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Monday, January 25, 2010

As you wish.

Mushroom knitting spool.

This post is all about giving my readers what they want. First, Mel C requested that I blog about something crafty and Grandma Gert.

The crafty is that this weekend, I finally learned how to use the spool knitter that I bought last year. When it comes to anything involving fibers, I'm one of those people that needs to see how you do things. I can't just read directions. Thank goodness for YouTube, because, yes, people have posted instructional videos on how to make i-cords with a spool knitter. This is either going to be a scarf for Mommy Elephant, or, if I'm ambitious enough, I may make a really long cord and coil it into a blanket for her.

As I was reviewing my tracker today I noticed that the blog had a referral from someone who had googled "gert ross shaler." When I performed the same search, I found links to two very cool newspaper articles from 20+ years ago about Grandma Gert. Here's one from 1986 (Look for the paragraph titled "Guards 'em all"). And here's the feature article about her that was run in 1990.

If you're still out there somewhere, to the person who was searching for Grandma Gert: She is alive and well and as feisty as ever. She has retired to a nursing home and will celebrate her 91st birthday next month.

Next up is blog reader Ellen, who had asked that the blog's banner link back to the blog and not to Flickr. You see, the blog banners are hosted on Flickr, whose terms of service dictate that all photos posted to an external site link back to Flickr. In the interest of keeping the blog as user friendly as possible, I have decided to be a rebel and have changed the link. will be our little secret.

Buttery Pecan Rounds

That about takes care of everyone, so on to other blog business. This weekend, I made yet another batch of cookies from the Martha Stewart cookie book. These are called Buttery Pecan Rounds. As the name indicates, they are very buttery and very pecan-y. I'm kinda in love with them.

Go ahead. Make my day.

Also this weekend, Lauren attended her friend Lauren's fifth birthday party. You read that right - like her mother, Lauren likes to make friends with girls that have the same name. She and ten other little girls played laser tag, and as you can see from the photo above, when they put that gear on, they mean business. I would post more photos, but I fear that the government may see them and want to use these girls as part of their elite forces.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Those who can, craft.

Crafty mess.

Well, it looks like I'm back to my old blogging habits. I can't help it though - there's just a whole lotta nothing going on. As a result, we've resorted to passing the time away by crafting. Much of it involving glitter glue. Lots and lots of glitter glue.

Eiffel Tower make-up bag.

I myself continue to fail miserably at sewing. Wait - let me clarify. Embroidery, I can do. Attaching two pieces of fabric together by hand or machine...forget about it. Still I try, even though it doesn't come easy to me. As I sit there at my sewing table banging my head questioning, "Why do I suck so badly at this!?" all Mark can do is ask, "Didn't you take Sewing in junior high?" The answer to that question is: Yes, I took it in 8th grade (Not 7th grade, when you got to make cool pillows. No, we made ugly aprons. Even the boys had to make them.) and barely merited a B.

Anyway, I made this make-up bag (My second attempt). It looks good from far away, but the stitching is a mess. I think I ripped it out a total seven times. This is the kind of thing that I would like to make and give as gifts, but I'm no where near proficient enough to saddle someone with one of these. The make-up bag pattern is from Sew Pretty Homestyle, embroidery pattern is from Jenny Hart's Stitch It Kit and the Picnic Damask fabric is by Tanya Whelan.

Little strawberry.

Not to be deterred, I decided to tackle something on a smaller scale. Lauren was thrilled with these little stuffed strawberries (The first one I made is too pathetic to show). So much, she desperately wants me to make the larger pillow version for her bed. *cries*

Vintage wooden file box.

Okay, now here's something that I *can* do. A couple of months ago, I found this little wooden file box at an antique store. I had seen similar boxes sold on Etsy, so I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. Another great way to use up those paper scraps! In hindsight, I wish I had also bought the larger one that was next to this one. I'm thinking that it would make a good recipe box.

Valentine's M&M's peanut.

When you're crafting, you need snacks, right? I don't know what I was thinking when I bought this bag of peanut M&M's, because I CAN'T STOP EATING THEM. Boredom will do that to you.

Chocolate crackles.

Oh yeah, and then there's the cookies. For Christmas, Mark gave me Martha Stewart's cookie book to go along with my mixer. I asked Lauren to pick out a recipe for us to make together. She picked Chocolate Crackles. Although I've come across these numerous times over the years, I've never had any desire to make them, with good reason, as I now know that the dough has to refrigerate for 2 hours. Unfortunately, I didn't read far enough ahead in the recipe to learn this until it was too late. Since it was after 7 p.m., there was no way I could refrigerate the dough for that long and still bake and serve them that night. The alternative was to wait until the next day, but I wasn't about to tell Lauren (or Mark) that there would be no cookies until tomorrow. So I put the dough in the freezer for about 45 minutes, which for the record, wasn't nearly long enough. More dough stuck to my hands than made it to the cookie sheet. However, in the end, they turned out quite tasty, kind of like a light and fluffy version of a brownie. Also, the dough is really to die for, not that I was licking my fingers or anything. Really, I wasn't. Honestly.

***Begin American Idol blabbering***

Even though all signs point to me hating this season, I'm actually very excited that our show is back! Why do I say that? For one, every third season is in the bottom of my personal rankings. That would be Season 3 and 6. What comes next? 9.

Second, after two straight seasons with all male finales, they are going to pull out all the stops to ensure a female victory. Since my top three seasons have ended in male victories (7, 8 and 5), this does not bode well for my watching pleasure.

Still, I'm trying to keep an open mind. I think I could root for a girl, if the right one came along. After all, I did like Brooke White. On the other hand, it was very evident to me during the first two nights that I better get used to having the girls shoved down my throat, as there were very few good guys featured.

One thing that I didn't notice was the absence of Paula Abdul. Maybe once they get to the performance shows, I'll miss her. On second thought...probably not. As for Simon leaving, I think it will be the end of the show, only because the media says it will be the end of the show (and everyone listens to the media). Otherwise, as long as they hire a decent replacement, I think the show will go on. That is, as long as thousands of people line up for their chance of stardom and millions tune-in to see those people either shine or fall flat on their face. Because, in the end, that's what the show is all about: the contestants. Not Paula. Not Simon. And god knows it's not about Kara. Yuck.

On a somewhat related note, I'm pleased that two of my other favorite shows, Mad Men and Glee won Golden Globe awards last night! I'm such a sucker for shows with ensemble casts...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Baby it's cold outside.


This week was a tough one. It's always hard to go back to work / school after the holidays, but on top of that, our area had some of the worst weather that we've seen in years. Granted, folks that live in areas that get 2 feet of snow as the norm would no doubt make fun of the paltry 8 - 10 inches that accumulated here over the week, especially given how crazy it makes people act. As soon as the forecasters start predicting an inch, it's all anyone can talk about, and then everyone floods the grocery stores to buy milk and toilet paper (It's always milk and toilet paper. Why not Kleenex and cheesy poofs? That's what I'd need.) like they're not going to have access to civilization for several weeks.

Ready to sled ride.

Nonetheless, after a hard week, we got to enjoy the snow just a little bit. Because our winters have been so mild over the past few years, poor Lauren has never really had a chance to play in the snow. In fact, I usually don't even bother to buy her boots. After all, she'd maybe get to use them once or twice before she outgrew them. Feeling guilty, we took a trip today to the nearest store (Kmart) to pick up a pair.

Lauren and Daddy on top of the hill.

Lauren was facing her first sled ride with the nonchalance of a veteran. So what happened next?

Here we go...

So then it was my turn. I'd never gone sled riding until today. That's right...never.

(By this point, Lauren had lost her nerve a bit and started to cover her eyes.)



I'm okay!

I guess I can strike that one from my bucket list. Next up - bowling!

P.S. Thought of a couple more things to look forward to:

--the annual Girl Scout cookie sale!

--Lost premiere on February 2nd!

Sunday, January 3, 2010


2010 calendar.

It took a few days, but here is the first post of 2010. Unfortunately, the plague is still upon the Ross house, and we are now into Week #3 of our colds. I haven't left the house since Wednesday; Lauren since Tuesday. Unfortunately, we don't have much of a choice tomorrow, as it's back to the weekly routine of work and school/Grandma's. It could be a lot worse though - as least none of us have a stomach bug. *shivers*

I spent the last couple of days doing some long overdue crafting. Every time I have some extended time off I have this vision of wiling the days away creating all kinds good stuff, but it never happens. I almost didn't make my usual calendar, as I just wasn't all that much into it this year. When I started making calendars five years ago, it was a good way to use up scraps, but this year, I allowed myself cut up some of my "good" paper to make it a little more interesting. I also decided to feed the paper through my printer instead of using rub-ons, which made the process go a whole lot faster. And although I have a collection of 1000+ fonts, I picked the same old sans serif font that I use for everything.

Embroidered elephant.

I also finished sewing this elephant for Lauren. A few months back, she asked me to make her one. I found this pattern, and Lauren picked out the checked fabric from a old stash of mine. I worked on it sporadically since then, but decided today that the time had come to finish him. He didn't come out exactly as I hoped because I really stink at machine sewing. Lauren seems to like him, so I guess that's all that matters. Hopefully this will be the beginning of a positive trend, and I will get a lot of crafting done in 2010.

Other than that, I've been trying to think of things to look forward to in the coming weeks.

#1. American Idol starts in almost a week.
#2. MLK Day is in two weeks.

That's all I got.