Tuesday, August 31, 2010

All's Fair in Love and Knitting!

So as some of you may know, I entered some things into the Madison County Fair, which took place last weekend. I put in my quilt, which (as I related in the last post) had no chance of winning anything. I also entered 6 knitted things, just to see what would happen.

Saturday, we went to the fair to see the action. Sadly, there were no pigs. Noel was very sad. BUT!

There was Rooster Bingo:

We walked around a bit, trying to see what there was to see. Not a ton was on display at the time, except for some cows, sheep, chickens, and horses.

However, excitement was forthcoming in the Arts & Crafts display area!

When we walked in the front door, what greeted us? My quilt!! Hanging on the wall!

I got a few steps into the building before I realized there was something hanging from the quilt, and then squealed when I saw it was a ribbon!!

I had won 3rd place in the hand quilting category!! Can you believe it?

We then went to check out the table with all the knitting on it, and my jaw dropped:

I had won ALL THREE KNITTING RIBBONS. I swept the category! Whoa.

1st place was for a turquoise shrug I made for myself, design by Stefanie Japel.

2nd place was for a baby sweater I made years ago, no idea on the pattern.

3rd place was for a wrap I knit for my mom, pattern by Lionbrand.

SO HAPPY. Poor Noel has had to endure hearing me call myself "blue ribbon knitter" for the past 3 days. Sometimes I call myself BRK for short. ;)

That afternoon was very rainy, so as a Blue Ribbon Knitter I decided to sit for a few moments of quality Blue Ribbon Knitting time on the porch. With a glass of Blue Ribbon Knitter's wine. (see how annoying this gets?)

Nice sittin' spot, huh?

By the way, our porch tomatoes are out of control:

(Held up by Blue Ribbon Knitting yarn, no less).

On Monday, I was able to go pick up my award winning stuff, and went by the fairgrounds. Imagine my surprise when I picked up my quilt, and the yellow ribbon was gone.


And in its place? A bright RED ribbon - they had moved me up from 3rd to 2nd!!!

The quilt originally in 2nd was moved down to 3rd. Not sure why - illegal steroid use?

So, my total tally:

I entered 7 items, and 4 of them won. One 1st, two 2nds, and one 3rd.


In other news, I started my job on Monday and am very much enjoying it. My coworkers are personable and nice, and the work is interesting. Can't ask for anything more!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Whence Cometh the Silence (and Lack of Posts Lately!)

Things have been so hectic, but good, and thus I haven't blogged lately. For that I profusely apologize. Please forgive. In repentence, I hereby post some pictures and updates:

1. The garden is doing SOOOO well, we've been spending all our free time harvesting stuff. Well, ok, not ALL our free time, but we do spend a few hours a week in the garden, particularly in the rows of okra, which continue to produce quite a bit.

For those of you who've never grown okra nor seen it in The Wild (aka a cultivated garden), here's a picture I took the other day of some that I hadn't harvested yet:

See the okra pods there? In the middle of the picture is a flower pod that's getting ready to open up.

I've been harvesting the okra in long sleeves, pants, and gloves, and can happily report that after a week of obsessive scratching, the rash is finally going away. WHEW.

I've been freezing most of the okra, but last week I made a big batch of deep-fried okra. And we ate the okra. And it was good.

(Note: no picture of the fried okra, because...well, we were busy eating it. I'll do a tutorial on it next time, because yes, there will be a next time.)

While I've been busy with okra, Noel has been the Cantaloupe King. He's had to start rotating them gently every week, so they don't get bad spots on the bottom. His hard work has definitely paid off! We got 7 out of the garden yesterday alone! This was definitely the prize cantaloupe so far though:

Isn't it nice? And BIG!!

The cucumbers are finally dying down, but we still get a handful each time we head out to pick stuff. Our tomatoes are also steadily producing. We're very proud of our little garden. It's done very well!!

In other food-related news, Thank You Cima, for giving the Chicken Cordon Bleu recipe a try! So glad you enjoyed it!! It makes me feel good to know someone tries my little recipes. :)

By the way, I used the same technique the other day to make chicken parmesan, and it worked well too. YUM. Might have to make that for dinner tonight. Just bread the whole tenderloin, layer a spoonful of marinara sauce and some mozzarella cheese and bake for 20 minutes, then put over cooked spaghetti with sauce on top. Sigh. It's no wonder I'm not losing any weight.

2. In crafty news, I've been very busy there too - making lots of presents! 1 wedding, 1 housewarming, and 2 different expectant mothers. Lots to knit!

The project I posted a picture of a few weeks ago is still in progress, and I will post pictures when done (you're welcome, Rachel!). I saw something related to that project though, and took a picture of it:

This is part of the quilt squares project going on in this part of the world, where they paint photos of traditional quilt patterns and mount them onto the sides of barns. This is one of my very favorites, Drunkard's Path. (Although the design isn't quite scaled right, but we'll let it go).

Also, you guys may laugh, but I've already started making my Christmas gift list! It takes some planning when I want to make a lot of the stuff.

Note: it may not be so far-fetched to be making gift lists already anyway, because it's been getting down into the FIFTIES at night here!! Fall is coming!! YAY!

3. In other craft related news, I entered the Madison County Fair. It's this weekend. I entered my quilt and 6 knitted items, including 2 sweaters, a hat, a pair of hand warmers, a shawl, and a baby bib. I don't have a chance of winning any awards for the quilt, simply because this is the Land Of Quilts, and there will be people submitting quilts who've been quilting for twice as long as I've been alive. I hold out no illusions there. But the knitting....well, we'll just have to see. I'm excited to just have my things on display, if nothing else.

The fair is also having an Ugly Truck Contest. I will take pictures.

4. In other news, I got a job! A part-time job at a local community college, doing an inventory project. It's nice because it is part-time, and I can work on writing/sewing/knitting/designing/gardening in the afternoons. I'm very excited, because frankly being at home all day, writing and such, can make a gal feel lonely after a while.

Especially when this is who I have for company:

Heh. I loved this picture of Loki. He all Loungy McGrumpypants old man.

"Go get me a sammich, woman!"

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I Itch, Therefore I Calamine.

Things are in full harvest-mode around here!

In fact, they're so much so, that we went to a harvest festival last weekend - a Blackberry Festival!

It was tiny, but cute. Very good music!

We didn't buy any blackberry anything, even though we both like them. Oh well. Maybe next year, I'll make my own blackberry jam!

The okra has started ripening enough that I've gone out twice to harvest. I'll take pictures next time I go, so you can see how okra grows (if you've never seen it, which to be honest, I never had). Our okra plants are...fertile. I cut okra for about an hour a few days ago, and ended up with a basket full (this pic shows only a third of what I cut).

Also, I ended up with a bad itchy rash. Apparently okra and I disagree on a molecular level, and it has shown its genetic superiority to my pale, blotchy skin. I am now covered in calamine lotion from fingertips to elbows, and from now on will be harvesting said okra in long sleeves and gloves. And pants.

The cantaloupes are coming up like crazy! We have another in the fridge as I type, and probably a few more ready to pick tomorrow. Hooray!

I'd like to take a moment to introduce you to....

Cukezilla, the Cucumber Who Thinks He's a Watermelon:

I honestly stood there in the garden thinking it was a zucchini for a minute, til I remembered I didn't plant any zucchini.

In other food related news (which seems to be all I'm posting about lately!), I have a new recipe to share with everyone!

Kelli's Super Easy Chicken Cordon Bleu!!

(Chicken cordon bleu is one of my very favorites, and this has become a household fave too).

(My dear vegetarian friends may want to avert their eyes from the following pictures. Carnivores, stare away.)


Frozen chicken tenderloins (or boneless breasts), thawed
Sliced ham for sandwiches
Sliced Swiss cheese
Shake & Bake, parmesan herb flavor

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease a casserole dish (I use the spray stuff).

2. Dip one side of tenderloins in Shake & Bake, and place crumb side down in dish.

3. Layer a piece of ham over each tenderloin.

4. Place a layer of Swiss cheese over the ham.

5. Spray the cheese with the Pam greasing spray, and cover with the rest of the Shake & Bake.

6. Cook for 20 minutes or until chicken is done.

7. Stuff yourself.

I'm wondering now, if this type of meal wouldn't work for vegetarian dishes too - eggplant comes to mind. Hmmmm.....

In other randomness, we're acting as foster parents to Noel's sister's dog, who needs a good home with lots of room to run and other animals for her to play with. Her name is Sable, and she's an 8-month old husky/Australian shepherd mix.

She has a lot of personality! And energy!

Anyone need a friendly dog? Just let me know!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Of Pickles and Melons

Happy August, everyone, and a very Happy Birthday to my dear sister!

(This is the post I wrote yesterday, by the way, that wouldn't upload - so if you see "today" think "yesterday" and also "Kelli is too lazy to change the post.")

Here in the Land of The Garden That Keeps on Giving, we've been busy putting away veggies, both by preserving (either canning or freezing) or by eating. We've been doing a LOT of eating.

Oh, and a lot of shucking.

I've put away over 80 ears worth of corn (mostly on cobs, but some as creamed corn). My mom came over and we also made some corn relish. Also, I got diligent one day and made more pickles, with Noel's help.

Important Safety Note: When you have a hot pot boiling on the stove, don't squirt rubbing alcohol on the stove top to clean it.


Ask me how I know this.

We've gotten over 200 cucumbers out of the garden, and the vines are still producing.

Our tomatoes are now finally turning red too, although some are holding back (these are roma tomatoes):

Aren't they a gorgeous color?

The okra is finally starting to pod as well, and it has lovely huge blooms on it.

Who knew that okra is pretty enough to be put in a floral bouquet?

The cantaloupes are also growing! We've got quite a few of them coming up in the cantaloupe patch.

(Just calling it a cantaloupe patch tickles me - makes me feel like Linus, except I'm waiting for the Great Melon. Not to be confused with Dolly Parton).

Today, surprisingly, we had a ripe one already! We went ahead and got it out of the cantaloupe patch (sorry, I just like saying that).

Yeah, it was huge. Don't be afraid. It won't hurt you.

I was worried it wouldn't actually be ripe on the inside, but if anything it was over ripe! Still, it tasted good.

Also, incidentally, I think we accidentally invented the Single Serving Cantaloupe. Now taking orders!

And not specifically garden-related, but still Growing Things related, we have been graced with that loveliest of wildflowers, Queen Anne's Lace:

This one was particularly striking, like a lacy snowflake!

Interspersed with the lace, there was a nice juxtaposition of something prickly - Scottish thistles! (Ok, they might not actually be SCOTTISH, but they look like Scottish thistles, and Noel and I both have Scottish blood, so therefore we're going to go with it.)

In other news, I've been working on some new crafting/art projects. I don't want to show too much yet (I'm hoping to get these into some area shops, and don't want to give away my ideas!), but this should give you a taste of what's in store (or hopefully soon to BE in store!):

Anybody own a gift boutique out there? :)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Slow Internets Always Bring Me Doooooownnnnnn

So I wrote this massively long post with lots of pictures, and I can't get the pics to upload because my internet connection is so painfully slow.

Tomorrow I will be in town and can get a signal there. Yay pictures!