Monday, December 11, 2017

I'm still around but barely!

I am so sorry I haven't blogged or replied or visited but evidently the planet Mercury is in retrograde and although I didn't know it at the time it explains a lot! I have been sick and it is the first time in 8 years!  So, how can I complain, right?  But I have so much to do and I am dragging around.  I keep thinking every day I will feel better but every night I have terrible sinus drainage that makes me gag and cough and not sleep until nigh onto morning.  I am eating chicken noodle soup, I have throat lozenges and I make myself hot honey and lemon tea to drink but it is not working as well as I would like.  It makes me feel a little better but once I lie down I'm toast again and I don't feel that great during the day either. 
I was going to make Andy Paulson's chicken soup but I don't feel well enough to expend the effort so Campbells has been my go to chicken noodle soup.
The reason I mentioned Mercury Retrograde is that this isn't the only thing going down around here.  My printer has been failing but at least it would print in gray scale but no more.....then my tablet stopped taking a charge so there went my books and patterns.  Then I got sick and I have a 6 month doctor appointment tomorrow.....timely probably so I thought I would take a nice hot bath and hit the sack early after some more chicken soup but alas there is no hot water!  I took a cold bath and decided NOT to wash my hair.  I then called the plumber to see how much a new water heater would cost (after all it is over 40 years old)  and he is out of town!  I've been trying to still work on presents but then today I ran out of some material needed to finish.  But I am going to Mountain Home tomorrow for blood work and doctor so I guess I will stop at Hobby Lobby (not really what I wanted to do but hey.....it's Christmas!)  I hope your lead up to the season is going better than mine! LOL! 
Again, I apologize for being absent but I am just barely keeping my head above water here. 
Take care and Happy Trails!!!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

YOP Week #23


To say this has been a rough week would be an overstatement considering what is going on around the world but it hasn't been a walk in the park either.  Suffice it to say I have been physically and emotionally drained by a lot of it....nothing terrible just a buildup of tiny things that by the end of the week you want to tear your hair out....briefly...I burned myself twice, I had a doctor appointment where I had to argue with the doctor about my new glasses being too strong, ( I did end up getting  another exam and a no charge new prescription, finally), plus he told me I had cataracts and I said since when?  He said he told me last time....trust me, he did not!  I would have remembered that little tidbit!  And people wonder why I like staying to myself?  It seems every time I interact with society and I don't accept their 'trust me' comments (like I am old and senile...okay I am old) they want to argue with me.  BTW...who's the paying customer here?  Anyway, there were other things but I won't bore you with them. 
As for the making of the Christmas presents...I am still waiting for my pop pom maker..........so Grayson's giraffe sits here waiting and waiting to get his spots and his pom poms attached.......
but on a brighter note.........he now has company...........Uriah's giraffe has a body and a head and as of this writing 2 1/2 of 4 legs!  Uriah's is gold with rust colored feet and spots...or will have.  After the legs I will knit the spots, the horns and the tail. 
I have finally realized something that you all have hinted at various times.....it's too much pressure to make gifts for people especially at Christmas and especially for people that do not make handmade gifts themselves.  If I was better organized maybe but that's not really the point...........I use my crafts to relax and it is my hobby and where I get my 'reward' at the end of the day or whenever I need one.  Doing any of it under the pressure of a deadline takes the joy out of making.....for me anyway.  I love making things for my grandchildren and others but not with a special date in mind.  From now on, I will purchase presents or send them at various times during the year when I finish them on my timeline.  I've always thought Christmas should be every day and that is how I am going to roll!  From now on, people on my gift list will get Christmas presents from me when I am done with them! LOL!  They will be wrapped in holiday paper, Christmas wishes will be included in a card and they will be more surprised than if it arrived on Christmas!  It might be July or March....just think of the anticipation! LOL!
That's my story and I'm sticking to it but for this year I will try and make the deadline.  Part of the reason I am not going to be 'making' gifts anymore other than when I 'feel' like it in a 'relaxed no-deadline' or special occasion mode, is because I am missing out and not doing what I want to do or even getting things done that I need to get done around here.  Plus, my Christmas joys get left by the wayside like decorating, playing Christmas music and watching Christmas movies and reading Christmas books....etc.  I haven't baked a Christmas cookie or planned my Christmas  at all.  I was going to make myself an Advent Calendar since I couldn't afford those yarny ones that are so awesome and I wanted to write out cards while sipping hot cocoa and so much more!  But instead, I am forced to knit and knit and hurry it up and forget that it's been in the 60's and I had wanted to be outside and even washing my windows etc. and taking walks by the lake....this is my summer in reality.  So, I rest my case and I thank you all for your input last week.  It became quite clear that although the sentiment is wonderful it just isn't working for me.  So, that's my first 2018 resolution and by gum, I'm sticking to it!  You are all my witnesses!  I am looking forward to wrapping up these giraffes and working on the projects I truly love with no pressure and no deadline.  I have no one to blame but myself!  My second resolution will be to open a Christmas Club account in 2018! LOL!  Becki, you helped make it so clear and also Stefanie.....I feel a great burden has been lifted even though I am still not done with those giraffes.  I will get them done and then it will be about my Christmas which I always spend alone anyway so it should be a priority to make it the best Christmas I can!  Who knows how many more I'll have! LOL!
Meanwhile, I did get my needles in the mail.............getting ready for some WIPs and some new cast ons!  Yay!!!!
Happy Trails!!!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

YOP Week #22

I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving if you celebrate it.  My company couldn't come so I made good use of the time although I still cooked my traditional Thanksgiving feast.  The thought of company coming got me cleaning and organizing which I am still doing.....on a roll here!  But what's great is the balance I seem to have achieved (and I hope it lasts) in taking care of maintaining the regular chores plus cleaning and going through things and clearing out.  On top of that I have the strongest urge to finish things.  All of a sudden it bothers me to have so much on the needles but despite that fact I managed to cast on another and ordered supplies for more!  LOL!
First, I am STILL working on giraffe....I took a few You Tube video's on pom pom making and I made one decent one but it was too large so then I tried the fork method for smaller ones but it fell apart so after messing around for way too much time I ordered a small pom pom maker which should be here this coming week.  This method worked good but it was too large for my project.
 Meanwhile I knitted the ears and linings and sewed them together and attached the horns and the tail..............

I had literally forgotten these socks!  I finished them finally..............
In going through things I also discovered the 2 kits I bought for myself last year for my birthday and Christmas which I never worked on!  So, I decided to get started.............these are the yarns for the hat below............I gathered everything together but realized I needed some needles I didn't have for several projects including my sweater..........so I placed an order for those..........the hat cannot be started yet for that reason..........
 This is the pattern....I may have shown it to you when I got it last year..............
 The other kit was this cutie pie...........and I was able to get started on it.........
One of the reasons I bought it was 1) I fell in love with it and 2) I thought it was a good foray into color work which is a goal this year in learning new techniques and increasing my skills..........
 I had the needles for this part which was simple................

 I knit the top and underneath of the head and then the ears and their linings.............
Now comes the challenging part...........the color work and there's a chart!  I have never read a chart nor have I done any color work in knitting.  I think I will be looking at some You Tube videos before starting this section!  Feel free to give me any tips or techniques if you have done this before as I think I may need them! LOL!
What I am loving about both these projects is that they use really nice yarn.....no acrylics here! 
I still haven't found the other 50 gram ball of this sock yarn....I know it's here somewhere as I remember buying them.  Do I dare start them with just one ball and pray I find the other?  Or maybe I should just wait as I also ordered a 'bare' skein of sock yarn to dye myself and I know once I dye it I will want to cast on socks with it right away!

  The CMB (Cozy Memory Blanket) did not get much attention this week.........but it got a little........
and I found more yarn for it in organizing my 'crafts room'..........I probably have enough for several of these CMB's!  Excuse the lighting as the sun was shining brightly and the weather has been gorgeous here which is great for putting up outside Christmas decorations which I have yet to do plus I still have windows to wash too!  But Christmas presents first! 
Are you making presents this year?  If so how is it going?  Every year I swear I won't do as much handmade but each year I must forget and I do it all over again!  I think that is the definition of insanity if I'm not mistaken! LOL!  But it will all work out and with all the Thanksgiving leftovers I haven't had to cook so things are getting done slowly but surely!
Please stop by our Year of Projects group on Ravelry
and see what these talented friends are doing!  Plus, feel free to join us and show us your creations if you so desire.  We'd love to have you!
Happy Trails!!!
P.S. I did try on my sweater again and I'm going for a few more inches in length before I do the bottom edging.  Which reminds me I still need to weave ends in my daughter's shawl!  There's so much to remember at this time of year!  And only a few more weeks before I need to get it all in the mail!  YIKES BATMAN!!!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Hope you have a wonderful day!
Happy Trails!!!!

Monday, November 20, 2017

The Turkey has landed!!!

Still reading the same books so I'll skip Book Date for this week.  My days have been so full I just don't get much reading done before I start dozing off! LOL!  Plus, I went to Walmart today for groceries and the fixin's for Thanksgiving.....yes, the turkey has landed.......and here it is.....I also got everything necessary for the big feast so I don't have to go out now for weeks!  No Black Friday for me.....ever!  I'll go online but you will not catch me out and about that's for sure!
I did buy myself one little treat today.........I don't buy magazines all year but come the holidays I am a real sucker for them it seems.............if I can't work on any self projects right now, at least I can plan for them for after Christmas..........or get a head start on next year's gifts!
Remember my jar salads?  Which I still make and still love by the way..........well.........I found a breakfast jar recipe.............they're Blueberry Chia Overnight Oats by Ellie Krieger.  It makes 4 jars and you put them in the frig ready to grab in the morning or anytime you want a healthy snack.  I am really into this 'jar' stuff.  I'm going to be looking for more recipes like this!  I haven't tasted them yet but I will tomorrow and get back to you but meanwhile here's the link to the recipe  in case you're interested.......she has prettier jars than I do! LOL!
Here's a view from the top.............they were fun to make.  Like I said, I really like having these items on the ready...........
That's all for today but it was a great one!  It was pretty chilly when I left for the store but the sun was out and it got up to 61 which is my kind of weather!  All the groceries got put away and I made the chia oats and even did a bit of knitting this afternoon.  The girls are all fed so maybe I'll mosey on into the crafts room and see if I can make a little dent in there before I run out of steam! LOL!
Happy Trails!!!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

YOP Week #21

Well, the Christmas presents are coming along....slowly but steadily and really I think I'm ahead this year although I don't want to jinx myself!  I'm already cutting corners on a few of my gift giving plans so it should all work out.  Speaking of gifts......I have a finish (except for weaving in some ends but that will happen during t.v. watching tonight.)  The shawl for my daughter.........yes, I've decided to give it to her......I bought a second skein and made it big enough to wrap around your neck like everyone does nowadays............
There is also a little ruffled edging............I made a mistake on it....it was supposed to be 3 DC in each DC from the previous row but I misread and only did 2 so it is not as 'ruffled' as it is supposed to be but that's fine because my daughter and I are not the 'ruffle' type anyway so it's good as is..............
I'm not going to block it as it's acrylic...do people block acrylic yarn products?    Maybe a wash and dry in the machine?
I got some work done on the giraffe....can I tell you how much I detest stuffing and sewing on limbs and embroidering the face details?  The knitting is fine but the rest of it not so much fun.  I never seem to get the limbs attached symmetrically and the facial features are not my strong point either.  But I will forge ahead except I ran out of orange yarn, I need to get a pom pom maker as I did it the old fashioned way last time with cardboard and again....it was not fun.  So, anything to make this job easier is a plus in my book.
Also, no more acrylic yarn!!!  It doesn't stretch or move and it is hard on my hands to knit or crochet with.....some of the newer brands are soft but still...........I was listening to the gal on The Spicy Homemaker podcast who knit a toy monkey for her nephew and she said it was the most enjoyable project and she had bought some nice yarn at her LYS....not acrylic.   But then her son wanted one too and she had been given a bunch of acrylic yarn by a non-knitter who's mother had passed away so she thought she would use it for the 2nd monkey.  She said it has been an awful experience and she is having a hard time finishing it.  So, I guess that explains a lot with my 3 giraffes (only on #2 so far).....ugh!  Never again...I am going to become a yarn snob now...be forewarned!
In fact, this little project was a kit that came with beautiful hand dyed yarn.....I hope I can wait until after the gifts are done to cast it on but I'm not betting the farm on it! LOL! 
   I have worked on my sweater too and I'm pretty sure I am done with the sides and back and now I will be knitting the bottom edging and then the sleeves.  I need to try it on one more time to ensure it will be long enough....I'm wondering if I should have knit a bigger size as I knit tightly....but we shall see.  If it doesn't fit me it will fit someone and it has been a pleasure to knit and it has given me confidence to knit other garments in the future for sure!  My next garment I will do a swatch!
I didn't post a picture as you have seen it a zillion times already.
I did my 4 squares on my CMB and it is starting to go over the side of the bed....I just can't make up my mind if I want to be able to tuck it in like a regular blanket or just lay it over the bed under the quilt.  What do you think?  Would it be too bulky to tuck in?  Thoughts?
Here are the squares from this week.....the bottom 4...........
 They always look wonky like this but there will be an edging of some sort when it is finished and maybe a lining on the back?  I've seen some knitted blankets lined and it helps them hold their shape but I have no idea how they accomplish it....does anyone know?  Just thinking ahead!  It will be awhile so I have time.
I found some new and interesting pod casts this week and I also found some wonderful new patterns and yarns to get for my 'post Christmas' knitting.  I already have my sock yarn for Little Bobbin's Christmas Eve cast on of socks.  But for the other projects I need to order supplies.  Somehow  I have to squeeze it out  of the budget which isn't easy at this time of year but I must!
The podcasts I watched this week were:
The Bakery Bears (still catching up)
A Friend to Knit With (I LOVE her projects and the yarns she uses!....she's my Friend for life!)
The Spicy Homemaker
These are very good and almost professional in their pod casting skills.
That's all for this week!  I've been up since 1:15 this morning so I am just trying to make it to 8:00 p.m. before I crash.  I will be shopping tomorrow for Thanksgiving so I will try and catch up with everyone at some point....
Happy Thanksgiving if I don't talk to you before then or if you only stop by for YOP.
Happy Trails regardless!!! 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

A woman possessed....again!

 This was the view outside my kitchen window this morning........rainy and dark and so cozy I had to turn lights on and burn candles.....it was perfect Hygge weather!

 I made breakfast while Miss Peeps messed up my rugs as she played with her 'twist ties'....one of her favorite toys!
 I made a simple (but there was some prepping) breakfast of an open face sandwich with a smashed avocado with lime juice, salt and pepper,  Some sliced radishes and cucumber (English with the skin on) and some hard boiled egg all on top of some whole grain toast.  It was good, healthy and filling.
 It was an Ellie Krueger recipe on her website.........
 Yesterday I got the guest room done with clean linens and dusted and vacuumed and some rearranging, more yarn for the drawers and cleaning out the 2 chests in the room for storing other items.

Every time I clean you will see my Windex bottle in the picture.  I have my own window cleaner that I make but Windex I use for spraying on my rag and cleaning knick-knacks, light bulbs, painted surfaces etc.  It works on so many things!  But I don't care for it on windows or mirrors....go figure.... 
 Today I hit the craft room and cleaned off a bookcase that was in the living room and dragged it into the crafts room.  I have those carpet mover things you place  under furniture so it slides and I even have a long handled pry bar that slides under the furniture so you can pry it up to enable you to slip the sliders under it.  It's a Godsend for those living alone!
 I got it in the crafts room, cleaned it and loaded it up.  It's not pretty but right now I'm just trying to get things off the floor and out of the way so I can find things plus there is a hide-a-bed in this room that needs to be ready depending on who all is coming for Turkey Day.
After I got it loaded up I remembered all those project/pattern notebooks I had removed to my bed!  Uh oh!  So, I had to rearrange and didn't have as much room as I thought I did but it is still better than it was! 
Like I said....it's not pretty but it's clean and semi-organized.  What I also did was set up an empty container in the garage so when I found something for the Thrift store I immediately took it out there and put it in the container.  Of course, there were things that also went into the garbage.

After I finish this I am going to go empty the other bookcase and drag that in the craft room too!  I think I'm on a roll and I hope it keeps up!  I also made out my Thanksgiving Day menu and tomorrow I will make my list and go to the store.  There are some bills to pay tomorrow and a changing of my sheets.  I have leftovers for supper which is nice as I don't have to quit early on my organizing to make supper.  I am super happy about cleaning and clearing out and hopefully being more organized.
I hope you are enjoying the Fall.   What are your plans for Thanksgiving?
Happy Trails!!!  

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Yop Week #20


It's another YOP week again!?!?  It seems I just blogged about it but maybe it's because it doesn't seem like I've made much progress.  I have worked on things but as you'll see it was slow going and I really didn't work on the things I need to be working on!  Do I have a self-defeating issue or what and a non-finishing issue too evidently?  Oh well, I really enjoyed my week though and all things considered I made progress...just not always with my crafts. 
I got some more yarn to finish the granny stitch shawl......I thought it was a one skein project but after one skein you could not wrap it around your neck like I prefer to wear them.  I was making this for myself but the more I work on it I am thinking my daughter might like it?  I'm not sure....I could gift it with a return option if she doesn't care for it but I think it would keep her so warm too in those Iowa winters. 
The sweater got worked on but then the shawl took over.  I need to measure again as I am past where they said to knit but it still doesn't seem long enough to me. 
I did get another 4 squares done on my Cozy Memories Blanket.  It is almost across my bed in width.  I have a full size bed.  All the yarns are worsted but what a difference in many of them.  Some feel like worsted and some feel like DK and smaller but I will squeeze them all in regardless.
When I got the 2nd skein of Mandala from Lion Brand in the Chimera colorway, I picked up 2 other skeins in the Centaur colorway.............I think I want to make another shawl with it but after Christmas.  I'd been looking for this colorway so that's why I grabbed it when I saw it.
 I'm having company for Thanksgiving so I have been cleaning and also organizing my crafts as the plastic container method just wasn't working for me.....not sure if that counts for a YOP project but it should! LOL!  I posted some pics this past week but there is lots more to do!
As for other fiber adventures.......
I watched the following podcasts this week:
The Budget Knitter - a new one that only has 6 out so far and I like him
Stitched in Sweden (caught up)
The Wooden Nest - new and only has 2 so far
The Bakery Bears - on Episode 38 of how many???)
I also heard of a discount craft site called Blitsy and I have not used them but I looked and they had ChiaoGoo  needles for like $5 and I know they are more than that.....so check them out.  They have all kinds of craft supplies.  I'm not sure where I heard of them....here?  Maybe The Budget Knitter....but thank you to whoever it was!
 I hope you had a wonderfully creative and crafty week!
Happy Trails!!!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Craft day turned into cleaning day...........

Yesterday was a loss as I went to Walmart.  I get my daily chores done but not much else.  I was so tired after unloading the groceries that I put away the perishables and left the rest for this morning!  I had cheese, summer sausage and crackers for supper and to think I thought I would make supper when I came home! Ha!  Who was I kidding?  But in my defense, I had been up since 3:30 a.m. and it was going on 5:00 p.m.  I did get a few treasures..........this magazine has the cutest little wool Christmas ornaments that look like tags but if I want to make them I will have to get one of those metal eyelet punchers.....I've wanted one for other things but not sure how much they cost and there are different sizes....I'll have to see.............
  I had to refresh my candles and melties....tis the season!  Plus it is so Hygge
 and some yarn, of course................there's a shawl I want to make after gifts are done and it calls for 2 skeins of Mandala by Lion Brand...I can't remember the name of it now but this yarn disappears fast so I have to grab it when I can...............
and a new litter box for Grace.....the one she has is too shallow.......
This morning the sky was on fire and they usually say "pink sky at morning, sailor's warning' but it is a beautiful day....a bit chilly.....high 50's maybe low 60's now but it was 30 F when I got up....yes, at 3:30 a.m. and no, the sun was not up at all .....this picture was taken later...........
I spent the morning putting the groceries away, daily chores and I did a load of laundry.  Then instead of 'crafting' I was wanting to clean up and organize my crafts room.  You know it's time when you can't find your supplies or patterns and they are so 'all over the place'.  I am too embarassed to show you any 'before' pictures but take my word for it.....you can barely walk into the room for all the stacked plastic containers.   So.........I think the containers are not such a good idea as they take up room unless you can fit them on shelving somehow.  So, I decided to use an empty dresser in the guest room......for my acrylic that I am utilizing in the Cozy Memories Blanket.  I put all the variegated in one drawer and the solid colors in the other.  This is all worsted weight acrylic yarn.
 This alone will make my life so much easier as before they were in a giant, deep plastic container which I had to root around in whenever I needed a new color.....now they are easy to see and grab and I don't tangle them up by my 'rooting'!  The CMB is making a good dent in my acrylic stash too!
  I also finished cleaning the bookcase which needs a paint job and so do the red Dollar Tree baskets I got but that will be next summer....for now they seem to deter Miss Peeps and I have some odd and ends in them and also some quantity yarn (several skeins of the same color). 
I was able to clear some of the crafts room but I have "miles to go before I sleep".......you can see where some of the containers were sitting.  I'm hoping to move a bookcase in here to house more bins with yarn so I can see what is where when I need it along with books and patterns.
Not sure I'll have much to show for YOP this week but having a functional crafts room will be so worth it!  What were you up to today?  I'm off to make supper.....Hellman's Parmesan Chicken with broccoli and sweet potato.  It' s a great and tasty recipe and it's on their website.....easy to prepare too!
I hope you enjoy your Saturday night!
Happy Trails!!!