Thursday, September 29, 2011

There are two hats buried in this pile of accessories I'm working on, and both are knit out of this deep green, called Oz.  I love the dark green, but it's giving me a hell of a time coming up with drinks, and I keep coming back to herbs instead. 

I know Basil and Mint aren't exactly drinks, but they are some of my favorite things to put IN the drinks, so I think I'll be OK here.  

You'd be amazed how hard it is to think of cocktails that work with green, and if you look back at my patterns, you'll see I've used up most the drinkable ones.  Beyond Mojitos and Margaritas, you fall into the land of Grasshoppers and other Creme de Menthe concoctions, which personally, I'm thinking are little more than a headache in a glass once you're past Freshman Year in college.

Lucky for me, the vintage cocktail brochures are all unpacked and on the cookbook shelves, so I do have a few interesting pages to share from my extensive reasearch: 

This book has the least appetizing photo of the grasshopper that I could find. 

It looks a lot like the healthy grass shots they sell in juice bars.  And the other two drinks on the page didn't fare much better in the printing process - or maybe these were considered appetizing colors in 1972.  The pink one is called a Pink Squirrel, and it's a scary shade of bubble gum cough syrup,  made from Creme De Almond, white Creme De Cacao and actual cream.  Which should all be white things right?  Nope.  The almond is surprisingly - red, hence the pink!  The Brandy Alexander in the middle is the most normal color, and could be pretty good.  It looks a lot like coffee and is made from cream, brandy and creme de cacao.  Not so bad.

The Grasshopper, by the way, is made from Green Creme De Menthe, creme De Cacao and cream.  Honestly, not so bad either, if you can get past the crazy green color, which I kind of can't.

But, for those of you  in the mood for a green cocktail that couldn't possibly taste good, there's this one. I'm not trying it unless dared to - with a good payoff - but I don't think I'm out on a limb saying it'll taste like crap without having tasted a sip.   This guy is called a Sundown.   Equal parts, Green Creme de Menthe and ... ready? the obvious choice to compliment that:  Grapefruit juice.   Right?


Along with the cocktails, I found the following recipe, which could be made to accompany your Sundown:

Vegetables Mock Amandine
1 package frozen green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, or carrots
2 tbs butter
2 oz Creme De Almond

I'm thinking this is perfect for a Halloween Party.  Looks scary (brains and blood) AND tastes scary too.


 Lastly, I had to share this page, which I can't believe I missed before.

It's an article with all kinds of benign tips on decor, invites, and snacks.  Nothing too interesting.  But, I'm pretty sure the real way to make a happening party happen is pretty much to invite the guy in the bottom left hand corner to serve drinks, like they did.   With the sideburns and sweet ponytail and and a tray of crazy concoctions.   Am I right?  He reminds me a little of a young Vincent Price.

Anyways, I should get back to the pattern writing.  I really do have a list of basil and mint drinks that will be tasty, don't worry. And the hat patterns should be out in mid October, just in time to begin holiday knitting.   I'm putting both into one PDF, so you'll get two patterns in one, and a whole list of drinks at once - none of which combine grapefruit juice with anything besides gin or vodka. Promise. 


Monday, September 26, 2011

 going on in our living room, now that it's painted and done.  (Thanks again to Erin and Diana (and Geneva and Lily) xo)

  In fact, there's been a little too much living going on in here.  The last set of weekend guests just left and now it's time for only the four of us to live in here.   No matter how much we love our guests, I am looking forward to having none of them for a while.  September has been a crazy month - full of new people, old friends, weekend guests, parties and dinners, entirely too many paintbrushes, buckets of spackle, trips to IKEA, and back-to-school meetings.  I'm ready for a drink and some knitting, I tell you.

 In the meantime, here's the next finished room.  In our old house, we had an actual family room and an actual living room, which were separated by walls and doors.   Here, we have one super long room that's ended up being kind of both.   In this photo, you are standing in the front end, looking at the back half of the room, with the dining room behind it.  

The front half has our big leather sofa and the TV - hidden in the corner behind the french door there in the corner.  So, we'll call that the family room for now.   I made a questionable decision as a parent of two social kids who live just a block away from their respective schools, and I put an off white rug in front of that baby.  We'll see how that goes.  I did not put a coffee table here, so there's nowhere to put a plate or cup.   Subtle, but it could work, maybe.

The back half, which I guess is more the living room half, has the fireplace in it, and an opening straight to the kitchen.   It also has a big bookshelf of things to read and games to play in front of the fire.  (You see that better in the first picture)  Plus, the rug on this half is easy to clean, with lots of colors on it (again, you can see it in the first picture).  I think it's the snacking half of the room, where the kids will ignore the TV, eat snacks, and play board games.  

(I'm not really that stupid, we have an upstairs TV room with a crappy rug and a futon in it.) 

Anyways, that's the living room.  It's a weird space, but I think it'll work out fine.

The only other room to share downstairs is my office, but I have to wait until the hole in the ceiling is repaired and I repaint in there before I can call that one finished.   The guys aren't coming for a few weeks, so I can knit in the meantime and enjoy my guest-free house for a bit while I wait.  (I could paint the upstairs, but I feel like a break.)  

I actually did start some new knitting today, with the lovely yarn below.  Newly sent from The Plucky Knitter, and already a few inches bigger than it is here on the porch.   It's a deep wine-purplish color, and I love it.  She didn't send a tag, so I need to double check the color and get back to you with what it really is....

I'm thinking this will be my Rhinebeck Cowl.

Instead of trying to knit an entire sweater for Rhinebeck, I've adjusted my expectations to fit my schedule.  I'll probably be knititng away ON my Rhinebeck sweater while there, but I'm going to shoot to wear a few new accessories at the Fair, instead of an actual garment.   And considering how the weather gets all iffy and my sweater could be hidden under a coat or it could be too hot to wear it without schvitzing, I might be happy with a cowl and hat plan instead anyways.  Unless I do finish the sweater, in which case I'll wear it WITH the cowl.  Right?  I'm thinking I'll just have options this way.

Anyone else going?  I'd love to meet a few of you in person this year!!

Oh, and PS.  At one of those Back To School Nights, a parent came up to me and said she recognized me from somewhere.  We figured out where.  Turns out she owns one of the liquor stores in Arlington that I used to go to, apparently enough to be deemed a regular.   I'm not entirely sure if I should be embarrassed or not. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


It's a little one, but it's making me happy!  As is the beer.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

 I'm getting back into a routine around here, and with the return of said routine, came the return of some knitting mojo!

I moved things into my office and got back to work last week.  Then I was temporarily delayed by a leaky ceiling, which led to a few conversations, which lead to an entire roofing job (and $7,000 MORE down the drain).   The roofing job led to a giant hole in the ceiling above my desk, which also needed some attention, and a temporary move into the dining room for all the things in my office.   More visits from the contractor ensued, things were cleaned up, and a repair will be done in a few weeks. For now, the roof is up and although the ceiling looks kind of crazy, nothing will be leaking in through that fantabulous new roof, no matter what Mother Nature decides to chuck my way.   ($7,000 says so)

So.... I moved my stuff back into the office one more time (this feels a lot like the Olivia book where she keeps moving the cat) for a few weeks -- until the repair, when I'll move it all back into the dining room for a bit again.   But for NOW...

My office is set up. Everything I need is currently where I need it.  And... prior to the whole ceiling and roof debacle, a few projects moved enough out of limbo that I had knitting to work on over the past few days.  When ignoring the noise and men above.
(and the myriad of house projects I need to be painting, arranging or fixing.)

You can see what I've got going on here.

Those cables up front are made out of The Fibre Company's Canopy.   It is soft and beautiful and has the most amazing subtle haze of burgundy over the green.   This little panel on the table will probably make its debut sometime in October, and it will be slouchy and cozy and cabley.  Which is exactly what the Canopy wants to be.   Soft and slouchy, and a little bit luxe.

Behind that Canopy is a deep green skein that I had yet to wind when the photo was taken.  Now it's two swatches and a hat-in-progress.  This skein is really exciting   --- it's the Plucky Knitter's new Aran.  She's calling it Plucky Rustic, and it's a 100% merino that promises to be fab in everyday wear.  It's got the deep colors and subtle sheen that I so love in Plucky yarns, but it does not have any cashmere in the fiber, so it's more of an everyday yarn - one that's not going to pill, and will lend itself well to everyday kinds of knits.
I have lots of plans for this yarn, beginning with a few accessories and the hat already on the needles.
The third green skein is Quince and Co's Osprey, in an amazing shade of green called Parsley.  I had bought this to replace the Ultra Alpaca I'd used in my Rhinebeck sweater, which needs to be something else.  BUT, always the idiot, I bought the wrong yarn.  I needed Lark.  Osprey is too heavy for this sweater, although I love it.  So, another batch of Quince - in the Lark - is on its way to me - this time in a deep blue, called Peacoat.   Because much as I love this green, I have not right owning two sweater quantities of bright green.   And this lovely yarn will eventually be something bulky and textury (come February?).    Maybe.


I have an urge to name one of these projects (the Canopy, perhaps?) Drambuie, because I love the sound of the word, so I've acquired a new liquor to experiment with.   I have a Room Parent meeting tonight at 7, but hope to be back and play with it afterwards.   In the meantime, anyone have any favorite Drambuie recipes I'll need to try?  Do share, as most of what I've found mixes it with scotch, and I'm up for other ideas as well. 


On the New Town Front, all is well.   Thanks so much for your comments!  It's so nice to hear about other people in the same boat - (and to have comments to read in the absence of adults to talk to) - ha!

But really, it's good here.   The girls are settling in, buddies are working out, and I have gotten involved with a few things that allow me to figure out who all the different women are around here.   Last weekend's block party on our street was awesome, and I may even have some adults to talk to in the absence of my contractor buddies, who are now working on other houses in other towns.  I'm also lucky enough to have moved about 1 mile, from my old town, so I will keep in touch with a lot of old friends, who I love and don't want to give up.

Although my knitting friends know I'm not doing the best job of that yet...  Soon guys I promise.  I actually have knitting to work on! 

Friday, September 09, 2011

I've actually made a few this week!  I had a few rum and tonics, and then a few rum and ginger ales.  I now need more tonic and ginger ale, but the car is in the shop, so that has to wait. 

This one's lemon vodka, cranberry soda with a slice of apple and lime in the glass, plus a generous squirt of lime to make up for the sweet soda.  It seems appropriate for the beginning of fall, right?  Still too hot to want cider and burbon, so this is cold and icy, but uses cranberries!  (And I found this bottle of soda in a box, so really, why not use it?)  It would work just as well with cranberry juice and seltzer or soda water, and it wouldn't be so sweet. 

You might notice the kitchen in the background.  Ahem.

My two favorite parts are visible from this angle -- the wine rack AND the stove.  Sometime in the future, we will be adding a backsplash above the cooktop, but for now we are not interested in thinking about another thing, and a leak in the roof is costing us a surprise $7,000 (the fun never stops!), so the extra tilework will just have to wait.   In the meantime, we've made pancakes, pie, baked ziti, numerous eggs, grilled cheese... and the list goes on.  It feels good to cook again!   The contractors left yesterday, and we're hoping the porto potty follows soon.   For now, we still own the half bath on the lawn - and it could come in handy, as the 27th Annual Block Party is tomorrow on our street.  We'll see if anyone decides to give it a go. 

I have high hopes for this neighborhood - they put a keg in someone's garage, and we all bring our lawn chairs out on the street. 

I plan on bringing a little knitting with me for the afternoon and ignoring the kids as they cruise around the party.   I have found another cable I love, and the swatch is good.  I keep getting stuck on the neckline, and cannot seem to decide what it is I want it to be yet.   I am torn between a slouchy short sleeved number with a straight neckline, a vest, a more basic cowlneck, or a  3/4 sleeve boatneck like Narragansett.   Too many options for one little swatch!

Preferences?  I need to decide before two new packages arrive this week. 
One will contain Quince and Co's Osprey and the other is from Plucky!

Friday, September 02, 2011

 Is where I am.     This sweater is looking a lot more like I want it to after the second knit through, but it's still not perfect.   I am considering a third yarn choice, or maybe a few different design decisions through the body.   We'll see what I end up with, but I'm getting a little peeved with the whole thing.  Grrrrr.  I blame the fact that I am not completely in the game yet.   There is still too much that I need to get done, and to be honest, this knitting thing is hard to do when the rest of our lives are up in the air.  Every time I pick up the needles, I'm actually thinking about what else I need to be doing, and that isn't exactly good for the cardigan in hand, if you know what I mean...    

Out in the world, I'm also close... but not exactly there.   It's a little weird to meet new people as a grownup!  The kids have it all set up so the teachers and the activities they do in their classes foster new buddies, and both of the girls have already made new friends and seem to be settled with their new classes.  The little one is setting up playdates for next week, and the big one has gone out after both school days with new kids.   Me, not so much.  Turns out a giant group of moms standing around a school,  who all know each other is a bit overwhelming,  when you stand on the outside of it.   Who knew?    I'm lucky enough to have a couple of neighbors who I can stand next to so I don't look entirely as uncomfortable as I feel, and my contractor called while I was waiting alone yesterday so I kept him on the phone longer than he ever wanted to be talking to me for a little distraction, which was convenient.   Am guessing the situation will be very different in a few weeks, but for now, it's a little weird. 

I also managed to mess with the one new friend I met.   In my old town,  my buddies knew I was terrible with schedules and such and usually kept me on track with where I had to be when.   Here I'm on my own.  So I was all ready to go to the New Parent Coffee yesterday, and had even remembered to remind my One New Friend beforehand.   She had no idea about it and had to work, but hey.   Dressed in non paint-y clothing AND on time, I went over to the school for the meeting and didn't see anybody, so I asked at the office.  The receptionist had no idea what I was talking about but mentioned that there was another parent looking for the same meeting outside the office, so maybe he knew.   I trot off to meet another new friend and figure out where the meeting is.   The Other Parent was the husband of the woman I'd told about said meeting, who had called in and missed work to be at school, because she couldn't change her schedule.   And yep, you've already guessed this part - the meeting is not only next week, but it's at my other daughter's school, so the cat's out of the bag on me being an idiot already.  A bit earlier than I'd intended.

Truth be told, he was pretty nice about it and when I said I owe him a beer, he responded with "I'm thinking two...".   So he and his wife might be exactly my kind of peeps, right?   I hope he didn't have to miss anything too important.  

Something I did do right this week was paint.   Yesterday was the first full day of school, so once I got back from my Not A Meeting, I found my painty clothes and got to work.   My new dining room feels a little like my old dining room now.  But not exactly.