Friday, November 27, 2009

Turkey Day

Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!

We had a nice family get-together at our house on Thursday and the kids (cousins) got a lot of fun playtime together. After the big turkey meal some, courtesy of Tryptophan, squeezed in the traditional postprandial Thanksgiving nap while the rest of us were visiting and catching up since the last get-together.

One thing that we all did together was write the Nelson Thanksgiving Story. This story writing has become somewhat of a tradition that the kids (and adults) look forward to every year. This year's story featured Lars the Cooking Wiz, Gobbles the Turkey (alias Fred) and some space turkeys.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Sick Day

Today Conrad has a little bit of a cough and since everybody is so worried about the swine flu  he get to spend the day at home with mom even though he really isn't that sick (no fever). We try to make the most of this rainy and gray day. I really should be cleaning the house in preparation for Thanksgiving, but Conrad keeps distracting me with more interesting (and important) projects.

Conrad was in th mood to bake something so I suggested he bake some muffins for our Thanksgiving meal. We looked through our muffin recipe book and didn't find anything we wanted to make that we had all ingredients for so we improvised and made some Cornmeal dried fruit muffins. Conrad says they turned out "fruitylicious"!

Conrad also spent some time working on his spinning. He doesn't have the patience to stay with it for very long at each sitting put he keeps going back to it. I think he will probably finish his first skein of yarn in time for Christmas.

While Conrad worked on this forest diorama I sorted through some piles of accumulated papers. In one of the piles I found a photo that my very good friend Kerstin had sent me a couple of years ago. We hadn't spoken for several years so I decided to call her up. It was so much fun talking with her and catching up. She sounded just like she did back when we both were biology students at Lund's University.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tuesday Night Library Knitting Group

Tuesday nights are the one night a week when my family knows that Mom gets to take the evening off (not that I don't take other times off, but Tuesdays are on everybody's schedule) and do something she enjoys. KNIT! And to boot I get to knit with a group of fun and interesting ladies who also realizes how much fun and how relaxing knitting is. Some weeks when life gets really hectic, the two hours at the library is the only time I have to knit. Another big bonus is how great these gals are at encouraging, admiring and praise each other's work. Nobody appreciates a knitted item like a knitter!

Tonight the group looked like this, it varies slightly every week, but we have grown to be a good size group. The "Miss You" sign is for a group member who hasn't been able to come for some time, we took the picture for her.

Fall in the Vineyard

Today was a beautiful California Fall day! The vineyard is beautiful this time of year and it is relaxing to know that the harvest is over.

The building in this picture is the recently remodeled barn, now known as the winery! We have started to fill it up with equipment to prepare for next year's harvest. This year we weren't quite ready in time so Phil and our winemaker made this year's wine down at a facility in Campbell. We are making some port for personal use here at the winery.

The other night as I was helping Phil rack the port I was hit with an idea. Can you use the lees (what is left in the bottom after the fermentation stops) to make bread? I decided to give it a try. Using some of the lees, a little bit of yoghurt and some flour I made a sourdough starter two days ago. Today I used some of the starter, more of the lees , water, salt, more flour and baked the dough into 24 dinner rolls. They look and smell good, but we will have to wait until tonight to find out if they taste good as well.

This morning while the rolls were rising, I finished plying my latest hand spun yarn. I ended up with 270 yards, 113 grams/40z, of the loveliest softest yarn ever. It has a little bit of sheen to it, probably from the 30% bamboo. The color reminds me of a pair of well worn pair of jeans - nice! The fibers for this yarn came from Frog Tree Yarns (Meriboo - 70% Merino & 30% Bamboo) and I purchased it at Purlescene. This is the thinnest yarn I have been able to spin so far, I am excited! The first single gave me a little bit of trouble - it kept breaking- but I did much better on the second one. I guess I just had to get used to it.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Spinning Update

I spun this single from some Meriboo from Frog Tree Yarns that I picked up at Purlescence the other day. It is 70% Merino Wool and 30% Bamboo. It was a little tricky to spin - it kept breaking off and then splitting apart when I tried to reattach, but all is well in the end. I love the color and it is ooh so soft! As you can see I have two more oz. to spin into another single before it is time to ply them together.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fiber Wash

Conrad and I took the opportunity of Veteran's Day (no School) to visit Dad at work. After a delicious bento lunch at the local strip mall we got a tour of Amgen Fremont. Conrad asked loads of questions and seemed to grasp what it is Phil does at work. Just don't ask me to explain it!

When we returned home I decided to tackle my growing stack of homespun yarn. I have happily been spinning away but I have put off finishing the yarn. The twist needed to be set, in other words I needed to wash, rinse, wack (this is the fun part) and dry all the skeins I have spun so far ( 4 brown, 1 off-white and 1 multi-colored). Now they are all hanging in our bathroom, when they are fully dry it is time to start figure out what to knit from them. Any ideas anybody?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Christmas knitting

The recipient for these is not reading this blog, so it is safe to post pictures. I started these last Friday and they were a very fun and not very complicated knit. I have had this yarn for quite some time now and I just didn't know what to make from it. I painted this sock blank from Knit Picks as an experiment last spring when I was Tie-dying with Conrad's third grade class. Even though the colors I       used were very bright (chartreuse, tangerine and golden yellow) the end result was kind of muted and muddled. I didn't much like it! Conrad's teacher however said she really liked those colors so I decided then and there to make her something with this yarn. Not until I saw Petra's pattern for the Stulpen did I know what that something would be. I love this pattern and I see more Stulpens in my future!

Standing in line...

The kids and I spent the Saturday waiting in line outside the Santa Cruz County Health Department. We "only" had to wait for 41/2 hours for Conrad to receive the H1N1 FluMist and Kajsa the H1N1 injection. This round of immunizations were only for high risk patients, so even though I waited in line with the kids I didn't get any shot ( I knew this ahead of time though). Poor Kajsa started getting the side effects only a couple of hours later and she is still feeling under the weather today (Monday). At least we hope it is just the side effects from the shot she is suffering from, we will se by tomorrow.


I am a little behind on this blogging business, but oh well. Halloween came and went. This year was the first year Kajsa didn't come along with us for Trick or Treating, she preferred to spend Hallows Eve with her friends, imagine that! Phil, Conrad and I attended a spooktacular party in Palo Alto and so "the General" went on his Trick-or-Treat adventure there (he got sufficiently spooked!).