Thea loves this thing

It's exhausting being a dog.

Sacked out dog

Slow cooking


I'm working on some unbloggable stuff so I hope you'll forgive me for talking food instead. I'll even throw a doggy fix in at the end.

My birthday is coming up and my parents freakin' spoiled me.


My first slow cooker with more bells and whistles than a bell and whistle factory. (I have clearly missed my calling as a writer.) The combination of working from home and being on a tight, oh-my-god-we-just-bought-a-house-budget, has meant I've done a lot more cooking much more from scratch and this is another tool in my arsenal.

I'm keeping track of any recipes I make so I can reference them later when I'm trying to decide what to make for the week.

I started with some slow cooked pork, that was good on the first day, but got even better than next day shredded, marinated in lime and mixed into a fresh salad

Slow Cooked Pork Tenderloin Slow Cooked Pork, revenge of the leftovers

Yah, not much to look at since they were both shot at night, but they tasted good.

And of course, I had to make pot roast. I think that's law if you eat meat and own a slow cooker, right?

Pot Roast with red wine garlic sauce

Some pork chili soon followed, another "must make" for a slow cooker.

Slow cooked pork chili

And finally, I reworked my favorite short ribs recipe for my newfangled contraption

Slow Cooker Short Ribs

Recipes can be had by clicking any of the images.
I am finding that key to making the most of these dishes is to add something fresh, like a healthy sprinkle of fresh herbs, or cheese and chopped red onion. A little something to brighten up the dish makes all the difference.

And, while I have been cooking for us, I also picked up a book on (don't judge me) cooking for the dogs. So far, I really like it. Many of the recipes require no special ingredients, just stuff you might have around the house and the book is written by a chef, a vet and a canine nutritionist (is that really a thing?) so there's no worry of giving your dogs something that will hurt them.

Peanut Terrifics Peanut Terrifics

The dogs have been losing their MINDS over these Peanut Terrifics. I need to adjust the recipe a little to account for the all natural peanut butter but these will definitely be made again.

Illustrator for Cablework Charts


My final installment of the Illustrator for knitting charts series, is now completed. I think that those of you who feel comfortable with the first two tutorials will find this one pretty straightforward, with just a couple new skills to apply.

For those of you who haven't seen the other tutorials, I highly recommend you watch them before trying this tutorial.

Illustrator for colorwork charts, has all sorts of introductory information on using Illustrator which will be applied through all the subsequent tutorials.
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Illustrator for stitch pattern charts, builds off those basic skills and adds custom made shapes.
Watch it here.

Lastly, here is Illustrator for cablework charts where we expand on making custom shapes and build a more complex chart. I've created this last tutorial in High Def so you can enlarge these and really get a good look at what I'm doing.

Part I

Part II

Download the chart I built here and play along at home.

Next up, I'd like to do a tutorial or two on InDesign and features that may be useful to designers. If you have any questions or requests, please don't hesitate to leave me a comment. And of course, any hints or tips you want to share would be great.

Donating and a bunch of other stuff


I used to blog the most inane little bits of my life, at times, and now there is facebook and twitter to handle that task. But when it comes time to post, there are always such a varied assortment of things I want to tell you about that, for the life of me, I can't think of a decent title. Sorry about that.

Anyway, first and foremost, thank you all who purchased patterns from January 15th-31st, of this year. Your donations allowed me to make a total of $736 in donations to Doctors Without Borders. And lest you think that an impressive number, I've seen other knitters reporting several thousand dollars in donations from their own sales. It's amazing to see how a multitude of small gestures can add up to so much. Really, it's a metaphor for life and it reminds me that no bit of good is too small and every effort is meaningful. So thanks to all of you who donated personally or bought patterns from a participating designer. It's enough to make my crotchety little heart soften a bit.

In doggy news, the pups still love the beach with the white hot passion of a thousand suns

January 23, 2010
See all the pictures here.

The beef crunchies I made have upped the excitement for training time.

They work hard and they play hard. Awww

Toy nom
Thea's got a toy

And lastly for your moment of pure comic relief at the expense of what little shame I may have had left, I got an honorable mention (as did the beautiful Stitch Diva,) in the Regretsy Skants contest.

Help Me Pick a Skant Picture

Yup, this get-up doesn't even touch the wackiness the winners hit. Mine looks downright tame by comparison.

Hair Apparent and giving even more


I've finished the pattern for Hair Apparent and added it to the collection of Help For Haiti patterns. Like all my more recent patterns, 50% of the price will be donated to Doctors Without Borders for any sales from January 15-January 31, 2010. 75% of any sales of my older self-published patterns, retroactive to January 15th, will also be included in the donation.

Not to get sappy, but I've been following a few Ravelry threads and the amount of money knitters have been able to donate is awe inspiring. If you are interested, check out the tally Yarn Harlot is keeping or browse the other patterns in Ravelry that are marked for donations to Haiti. The good godless folks of LSG alone have raised $40,000. It's a great reminder that many people making small gestures can add up to a lot.

I hope that any of you who have been on the line about sending a donation, will consider finding a charity you respect and sending an amount that you can spare. And for the loads of you who have clearly already reached deep into your pockets, despite the poor economy, I just want to say how moved I am by your generosity. Ok, sappiness over. Thanks for humoring me.

Hair Apparent

This ultra easy pattern can be worked up in a productive weekend or gradually completed over a week. There's a fun little braided brim and I've included a full photo tutorial at the end of the document for those who feel it may be beyond their skill level. I've also included both stripe instructions and both snap and button options. The hat is available in 5 sizes from premie to adult. The pattern is 4 pages plus a cover and is laid out so that secondary info (tutorials, gauge, schematics, etc) are on separate pages from the actual pattern instructions, so you can print out only the info you actually need and save paper and ink.

The price is $3.
Find out more about the pattern here.


The pups were a great "help" during the photo shoots.

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