Monday, April 28, 2008

Fun at Loews

Its been raining since Saturday, so the Stalker Bee and his army haven't been around. Thank goodness! Hubby and I looked under the porch and all over the yard but can't find the hive. Our backyard shares a fence with our neighbor to the right. He has a porch that has a dark enclosed spot underneath and a lush garden, which makes us think the hive is next door somewhere. His porch is close enough to ours that is seems reasonable that the bees would be territorial of both yards. I'm just glad they haven't been around.

I've been working on Krystal's Daisy Square pattern this weekend. I've been making about 2 a week since January, some weeks more than that. I thought if I worked on them slowly that I wouldn't get sick of them, but its taking so long that I'm upping it to 4 a week. This blue and pink one is number 48...only 32 to go. Ummm...did I say only? Slap me!

Hubby and I decided that we wanted to try and grow some of our own veggies. Neither of us has a green thumb, but it doesn't hurt to try, especially with produce prices so high! We headed to Loews to get some seeds, but decided on starter plants instead. They were only $2 each and give us a head start.

We bought a tomato plant, grape tomato plant, cucumber plant, basil, and green pepper. We've re-potted them all (in leftover pots of other plants we've killed over the years, oops!) with fresh soil and plant food. Let's cross our fingers.

Speaking of my black thumb, remember this plant? Its dead. :X

While at Loews, I remembered a post from a woman at Crochetville who mentioned that she had made a bag out of plastic twine. Her husband had brought it home for a project and she used the leftovers. I had to get a few balls while I was there! Hubby looked at me a little strangely, but I'm used to that!

Its called Dazzle Twine and is $0.98 for 200 feet of twine. I bought 4 balls to experiment with. I haven't decided what to do with it yet, but it will probably be a bag of some sort.

On the way out, we noticed a flea market. Hubby is a sucker for flea markets. He can't pass one without looking. We found dvd's for $2 each.

Pi begged for The Polar Express. The other three are Star Wars dvds! We bought Episode 4, 5, and a bonus info dvd. The seller didn't have Episode 4, but I'm sure we'll score that sooner or later. Hubby and I love Star Wars. Episode 2 was one of our first dates (though we agree that Episode 1, 2, and 3 are nowhere as good as the original 3).

Have I shown my true dorky side now? Yes? Good! Nothing like being honest about one's dorkiness.

Since the bees are taking a break, I wanted to show you one thing I do like about this apartment. There is a gorgeous tree in the backyard that blooms full, pink flowers.

Isn't it pretty? I love this tree!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Stalked by bees.

You know, real bees are not nearly as cute as cartoon or stuffed bees.

We're being stalked by bees. Big, bad, ugly bumblebees.

We got this 2 bedroom apartment with a small backyard back in September. We figured it would be a stretch for us, but we felt the kid should at least have a backyard to play in safely. She'd never had one before. It got cold before we could enjoy it too much. Now that the weather is getting nice, the backyard is infested with bees.

The bees must be making a hive somewhere nearby but we can't figure out where. We think it may be under the porch. These are no small bees mind you, but super fat suckers. At first, we'd be in the backyard and they'd just fly by. Thoughts of "damn, there's alot of bees lately" passed through my mind but that was all. But the suckers are smart and have decided that this is THEIR territory and they're going to fight us for it.

As of today, the bees are winning.

They're stalking the door to the backyard. Really. When we open the door to the back, there is always a bee hovering right there. Its not flying around, oh no. It's hovering. Right. In. The. Doorway. Its waiting for me to make the wrong move....mocking me... just try and come closer Chrissy. I hate being called Chrissy and since the bee obviously hates me, I know this is what he's thinking.

Hubby read online that if you spray bees with soapy water, this will weigh down their wings and they'll eventually die. Whoever wrote that article needs to be tarred and feathered because it didn't work.

Hubby filled a spray bottle with soapy water and started spraying Stalker Bee. Stalker Bee freaked out and must have called the calvary because the Backup Bee Army promplty arrived. Hubby resorted to spraying them through the window screen with no luck. Not a single dead bee. They're probably back in their hive right at this moment, planning their revenge. The queen bee is probably mapping out their strategy, in between laying 30,60-000 eggs of course (talk about fertility).

I don't know what to do next. Is this something the landlord should handle? Do I pay for a pest remover by myself? I'd really rather not have to pay for it. Do I call a beekepper who will want them since there is a shortage of bees supposedly? I would gladly learn to raise them (and their honey!) if we didn't have a 7 year old that wants to run wild in the backyard.

Or do we start The War of the Bees and duke it out til only one of us is standing or in Stalker Bee's case, hovering? I read that one of the best methods is to torch the beehive...with a torch like in the movies. Anyone that knows me undertands that Chris + fire + clumsiness = BAD NEWS! If it comes down to that, I have a feeling the bees will win.

P.S. - Just want to thank you guys for good thoughts and prayers again. They seem to be working. We got word that FIL is actually doing a bit better! We don't know what that means for the long run, but some improvement is better than none!

Also, I want to thank Rachel who has chosen my name for her new online crochet magazine. Check it out HERE.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Greetings and Salutations

Sorry for the long absence. I want to thank you guys for the prayers and well wishes you sent my way. My FIL is in the hospital, dying of a heart condition. My husband and his family are taking it hard, so continued prayers and well wishes for them are very much appreciated.

I needed to work on something this week that didn't need much concentration. After seeing the gorgeous bags Crafty Ashley made, I decided to make another Fat Bottom Bag (thanks for the inspiration Ashley!). If anyone hasn't seen her pretty bags, I suggest you take a look!

This one is made with a Caron Pounder (there's enough left over for at least 2 more bags!) and an I hook.

The lining is a burgandy flat sheet that I never used. Nice sturdy lining and recycling all in one! My sewing skills still took me nearly 2 hours to sew the lining in. I'm not sure whether I'm going to keep this one or give it to my mom for Mother's Day.

I've finished my items for the purse swap and will be mailing them this week. I hope Lesa likes them!

The Traveling Hook III is currently on its way to my house from Canada, so I'll be working on those squares for 5 days before it moves on. I can't wait! This is such a great cause. I've got my yarn picked out just waiting for the hook.

I was thinking about all the catching up I needed to do tonight and had tons I wanted to talk about, but I'm having a major brain fart and can't think of any of it! Oh well...maybe it'll come to me tomorrow.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

More Cathedral Rose Progress

Sorry I've been MIA this past week. I've just been pretty exhausted and the last thing on my mind was blogging. I spent most of yesterday sleeping. On Friday night, I fell asleep at 9:30 and still slept most of Saturday away. I roused myself long enough to help hubby with laundry and get a few rows of the Cathedral Window in.

I added the half circles and the black border around them. Sorry the pic is a bit dark. Its cloudy today and hard to get the lighting just right.

We've got some heavy family stuff going on, so keep us in your prayers if you're of the praying variety.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Happy Birthday Inky Binky!

Just want to say a quick Happy Birthday to my little sister who is 20 today! My entire family went out to dinner to a Japanese Habashi steakhouse tonight. The food was good and the entertainment was alot of fun. I know my sis got some pics...I'll see if I can grab them from her soon. My favorite part was the fried ice cream...yum! Can you hear my arteries clogging?

Not much else going on. Still working on my swap crochet, but its been slow. Work is so busy that I'm exhausted by the time I get home and haven't picked up my hook to work on anything else. Even subway crocheting has been pretty scarce the last few days. I mostly close my eyes to rest or do some light reading.

Pi will be spending this upcoming weekend at her dad's house, so I'm hoping to get some much needed rest and recharge.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Last night was Pi's first Reconciliation. She was chosen to be a reader at the prayer service and read the first part of the Prodigal Son parable. You could tell she was nervous because she rushed through it, but I was so proud of her for memorizing it all and speaking in front of all those people.

When it came time for the children to do their first confession, the parents walked up with them and introduced them to the priests. Then we walked away and left the kids to talk with the priests. I could see her, but I couldn't hear anything she said.

I didn't think I would be emotional....I certainly wasn't emotional during my first confession (I was 12). I didn't understand the signficance then. But to see my daughter receive this sacrament filled me with all of this unexpected emotion. I began to cry because it was so beautiful. I don't cry at weddings, funerals, or much of anything in between. When she was finished and had received her blessing, she looked at me and gave me a look to tell me that my crying was embarrasing her.

I'm going to be a basket case when she gets married.

Here she is in front of the church after the prayer service was over (those spots are rain drops).

Pi's cousin Michaela came over for a sleepover later that night. They used blankets to make a tent under Pi's bed (she has a raised bed) and threw the mattress on the floor to go camping. This is what I found when I woke up this morning, haha!

We had a girl scout trip today and I brought the girls to the park to play for awhile. They were so exhausted they fell asleep on the floor while watching Santa Clause 2. Apparently, they've not let go of winter yet. :)

My co-worker rented No Country for Old Men and lent it to me, so I threw it in after they fell asleep. I nearly threw up in my mouth a few times. It was a good movie, but some of the gore was just too much for me. And it ended so abruptly. Anyone else see it? Thoughts?

No crochet to show just yet. I'm alternately working on the secret purse, some daisy squares, and a smidge on the Cathedral Window. I've got crocheters ADD. Hopefully soon, I'll have some progress to show you.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Feeling Funky?

The last few days I've been in a crochet funk. Since Saturday, I hadn't done much crocheting at all. I'd look at patterns for hours, but not crochet.

I took out an ami book from the library called Amigurumi Animals by.Annie Obaachman last Friday. Pi saw the book and instantly fell in love with the panda. I figured this was a good way to get out of my funk, so I whipped this little guy up yesterday. His feet are a bit fatter than in the book and I changed his ears. I used a bigger hook than recommended and he turned out to be about 8" tall. Pi really likes him!

Also, Andrea from Knits and Knots is hosting an auction and I agreed to make something. I was inspired by Ashley's Lion Brand bunnies. They were so cute I had to try one. This guy works up really fast!

I made him in mint green and white, so he'll appeal to either a boy or a girl. I love him! Andrea, he'll be travelling to you tomorrow!

Hopefully my funk is over for awhile. Its time to really get going on my purse swap!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Artsy on the subway

I was riding the subway on my way home Saturday. The train was fairly empty, with nothing unusual going on. There was a couple sitting close by that were obviusly tourists...they were snapping pictures of the advertisements. There was a man skecthing in a book and a girl listening to an MP3 player. I pulled out my crochet and quit paying attention to anything else.

About halfway home (on DeKalb for all you subway savvy peeps), the man with the sketchbook got up, slid a piece of paper onto the emtpy seat next to me and ran off the train to catch a connecting train.

I was pretty surprised when I looked at the paper and the man had sketched me crocheting! I looked out the window and was able to manage a wave of thanks before my train took off again.

How neat is that!?

Artsy New Yorkers = just one more reason I love this city.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Chrysanthemum Tea Shawl

Any crocheter worth their salt knows who Doris Chan is. I love her stuff but have never been gutsy enough to try one of her designs. I have the book Amazing Crochet Lace and figured it was time to give it a go.

My favorite pattern in the book is the Chrysanthemum Tea Shawl. It took a little over a week, though that time could have been halved. I only worked on it in spurts. It was pretty easy, though I think I flubbed up the middle a bit. Who cares...I love it! This bad boy is about 48" across and could have easily been blocked larger.

Its made with Patons Classic Merino wool and K hook. The original pattern calls for sport weight but since I'm chunky I wanted the gauge a bit larger. If I do it again, I'll use a smaller hook to make it sturdier by being less lacy.

(look my hair is growing back already!)

Sorry this pic is crooked. My camera person is about 4 feet tall and has no patience.

Well I know what I look like from the midget's perspective.
There's alot to do at work, so I get to go into work today...Saturday. Joy.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


Its been awhile since I did a food post, so I thought I'd give you a recipe for empanadas that my family loves. The filling looks weird, but it tastes great! I give credit to Cathy, a former co-worker for the recipe.


1 pound of ground chicken or 3 diced chicken breasts (you can also use beef or shrimp)
white pepper and red pepper
1 small can of tomato paste
1 small can of tomato sauce
mexican 4 cheese (we like the sargento better than kraft)
goya discos (found in the spanish frozen section at the supermarket)
1 tbsp olive oil

First, remove your discos from the freezer, so they can defrost. Sprinkle your diced chicken with white and red pepper. The more you use, the spicier, so sprinkle at your discretion. Heat the olive oil in a pan and cook the chicken until browned.

After the chicken is browned, add tomato paste and tomato sauce. Stir well. It will look like a goopy mess, like this:

Turn off the heat and place filling into a large bowl. Add the package of cheese and mix well. We use the whole package because we like them cheesy! Let the mixture cool for a half hour or so. It will look like this:

When the mixture is cooled, sppon some mixture onto a disco. Don't overfill or you'll have a heck of a time closing it.

Fold the disco over and close edges with a fork. Some people prefer to use their fingers, but I like the fork closure. This is Pi's favorite part and she's a pro at closing the empanadas.

If you want to be healthy bake your empanadas at 350 degrees until the disco is browned. If you like them the traditional (ie: unhealthy) way, you can fry them in hot oil. We like them fried so we use olive oil to be a little healthier than corn or vegetable oil. It will literally take less than 60 seconds to brown each side in oil.

Viola! With some rice on the side, this is crowd pleaser everytime. Even my non-spanish anonymous hubby likes these!