Sunday, December 29, 2013

YOP Sunday

Here we are again!  I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.  The knitting angels have come and taken up residence here with me.  You'll understand when you see my pictures.  This one is off to that grandson who helped me with the kindling and cookies on Thanksgiving.
It feels like I've crossed a threshold of some kind in my knitting.  I know hats are a no-brainer to most of you but it's the quality of my stitches that has's like I'm a REAL knitter even feels different...more relaxed and flowing.  I'm sure I'll have many challenges ahead of me in this "Adventure in Knitting" and before it was touch and go if I would continue but it is a sure bet now!

I also found these free printable tags on Pinterest  here

I printed mine on white paper and backed it with another printed paper.  The one on the website is nice as she used a tan paper. I only had cheap printer paper to use but card stock would be nicer.  I liked the way she wrapped the label around the socks or mittens.  It looked so "retail".  I also liked that it had a place for the care instructions.  You could probably edit the label and print the instructions but per usual I was in a hurry. LOL!
I was trying to do some projects I had saved on Pinterest and made these treats to send with....easy peasy with store bought Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies and I did some pretzel rods too.
I still prefer the old homemade Christmas cookies and I'll be baking some of those this week.  Here's everything wrapped up and ready to go.  I told you it was the 12 months of Christmas around here. LOL!
I'm already down the road on another hat....this one is for one of my matches the the scarf in color but the scarf is still going so I thought I would get this done and sent out and then finish the scarf.  The scarf hurts my hands so I can't work on it all the time like I can the hat.  No more bulky yarn for me!
 This is another pattern from the Purl Soho Basic Hat Pattern.  Just a roll brim in stockinette which allows me to watch all those Hallmark Christmas movies and still get knitting done.  I think I'm on a roll here!
Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

YOP Sunday and more...........

In between storms I managed to get "finished" items in the mail, do some baking and get ingredients for Christmas food and frivolities.  They will have things for Christmas....just not everything.

 These are those 6 minute caramels done in the microwave....recipe on All Recipes.  They didn't set very well but it sure didn't bother the taste!  I put sea salt on them this year...yummo.

 Toasted up those pumpkins seeds too.......also made the original Chex Party Mix and mailed out. 

Yesterday we had torrential downpours and flash flooding and my sump pump decided to "retire" during that time.  The basement started filling with water and I called my plumber who I have since renamed to "Christmas Angel".  He was over in less than 30 minutes and put in a used pump until he can order me a new one.  There goes my Christmas and birthday wishes....I was hoping Santa might bring me a Kindle but it looks like now there will be a sump pump under the tree instead. 
But aside from all that.....the knitting angels HAVE been hovering over me big time!  Look at this.....
I still can't believe I knitted this!
  I know to many of you hats are easy but this was my first one and all those mistakes and frustrating moments of past knitting finally paid off.....I never once had to go to Knitting Help, I used circular needles and then switched to DPNS and never had a problem and I understood all the acronyms used in the pattern and the stitches.    This is really the first project that I am truly proud of and it makes me feel like I can finally and truly call myself a knitter!  Merry Christmas to me and my knitting angels. (There must have been a team of them helping me).
But wait!  That's not all...........
  I'm doing ear flaps and an I-cord tie with tassels on the end.  Remember the chair pad that was all I-cord?   Well, all my projects this year seemed to lead to knowing how to make this hat.  BTW, the Purl Soho Basic Hat Pattern I bought was well worth it!  Also, I have finally found a great knitting project that I can do while watching t.v.  I'm off to cast on a simple roll brim hat now...there are games to watch today and tonight the Bear's play the Eagles and I get to see it on t.v.  There's a Christmas present right there as I never get to see the Bears on t.v.  Go Bears!

I wish you all the merriest and brightest of everything now and in the coming year.....

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Santa's Workshop is in full swing!

But where's the elves that are supposed to help?  
I blocked my first item.  Not sure I did it right but it looks better than before.

This is a gift for my cousin who doesn't read my blog. 
One hat for one grandson is coming along really well but obviously it will be the 12 months of Christmas here...not the 12 days as previously thought.

Another shipment of yarn arrived today....whew!   Mrs. Claus was getting worried!

Remember those Halloween/Fall pumpkins?  I finally got around to baking them today and I still need to puree and freeze and roast/toast the pumpkin seeds.  They'll make a nice healthy snack.

Had to run out quick and get a few special cards for some special people.

Of course, one can't really work in Santa's Workshop without having extreme Christmas spirit so there had to be Christmas music blaring throughout the shop.
There's hardly any room in the kitchen workshop for all the supplies to make all the "goodies"!
But we will persevere!  Please excuse me if I haven't stopped by....I forgot to make my own supper tonight! I better go make something.  I need all the energy I can get!  I hope all your projects and holiday wishes are coming to fruition.  Fa la la la la, la la la la!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

YOP Sunday

I've been absent for a few weeks first preparing for company and then recuperating! LOL!  I had a wonderful time though but got a little behind on "projects".  I also need to update my blog and Ravelry projects.  It's "crunch time" ladies and gentleman but never fear as the knitting and crocheting angels are here!  I actually don't concern myself with any deadlines since I've retired so the presents will get sent when they're done....whenever that is.
No...the Irish Hiking Scarf is still not done.  I totally had to put it away while my company was here as it was for one of them.  Actually, I was going to make 2 of them but I've chosen another pattern in a non-bulky yarn which is not so hard on my hands.  But I am happy to report that it is 46 inches long and the finished size is 55" although I might be going for whatever ends up being able to swing over your shoulder and stay there.  I think I'm on the 4th or 5th skein of yarn now.  I've also ditched the idea of making a matching hat....not now anyway.  No more scarves in bulky yarn for me!
I mentioned in a previous blog how I ordered a hat pattern from Purl Soho....supposedly you can download but you can't so it finally came in the mail yesterday!  A week later and a week's knitting gone by!  What really irritated me was that I called and she said she would email it.  It never came so I called again and she said before close of business....that was last Monday.  I like this pattern because it has several styles and each pattern has the sizes for baby, child, woman, man.  Not sure what that equates to but I'll take it as I don't have the heads nearby to measure.
  Here's a grandson's future hat which will have earflaps and the long tie hanging down if I can manage it.
Next up are crocheted star ornaments meant to look like this when I finish....
I did green stars since I have red ribbon...they need to have ends woven in and be blocked and maybe starched a bit.  Does anyone know how you do that will acrylic yarn items?  So far mine look like this.  The pattern for these is a free tutorial from Jodie over at Jelly Wares
Then I made a few of these "twinkler" stars from another free pattern from Sandra over at Cherry Heart on her December 5th post.  The size differs depending on the yarn and the size hook you use.   Both these gals are on Ravelry.
While I was over at Purl Soho I ordered my Christmas present..........a crewel embroidery kit I have had my eyes on for several years and which they have in short supply and sometimes not at all.  There was one left!  I grabbed it.... virtually.  This will be the project that will get done but only if I live that long! Are unfinished projects handed down from generation to generation?  It's huge but it reminds me of where I grew was definitely an emotional purchase.
These are custom kits from Blanche Virgien from Connecticut.  There are many more on the Purl Soho website.
It's huge! 20" X 24" stamped design on linen and the instructions........
A booklet on Basic Crewel Embroidery and pages and pages of very detailed instructions for each piece of the embroidery picture.  So happy about that as I haven't done crewel embroidery since my children were small and the "baby" turned 33 today!  There's a needle included and of course all the yarn needed.
So, that's what's been keeping me "off the streets and out of trouble" along with cooking, cleaning, decorating, card writing, bill paying, sewing and crafting.  Happy Holidays and may all your projects be done and in the mail by December 17th.  You know mine won't be! LOL!

Friday, December 13, 2013

I'm melting, I'm melting...........Oh, I mean the snow is melting....not me

The rains came today and warmer temps and with that the melting began...........

 but it's good because we don't have snow removal or sanding equipment to speak of so it has kept people off the roads and stores were low if not devoid of the basics.  I need to mail packages but I have to drive to the next town and my Walmart supplies are getting low too. 

 These storms came at a busy time of year for all of us............Mother Nature may be trying to get our attention.
 But it does make one "Use it up, make it do, throw it out or buy it new(on the internet)".
I promised myself this would be a frugal handmade Christmas this year and I've decided that instead of the 12 days of Christmas I might have to change it to the 12 months of Christmas since nothing will be done on time! LOL!
I did manage to make my cinnamon ornaments last night and they are really easy if you don't have to mix the dough by hand.  Buy the cheapest ingredients you can find as they are not going to be eaten.
I went to the Dollar General here in town and got the applesauce, cinnamon and cloves.
The recipe is as follows:
1 cup of applesauce
1 1/2 cups of cinnamon
2 tablespoons of ground cloves
string for hanging
heart cookie cutters (or whatever you want to try)

Mix 1 cup of the applesauce with 1 cup of the cinnamon and mix it well!  This is where a mixer comes in handy.  Add the additional 1/2 cup of cinnamon and the 2 tablespoons of ground cloves and mix again.
The dough should hold together when you squeeze it but not be too sticky.  If it's too dry add some more applesauce and if it's too wet then add more cinnamon.  Make sure it's well mixed before you add any more of anything as mine turned out perfect and I did not have to add anything extra.
Sprinkle some cinnamon on the surface where you'll be rolling out your dough.  Then just treat it like you would any rolled cookie dough....except don't taste it or lick the beaters!  I put parchment paper on my cookie sheets and went to town. 
I tried a few other shapes but they were difficult to work with or were too large plus it was getting late so I just stuck with the hearts this time.

I ended up with this full sheet and a part of another.  I think I ended up with 40-45 altogether.  DO NOT FORGET to poke holes in them.  I actually used one of my DPN knitting needles to get a big enough hole to be able to get a string through. Preheat your oven to 200 and cook for an hour.  Check and make sure they are hard and then turn off your oven and leave them overnight.  They need to be hard as a rock.  If they're not hard, bake them an additional 1/2 hour.  Either way, after you turn off your oven leave them in there overnight.  Mine were great this morning when I checked.  The whole house smelled great and I thought..."I bet this is what Santa's house smells like all the time!".
Enjoy!  Ho! Ho! Ho!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Diamonds are a girls's best friends....and Christmas books!

 I I go again with the snow pictures but when I looked out this morning it looked like a diamond field!  I get ecstatic over nature's beauty and always take it as a gift from above.  I wasn't sure I could capture the "sparkliness" but I did; from several vantage points.  These are my kind of diamonds....I've never cared for the others.  I did nothing to the pictures either.....this is just how it looked;  amazingly beautiful!
I dragged out my Christmas you have special books you bring out at Christmas? 

I probably have more but these were what I ran across.  The top left hand corner book is my all time favorite at Christmas.  It is written by 4 sisters who grew up in Ames, Iowa and talks about their traditions growing up and recipes their Mom used to make and how they have kept those traditions going through the next generation.  It's a heartwarming book to read over the holidays and contains some great midwestern recipes!  The top right book is a book of lists for organizing your Christmas by  Mary Emmerling.  None of the lists have been written on.....that explains a lot!  The bottom book on the left I bought last year, used and I'm just now reading it.  It's got a little bit of everything in it from the Christmas Story to vintage illustrations and Christmas Carols plus who knows what's a big book!  The lower right hand book my daughter gave me in 1995 and it is by Mary Engelbreit entitled "It Doesn't Hurt To Ask"'s a popup book for adults with her gorgeous illustrations.
These 2 books I haven't read yet, although I've had them for several years....I can't even remember how I came to have them.  The Christmas Letters by Bret Nicolaus (coincidence?) and The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by Frank Baum who wrote The Wizard of Oz.  He wrote this book for his little boy in 1902.  It was reprinted in 1983.  I haven't read it either but it contains reprints of the original illustrations.
 Where would Christmas be without lots of recipes especially for sweets?
 I love the tree on the front of this book.  It's like the perfect Christmas tree.  This contains the whole ball of wax....decorations, recipes, craft instructions for gifts.
 And of course where would Christmas preparations be without at least one Gooseberry Christmas book?  This is book many were there?  Are they still making these?
 I managed to get the ingredients for cinnamon hearts, chex mix and a few items for the birthday boy so tomorrow I'll have pictures of some Christmas progress, I hope!  We have another freezing rain, sleet, bag of tricks coming tomorrow and Saturday so please pray we don't lose power....although if we did I might get that scarf finished! LOL! I hope you are all proceeding joyfully through the holidays!