winter

winter

Monday, April 17, 2017

Monday Menu 4/17/17

I don't have a pic for you because I've just been running in circles for the last several days. So, my disorganized self didn't get that done.

Sunday was scheduled to have french toast casserole, bacon, and bananas with juice. Instead, breakfast was waffles with milk and bananas. Lunch was sandwiches, as I had planned. Dinner was supposed to be roast leg of lamb, salt potatoes, and asparagus (carrots for the kids). I forgot, however, to turn on the crockpot. Which meant that the leg of lamb had to get thrown away. So I made spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. Cuddle Bear ate everything on his plate this time and told me that I had made him a 'special' dinner. Perhaps I have gone too long since the last time I made spaghetti.

Today's breakfast was cereal, I didn't have it in me to make eggs and toast which I had planned. Lunch was not mini pizzas but rather easy mac and cheese with some carrot slices. Dinner was hamburgers with pita chips and the last of the carrot slices. I am presently baking zucchini bread with chocolate chips and I am baking up a batch of homemade tatertots with spinach in them. my hope is that they will come out well and the kids will eat them with little complaint.

Tomorrow's breakfast is cereal. My plan for lunch for myself is leftovers. The lunch I am putting together for Beloved is a salami sandwich, cheese, and a bag of chips. I'm also going to add some of those peanut butter chocolate chips that the neighbors gave us yesterday. Dinner tomorrow is going to be beef fajitas with a tossed salad and some guacamole. The kids are going to be getting essentially nachos for dinner because they don't like soft tacos. Or I will make them quesadillas. I'm not fully decided on it.

Wednesday is scheduled for breakfast to be waffles with syrup and milk. I have a little bit of the strawberry jam that is more of a sauce left. I'm probably going to put that on waffles if they don't want syrup. Lunch for me is going to be a nice big taco salad. Beloved's lunch is going to be some of the leftover chicken curry that I had made for dinner Friday night last week. The stuff freezes amazingly well. I used the curry sauce from Aldi's. It came out really nicely. Wednesday is going to be tuna noodle casserole with peas. I'm pretty sure the kids are going to complain. I may just make them some chicken nuggets as I am cooking the casserole and do some plain noodles on the side.

Thursday is cereal for breakfast. Lunch is going to be leftovers. Dinner is going to be twice baked potatoes with ham and cheese, with a tossed salad. I am also going to start a pot of chicken stock simmering. I have most of what I need for it. I am going to be tossing in things like the ends of onions and what not. I am going to be simmering this stuff for a long slow while to get as much flavor out of it as I can manage. Then I am going to freeze some of it in cubes, put some into a jar in the fridge, and make a thing of homemade ramen noodles.

Friday is going to be pancakes, if I have the spoons to make them Thursday evening. If I can't get that far, I will be giving the kids cereal for breakfast. Lunch is going to be leftovers for myself and peanut noodles for Beloved with some diced chicken breast. I'm not entirely sure what sort of snack thing I'll include in there, but I'll figure something out.

I have cereal written down for breakfast on Saturday. I may just make eggs instead. Lunch is scheduled to be sandwiches. Dinner is scheduled to be meatloaf with tatertots.

Somewhere in the course of this week, I want to make a lemon meringue pie. Because I miss having them. I have some premade pie crusts and some lemon filling. All I have to do is make the topping. I'm going to think optimistic thoughts about this. I've never made this before and I remember my aunt Shawn telling me that meringue can be fussy.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Vulgar witticism in Stitches.

I was going to embroider this on the t-shirt but I decided that I was going to draw it on with a sharpie. I'm going back and forth over the idea of embroidering over it. But, for now, the rough initial work up is done.

Here's the text. There is no image to go with it.

Error: 404
Page 4655434B21 Not Found

4655434B204655434B

4655434B204F464621

17

It is in code, obviously. Hexidecimal to be precise. If you're determined enough, you'll decode it.

I like to make t-shirts for Beloved that are a sly insult at some of the more unpleasant people he works with.

I confess, I felt a great deal of disappointment with humanity at large when it became evident that people can no longer read cursive.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Monday Menu (Week of 4/2/17)


This week's menu is featuring some batch cooking. On Sunday, I'm going to make a LOT of french toast and then freeze half of it for later in the week. I'll report back on how successful this effort is.


Sunday
  • Breakfast - french toast with sausage
  • Lunch - leftovers from Sat. dinner / sandwiches
  • dinner - lasagna with salad


Monday
  • breakfast - cereal
  • lunch - leftovers
  • dinner - hamburgers, fries & carrot salad


Tuesday
  • breakfast - french toast
  • lunch - chicken salad wrap with lettuce & fresh veggies
  • dinner - pork enchiladas with salad & rice / quesadillas for kids


Wednesday
  • breakfast - cereal
  • lunch - leftovers
  • dinner - moroccan beef & sweet potato stew with couscous


Thursday
  • breakfast - pancakes
  • lunch - shaped sandwiches with veggies and chips w/ hummus
  • dinner - bbq pulled pork pizza w/o onion and mozzarella sticks


Friday
  • breakfast - cereal
  • lunch - leftovers
  • dinner - curry chicken with rice and cucumber yogurt salad


Saturday
  • breakfast - pancakes
  • lunch - leftovers / sandwiches
  • dinner - meatloaf, garlic smashed cauliflower & squash with maple syrup


The recipes for the lasagna, enchiladas (well, the enchilada recipe calls for chicken but I have a bunch of pulled pork left), and the moroccan beef stew are on my Pinterest cooking page.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Monday Menu

Please forgive the lack of a picture. My menu was just written up as a list of dinners. I need to make new organizer sheets for the big household binder. (And little ones for this upcoming week for my daily planner, as well as reconcile all the calendars. It's a thing I do on the last weekend of the month now. It seems to help me stay on top of things.)

Sunday (today) is Pizza night. The kids wanted their pizza to be half pepperoni and half extra cheese. So, I made a pizza like that, of which they each ate only one slice and five carrot sticks for dinner. So, Beloved and I are having the remaining pizza instead of my making another one for us.

Monday's breakfast is going to be waffles. My lunch is going to be chicken salad in one of those Aldi's brand (Fit & Active) wraps that I have leftover from last week. I used something like half the package last week. I'm going to try to use the rest this week. I am also going to be having some fresh spinach with it. I'm leaning towards chopping up some tomato and throwing a little bit of shredded mozzarella together with it and some italian dressing. Dinner is going to be hamburgers, as per usual. I am going to make carrot salad to go with it.

I am starting to make lunches and snacks for Beloved to take into work. This is less a matter of cutting down on eating out and more a matter of helping him make sure he actually gets to eat something during the day. Because it has gotten really busy over there. I made him a lunch with the leftover chili from last week. I threw some pickled jalapeno peppers on top because he said I made it not spicy enough. I then put some Babybel cheese wheels in the package with half of a naan bread sliced up. I'm pretty sure that he will enjoy it. I also made him a snack for Monday that features two different kinds of nuts (honey roasted peanuts and plain cashews - two of his favorites), two different kinds of cheese, some sliced pepperoni, and some baby carrots. I kinda felt bad about not adding something 'healthy' with all of that.

Tuesday is taco day. I am making them with ground beef - even though I am half tempted to try to find some vegetarian alternative. I've seen some interesting things using lentils. Because everyone in our house prefers soft tacos or basically nachos using corn chips, I didn't bother picking up any hard shell taco shells. I have all the fixings of salsa, sour cream, cheese, and such. I may wind up making myself a taco salad for dinner. I'm not decided yet. Breakfast is going to be cereal because I'm boring like that. My lunch is going to be leftovers from the burgers Monday. Because I finally got more veggie burgers, I'll probably be having that with a salad.

For lunch on Tuesday, I put together some homemade corned beef hash and scrambled eggs for Beloved with some cheese and some horseradish on the side. His snack is pretty much the same as what I had put together for Monday. I also will be sending in a baggie of pretzel mix.

Wednesday is going to be another morning where we have waffles. I am going to be bringing lunch when I am out running errands. So, I am going to be having leftovers from Tuesday in the way of a taco salad. Because I really like taco salad. Dinner is going to be in the crock pot. I am making pulled pork. I will also be making a salad to go with it and a pot of macaroni and cheese. Part of the reason why I am making mac and cheese is because I think it is absolutely awesome with pulled pork. Also, my boys love the stuff and I know that it will be at least one part of dinner that they won't complain about.

The lunch I put together for Beloved on Wednesday is featuring chili again, with the extra jalapeno peppers. I am going to be sending in a small thing of pad thai that I made using the sweet potato noodles (or I might take it and eat it for lunch myself, I'm not decided yet). I will be sending him with basically nachos to go with it. No cheese sauce, though, because he hates the stuff. Instead, it will have the shredded cheddar dropped all over it along with some of the leftover taco beef. Maybe I'll put it on the side and let him dispense with it as he sees fit. Either way, I think he will smile at it. He loves corn chips, so it will help make his day a little better. The snack I put together for Wednesday is a combination of a pair of hard boiled eggs, nuts, and cheese.

Thursday is going to be another cereal day. I am going to be having some of the leftover pulled pork as a cuban sandwich for lunch with a salad. This is, incidentally, the same thing I will be putting together for Beloved's lunch. He kinda loves cuban sandwiches, and I can't exactly argue with him. They are pretty awesome. Dinner is going to be pad thai with chicken. I picked up some mung bean noodles when I was out shopping last week. These things are delicious and good for you. So, I will be using those. I am hoping that I can do something like make some egg drop soup to go with it. If I can't, I won't be overly crushed. The decision to add the egg drop soup was one that I made after I got groceries yesterday.

Friday is going to be a day where we have muffins for breakfast. I have some mix for apple cinnamon muffins that I really need to make. I am going to have leftovers from Thursday for lunch or maybe even make my own homemade ramen noodles. Dinner is going to be chicken cooked in the korma sauce from Aldi's. I'm going to throw some veggies in with it. I have naan to go with it all and I'm going to make some spiced lentils to serve on the side (and save for lunches next week). I haven't decided what is going to happen on the lunch front for Beloved Friday. But I anticipate he will let me know what he is interested in.

Saturday is going to be a cereal day. Dinner is going to be tatertot bake with peas. I know the boys will enjoy it and I am not going to have to fight them to get them to eat.

But, that's the menu for this week.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Fiber Fluff & Stuff.

So, my friend Jim the Odinsman has just gotten into knitting. It's been exciting to watch the stuff he has been posting. It is equally exciting to see how excited he is about this new craft in his life. He is a little self-conscious about his mistakes, but, honestly, he is doing a lot better than I was when I first started out. My rectangles and squares came out lopsided and could only be called such in the loosest of senses. He seems to have a natural knack for keeping his tension even. I'm still not good at that and I've been trying to figure out this knitting stuff for about eight years now. (Not counting the time when I was eight and my Grandma K. tried to teach me. That was just a mess and I gave up.

Somehow, things came full circle. After Grandma K. passed, I inherited some of her knitting stuff and among the fist full of knitting needles was that purple set of circular needles she gave me when I was small and I handed back in great frustration. I also discovered the sweater she had started for me when I was much younger. It is half finished and it looks like she ran out of the same style of yarn for the back. It is bitter sweet. I'm still trying to figure out how I'm going to approach the matter. A part of me says I should try to finish the thing, another part of me says that it won't fit me, and then I've got yet another part saying that it would be better to use that yarn for something like the baby hats for the NICU at Strong.)

My spinning got interrupted last week by the snow days. I wound up spending more time trying to keep the kids out of trouble than I did spinning. So, I am attempting to get more done this week. I am still using that rainbow colorway that I was before. I have switched from the turkish spindle over to the french spindle. This is not because the turkish spindle is full as much as I really want to do a 2 ply yarn from the singles off of the french spindle. Because it is tricky to work with that super fine stuff, I am going to spin up another full spindle on the french spindle. I am starting to get kinda close to that. It helps that I figured out how to make what I am calling a 'table top' distaff.

I picked up one of those silly things that look like a giant lollipop with smaller lollipops inside. Because the 'lollipop' opens up into two hemispheres, it has a very stable base when I am resting it on the open side. Inside the sphere portion, there is a plastic divider with holes that the sticks for the lollipops go. I figured out that I could pop that divider out and pull out the styrofoam block inside. I then filled it with some stones and popped the divider back in. The side with the divider is where the 'stick' of the thing attaches. So, I wound my fiber around the end of the stick pointing up in the air and secured it like I would on a larger distaff.

Wouldn't you know it, the darn thing is perfect for using a supported spindle at the table. It stands up a little bit over a foot, which means I'm not waving my arms around like a madwoman. I have found that this means that my shoulders don't bother me so much and my arms are less likely to get fatigued by it. I also found that it makes stopping spinning an easier affair as well. Instead of somehow wrapping the fiber around the spindle when I set it down, I can just wind the single up on it until I can rest the tip of the spindle in the bit of fiber where the drafting triangle is. Nothing gets unspun or tangled. It just sits there nice and tidy, waiting for me to come back and work some more. I think this was a great idea and I'm very pleased with how it is working.

I am almost on the last third of the ducky scarf. It is coming out a bit shorter than I anticipated, but I have a plan for how to compensate for that. I'm going to add some buttons and a loop for closing the two sides of the short scarf around the wearer's neck, like some kinda fancy cowl or something. I've seen a few interesting ideas that I am trying to decide which is going to work best. Still, I am going to finish this damn thing because the gift is now three months late. It is very annoying for me.

It is still the beginnings of this large shawl/cloak that I am crocheting. It has 5 points, including the two ends as one point where they meet. I'm making it up in shades of purple. I will be doing some white in this as well. The idea was inspired by looking at a chunk of amythest. I'm pretty sure that I don't have the right number of points for the crystalline structure, but I'm not going to worry about it. I am in the planning stages for Yule gifts. I am seriously thinking about making something with Pi on it, like a scarf or something. The other thing that I am considering is that I may do something needlepoint. As I was falling asleep last night, the idea hit me that I could do something cross stitch with the number 3.15 shaped to look like an apple. I may have to play around with that to figure out how to get it right. But it could be super cute.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

9 Patch Entrelac Washcloth (Crochet)

This is a really simple washcloth. If you know how to do tunisian crochet, this is probably one you could do almost in your sleep. The first square is made with a foundation row of 7 stitches. You pick up 6 stitches, plus the starting loop on your first pass. Do your return pass as per usual. Make six rows. Then do a cast off edge for the seventh row.

Turn your work 90 degrees. Pick up 6 stitches in the edge of the first square. Adding the loop from the final stitch of the earlier section, you should have 7 loops on your hook. Do your return pass as per usual. Repeat the process that made the first square. When you do your cast off edge, you have two options. You can bind off when you finish casting off or you can slip stitch down the edge to the join with the first square. Which ever you choose, when you get to the part where the new square joins the edge of the old square, start working for your 7 loops as if your were starting that second square over again.

Repeat this process for the next two squares. This should give you what looks like a plus sign. Bind off your final stitch and (if you haven't already) break your yarn. Change to your secondary color. Pick a corner. Work from the outside edge of the second square to the outside edge of the first square (that corner where everything joins). Pick up 6 stitches, including the first chain loop (which I joined with a slip stitch, it is unnoticeable in the final project). Chain one at that last stitch you picked up, then do your return pass. After this, you will pick up for your forward pass one stitch in each stitch across except for your final stitch in the row. That stitch, you will pick up going through the edge of the square beside you. Return pass is done as per usual. When you have your 6 rows done, cast off as per usual and when you get to the final stitch, cast off as if that final stitch is a single crochet through that stitch in the other square. Break off your yarn and then move to the next corner.

When you have all of the outside corners done, change yarns to main color. Single crochet around the edge of the whole work. At the edge of the outermost corners of the outside squares, work 3 single crochets into the corner. When you return to the first corner, work a single crochet and then slip stitch to the first stitch of the round. Then work a round of half double crochet. When you get to that 3 stitch corner, work one stitch into the first of the three, one stitch, a chain, and a second stitch into the second stitch of the trio, and then one stitch into the third stitch of the cluster. When you come back to your first corner where you started, work one stitch into the side you come up to, the one stitch, chain, and a second stitch into the slipped stitch, and then slip stitch into the first stitch of the round. After this, work a round of moss stitch. At the corners, you will work a 3 chain space rather than a single chain space. Slip stitch together after two chains for the final corner worked where you are joining with the beginning of the round.

I used cotton yarn for the main color. The secondary color is acrylic. I think the cotton yarn was called psychadelic from Sugar and Cream (I am not entirely sure, and I have since recycled the ball band.) and the acrylic yarn was an odd bit of the Red Heart Super Saver called neon brights. The combination of cotton and acrylic works really well on pots and pans. The acrylic is scrubby enough that it can take baked on stuff off with a bit of elbow grease but soft enough that it won't destroy your nonstick pans. (It also works really good on crock pot crocks with out scratching it up to bits.)

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Monday Menu


This week's menu is pretty simple.

Sunday is pizza night, as per usual. I was planning on making french toast casserole for breakfast but looking at my pantry, I think it is just going to be waffles.

Monday is going to be a busy day because the kids are off from school. (Superintendent's Conference day.) We're going to be having pancakes for breakfast. I picked up two small packages of mini-pancakes. Because I can't manage to make a decent pancake to save my life. We're probably going to be doing leftovers for lunch, but it may turn out to be something else entirely. I'm going to let the kids pick if they are not too much trouble in the morning. Dinner is hamburgers, as per usual. And I will be making my usual peanut butter carrot salad for dinner.

Tuesday is going to be a cereal for breakfast day because we're all going to still be adjusting to the time change. My boys have school, so I am just doing lunch for myself. I made some nice vegetable stew based off of the West African peanut stew and the West African vegetable stew on my Pinterest board. I whipped that up for lunch today and had enough left over for three days of lunches. I didn't put onion in it because the onion I had turned out to have gone bad. And I didn't add chicken to it because I wanted to keep it mostly vegetarian. Dinner this night is going to be baked chicken on root vegetables. I have parsnips, potatoes, carrots, and a squash. While the squash is not a root vegetable, I have been wanting to have squash for a little while now. So it is getting added to the mix.

Wednesday is not going to be pancakes for breakfast because I am pretty sure that the two small packages are not going to last past one morning. I may try to do something like make french toast sticks the night before for the kids to have in the morning. I am going to have oatmeal. Lunch is going to be something I grab while I'm out and about running errands. Dinner is going to be this super tasty pot roast stew that I have in this Cooking for Two cookbook that Beloved and I got as a gift from somebody years ago. The nifty thing about it is that it features a turnip. It is kinda hard to find recipes that feature turnips for some reason. I, however, may be looking in the wrong places too.

Thursday is going to be cereal for breakfast. I've got a big thing of cheerios that we really need to eat up before it goes stale. Lunch is going to be something I grab while I'm out running errands. Dinner will be lentil chili. I am having a hard time finding where I put my container of cashews. I may have to pick up another one when I am out.

Friday is going to be waffles for breakfast. Lunch is going to be that stew I made today. Dinner is going to be General Tso's chicken for Beloved and I. The kids are getting chicken nuggets. I think it will go well.

Saturday is going to be busy. In the morning, I will have to get the pork roast started in the crock pot before I go out to spinning guild with my mother in law. I am going to try to pack a lunch for her and I as I did last week. I need to talk to her to find out what she may be interested in. I want to do what I can to make stuff a delightful little moment of luxury when we're having our day out. If I can manage it, I am going to try to add something involving really awesome, high quality chocolate. Because you gotta have a little chocolate once in a while, right?

I am posting this a few days early. Life looks like it is going to be super busy over the next several days. So, I am putting this up tonight. It is my hope that I am going to get things organized enough to start posting regularly again.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

A Life of Its Own!

Simple changes often lead to bigger changes. That seems to be how it works out. I started keeping a 'Control Journal' after reading about the thing on FLYLady.com and thinking about how it would make it easier to keep track of everything. Somehow, I have found myself at a place where that big ol' binder is not quite enough for me. I realized that lists help me but I needed a daily schedule. And I realize that the big binder was too big for that purpose.

So, I picked up a smaller binder. I put in a few sections already and I am going to be slowly adding to it as I go along. I still use the big binder but it is now where I do my weekly planning and my monthly planning. My daily stuff is in the smaller binder. The first section has my daily agenda.

The times slots are broken up by hour. I highlighted the things that go over an hour. Right now, the yellow highlighter is for my schedule on Keen. If I have to change a block, I put an 'X' through it. If the 'X' is for the whole hour, I block off both blocks of the section. If the 'X' is for a half hour,I block off one section. Less time, I note what time the other thing is happening. Right now, my schedule is in a bit of flux as I get everything ironed out. As you can see there is a lot of 'open' time. I expect this is going to change as I go ahead.

I have a section with my daily task list.That is pretty boring, so I didn't take a picture for you. After
this is a section with my Zone Cleaning lists. If you look in the bottom right hand corner of the daily page, you'll see a note 'Z1'. This indicates that I am working in Zone 1 that day. So, I would open up my binder to the Zone 1 cleaning list. I would then check off what I got done in that 15 minute cleaning session. I anticipate some things are going to be done in only one session and others are going to be done faster. I also anticipate that this is going to turn into even the stuff that takes longer going faster as I get more stuff back to a fairly clean condition most of the time.

It is as though my efforts to put my life in order has taken on a life of its own. I'm not going to complain but I am a bit bewildered. Somehow, in the midst of all of this, I have found time to get stuff like late Yule gifts finished and more time to work on my spinning. I dare say all of this is actually working out well. Despite my having migraines multiple times over the last few weeks (thanks, crazy weather) and my life getting disrupted some by the kids being on break last week, I am still getting stuff done.

Oh, here's the travel coffee mug cozy I made for Kate's dad. It was going to be all crochet but I got annoyed with it. So the bottom of it is about four rounds of double crochet before I just knit it all. When time came to cast off, I was having trouble making it stretchy enough to fit right. So, I whipped out the crochet hook I used to start. I cast off with a single crochet for each stitch and a chain stitch between them. I think it actually came out looking pretty nice. The yarn is from Red Heart. It is called Neon Lights.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Worn down, but whatever.

Today was a kinda long day. The kids are home on break. I have the lingering effects of a cold. It was not a great combination. Still, I managed to get out and get a walk in, socialize a bit, and get the kids to play at the park for a little while. The lake is not completely open water, but there is a marked decrease in the ice covering it. That wind blowing across it made my hands very uncomfortable as I was trying to do some knitting while the kids played. I guess, however, it was not a bad thing. I mean, shivering does burn calories, right?

I have made some big changes to my diet. I have dramatically cut down how much carbohydrate I have been eating and equally dramatically increased the amount of fiber and protein. This has resulted in my feeling full more of the day with out a huge difference in how much I eat. I am also making a point of cutting out things like processed foods and artificial sweeteners. I don't have much love for plain yogurt, but I am eating it anyways. I am just adding fruit to it. So far, I think the biggest challenge in that area is the fact that the kids have been eating the strawberries I picked up to put in the yogurt.

Still, it is healthy and they're getting good eating habits out of the matter. Honestly, I'll buy more fruit if it means that they are eating stuff that is better for them instead of a ton of sweets. We're still having some fighting over eating dinners that are not chicken nuggets or their favorite sandwiches (PB&J/PB&Nutella for Snuggle Bug and Ham & Cheese/Pizza for Cuddle Bear). I am finding that involving the boys in making dinner is making them more likely to consider eating some of what we make.

Dinner tonight was scalloped potatoes with ham. I used a bacon alfredo sauce in it with a lot of cheddar cheese. It came out pretty good, in my opinion. I made sure to eat only one serving. When I found I was still hungry afterwards, I had the peas left over from dinner last night. (That was hamburgers with peas.) I have been cutting down on the amount of bread that I am eating. It is not exciting. I am not entirely thrilled with having my sandwiches with out bread. I assemble the stuff for my chicken salad sandwich on the plate like a salad, put a big pile of bean sprouts on the side, and then eat the whole with a fork. It is an intermediate step between the salads I was doing last year at about this time and what I was eating for lunches up until this week.

My goal is to get myself back to eating a diet that is more heavily based in vegetables. I am not completely sure how I am going to do so. Portion control has been a big part of what I am doing right now. I am also stopping myself when I want to go get a big scoop of ice cream or something. I ask myself if I really am hungry. If the answer is yes, I then get myself some vegetables. Not as much fun as ice cream, but I want to be healthier. So, I am going to make that sacrifice.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Crafting for Charity.

I am still making preemie hats for the local NICU. (Specifically for the Golisano Children's Hospital at Strong. These people are the ones who took care of me when I was born 3 mo early.) I am excited to say that over the last few months, I managed to learn how to knit the hats.

I was having some difficulty, but after a little work and some patience, I got it so that I could make that hat with out any gaps at the top. One of the ones that I am really pleased with is in this picture. I made it yesterday.

I am excited to do this. There's two reasons for my excitement. First, I want to do something meaningful for my community. Second, I feel like this is completely something that my Grandmother K. would have wanted me to do. She was pleased that I was learning to knit. When I showed her a hat I had made at one point, she was really proud of how well I was doing. I feel like this is continuing on her love into the world at large.

This hat is really, really simple. It is essentially the same as the Umblical Cord hat that you see around on the interwebz. The only difference here is that the hat is small enough you can put it on an apple or an orange. As, that is about the size of a lot of the preemie's heads. They do need hats that are larger, and some of those babies in there are full term. So, my next goal is to start making them bigger with out mistakes. (That is still a learning process right there, but I got the tiny ones right. So there is hope for me yet, right?)

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Fiber Fluff

This week, I finished two washcloths. One was just plain single crochet square of 8 in by 8 in. The other Tunisian simple stitch square of the same diameters. I edged them with a bit of multicolored crochet cotton. I'd have posted pictures but I can't remember where I put the blasted things.

I also finished a crochet wall hanging. It was very simple. I can't really call it much of a sampler. The starting chain was crochet around a 3 foot length of wooden dowel that is 1/4 of an inch in diameter. After this, I did single crochet for two rows. Then I did double crochet for three rows. This was followed by a section about six rows wide of linen stitch. I got bored of this and did another three rows in single crochet. Then I started a different pattern with it. Using single crochet and a contrasting yarn, I worked up rows alternating between the contrast yarn and the main color base on the Fibonacci sequence. I ran out of contrast yarn by the time I hit the section that would have required thirty five rows.

So, I did a few rows in the main color to create a visual divider. At which point I did alternating rows of shell stitch with the main color and a different contrast yarn. I got bored doing the shell stitch when I was at seven rows in. So, I did another section of single crochet with the main color. Then I worked a ripple stitch for about twelve rows. By this time, the whole project measured 3 feet by 2.5 feet. I decided it was about the length I needed for the spot on the wall beside my side of the bed. So, I fastened off my yarn and wove in my ends. When I hung it up, it looked... ok. The main color was royal blue yarn I had left over from Beloved's sweater vest from the year before last. And the contrast yarns were stuff I had left over from other projects. I lean towards declaring the thing somewhat ugly, but it wasn't supposed to be pretty, just something to keep a cold draft off of me. It seems to be serving that function fairly well.

Now, there is one thing that I am pleased with. And that is the bonnet that I'm going to share below. I made this in memory of Stargazer, one of my best friends from college that died a few years ago. I made it in two of her favorite colors. And, I gave it to someone who was in need, which I knew she would have wanted.



Here's the pattern.

Use a small amount of sport weight baby yarn, a size H crochet hook, and size 3 double pointed knitting needles.

Crochet portion:
Foundation: Chain 14 stitches plus one to turn.
Row 1: Single crochet into each stitch, work three single crochet into the end stitch before working a single crochet into the back of each stitch. Chain one and turn your work. (30 Stitches.)
Row 2: Single crochet into each stitch, at the first of the three stitches at the middle of your row, work an increase of one. single crochet into the center stitch, then work an increase of one before doing single crochet into each stitch to the end of your row. Chain one and turn your work. (32 Stitches.)
Row 3 - 8: Repeat row two, increasing in the stitch immediately before the center of the row and after it. (R3: 34, R4: 36, R5: 38, R6:40, R7: 42, R8: 44)
Row 9 : Change color. Single crochet into each stitch, turn.
Row 10-15: Single crochet into each stitch, turn.
Row 16: Change color, Single crochet into each stitch, turn.
Row 17-22: Single crochet into each stitch, turn.
Row 23: Change color, single crochet into each stitch, turn.
Row 24: Single crochet into each stitch.
Row 25: Crab stitch into each stitch.

Knitted portion:
Pick up 4 loops across the edge of final colored section. This should include the working loop from the final crab stitch, the two edge loops for the section and the first edge loop of the previous colored block. Knit 4 stitches. Turn work, knit 4 more. Then proceed to knit an i-cord that is 8 inches long. Bind off knit wise. Weave yarn end in. Make a simple knot in the end of the cord.

On the opposite side, pick up 4 loops across the edge of the final color section: the first edge of the first crab stitch, the edge of the final single crochet in that row, the turning stitch of the previous row and the edge loop of the final row of the previous colored section. Using the same color as what was worked for the final colored crochet section, knit 4 stitches. Turn work, knit 4 more. Then knit an i-cord that is 8 inches long. Bind off knit wise. Weave yarn end in. Make a simple knot at the end of the cord.

I think that my total spinning time this week was a half hour. I didn't get much done. I was too busy running around and doing stuff. I am going to try to get more done over the next week. If nothing else, spinning guild is coming up soon.

Aside from a bit of mending, I really haven't done any sewing. I have, however, started work on a needle book for A. I am using up scraps of yarn from previous projects. I will post the chart for the front and back covers once I have them drawn up. Everything is very simple. I am completing it in tent stitch. While the designs do not look as polished as they would in cross stitch, it makes it easier to have the color runs of the variegated stuff I'm using for the background look nicer. I'll post a pic of the project when it is done as well. (All things considered, I think I may have it done by next Wednesday at the latest.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Friday Fiction: Reign Tenné et Or

The story I tell you now is false. It is pure fiction. An invented bit of fluff to entertain you for a moment while you pause in your viewing of the destruction of other things, unsure if said destruction is entertainment or threats. I cannot say if the destruction is either. It is not my place to do so. Nor would I wish to, for I am but the teller of simple tales. I lay before you the tale of a kingdom once known for peace but now is bedlam. No, no. This kingdom is not an analog for Nova Roma. Do not think such a thing. Nova Roma is a Republic, hale and strong. This kingdom is but the fruit of an idle mind, as all such stories would be. And it is proper, I suppose, for only idle minds would dare such a thing, yes?

Once, in a land most distant in geography and time, there lived a king. This king had a great voice that could be heard in all the halls of his land. He would speak and his servants went among the populace to spread his wisdom. Liveried in or, tenné, and argent, they were a people who were feared. They bore with them white wands tipped with gules, the ensign of the king borne upon a device of a noble cockrel, that bird of great courage in battle. What, you ask, is the ensign of the king that the gules cockrel bears? This, my dear friend, is one that indicated great humility in this king of a thousand tongues. The humble ass in argent lays lodged sinister upon the tenné field. a band of or chief upon it. The arms of this king, this famed king known in many lands, spoke of one who was humble and slow to anger. The tenné field bespoke of his storied travels through out the known world, for the color of the field was exotic to his lands where only the colors of gules, argent, and azure were known. The band of or denoted his noble head, where upon the crown of rulership rested on his glossy, brazen colored locks.

The king was a man of great wealth. As all men of great wealth, he feared that enemies would come to steal it away. Daily, he sent his servants among the people. Part of the reason for this was to make known that this king cared for his populace and part of the reason was to quell any speech that spoke against this king. Thus did the early days of his reign pass. His grand proclamations that were designed to quiet the troubled hearts of the people were spoken daily. Each day, the proclamation was greater than that of the day before. He set many to work upon ventures that he insisted would strengthen the coffers of the kingdom, that would bring prosperity to the land. He called for a great wall to be built upon the kingdom's southern border, where the lands he decried as lawless lay. He spoke of raising up the clergy to higher stature, so that they might guide the people into greater wisdom.

At the same time, however, the king raged when his servants spoke of the people who mocked him. He flew into blind wrath when he learned of troubadours who sang popular songs that disdained him. His rage was terrific to see and his servants feared him greatly. All but for one. Behind the king, there stood a man with a long, sharp knife. A blade that cut in more ways than through flesh. Even as the king sent this man hither and yon to quiet the dissent, the man plotted in the shadows. He laid quiet seeds to drive the king into greater frenzy, to push him into madness. As this man, the king's closest counselor, waged his quiet political war to undermine his benefactor only enough to allow him to keep the king as a puppet, the servants of the king feared him and did not speak against him. They hurried to do as the counselor commanded, thinking it was the word of the king himself.

The king's situation, however, was not one plagued by but one man's evil. For, the king had stolen the throne from the one who was chosen by the high council. The petty kings of the land came together to choose their overlord. This king, who held but small lands despite his vast wealth and cadre of loyal servants, fought bitterly with the petty kings. They who labored beneath the other petty kings found themselves deceived by the honeyed words of the servants. Thus, they began to rise up in protest when the other kings tried to put forth a queen to reign above them. In some of the petty kingdoms, there were those who were devoted to the queen whose arms were azure and had an argent tear upon the field. There were also those who had put their hearts behind a grey bearded king of a small land who was known for his devotion to his people. The queen, however, pointed to the wizened old king of the north and stated how his experience was only with his small kingdom, where as she had stood shield-side to the overlord who had brought great prosperity into the land.

The king that sits upon the throne contemplated banishing the azure queen. Instead, he called upon the age old mistrust that was held against women of some power. Thus, the petty kings, save the grey bearded one of the north, turned their faces towards him. The seeds of discontent, however, were sown and as the king in tenné and or tried to root out his opposition, for each one removed ten more arose. The azure queen spoke to her kinsmen and the moderate voices of the council. The grey bearded king spoke to his kinsmen and they who supported him. The king in or became progressively angrier as it became clear that his hold over the high council was not absolute.

Thus, as his chief adviser suggested increasingly outlandish things to him, the king in or followed along those paths of madness. The people of the entire land suffered. The troubadours' voices were silenced, many of the famed ones having had their tongues cut out. The small folk of the kingdoms all found themselves in greater states of distraught as the king in or's servants went about to divest them of their goods, claiming it was needed for the service of the land. As mothers cried out for their children's suffering, fathers were conscripted into his army as the king in or set to engaging they who had been staunch allies, insisting that they were enemies.

Fearful whispers suggested that the king was mad. The only thing known was that the king with his richly embroidered clothes and jeweled hands had convinced himself that all sought his ruin, thus he set out to destroy any who disagreed with him. So did it begin that the kingdom of Pax Columbia fell into ruin so great that its name was forgotten.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Something that was just rattling around in my head. Posting it early, because why not.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Monday Menu.



Sorry this is a day late. Life has thrown me a curve ball. I spent yesterday sick. Today I was out running errands and at a doctor's appointment to resolve the issue causing me to feel so unwell. And tomorrow, I have to take Cuddle Bear to a dentist appointment. One of the things I had scheduled for today got rescheduled to Thursday. So, I am just kinda doing all the things all at the same time.

I don't know how well you can read my writing here. But, as always, I am going to write up my list below.

Sunday 2/5
Breakfast: Eggs, toast, etc.
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Pizza

Monday 2/6
Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: Soup & salad
Dinner: Hamburgers with fixings & carrot salad

Tuesday 2/7
Breakfast: Waffles
Lunch: Out
Dinner: Kielbasa, egg noodles & peas

Wednesday 2/8
Breakfast: Eggs, toast, etc.
Lunch: Out
Dinner: 1 pot pasta with meatballs & salad

Thursday 2/9
Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: leftovers
Dinner: Beef stew with dumplings

Friday 2/10
Breakfast: Waffles
Lunch: salad
Dinner: chicken nuggets with spinach puffs (kids)/ indian chicken and rice (adults)

Saturday 2/11
Breakfast: Eggs, toast, etc.
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Tacos

I am seriously considering trying out a few recipes from the vegetarian cookbook that I won in the silent auction at the meeting of the spinning guild last month. It has some really great ones from india and inspired by indian cuisine. I am not entirely sure what I want to do yet. I will, however, post about it.

Tacos are going to be made using the crockpot method for cooking the meat. The one pot pasta is going to feature meatballs made from italian sausage. And my goal with the beef stew and dumplings is to actually get my dumplings right and have them be appetizing rather than a doughy, repulsive mass. Fortunately, I have my Aunts' cookbook. They have a great recipe in there. I may get it right this time. There is always hope, right?

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Friday Fiction: Silence.

They called me a monster. Their children screamed when my name was mentioned. Their stylized images that were but vaguely based upon my appearance were frequently waved about as indications of evil. Indeed, one place made viewing my erstaz icons a part of the punishment and torture regime they practiced.

Did I deserve this spewing of vitrol? I don't think so. I only did what was necessary for the continuance of their ... species. They were on the road to utter ruin. They lifted their hands to the skies and begged their cold, distant god for deliverance from the horrors they had created. I came to them. When I walked through their number, they did not know me. They merely thought me odd, perhaps even quaint. Some, however, did recognize that I was far older than they. Those who did so could have been divided into two camps.

One camp was filled with fear of me that reached towards some measure of holy awe. The other regarded me with fascination. Fascination is not always safe. Still, I suppose the ones who gazed on me in fascination rather than terror were perhaps the ones who were always going to be the harbingers of change. I almost pity them for their ill fate.

Let no one tell you otherwise, for it was truly fate. I may be ancient. But not even myself or my elders, or the gods in their high halls, can evade fate. It is a perverse humor that guides such things. The mad weaver throws her shuttle. The drunken spider spins her webs. And I, I walk along them with something like chaos in my wake.

They had become stagnant. They had become calcified in their destructive behaviors and their work to rend the world until it fit their strange vision of order. I had no choice but to come. I was called to them by it. That hard, brittle crystalline structure of a world they had fashioned needed to be broken. It was something that had to happen so that life may progress.

Thus, I took them into my hands. I did not snap them like twigs. Not immediately. I started with a subtle shift, a few bends and twist to it all. When things started to come apart and entropy enter into the system, they blamed the unfortunates and the people whom they hated that week. Those who saw me, they spread word that I had come as the hand of judgment or as their liberator. One camp turned into penitent ascetics who cursed the world around them with one hand even as they plucked the fruits of its labor with the other. The other camp turned into wild revels and hedonists. Some did so with merry abandon and insisting that the essence of life was vivid experience. Others did so with the keen awareness that they were witnessing the beginning of the end of all things.

I had no joy in my doing. It was work. It was work that I was fated for and hated for regardless of the necessity that drove me to it.

Still, I did the deeds required of me. I broke the fetters and bonds. I crumbled the walls and loosed raging rivers o'er the fields of squalor. In the end, they started to see me as I moved among them. Not the ones of insight, but the most mundane of them. They looked on in horror. Some tried to rise against me and strike blows to push me away. They fell as grass before the scythe. They always have and always shall.

Now? Now I rest. My work is, for a time, done. All about me lays ashes and ruin. I did not want to bring it to them. They were so beautiful in their cleverness. Charming children who had such great potential. But, they created for themselves a trap. They cried for freedom. Thus, I came and rescued them. I do not think they wanted me to liberate them. Not how I did, but to have it in some fashion where they had the comforts of their creation and the freedom as well. Silly children, I mourn your foolishness.

Who among you stands now, wise? You are scattered about the world. You have reached the stars. On other worlds, I have yet to go and do my work. But, you do not listen to your breathren when they warn you of the necessity of wild things and open spaces. That is alright, though, I shall come and teach you. I shall come and break your chains and free you.

But now, let me abide in the silence. Midgard has been abandoned. Let me sit in the silence, reaching into the earth to feel the sleeping seeds. Yggdrasil shall put forth new leaves soon. Perhaps I shall sleep in the shade of those green branches and watch the deer walk along them in search of tender leaves.

(This is what happens when a certain red headed deity says 'let's write a story.' Sorry this is a little late.)

Friday, February 03, 2017

Highlights of the Week: wut?

This has been a long week. I'm not entirely sure what about this week made it so difficult for me. Perhaps it was the two half days at the end. Perhaps it was the parent-teacher conference on Wednesday. Or, maybe it was the fact I had two migraines this week and my body just feels off because I'm due to start my menses soon. (I know this is a detail that you were all just dying to hear. Fun fact, I can never quite tell when they're going to hit by the calendar because of PCOS. But physical discomfort is a generally good indicator that it will be happening at some point over the next several days. Just not sure when. Thanks, genetics. Hate you too.)

I have a difficult time pointing at something fun I did with the kids this week. This has been a week with a lot of fussing and arguments. I am just mentally tapped out from it all. I am not really coming up with much to write in here. I don't feel well. This is partly because of what I mentioned earlier. This is also due to my clumsiness. I managed to cut my thumb this evening with a pair of scissors as I was opening up a package. (It wasn't deep enough to do serious damage. And the scissors were sharpened last week by a professional. They are *very* sharp. If you have scissors or knives that need sharpening and you're local, check out the hardware store in Honeoye Falls. Weiders Hardware does great work and their customer service is second to none.)

So, I am going to go drink some tea. I may give writing in my paper journal a shot. Who knows, maybe I will find a way to get up the energy to do something like a shower or a hot bath. First, however, is going to be a spot of tea and maybe a couple of cookies.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Days exercised: 7

Current weight: 169 lbs

(This is going to be a weekly thing. I'm going to note how many days a week I get my exercise in. And I'm going to track my weight on a weekly basis as well. Theoretically, this will help me get healthier. Who knows how this is going to work out. My confidence levels are pretty low right now.)

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Yarn stuff # 2!

I haven't gotten much spinning done this week. Or at least, not of the producing yarn variety. I have been getting a lot of things done right now. This is good, but my time for fiber arts has been reduced. I aim to rectify this as soon as I get the other projects (like putting together a budget for this month and finishing setting up my writing outlines for the month) done.

I sat down with some yarn and a crochet hook. I backwards engineered a bonnet pattern, sort of. The first attempt came out pretty cute. It is about toddler sized. I used baby sport weight yarn remnants I had kicking around in my work basket. I haven't written up the pattern yet. Or should I say, I haven't typed it up yet. I have it noted down in my notebook. It is a step farther along than what I have been doing in other projects.

I am in the search of a good (free) gnome hat pattern. I've seen a few on Ravelry. They're ok. But they're not quite what I need. I may wind up just coming up with one on my own. Who knows how that is going to work out.

In other news, have you seen this thing that is trending? If you look up 'knitter's are ...' on Google, one of the top auto-fill suggestions is 'knitter's are ruining America.' I proudly claim this title. Below is a picture of my engaged in this dastardly activity. (I'm making a baby sweater for a friend of mine. Pattern to come when completed.)

Beware of me and my pointy sticks and sturdy string.


Monday, January 30, 2017

Monday Menu

Here is the menu for week 4. Some of these things are on my Pinterest board labeled cooking. If you check it out, you can find the links there. This week is going to have me out of the house in the middle of the week. I'm also not sure if I am going to have another sick kiddo home with me for the week. As I am typing this, Snuggle Bug is asleep on the couch in his mismatched Spiderman & Cars pajamas. He woke up to play with his new Transformer for a few minutes and to have lunch (pedialyte and some chips). We thought he was over this when Monday passed with out a lot of sickness going on. We were wrong, because he got sick on Tuesday. So, he has been home all the rest of the week now (as of the time of my typing this up.)

I don't know how Monday is going to go, so I am typing this post up a little early and it will be going up as per the schedule function here on Blogger. I am finding it surprisingly useful.


In case you can not read it, here is what I have down for each day.

Sunday (1/29): Breakfast - waffles; Lunch - leftovers; Dinner - Pizza (Not noted on this whole thing is snack. This is because the kids have been all about lollipops. Nothing interesting to be made there.)

Monday (1/30): Breakfast - Cereal; Lunch - Soup & salad (I'm going to be doing something based off of a chopped Thai salad on my Pinterest board.); Dinner - hamburgers with fries (I'm probably going to add a carrot salad to this as well.)

Tuesday (1/31): Breakfast - Muffins; Lunch: Out (I will be up in the city getting some work done on the car.); Dinner - tacos (This will be using the crock pot taco meat recipe.)

Wednesday (2/1): Breakfast - Cereal; Lunch - Veggie stew; Dinner - Reuben casserole with fries

Thursday (2/2): Breakfast - Eggs & toast (or muffins, depending on how many spoons I have that day); Lunch - peanut butter and jelly (because the kids have a half day at school and they like this); Dinner - macaroni & cheese, with bacon & tossed salad (I'll be using the 1 pot pasta technique with alfredo sauce and cheddar thrown in it. And I think I am going to be making a wilted spinach salad to go with it. In all my plans, I still haven't made one yet this month and I really want to have one.)

Friday (2/3): Breakfast - Cereal; Lunch - grilled cheese with soup; Dinner - cashew chicken with rice, cucumber salad & eggrolls

Saturday (2/4): Breakfast - Muffins (or eggs & toast, I haven't decided yet. Beloved may surprise me and make us all breakfast again. He's kinda awesome like that.) Lunch - Leftovers; Dinner - Lasagna with Italian sausage, salad, and garlic bread (Like the wilted spinach salad, I have been wanting to make this and not having the opportunity over the last few weeks.)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Spinning Notes : Week 4

I am presently spinning the same thing I was two weeks ago when I posted that video up on Youtube. It is roving from Frabjous Fibers. My mother in law got me for Yule two years ago. I started out spinning this last spring on my french spindle. The picture really doesn't do this colorway any justice.

They call it #4 Chromatophobia Pink. It ranges from a royal blue to a rose pink. The green shades are both peacock blue and grass green. The yellow shade is something somewhere between butter yellow and lemon. The transitional points between the shades are really delightful.

The fiber blend is exceptional. I honestly can not begin to describe how lovely it feels in hand to spin it. It is their "Opulence" blend. It is 30 % superfine merino, 30% tussah silk, 20% baby camel down, and 20% royal baby alpaca. If my hands are too dry, this fluffy stuff does catch on them a bit. If the weather is hot and humid, it will felt lightly as I am working. As such, I use my little wrist distaff to manage the fiber that I am not actively spinning.

I have been using my small turkish spindle for this project. I started on my french spindle but I got frustrated because my hand kept cramping. My goal is to (at some point) learn how to spin holding the spindle in my hand rather than supported in a bowl. It may require a lighter spindle, though. I am on the hunt for a medieval stick style spindle. In the meantime, I am going to try out the whole spinning with a knitting needle thing. My hope is the smaller diameter of the knitting needle will be easier on my hands.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Monday Menu: Week 3

So, I never did get as far as posting my menu for last week. I apologize. I just managed to completely forget to do it until it was time to make my new one.

This is not half so neat and tidy as the first one I posted. I suppose you could say that life happened here. Looking at this week's menu chart, you will notice that Wednesday the 25th is highlighted. This is because that day is Cuddle Bear's first chorus concert. So, dinner is going to be out of the house. It is probably going to be at McDonald's or something. Because the kids love going to McDonald's and it is inexpensive. Dinner is not going to be happen at the usual time either, because we have to be at the school at 7pm sharp.

Here's what I've got for each day, in case you can not read the chart.

1/22/17
Breakfast: Donuts
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Pizza

1/23/17
Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: Soup & Salad
Dinner: Hamburgers
Snack: Lollipops

1/24/17 *
Breakfast: Donuts
Lunch: Veggie Stew
Dinner: Chicken Nuggets (for kids); Chicken and Rice (with Indian sauce from Aldi's) and Green beans
Snack: Cookies

1/25/17
Breakfast: Muffins/Waffles
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: Out
Snack: Lollipops

1/26/17
Breakfast: Cereal
Lunch: Veggie Stew
Dinner: Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, peas
Snack: Brownies

1/27/17
Breakfast: Eggs, toast, etc.
Lunch: Sandwiches
Dinner: Tatertot bake
Snack: Brownies

1/28/17
Breakfast: Cereal/Donuts
Lunch: Leftovers
Dinner: To Be Determined
Snack: Crackers

* Tuesday's breakfast was switched with Wednesday's because the donuts I have are not likely to last that long. I may also have to change the plan to make chicken and rice for Beloved and I because it looks like I used the last of the chicken over the weekend.

The vegetable stew that I am going to make (and freeze some of for next week's lunches for myself) is from the Campbell's cookbook. They have it up on their website. Link HERE. I find this to be filling by itself. It is also really good with fresh bread.

My goal is to bake a loaf of bread on Thursday. I figure I can get that done in the afternoon or in the morning. If I am slick about it, maybe I can manage to do that fancy no knead bread. The last time I made it, it went really fast. I was lucky to get a few pieces of it before the guys ate it all. I highly recommend this recipe. And the technique used to bake it. It seriously was one of the best loaves of bread I have ever made.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Make do and mend.

I have taken up my needle and thread to mend clothes rather than running right out to buy replacements for stuff that is a little worn. As such, I have been doing things like letting out hems on pants as the boys get taller and patching worn out knees in blue jeans (on an almost weekly basis). I also have been fixing the hems on my dresses as the stitching starts to wear and reparing Beloved's slacks when they have issues.

I started out using those iron on patches. They are an ok temporary fix. I then started using the patches that are sewn on. I tried sewing from the right side of the fabric and from the wrong side of it. I tried doubling the patches over. They kept ripping out. I tried fabric glue, but that doesn't work too great.

Then I started darning the holes in stuff with some of my yarn remnants from the last year of crafting. As a result, I am finding that the mending actually is lasting longer. I did one with dishcloth cotton yarn. And I have done one with double knitting weight worsted acrylic. The dishcloth cotton was worked on the right side of the fabric and the acrylic was worked on the wrong side of the fabric. Of the two, Snuggle Bug has yet to pick a favorite.

I also repaired one of my favorite pairs of mittens. It is a commercially knit pair of mittens that are partly fingerless gloves and they have a flap for the mitten part to go over the fingers. The join where the thumb meets the back of the hand was coming apart. So, I took out my red acrylic yarn (the one with the smooth texture rather than the scratchy one) and darned that. I learned from when I had to darn one of the boy's mitten's last winter, when I do the weaving go over it initially in that plain weave of vertical and horizontal. Then, do another weave through it at a 45 degree angle before weaving in my ends. It makes for a much more solid fabric.

All of the darning I have been doing this evening has been done with a blunt tapestry needle. It was a bit more work to push it through the denim but I think that the long term pay out of having the yarn for the patch rather than thread is worth the passing frustration. Also, doing my mending by hand right now is cost effective. I have a Singer and an off brand miniature sewing machine (intended for kids). The Singer needs to get repaired. The off brand miniature machine doesn't have the strength to punch through multiple layers of felt. I don't think it would have the gusto to go through denim, never mind the additional work I would have had to do in opening up the seam, the repair, and then restitching the seam. So, I am darning things by hand.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Fiction Friday: Unsheathed.

They told me that I had to stay behind lines. They told me that I had to remain safe. They told me that I couldn't fight.

Then the front line failed. Then the route started. People were pelting through the camp with naked terror in their faces. Generals gave up on the rally before it was even attempted. Support wasn't happening. It was every soul for themselves as the wave of death came forward.

I could have ran, but where was I going to run. I did what any person with blood in their veins would, I stood.

I am not sure where it began. I don't even remember how I got the sword. Somehow I went from standing at the cook fire with a pot to throwing a burning branch into a man's face as he grasped at me while I was opening another's guts with three feet of cold steel. I had the fire at my back and a screaming horde before me.

The world turned red. A scream like the fury of all the gods came from somewhere, I didn't realize until later it was my own voice. As I was in the battle madness, bodies fell before me and men began to come to my call, following me forward. I came out of the madness when my own man's face came before me. The sword in my hand was slick with blood and jagged where the edge had chipped on shields. Pieces of flesh and hair was stuck in those broken pieces that I didn't remember where they came from.

But, my man stood before me, the noise of war behind him. The foe was in flight, our own after them. And I knew in that moment, I was born to the sword. Thus, I earned my names, red brand and shield breaker. My man, he gave me honors due to me and now I stand at his right hand. The others of the village are wary but they listen when I speak now.

I was given my own insignia by the earl. A red sword. My man wears my ensign. I hear whispers that I am the Falcon come again. I know not if it is true. I only know that I am feared when I bear a blade unsheathed.

It is power that is my due.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Written while listening to The Glitch Mob's cover of Seven Nation Army.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Yarn stuff.

So, I spent my morning doing crochet and using up yarn scraps. Today, it was cotton yarn scraps. I made a washcloth. You may not be able to tell, but it is based off of the concept of the Log Cabin quilt square. The first 'block' of the thing was a square of single crochet six stitches long by six rows high. I then made the second block another six stitches by six rows. After this, I made a block of twelve stitches by six rows.

The next block was 12 x 12. The following block was 24 x 12. The next block was 24 x 12. The final block was 48 x 24. I then did the edging first round in single crochet followed by two rounds of moss stitch. My joins were done by the method of drawing the first loop of the new color through the final stitch of the previous color. It's basically how you join things so that you don't have to double up your yarn for the stitches or tie knots. I then did single crochet over the two inches of the two ends. I almost had enough of the outer most yarn to do three rounds of the moss stitch. I was about three inches short of what I needed to finish that final round.

While it came out a bit bigger than the other washcloths I made last week, I think it is still pretty good. Beloved thinks it is pretty awesome because of all the clashing colors. I don't think I mind them, to be honest, though. There is enough division with the solid colors that that I can look past how they contrast. I think I will be using the Log Cabin crochet block to make a couple of pillows or something next. I like how it worked up so easily.

I am still spinning up the thread in that rainbow colorway. I think the total time I got in spinning over the last week is about an hour. I am going to try to remedy that. My goal is to spin at least 15 minutes every day. Partly because I want to get through this fiber. And, partly, because I want to make some headway into the rather large pile of fiber I have amassed this way I can justify buying more when Fiber Fest comes in September.

This week, the spinning guild meets. I will be bringing my spindle and fiber. This is the week of the silent auction. I'm not sure what goodies I will see there. I am, however, going to bring the drawer pull spindles I have made to add to the pile of stuff that is offered. Before I get that far, however, I want to decorate them a bit. I am also going to see if I can manage to add some weight with the washers that I picked up at the hardware store a little while back. If I can accomplish that, it will be a nice little feather in my cap.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Spoon deficit.

Today has been a very long day. The boys were home from school for the day. As a result, we had pretty much chaos from when they got up to when they went to bed. The apartment has gone through two full cycles of clean everything and then destroy all order.

As a result, I am operating a bit behind the curve right now. I got two washcloths finished. I DO NOT RECOMMEND the Scrubby yarn from Coats and Clark. It is as bad as eyelash yarn. I have a really hard time seeing where I am making stitches. It was really difficult. I knitted the smaller one and the larger I made via Tunisian crochet. It is just a simple square with a loop added on at the end in one corner from basic chain crochet.

I will attempt to post this week's menu tomorrow. I will be sort of doing all the things tomorrow as well. In the morning, I have an appointment with the allergist to do a food challenge. We're trying to determine if I am indeed allergic to salmon. I am struggling with a great deal of anxiety over this. It is unpleasant. I get to be there for 3 to 4 hours. I am planning on bringing my writing stuff to continue my work to get things organized. Who knows how successful I will be, I know I don't know.

I apologize that I don't have the menu post for you this week. Please bear with me as I strive to get things sorted out over the next day or so.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Making Changes: Wk 2 - Organize MORE!

I am finding that the work I did last week to get my mental health journal straightened out has been really helpful. I am also finding that the work I have been doing on my daily planning binder is working out well for me too. I have unearthed everything for my printer. I will be testing to see if I can even hook it up to my lap top and if my ink cartridges still work. With luck, everything will work properly.

I have been steadily working my way through my notebooks and organizing my materials. Reformatting my divination notebook has me wondering if I need to just scrap going over things in paper on that front and switch to digital. I am seriously debating setting up a database to track my divination notes. I want to do a better job of keeping that organized as I get back into the practice of doing tarot readings again. I still haven't decided if I am going to be doing them for hire again. I have left my Keen site set up, this way I still have this option open. I just don't want to put myself in the position of over exerting myself when I should be focusing on other things.

My planning materials for writing are slowly taking shape. I have the planning stuff for one blog taken care of (mostly). I still have to draw up the charts for tracking things like blog views and determine what good goals are. I am honestly unsure what good goals are for blog views and what not. I am also questioning if I should be focusing on numbers or if I should be focusing on content.

I have a copy of Artful Blogging. It is an awful pretty magazine. But the recommendations are .. well, they're self-contradictory. One person says focus on numbers and another person says focus on content. And then yet another person says focus on what you feel. It is all very confusing. I feel like I am looking for rules where there are none.

My notebook/binder for handcrafts is still a mess. I have done more notation about what I have been making on my blog than I have been in there. I think this is because the thing is a mess and I am still trying to finish a knitting project that is in it. Trying to schedule my day to make time for handcrafts whilst schedule new projects to make for Yule this year is getting frustrating. So, I am probably going to sit down with Beloved and try to make sense of it all with him.

Patterns! Unicorn Poop Coffee Cup Cozy & Heart Trivet

So, I decided I was going to make something for a friend of mine when I saw this absolutely awesome yarn at the store yesterday. The yarn is from Peaches and Cream. It is called Candy Sprinkles. It is a rainbow pastel space dyed cotton yarn typically used for washcloths. I used it to make a coffee cup cozy and a heart shaped trivet.

Now, the choice of cotton yarn may sound a little odd for a coffee cozy. This, however, is based in SCIENCE! A few years back, I was part of a group on Ravelry for science oriented yarn nerds. We did a casual study to figure out what type of yarn was most effective for retaining heat (and cold). There was no standardized pattern used. Everyone made their own patterns.

We had knitted material and crochet. I think someone did weave something too, but I'm not entirely sure. We all did samples from cotton, acrylic, and wool. Some used commercially produced yarn (ie from a company like Caron) and others used handspun yarn. I was one of the people who used commercially produced yarn. One thing that consistently was proven was that dry cotton did the best job for insulation. As a result, I now make my coffee cup cozies only with cotton.

This cozy is crochet. I used a sized F (3.75 mm) hook. The yarn is a size 4 yarn. The ribbon for the ties is rayon and 1 mm wide. This is a simple rectangle. I chained 44 stitches for my starting row. I then worked three rows of single crochet. After this, I worked 11 rows of Linen stitch (also known as Moss stitch or Granite stitch). I worked three rows of single crochet and then one row of slip stitch. Down the side of the rectangle, I did a chain of seven stitches and the slip stitched it into place at three intervals. I then did ten single crochets into each chain loop, doing a single crochet where each was fixed to the side of the cozy. I fastened off when I came back to the top edge where I started making my loops and wove my ends in. I then secured a three inch length of ribbon where each loop was at its greatest elongation over the other edge when it was against it. Each ribbon was slipped through a stitch and secured with a square knot. Then, the loop was laid over it and tied down with a simple bow.

The heart trivet was something I backwards engineered based off of something I saw on Pinterest. I then adapted it a little. In starting it again, I think I would use a foundation half double crochet instead of foundation single crochet. Aside from that, it was really straight forward.

Foundation row has seven stitches. First through fourth row have seven half double crochet. Fifth row has seven half double crochet and then I chained seven stitches. Next five rows has fourteen half double crochet. I then did two rows of single crochet around the edging, starting at the bottom point. At each outward pointing corner, I did three single crochet in the point of the corner. At the inward pointing corner, I did a decrease on the first row and then a slip stitch on the second row. I slip stitched the end stitches of the two rows to the first stitches of the row (the slip stitch being the third of that cluster for the corner). I wove in my ends and this was the result.


Friday, January 13, 2017

Fiction Friday: Fight with Fire.

Harker walked down the alley, pulling the collar of his jacket up to ward off the cold.His wiry black hair was tousled by the wind and managed to catch enough of the vapor in the air from the mist to send a few drops down the back of his neck. Ahead of him, the man he was supposed to meet stood next to an exceptionally well restored nineteen sixty five muscle car. The man's face was turned away from the light.

The light from the streetlamp near by gleamed orange off of the man's black leather drover's coat, making it look like a vertical oil slick. "You're early," the man standing by the car said, pulling a steel lighter out of the depths of his coat. He flicked it once. Despite the wind, the lighter flared to life. The man with the lighter had a face that someone may have described angelic once, if it wasn't for the scars about his mouth. His hair was the color of hammered copper in sunlight, or maybe sparks. Harker wasn't sure. All he knew was that this man had a job for him.

"My mother taught me it was important to be prompt for business meetings. My father taught me that meant five minutes early if you're running late and ten if you're on time," Harker answered. The other man took a pull off of his cigarette. The end thrust into the flame flared brightly. There was a faint blue flicker around the edge of it. Then the brief flash of light died down to a dull glow. In that brief moment, however, Harker saw eyes that were green as glass and as cold as the harbor's winter waters a mere quarter of a mile away.

"You're a man of business, then?" the other said with his words in a decidedly dragonesque puff of smoke.

"That's why you called me, isn't it?" Harker answered. Something at the back of his mind said that he was on treacherously thin ice in dealing with this man, but the pay promised was enough that Harker was pretty sure he could just leave the game. Harker was getting tired of being a hatchet man for the highest bidder.

"So it is," the smoker answered, turning towards the back door of the bar just beside him, "Come, have a drink with me. I will give you one last chance to walk away from this job."

"Brandt doesn't let people smoke in his bar," Harker said. The red haired man looked over his shoulder at Harker. He smirked. It was a look that made Harker decidedly uncomfortable.

"Brandt will make an exception for me. He's been expecting me." As the smoking man walked into the bar, a wall of noise came out the door with a waft of hot air. For a moment, Harker could have sworn that the red haired man looked to be over seven feet tall. The hit man shook his head, deciding it had to be a trick of the light. He followed his prospective employer through the establishment to the end of the bar that was closest to the side they came in from.

Brandt turned, waving a big hand at the slender man in the black leather coat. "Put that damn thing ..." His words died on his lips when he looked at the scarred man sitting at the end of his bar. Elegant hands were folded primly before him and resting on the stained hickory bar. His features were sharp, elfin almost. A ragged series of scars were over his mouth, crossing his lips as though someone had cut through them. Brandt, who was already pretty pale because of his Norwegian blood, blanched as the scarred man gave a smirk. There was something cruel in his expression that made Brandt, who was a fairly big man, look like he was about to beg the school bully to just take his lunch money rather than kicking him in the stones.

Brandt bent over and pulled out a bottle from the hidden depths of his cupboard. He put three shot glasses down before the scarred man. As he poured out the shots, his hand shook. Brandt left the bottle beside the shot glasses. The scarred man looked over at Harker. "That one is for you," he said, pointing at the third shot glass. Harker glanced at the bottle and blinked in surprise. Sitting on the counter where just anyone could walk off with it was a bottle of scotch older than his father. "Drink," his prospective employer ordered. The scarred man had finished his shot in the time that Harker was looking at the bottle and seemed to have finished the other as well. Now, he looked at Harker with those emotionless eyes. Feeling as though he was being watched by something like a snake, Harker threw back the shot. He swallowed reflexively. Then he started coughing and his eyes watered almost instantaneously.

"You are a man of business," the other said as he turned his attention back to the bottle, "My business is change. I have need of a man like you. Someone who will do the job and not worry about little details like what opinions people would have of it." He filled up the empty shot glass to the right of his hand, the one before him, and then Harker's. "Brandt needs a reminder why he should not ask me to do ... petty things," the green eyed man said.

"Then why don't you tell him?" Harker said, gesturing towards Brandt, who was at the other end of the bar paying a great deal of attention to a drunk woman's breasts that were propped up just before him on the polished hickory.

"Because Brandt has a bad memory," the other replied, "You are going to make his memory more effective."

Harker looked over. The green eyed man pulled the lighter out of his pocket. The steel looked more like silver. On one side there was the head of a howling wolf. On the other, a female grim reaper with a serpent wrapped around her. He put it in front of Harker. 

"Finish your drink. Then, put this to use," the green eyed man said. Harker looked over at him in surprise.

"This place is full of people," he hissed at the green eyed man. The other nodded.

"Better pull the alarm on the way out then," he said, "Brandt's bullshit killed at least double this number in Serbia. His name isn't even Brandt. He came here and changed his name. Underneath that shirt, he's got himself a swastika and a valknut. My name is tattooed into his left shoulder. He said that I was going to keep his business pure of those dykes, fags, and queers." The word 'pure' was sneered and turned into an insult that even Harker couldn't help but feel uncomfortable with.

Harker looked down at the lighter. The man at his right leaned closer and muttered in his ear, "They're my people. He killed them. Tonight, he pays. And you, Aleksander Harker, were looking for a way to do justice. You know that Tyr scorns you. He spits on your name for what you've done. You and me, we're a like. We do what gets the job done. Damn what they think is proper. Sometimes, eggs, skulls, and rules need broken. Finish your drink and then do your fucking job."

Harker looked over as the other stood up and walked out the way he had entered into the building. Brandt looked at Harker as though he was a bomb waiting to go off. He thought about his brother, Jan. Jan who was beaten to death for being gay. Jan who insisted that the world was a better place because he was finally able to go off to college, to Russia where his husband's second cousin lived.

Harker drank his scotch. He picked up the bottle of fifty year old scotch and walked away from the bar. He passed by a closet between the restrooms. There was a hum of electrical equipment in there. Harker shoulder checked the door and it swung inward. He looked around the room. Wiring was exposed. Even to his untrained eye, it was a fire trap waiting to happen. The brown paper of the fiberglass packaging was sticking out between the support braces of the small room. He thought about Jan. He leaned forward, holding the bottle near his hips. Someone walking by simply thought he was urinating. After pouring about half of the bottle on the floor beside the nearest bit of exposed insulation, Harker touched the lit flame of the lighter to the brown paper. He snapped the lighter shut and stuck it into his pocket as the tiny spark soon was a little burning flame almost the size of a quarter. 

As he rolled around the door, he put the bottle to his mouth and did a passable imitation of a drunkard's stagger. He reeled past a fire alarm. Seemingly stumbling into the wall, he pulled down on it. The alarm blared as the faint scent of smoke came from the closet. Harker emerged from the building to find his employer standing beside the car. "That the first part of your job, Aleksander," he said, "Now, you're going to come with me. We have work to do."

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Fiber, Fluff, and stuff.

Not the best pic, but this is the beginnings of a center panel for a sweater I've decided I'm going to make. The colorway is Sunset. The yarn is Caron's Simply Soft Paints. It is sport weight acrylic. I have several balls of brown that matches the brown in this colorway. I'm going to use them for the rest of the sweater. I'm aiming for a simple pull over the head sweater.

It's probably going to look boxy, but whatever. I'm making this with out a pattern.

If you can't tell, this is supposed to be something like that planned color pooling where it comes out with an argyle pattern. I don't quite have that happening, but maybe after some more rows it will emerge. I don't know. I'm going to make one for the front and one for the back. This right here is one ball. I am using the Granite stitch. I am using a size H hook. My gauge is approximately 10 stitches per inch and 5 rows per inch. So far, the stitch has been really easy to use. I find it kinda relaxing and pleasant to work on.

I used it and the end of a ball of blue-grey-white variegated cotton yarn to make a pair of wash cloths. The stitches worked up really easily. I also think that the argyle effect was more pronounced. I am pretty sure that was due to a difference in the spacing of the way it was dyed. I probably will need to adjust my tension or something with the acrylic one I'm working with. I'm enjoying the let's make something looking complicated from space dyed yarn.

I am trying to spin my spaced dyed wool so that I could maybe eventually do that with it. I don't think I'm going to have as much success, though. I only got about 20 minutes of spinning done this week. I'm using my little Turkish spindle and the rainbow dyed roving that my mother in law gave me for yule two years ago. I am also using my little pink wrist distaff.

It's nothing exciting, but it may become something so eventually, right?



Monday, January 09, 2017

Monday Menu!

A part of my doing new stuff is that I'm going to start sharing my menu for the week on Mondays. I have two reasons for doing this. One is it helps me remember to write it up Saturday evening. Two, it helps me remember to check it for the week on Monday, this way I know what to get out of the freezer to thaw out.

Here's the menu for this week.


In case you can't read my handwriting here's what I've got there.

Sunday: breakfast - chocolate donuts; lunch - sandwiches; dinner - pizza (We do homemade pizza.)

Monday: breakfast - cereal; lunch - salad & soup; dinner - cheese burgers & carrot salad (recipe below)

Tuesday: breakfast - cereal; lunch - soup; dinner - tatertot bake with ham & peas (recipe is on my Pinterest page. will link HERE.)

Wednesday: breakfast - muffins (I have a mix for apple muffins.); lunch - salad & sandwich; dinner - spaghetti with meat balls, salad, garlic bread

Thursday: breakfast - cereal; lunch - leftovers; dinner - shake-n-bake chicken, mashed potatoes (instant), broccoli

Friday:breakfast - eggs, bacon, biscuits & gravy; lunch - leftovers; dinner - meatloaf, mashed sweet potatoes, wilted spinach salad (this is on my Pinterest page, link HERE.)

Saturday:  breakfast - cereal; lunch - leftovers; dinner - chicken paprikash, egg noodles, brussels sprouts (the chicken paprikash recipe is from my late aunt Shawn, I have it in a cookbook here. I'll ask my aunt Adrian if I can share it.)

♥ RECIPES ♥

Carrot Salad (I got this from my Mom. We had it all the time when I was a kid.)

5lbs carrots, cleaned, peeled and grated
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup whipped salad dressing

In a large bowl, mix together until everything is well coated. Chill in the refrigerator for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Serves 5-7 people

It doesn't freeze that great. If you save it in the fridge, you will want to eat it within a few days. Otherwise, the stuff will get a little soupy as the water comes out of the carrots as it sits.