26 March 2007

pull up a chair and sit a spell

Yesterday I did something I have never done before: I, as the occupant of my very own home, made a pitcher of tea. One would think that this accomplishment would be minimized by this fierce triple-whammy:

1. I am from the South: North Carolina to be precise. Tea is not an afterthought in North Carolina. There was tea, there is tea, there will always be tea. Of course, you can have water or Coke if that's what you'd like this time, but really, what goes better beside a barbeque plate at Wednesday night supper than tea?

2. My parents are from the Deep South: Mississippi and Alabama. Tea is in my genes.

3. I've been making tea from the time I could boil water. My mother might realize she forgot to put on the kettle for the EXTRA pitcher of tea when company was coming. Or the regular pitcher might be running low...I have made gallons -- tankers -- full of tea.

Yet, even with all this, it was a momentous occasion.

Perhaps I should step in here for any readers who do not share my blessed ancestors: by "tea" I mean "iced tea."

Please do not ask if it is sweet.

Also, for reference, the best tea in the world, hands down, is made by my Aunt Mae. She told me her recipe once, and if you've ever made simple syrup (one part water, one part sugar), you get the idea. In the interest of avoiding, oh, diabetes, I thought I might better should come up with my own basic formula to fill the pitcher.

4 tea bags
4 cups hot water
(Brew for 15-20 minutes)
1/2 cup sugar
(Stir until dissolved)
4 cups ice
(Stir in one cup at a time)

Simple! Achingly easy. But such a milestone for me. And I am pleased to say that I was not alone in seeing it as one:

When my lovely husband got home from an errand yesterday afternoon I said, "I made tea!" He looked down (after many two-cups-of-mint-tea winter evenings for his wife), saw my glass and said, "Iced tea! WOW!"

I think this means I'm a grown-up now.

Call me when you pour yourself a glass. I'll be on the front porch.

P.S. Extra credit for anyone who didn't have to reread "might better should" to catch my drift.

20 March 2007

the only thing missing is Libby Mae Brown

Unfortunately, I haven't made it to a single meeting of the DC Stitch 'n Bitch group yet. But I have been enjoying the emails that fly around. A few weeks ago, Laura posted a link to an excellent video on You Tube. If you knit, crochet, or just generally enjoy Christopher Guest movies, have a look:

13 March 2007

maybe it's the commercialization of art

Or maybe Supply got up one morning and read the message boards and said, "Hey! I can answer the post by that Demand person!"

Not that I'm admitting demanding tendencies.

Or that it was me or anything.

But seriously, have you seen that show?! Didn't you want her clothes?!

Well now you can have it all.

Next: Mary Louise Parker, let's be friends. Come over for coffee. How do you do all that with your hair?

12 March 2007

way better than a pinata

This, my friends, is a chandelier made entirely of gummi bears:

Good use of candy!

The artist must have gotten any patience I should have been born with. And a good dose of logic. I probably would have tried to make a chocolate chandelier and ended up stuck in a (delicous) puddle in the dining room.

06 March 2007

past the land of twirly-swirly gumdrops

I have been handling the accounting side of the business all day at work today and I feel like I'm going blind. Why is it that numbers sometimes just simply do not add up? And more importantly, how do some people do this ALL DAY EVERY DAY?! It can't be healthy. I will now escape by emptying my brain of all the other thoughts that have be swirling around all day...

What's for dinner? I think macadamia-crusted mahi-mahi. Found some frozen at Harris Teeter last night and thought it sounded good. And easy. With what? salad -- ooh! I still have beets. Beet salad. And what else...not in the mood for rice...pasta doesn't seem right...maybe potatoes.

Speaking of Harris Teeter, I should really do a whole post on that grocery store. As my sister put it after having purchased some undesirable onions from another store recently, "They made me feel like it was my fault! I mean, at Harris Teeter, they APOLOGIZE for that sort of thing." This is what happens when you grow up in Charlotte and get spoiled by the store that happens to be down the street. I mean, I even know the cheese lady at my Harris Teeter. She gives me recipes.

I don't mean to leave Trader Joe's out of this, because I love them too and their stores are wonderful. The only downside there is that they don't have everything. What they surely see as the upside, though, is that their products are so cheap and nearly universally so fantastic that I will try anything they sell on a whim. Did you know they are the nation's largest retailer of brie?

I read everything. Including those little signs in the Trader Joe's cheese section.

...must remember to email sister for soup recipe...

I need a manicure. I keep breaking my nails and they look all raggedy! I need a pedicure worse.

I need to go home and do LAUNDRY. So glamorous. Or at least I will be once I'm wearing clean clothes.

05 March 2007

those Celts, good at all kinds of knots.

Just weeks before Christmas, my lovely husband mentioned that he'd like to have a hand-knitted scarf. I know -- married to a knitter and he tells her weeks before Christmas! Drop the hints in June! But I did decide I had a chance of pulling it off before Valentine's Day, so I started hunting down a pattern.

A pattern? For a scarf? Exactly why I felt like I had to explain, when I asked for one in the Alexandria yarn store, that I wasn't crazy, I just wanted to try cables. They mentioned something I'd just come across on the internet, so I decided to give that a try.

As with basically all of my knitting/crochet/craft projects, something went wrong the first time. The yarn I'd chosen was less subtley variegated than I'd thought, and with the cable pattern, the effect was rather dizzying.

So I went to my favorite DC yarn store and tried again, this time with great success. Thank you, Blue Sky Alpacas for your lovely yarn. Really, I could almost eat it. All you want to do is nuzzle into it until you fall asleep (perhaps its only detriment as a craft ingredient).

The pattern, which I thoroughly enjoyed working, is actually a very simple one. It's called the Irish Hiking Scarf, and I believe credit is due to Adrian Bizilia of Hello Yarn.

The color is slightly less rosy than in the above picture. It's technically natural medium tan. And as for the weight and warmth, it is just perfect for a scarf and for this pattern (at least as I knit it on 4.25 needles). My Stitch 'n Bitch book has an amusing little note in it that says something like, "Warning: do not make a sweater out of pure alpaca! It is too warm!" And I can see how that would be true, especially if, like us, you don't live in the Yukon Territory.

Here's the finished project - in a rare moment when it was not being worn! I'm told it's very cozy. :)

And now I'm off to join the knitalong!