Category Archives: the squirrel

Some enchanted evening

Piano and pinot was grand!

I love the whole process of a party, cleaning the house, getting out the nice china, crystal, and silver, setting the table. It’s like playing dress-up with the house.


The event was a fund raiser, and we served 12 different pinot wines: a sparkling white pinot, pinot gris, pinot blanc, pinot noir, pinot meuniere, a rose (sorry, don’t know how to find the accent mark), and some sweet late harvest dessert wines. All were from local Willamette Valley vineyards: Brick House, LaVelle, Penner-Ash, Willakenzie, Winter’s Hill. My favorite was the LaVelle sparkling wine, but I’m a bubbly girl. No picture of the wine-laden buffet; I forgot.

Desserts included cheesecake, cream puffs, a raspberry/blueberry tart, and a dark chocolate and raspberry cake. Yes, that’s a gravy boat on the table, but it’s filled with chocolate sauce. Recipe at the bottom of this post.

Our pianist played Bach (C# prelude and fugue), Mendelssohn (Song without Words), Debussy (first Arabesque, Clair de Lune, La Fille aux Cheveux de Lin, Golliwog’s Cakewalk), Grieg (Andante from a sonata), Rocherolle, and more. She was fabulous!


This picture was taken before we put the lid on the high prop stick. The piano sounded glorious; it was such a treat to hear someone else play it. The sound experience is different out in the room; I’m used to hearing it just from the bench.

I have a fridge full of leftover wines and desserts, and I get to enjoy a still-clean house!

In other news, remember how I mentioned that the squirrel had won the bird-feeder battle? It turns out that he has a friend. I saw them taking turns at the bird feeder. I chased one off, and while he was on the telephone pole, the other one appeared. They’re pretty brazen; they don’t mind me taking pictures from fairly close range.



I’ve figured out how Onan and Conan access the feeder. They jump from the trellis on the front of the house onto the top of the feeder pole. It’s about five feet, laterally. No problem for these guys!

Here’s the recipe for the chocolate sauce:

Chocolate Sauce

24 oz semi-sweet belgian chocolate chips
One pint heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup butter, cut into chunks and softened

Five 8 ounce jelly jars

Place the chocolate chips into a large heat-proof mixing bowl; place the bowl over a large pot filled with hot water. Let the chocolate melt as you proceed with the recipe.

In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a boil, stirring constantly. Pour the cream over the chocolate chips, stirring until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Stir in the butter until blended. Ladle the sauce into jars; cool completely before screwing on lids. Store in the refrigerator (all that butter and cream!). Scoop out the sauce as desired and warm it on low power in the microwave. Or eat it by the spoonful directly from the jar. đŸ˜‰

Makes about 5 cups

Needful things

Let’s see: Josephine is knitted but I still don’t have time to seam until after this weekend. My favorite aunt and her family are visiting (of course she’s my favorite; she taught me to knit when I was 16!) for my brother’s birthday celebration. We went to Twisted yesterday for a little shopping, and to Powell’s, to look at knitting books (and cookbooks, but not for me). I managed to avoid buying more yarn or knitting books, but I did buy these. They are the most elegant pins I’ve ever seen.


While at Twisted, we wound more of my Dream In Color Classy. I told you there was no going back on this one! This means commitment. Although there is one more skein to wind. It just wouldn’t fit in the cute little bag I was carrying. You can see more of the color variations here, but it’s still not as good as real life. The February Lady is coming along nicely; I just moved from a 26 inch needle to a 40 inch needle. It feels better not being so scrunched up.


I just received this as a gift.

dpn case

dpn case 2

It’s a needle case for double pointed needles. I’ve been looking for a way to manage them, and this is practical and beautiful. It’s from Lantern Moon. Now that my needles are in there, I’m wondering where my size 3 dpns have gone? I know which socks my size 4 dpns are living in, but the 3’s should be free. Oops.

Oh, I have a fairly recent Lantern Moon silk circular case, too. I love it; it’s nice to have all my circulars in one place so I can find the right size quickly. And I like that I can just tuck it away. Again, practical and beautiful.

circ case 2

circ case

And last of all, I think we’ve declared a winner in the squirrel war.

It’s not me.

the winner

I think he’s jumping from the trellis on the front of my house. We’ve moved all the other possible launch points away, and moved the bird feeder, too. The trellis has a really ugly climbing hydrangea on it, and it will probably be removed next spring. But for now, it’s Mr. Squirrel 4, Me 2, maybe. Mookie doesn’t seem to mind. She finds the birds more interesting, though.

Lutea Lace Shoulder Shell: Minor surgery

I subscribed to Interweave Knits magazine last summer. When my summer issue came, I fell in love with this: the Lutea Lace Shoulder Shell by Angela Hahn. By the time I finished, it was definitely fall, so I put it away for the winter.

This morning, I took Lutea out of my closet and put it on. I didn’t like the way it fit. It felt floppy, drapey, and the armholes were gappy. Bleah. I poked at it a bit and decided the armholes were too deep for me.

This afternoon, I picked out the three needle bind off at the shoulder, ripped back four rows of lace on the front and back, and re-did the three needle bind off. Had to try it on to see if I was on the right track. YES! I did the same surgery to the other shoulder, worked in the ends, and voila! A well-fitting shell. It no longer feels floppy and drapey, either. Amazing what a little surgery can do.


Lutea Lace Shoulder Shell by Angela Hahn. Knit with KnitPicks Shine Worsted, US size 8 needles. Modifications: Garter stitch hem instead of a rolled hem, shortened body by an inch or so, and the shoulder surgery described above. I’m going to wear it tomorrow. Summer is finally here! Many thanks to Kid2 for patiently taking a bazillion pictures until I saw one I liked.

While reviewing the pictures in the camera, I saw this!


It’s dated today, 3:38 pm. Kid1 must have taken it while I was out this afternoon. I was flabbergasted. I thought I had vanquished my little friend Onan, and had even started a blog post about it (still in draft mode, waiting for a slow day). Apparently I was a bit premature with my victory dance. I emailed the picture to The Husband (away at guitar camp), and he said, “GAME ON!”

Stitch Markers for all

I made this necklace for my sister, with rice pearls and Swarovski crystals.


I’ve been itching to make some decorative stitch markers. I had some leftover crystals and pearls, so I went to the bead store to buy some toggle clasps. I found some great ones in pewter, for $1.50 each. But that meant $15 for 10 stitch markers, which seemed kind of steep to me, especially since I’d only be using the circle half of the toggle clasp.

I found some sterling silver thin wire eye pins instead, $4 for a package of 20. That means $2 for my 10 stitch markers. Winner!

stitch markers

Do you want to make some? You’ll need some thin eye pins and beads, small pliers, and a fat knitting needle (I think mine is a US 11 or so) to help you make nice round circles. I chose the eye pins instead of the head pins, because I wanted to make sure the beads wouldn’t slip off the end. If you have beads with small holes, head pins would work fine.

Thread your beads onto the eye pin. Bend the pin to a right angle from the beads. Place your thumb under the bent part of the pin, put the fat knitting needle against the wire and wrap the wire around the knitting needle, making a circle. Twist the end of the wire around the base of the circle where the wire comes out of the pins. Wrap several times, trim if necessary, pinch down with pliers so there aren’t any ends to catch on your yarn. Easy! I watched this tutorial on making wire loops; you might find it helpful.

9/6/09: Edited to add: I made some more stitch markers, this time using flex cord. You can see the process here.

And in other news, guess who’s back?


He’s not interested in the thistle seed sock, just the black oil sunflower seeds in the feeder on the left, so everyone is getting along for now. The cat is highly amused, watching out the window. It’s Cat TV.

Flirting, not cheating


It’s not really cheating, is it? I bought yarn yesterday at Close Knit for my next project, the Josephine top from last summer’s Interweave Knits. I bought the same yarn called for in the pattern, which I hardly ever do. It’s Karabella Vintage Cotton, a DK weight mercerized (shiny) cotton and it’s the color of raspberry sorbet. Yum. Today I bought some new Lantern Moon ebony circulars in smaller sizes for this project. But I haven’t cast on, so it’s not cheating. Yet.

In fact, I was very diligent last night, and did a lot of knitting on the second Shetland Triangle Shawl. So much knitting, that all I have left to do is bind off.

I’m still working on washcloth samples, too. So there. I want to give a couple away with nice soap as thank you gifts, but I think I’d better wait until I can photograph them all together first. The lighting will be the same for all the pictures; always a good thing. So on I knit. But these don’t have to be done before I cast on the Josephine. I try to have a mindless and a mindful project on the needles, and these will be my two. After I bind off the shawl. Really.

Now *this* is cheating! Yesterday I bought a baffle for my bird feeder pole, to keep the squirrel off. This morning I looked out the window and saw this.


I think he’s thumbing his nose at me. Kids say he’s a ninja. We’re all impressed. But this means WAR. I’m plotting alternative disincentives.

And in other fun news, I won a contest! Sock yarn from a blog drawing at Days of Tea and Knitting. Thanks, Melissa!