If I Did Costumes…

Happy Halloween!  I know some of you just adore this holiday.  My idea of being festive is an orange golf shirt (courtesy of a fire truck manufacturer), a black cardi and a REALLY old pashmina that has rust and navy in it. 

Some bloggers have had some great costume posts, past and present.  It has me pondering…  if I did dress up, what would I do?

Insert Sissy here?

If Sissy and I had gone to the (canceled) Doggy Howl-o-ween thing, we might have been a bishop and a nun.

I really do want to make Gg suffer through being Dorothy & Toto one of these days.  Given her anxiety, I think she might be happy in a medium basket on my arm.  Wonder if we could talk the Knight into being the Scarecrow or Tinman?   Sis would totally do the Lion, if I only asked her to wear the mane… 

(If you’re new here, Sis HATES wearing clothes, but loves headwear.  I promised her a while back I wouldn’t make her wear a costume ever again, but since she likes stuff on her head, that’s different… right?)

Courtesy of A&E Duck Dynasty

I also think the Knight and I could totally do Willie & Korie… you know, if we were costume people.

Do you dress up?  

What’s your best costume ever?

(I’m almost sorry we don’t dress up now; I’m really liking us as Willie & Korie!)

Barre-like Workouts

Sandy is moving on out.  Luckily here, the damage was minimal; there was a tree down on my regular route home yesterday afternoon, and there was evidence of other limbs in the road on my way to work this morning.  I’m anticipating even more tree damage along our walking paths, but I won’t be checking those out today, even though the wind is mostly gone and the rain appears to be following suit.  We hope everyone in Sandy’s path is safe.

Courtesy of Amazon

So, I loved Pure Barre, but wow are their classes expensive.  I don’t have room for a barre anywhere near where I work out (in the middle of the living room, if you must know), so I haven’t tried their workout videos, but I did order Exhale: Core Fusion last month.  I’ve done each video at least once; I do the whole set, so 5-10 minute routines in a row.

The techniques are similar, but they offer chair and towel alternatives to specific fitness equipment suggestions, so I can assure you that if you have room to work out, a simple, sturdy, portable chair, a spare bath towel and a yoga mat (or a beach towel), you can do these workouts.

However, I didn’t get the intense workout I got at Pure Barre.  I don’t know if that’s because I’m competitive and didn’t have peers to pressure me, or if it’s because the workouts just aren’t as demanding.  I mean, I did work to muscle fatigue a time or two, so they aren’t beginner-only workouts, but I didn’t ache and burn for 48 hours as I did after the PB session.  Still, considering I got the 3-DVD set for about what it costs me to take a single PB class, I recommend the collection, especially if you’re on a budget, don’t have a Pure Barre studio near you, or just prefer to workout in comfort of your home.

I might still ask Santa for a PB video or two.  But in the meantime, these DVDs are a great alternative to yoga and/or my Wii Fit when I need to mix up the walking a bit.

Do you have any fitness DVD recommendations?

Still Kickin’…

First things first.  We’re south and west of Sandy’s fury.  We still will get many inches of rain and/or snow, high winds, etc., but we’re not in her direct path as those north of here are, nor are we getting the sustained winds those to the east are getting.

photo.JPGI had another blissful weekend.  I finished two projects, blocked a third, and can actually share one of those today.  I started the Kicking Bag for a little boy baby, but his first-time parents were overwhelmed with gifts galore, so I set it aside… until a dear friend with that newborn I can’t get enough of happened to mention she’d really like a kick bag for her baby girl.  I asked if she cared if it was blue and yellow…

Pattern:  Kicking Bag for Babies.   It’s really a VERY simple pattern, and if I make it again, I might use multiple colors as the pattern suggested.  I’d forgotten how easy and tidy a 3-needle bind-off is too.

photo.JPGYarn:  Cuddle Muffin, by Jo-ann Sensations, as in the craft store.  It’s a self-patterned yarn, so the yarn did all the work.  It’s a synthetic, but it was soft and a little sproingy, so it knitted more like a superwash fingering than an acrylic.

Needle:  #3 circular Susan Bates.  Boy do they make fingers on a chalk board scrapey sounds.  I’m glad to be back with my Knitpick Options in the Harmony Wood tips.  Pointy and silent…

Verdict:  I’ll knit it again, even though it took forever.   It seems much more functional than the bulky weight snuggle bag I made earlier this year.

How was your weekend? 

If you’re in the northeast, I hope you’re safe and dry.

If Walls Could Talk

Courtesy of Amazon

A dog named Dog, a ghost with no memory, a realtor who specializes in haunted houses…   Sounds like a good book for Halloween, right?   I really enjoyed this cozy mystery.  Maybe because the main character is someone I can relate to?

Mel was a cultural anthropologist before her mother died and she took over her father’s historical renovation contracting business.  She not only works in a male-dominated industry, but she also keeps her clients and workers on their toes by showing up in flashy dresses, designed by a friend of hers trying to break into the fashion industry.   Of course, I’ve never pulled a gun on an old boyfriend, but …  I don’t want to give away too many of Mel’s surprises.  Read the book.

I do think the dog on the cover art looks more Irish Setter than Golden Retriever though.  

Do you believe in ghosts?  You believe some people are better suited to see them, communicate with them, than others?

Courtesy of Barnes & Noble

I suspect I’ll finish The Sugar Queen tonight.   I love the cover art, and Sissy would too.  Luckily, I’m reading it on the Nook and via my Nook app, so I don’t have to worry about Sissy drooling over the massive peppermint candies.  Strangely, the app is smart enough to find where I left off on the Nook and update automatically, but the Nook makes me manually find where I left off on the app.  Annoying, and I suspect the newer Nook versions are more compliant.

At any rate, you’ll get that review another day, and maybe a finished object report or three as well.  What’s on your weekend agenda?

15 and counting

Happy Thorsday, little friday and thankful thursday! 

photo.JPGSo… we didn’t have much of a pawty last night, but I think we celebrated just the way Sissy wanted to.  We went for a REALLY long walk, which is normally reserved for the weekends, and then they had shrimp for dinner.  I was going to bake, but the Knight brought home mini pumpkin spice cupcakes, and then we all watched Duck Dynasty together.  I’ve never been a fan of comedy or reality TV, but I can’t get enough of that show.

The girls were gracious enough to pose for a quick photo with my pumpkin in the boys garden before our walk, in lieu of waiting and drooling while we tried to get proper birthday photos later.


12-08 Dadaw Pawidcure time!

My thankful thing is easy today.  It’s our 15th wedding anniversary!  As I said over on the girls’ blog, I’m so very grateful that the Knight is such a hands-on Dadaw to our dogs.  He’s also my best friend far more supportive than I give him credit for being.  He’s been known to get a cover for his firehouse duty crew so that the girls aren’t alone when I travel, although he and Sissy are still in regular, nightly negotiations about the pillow on the other side of the bed.  (He believes it is his and prefers a cool, not-compressed pillow on which to rest his head when he comes to bed.  Sissy is quite sure it is HER pillow, and routinely warms it up and dampens it with a little drool before he gets there…)

What are you celebrating today?

All Gussied Up


Baby Sis with Mugsy 12-07

Of course, the first order of the day is to wish the Queen, DIVA, Sissymonster the happiest of birthdays!  Several human friends of ours are also having birthdays today too, so what a great day!

Yes, yes… there will be a pawty this evening, complete with pumpkin cupcakes and fresh fish in the dog bowls, and since it’s been a while, I’ll endeavor to get some up to date photos of the birthday girl and yesterday’s gotcha’ girl.

Now, to the subject of today’s post!  Last night, the League hosted a pumpkin decorating party.  I confess, I attended under duress.   I don’t like to carve pumpkins.  I admire the fancy designs, but I can’t even manage a childish, old-fashioned, simple jack-o-lantern on my own.  I don’t decorate or celebrate Halloween at all, except for dressing the fur-girls up for blog posts, so…


Custom JLC 80th anniversary inspired design

I had a ball.  As always, I am impressed and inspired by our members and their talent.  Isn’t that remarkable?!


More fab pumpkins by JLC artists – and Tipper too

And these?  (No, Tipper wasn’t carved or painted, or otherwise represented in pumpkin art.  But who am I to resist a doggy photo opp?)

photo.JPGI’m totally copying this idea in the future.   My “I’m so not artistic” friend strategically slapped some of her kids’ stickers on the pumpkin, slipped into parking lot with some silver paint, and …  I’m impressed! 

I’m seeing a star version, a doggy version…   You know… there’s still time for more pumpkin decorating this year…

Of course, there was Wicked Wine and pumpkin everything to munch on while we decorated, chatted, laughed and some of us got Tipper kisses too.  (Can’t find the Wicked Wine with the funky jack-o-lantern on the bottle…  it was red so I didn’t drink any, but it was a great touch!)

photo.JPGOh, and in honor of Gotcha’ Day and DIVA’s birthday (and due to my TRULY unremarkable skills with Sharpies), here’s my pumpkin.  You can’t tell, but the M is black trimmed in dark green, then light green, and of course, the large paw print is in royal purple, and the smaller one is PANK.  Yeah, I spent twice as much on Sharpies as the pumpkin, because the grocer only had multi-packs with the PANK and purple…  But I shared, and really, can you put a price on custom art?!

Not pictured is a small striped (in Sharpies hues) pumpkin, a stunning PALE orange pumpkin with its artist’s name and a couple of others painted on it with white dots, and a GREEN-grey pumpkin decorated with gold and silver wire.  There was also a painted pumpkin with brown hair and BLUE eyelashes that somehow missed its photo opp…

Oh!  And those noshes behind my pumpkin?  Trader Joe’s pumpkin bread mix with TJ’s pumpkin butter spread on top.  Podunk is finally getting a small TJ’s next month.  At some point, I’m going to have to accept that while it’s always going to be a quaint college town trying to impersonate a city, Podunk isn’t so podunk anymore.

So, two opportunities for input today:

  1. Do you decorate pumpkins?  If so, what medium(s)?
  2. What items MUST be on my Trader Joe’s shopping list?  I’ve honestly only even been in one ONCE in my whole life.  I do keep their pomegranate white tea in my pantry, through the kindness of more urbane friends…

Fall Comfort

Yesterday was the pre-cursor to some Indian Summer, but it was a perfect fall day.  It was brisk in the morning, warm in the afternoon, and I walked into The Local with my jacket across my handbag.  We dined in the upstairs kinda’ outdoors area, and it was a fine meal for catching up, diffusing and general girlfriend time.

I started with sparkling (hard) apple cider and their goat cheese salad, and we both had full portions of their truffle mac ‘n cheese, with generous take-home portions.  Oh my.  And since Alison already asked, I’ll go ahead and link to the menu.  I inaccurately told her it was a white cheddar, which I suppose Marmac is, but that’s about like calling Roquefort plain ol’ bleu cheese.

Courtesy of Cracker Barrel

When I got home, I had pumpkin custard.  Even more than 24 hours after it left Cracker Barrel, it was still outstanding.  The gingersnap was still chewy, not the soggy mess I’d feared.  

What are your favorite fall comfort foods?  I’m a mac ‘n cheese girl from way back, but if you haven’t had truffles and mac ‘n cheese, you must.  It elevates a childhood classic to foodie bliss.


From her breeder 10-08

It’s a BIG week in the woods.  Yesterday was the birthday of a childhood friend and of gMarie, and today is the fourth anniversary of the day Gretchen Greer came to live with us.   Happy Gotcha Day, wee one!   You still have us all wrapped around your littlest toenail.


Killer Plot

Courtesy of the author’s site

Friday, I finished another book and started two more.  (Yes, two.  Don’t judge.)  Killer Plot by Ellery Adams started off a little trite, and yes, I figured out who dunnit the first time I met that character, but it was still a fun, good read.  I did NOT figure out the why until it was revealed though, so it wasn’t like I had it all figured out.

I mean… what’s not to love about a book with a lighthouse and a dog on the cover?

I see there are already three more books in this series.  I’ll have to track them down.  I need to know more about the main character and her potential love life, although I am glad I’m not in her writing group.  I can’t imagine suffering through her ancient Egyptian romance.  Besides, it’s set in coastal Carolina, and if you’ve been coming around for long, you know that’s a place that’s near and dear to my heart.

This was another basically blogless Susan-given cozy, as is If the Walls Could Talk.   I’m loving that too, although I want the doggy on the cover to show up again.  So far, it’s only been mentioned in passing once, maybe twice.

Actually, I didn’t have much time to read over the weekend.  I did a lot of knitting, baby-holding and dog-walking.  Anything exciting in your world?

Go-to Camel

photo.JPGPardon the poor, iPhone in the work bathroom photo.  I bought this baby from Lands End on super-duper clearance about 15 months ago, and I’ve worn it HARD… and it’s showing.  I only paid something like $13 for it, and I considered it a risk.

Why?  It’s very thin, very open and drapy, not at all my usual, tailored style.   Turns out that very thin fabric is perfect for four seasons, as is the truly neutral color.  It’s also a great packable in a carry-on, because it is extremely fine-gauged and I can wad it up into almost nothing.

What I love:

  • The warm, but light “tan” color.  It’s not at all peachy, no matter what the photo shows.  I can’t find anything close to this hue outside of a true camel hair coat.
  • The very thin fabric.  It stretches, so it still slides over other knits.
  • Easy-care.  I have a similar style from Lilly P, but it’s a cashmere blend so it’s not as easy-care, nor am I so cavalier as to wad it up and shove it in a carry-on tote.  (But no, Lilly P isn’t offering that precise style in the color I need or I’d be tempted…)
  • Versitility.  It works today with a white cotton tee and jean crops, but I’ve also worn it with a leopard print blouse and a skirt or trousers.   I’ve also worn it belted over my red sheath.

Now, I realize that as pictured, it isn’t the most flattering cardi ever, but the trim fitting, cropped or nearly so cardis that I know do me the most justice aren’t paper-thin and … waddable. 

This J Crew number is the closest I’ve found.  I don’t like the pockets.  It’s also probably at least twice as thick as my beloved friend.   But the ribbed bottom is a deal-breaker. 

My kingdom for a new camel that’s as awesome as the old camel.

Have you ever bought something expecting it not to work and made a new favorite instead?

What’s on your weekend agenda?

Belabored Argosy

Happy Thorsday, little friday, thankful thursday and firehouse meetings night…

October 2012 003The girls blogged about this project today too.  The photos are the same, but the story is different.   The Yellow Argosy Baby Blanket began at the very end of December, 2010.  Long-time readers might recall that was just a few days after Sissy’s double-glaucoma diagnosis, after she went blind in her left eye on Christmas Eve.  Pardon the pun, but it was a very dark time in the woods.  Sissy was in pain – because we were unable to manage the glaucoma in the left eye – and I’m not sure why I thought casting on for a baby blanket was a good idea.

Anyway, you can go to the girls’ post to read more about the history of said blanket/project.  Below is the finished object report.

Project:  Yellow Argosy.  

October 2012 004Pattern:  Argosy Baby Blanket.  This is my third Argosy.  The shawl was one of the first shawls/lace projects I did, and I really enjoyed the scarf too.   As I’ve gifted all three Argosy projects to date, I am pondering the wrap for me! 

The pattern is easy enough to memorize and keep track of, but I still made a few mistakes.  Baby E and her mom seem quite pleased with it as-is though, so shhhh…

My only modification was the twice-around, single crochet trim.  I had only intended to go around once, but the Knight announced more PANK was needed, so…

Yarn:  Plymouth Encore, for both the body and the trim.  Lovely yarn.  Great wool blend that makes it easy-care too.

October 2012 001

Needles:  US #7 extra-extra-long circular needle.  Actually, I used my Knitpick Options and sized up and down on cord length as needed.  The blanket is actually knitted from that one lone square, increased on both sides to its widest point, then decreased both sides back to one square. 

I also used a “H” crochet hook for the PANK trim.

October 2012 002Verdict:  I’m proud of it, the recipients love it, and if you can’t tell, there will be more Argosy in my future.

Thankful?  I’m thankful that my handknits find loving homes.  I’m thankful for the friends who stocked up my cupboard with baby socks and baby sweaters, so that I can knit a hat or a blanket or a toy or… just pull something out and gift it with love from all over.

I’m also thankful for friends who know that knitted with dog hair means more love too.

What are you thankful for today?