Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Here Kitty Kitty!

Look-A-Like Hello Kitty Doll Pattern

Knit on 3mm double-pointed needles using small amounts of pink, white double-knitting wool also requires tiny amounts of black and pale yellow wool for embroidering the face. Use polyester fiber-fill for stuffing.


Begin at lower edge of one leg and using white cast on 10 sts
1st row: Inc Kwise into every st - 20 sts
Beginning with a purl row, stocking stitch 5 rows

Break off yarn and leave stitches on a spare needle.
Work 2nd leg in same way. Break off white yarn and join on pink yarn.

Body and Head

Mark each end of next row with a coloured thread. With right side of work facing and using pink, knit across the 20 sts on knitting needle, then across the 20 sts on the spare needle - 40 sts
St-st 10 rows
(shape upper body)
K7, (K2tog) 4x, K10, (K2tog) 4x, K7 - 32 sts
st-st 3 rows
Break off pink and join on white for head
(inc. for head)
Next row: (K1, inc. in next st) to end - 48 sts
st-st 11 rows
(shape head)
1st row: K11, (K2tog) twice, K18, (K2tog) twice, K11 - 44 sts
2nd, 3rd, 4th rows: st-st

5th row: K10, (K2tog) twice, K16, (K2tog) twice, K10
6th and every other row - Purl
7th row: K9, (K2tog) twice, K14, (K2tog) twice, K9
9th row: K8, (K2tog) twice, K12, (K2tog) twice, K8
11th row: (K2,K2tog) to end
13th row: (K1, K2tog) to end
15th row: (K2tog) to end
Break and tie tightly

Ears (make two)

Using white, begin at lower edge and cast on 7 sts
Garter stitch 4 rows, decreasing one st at beginning of every row
Fasten of remaining three sts 

To Make Up

Join row ends from top of head as far as the coloured threads, leaving a large gap in the back of the head seam.

Join row ends of each leg from coloured threads to cast on edges. Gather round the cast on edges, pull up tightly and fasten off.

Turn right side out. Stuff legs, body and head. Do not close gap in head seam.

To shape neck, use a double strand of white yarn and gather around first knitted row of white head. Pull up tightly and secure. Sew yarn ends into neck. 

Position and sew ears to sides of head so top of ear is level with top of head.

Arms (make two)

Using pink, begin at top of arm and cast on 14 sts loosely
St-st 4 rows
Break off pink and join on white
St -st 4 rows
Next row: (K2tog) to end - 7sts
Break and tie tightly.

To Make Up

Join row ends, turn right side out and stuff. Sew open cast on edge to sides of body, just below neck.


For facial sts start and fasten off wool securely in the gap at the back of the head. When face is completed, add more stuffing to hide the ends, then close the gap in the seam.

For eyes, use double lengths of black yarn, make knots winding yarn around six times until you have a nice oval shape
Postion eyes so top of eys is 10 rows above neck shaping and leave 10 sts between eyes.

Embroider 4 horizontal sts in pale yellow for the nose, with top of nose 7 rows above neck shaping row.
For whiskers, work three 1 cm sts beside each eye, leaving 2 sts between the side of the eye and the start of the whiskers.

For your girly gunny - if you want a Kalishna Kitty, simply sew on a AK style rifle.

I can make one up for anyone who's interested.  I can make them in different colors. For further details, please contact me at

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

We'll leave the light on for you . . . or not

When I was kid we didn't travel much.  Our vacations were either camping trips or staying with family members.

So, when the rare occasion arose where we would be staying at a motel/hotel it was a really REALLY big deal . . . an adventure, a luxury.

Mind you, we didn't stay a 4 or 5 star hotels.  Holiday Inn was as top of the line as we went and Comfort Inn was the norm.  It didn't matter . . . Cable television! Game room!  Swimming Pool! HOT TUB!  It doesn't sound like it should be that exciting, I know.  But trust me it was.  

Come to think of it, coming across the scrambled adult television channel may  have been my first experience with pornography . . . oh joy.

Anyhoo . . . as fun and wonderful as it all was it didn't make us (the kids) angelic guests.  For the most part we behaved ourselves but all that excitement seemed to have brought some prankishness to the surface.

Besides the typical swiping of the towels, soaps and whatnot . . . we dare not touch the minibar or Mom would open a can of whoop-ass on us . . . we had fun roaming the hallways and making a general nuisance of ourselves.  

Of course, there was the ever popular knock-and-run game.  But, that wears a little thin after a while . . . especially, as we got older.  One thing that never seemed to grow old no matter how often we did it was when we found the mini-moos and condiment packets left outside of random doors for room service to retrieve.  

What's so fun about that?  Well, what we did was stomp on them.  The contents . . . whether it was milk, ketchup, mustard or mayo . . . would squirt all over the walls and carpeting.  

The bigger the spatter, the higher splat the more points.  We didn't have and actually scoring structure established and we didn't keep tally . . . it was more on a case by case basis . . . or smoosh but smoosh, as it were.

Yeah . . . we were hicks, we were lame but we had fun.

Ukrainian Red Borscht Soup

1 (16 Ounce) Package Pork Sausage
3 Medium Beets, Peeled And Shredded
3 Carrots, Peeled And Shredded
3 Medium Baking Potatoes, Peeled And Cubed
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
1 Medium Onion, Chopped
1 (6 Ounce) Can Tomato Paste
3/4 Cup Water
1/2 Medium Head Cabbage, Cored And Shredded
1 (8 Ounce) Can Diced Tomatoes, Drained
3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
Salt And Pepper To Taste
1 Teaspoon White Sugar, Or To Taste
1/2 Cup Sour Cream, For Topping

Crumble the sausage into a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir until no longer pink. Remove from the heat and put in large soup pot.

Fill the pot halfway with water (about 2 quarts), and bring to a boil.

Add the beets, carrots and potatoes, and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Add the cabbage, and the can of diced tomatoes.

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook until tender. Stir in the tomato paste and water until well blended. Transfer to the pot.

Add the raw garlic to the soup, cover and turn off the heat. Let stand for 5 minutes. Taste, and season with salt, pepper and sugar.

Ladle into serving bowls, and garnish with sour cream and fresh parsley.

Monday, February 27, 2012

It's no cakewalk . . .

Cakewalk . . . a word that has come to mean something that is easy to do.   As in . . . getting my hubby to try a new beer is a cakewalk . . . see NBT.

A cakewalk originated as a dance performed by African Americans during and after the US Civil War when blacks were segregated from polite white society.  People of color were not invited to public events like parties and balls . . . but as servants they were often in attendance.  Not for the fun of course . . . they had the “pleasure” of watching white folks twist, twirl and strut doing the popular dances of those days.

The cakewalk became not only a popular dance but a form of entertainment among the black people of that era.  It started as a form of satire to mimic the moves that whites displayed during their Minuets and Waltzes. 

It eventually became a competition between couples to see who could cakewalk the most gracefully or extravagantly.  Perhaps as a further extension of the joke, this promenade was often done in a circle with a cake in the middle.   Whichever couple had the most style or flamboyance in their struts got to take home the cake.

And that’s how the phrase “take the cake” originated and came to mean to take the prize.

The funny thing is that the cakewalk was further popularized by the white performers of Vaudeville in the next century.  So . . . the cakewalk was a dance done by black people to mock the white people who did it to make fun of the black people . . . in essence they were only goofing on themselves.  

Pepperoni String Cheese Roll Ups

1 (8 Ounce) Package Refrigerated Crescent Roll Dough
4 Cheese Sticks, Halved
1 (3.5 Ounce) Package Sliced Pepperoni

Garlic Butter Glaze:
2 Tablespoons Butter, Melted
1/2 Teaspoon Italian Seasonings
1/4 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 Tablespoon Grated Parmesan Cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Take each triangle of crescent roll dough and place about 6 pepperoni on the bottom of the triangle. Place half of a cheese stick on top and roll up. Place seam side down on a cookie sheet and bake for 10-14 minutes or until golden brown.

While rolls are cooking, combine the melted butter, Italian seasonings, garlic powder and Parmesan cheese in a small bowl.

When rolls are done remove from the oven and brush with the garlic butter glaze. Serve with marinara or ranch for dipping.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Well, ain't that just ducky

So, I’m reading the series of books . . . Zomblog 1 through 3 by TW Brown . . . about a zombie apocalypse.  It’s basically a journal of the survivor of said apocalypse.  As this person is writing they posed a question that was interesting enough  . . . to me . . . that I just had to seek out an answer. 

“When I see some places as remote as this and the last town affected the way they are, I try to picture someplace that might have remained unaffected, and I can’t.  Over the past few years of the old world we made everything so small.   I remember all the flues and viruses that would pop up.  It seemed that if a duck sneezed in some remote village in China, folks in Mexico would start falling victim to a new illness then days later.”

So, DO ducks sneeze?

Apparently they do.   QUACKCHOOOOOOO

I found a forum where the owner of Mr. Flippers, a youngster ducky,  was worried because he was sneezing . . . a lot . . . like 5 times over the course of 45 minutes.  She was worried that he was sick and that whatever he had would infect Mr. Flappers.

Little ducklings, like little kids, are more susceptible to getting a cold if they are exposed to water and cool air for too long. They need to be kept warm and dry when they’re not out taking a swim.

Generally speaking, a sneeze from a duck doesn’t necessarily mean it’s sick.  Maybe he just horked some dust or something.  But, like you or me, if the sneeze is accompanied by other symptoms (like a runny nose) it should be checked out.

So, there it is . . . mystery solved.  Ducks sneeze.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Firewater Friday - Drink of the Gods

This week is vacation week . . . unfortunately for everyone else, as well.  So much for a peaceful week in the White Mountains glutting on micro-brews and majestic snow covered mountain peaks.   Don’t get me wrong . . . we are still imbibing quite ubiquitously on liquid bread but it’s not so quiet with all the invasive rugrats crunching crumbs and whatnot.  

It amazes me how many parents drag their kids into bars and pubs when there are plenty of kid friendly places to be visit.

Not to be deterred, we will not sequester ourselves in our small but cozy room with our faces glued to our laptops and noses stuffed into a book . . . or Kindle, as it were . . . although we will make plenty of time for that as well.

The other day we ventured out to a local meadery owned and operated by a couple of young men in Center Ossipee, New Hampshire . . . the Sap House Meadery.  Center Ossipee is by no means a bustling metropolis . . . it a quaint little town that is quiet in the winter time and teeming in the summer due to the plethora of lakes in the area. The Sap House is a small establishment located in what was once a local grocery.  
Owners Ash Fischbein and Matt Trahan (from left) 

Owners Ash Fischbein and Matt Trahan (from left) 
As we walked in the door we were greeted warmly by a pleasant relaxed atmosphere and one of the proprietors, Ash Fishbein, who was offering up samples of his wares.  We also met co-owner Matt Trahan and Mom.

At the time of our visit, the business has been in operation for just over a year.  And, by the looks of things they are off to a great start.  The presentation of their product is tasteful as are the contents they contain.

Like many of the businesses in this area, they make every effort to support the regional economy by using only locally produced ingredients for their meads.  And, when that is not possible, they make sure that the ingredients are fair trade certified.

We did a sampling of their four main offerings and one seasonal.  We were not disappointed.  They were all quite different and delicious . . . not typical of the meads I’ve had in the past, the Sap House meads are less sweet and on the drer side.

Ash, mazer (slang for mead maker) extraordinaire and our bartender for the sampling . . . besides plying us with the lovingly made luscious liquid . . . regaled us with the history of mead and its primary ingredient honey.

If you’ve never had mead it’s very different from wine or beer.  It is, in fact, a honey wine that is millennia old . . . archeological discoveries as far back as 8,000 to 12,000 B.C.  At its simplest mead can be described as an alcoholic drink of fermented honey and water.  Of course, modern mead makers have expanded the basic recipe.  At the Sap House Meadery, they offer up a rich Vanilla Bean, smooth Sugar Maple, citrusy Hopped Blueberry and dry-ish pyment (which is made with a red wine grape juice) called Ossipioja .  All in all . . . YUM!

Honey . . . the main ingredient in mead . . . has been forever used for food and medicinal purposes.  As Ash describes it . . . the honeymoon has long been a wedding tradition.  The honey in honeymoon comes from an old northern European custom in which newlyweds would, for a month, consume a daily cup of mead.  It is thought that the honey would increase the chances of a boy child being conceived.    If nothing else the intoxicating effects of the mead would surely encourage  . . . uhm . . . sexy time.

Not surprisingly, mead was the preferred drink during the Meditteranean “Age of Gold” . . . however, interestingly enough, the word for drunk in classical Greek translates to "intoxicated with honey".

We walked out of the store feeling the pleasant effects of the mead and four bottles of the heavenly nectar.  We were in no way dissatisfied. . . in fact, we were extremely impressed.  Cheers guys!!  We will be back.  

Thursday, February 23, 2012

New Brew Thursday - Angry Orchard Ciders

We were hanging out and enjoying the night life of one of our favorite pubs, The Red Parka Steakhouse & Pub in Glen, NH.   Besides the ever present live entertainment and their amazing food offerings they always have a plethora of beer on tap or in bottles and cans.

On our recent visit there I spotted a new tap in their line up . . . Angry Orchard Cider.   We'd been beering it up already that day so I was in the mood for something different.  I like hard cider and the name was intriguing . . . kind of like the Angry Birds of apples.  Works for me!

Crisp apple was the variety on tap.  I liked it!  It was crisp, flavorful and not too sweet.  Overall it was quite refreshing and exceedingly drinkable.  In a word . . . YUM!

As I was sipping my drunken apples, I got to thinking about the origins of this cider . . . where it came from and who made it.

I'd never heard of Angry Orchard before, but I had visions of an modest family owned orchard branching out from producing batches of apple cider to bottling their old family recipe for hard cider.

I was a little off base there . . . well, quite a bit off base actually.

In quick order, my research lead me to discover that Angry Orchard is owned and operated by Boston Beer, Co . . . makers of a better known product line Samuel Adams.  Boston Beer Co quietly launched this new line in their multitudes of brews in 2011 with little fuss or fan fare.

Don't get me wrong . . . I like Sam Adams beer.  They just can't be considered one of the little guys anymore.  And the imagery my brain concocted of a small, locally owned micro-brewery was blown right out of the water . . . right out of the Boston Harbor, actually.

They currently have three varieties . . . Traditional Dry, Crisp Apple and Apple Ginger.  ABV - 5%

As a side note, if it is of any consequence to you, Angry Orchard Ciders are both gluten-fee and Kosher certified.

The verdict? I liked it . . . a lot.  Would I recommend it?  Yes. 


New Brew Thursday

I’m kind of a beer aficionado . . . that is, I enjoy a variety of styles and flavors of brews.  When I see something new I actively seek it out to try it.  Hubby and I both log our beer drinking activities on which is a social network for beer enthusiasts.

Don't get me wrong . . . I don't claim to be an expert on beer.  I just know what I like . . . and don't like.

Also I am . . . by no means  . . . a beer snob.  I'm as happy to drink a cheap-o mass produced beer as I am a $25 a bottle limited edition micro-brew.  It depends on the where and when and what for of the beer drinking situation.

Untappd has badges for different things . . . drinking a certain number of dark beers, or drinking a beer at the brewery where it is made, or on a drinking holiday and so on and so forth.  They have a badge for what they call New Brew Thursday . . . which is if you consume a new (to you) beer three Thursdays in a thirty day period you get a badge . . . and then a different degree of badge going forward.

This has been a motivator . . . albeit a minor one . . . to try new and interesting beers . . . on Thursdays. 

In an effort to share my experiences with the new and interesting brews we are enjoying I’ve decided to do a post on Thursdays reviewing the beers we drank the previous week.

I hope you can take some of my experiences and apply that knowledge to future beer purchases and consumption.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

You are a sad strange little man . . . and you have my pity

When my son was a wee one he had a love affair with Buzz Lightyear.  He wasn't in love with Buzz per se . . . he was Buzz.

He would sit and watch Toy Story movies over and over again . . . getting the moves down and getting his inner Buzz on.

It was really cute . . . for a while.

He was in preschool at the time and they didn’t do anything to dissuade his alter ego.   In fact, they encouraged it . . . for a while.

It got to the point where you couldn’t tell him he wasn’t his super hero . . . er . . . hero.  He was Buzz Lightyear . . . “I’m not Eddie,” he would say.  “I am Buzz Lightyear.  To infinity and beyond!.”  

Like I said, it was cute . . . for a while.

During that time period Halloween came and wonder of wonders . . . he was Buzz Lightyear.  And this time he had the costume to prove it.

So, not only did he have the Buzz persona down pat but he had the look. 

Months, maybe even a year or more, this went on.  By now it’s getting old.

His preschool teachers told me it had to stop because it was disrupting the class and riling up the other kids.  I thought to myself, “you nutters encouraged the kid and now that it becomes a problem and I’m the one to have to put a stop to it.”

So the arguments began . . . you’d think it would be easy . . . you know how gullible kids can be.  Yeah right . . . the kid inherited his mother’s and his father’s stubbornness.  It wasn’t easy.

The deprogramming went something like this.  First off . . . no more Toy Story movies . . . .period.  Second . . . the costume mysteriously disappeared.  Then the sit down conversations . .  .

Me, “You’re not Buzz Lightyear.”

Him, “I am Buzz Lightyear.”

Me, “You’re not Buzz Lightyear.”

Him, “I am Buzz Lightyear.”

Me, “You’re not Buzz Lightyear.”

Him, “I AM Buzz Lightyear.”

You get the point.  One day he was Buzz and the next day he wasn’t.  Personally, I don’t think I did or said anything to convince him he wasn’t weird shaped spaceman.  I think he just grew out of it.

And, then suddenly he was Luke Skywalker.

Ah  . . . the joys of parenthood.

Quick Fried Cabbage With Egg

1/2 Small Cabbage
1 Medium Onion
1 Tablespoon Butter
3 Slices Bacon, Crumbled
2 Eggs
2 Tablespoons
Salt, Pepper or Seasoned Salt

Finely slice the cabbage and onion. Heat the butter in a pan and fry the onion until soft. Add the cabbage.  Cover and reduce heat to low and fry for a further 10 minutes. Remove cover add bacon and fry for 3 minutes. Beat the eggs pour them over the cabbage. Stir until the eggs have set.  Stir in the cream cheese and serve.