Friday, October 20, 2017

Crickets

It's about to get very quiet around here.  Listen for the sound of crickets.

I'm abandoning fall leaf tours and apple picking and heading south instead.  This afternoon, I'm going to go work a 46 hour weekend, come home, sleep for a few hours, get up, drive from Virginia to southern Florida, get out of the car, sleep a few hours, get back in the car, drive home, get back out of the car, sleep a few more hours and go back to work for another 46 hours.

The things we do for those we love!

the sound of crickets.  Abandoning my blog while I drive to Florida and back.
Crickets, borrowed from www.giphy.com

Details to follow, assuming I survive.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Three on Thursday - Halloween Candy

There are only three types of candy I hope to find in my trick or treat bag this Halloween:


Brach's Candy Corn
Candy Corn


Hershey chocolate bars
Mini Hershey Bars 


snack sized strawberry flavored Twizzlers for Halloween
Miniature Twizzlers

What do you hope to find in your trick or treat bag this Halloween?


To read others' Three on Thursday posts, join me over at Carole Knits.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Hitchhiking

Sarah and I were supposed to take a tour through the Blue Ridge Mountains and go apple picking today, but as luck would have it, her car wouldn't start.  We could have taken mine, but Little Red still needs a few more tweaks before she goes on any long trips.  (She was, after all, a one-paycheck car and tweaks were expected.)  While I'm disappointed our trip was postponed, I sure am glad Sarah's car chose to break down in our driveway instead of on some lonely mountain road.  I'd have hated to hitchhike home while carrying bushel baskets full of apples.

Knitting a Hitchhiker scarf with Lion Brand "Shawl in a Ball" yarn
Hitchhiker

Oddly, I had chosen a Hitchhiker scarf to be my knitting-in-the-car project.

To see what others are creating, join me over at Frontier Dreams for the #CraftingOn link-up.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Three on Thursday - Scary Movies

I probably shouldn't list these as 'scary' movies because I haven't seen them yet but, in preparation for Halloween, I plan to watch the following three movies on Netflix this week:

1.  The Falling
2.  Mercy
3.  Honeymoon

And in case one of those is too stupid or too gory, I'll trade it for Gremlins.  It's hard to believe but, I have never seen Gremlins!

Are you planning to watch any new (to you, not necessarily newly filmed) scary/Halloween themed movies this month?

To see who else is participating in Three on Thursday, join me over at Carole Knits.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Candy Corn

So, remember me talking about Snowblind  by Christopher Golden and how much I was enjoying it?  Well, I finished it.  And LOVED it!  I began to have my doubts over the last few chapters.  The story suddenly became very predictable.  It felt like the author was maybe under a deadline and was rushing to tidy up the details.  I became a little disappointed.  It was still a good story and told well but...  And then all of a sudden - the last two sentences.  I got chills and had to put on a sweater. 

If you like Stephen King type horror, Snowblind is a Must Read!

knitting an orange and yellow blanket and eating Candy Corn.

Since finishing Snowblind, I haven't picked up any other book worth mentioning.  I have, however, been eating my weight in candy corn and knitting on Sarah's orange blanket.  It's very strange how it's knitting up.  I knit and knit and knit and knit 100 more rows and there's no visual progress.  Then I knit one more row and presto, magic!  I've suddenly added six inches in length to the blanket.  It's very strange.  Perhaps Mr. Golden should write a book about it.

To see what others are knitting and reading, join me over at As Kat Knits for today's #Unraveled link-up.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Beetle Mania

Are you sick of hearing me blather on about my new-to-me car yet?  I hope not, because have I got stories to tell!  I can't get over how much I'm enjoying driving Little Red.  People just seem friendlier when you're driving a Beetle.  Other Beetle drivers toot a friendly hello when they pass by, neighbors & strangers out on the road throw up their hands in friendly waves and people strike up conversations in parking lots.  Someone even offered to pay for my tank of gas.  Well, actually that guy wanted to pay for mine if I'd pay for his.  He was driving a giant, gas-guzzling, double tanked pickup truck so I declined his offer, but never the less, he was very friendly.

Little Red is just such a happy little car.  And, look what I found -

VW Beetle knitting stitch markers from Jill's Handmade Stuff
Volkswagen Bug Stitch Markers

VW Beetle stitch markers!  I found them at Jill's Handmade Stuff.  The listing was for blue beaded stitch markers which would never do.  After all, a girl's knitting must coordinate with her car!  I asked if the shop could make red ones, the answer was yes and a few days later....  My knitting coordinates with my car.

I can't express how much I love these stitch markers.  Besides the VW Beetle one, the set contains eight more plain beaded markers.  Of the eight, one is missing a silver spacer bead.  I'm not sure if it's by accident or planned, but either way, it's great!  It's barely noticeable unless you look for it, but it can used to indicate something special.  And, besides matching my car, I can throw a green beaded stitch marker into the mix and be ready for Christmas knitting.

I know.... Christmas.  No one wants to hear about Christmas yet.... except, I've already eaten so much Candy Corn, I'm sort of done with fall and ready to move on to Christmas and candy canes.

Anyway, if you're looking to spice up your stitch marker collection, go check out Jill's Handmade Stuff.  She's got zillions of designs to choose from, her customer service was great and shipping was super fast.  I'll definitely be shopping there again.

To see what others are creating this week, join me over at Frontier Dreams' #CraftingOn link-up.


Thursday, October 5, 2017

Three on Thursday - Happy Things

Today's Three on Thursday post is a list of things that have made me happy this week.


1.  I got to enjoy coffee time on the deck with Bambi and his mom.  Please, ignore the junk piled up along our fence line.  But check out Bambi - he still has his spots!  And while you're ignoring the junk pile, ignore the blurry photo too, please.  I was shaking just a bit because I so excited that the deer hung out long enough for me to go inside and get my camera.  They're also slightly out of focus because they didn't like the sound of me dropping the lens cover.


2.  The leaves are starting to turn.

Knitting a roll brimmed hat for sale in my Etsy shop https://www.etsy.com/shop/jeanniegrayknits

3.  I've been knitting.  I spent a few hours at the tire store getting new tires put on Little Red this week.  It was a shame I had to do it.  The tread on the tires she came with looked brand new but they were horribly dry rotted.  As much as I hated to put out the cash, the wait time did provide me with a few hours of uninterrupted knitting.  Not only have I gotten several hats for my Etsy shop knit this week, I also feel much, much safer flying down the highway in Little Red.

Just don't ask me what happened to my "Z" key.  That is NOT a  Happy Things thing.

To see who else is participating in Three on Thursday, join me over at Carole Knits.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Productivity

I didn't produce any knitting this weekend.  I was at work.  But, while I was at work....

Mike ripped out the bushes in front of our house.

My husband got productive.  He did a little "weeding."  Uh, yeah.  Our gardener hadn't shown up to work for a few years.


gray flat rocks stacked for a foundation

And he finally got the stone laid around our house's foundation.   That task was only 11 years in the making.

And, best of all, he replaced our broken dishwasher.  We've been hand washing our dishes & using the dishwasher as an over sized drying rack for several years.

I should go to work more often!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Knitting at the DMV

(This post contains an affiliate link.)

Little Red (that's her name) is all legal-eagle now with real, metal license plates and everything.  And that means, I spent yesterday at the DMV.

Spent the day knitting and reading at the DMV
Knitting at the DMV

It was an interesting experience.  I sat and knit, and read and knit, and knit and read, and checked my phone, and knit and read some more....  Every now and then, I'd glance up at the reader board thing to see if possibly I'd missed my number being called.  Nope, still on F144.   (I was F148.)  After about an hour and a half of knitting and reading and occasionally apologizing to the lady waiting next to me because my stomach had started to growl.... DMV finally called F145. Good Lord, it was taking forever. Thankfully, before I got too mean and hangry, ran out of Kindle battery or finished knitting the hat, they called my number.

So, are you wondering how Little Red got her name?

Red Chevrolet pickup truck
Mike and Big Red, 1993

My husband's dad's truck was Big Red.  It seemed only fitting.

alternatives to flowers in a Volkswagen
Little Red's ready for fall

To celebrate not harming anyone at the DMV, I stopped by my local Dollar Tree and bought Little Red a fall floral thing to go in her vase.  Okay, I also bought her a Halloween decoration but you'll have to wait a few more days to see that.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Creepy Kids

Take a look at what I found in my mailbox the other day.

Small metal box full of fabric clips for sewing
Creepy Kids Tin

It's a little tin full of fabric clips.  The kids on the tin are pretty darn creepy but the clips are fantastic!  I just wish I remembered ordering them.  I can't decide if I should be embarrassed or worried that I don't remember ordering them.  And why in the world did I choose the tin with the creepy, chubby-cheeked, weird-eyed, lipstick wearing kids on it?  I see Amazon has several different choices and some of the others are adorable. Oh well.  Even though I have no recollection of ordering them, the clips are great and will come in super handy when sewing up sweater seams.  I may even dig out my old Honeycomb sweater (last mentioned here) out of the UFO pile and finish it just so I can use the clips.

So, what else have I been up to besides possibly shopping in my sleep?

knitting a rolled brim hat for sale at #JGKnits https://www.etsy.com/shop/jeanniegrayknits
Hat in progress

I've been shopping at Knit Picks.  Something new and different for me.  Ha ha.  I finally ordered myself a new yarn bowl.  My MIL had given me a ceramic one for Christmas years ago but it got dropped and a chunk broke off.  I was able to glue it back together but it wasn't the smoothest of joins and the yarn would sometimes snag on it. Anyway, I'm now the proud owner of a beautiful and extremely smooth, snag-free, wooden yarn bowl.

I'm also knitting another hat.  My poor Etsy shop is practically empty and the Christmas shopping season is almost upon us. (Scary thought!!)  I need to buckle down and focus on knitting for the shop for the next few weeks.  Poor Sarah.  I'm never going to finish her blanket.

Want to see what projects others are working on?  Join me at the #CraftingOn link-up.

Friday, September 22, 2017

On the needles

Happy First Day of Fall!!

knitting hats for teeny tiny babies. Preemie twins
OTN

I've got preemie hats on the needles today.

knitting hats for preemie twins born at 24 weeks gestation
preemie hat

 Sadly, they aren't very photogenic.

sheets with pictures of camels riding in pickup trucks
#weirdandwonderful

But did you notice the background in that first photo?  Yep! I am now the proud owner of sheets with pictures of palm trees and camels riding in pickup trucks!  I can not tell you how much this excites me.  My family says I've finally gone completely off my rocker but....  Camels riding in pickup trucks!  Camels riding in pickups, on sheets!  Adult sheets, not toddler or crib sheets.  Adult sheets!  Who comes up with these things??  I'm really glad they did though because the weirdo in me is absolutely in love with them. 


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Rut Girl - a Three on Thursday list

It's Three on Thursday when I list three things and share them with others here at Carol Knits.

So, I’m trying to break out of my rut.  Have you noticed that I basically live in a rut? I’m Rut Girl. My photos are all taken from the same location. I knit the same things over and over. I never talk about going places or trying new restaurants, mainly because I don’t go anywhere.  Yep, I’m Rut Girl.

Part of me is okay with it.  Actually, a big part of me is okay with being Rut Girl.  I like routine.  I like knowing what to expect. And yes, I like being able to stay in my pajamas all day.  But another part of me is pretty bored with being Rut Girl.  So, as of this month, I decided that I would have a new experience at least once a month.  At first, I said weekly, but that could get expensive and time consuming.  If I have to work too hard at climbing out of my rut, I may not make the effort.  So, monthly.  Once a month, I’ll experience something new.  Visit a new restaurant, go at somewhere I’ve never been before, learn a new knitting stitch or craft, maybe something as simple as trying a new recipe.  It doesn’t have to be some major adventure like skydiving, or something expensive like traveling to Europe.  Just something different. 

And because I was kind to my Rut Girl self and set the goal for one new experience monthly rather than weekly, I’ve over achieved already.  It’s the third week of September and I’ve already racked up three new experiences!

First, I bought, and have been using daily, an Instant Pot.  Do you have one? According to the internet, I was the last person on earth to purchase one so I may be preaching to the choir but…..  I LOVE my Instant Pot!  If you don’t have one, you should look them up on Amazon or simply run to Target like I did.  The thing makes perfect rice every single time, in half the time and it never boils over and leaves that icky rice water crud all over the stove. And since it doesn’t boil over, you can walk away and go do something else (like knit) in some other part of the house.  Besides cooking perfect rice, you can saute in it, use it like a slow cooker (haven’t tried that yet,) it’s a pressure cooker and it’s a yogurt maker.  I’m not sure why anyone would want to go to the trouble of making her own  yogurt.  For that matter, I’m not sure why anyone would want to eat yogurt in the first place but to each his own.  Whatever.  The point is, I bought one, I love it, it’s a very different way of cooking and I’ve used it daily since I bought it.

Second, and okay, this one isn’t exactly adventurous, but…. I got a flu shot.  My very first flu shot ever.  Honestly, I’m not sure I’ll ever get another.  Good grief!  The sore arm after-effect was just about as bad as having the flu.

My third new experience is pretty exciting! I bought a new car.  Well, new to me.  It’s actually pretty old and has obviously been well used by it’s previous owner but hey – it runs well and I paid for it, in cash, with one paycheck!  There was even money left over from that paycheck to put gas in it!

Red VW Bug or Volkswagen Beetle
Little Red Bug

I have wanted a little red Volkswagen since birth.  And now I have one!  I can not wait to travel to new, adventurous, non-Rut Girl destinations in it.  And you know what?  For such a little car, it’s trunk is surprisingly large.  I will be able to go on some Major yarn hauls!


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Snowblind

I have the feeling I'm about to become horribly confused. 

I was checking out a book on my Kindle that someone had recommended and while it did sound like a fabulous read, it was $16.99 and I just can't bring myself to pay that much for a book I can't actually touch.  But, my interest in that book caused my Kindle to suggest Snowblind by Michael Abbadon, which I bought.  And that action prompted my Kindle to recommend more books, one of which was Snowblind by Christopher Golden.  And I bought that one too.  Which prompted a third recommendation and yes, you guessed it - another book titled Snowblind

I now have three different books on my Kindle, all titled Snowblind.  It was a hard choice, but I decided to read the one written by Christopher Golden first.  And Oh My Goodness!  After reading two pages, I was hooked.  By the end of the second chapter, I was contemplating fixing a second dinner because I was so hungry. All the characters were eating and the writing was so descriptive, I could feel their hunger and smell their food.  It made me hungry too.  Another chapter or two had me going to look out the front door to see how deep the snow was.  Seriously!  It was 85 degrees that day, but I was so involved in the story, I actually, literally, expected to see snow outside.  I'm not sure if I should be embarrassed to admit that, or if the author should be winning every award possible for making me feel that way. 

While I've read a zillion books that I have loved, many of which made me laugh out loud and a few that have made me cry - at work, at my desk.  Yes, that really happened.  Talk about embarrassing!  Specially since I'm constantly on the security cameras at work and a security guard came to check on me.  I was crying that hard.  Over a book! At work!  So yeah, I've loved a lot of books, but I don't remember an author having this kind of affect on me since the '80's when I discovered Stephen King.  I'm fairly certain that Christopher Golden's Snowblind is going to end up on my All Time Favorite Books list.

Ocean Stripes, a garter stitch shawl and Snowblind by Christopher Golden
Ocean Stripes and Snowblind

All that to say, I spent most of today sitting on the deck, reading and knitting on my Ocean Stripes shawl.  Thank goodness for simple, mindless garter stitch projects that I can knit on while I read.

And yes, I'm using a Rubbermaid tote as a knitting bag. 


Join me for today's #Unraveled linkup at As Kat Knits to see what others are knitting and reading.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Pudding!

It's National Butterscotch Pudding Day today and I can not see, say, or hear the word 'pudding' without thinking of Dean Winchester in Supernatural's Season 5, 'Sam Interrupted.'  I absolutely Love that episode. 

recipe for making butterscotch pudding from scratch
Making pudding

So, to celebrate National Butterscotch Pudding Day, I made pudding from scratch last night and watched Supernatural reruns.

Eating pudding and watching The Cabin in the Woods, plus a recipe
National Butterscotch Pudding Day

Tonight, I'll be further celebrating by eating homemade butterscotch pudding and watching The Cabin in the Woods.  And of course, knitting.  If I'm honest, I think I'm more excited about The Cabin in the Woods than I am about the pudding.  I love all things Joss Whedon and I was able to snag the DVD from Walmart the other day for less than four dollars!

If you're interested in making your own pudding, here's the recipe I use.

Butterscotch Pudding

2/3 cup brown sugar
Large pinch of salt
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups milk
2 Tbsp. softened butter
1 tsp. Vanilla

In a 2 quart sauce pan, mix the first 3 ingredients together.  Add the eggs, then slowly add the milk, stirring well.

Stirring constantly over medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil.  Boil  1 minute; remove from heat and add the butter & vanilla.  Stir well and pour into desert cups.  Chill until set.  

Serves 4.

To see what others are creating today, join me later today at #craftingon,

Friday, September 15, 2017

Make a Hat

It's Make a Hat Day!

While the term 'make' implies, to me at least, I should be crafting a hat out of newspaper, I guess you'll let me slide if I knit one instead. 

knitting a button brimmed hat with acrylic yarn. For sale at https://www.etsy.com/shop/jeanniegrayknits
Make a Hat

I've been on a brief vacation from knitting with my normal wool.  This hat is being knit with acrylic yarn I picked up during a recent my-dog-is-sick pity party I threw myself at the local big box craft store.  I walked into the store, let the party begin & just started tossing things into my cart.  I almost had to get two carts.  Luckily, almost the entire store was on sale.  I threw so much yarn into my cart, I practically doubled my yarn stash, and let's don't even talk about the stamping and drawing supplies I bought.  I haven't rubber stamped since the '90's and I didn't even enjoy it that much back then.  And drawing??  Have you ever seen me draw?  Nope! I do not draw.  Oh well. It was all on sale, it made me feel better (at least until the bill comes in) and now I have some really great things to donate to the library's arts & craft box.

The shopping excursion/pity party wasn't a total waste though.  I've already knit several hats and a pair of mittens with the yarn I purchased.  The rubber stamps make great paper weights (one even has a cute sheep on it!) and my calendar is now nice and colorful with all the art pen notes I've made.

And that hat in the photo - it's not really that cherry read pictured.  It's more of a deep maroon that my camera/phone/computer refuses to acknowledge. 

So, what about you?  Are you making a hat today?  If so, share a photo or a link in the comments below.  I'd love to see your creation(s).

Thursday, September 14, 2017

One, Two, Three

So, I joined a 'thing' called Think Write Thursday yesterday, not really knowing what it was.  Over the past year, a blogger or two that I follow has participated and I thought I'd join too, if for no other reason than possible motivation to create a blog post once a week.  As luck would have it, I received an email this morning saying that Think Write Thursday has now been changed to Three on Thursday.  Actually, it really is a pretty lucky thing for me.  Now, I don't have to 'write,' I simply have to list three things.  I like lists.

But dang!  This is a lot of pressure!  What should today's list be about??

Since it's my first time participating, I'm going to make a pretty simple list.

Three things I should be doing instead of knitting:

1. Scrubbing the bathroom
2. Scrubbing the dog
3. Moving the laundry from the washer to the dryer before it molds.

Want to place bets on how many of those things I accomplish today?



To view others' lists, go here.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Yarn Chicken

I'm playing a mean game of yarn chicken.

fingerless gloves knit with leftover worsted weight yarn, OTN 081217
Playing yarn chicken

I'm knitting simple, fingerless gloves with some left over yarn I had.  I'm also praying I  have enough yarn.

I've also been reading Scarred by Joanne Macgregor.  I just finished it last night and absolutely loved it.  The book's Amazon description describes it as a young adult contemporary romance but I felt it was so much more than that.  While it did have the typical boy & girl are made for each other but have some silly issue keeping them apart romance theme, there was so much more to this story.  There was also misplaced guilt and forgiveness, self esteem issues, bullying, and school violence.  Wow.  I'm not making it sound like a great read, but it really was.  I had hard time putting it down and even skipped an after work visit to the local all night dinner with work friends to come home and read.  You Know I enjoyed it if I passed up food for it!  

Join me over at As Kat Knits for today's #unraveled linkup.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Orange

I'm no where close to the half-way mark yet, but Sarah's orange blanket is coming along.

orange and yellow zig zag blanket knit for Sarah
Caron Cakes Spice Cake

It's about 20 inches in length so far and slightly wider than anticipated.

I was a little worried about having enough yarn but if each skein knits up to within a couple of inches of the first skein's fabric, I'll have enough to make this blanket more like a bedspread than the intended snuggle-while-watching-TV throw.  We'll see how the yarn holds out.  I've had issues before with Caron Cakes' yardage varying wildly between skeins.

The color is a little harsh for my taste but Sarah loves it and that's what's important.  The orange is very fall-ish and since I've been suffering from Fall Fever since July 1st....  It's a fun project to knit on.  I've also been thinking that instead of knitting a giant, bedspread sized blanket, I could make it the intended length and have yarn left over to knit a matching pillow.  A pillow with removable attachments.  I'm picturing olive green leaves for summer, acorns for fall, a black pumpkin face for Halloween and something for spring.  If you focus on the yellows in it rather than the oranges, it's very daffodill-y.

What I need is to hurry up and knit the blanket and be done with it before it turns into a never ending, life-long project.

Join me over at Frontier Dreams for today's #craftingon link-up.

Monday, September 11, 2017

The last ride

I've been putting this post off because, well honestly, I didn't want to see it in writing.  Documenting it makes it so official. So real....  And I so desperately wish it wasn't real.

As is usual in my life, Karma's response is quick and sometimes brutal.  Not three hours after my National Dog Day post went live and I publicly admitted that Max was my favorite, Max began to show signs of illness.


He didn't want his breakfast.  Not wanting breakfast was HUGE.  Max took meal times Very seriously.  If someone made the mistake of getting in his way, he'd knock them down to get to his food bowl.  If you were bending over too slowly to place his full bowl on the floor, he'd grab the bowl out of your hand.  Max liked to eat.


But after adding a little hot water gravy, he ate.  He ate with enthusiasm, although he did take the time to chew rather than his normal one-giant-inhalation gobble.  He seemed fairly okay so I went to work.


Within twenty four hours of wanting gravy on his food, three golf ball sized lumps had appeared on  his throat/neck, he'd gone totally blind and one leg wasn't working quite right. We had to carry him up and down the stairs and in and out of the house.  He was still eating though - as long as we put 'gravy' on his food and placed the bowl in front of him and he wasn't having accidents in the house.


I talked to the vet and she felt that he was 'stable' and she changed his Well Check appointment he had coming up in a few days to a Quality of Life Discussion appointment.  I cried.  A lot.


For the next few days, Max held his own.  The family made sure someone was with him at all times, I slept downstairs on the sofa with him at night so he wasn't alone. We placed his water bowl and food bowl in front of him and he ate and drank.  We picked the big lunk up and carried him outside where he'd wander around the yard, bumping into trees.


The morning of his vet appointment, he was able to find his water bowl without help.  I had high hopes.  Maybe my husband's theory that he had a sore throat & just needed antibiotics was actually correct.  Maybe his blindness wasn't the end and he'd be okay.  Maybe his restlessness the previous night was him wanting to get back to his old, mobile self and not signs that he was starting to feel pain.  Maybe, just maybe, he'd be okay.



Sadly, that was not the case.  On August 31, 2017, Max took his final car ride.  The diagnosis was lymphoma and the vet was able to feel 18 tumors.  The tumors were everywhere. Head, neck, chest, belly, legs.  Everywhere. One in his head had caused so much pressure, the blood vessels in his eyes had ruptured causing his blindness.  It was time to do the unthinkable.


My heart is broken and I miss him more than I thought possible.  But I'm also confident that he's in a better place. A pain-free place with an unlimited supply of pizza and donuts, and he can actually catch the neighbor's cat every once in a while.


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Read a book

Boy am I glad to put August behind me.  It was quite a month.  More about that later, but for now....

Happy Read A Book Day!

To be honest, I celebrated yesterday.  The morning's weather was just too perfect not to sit on the deck with my coffee, knitting and a good book.  But who am I kidding?  I'll celebrate again today as well. Today, it's cool and rainy.  A different type of perfect day to spend reading and knitting.

hand knit acrylic yarn hat. Knit while reading Harry Potter.
Pink Hat

I'm re-reading Harry Potter.  It's been slow going because I don't dare pick it up for bed-time reading because it's just too good to put down and bed-time reading is about all I've had time for lately.

Harry Potter isn't in the photo because I'm reading it on my Kindle and the fingerprint smeared screen doesn't exactly make for exciting photography.

Okay, that shocking pink hat doesn't photograph well either.  But that's what it is.  A hemmed brimmed hat, most likely headed for my Etsy shop when it's done.  It looks much better in real life than it does in the photo.

Linen drawstring storage bag from Knit Picks  http://shrsl.com/jrwy
Secret Garden Project Bag

The Secret Garden project bag the hat is laying on is Adorable with a capital A!  I just love the cranes & kitty cats sprinkled throughout the flowers.  The rest of the bag is so cute, I'm not even bothered by the little garden snake.  I had to have it the minute I saw it.  Just HAD to!

linen travel bag great for protecting shoes, accessories, cosmetics or toiletries
Secret Garden Project Bag from Knit Picks

And look - the bag even came with a stitch marker attached.

So..... all that to say, I hope you're enjoying reading a good book today.  If you aren't, then I hope you are accomplishing something important.  Besides being Read A Book Day, it's also Fight Procrastination Day.  Who comes up with these things and what kind of sadist monster decided they should be on the same day?

I have to admit, I cheated.  I planned ahead and today's to-do list simply says, "Relax and read a book."  I'm rocking both holidays.

To see what others are reading today, join me over at As Kat Knits' Unraveled Wednesday.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

National Dog Day

It's National Dog Day, a day to celebrate and acknowledge the importance of the dogs in our lives.  I'd be lost without my fur-ball, four-legged children.

A Great Pyrenees Irish Setter mix rescue dog
Max


A Fox Hound Labrador mix breed rescue dog
Minnie
 And because he knows he's the favorite,

I love my Great Pyrenees

Sunday, August 6, 2017

National Sister's Day

It's National Sister's Day and I'm shouting out to the best sister a girl could have.

The best sister, helping me move into my first college dorm at Radford University in 1980.

She may be ten years older and growing up, was frequently more like a mom than a sister, but she's the best!  Thanks for always being there for me, Cary.  Thank you for never killing me for playing in your makeup, thank you for allowing me to tag along on a few of your dates, and thank you for introducing me to 'real' music such as the Stones, Three Dog Night and Crosby, Stills & Nash long before my peers were tuning in.  You helped shape my life in ways you'll never know.

The scary part of this holiday is, how is it possible that the most recent photo I have of the two of us together is from the fall of 1980 when I went off to college? And why was I taking all those plants with me?



Friday, August 4, 2017

The things we do for love

So, Sarah announced she wanted me to knit her a blanket.  A big, soft, cuddly blanket.  I was pretty excited because she rarely asks me to knit for her.

knitting a blanket with yellow and orange chevron stripes
Spice Cake Caron Cakes yarn

She happened to go to Michael's with me later that afternoon and latched on to this very orange Caron Cakes yarn.  Luckily it was on the half-priced clearance rack because I'm probably going to burn my retinas which will require a trip to the eye doctor by the time I finish knitting the blanket.

Now, if she'd only choose a pattern.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

It's been how long?

Good grief! I knew it had been a while since I'd taken part in #craftingon Tuesdays at Frontier Dreams or #untangled Wednesdays over at As Kat Knits but....  Good grief!  Apparently, I never participated during the whole month of July!  And here it is, August!  Good grief!

What's even more amazing than how long it's been is my lack of knitting during that length of time.

Simple lace scarf hand knit with Stroll Gradient from Knit Picks
Rocket Ship

 I've barely made any progress on my Rocket Ship scarf, but at least I have made it into the gray section.  That feels like a big step forward.


I made a friend while knitting on the deck. We've had the strangest bugs this summer.  I think it's probably because they cleared the lot next to us & have started building a house.  When they cut the trees down, all the bugs relocated to our yard.

As for reading, I'm almost finished Dangerous Behavior by Nancy Bush.  I'm enjoying it much more than I thought I would.

I only have five more weeks of the summer work schedule to get through then I can get back to my normal life of obsessively reading and knitting.  Although I am suffering from a massive case of fall fever, I haven't begun having the 'Will this season EVER end??" thoughts yet.  Honestly, I'm a little freaked out at how few paychecks there are left to come.  Have you seen the new Hawthorne Tonal yarns from Knit Picks? Let's just say, I was a bad, bad girl.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Lost

Did you think I'd gotten lost?

I've been MIA from the blog for a few weeks and I certainly felt lost. My days off are the only time I have for blogging.  On work days, I only have an hour of non-showering awake time so basically all I get done is a quick peek at the most important emails, packaging any Etsy shop orders, and a quick raid of the refrigerator.  So, what have I been doing with my day off time since I last posted?

First day off - spent at the vet's.  Always an adventure.

Second day off - spent at the Ear, Nose & Throat doctor's office.  Yeah, the sinus infection continues.  Except I think it may be beaten into submission this time. The ENT doc decided to give me one more round of even stronger antibiotics & steroids before sending me off to get a CAT scan.  I still have a few more days of meds to take and I haven't had any symptoms in a couple of days so I'm hopeful.

Third day off - spent buying a computer.  Finally!  It killed me to spend the money because my trusty MacBook had served me well for 12 years.  Twelve years!  Other than having to keep it plugged in because the battery no longer worked, there was nothing wrong with it.  Well, nothing but the  outdated operating system.  What worked worked fine, but it was so outdated most sites wouldn't allow me to make online purchases, Twitter had stopped showing me pictures and I was frequently unable to open video links.  It was time to bite the bullet and buy a new laptop.  It happened to be Amazon Prime day and my local Best Buy price matched and gave me a screaming deal on a new  Windows computer.  I know.  Windows.  Something I swore I'd never go back to, but a new Mac just wasn't in the budget.

I spent what little time I had at home over the next week cursing the new computer.  You probably heard me screaming at it all the way over at your house.

Fourth day off - spent back at Best Buy telling them what a piece of $^$#$$^& their computer was.  Turns out, there was actually something wrong with it and it wasn't just computer challenged me trying to convert to Windows after using a Mac for 12 years.  Thankfully Best Buy was great about allowing me to exchange the broken computer and they even gave me another screaming deal on an even better one.  A much fancier one that actually works.  Or at least it will when I figure out how to deal with Windows.

garter stitch shawl knit with 14 shades of Palette from Knit Picks
Ocean Stripes

So, all that to say, I haven't gotten much knitting done over the last few weeks.  It's hard to knit while trying to tug two large, unwilling dogs into the vet's office, or while doctors are poking things up your nose, or while throwing temper tantrums in Best Buy.  But I did manage to add a few rows to my Ocean Stripes shawl while I waited for the broken computer to restart itself over and over and over again.

And hey - look at that!  I found the file that contains my pictures.  That's more than I knew how to do yesterday.  Progress.  Slow, slow progress.  Now, if I could only figure out how to edit the photos once I find them.  Guess I know what I'll be doing on my next day off.



Friday, July 14, 2017

Eleven

Because of my summer work schedule, my knitting is progressing at a snail's pace.  A snail with a broken leg's pace, actually.

I usually participate in As Kat Knits' Unraveled Wednesday link up where everyone talks about what they are reading and creating, but these days, I'm feel pretty proud of myself if I read my email each day.

So, between not knitting and not reading, what am I supposed to talk about here on the blog?  I decided I'd tell you about a few of my all time favorite books that have shaped my life and made me the quirky, timid, scaredy-cat, twisted, neurotic, thrill seeker that I am.





Nancy Drew:  As a child, I owned and read every single Nancy Drew book there was.  Many of 'my' books were actually my older sister's.  They were all hard bound, had yellow covers and in some cases, yellowed pages. Miss Drew taught me to love a good mystery.

The Outsiders and That Was Then, This is Now, by S. E. Hinton began my love affair with bad boys.  As a pre & young teen, I must have read those books 100 times.

Jaws, by Peter Benchley:  As a child, I spent my summers on a large river, not far from the bay. I probably swam with a shark or two without ever knowing it.  As a teen with a day job, I spent many a summer evening water skiing in the dark.  As a young adult, I experienced the thrill of having dolphins surround me and literally push me back to shore while a shark swam just a few yards further out.  It was only natural that Jaws should become a favorite novel and that I should reread it almost every single summer for the next 30+  years.  As a mystery loving, thrill seeking, slightly rebellious gal, there couldn't have been a better book for me to add a little horror into my life.

The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights, by John Steinbeck:  I was introduced to this book by a much older friend, Brenda.  I was in the early years of  high school and she was in college and she lent me her copy.  I was hesitant at first, I mean, come on!  Read John Steinbeck, for fun?  His work was on my assigned reading list for goodness sake.  But read it, I did and after only a few pages, I fell in love with Arthurian legend, knights, and men in chain mail & leather in general.  Have I mentioned my 'thing' for bad boys?

Desperation, by Stephen King:  While I'd read Carrie & Salem's Lot, and enjoyed them, Cujo was the first of Stephen King's books that made me go in search for other books written by Mr. King.  Over the years, I've read, and enjoyed (if you can call being terrified enjoyment) just about every single one of his books, but Desperation is the one that stands out in my mind as the most terrifying.  Thanks to Mr. King, I am now gut wrenching, heart-stopping afraid of spiders and you can not convince me that every spider in existence is not a brown recluse.  Thanks to Mr. King, over the years I have become afraid of my mom's washing machine, fruit pie (I always thought it was cherry pie but Wikipedia tells me it was strawberry,) rabid animals, clowns and a whole bunch of other things, but nothing and I mean Nothing terrifies me like spiders.

Maiden Voyage, by Tania Aebi:  This is the story of the youngest female to ever sail around the world alone.  I picked the book up for 25 cents at a yard sale and I have to say, it was the best deal I've ever made.  This is another book that I have re-read a zillion times. I dream of adventures at sea and of simply stepping onto a sailboat and sailing off into the sunset.

The Shell Seekers, by Rosamunde Pilcher:  This book was recommended by a long-ago boss.  Actually, she didn't just recommend the book.  It was more like she forced me to read it.  I thought it sounded incredibly boring but once I gave in, picked up the book and read a few pages, I was hooked.  It turned out to be one of those books where as I read the last sentence on the last page, I instantly wanted to go back to page one and read it again.  This book is another on my 'read every summer' list.

Deep End of the Ocean, by Jacquelyn Mitchard:  This book.  Oh My Gosh!  Although it makes my top 5 favorite books of all time, I had THE hardest time reading it.  It was so emotional, I could only read a page at a time. I only read this book the one time but the horror of the story will be forever burned into my brain.

A Series of Unfortunate Events:  My kids got me interested in this series.  I was a little concerned when they began reading the books.  They were so young and so innocent and the books seemed so dark....  But they were reading (even the boy child was willingly reading!) so....  At some point, the kids checked out the first book on tape and we listened to it in the car.  We spent a lot of time in the car back then and it didn't take me long to fall in love with the series.  The three of us listened to and/or read just about every book in the series and it about broke my heart when the kids wanted to donate their copies to Virginia Homeschooler's book sale.

Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling:  This another one of those books/series where I was so surprised to find that the book(s) actually stood up to all the hype.  And again, the kids introduced me to the series.  The kids read the first several books to themselves but I quickly grew impatient waiting for them to finish their copies so that I could borrow them.  The last two books became re-alouds.  I will never forget trying to get through the final chapters of Deathly Hollows.  I'll never forget, sitting on the sofa in the living room with the kids snuggled up on each side of me, my husband cooking breakfast in the kitchen (not sure why that is such a strong part of the memory but I can still smell the bacon cooking) and me struggling to read through the tears.

The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood:  Mr. King may have given me an odd fear of washing machines & spiders but this book.... Wow.  As a woman who would be lost without her debit card, this book is THE most terrifying thing imaginable.  Orwell's 1984 was a scary look at our possible future, but this, The Handmaid's Tale....  I get chills just thinking about it.

So that's it, my  top eleven favorite books/series of all time.  It's been quite a while since I've enjoyed a book well enough to add it to the list.  If you have an all time favorite you think I should read, please, let me know.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Ocean Stripes

So, I've been calling this one Ocean Stripes.

Garter stitch shawl knit with Palette from Knit Picks
Ocean Stripes

The colors remind me of swimming in the warm waters of the Gulf.

It's a work in progress.  I hope it to be shawl depth but we'll see how the yarn holds out.  I should have plenty.
shawl scarf knit with 14 skeins of Palette from Knit Picks
14 shades of Palette


The shawl is super simple to knit but not very portable.  It's all garter stitch with built-in fringe.  The fringe may get cut off to make way for a knitted border on each end.  We'll see how it goes.

As for the stripes, I ordered 14 colors of Palette from Knit Picks.  I simply used their paper catalog & went down the list of greens.  As for the knitting, I have two buckets and I take a skein out of one bucket, knit a row, cut the yarn & toss it into bucket #2.  When Bucket #1 is empty, I 'stir' the yarns around in bucket #2 and reverse the process.  I try very, very hard to blindly grab a skein each time & to not choose a favorite color or one I think would look good next to the previous.  The idea is for the stripes to be completely random.

Frixion Erasable Highlighters

Meanwhile, my Frixion erasable highlighters finally arrived.  It took almost two months for the highlighters to arrive from Japan.  Waiting for them has been killing me!  About three weeks after ordering them, I discovered that Michaels had started selling them.  I was a good girl though and waited, somewhat patiently, for my overseas order.  I'm glad I waited.  The colors are gorgeous!  Just look at that pastel aqua.  My erasable highlighters coordinate with my knitting!  And they actually erase!!  How cool is that?