November 2010

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I haven’t been posting so much lately. I’m not really sure why. I thought I would have more time to myself with the girl in afternoon kindergarten. It doesn’t seem to have worked out that way. But I suppose I have been able to volunteer at both of the schools.

Various photos:

socks handknit from self-striping yarn

This is the second pair out of the same ball of self-striping yarn. Matching socks for the boy and his sister.

dyed wool blanket remnants scraps

These are scraps of an old wool blend blanket that the boy and I dyed various colors. It was originally a light green and the boy had a great time seeing what would happen when we overdyed with various colors. It took the dye fairly well but unfortunately it did not felt well. That may change the intended use.

swatch of eyelet lace border

Swatch of eyelet lace border that I originally improvised for the strangling vine lace scarf. Someone on Ravelry saw my project photos and asked about the border. I had already gifted the scarf so I had to look at the photos to try and figure out what I had done. I hope I got it right. Although the pattern is quite simple, I have a hard time remembering to stop and write down what I am doing. Probably why I didn’t write it down in the first place. So my Ravelry notes for this are now out there and I really hope there aren’t any mistakes for the sake of anyone who may try to knit from them.

homemade chili in iron pot

This one because you need a food photo don’t you? Recently I have made chili with pulled chicken instead of beef in it and I like it very much. I use poached chicken thighs and pull the meat apart with two forks. And I always put the diced green pepper in just before serving so they stay nicely crunchy.

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Girly Socks

pink gray white hand knit socks

Girly socks. Plain knitting, nicely colored commercial yarn. This is a wool/cotton/nylon/elastic blend from Patons, available in chain stores. We’ll see how it holds up. Quick knit done in short bursts mostly in the car or while waiting for something/someone. It’s getting easier to make plain socks as I go. And I’m glad that I do not apparently suffer from second sock syndrome – the difficulty of finishing the second sock in a pair. Soon I think I’ll be able to make plain socks without consulting my charts and instructions. Next pair is mine.

The girl wore the first sock mismatched as soon as it was off the needles. I finally finished the second sock so she wore them together today over her tights. I only used half the skein so I could either make a pair of mitts, another pair of socks or maybe a doll sweater.

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or alternately: How to get your kids to joyfully destroy a pound of Halloween candy in an hour without eating any of it

My friend Krista mentioned a website,, that gives suggestions for using candy to do simple science experiments with kids. (Check out Krista’s pictures, she must have been a lot more organized than I was.) The catch of course is to get your kids to willingly give up their candy right? We’ve done some household science experiments before so I knew that would be a good draw. I explained to the boy and his sister that they could each pick out 5 pieces of candy and then we would do science experiments with the rest of it. The boy looked thoughtful for a moment and then readily agreed. Sister followed suit.

I pulled out several heavy clear glass bowls, a bunch of spoons, cold water, hot water, baking soda, salt and lemon juice. The best part is the stirring of course. We tested to see what temperature of water dissolved candy faster. We used baking soda to test which candies were acidic (acid plus baking soda equals bubbles.) We dropped hard candies into boiling water to watch them crack. We all made a guess on which candy might float and then tested to see who was right. The girl picked Charleston Chews, because they are white in the middle. I don’t know about her logic but they did indeed float! We were also surprised to find that the addition of salt to one of the bowls of candy made the candy corns pop up to the top.

We also put a bunch of candies on a cookie sheet and watched them melt, crack open, and even change color in the oven. We were surprised to see that candy corn melts, bubbles and then turns transparent and cools into a hard glassy puddle. It was all rather chaotic, and the candy disappeared faster than I would have guessed.

candy melting and cracking in the oven

I managed to save some M&Ms for one particular experiment found on I started with a clean bowl of water and very carefully dropped in different colors with the “m” face up. It was hard to be patient but we were rewarded with a rainbow of colors as the candy shells dissolved and the neatest trick of all: the white “m” floated up to the surface of the water!

m&m candies dissolving in water letter "m" floats


The boy (and his sister) decided they wanted to dress up as ninjas for Halloween. This sounded like a good plan to me so I heartily endorsed it. Covered head to toe in something that should be easy to buy or make and could be worn later as pajamas.

Black tee shirts and leggings were purchased. I sewed the balaclavas and belts from material I already had, they will get thrown into the dress-up shelves. I already had two pairs of long black dress gloves that worked perfectly. I made the balaclava pattern a year or two ago for a Batman costume so all I had to do was find it and sew some more. Very fast and easy on the serger in a knit fabric. Men’s black tube socks worn over their shoes and pulled up to the knees provided an extra layer of warmth and silent ninja feet. Because of course, nothing else about the evening was ninja quiet.
Halloween dress-up ninja costumes