Sunday, August 28, 2011

Good Friends and a Day Out...

Does life get much better than a day out with friends?
Last week my knitting buddies and I drove to
Knoxville, Tennessee to visit another friend
who now lives there.
Carolyn, wearing a cranberry vest she knitted herself,
hosted us for lunch.

Carolyn was at one time a partner in the yarn shop
I used to own with her and Anne (to the left of Carolyn).
She is the woman I aspire to be.
Carolyn  is a designer,  knitter extraordinaire,
and one of the most "graceful under pressure"
women I have ever known.
When we were in business together,
she used to amaze me with her boundless energy.
In fact, when I felt overwhelmed with the projects, deadlines
and work I needed to do, I would ask myself,
"What would Carolyn do?"
The answer to myself was always,
"Keep on working."
Just the motto I needed to do one
more hour of work for the day.

Did I mention she sets a gorgeous table...

...and serves a tasty meal? Yumm...

Carolyn had just completed some extensive
redecorating  of her home.
One of the things she was anxious to show us was
this quilt she now has hanging in her bedroom.
The quilt is extra special because it was made
by another member of our group, Ann,
who was not able to be with us for the day.
Carolyn had purchased this quilt at one of
our past holiday shows.

As if the day wasn't lovely enough,
we visited one of Carolyn's local yarn shops

And, although every one of us has enough
yarn in our stash to open our own shop,
we all managed to find something to buy.

These two  balls will go into some
pretty FUSION Yarn

This week I'm linking with
Tablescape Thursdays at

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Knitted Boutique Bags on Sale!

I'm doing a little housecleaning at

I'd like to make some space for
a new shop section.
Etsy only allows ten per shop, go figure.

Right now
all my small boutique bags
are on sale at a real savings.

All these bags are hand knitted,
in my own FUSION Yarn,
fully lined,
and one of a kind.
You can take a peek here.
(Click each bag individually
at the site for its details.)
By the way, free shipping!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Frozen Chocolate-Mocha Cheesecake

For ease and taste, this is probably my all-time favorite dessert.
Last week I gave a small dinner party and while serving it
I realized everyone at the table had probably
already had it served to them by me at
some point in the past.
Oh well, it bears repeating.

Make the crust first by combing
1 1/4 c. chocolate wafer crumbs
(I use chocolate graham cracker crumbs)
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. melted butter

Press on the bottom and 1/2 inch up the
sides of a spring form pan.

Cream 8 oz. cream cheese until fluffy.

Add 1 can sweetened condensed milk

2/3 c. chocolate syrup

2T. instant coffee, dissolved in 2 t. hot water

Beat until smooth.

Fold in 1 c. heavy cream, whipped.

Pour into prepared shell,

Garnish with cookie crumbs.


This week I'm linking up with
Tasty Tuesday at 33 Shades of Green
Wow Us Wednesdays at Savvy Southern Style
Whatever Goes Wednesday at Someday Crafts
Show & Tell Friday at My Romantic Home
Foodie Friday at Designs by Gollum

Saturday, August 20, 2011

From My Bookshelf--The Two Final HUNGER GAMES Books

I've completed the final two novels of
Suzanne Collins.
(I talked about the first book earlier, here.)

CATCHING FIRE, the second book
takes up after Katniss Everdeen and Peeta have won
the national games instituted by their government,
a fight until the death of all but the victor(s).
These games are a method of propaganda,
used to keep the population under control.

However, unrest in the districts is sparked by
Katniss' spirit and she unwillingly becomes a
symbol of hope for a spark of a rebellion.

The second book ends very abruptly,
and you are not going to want to spend
any time before starting the third, so have it handy.

In the final book, THE MOCKINGJAY,
the rebellion is fully played out and a
final resolution is realized in an epilogue,
twenty years later spoken by Katniss.
Personally I wish the ending had been
handled a bit differently.
I didn't mind HOW it ended,
but rather the author's method of telling it.
I wanted more of a "big moment"
of resolution, not a cool,
after the fact, retelling of it.
(If you've read the series, I'd love your opinion.)

These books are classified as "Young Adult,"
but are extremely grim.
Any adult reader will find them gripping.

Of course, as with any wildly popular
book trilogy, the movie is coming next year.
Everything I've read about it thus far is positive.
An interesting note, it was filmed near
Asheville, NC, not too far from where I live.

These are not the type books I usually read, but
they were completely entertaining and I recommend them.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Knitting the Computer = AAAAHHH!!!

In my mind's eye, this is what knitting is meant to be.
However, I have been at (chained) to my computer
with a knitting project for the past couple of weeks.
I told you recently about by newest sheep design, "Pinky."
One of my goals for that project was to have the
design available for sale at my Etsy site and Ravelry
as a PDF pattern.

Shouldn't be too difficult to do that, right?
Right, unless you have a computer like mine!
For some reason, I only have "Wordpad," not "Word"
on my desktop and it does not let me save work
in PDF (portable document format)
which would easily let people, who want to buy
the pattern download it to their computer.

You can't keep a good woman down because of small
technicalities like that.
I went to an Etsy forum and asked what to do?
I got some excellent advise to download free software from
Open Office.
It worked GREAT.
I LOVE it.


...the next time I opened "Overdrive Media Console"
which is the software  my local library uses to  deliver

audio books, which I cannot live without...
Seems the Open Office software
wanted to convert the books I wanted to download
into text format.

Long story short,
after removing Open Office and tracking down it was the problem
with the book downloads,
I had to reinstall it to get the knitting pattern in  PDF format.
I decided to do the whole series of eight since I wouldn't be
keeping the software on my computer.
So, I've been at the computer for days
getting the patterns in PDF format,
uploading them to

and my Etsy site.
Then off with the Open Office software and
reinstall of the audio book software.
There was probably a much simpler way to
accomplish all this but I know only
enough about my computer
to get myself in trouble.

I am happy to say, the project is done and
harmony has been restored!

(All images from Google)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Introducing "Pinky" and a Fundraiser

Priscilla, the woman who is the sales rep for my
wholesale bag business, was in town a few weeks ago.
She is on the road with her work a good part of the year.
So, when she's in my area, she often comes and
stays the night at Buttermilk Cottage.
I usually make a home cooked meal and we
spend a nice evening visiting.
Priscilla has been my mentor
since the very beginning of my wholesale business.
As she usually does,
she  asked me if I had any new sheep designs.
My usual reply is/was that I have some ideas in my head,
but nothing to show her.
This time, she off handily said,
"you should design one for breast cancer awareness."
I have to tell you that Priscilla dealt with
breast cancer five years ago.

This incident happened about the same time
one of my "knitting buddies," Karen
had announced to our group she had
been diagnosed with breast cancer.
This was a hard blow to our group.
We've all known each other for
twenty years or longer, and have gotten
together weekly to knit with one another for
nearly ten years.
Luckily Karen was diagnosed very early
and her prognosis is excellent.

If you're a woman, you are impacted
by breast cancer.
Granted, we don't all personally get it.
But, we all have mothers, sisters, daughters,
and dear friends.
And somewhere, someone in our life is dealing with it.

So, with Priscilla's casual suggestion, suddenly came
my realization that here are two
very special women in my life,
who are both dealing with
breast cancer.
That was all the motivation I needed.

This is "Pinky" Pretty Pink Ewe.
She's my newest little lamb
and she's my personal contribution to
breast cancer awareness.

Buttermilk Cottage is partnering with
The National Breast Cancer Foundation
and pledging 15% of all its sales
of "Pinky" ornaments, kits and patterns will
be donated to the foundation.

"Pinky" is available as a finished
(hand knitted by me)
 ornament at my Etsy Shop here.

Or, if you're a knitter and would like the kit,
it's  available here.

 I also have the PDF patterns for "Pinky"
available at my etsy site
or from Ravelry

Not a knitter, and no need for a little
sheep ornament?
Not a problem.
I have set up a personal fundraising page here
where you can make a direct contribution to
this cause.

You can find out more about this foundation here

My ray of sunshine to share with all of you -
Priscilla has been cancer free for five years
Karen's last radiation treatment is tomorrow!

I'm in awe of both of these dear friends
and wonderful women.

Happy weekend everyone!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sharing My Little Lambs

I'm a fiber person. 
For years I've been designing, making and selling
small knitted sheep, in honor of all the wool I use.
You can see them at my Etsy Shop here.

My daughter Kate is a clay person.
She's quite talented modeling small figures.
I've shared the "Santa's on Animals"
she's done for me here.

A couple of years ago she surprised me on
my birthday with a complete collection
of all my knitted sheep done in clay.

My designs began with a series of sheep based on
Mother Goose rhymes.

Bo Peep's Sheep was the first.

Baa Baa, the Black Sheep came next.

Followed by Mary's Little Lamb.

And finally, The Sheep's in the Meadow.

Kate's little renditions are full of charm.

Kate's "Sheeps in the Meadow."

Next I added "Sam, the American Lamb"

and "Wishing EWE a Merry Christmas."

Here are Kate's clay versions.

I followed up with
"The Original Knitting Basket"

Kate's clay version,
same idea expressed in two different mediums!

My little collection sets on my bedside table.

Message to Kate:
Get your clays out, because I have a new design!
I'll share it with all of you later this week!

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