Sanna's Bag

“I never seem to have what I need when I need it. I’m going to make a belt-bag that’s bigger on the inside than on the outside, and just carry everything with me.”

Friday, December 30, 2011

vehicular futz

I was out and abouting today, and ran through a big puddle.(It's been raining a lot lately.  There are puddles in the street you could raise trout in.) I smiled broadly at the big splash, then blinked in surprise at the puff of smoke or steam or whatever from under the car.  The battery light came on, the power steering went out, and the heater ceased to heat.  "Oh Crap," I thought.  "I flooded something.  Maybe if I just keep driving, it'll dry out."  Didn't happen.  I wrestled that non-power steering around corners and in and out of a parking lot and on the way home I gave up and pulled into the neighborhood mechanic.  When I described the symptoms, he said, "You dropped your serpentine.  That usually only happens on Chevy vans.  We can get to it this afternoon."  "You could keep it till next year if you need to." I said.  He blinked, then laughed, and now the car is back and running just fine and we are only $160 lighter.  So if ever the power steering goes out, the heater blows cold, and the battery light comes on, it's probably your serpentine belt.  We need to tell one another about these things.

No plans for New Year.  Usually we go to bed like normal, then when the neighbors start firing their guns, we roll over, kiss one another and wish one another a happy new year.  Do you have festive plans?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

geese and other fowl

On Christmas day, as we were headed out to the movies, we passed a school playground with about two hundred Canada Geese all facing the same direction.  DH pointed it out to me and told me they were there to sing geesemas carols.  I suggested that they were the grounds maintenance crew there to fertilize the grass and get rid of the slugs.  This is a very new agey school, so of course they would use the greenest methods possible, and if anyone has seen goose poo, you know how green it is.  We decided that both explanations could be simultaneously correct.  They could sing geesemas carols while they were fertilizing.    Let's see, what carols would geese sing?  These, of course, would start with "Oh Canada."  Then perhaps, ""We free wings," "Here we come a waddling,"   Would "TheTwelve Day of Geesemas" include six geese a-laying?  (two purple slugs and partridge . ..)

The next day, as we were on our way to the store, we passed a house with an apple tree in the front yard.  We had a freeze a while ago, then several warm days, then a good stiff wind which blew down a number of apple.  There was a family of geese feasting on the fallen apples and acting erratically.  I mean, it's hard to tell if a goose is staggering. But they would stand with head held high, sort of making little circles with it as if trying to get things to come into focus.  And one goose was trying to intimidate  a parked pickup truck.  My friends in Oz tell me that parrots get drunk and hold loud, raucous parties, where they to sing dirty songs but no one can remember the words.  I can just envision a parrot, lying on its back at the side of the road, feet in the air, crooning, "Shweet vi-o-letchsshhh, shweeter than all th rozess . . " over and over and over.

Do geese and parrots have hangovers?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

I believe!!

My BIL,a prince of a fellow, works as Santa's stand in for various churches and charities in the Azusa area.  On this particular occasion, he gave presents to over two thousand kids.

He always wears the white gloves, and he gets the thickest,fluffiest beard he can find  ". . .because it filters out more germs."  Things I never thought 'santa would have to think about.

The good gifting runs in the family, too.  DH gave me "Twilight in Lake Woebegone" by Harrison Geilor which looks like vampire love in Northern Minnesota with the Norwegian bachelor farmers.  Can't wait to get to it.

But first, I want to watch the movie, "Going Postal" which is adapted from Terry Pratchett's book of the same name.  DH got me the CD.  Squeee!!

And speaking of movies, we hit the Christmas day matinee of Sherlock Holmes.  Rock-em, sock-em, kick butt action and wads of special effects.  Rather a thin plot.  But I was expecting it, so was prepared to enjoy all the stuff aimed at the teenage boy the film was made for.  Woohoo!  I  enjoyed it!

And now, DH has spread a finger food feast for us to nibble as we enjoy the serenity of the afternoon.  He totally rocks!  Haveede I mentioned?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

We saw the lights

There is a holiday lights display out at the Portland International Raceway every year.  A fee is charged, some of which goes to charity, and driving around the racetrack to see the lights is a holiday tradition for many families.  This year, for the first time, DH and I drove over to see them.  I was delighted and impressed. There were stockings hung by the chimney with care, and Santa on a ski jump, and dolls and toy soldiers,
And the little igloo in Bethlehem with the three wise penguins sliding on the ice.  You remember the story of the three wise penguins who brought gifts of seal liver, mucktuk and pelts, don't you?  It's in the new, revised, multi-cultural, politically correct Bible.
 Then the twelve days of Christmas were illustrated in lighted sculpture.  Taking pictures from a moving car leaves things a bit blurry.  My apologies.  I was particularly taken with the three enormous French hens attacking the Eifel Tower.  Fowl domination of the freedom-loving French!
I also admired the five gold rings.  The two turtledoves evidently knew a good thang when they saw it and are making a fast getaway.

Then things got - more varied.  There was a display with two stars of David and a menorah, followed by a display of  - well I'm not sure what, but it was titled "Kanzaa"  I'm not trying to be cute here.  I really couldn't figure out what was being symbolized by the patches and strings of lights.  That one could use a bit more work.

Then we came to the true, inner meaning of Christmas.  The dinosaurs.  What, you don't revere the holy Brontosaurus where you live? You heathen!  There were also attendant stegosaurs and triceratops hovering by. It warms my heart to see such sensitive, reverent displays.
And last, but certainly not least, was the Christmas Godzilla.

After a night of such illuminating excitement, I went home and went straight to bed where visions of  elven electricians with baskets of colored light bulbs danced in my head all night.  What a huge feat to keep that place lit up!  There were over two miles of displays, and it really was fun to cruise through.  They even loan you a Christmas music CD to play as you go through to get yourself in the mood.

But a Christmas Godzilla?  Well, we are on the left coast, here.

May all your Christmases be merry and bright, and may Santa bring you everything you ever wished for!  Ho Ho Ho!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

big plans

Paul Z has been a blog buddy for years.  Finally, he moved from New York out here to the left coast  and at last we got to meet face to face.  What a darling!  Had tea with him and MJ in Aurora and evolved a plan for a mad hatter's knitting retreat at MJ's beach house in May.  The place sleeps ten, so get your reservations in early.  I will do tea at the end to celebrate the results of our labors.

Think about it.  Is there a technique you want to learn?  A hat is small enough to finish in a weekend.  And if you don't know anyone who needs a hat, there are a bunch of orphans in Romania who would really appreciate something to keep their heads warm.  If you knit slowly, you can knit caps for babies.  Preemies have heads the size of an orange.  You surely could finish an orange-sized hat in two days.  Not to mention all the knitting you could do if you can get someone else to do the driving on the way up.  Let's talk about this!

And I need to move forward on the piece-a-thon stash-busting party for my birthday.  We'll need sewers, pincers, pressers and sorters. (Sorting for dark, medium, light fabrics.) And rippers.  Lots of the fabric will be ripped into strips because this is quick and dirty piecing for speed.

Benita already contributed a huge box of fabrics, and again I marvel in the joys of using other people's palettes.  I am attracted to bright, loud, big prints.  Benita sent a lot of subdued little plaids and small scale prints and I am wallowing in the beauty of fabrics I would have overlooked in the store.  What an eye-opening treat this is!  Thank you, thank you, Benita!  I hope we don't have any guests in the near future, because the guest room bed is covered about a foot deep in  fabrics.  Ohh, this would looks so wonderful with that!  And then add a little of this and a pop of the other.  Squeee!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

another quilt finished

I've been working on this one, on and off, for a few months, here and there.  Using up scraps.  Mostly, it was constructed to use up scraps of batting and odds and ends of fabrics. here's the back - a bit scrappy, but not too bad.  The stripes seem to have been a curtain at one time, and the white is an old sheet.  It's so thin that the color of the patch on the other side shows through with a good light behind it.
 And here's what I consider to be the front.  It's not planned in any way, shape or form, but lordy it was fun to work on!  Very much crazy quilting without the pretty embroidery and beads. Brace yourselves, my friends.  You may be getting crazy quilt potholders next year.  This is just addictive stuff!
And here's a neighbor suffering from a different addiction.  They are addicted to inflatable yard decor. There's an inflatable creche, inflate-a-Santa, inflate-a-Grinch, inflate-a-santa in his workshop, and - that true icon of Christmas, an inflatable Winnie the Poo and Eeyore.  Just warms the cockles of your heart with the holiday spirit, doesn't it? Well, it must make someone happy or they wouldn't do it, so more power to them!  I saw a picture in today's paper of a yard decorated with Santa in a sleigh pulled by 8 pink flamingos.

I'm looking forward to driving around  in the dark tomorrow, enjoying the neighborhood displays of lights.  Some houses are dark and Scroogely, but some are lit up like Las Vegas.  Some houses have careful, well thought out arrangements,with green lights on the bushes, red lights on the trees, white icicle lights hanging on the eves, and illuminated snowflakes on sticks along the walk.  Other houses look like someone sort of threw the lights at the house, and wherever they stuck, it was good.  All sizes, colors and varieties, sort of plugged in, one to the next, and draped wherever gravity will hold 'em.  I do love the lights this time of year.  Even the stop-lights blink a bright red and green.

December is usually the wettest month of the year.  It looks like being the driest month of the year and is already the driest December on record.  There have been days when the sun shone full and bright from a cloudless sky, and the shadows went clawing their way due north at noon.  Most peculiar!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Another quilt finished

 So MJ and I got together and used up some scraps from another quilt. This process is like sourdough.  A little bit of starter from the previous batch  provides the ferment for the next one.  So we put together strips we had torn and kept adding to them until it was big enough.
We were out of batts, so we did triple layer and backed it with navy flannel ( A queen-size set of sheets - well worn and cozy but, since we now have a king bed, no further good to us.)  As you can see, we left the seams exposed on the back and clipped them to a frazzle.
It makes quite a nice quilt, actually.  I ran it through the washer after we clipped the seams then ran it through the dryer twice and enjoyed the results quite a lot, though I had to clean the dryer filter about three times and you could have stuffed a teddybear with the  fluff generated.

I've also been spinning and listening to "Outlander" by Diane Gabaldon.  Time travel and hot sex with highland laddies in Scotland.  Woo hoo!  Now I have enough silk and merino for a shawl, a long vest,  a small sweater,or who knows what.  There is also some lovely yellow wool to spin, and some splendid cranberry and pink, not to mention three mystery batts from Fantasy Fibers.  The mystery batts make wonderful hats.  I might think about that for my next projects, since it is definitely the hat-ly season.

Currently I'm knitting a cable cardigan for a young woman I know.  What's the stylish length for a cardigan now?  Should it hit hip-level?  Higher?  Lower?  How long do you like your cardigans to be?

Monday, December 12, 2011

Note to the Fashion Police

Re: Crimes of style

I am 61 years old.  I love my new socks.  If you don't like the look you can bite me.  Disrespectfully, Roxie

Sunday, December 11, 2011

We went out for lunch

Grocery shopping was pretty easy today.  It's the weekend between most paychecks, and we got to the store about 30 minutes earlier than usual, so the crowds were almost non-existent.  No overstressed moms trying to wrangle two toddlers and a bored pre-teen through the aisles, negotiating the weekly box of of cold cereal and blocking the aisle for ten minutes while reasoning with the two-year-old who wants Neon UltraSugar Crunchies.  No large immigrant family with the seven-year old reading and translating packages and signs for Mom, Grandma and Aunty.  No brain-dead shoppers running me down with their shopping carts.  No one parking their cart sideway in the aisle while they read every ingredient on the label.  I don't care if people read their labels.  I object to blocking the flow of traffic when it is cart to cart in both directions all through the store.  When we went shopping today, you could have roller-bladed through the store.  We got done so quickly that we got everything home and put away before lunch.

So, instead of grabbing a quick burger on the fly, we went out for lunch. We hit a local brewpub (OakBottom Pub) and were just delighted by the names of the seasonal brews.
Consider:  Brewdolph, the Belgian Red
                 C-Sons Greetings Ale
                 Sockeye Cream Stout
                 Ye Olde Tavern Rat Barley Wine

Wouldn't you like a pint of each?

Being grownups, we faced the 40 degree fog with hot tea.  DH had a cheeseburger and hand-cut fries.  French fries cut from fresh potatoes right there on site!  Yumm-o!  And I had the Oak's Bottom Salad - large. Or as I called it, "The Big Bottom salad."  Mixed greens with chèvre, candied hazelnuts, and spiced pear.  I could eat that salad every day for a month!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

December tea

 Usually I don';t host aDecember tea because people have been so busy during the month of December.  But as the kids have grown,  the number of mandatory school plays and athletic awards banquets has dwindled, and the frantic search for the perfect gift has been moderated, I thought perhaps more of us would be free to enjoy.  So here is the table-dressed, but not set with foodyet since the ants would carry them all away.  I always have such fun setting the table.  The big white cloth has a honking great stain in the middle, so I got it at an estate sale for $1.  Then I took the red cloth I found at a garage sale on a Sunday afternoon and persuaded the lady to let me have it for $2 to save her the bother of packing it up for GoodWill.  Red cloth covers stain and voila - festive table.  The flower holder napkin rings with red and white carnations work perfectly!
Don't you think?   Orange, almond, chocolate cupcakes, orange and rosemary shortbreads, chicken salad with rosemary, and TW said she was bringing leftovers from her church bakesale, so the feasting will be monumental and varied.  TW is a demon baker!
I wanted to make peppermint macaroons like these.  I separated the yolks from the whites and warmed the whites to room temperature (extra yolks went into the cake)  I made sure the bowl and beaters were scrupulously clean and grease-free.  I added the sugar to the whipped egg white a careful spoonful at a time.  I had even gone to the fancy bakery supply shop and gotten extra wonderful peppermint flavoring to make the cookies superbly delicious.  At the last I added the flavoring to the whipped egg whites and watched in horror as the whole fluffy mass subsumed into a frothy scum.  Then I read the flavoring bottle more carefully.  Peppermint oil - not extract.  Ohhhh -crap! I added the almond flour and gave it a try anyway.  Instead of those lovely high, melt-in-your-mouth fluffs of flavor,  I got -
Mostly gummy ugly flat wafers that wouldn't even let go of the parchment paper.  They tasted quite strongly of peppermint, though.

I was also going to make cheesecake pops, but my courage failed me and I decided to quit while I was not too far behind.  The cupcakes are yummy, and the shortbreads are not bad.  Clementines and chicken salad sandwiches will round things out nicely.  We will be a small group anyhow, so why go all crazy with this?  I will NOT be serving these failed macarons, but I will try macarons again.  They are soooo decadent.  What flavor?

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

A day to play

DH got up at 5 like always and went off to work.  I had my breakfast, tidied the kitchen, and started to play on the computer.  I had been through e-mail and Facebook and was just catching upon blogs when the door opened, and DH walked back in.  "They sent me home for lack of work."

So I recruited him to help me shop for some young great nieces and a nephew.  Tuesday morning at Toys R Us on Dec. 7 was not nearly as dreadful as I had anticipated, and DH had a ball!  The kids are 3, 5, and 7.  The remote-controlled jeep may get played with more by Grandpa Den and Uncle Alex, and the talking doggie may drive everyone nuts before the 3 year old tires of it. I chose some jewelry-making kits for the 5 year-old, because I always wanted kits to make things, and if I have no idea what to get her, at least I can get something I would have loved to get.

Since it was so quiet, we headed off to the mall to have a bit of a look around. (This was entirely his idea.  The mall anytime after Thanksgiving scares me.  He goes on Christmas Eve just for the fun of the crowds.)    We stopped at the gourmet olive oil store and got some Strawberry balsamic vinegar which will make killer salad dressing.  then he marched me into the department store and said, "For Christmas, I am going to get you a new formal dress for our April cruise.  Let's shop."  Swear to God, if I could clone this man, every woman in America would want a copy!

Unfortunately, we couldn't find anything appropriate for a 61 year old woman.  When I was young and slender, I could wear anything.  Now, my skin is crepy, my upper arms are drapey, and sophisticated basic black makes me look like a corpse.  Moreover, everything is cut clingy, slinky, and strapless.  With ruffles. I got so bummed out that we gave it up and went out for lunch.  And right across the street was David's Bridal.  Mother of the bride dresses?  Sure, we can look.

I found four possibilities.  The dear clerk took notes on all of them, helped DH find things in other colors, and will help him when he goes back to make a selection.  So it will be a surprise for me!  He is even talking about accessories. After all the time in the mall trying on things that made me look like mutton dressed as lamb, or like six pounds of pork in a four pound casing, or like someone you might see on the CSI autopsy table, it was a treat to try on pretty clothes that made me look like an elegant lady!  

Sunday, December 04, 2011

What do you mean it's December already?

I'm going to make macarons for the ladies' knitting tea on Saturday, so I stopped by Bob's Red Mill to get some almond flour, and just had to take photo from the parking lot.    This is so wildly atypical; December is grey, leafless, rainy and oppressive.  It's really hard to get into the Christmas spirit with all this sun and blue sky stuff.  Yes, there's frost on the windshields in the morning, and the sun has moved so far south that noonday shadows are verging on the horizontal, but trees don't have leaves on in December.  This is aberrant!

I've gotten most of the rum balls shipped off, and am finishing up the packages to go to family.  I made fewer rum balls this year and found the perfectly sized tin at Joanne's to fit exactly into the small flat rate box that the post office provides.  I will not wind up going into debt to ship cookies this year! Yayyy!!!

 But it still doesn't FEEL like December!

I am finishing up lavender sachets for the ladies.  One of my silk hawaiian shirts gave up the ghost, so I cut it up, sewed the pieces up, and stuffed in the lavender.  Quite satisfactory.  My sis-in-law who loves flamingoes will get a flamingo tote bag and four flamingo-print potholders this year, because I found some awesome flamingo fabrics at an estate sale.  My oldest brother (impossible to buy for) is getting a cap from Lowes' Hardware that has built-in led lights so he can see things in the dark now.

And next Saturday's knitting is all planned up now.  Chocolate/orange/almond pound cake (I got red and green cupcake papers), orange/rosemary shortbread cookies, peppermint macarons, clementines, and chicken salad sandwiches - maybe with some rosemary.  I may have to hem a few red napkins to dress the table.  Really, these parties are more fun than should be legal.  

Thursday, December 01, 2011


MJ has a friend with cancer, so we sewed her a comforter.  The color here isn't right on.  It's much prettier in real life.

Swing with MJ is such a pleasure!  We blend out stashes, collaborate on design, rip and strip piece and turn out practical beauty on a regular basis.  I think other people would enjoy this just as much as we do.

So - start gathering your scraps, my sewing friends.  I'm thinking of having a great piecing party for my birthday party.  We'll do quick and dirty quilts for donation to the Medical Team International and/or some other worthy cause.  Men and women all together.  Even non-sewers can play.  And if you have any old beat-up blankets we could use for batting, well the little kids in Roumania would be thrilled.

Not much in the way of news.  It was clear last night and we had a good frost.  I started DH's car this morning to give it a chance to loosen the ice on the windshield before he got in to drive.  Sunrise is pretty un exciting because there are no clouds to bounce colors around.  On the other hand, sunshine is pretty darn exciting, so I'll go for a walk outside today.  And there's that list of Christmas errands, too.  How many rum balls will fit in a standard rate shipping box?  Must remember to stop at the post office.  I'll take them some rum balls, too.