Archives from January 2007

Vente/Venti/Double Shot Mocha

Photo: Sheri Berger
Friday, January 12th, 2007 in Sheri's Recipes

DSC00061.JPGHere I thought I knew a lot about Starbucks and their drinks. In my Frank/Martha quiz, one of the coffee options was:

Vente Mocha with 2 shots

Knitting Daughter, who is also known as Starbucks Barista, informed me that it’s Venti-with-an-I Mocha (not Vent-E), and it automatically comes with 2 shots. Ok, then. I stand corrected. Obviously I don’t order that size. But I must say, the last time I got a Grande, I thought they had given me a Tall and my first thought was, “Well shoot – I need a bigger cup than that.” I refuse to routinely order Ventis. I just refuse. Of course I used to say that about Grandes.)

Also, I got my first email from a dog this week. I loved it. Apparently the word is out that I talk to dogs. (Hi Frogger!) I think maybe I shouldn’t have put that “talk to animals” thing in writing. (Although I’m in great company, from the number of people who commented and emailed.) In fact, Zoe, our cat, told me that she thinks it’s great that I talk to her and Casey. Never mind. Enough said.

Thanks for weighing in on the Franks and Marthas. It sure looks like there are more Franks out there, but I sell just as many Martha colors of sock yarn, so I think some of you Marthas are hiding. That’s ok. It will just be fun to see how you all choose to step out of your regular sock-zone for the Loopy Q1 Challenge. I’m anxious for the pictures. (And I love the idea of all of you who are perfectly balanced “Frarthas”.)

DSC00436.JPGRemember my idea for our sock gallery? Since anyone can have a “regular” sock gallery, I wanted us to do “Socks in Trees”. It was later amended to also include “Socks on Bushes” (the plant, not the president) and “Socks on Rocks” for those without vegetation. I promised you a cute little gift if you sent me a photo (limit 2 per person – 1 for your sock picture submissions and 1 for your knitting nook picture submissions.) I have seen the preliminary gallery that Web Guy is working on, and I just love it! We’re hoping to put it up by the end of January when he is home for a long weekend. Want to know what the fun little gift is? This mini Sock Blocker. (One for sock submission, one for knitting nook or knitting organizing idea photo submission – that way you can earn a pair.) I have posed it with a our S/M/L Sock Blockers so that you can get an idea of the size. Isn’t it cute? (What do you do with it? Well, you could either block baby socks, or you could just stick it on a shelf or hang it on the wall in your knitting area for decoration. That’s what I did with mine.) WH is about done cutting all of these for me, so that I can start sending them out to the people who have already sent photos. Keep sending them – YOU are what will make these galleries more fun! (Yes, your sock photo for the Loopy Quarterly Challenge can count as your “sock submission” and you will receive the mini sock blocker.)

bee2Look what came in this week. This is the wonderful thing that I told you my friend Georgia (Yarn Pirate) sent me at Christmas time! It smells great and it is wonderful on my hands. I have picky hands. They don’t always react well to some lotions. They love this stuff. I put a large tin in my bathroom to use at night, and a small tin in my knitting bag. I need to put another one in my purse. (How many times are you out running around and wishing you had some lotion for your dry hands?) Give it a try. I know you’ll like it.

Recipe for today – I feel bad sharing another decadent one with you during diet month! But, well …. this is what I’m making lately, for one thing or another. So print it out and save it for when you need a quick and EASY dessert for company.

DSC00432.JPGSymphony Brownies

1 plain old brownie mix for a 9×13 pan

2 Symphony chocolate bars (the BIG size. I like the one with toffee bits the best, but I used the plain chocolate this week.)

Mix the brownie mix as directed. Pour half the batter into a 9×9 pan (even though you’re using a 9×13 mix.) Layer the 2 chocolate bars on the batter. They should cover the whole pan. Pour the rest of the batter on top. Bake as directed, but add 4 minutes to the baking time. Let cool at room temperature. Cut and then refrigerate before serving to make sure the inner layer of chocolate “sets”. Also great with ice cream, if you feel like you’re not getting enough calories in the brownies…

I’m having a very fun weekend. My favorite knitting friend and her WH are here for a few days. I’ll tell you all about it on Monday. :-)

Sheri it’sacloudydaydidImentionthatIlikecloudydays?

Martha, Frank, and The Loopy Quarterly Challenge

Photo: Sheri Berger
Wednesday, January 10th, 2007 in Loopy Challenges

DSC00069.JPGRemember this photo? Perfect example. Please note that the two socks on the right and the one on the left are not for me. The socks “for me” are the other three in the middle. Now read on to see what this has to do with anything.

There are two distinct types of sock yarns – the Marthas and the Franks. Take this quick quiz to see which describes you best:

1. When you have a crisis in your life, you: a – scream and then vent to a friend, or b- you are never in crisis-mode

2. Your coffee of choice is: a – Vente Mocha with 2 shots, or b- regular, black

3. Your knitting basket contains: a – what knitting basket? or b – each of your projects in Ziploc bags

4. What’s for dinner? a – whatever you can find in the freezer when you get home, or b- whatever is on your menu calendar for that day

5. When reading the newspaper, you: a – skim the front page & head to Lifestyle, or b – read the main stories & editorial pages

6. In a crowd, you like to: a- stand out, or b – blend in.

7. The number of knitting projects you have in the works: a – more than five, or b – less than five

8. These kinds of test: a – amuse you, or b – annoy you.

Score yourself. Mostly A’s? You’re probably a Frank. Mostly B’s? You’re probably a Martha. (Yes, very unscientific. Very stereotyped. No real rhyme or reason to it. But I think it’s a good basic indicator. What do you think?)

So who are Franks? Franks are people who like to wear bright, flashy, “look at me” types of socks. You figure, “What’s the point in wearing anything that isn’t fun?” We named it Frank after a guy we know who has worn red “look at me” socks with every outfit for as long as we’ve known him. He makes a statement with his well-known red socks.

And who are Marthas? Marthas are people who like to wear classy, conservative, “normal” looking socks. You might love big jewelry or have a fancy car, but in socks, you prefer them to blend in. We named it Martha after a calm, soothing, classy teacher I once had. When you were in her room, everything was right with the world.

Personally, I am a Martha with my socks. I confess to loving the color red (and carry a red purse) but with my socks, I tend towards the dark jewel colors and more subdued tones. I am in a rut. Thus, The Loopy Quarterly Challenge!

The Loopy Quarterly Challenge is simple: Every quarter, I will issue a new sock “challenge” for anyone who wants to participate. Everyone is welcome! In this first quarter of the year (Jan – Mar), move beyond your normal sock color choices and pick something in the other camp. If you’re a Frank, pick a nice, classy Martha sock yarn to knit up. If you’re a Martha, pick a fun and wonderful Frank sock yarn to knit up. Send me a picture of your Martha Socks or your Frank Socks (socks on rocks, socks in trees, socks in bushes – remember our fun sock photo-taking themes) and you will be entered into a drawing for a great First Quarter Prize! (Actually – we’ll have more than one drawing. We’ll have one drawing from the pool of all participants, and we’ll have the Reader’s Choice Award for the one that all of you vote on as being the best representation of the challenge.) All photos must be in by the last week in March, and the drawing and voting will take place the first week in April. So get knitting!
DSC00425.JPGHere is the yarn that I have picked for my Frank Socks. I love the colors in this Tiger Lily by All Things Heather, Penllyn pattern. I thought it was beautiful when it arrived. But I also thought I’d never wear it. You know what? Now that I’m knitting it up, I absolutely love it! I’m calling these my Happy Socks and I can’t wait to finish them and wear them. Life’s too short to wear boring socks. :-) (Psst – I’m using my amazing sterling silver Celtic Swan needles. Want some? I have two sets left, here.)

So are YOU up for the challenge? Are you a Martha or a Frank? (I wonder – do you think there are more Marthas in the world or more Franks? Leave a comment and tell me which you are, and we’ll do our own informal poll.)

Sheri maybeIoughttoknitALLFranksthisquarter

Weirdness Loves Company

Photo: Sheri Berger
Monday, January 8th, 2007 in Loopy

DSC00138.JPGI have had fun reading about all of your weird things. Although, I must say that I could totally relate to an alarming number of them. Should that worry me? Wonder Husband (WH) wanted me to add another weird habit of mine – talking to our cat and dog (and really – the squirrels in the yard, the birds on a walk, etc) as if they could totally understand what I was saying. (“I have told you before not to eat out of the cat’s bowl. Why do you keep doing that? Bad dog!” or “Why are you sitting up there in the window where it’s freezing cold?”) I just don’t think that’s weird. Just sayin. Want to know something weird about WH? He leaves 1/2 inch of liquid in his glass and comes back to finish it later. After meals, after snacks, etc. Every time I find a glass like that, I know it is his. And if I toss it, he asks “Where’s the rest of my milk?” I don’t get that at all. That’s just downright weird.

A Loopy Ewe update – I put Yarntini up on the website last week. I know I didn’t mention it in the blog. The reason for that is simple. I put it up around noon one day, and we were sold out of the entire lot by dinnertime. I thought I had better say something, because I know some of you are still wondering when it’s coming in. It has come and gone. I’m hoping for some variegated skeins from Yarntini later in the spring, but that’s not a promise, yet. Just keeping my fingers crossed that that will work out.Peony I put up more new colors of Claudia over the weekend! You all are huge Claudia fans and I know you’ll have fun with some of these new colors. Many of them are “nearly solids” (with a dash of extra color for sass), perfect for those gorgeous lace patterns that everyone is making. That makes over 50 colors of Claudia Hand Painted Fingering Weight that we have in stock. (That even amazes ME!) We also received another shipment of Sock Blocker Keychains, so those are back in stock. I just love those little things! SockBlockerKeyI may have another new line up by the end of the week (depending on the photo-taking skills and time of WH), and then one or two more next week as well. Ohhhh – and the talented Katie is working on more of our Loopy/Louise/Black Bart adorable stitchmarker sets for us! When she asked me how many I wanted, I told her as MANY as she is willing to do. So I’m not sure when they will come in, but I’ll keep you posted. Also – another fun new accessory addition that my friend Georgia (the Yarn Pirate) sent me for Christmas. Of course I immediately thought that all of you needed this, too – so I ordered it for The Loopy Ewe. :-) Watch for it by the end of the week as well.

DSC00418.JPGWant to see some socks knit up from one of our new incoming lines? These are the socks I knit up on the cruise, for my Sockret Pal. I used the Aspen Colorway, in Fiber Euphoria’s exclusive “Lotus Toes” yarn line. It’s loosely spun, but knits up nice and tight for socks. The pattern is Garland Lace from Wildhorse Farm Designs. Angelina is shipping our first Fiber Euphoria order out today, so that’s the one I’m hoping to have on the website by the end of the week.

DSC00422.JPGI also stared another pair of fingerless gloves on our cruise. Here’s the first one, out of Lorna’s Laces Baltic Sea. Am I the only one addicted to fingerless gloves? Both knitting them and wearing them. I love them. I ought to start making some extra pairs for Christmas gifts for next year. (Since, you know, I’m going to be so much farther ahead this year and all.) (Glovelet pattern here.) 

I thought I ought to be welcoming new members of the Loopy Groupies every so often! This is a group that you are ushered into upon your sixth order from us. You know that we love sending out little gifts with your first five orders, and with your sixth one, you get our Loopy Groupie Gift Bag with some fun stuff inside. (And special Loopy Kisses in subsequent orders, as well as advance notice whenever I add new things to the website, and special sales and offers every so often.) So a big Loopy HUG to the following Loopy Groupie members who have been Loopies for awhile, as well as the brand new members added this week: Loren in WI, Kim in PA, Jane in MI, Isobel in PA, Michelle in AZ, Bev in IL, Wendy in VA, Kathy in TX, Michelle in IL, Deborah in MI, Sue in WI, Phyll in MI, L-B in VA, Lisa in OK, Sharon in CA, Patty in IN, and the latest additions this past week: Willi in OH, Laurie in NC, Sharon in TX and Kathleen in MA! It’s fun to be a Loopie – I hope you all join these wonderful gals, soon!

Sheri oh-IalsoaddedmoreSweetGeorgiaovertheweekend-yeehaa!

Ok – Weird Things

Photo: Sheri Berger
Friday, January 5th, 2007 in Loopy, Sheri's Recipes

DSCF2827.JPGOk, ok, ok. I have been tagged more than once for the “6 Weird Things About You” meme and so here they are. I did not open this up to discussion among family members, as this is SIX weird things about me, not SIXTY weird things.

1. I love rainy days and I don’t like bright and sunny days. In fact this morning it was raining, and I found myself saying “I need to open up the shades in here so that I can enjoy this great rainy day!” I need to move to Seattle. (And yes, that does happen to be a rainy day picture from this summer when the trees still had green on them. But I like winter rains, too.)

2. I like corn, all by itself. And only frozen corn, cooked. I don’t like corn in salsa, or corn in soup, or corn in cornbread, or corn in casseroles, or corn out of a can, or creamed corn. Just regular, plain corn.

3. I read magazines from the middle to the back, and then from the middle to the front. And I can’t stand all the little cards and cardboard paper ads in them. I tear them all out before I read it. (Did you know you can cut the Reader’s Digest almost in half by just removing cards and cardboard ad pages?)

4. I like to clean the house. Now, that certainly doesn’t mean I do it as often as it needs it, necessarily, but I like the satisfaction of having worked to get it clean, and then enjoying the results. However – most of the time I’d rather be knitting than cleaning the house.

5. I’m picky about how waiters/waitresses refill water glasses when we’re out to eat. I like the ones who know not to touch the water pitcher to each glass as they pour water. (Think about it. They touch the pitcher to your glass as they fill it, then they go to the next table and the pitcher rests on the edge of that water glass, then they go to the next table and the pitcher swaps germs on the edge of that water glass, etc.) Ick.

6. When I fill the car with gas, I always have to stop the pump on a “good” number. Not $38.79, but $38.80. Not $47.13, but $47.20. I always know which gas expenses were mine on our credit card bills. I’m sure there is a benefit in knowing that.

Who will I tag? Every single one of you! But you don’t have to do six. Just leave ONE weird thing about yourself in the comments section, if you dare. :-)

Today’s recipe comes at the end of the first week in a new year, when most people are ready to give up on their diet/exercise resolution. (Or not. Maybe you’re good. If so, you’re weird. Hey – that can be your comment today – “I’m still losing weight this week!”) If and when you DO need something really good, try this Peanut Butter Fudge. It’s wonderful.

pbutbarsPeanut Butter Fudge

1/3 pound graham cracker crumbs (1 pck. About 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 pound margarine, melted
1 1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 pound powdered sugar
10 oz. pkg. peanut butter chips (or butterscotch chips work, too)

Combine graham cracker crumbs, margarine, peanut butter and sugar.

Mix well until smooth and creamy. Press into 9×9 pan (although I used a 9×13 pan).

Melt peanut butter chips in microwave and spread on top. Let set at room temperature until firm. Cut before refrigerating.

Pictures of my latest completed socks on Monday – I promise!

Sheri don’tbeweird-leaveacomment :-)

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