Sunday, June 28, 2009


Tara, armwarmer the first is almost done:

Tara's Armwarmers

Modelled by Tori, daughter of my friend, Michelle. Yeah, I could have modeled it, but my rounded short forelimbs wouldn't have done it justice.

The silly thing is, working on dpns, it took me forever to get the first 30 rows or so done (including the knuckle portion, the thumb opening and then rejoining into a tube), but once I switched to the two circular needles (Friday afternoon) the rest breezed by. I hope to have both finished by this coming weekend and then I will pop them in the mail.

I will leave you with some latte love:

Latte art

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

We have tomatoes!

There was a lot of squealing going on at Chez Jo yesterday. It started in the morning when I saw this through the sunroom window:

Tumbling  Tom with tomatoes!

We have tomatoes! This is my Tumbling Tom tomato plant that I was worried was going to die because the leave changed from a young healthy lime-green colour to grey-green. It doesn't seem to have affected the plants fruit-producing ability. Andrew wonders if this is the plant's natural state because while looking a sickly grey-green, the leaves are healthy.

Here's a close up of one of the tomatoes:

Cherry tomato


I wasn't able to go out and take pictures until much later in the afternoon, and while checking out my other plants, I saw this and screamed:

Cucumber plant

See it? Here's a close up:

Cucumber close up

It's a baby cucumber! I've never tried growing cucumbers before, and I am so chuffed that they are growing so well! (And that the recent rains hadn't washed everything away!)

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Who would have guessed? I just noticed when I logged in that this is my 700th post.

Tara, I began working on your armwarmers:

Tara's Armwarmers Attempt 1

Unfortunately, I had to rip them out because they were just too wide. I knit until they were long enough for me to stick my hand in, and the 2X2 ribbing wasn't even stretched. The pattern said to use size 5 needles and that gauge wasn't important because these were meant to be stretchy - but these could have fit some ham-fisted individual. So, I will try again tonight with size 3 needles - I think size 4 needles would still be too big.

Back to the drawing board...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Tara, Your Yarn Arrived: An Unintential YPF

My friend Tara and I are trading skillsets - in return for her making Willow some adorable clothes, I will be knitting her some armwarmers. After much viewing of green yarn, she chose Claudia Handpaints Sport in the Jungle colourway:

Calaudia Handpaints Sport Jungle

And a close up:

Calaudia Handpaints Sport Jungle Close

Very lovely!

Since the yarn is variegated, I think I am going to use a simple pattern to show off the pretty greens. I can't wait to start!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sharkgirl and Tandem Cycling

Yeah... puzzle that one out.

Look in Willow's mouth:


Look closer:

Sharkgirl close up

Now is the title starting to make sense? My child has two rows of teeth - the dentist assures me that it isn't permanent. She will be seven soon, and I know my friends who have children around the same age have lost teeth already, but Willow is being as stubborn as her mother was about this. I don't think I lost my first tooth until second grade. I remember my teachers having a list on the board of everyone who had lost teeth and how many teeth and my name was never up there. In fact, I was still losing teeth in junior high school - I am missing my canine teeth in my eighth grade school picture.

Um, yeah - enough of my issues...

The dentist says not even to worry about the two new teeth being placed behind - that as soon as the old teeth come out her tongue will push the new teeth into place. It just looks odd for now. Mom and Dad, I am sure I will be bringing a gap-toothed beauty with me this summer. Her two lower teeth and upper teeth are all quite loose and I have a sneaky suspicion she is going to loose them all at the same time.

So, where does the tandem cycling fit in? Andrew and I love cycling - it is something we used to to all the time when we lived in Boulder, Colorado. When we lived in Japan we didn't drive, so it was bicycles and trains everywhere as well. We have been trying to get Willow to ride her bike without training wheels with limited success (she is okay as long as she hasn't figured out you have let go of the bike and she is on her own...) We had seen people here in town riding these tandem bicycles for adults and children, and found out the child's part is just an attachment to the adult's bike:

tandem cycling

It is so much fun! Willow was quite apprehensive the first time. "Daddy, slow down, Daddy, not so fast!" By the time they had gone around the block once it had become, "Daddy, again! Let's go again! I like speed bumps!" The bike does have limitations - you have to be careful with turns (similar to how a limo makes wide turns because of the length) but we are very happy with it. Not only do we all get to cycle together, but we have peace of mind that she is actually with us and not weaving away into traffic. We have a bike hitch for the car, and we are trying to find a local place to take a trip to go cycling for the day. I know there are bike paths down in Rehoboth Beach and up in Gettysburg - does anyone have any other neat ideas?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Shrimp on the Barbie

Shrimp on the barbie

I think this has become my new favourite summer food... It's so simple and quick! The recipe I use was adapted from one I found on

1.5 pounds raw shrimp
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp kosher salt
paprika (to taste)
white pepper (to taste)
bamboo skewers

Crush garlic and salt together, add in olive oil and spices to make a greasy paste (trust me, it is a lot more appetizing than it looks). Rinse shrimp and put in gallon ziploc bag. Scrape in paste, and moosh all over shrimp, seal bag and toss in refrigerator for a few hours. Start soaking the bamboo skewers at least 30 minutes before you plan to grill or they will catch on fire.

Take the shrimp out of the refrigerator and start to thread onto the skewers. Hold the shrimp in a backward 'C' shape and pierce it through the broadest part and the tail. My skewers are about 7" long and I can get 5 on each. Once the grill is hot, it will only take about 3 minutes on each side to cook them. I love how shrimp have a built-in doneness indicator - when they are raw they are weirdly translucent grey - when done, opaque and pinky-white. Enjoy!

I took some pictures of the garden while we were waiting for the grill to heat up. Here is my Sweet Basil:

Sweet basil

That big leaf in the front is about the size of my palm. Here is the Lime Basil:

Lime basil

I foresee pesto on our dinner menu this week. Another one of my favourite summer meals. I make a really quick and simplified pesto - 4 cups basil leaves, 1/2 cup zesty fat free Kraft Italian dressing, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese. I put it in a container and liquefy it with my hand blender. You could probably add other stuff to this to zing it up, but I have to deal with a 6-year-old's palate.

Cherry tomatoes planted in the ground:

Cherry tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes growing in the basket:

Tomato basket

The plant still isn't healthily green, but it is producing lots of fruit.

My eggplant has lots of flowers on it:


As does my acorn squash:

Acorn Squash

And look what I found hanging out in my cucumber plant:

Cucumber socks

I told you there was knitting going on. I finished this sock except for grafting the toe while catching a custom True Blood marathon on Demand (watching all the episodes I wanted to see again). These socks are definitely for me - no more sweet-talking me into giving them to someone else!

Gotta go - the new season of True Blood starts in 4 minutes!

Friday, June 12, 2009


It's been a louse-y couple of days.

Yeah, I spelled that correctly.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Rose By Any Other Name

On Sunday we met Asami, Gara, and their boys at Buckley's Tavern Pajama Brunch - brunch is half price if you wear your jammies - and it was totally worth it to have Andrew go out in public in his Superman jammies. No pictures, however - I may have got him outside in the jammies, but he drew the line at the picture taking.

After brunch we headed out to the Brandywine Zoo and Josephine Gardens, where I found some beautiful roses. Unfortunately, with all of the rain we had last week, many of the roses were rotting on their stems, but I did find these ones relatively unscathed:




And as for knitting... I started something new last night... and it isn't a sock!

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Gentle Prodding

My life has not been exciting of late. I have some big deadlines at work, the weather has been crappy, and I have been in a reading mood rather than a knitting mood... all things that contribute to a quiet blog.

Before I went to bed last night I checked my mail one last time and saw this missive from my Dad:

dear jo

i look at your blog everyday this week and i have memorized your latest post. get with the program

love dad

Okay, you know it's bad when your Dad feels the need to point out your paltry blogging...

Here, I'll try to distract you with some pictures from the garden!

Cherry tomatoes

Look what I have! As happy as I am to see the little tomatoes, I am a bit worried for the plant itself:

Tumbling Tom

It's in the middle of our yard, it's getting full sun, and after the 4 days of rain we had this week, it's plenty hydrated, but it's turning yellow in spots and some branches are falling off. Does anyone know any tomato first aid?

My spaghetti squash has a bloom on it:

Spaghetti Squash

Weeds, too, apparently. That's what happens when it rains for nearly a week and we can't get out and pull things.

This is a cool one - I had to stand very still to get this picture:

Dianthus with Yellowjacket

It was cooler when I thought I was taking a picture of a bee... until Andrew pointed out this was a yellowjacket, not a honeybee.

And lastly, a late bloomer from my FIL's garden:

Late rhodo

As I mentioned above, I have been in a reading mood lately - and in no particular order, here is what I have read in the last week or so:

* Succubus on Top by Richelle Mead
* A Touch Of Evil by C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp
* Night Huntress by Yasmine Galenorn
* Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris
* The Devil's Due by Jenna Black

and last night I started reading:

* Demon Mistress by Yasmine Galenorn

And before anyone gets overly concerned about the titles, they are all urban fantasy - my preferred form of literary escapism. And trust me, I need a lot of escapism right now.