’t get worried about me and make me stop or say something.  I just get really red in the face with a lot of exertion.

I am a clutz and a couple of times, I couldn’t do it, and just hung there for a second.  I messed up a lot.  It was a nice teacher and she encouraged us and I didn’t feel  self-conscious.  We all loved it and are going back for some more.  If it gets me off the couch,  helps me get healthier, and is fun to do then I’m all in!  If there is one in your area, you should try it too.   It’s also something fun to do with your family and friends.

 

Happy Knitting!

 

Tammy

George

Good Morning!  Fall has finally arrived here in Oklahoma.  I would like to introduce our newest family member, George, shown here with Luke.

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George is a Standard Poodle.  He will, one day, be the new dad to our Goldendoodles.

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Luke and I are playing with our neighbors here.  I wanted to show you Max.  Do you see where he is?   That cat!  He is so wonderfully weird!  I love him so!  He will sit in the stroller and take a walk with me and Luke.   Max loves this family.  He is often found hanging out with them.

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We drove to Missouri to get George.  He sat on my lap for the entire four hour trip!

I’m going to give a little dog advise.  When you are thinking of buying a dog, especially an expensive one, you need to pay attention to the parents.  Personalities and temperaments are passed down to the pups.  If you want to know what kind of puppy you are getting, pay attention to the parents!

Stitch Markers!

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I was really excited to show you all something neat I had discovered to save you all some money!   Turns out, I have no idea what I’m talking about.  Do you see the little tin with the gold metal stitch markers?  I bought a little bag online at a knitting store and paid about $9.00 for them.   I’ve tried all kinds of different stitch markers and these are my favorites.    I’ve been shopping in the bead/jewelry isle at the craft stores and found these metal colored rings for $2.99 (half price days $1.50).    The green and purple rings I found at a bead store in Colorado, they are the $3.50 ones.

I get really excited when I find great deals.  I thought I had discovered a knit hack and wanted to share with everybody.

I tried to find the website I purchased my $9 stitch markers and found them on KnitPicks for $1.99 for 100 of them!   WHAT!?!?!   How did I not find these before?  They are even cheaper than my great find.

Well, if you want a variety of colors with your stitch markers at an affordable price, go shop at Michael’s or Hobby Lobby.  They have lots of different sizes and colors in the jewelry/bead isles.

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Here’s a quick peek at my current knitting project.   It’s my road trip project to Wyoming.  I’m almost done.  I fear I’m going to run out of the brown color for the last stripe!  I’m just going to use a different brown if I run out.  It’s a shawl if you can’t tell.  I will show you all soon when it’s done.

 

Wrap Bracelets

I brought home a new skill from Wyoming!  My sister-in-law, Christine was kind enough to show me how to make these leather wrap bracelets.   I love them!

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I’ve made two of them so far.  Actually, the one below is one that Christine gave me.

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Here is the other one I made.

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I do not like to sew.  I did sew my son’s nursery decor by myself; crib bedding, crib bumpers, and curtains.  I can sew.  I just do not enjoy it much.  I prefer knitting.  Hand sewing the beads on the leather bracelets is nice though.  I’m enjoying it.

I’m enjoying it so much, I’ve started a new stash.

It’s a beautiful day here and we’ve got three grandkids over playing today.  Currently, two of them are jumping on the trampoline with the kids next door.  One has gone home for a nap.

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This is the usual reaction to Len.  He is always making someone laugh out loud.

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Len gave the kids a ride in front of the house.  The other kids had helmets.  Luke was insistent for his turn too, so we had to give him a little ride.  No helmet, but going very slow and only as far as our neighbor’s house.

Happy Sunday!

 

Tammy

Baby Gramps Cardigan

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Isn’t this the cutest baby cardigan!  The pattern is even cuter.  I was in a hurry and left off the elbow pads and pockets.  Here is the link for the Gramps Cardigan

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Henry turned 8 months old last week.  He doesn’t even know how to crawl yet.  He’s at that stage where babies learn to get up on their knees.  He looks like he should be helping his Dad operate one of the heavy equipment machinery that he operates for his concrete business.  He is such a big baby.   My son, John, was always a big baby, top 95%, but Henry has got to have him beat.

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Funny side note here,  I hope it doesn’t embarrass Bailey, but it was charming and cute.  It was discovered that Bailey thought that Len was coloring his hair grey on the sides by using “A Touch of Grey”.  All these years, she believed that he colored the grey part of his hair grey to look distinguished.  It wasn’t until this visit she learned otherwise.

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This is Len when I met him.  He was trying to hide the grey side walls here.  Isn’t he handsome….  We were crazy about each other from day one.  Henry, his grandson, has his beautiful blue eyes.

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Luke has a Gramps Cardigan too.  This was fresh off the needles and I still need to sew the buttons on to be finished.  I’m going to give him the elbow pads and possibly the pockets.

We sure did miss Luke.  He gave me such affection when we got home.  He leaned his face into mine and gave me one of those wide mouthed, tongue out, wet kisses…allll over my face!  Then hugged me some more (and I was wondering if he would forget me).

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Max doing his usual “Vanna White” imitation showing off my knits.  Gramps Cardigan

Have a great week.

 

Tammy

Wyoming 2.0

Kirwin Ghost Town near Meeteetse, Wyoming.

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The kids took us hiking at an old deserted mining town.  It was last a booming little mining town in 1906.  I watch “Poldark” on PBS, so I was a little familiar with the mining towers.  (It’s a good show to binge watch by the way.)

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Trevor told us that a paranormal group came out and did a documentary on the ghost activity around here.   Happy to say, we did not run into any ghosts.

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Len, Trevor and Henry in front of a boiler in one of the mining towers.

Boiler and mining tower.  This is how they hauled gold up out of the mountains.  The town fell because they did not have a nearby railroad to transport goods.

I didn’t take a picture of the outhouse but it was interesting.  It was an outhouse, but one for several people at one time, like at a modern day public restroom with multiple stalls.  With all the wildlife around, I’m sure you had a potty buddy for safety reasons.

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Trevor and Henry taking a hike.  It was a beautiful day.

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Henry during one of our walks.  This is the corn field on the other side of the road from the pasture full of cows.

Bailey rescued this sweet little black kitten and it LOVES Henry!  They are so cute together.    Henry pulls at it’s ears and tries to eat the kitty and the kitty just purrs and rubs itself all over Henry.

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Henry and his dog Lucchese.  Bailey upgraded her Jeep to a family version (4 door).

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Len, Bailey, and Henry.  Check out Henry’s cardigan!  I know!  It’s so cute!  I can’t wait to show you!  I’ve had it done for a while, but I wanted to wait until Henry could wear it for pictures to show you.

On our way home, we stayed overnight in Colorado Springs, CO.  We were eating at a Mexican restaurant on the patio, and these critters showed up.

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This little guy got a little too close for my comfort.  He got right up under our table.  I was taking a picture with my phone and I guess he thought I was giving him food.  He got as close as his paws on the chair next to mine under the table.  He stared at me eye to eye and for a second, I thought he might go rabid and get me.  Just as a little fear hit me, he (or she) backed off and went on with their walk.

I found one of them up in a tree on our way out.

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I have lots more to share, but I don’t want to overwhelm you.  I will show and tell Luke and Henry’s cardigans next time.

Happy Fall Y’all

Tammy

 

Wyoming

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How about a little trip to Wyoming today?  We are visiting our daughter, Bailey, Trevor, and Henry in Wyoming.  We are in a pocket of paradise here.  We’re in a small farming town, the closest metro being 2 1/2 hours away.  We’re enjoying the heck out of Henry.  Len also likes to help Bailey with projects around the house, so were doing some of that too.

I’ve been taking Henry for walks down this little country dirt road behind a corn field.  One side is solid corn and the other is a field full of cows.  I’m sure nobody ever walks down this road!  I’ve seen the cows for 4 walks now.  They lift their heads, stare at us, moo a little bit, and that’s our walk.  Yesterday, I guess the cows got curious enough that they all came running over to see us.

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Imagine a huge herd of cows running over to you.  They have a little hot wire fence so the cows don’t stray.  I was so worried the cows were going to try and get through the hot wire to get to us, and they were all going to get shocked.  I guess they are familiar already with the fence as they stopped right at it.

 

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Look how cute they are!  They were all squeezing in to get a good look at us.

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These momma’s and their kids were checking out this grandma and her grandkid.  It was pretty neat.  I’m a city girl remember.  This is a real treat for me.

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Miss 423 here posing for her picture.

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They have all kinds of water collected from the snow coming from the mountains.  It’s beautiful fertile ground here.

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We stopped at The Big Texan on our way to Wyoming.  It’s in Amarillo, Texas.  Have you seen the movie, “The Guilt Trip” with Seth Rogan and Barbara Streisand?  It’s about a road trip with a son and his mother.  They have a scene where they stop at The Big Texan and Barbara Streisand’s character eats a free 72 oz steak dinner.  This is the place.  The staff wear cowboy hats and there is a singing cowboy that goes around and sings to your table.  I had a wonderful prime rib lunch for $14.00.   This will be our stopping place from now one.

 

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Happy Knitting friends.

I have road trip project I’m working on.  I’ll show you soon.  It’s a shawl.

Tammy

Sunday Gumbo

UHSUIMgfRKCgLnmFwXci9AI thought I would share my Gumbo experience with you.  My mother-in-law, Carol, gave me some of her fresh okra from her garden.  So I thought I would make some Gumbo.  I like to peruse the internet for various recipes, read the reviews, and then take from each recipe and make it my own.  The main recipe I learned from was Paula Deen’s Gumbo Recipe.

I am not a “follow the rules” exactly kind of girl.  I am, but, I’m not.   As far as recipes go, I am not.  I take recipes as suggestions.

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Bacon on the right. Stewing the okra with the tomatoes on the left.

I started with bacon.  I browned the bacon in the cast-iron Dutch oven.  I removed the bacon with a slotted spoon (to leave all the wonderful drippings behind.). Follow that by cooking the sausage.  You can use Andouille sausage, but I’m not crazy about it so I prefer the smoked sausage.  Once the sausage is done, remove it with the slotted spoon.  Gumbo is about using what’s in you pantry/refrigerator.  I found some fajita seasoned chicken strips and that’s what I added for the chicken.  Once the chicken is cooked, remove the chicken with the slotted spoon.

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I added some more olive oil to the drippings, about 2 TBS, added the butter, then sprinkled in the flour to make the roux.    The many reviews I read, warned repeatedly to not burn the roux!  If you burn the roux, throw it out and start over, or your Gumbo will be ruined!  Below left is how the roux looks like as you begin to stir.  Below right is when the roux is ready.  It takes about 10 minutes of constant stirring.

I’m stirring and stirring the roux so it won’t burn.  My wisk is a little wonkie.  Follow my advise and don’t be a cheapskate and buy a new wisk!  As I was standing there, constantly wisking the roux, it splashed up and hit my soft tender inner forearm skin.  I was able to grab a towel and wipe away the burning fluid.  As I wiped away the roux from my skin, I  notice the top layer of my skin went with it!  Second degree burns!  Mind you, I’m still stirring my roux!  I’m thinking I need to cool off this burn ASAP but my roux will burn!  It hurts REALLY bad!  I holler for Len to come help me.  He gets to the kitchen and I hand over my wisk and ask him to keep stirring the roux while I take care of my burn.  I cool off the burn and put the appropriate ointment on it and get back to my roux.

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It’s burning!  I can smell it!  I knew Len was watching me and not paying attention to my roux.   I quickly stir and stir my roux, hoping to save it.  I even passed a tear or two in grief over my possibly ruined roux.  I worked so hard at getting it just right and there is no way I’m starting over!  I either get nose blind to the burn smell or it recovers and stopped smelling burned.

I get my emotions together, it’s only food.  I was out of bell pepper, so my Gumbo is minus a main ingredient.  I also forgot the garlic.  Once my stew is at the simmer point, I added a few shakes of garlic powder to compensate.  One of the recipes I reviewed pretty much pureed the vegetable mixture – onion/celery/green pepper.  I didn’t want to do that so I finely diced my veggies.

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Diced vegetables added to the roux and cooked for about 10 minutes.

I also changed the tomatoes.  I used one can of diced tomatoes and one can of Rotel diced tomatoes.  My “hot” will come from the Rotel.   I also read to simmer the okra in the diced tomatoes first.  The acid in the tomatoes prevents the okra from getting slimy.

I obtained the flat leaf parsley from the small pot I have on the front porch.  Rinse off the parsley!  I didn’t rinse it well enough and cut up a small caterpillar.  Yes.  I know.  Totally grossed me out.  Even grosser, I found another caterpillar, this one intact.  I do believe I will be getting my herbs from the grocery store from now on.   I sure hope this Gumbo isn’t a disaster.  I’ve tried so hard.

 

I also messed up by putting in the green onions with the onion/celery/green pepper mixture at the beginning.  It cooked for a long time!  It would have been better if I had added it at the end with the shrimp. as instructed, in the original recipe.  Len gave it an 8 out of 10 star rating.  I bet the bell pepper and putting in the green onions at the end would up this rating to a 10 star.1bPI43aSSqeO8193ecoL1Q

My thoughts overall……it will be the once a year Gumbo I make when I get fresh okra from my mother-in-law’s garden.  It was really really good!  The flavor was rich and robust, the roux perfect.  The okra was not slimy at all.  I would definitely not scrimp on the shrimp.  I scrimped.  I thought I had plenty of meat so only one bag of shrimp was necessary.  Get 2 little bags or one big bag!  Add plenty of shrimp.

It was a nice Sunday afternoon, cook for hours, in the kitchen, kind of day.