Thursday, February 27, 2014

32nd International Street Food Bazaar

Every year MSU hosts the International Street Food Bazaar in Bozeman, MT. It is held on campus, and this year it seemed like they had record numbers of people attending. Last year was my first visit - I went as part of an assignment for one of my classes. This year Matt was able to go along with me! (And I was there to enjoy the food, not to do a class assignment!) I wanted to get pictures of the food we ate, and of the students making the food...but I got a little too excited about the food...and ended up without any pictures of the actual event. Whoops! Maybe next year :) I did however, bring home the brochure...and took pictures of that!

We enjoyed ourselves immensely. We went with $40, and came home with $1. We went with empty bellies, and came home overstuffed! It was all in all, a fantastic event! We were able to eat from 11 different countries, from Africa to China to Peru. We tried two different curries, (and could have tried more!) had four different types of rice, and four different beverages. We had chicken and beef and fried plantains!

I think my favorite booth was Saudi Arabia's curry, although I didn't like the veggies - okra and green beans. I also loved the sticky rice from Peru's booth, that came with their version of stir fried beef, complete with onions and tomato chunks. I also loved Burma's pumpkin ginger cupcakes, and Malaysia's Pink Lady beverage. Matt thoroughly enjoyed Indonesia's Chicken Sate with Chili and Garlic Peanut Sauce, and India's spicy Samosa (like a pasty!) and curried chicken. He also cleaned the plate filled at the African Society's booth - fried plantains, rice, and spicy chicken sauce. We were glad we also grabbed Aruk from Iraq, because as a biscuit-y pastry filled with meat, it was not spicy and helped cool our mouths between bites of seriously spicy curry. The American Indian Council's fry bread with honey and powdered sugar really capped the night off for us, in a doughy sweet treat.

We can't wait to go back again next year!! What do you think you would have tried?


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

How to Make an I-Cord

In our knitting, we use i-cords a lot. Every mouse, every snake toy, purse strings, cowl/ponytail hat ties, hat ties...the list goes on and on. They are super handy little buggers, and you can use them for anything imaginable. You can use two double point needles, a circular needle, or even handy dandy little i-cord making tools. It all depends on what you need, what you have, and how you make it. For the mice and snake toys I go 'old school'. I make the mice and snake toys on size 11 double point Brittany needles, I only have two on hand - not sure where the rest of the set is. I start the mice toys at the nose, and end with the i-cord tail. First you need to cast on, or decrease down, to the amount of stitches you are going to use for your i-cord. I always use four, but you can test out different numbers for yourself. Knit across the four stitches as usual:

Then just slide them to the end of your needle, so the first stitch you knit in the last row is now the first stitch you knit in your second row. (The yarn is still attached to the far left stitch, but is pulled across the back so you can knit the far right stitch.)

It's as simple as that. You just keep knitting across the four stitches, never turning the i-cord around. Basically, the yarn comes across the back (you need to keep it fairly tight) and the first and the last stitches come together on the back side.

Sorry for the blurry picture! This is the backside, you can see the purl stitches from the last row, but then how the knit stitches come together below.

For the ball and string toys however, I use the Embellish Knit. I used a different hand held device for a long time, and that worked pretty well too, but the Embellish Knit has a hand crank:

The only trouble with the Embellish Knit is that it doesn't technically do heavy yarns. The cotton I use for my ball and string toys is just a bit heavy - and eventually I will break my Embellish Knit. But - it's better (and faster!) than hand knitting a six foot long i-cord. No matter how fast I can knit, this little crank device can knit a lot faster. I even found a video online that showed a lady who had pulled the crank out, and inserted a drill....then the i-cord knits up really fast!!! :)

What do you use i-cords for? Have you ever made one, or were you intimidated by the lack of turning? Let us know in the comments!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Etsy Weekends - Natural Yarn

I know I share a lot of yarn here, but gosh I just can't help it! This yarn is so pretty! I just want to hug it and hold it and love it forever!
Natural Silver Gray Handspun Wool Yarn Skein, Knitting, Crochet, Weaving, Fiber Art, Textile, 2 ply Cotswold 150yds (137m), 1.48oz (42g)
Gray Cotswold from ACL HandWeaver 
Pure undyed Finnish handspun wool in natural creamy white - 45 grams of worsted weight yarn
White Finnish Wool from Just a Day Dream

Come on by next time to see what other finds we have for you!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Box Kitties

You know you've got one too, a cat who loves a cardboard box! Spike used to climb into Pepsi Cubes, and then she would try to fit into 12 packs. Goofy kitties! Here are a couple of oldies but goodies!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Winter Garden

I may already be dreaming of summer, and I may even have seedlings up - BUT - this is what my Garden really looks like right now!

Buried so deep in the snow you can't even make out the raised bed, or the planters I left outside this winter, since I was naughty and didn't finish cleaning up the garden before the snow (and the school semester!) came around. 

Soon...soon it will be green and lush and I will be weeding and harvesting veggies!!

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Evolution of the Dog Toy

Back in 2006 Mom and I came across some nifty german wool that felted down like crazy! We decided it would be perfect for dog toys and knit up a stuffed kitty that we felted down similar to how we knit and felt the mice. It ended up being a bust. The toy took forever to knit and stuff, and didn't stand up as well against doggies as they do against cats. Plus it took so much yarn that no one wanted to pay the price of the toy! It was still a lot of fun, and I would probably make one again!
Next, in 2009, we used scraps of overfelted sweaters (sometimes Mom gets excited and felts a sweater down so that it is too thick to stitch into Recycled Sweater Mittens) and I needle felted them to say fun things. I made the shapes based on what I could cut out of the sweaters and what I thought would be fun to write! My favorite was the Bite Me! Lucy's favorite is fetch! On a side note, Lucy is an adopted dog who was a breeder before she came to Pam and Randy's. Before, she never played with toys...but now look at her! I think it was the fetch toy that really turned her on to toys...but I might be biased. :)

Then, living in Montana with no access (and no money to buy access) to needle felting materials, and an overabundance of scrap denim...I made the denim Bite Me! toys. They are good for non-chewer dogs who love a good squeak toy, but since I can't guarantee them against tough teeth, I have yet to sell them on the internet. I still have them at my craft show booths though, and people seem to dig them!

Maybe someday I'll have the next generation of dog toys to show you (and sell you!) but until then, I'll keep playing with the cat toys!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Etsy Weekends - Comfort Food

I love food, and while I may not be a foodie per se, I still love looking at all the weirdo gourmet food on Etsy. Of course, I'm still drawn to the relatively normal fares for sale! Here are a few comfort foods I love on Etsy!
Lemon Shortbread - Just perfect.
Lemon Shortbread from The Groovy Baker
homemade Amish Friendship bread
 Amish Friendship Bread from Playful Wears Etc.
Bite Size Chocolate Chip Cookies
 Bite Size Cookies from Clear Pink

Come back next weekend to see what else we have up our sleeves!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Four Seasons Comparison

Well, we gathered photos from every season from the top of Peet's Hill. Here they are...from the same angle! Here's to another year of walking Peet's Hill and seeing the gorgeous views afforded us there! :)

Spring Bozeman

Summer Bozeman

Fall Bozeman

Winter Bozeman

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

How to Pick Out a Knitting Project

We use a lot of methods to pick out knitting projects, but usually we have a ton of ideas already in the back of our minds - things we've seen online, in magazines, on tv, or innovations to make something better that we are already making. Pam is here to tell a quick story about project selections!

We decided last minute to go to a jazz concert in Eau Claire on a Saturday afternoon a few weeks ago, and I thought - what should I knit while I'm listening to some great music? I didn't have a current project that would be a good fit (everything I was working on required thought and closely following a pattern) so I decided I would start on a new project that I'd been playing around with in my mind! I decided to start a moebius that was checkerboard. Kirsten and I had actually been thinking along the same lines, and the week before we had chatted about the logistics of a moebius checkerboard. So I quick cast on (no really, if you haven't made a moebius yet, you should try - the cast on is so quick!) about 130 stitches and started to knit on the 45 minute drive to Eau Claire.  

The music was great and I had my knitting to keep my hands occupied. I kind of wished I was in the last stages of an afghan because it was chilly at the concert! Anyway, I spent the evening knitting and I wasn't really happy with the way the checkerboard knit out, but it was interesting, and worth the experimentation. Then inspiration hit again, and I thought maybe I should put a white stripe on the edge of the scarf. I had initially planned on making the whole edge of the scarf in white, but I ran out of the white yarn (yes, I used up some stash!). So I did another stripe of red and then I remembered that I had read about someone putting a ruffle on the edge of a moebius scarf.  So I found more white yarn and I did two rounds - Knit one and then a yarn over! So, I ended up with a lot of stitches. I knit a couple of rounds without increasing anymore and then I cast off using an i-cord cast off. If you haven't done an i-cord cast off - you cast on three stitches and then you knit two stitches, knit two together and then slide them back to the left hand needle. In other words for every three stitches you knit you get rid of one! I didn't think I would ever get the beast cast off! I don't know what I'm going to do with it, but I think I might wear it for the Community Band Concert in December! We always need to accessorize for the holidays! Hmm...maybe I could use it for a tree skirt under the tree!

Mom mentioned that I had also been planning a checkerboard pattern. I did end up making one - I had a small ball of yarn I was trying to get away from Lela, and ended up setting it on top of another skein of yarn. Together they looked like a cute little pumpkin, and I thought I should definitely knit them together. So my checkerboard scarf started with a thin round of non-checkerboard Gray, then I started the checkerboard. I was pleased with my results, but I think next time I'm going to do a solid color scarf and start the checkerboard immediately. 

Picking out a knitting project really requires knowing how much time you will have, and how much attention you can pay to that project. Of course, my projects usually morph into other things as I go along and the inspiration hits me! Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't, but I learn something new almost every time!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Etsy Weekends - Weddings

There's no denying, Etsy is a great place to look for unique wedding items. I've avoided sharing them so far because it's not really what I'm shopping for, but it's such a large segment of the Etsy stores that it's difficult to completely avoid. Here are some really nifty things I've come across recently!
Apple Cider or Hot Chocolate Mix Bags Wedding Favor or Favor for Any Occasion- Set of 100
Hot Cocoa/Apple Cider favors from Happy Hippo Home D├ęcor
Lucky Pennies from Seize the Night
Plantable Placecards from Davita
Round Engagement Ring box from Woodstorming

That's all for this weekend, come back next weekend to see what other treasures we have found!

Friday, February 7, 2014


For a dog who would sit down and refuse to move another inch halfway through our 4 mile walk, she sure loved going to her walks! Sheila the Blue Merle Australian Shepherd 2001-2012

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Gardening In February

I'm not sure if I mentioned it last season, but growing peppers in Montana is nigh on impossible. I did some research at the end of last season to find out what I could do to improve my chances, and that's when I read that peppers need the night time temperature to stay above 70 degrees. So, I've decided to buy a greenhouse that I can heat and grow peppers in. I'm also going to try growing eggplant, and my pole beans in there - since the deer ate all the pole beans last year!!

One of the other tips was to start them early. Like "Are you insane, why did you start your seedlings already??" early. So...I did. This weekend we headed over to Planet Natural and picked up some soil and a tray with a lid.

Happy Frog Potting Soil

I planted my pepper seeds on Saturday. Between my seeds and the seeds Lisa sent over last summer I had about 30+ varieties to choose from. Since I am terrible at decisions, I decided to try as many as I possibly could. Lisa had told me that a friend of hers used ice cube trays with holes drilled in the bottom to start seeds, and since I had three ice cube trays from the previous tenants of the duplex (I hate to throw things away!) I decided I would try that method out! Each tray has two rows of 7 cavities - room for 14 plants in each. Since I always fear that I will kill off half my plants I put each variety of seed into two cavities, so I will (hopefully) end up with 14 plants, and 7 varieties in each tray. With three trays, that comes out to 21 varieties, and 42 plants! I told Matt if I am successful, we may have to have a booth at the farmer's market just so I can sell all my extra plants :)

21 Varieties of pepper seeds

This is where I show what a terrible gardener I am though - even though I know the seeds won't sprout for ten to thirty days, I still check them multiple times a day! I keep hoping I will see something popping out early :)

Monday, February 3, 2014

Outside My Comfort Zone

This semester I am taking a class on Violence in Latin America. It is extremely interesting, albeit a little sad and disturbing at times. The professor has required that all the students do a project, so me being me, I decided to do something with the fiber arts! She is trying to push me out of my comfort zone however, and has suggested a wall hanging that I have decided I will needle felt. I might wet felt the base, then needle felt the design over top.

The question is however, (and the reason I'm writing this post!) what do I do for the design?

I'm considering many options - but I want to stay positive. Something along the lines of life continuing on in the face of adversity. I like the idea of incorporating the pulse and colors of the African movements in Brazil, but not sure how to proceed from there.

What are your ideas? Do you have any experiences in Latin America - Good, Bad or Ugly? As a consumer of knowledge, what would you like to see in an abstract piece of art? Coming from the queen of cat toys, this is quite a different world for me, and I would love your input!

If you have tips or input, but are too shy to comment here, feel free to email me at I check our email account daily!

Ile Aiye

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Etsy Weekends - Candles

If you've been following us, you know how much I love candles. Well, I've found a few new shops to love on Etsy!! The first shop makes all kinds of nifty rose candles, in pillars and tapers. Very cool looking! The second shop focuses on unique scents. Both sell candles I would love to own....

Wedding Unity Candle Set, Unique Engagement Gift, Valentine's Day Wedding, Romantic Decor - Unique Beeswax Rose Candles by Marcie Forest
Rose Candles from Forest Candle Studio
Spiced Cider Soy Candle -- 8 oz Tin
Spiced Cider Soy Candle in Tin from a Pink Butterfly

Come Back next week to see what else we've found to love!