Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Sharks, sharks, and more sharks!

My little grandson called me the other day all excited about school and he wanted to tell me about his new "shark" backpack and "shark" lunch box he got.  I told him Grandma got a "shark" too.  A new Shark Navigator Lift-Away vacuum!
 Just before my daughter's visit my vacuum cleaner broke down.  Why is it vacuum cleaners always break right before you have company?  I had to wait until after she visited before I could research and look into getting a new one.  I am very thorough when I buy something anymore.  I hit loads of reviews from different places and also compare models within brands as I have found certain models are better than others or they come out with a new model to fix problems they discovered with the previous model.  I finally decided on the Shark Navigator Lift-Away vacuum cleaner.
I was in such a hurry to try it out when it arrived that I forgot to take pictures before I started vacuuming and filling it with dirt! LOL!   Let me tell you I LOVE this vacuum!  It has a hepa filter, it is bag less and lightweight and feels self-propelled when you're doing carpeting.  It gets closer in to baseboards and corners than any vacuum I've ever owned and suction....whoa Nellie!  Previously I had an Oreck as it was recommended by the Arthritis Association for ease of use but they must have gotten kick back from Oreck as I have RA and it was no easy task pushing that behemoth around and it was supposed to pick up on non-carpeted floors also but it did a very poor job.  The Shark on the other hand is basically a Dyson except lots cheaper! I paid $147.60 total including shipping for this machine. It drives like a dream and my carpets which are really old and cruddy are looking better than ever before!  The only "bad" thing I can say about it is it tips over without the tank attached as in when you go to empty it and also the hose is very short when you use the "lift away" function but I can live with those minor infractions and I  may look into seeing if they have a hose extension which would take care of the one issue.
I am not getting paid (I wish) for this endorsement but when I find a great product I like to let everyone know.  I have wasted lots of money on bad products before and I've only had this for a week so if anything goes wrong I will let you know but so far this vacuum surpasses any other vacuum I've ever owned over all my years of vacuuming which are many!
I purchased this through QVC after researching models and prices at Wal-mart and Amazon and a few other places. 
My next "work place assistant" I'm looking into is the Shark Sonic Duo which scrubs carpet and plain floors like your sonic toothbrush cleans your teeth.  It has pads for different applications and it's own cleaning solutions and polishes.  The reviews so far are better on floors than carpet but all in all the reviews are high.  I think I'll wait awhile and bask in my new vacuum and maybe for my Christmas present to me I'll try the Sonic Duo.  As I age, I look more and more for tools to help me as my scrubbing floors on my hands and knees, or anything else for that matter, days are over.
Let me know if you have either of these products and what you think of them.
Happy Trails!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

YOP Week #8

This was a rough week....I got stung by a red wasp on my lower forehead which affected my eyes and sinuses.  Red wasps are very aggressive and this one hit me out of nowhere.  It is still swollen but I had no severe reaction.  Days before "the sting" I 'd been seeing this crow hanging around every time I went outside or looked outside.  We have crows here and I hear them "cawing" and I see them flying in groups but I rarely see them alone and this one had been hanging around for days.  Here it is on my neighbors fence.
The thought did cross my mind that it was a sign of some kind....I have to admit I thought maybe it was trying to tell me my days were numbered...true enough. Well, whether it was a sign or not I don't know but that very day my next door neighbor passed away just feet from me in his home.  He had been sick with bronchitis and had been to the doctor and gotten some inhalers but that day he called 911 but by the time they arrived he was gone.  There was an autopsy and they found 2 clots in his lungs which evidently are what took him so speedily.  He was only 63 and had moved here a year ago after retiring.  He was a peaceful, kind man who loved to sing especially with his choir at church and he was a good neighbor.  You will be missed Paul.
Despite what was going on I still had peaches calling my name.
This one looked like a self portrait after the wasp sting...........
I was right in the middle of blanching them when I got the news about Paul.
I did manage to get them all peeled, sliced and in the freezer...finally but I was pretty exhausted.  
So, needless to say I did not get a lot of fiber work done but I did finish my shawl except for weaving in ends and blocking.
I love it and it is probably one of my finest knitting accomplishments along with my 1 sock! LOL!
I love the color, the yarn, the style and I have definitely been bitten by the "shawl bug"!
I started the 2nd of 3 dishcloths for my son............
and another preemie hat.....

I went to Wal-mart yesterday.  I try not to go on weekends but I really needed some items and I had not had an opportunity to go so while I was there I picked up some more baby yarn for hats.
My eyes for my Lalylala "Bina" bear came in the mail and I chose ones that I thought were the appropriate size....unfortunately I put them on the wrong side....DUH!  Trust me...they are definitely safety eyes as I tried like the dickens to get them off and couldn't! LOL!  Oh well, I'll know better next time.
I hope you all had a good week and I'm sorry I haven't been around to visit this week. Hopefully this coming week will be kinder to all.  Happy Trails!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Farmer's Market Wednesday and my brave neighbors..........

This week I didn't buy much as I just finished freezing beans and I have plenty of fresh vegetables to eat.  I did get peaches though!
I looked in my preserving books and saw nothing but canning and preserving with lots of sugar but I was really wanting to freeze fresh peaches "as is" so I could use them for whatever I wanted, be it to make jam for Christmas presents or peach pie or as I've mentioned....peaches and ice cream.  You find them in the stores; frozen fruit without any sugar.  So, I googled it and found a great recipe for freezing peaches without sugar yet also keeping them from turning brown.  I haven't used it yet but I will be using it tomorrow and I'll let you know how it goes.  Pretty simple and straight forward actually.  So go out and buy yourself some fresh peaches before they're all gone!
Speaking of Missouri, I have been watching the events unfolding in my neighboring state and my prayers and heartfelt sympathy go out to the Brown family and all the residents of Ferguson and to all who have lost loved ones to violence of any kind.  Those who stand by and are complicit when there is wrongdoing should be held just as accountable as the wrongdoers.  It's the first time in history that Amnesty International has ever been called to the United States.  It's a very sad day in our history and if you think that your democratic rights can't  be taken away in this country.....think again.  Many of them already have been....just ask the people in Ferguson and many other places around this country.
Democracy is not something to be taken for granted.  There are many who gave their lives, limbs, and sanity to preserve it not only in this country but in other countries.  The least we can do is fight to preserve it here at home by taking a stand, having a voice, and doing our part.  I am proud of the people in Ferguson for standing up against injustice, for not giving in even when they were tired and had to go to work the next day.  They should be proud of being part of a community that stands together when tragedy hits.  When I was young I marched, carried signs and protested for rights that are now laws in this country.  I'm getting a little old for the marching now but I still consider myself an activist and I get online and sign petitions and write my elected officials and I VOTE in every election regardless how small.  Democracy is fragile and the young generations today need to realize that and not take it for granted.  March on Ferguson, march on!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

YOP Week #7

Yahoo!  Yippee!  I have enough yarn to do the second sock!  (crowd cheers)...I'll be casting on for that this week............the "weight" is over LOL!  But from now until the end of time I will be using Minding My Own Stitches method of measuring for sock length.  If I had used the method in the pattern it would have been way too big.  Here's her method and I quote....
"A word of caution about the socks. I usually aim for 10% negative ease for a well-fitted sock. For you 10-1/2 foot, you may want your sock to finish at 9.45" and should therefore start the toe section at about 7-1/2" inches. If in doubt, thread a lifeline soon so you can rip back if they end up too big.
Also, weigh your first sock on a kitchen scale and then weigh your remaining yarn. You'll know right away if you're going to run out!"

I used her method and they fit like a dream!  On to the second sock!
I finished the first of the 3 dishcloths for my son's housewarming present.  What is up with these small dishcloths?  Do these designers not wash dishes?  I'll be designing my own after this...stay tuned for "Retired Computer Scientist Turns Washcloth Designer"....more to follow.  Lots of purling in this one too.
I am thoroughly enjoying the shawl knitting and that was the same comment that had me chose this design for my first shawl.  I could sit and work on this all day. I am on row 84 of 118 so it won't be long now!  Except that each row gets longer and takes longer but with this project I will be sad to see it end.....I'll have to immediately start another one in order to prevent any lingering sadness.  Don't worry, I've already "faved" a bunch more shawl patterns. :)
I just have to weave in the ends on this size #3 of the boy's preemie hat.  One more in a newborn size for boys and I will have August taken care of.  As you can see, I am also out of yarn so I'll have to get some in another color this time to keep it interesting.
Remember I told you about all my new yarn that arrived?  Here's another part of it........
This is wool of the Andes Sportweight by Knit Picks for making my Millie  doll!
Her head is finished except for her hair and embroidered facial features and I'm on to the body.  So far so good and it's so much fun to see it take shape so quickly not like blankets or bigger projects that take months.  I am very pleased with the Knit Picks Wool of the Andes yarn and the Brittany wooden needles are a dream to knit with.  They might be my favorite so far and I have others that are more expensive.
In addition, I started a Lalylala pattern, Bina....the first of many, I think, as I am having fun with this one too.  I am not using the required yarn which is more a fingering weight.  I'm using a worsted weight so it will be much larger but I also need to use larger eyes.  I am at the point where the eyes need to be placed but I don't have any so I ordered a variety pack of black plastic safety eyes as I'm not sure what size to use.   I ordered from an Etsy shop in Maryland called 6060.  The price you see includes shipping so it might depend on where you live.  This was the only shop I could find that sold a variety of sizes in one package.  This will be handy for future projects too.

$7.88 USD
Purchased from 6060 on 16 Aug, 2014
I can't wait to start using the brown tweed yarn for the body of the bear.
That's my YOP project roundup for this week.  Happy Trails!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Farmer's Market Wednesday

Did any of you try to see the Leonid Meteor shower this week?  I thought I saw some but it's hard to tell with my  I went to the Farmer's Market today and each week it gets bigger with more vendors....LOVE!!!  I bought a peck of beans to blanch and freeze tomorrow.

Some itsy bitsy cherry tomatoes..actually they're the normal size.  I've only had one from my plant so far...I got a late start planting.
Some wildflower honey...........
A melon...Arkansas is pretty famous for it's melons...around here anyway.  Probably loves the sandy soil.
Farm fresh eggs that I found out I will be able to get from right here in town all year long! Hallelujah!
I got more eggplant, a light green zuchini and a couple summer squash.  The eggs are just peeled hard boiled that I sat there after rinsing.  I've found organic eggs are harder to peel and I read somewhere how to make it easier but dang if I can remember what it was.  Refrigerate before peeling?  Does anyone know? 
I'm making egg salad for supper and this is from my celery plant.  Remember I planted it last year?  Just take the bottom of your celery that you buy at the store when you're done and plant it in a pot and you have celery whenever you need it.  It is thinner than the big stalks but it's plenty for me and has a great flavor.  It's easier for salads as I don't have to splice it down the middle like I do when the stalks are so big.
I put it outside for the summer and it's doing great.  This is a picture after I cut what I needed.   You might need more than one plant depending on how many are in your family and how much you use celery.
My tomatoes are late but then so was I in planting them.
When my daughter came down she brought me some great Iowa sweet corn and rhubarb from her garden.  We blanched and cut the corn off the cob and froze a bunch and then I chopped and froze rhubarb.  I freeze amounts based on the recipes I use them for usually; like my Mediterranean Salad which gets 2 ears of corn off the cob and my rhubarb cake which gets 1 1/2 cups of rhubarb. 
 My daughter taught me a trick when she was here.....she single bags all the corn and uses a drinking straw to suck the air out of the corner and then seals it completely (we used the zip lock type bags) and then each one is labeled with the date, amount and what it is.  When they're all done (I like to double bag to prevent any freezer burn) she puts all the smaller bags into one big zip lock (gallon size) and then not only is it double bagged but all your corn is together and all your rhubarb or whatever.  Who said you can't teach an old dog new tricks?
The larder is filling up and I'm like a squirrel collecting nuts.  I have this feeling that we are going to have an early Fall and Winter.  I've already seen a few sassafras leaves turning and they are one of the first to show signs of Fall.  
I hope you are having a good week and Happy Trails!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

YOP Week #5

(Whoops!  It's week #6....I missed a all didn'
 Humor me please while I show a few pictures of the "grand boys"....breakfast is WAY too early for me but I managed to rustle up oatmeal for these growing youngsters...........

unfortunately this is what happens when you feed them! LOL! 
They have way more energy than Grandma but occasionally they slept....LOL!
They're actually very well behaved and we had a great time but it will take me a few days to recover...ha! ha!
I was surprised that I got any knitting/crocheting done but in the afternoon my daughter took the older one to the pool and to the beach while the little one napped and I babysat.  It was too hot for me and I don't do water much (except baths).
Before they arrived I had finished my first sock.........and a BIG shout out to Minding My Own Stitches who gave me some advice about the length and caught me just in time.  I followed her advice (my sock guru) and it worked out perfectly and fits like a dream!  Thank you SO much as it would have been too big if I had followed the original instructions.  If you want to know her measuring technique for length just check out her comment on last weeks YOP post. 
I have not weighed the sock and the remaining yarn to see if I have enough for the second's a "nail biter" that you will have to tune in next week to find out.  Meanwhile everyone please say a prayer that I have enough!
My yarn arrived that I ordered from Knit Picks.  I should have taken a picture of it all in the box but I was so excited I forgot.  This is just some of the Dishie washcloth cotton yarn.  This is my favorite and pretty much the only one I use for cloths anymore.
 I started Kay's Tess D'Uberville   shawl and what fun shawls are to knit.  Now I know why you all are always knitting shawls and I'm pretty sure I will be too from now on.  I'm using a Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in I forget what color but I will update my project page today with all the info.  LOVE!!!!
The older grandson (just turned 7) wanted me to teach him how to knit so I thought I would start him with the spool knitting like I had as a child but he quickly lost interest but by that time Grandma was "hooked"!  This is what I should have used for my chair pad much easier on the hands and I am using a worsted weight and getting the same size as I did using needles and bulky yarn..go figure?  Secretly, I'm glad he lost interest otherwise I would have had to go back and buy another one for myself. LOL!
I also managed to get my #2 size preemie hat done for the first week of far I'm staying on schedule.
Lat night I started one of 3 dish cloths for my son's house warming present. I'm using this pattern and each cloth is a different pattern and a different color.
I frogged my earlier rug start up as it was more place mat size.  I was able to get the same dye lot in some additional yarn and made it twice as wide as the first one.  Grace is watching (see her little paws in the picture?).  She's learned not to bother my yarn although I can tell she is VERY tempted! Ha! Ha!  This is not an easy or fun project as you have to manually place each stitch over the very large P size hook.  It's not that it's too tight either but you go in the back loop of each stitch and the yarn is soft.  If you went through both sides of the stitch like you would normally maybe it would be easier but that's not what the pattern calls for.  Do any of you have an easy pattern for making a rug?  If it was enjoyable I would make lots of them as I need them myself but at this rate this may be the only one I ever make.
Well, that's all for this week but I should have 2 more new projects cast on next week as I have all this yarn....I just can't help myself!  I've missed you all this past week and can't wait to catch up with everyone.  I hope you are all "fine and dandy".
Happy Trails!