Friday, March 22, 2019

On The Needles - Madli's Shawl

Did you celebrate Pi Day on March 14th?

Celebrating Pi Day by casting on a pi shawl with Malabrigo lace weight yarn.
The start of a pi shawl

I celebrated by starting a pi shawl.  Several years ago I got the urge to knit a beaded pi shawl.  I even bought the yarn and beads for it.  Bright, pumpkin orange yarn.  Actually, it's Malabrigo lace weight in Glazed Carrot, not pumpkin.  And then I thought about the reality of a bright pumpkin/Glazed Carrot, beaded pi shawl.... and I set the yarn up on a shelf.  

Sometime last year, still thinking about a pi shawl, I took the yarn down off the shelf and balled one skein.  And then I  thought about the reality of a bright pumpkin/Glazed Carrot, beaded pi shawl and put the yarn back up on the shelf.

Then Pi Day rolled around this year and I'd finished the beaded cowl late the night before... and I couldn't stand it anymore.  I cast on for a bright pumpkin/Glazed Carrot, beaded pi shawl.  And I screwed up the cast on and ripped it.  And cast on again, and screwed it up and ripped it. Again and again I cast on and ripped.  It took me six tries to get the knitting going properly on the dpns.  Six tries!  It was an omen and I should have known.

I knit around and around, following some lacy pi shawl pattern I'd found on Ravelry.  I knit and knit some more and finally it was time to switch to circular needles.  

And then all Hell broke loose.  I have no idea how it happened or what I did but...  It looked like somehow, in the process of knitting off the dpns and onto circular needles, I yarn overed 50 - 60 times, very, very tightly.  The weird yarn overs were so tight they would barely move along the needle's cord and there was no way they'd slide up onto the actual needle.  I pulled and tugged and thought I was going to break the needle but those weird yarn overs wouldn't budge.  I ended up having to cut the knitting off the needle.  I still don't even know how or what I did to mess it up so badly.

And in my frustration, I ditched the pi shawl idea and started knitting a lacy stole type shawl that will be worn as a scarf, not a shawl.  The pattern is Madli's Shawl published in Knitted Lace of Estonia.  And I love it!

I'm knitting a beaded, estonian lace shawl with Malabrigo lace weight yarn.  I'm replacing the knups with beads.
Madli's Shawl

I'm a little further along on the knitting than what's shown in this photo and I'm so happy I gave up the pi shawl idea.  While beads and bright pumpkin/Glazed Carrot yarn may not make for traditional Estonian knitting, I'm loving the result.  And yes, I'm beading instead of knitting knups.  Y'all know how I feel about knups.  Thankfully there are only two out of each twelve rows that are beaded.  It's not as time consuming as it sounds.

Now, let's see how I feel about this shawl design after I've knit thirty one, twelve-row pattern repeats.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Three on Thursday - Summer Tops

It's Thursday so you know what that means.  

Three summer tops I'd like to knit. 

I don't know why I suddenly have such a strong desire to knit myself a summer top.  I spend about 94% of the summer in my work uniform and if I'm not at work, I'm either asleep or at Walmart.  It's also extremely hot and humid during the summers here in Virginia.  The idea of wearing anything heavier than a cotton t-shirt is just... unthinkable.  But despite all that, I have the urge to knit myself a summer top so of course I went Ravelry browsing.

Easy to knit simple summer top with lace panels on the shoulders and sides.
Novel-T

This is Novel-T designed by Laura Nelkin.  I love this top's simple lines and the strip of lace running under the arms and across the shoulders.


This simple summer top can be knit from a cropped top to a full length dress.
Sleeveless Slipover

This one is Sleeveless Slipover from Churchmouse Yarns.  The design seems so basic and not all that interesting but....  The pattern is written so that you can knit any length from a cropped top to a full length dress.  I just love that!  I also love that you could wear it with or without the shirt underneath.  It may be a simple looking top, but this versatile design could be worn all year long.  It's also a design I could easily see myself wearing.

This knitted summer top is plain in the front and fancy in the back.
Davit

And Davit, designed by Amy Palmer.  Although the shaping wouldn't look great on me, this one is my favorite of the three.  I just love the simple front and that crossed back.  Absolutely love it!  It might not look all that great on me, but I bet it would be terrific on my daughter.

Now the hard part.  Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Join me over at Carol's to see others' Three on Thursday posts.


Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Jeweled Cowl

Life has been pretty good lately.  

A simple, knitted beaded lace cowl.
Jeweled Cowl

I never thought I'd call a trip to the dentist a 'good thing' but I took their recommendation to do no hard physical activity for a couple of days to heart.  I sat, re-binge watched True Blood and knit bead after bead onto my Jeweled Cowl until I ran low on yarn.

I enjoyed knitting this beaded lace cowl.
Jeweled Cowl

I only knit 46 rows of beads instead of the 51 stated in the pattern.  I'm happy with the depth of the cowl though so ....  But I'm not exactly happy with the circumference of it.  It needed to be an inch or two longer.  In order to twist it around my neck twice, I have to remove my eye glasses and it's like wearing a uncomfortably tight turtle neck.  At this point, I'm not sure if I'll keep it and wear it long or find some skinny, small headed person to give it to.

The pond in stormy weather.

Another good thing -  we had some very warm, dry days last week and I was finally able to take a walk around the neighborhood.  I walked down to the pond and am happy to report that all the ice had melted and there were even mosquitoes buzzing around the water's edge.  Okay, I'm not so happy about the mosquitoes but they are a sign of spring.  I'm also happy I got the walk in when I did.  It felt 'tornado-y' and the weather quickly tanked not long after returning home.

Sign of spring.

Another sign of spring - our lone daffodil has sprouted leaves.

As for my book progress....  Well, I obviously spent more time binge watching True Blood than reading.  I'm still reading Disturb Not the Dream and I started reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  Yeah, I'm a little slow on that one.  I'm probably the last person on the planet to read it.  


Monday, March 18, 2019

52 Weeks - My Favorite Movies

Today's 52 Weeks Blog Challenge topic is my favorite movies.  All I can say is, you better grab some coffee and maybe a snack.  The list is long.

In no particular order:

Office Space
Catch and Release
Breakfast Club
10 Things I Hate About You
Undiscovered
King Arthur  (the one with Clive Owen)
The Sound of Music
Elizabethtown
Terminator 3
Alien 2
The Cutting Edge 
Leap Year
My Fake Fiance
Miss Congeniality
Almost Famous
Rocky Horror Picture Show
The Bodyguard (the one with Whitney Houston & Kevin Costner)
Saved
A Knight's Tale
The Perfect Storm

So, yeah.  I have a thing for sarcasm and romance.  And apparently, movies from the '80's.

What about you?  Are any of your favorites on my list?


Sunday, March 17, 2019

Sunday Supper - Cabbage Lasagna

First, Happy St. Patrick's Day!

photo courtesy of web.mta.info
photo courtesy of web.mta.info

Although I've got some Irish blood, we won't be celebrating the day with traditional Irish foods because someone forgot to grocery shop.  

Well, okay, okay.  Maybe that someone was just too busy knitting and didn't want to grocery shop. 

Whatever.  We won't be having corned beef and cabbage tonight.  But we do have a head of cabbage in the refrigerator and I have been trying to cut back on the carbs lately so....

Easy, low carb recipe for lasagna made with cabbage instead of pasta
cabbage lasagna, photo courtesy of www.delish.com

Cabbage lasagna.  But shhh....  don't tell the family.  Based on how last week's carrot fries went over, I don't think anyone besides me is going to be excited about lasagna made with cabbage.  I have high hopes though.  Cabbage has become a staple in my diet (mine, not theirs) and everyone loves meaty tomato sauce so...  I'm excited to try it.

If you'd like to take a chance, you can find the recipe here.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Off the needles

First, let me just say thank you all for your kindness over the last few posts.  I've enjoyed reading about your bat stories and although sorry for you, I'm glad to know I'm not alone in dental woes.  And now, on with today's post...

In all the hoopla of last week, I forgot mention -

Simple Yet Effective cowl

I finished the Simple Yet Effective cowl knit with Winter's Candy Cane.

Large version of Simple Yet Effective

I didn't think about it while I was knitting it and you can't see it in either of these photos but the design is reversible.

It truly was a simple cowl to knit.  The only difficulty I had with the whole project was typing the name.  Every time, as in Every Single Time, I've tried to type "Yet," I've accidentally typed "Etsy"  I guess it just goes to show how much effect muscle memory has on my life.  But, if you don't have an Etsy shop and/or  you don't plan to type the cowl's name repeatedly in blog posts or on social media, I'd say give the pattern a try.  It's very simple, knits up quickly and it's free on Ravelry.

I can't wait for Christmas so that I can wear it.  Not that I'm rushing the season or anything...

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Three on Thursday

Well, you might want to skip reading today's Three on Thursday post.  It's mostly me whining and throwing myself a giant pity party.  And it gets a little graphic.  But, if you ever find yourself in my situation, I do have some helpful information.  Here goes:

1.  I went to the dentist to get x-rays and to make a plan.  Sadly, I'm having some issues and will be spending a lot of my summer in the chair.

A trip to the dentist

Instead of x-rays and a plan, I got one x-ray and a pulled tooth.

2.  I spent the remainder of the day (and most of the night) sucking on tea bags and binge watching True Blood.  It seemed appropriate.

Do you know about sucking on tea bags when you have a bloody mouth for what ever reason?  Soak a teabag (caffeinated green or black tea) in cold water then stick in your mouth over the bloody place.  The tannic acid helps stop bleeding.  Sounds crazy but it really does work.  And, if you get the right flavored tea, it tastes a lot better than bloody gauze.

What's the right flavored tea?  Definitely not Lipton's green tea.  Yuck-O!  I'll admit though - I'm not a fan of green tea to begin with so sucking on a green tea bag was just - Ick!  ICK!  Next I tried 'regular' Luzianne but all we had was Family Size bags and I couldn't begin to close my mouth around the giant bag.  I went to the pantry shelf full of "special" tea and most were either decaf, cinnamon or peppermint flavored (thought that might not be best for an open wound) or they'd expired five years ago.  (We rarely drink "special" tea, although I love the idea of it and buy it frequently.)  But there on the back of the shelf - Yes!  A tin of Barnes & Nobles' Autumn Orange.  Okay, so it was expired too, but only by a little bit.


By the way, expired Barnes & Nobles Autumn Orange bags taste pretty good.  Good enough to over power the blood taste.  And they stopped the bleeding eventually.  Yay!

3.  And  now I'm on the "cold and old" diet.  That's what I've named it.  For 24 hours after the bleeding stopped, I can only have cold foods.  Cold, unlumpy, soft foods.  

So now I'm drinking yesterday's left over cold coffee.  You know you're a coffee addict when the dentist tells you cold foods only and your Very first thought is, "But what about my coffee?"

And did you know that there are no cold, non-lumpy soft foods that aren't pure sugar?  Apple sauce, ice cream, pudding and jello.  Ugh!   I mean, ice cream is Yay!  But even ice cream gets old if it's all you eat over a 48 hour window.

Because at work, never fail, as soon as I heat my food, some crisis happens and I end up eating my food cold an hour later.  It never fails!  But, it has taught me that I like cold cauliflower smashed up like mashed potatoes.  And today I discovered cold scrambled eggs with a tiny dollop of mayonnaise to hide the cold egg flavor isn't bad.  

So yeah, I'm calling it my "cold and old" diet.   But it's okay.  the diet is working!  I've already lost three pounds and tomorrow I get to eat warm soup.  But for now, I think I'll go finish off the ice cream.


Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Bats in the Bellfry

I had a different topic planned for today, but life was just too strange to ignore.

So, while at work Sunday afternoon, I received a panicked text from my daughter that there was a black widow spider in the house.  I laughed it off because well, she does share my DNA.  It stands to reason that she too would believe that all black spiders are black widows and all brown spiders are brown recluses.  They are!  I'm sure of it!

Thankfully my husband arrived home before I did and took care of the spider situation because.... It really was a black widow!  A rather large one!  A big black widow spider in our house!  Hanging out, plain as day in the front entry area!  Yikes!

We (meaning Sarah & I) are a little jumpy now and flinching at every shadow.  But, we (meaning Mike) are doing a lot of painting inside the house, some of it near our front door and maybe the black widow came in on a tarp that had been stored out in the garage.  The idea isn't great, but it's better than believing we've been sharing the house with Mrs. Killer Spider for any length of time.

But then things got weirder.

Late that night, I'm hanging out in the living room reading a scary book (Disturb Not the Dream,) and suddenly hear my burly, tough-man husband screaming like a little girl.  

There was a bat flying around the bedroom.

What kind of zoo are we running here??

High fashion protective gear to wear while removing bats from inside the house.
Bat removal protective gear

And guess who had to get rid of it.  Yep, me.  (In good faith and to not totally emasculate my husband, I did already have shoes on.)  Good thing it wasn't my first bat rodeo and I had the proper protective gear.

As for the scary book, I read Disturb Not the Dream many, many years ago as a teenager.  It terrified me!  If memory serves, it was the first hardback book I ever bought for myself as an 'adult' and it still sits proudly on my favorite books book shelf.  The title recently showed up on my Amazon You Might Like This Book list and since I didn't remember anything about it at all other than shear terror, I decided to read it again.  I'm only a quarter of the way through it and haven't been terrified yet, but I am shocked at how brutal and violent it is.  I imagine the terror won't be too far into my future.

Diagonally knit, garter stitch blanket knit with miscellaneous skeins of Patons Kroy Sock yarn,
Kroy Sock blanket 

And to throw a little knitting into the story, I've been focused on re-knitting my Kroy Sock blanket instead of working on the beaded cowl.  I really, really want to finish the cowl but I can't read and bead at the same time.

Monday, March 11, 2019

52 Weeks Challenge - In Ten Years...

Today's 52 Weeks Challenge is "Ten years from now..." and it shouldn't be a hard post to write.  For the first time ever, for my 2019 non-resolutions (I usually set annual goals but never call them resolutions) I made myself a "lifetime" vision board.  Basically, it's where I want to be in ten years.  In ten years I'll be at retirement age and hopefully pretty much settled into the life I will lead up until I'm so riddled with Alzheimer's I no longer know who I am.

Being my first-ever vision board, it's fairly basic, but I'm happy with it.  It represents what I want out of life.  And what I want is:


To be living debt free on a body of water.  If I had my preference, it would be a tidal river, but I'll take a very large pond.  It needs to be water that's swimable and canoe or kayakable.  But again, I'd prefer a nice tidal river that's motor and sailboat navigable.  But that debt free part of the description is important too so... I may have to settle for a pond.


We'll have a nice garden full of flowers and vegetables.  I'm not sure how this will happen seeing as though I am Not a gardener.  I can't even grow weeds and the moment I start to sweat or see a bug I head back indoors but...  A nice garden I will have.  


The house will be casually, but nicely decorated.  And clean.  And full of family and friends.  We'll get back into the habit of having Friday Night Suppers where friends, family & neighbors just show up and gather for an evening of good food and conversation. 


We will have a well trained dog.  Or two.  Or even five.  Well, maybe not five seeing as though our number one goal is to be debt free.


Mike and I will be healthy and lead an active lifestyle.


When I'm not swimming, sailing or paddling in our water, I will spend my days sitting on the porch, watching the water while writing


 and/or knitting. And the knitting may even earn me a bit of income.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Sunday Supper

If I can get my husband to agree to it, or perhaps despite him, I plan to make carrot fries tonight.  I enjoy roasted asparagus in place of french fries, so why not roasted carrots?  After all, we are trying to eat healthier and I do need to fit into my work uniform soon.  

photo and recipe courtesy of www.tasteofhome.com
photo and recipe courtesy of www.tasteofhome.com

Carrot Fries

Carrots
olive oil
salt
pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Peel and slice the carrots into french fry shaped sticks.  Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Spread the carrot sticks out on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.  Flip the carrots over and bake an additional 10 minutes or until the sticks are tender and slightly crunchy.

And to go with our carrot fries, we'll have burgers on the grill to celebrate the start of Day Light Savings.  It's tradition.




Friday, March 8, 2019

On the needles

Thankfully life has settled back down and there's been no craziness for the last few days.  Thank you all for your kindness and cheerful comments on yesterday's post.  I was hesitant to put part of that post out into the world but since it all turned out okay in the end, and it was horribly and nerve-wrackingly funny in that 'how screwed up can my life be?' way, I thought, oh why not?

Anyway...

I am VERY slowly re-knitting the portion of blanket that I had to cut off the other day.  With 16+ inches needing to be removed, cutting it was a much easier route to take than frogging it would have been.  I'd hoped to have the blanket finished by the end of the month, although I didn't really expect that to happen.  Mid April would have been a much more realistic goal.  Now, that goal is more like mid November.  I'll be going back to work soon so less time to knit plus, the blanket will simply be too hot to knit on during the summer.

Knitting a simple yet elegant beaded lace cowl.
Larry the Lama modeling Jeweled Cowl

Besides very slowly re-knitting the blanket, I've been working on the beaded cowl.  Now that I've had a chance to refresh the beading muscle memory, it's knitting up a little faster.  The goal is to have it finished by the end of the month.  The cowl is supposed to have 51 rows of beads and I've completed sixteen rows.  So, finishing by the end of the month should be completely doable.  Knock on wood.

I'm also quite pleased with the beads on this version.  I'm so glad I frogged the first attempt and tried again with different beads.  These beads are perfect.  

10 things I hate about you
photo courtesy of tenor.com

They show up enough be understatedly blingy, without being all Look at me!  Look at me!

Thursday, March 7, 2019

NO! NO! NO!

I had an emotionally Epic sh*t storm of a day the other day.  I try not to curse here on the blog but .... The things that spewed out of my mouth....  

So let me try to explain my day, in three steps since it is Three on Thursday.

1.  I'd had one of those nights where I just couldn't calm my brain and it was after 6:30 a.m. when I finally went to bed.  Around 9:00 a.m., I hear my husband stomping down the hallway and into the bedroom where he begins to shout at me to get up.  Our son is in jail.  

What??  Jail?  WHAT??  No! NO!! No!  *^$;%$^&@#* Dammit!  While I'm not normally verbal in the morning, the language started spewing.   

My baby!  My little baby boy (my little baby who happens to be in  his mid 20's) in jail!  No! NO!! No!  *^$;%$^&@#* Dammit!

So Mike starts explaining how an elderly family member with some memory problems, who will go unnamed to protect the innocent, had called Mike to report that Zack had called them from jail.  He'd been drinking, got in wreck, gotten arrested, thrown in jail and needed bail.  But they didn't know which jail.  

So, right there, we should have known something wasn't right with the story but when you're told your kid is in jail for something so *^$;%$^&@#* stupid, you tend to react rather than think.

So while I tossed on some clothes and brushed my teeth, Mike began searching online trying to figure out what jail Zack was in.  Apparently there's a website.  You have to search by individual jail, but you can check to find out if your child, who is in SO much *^$;%$^&@#* trouble, is there.  We couldn't find him.  He could have been anywhere when he wrecked.  He travels a lot for bowling tournaments and general fun, boy adventures.  Who knew where he was?

So while we were frantically searching jails, we were also thinking about what Zack's, and our, future might look like.  I hate to admit that we were thinking about finances in that situation but....  Was Zack hurt?  What kind of medical bills would he be facing?  Was Zack driving his old, beat up truck or his girlfriend's new car?  Was the girlfriend with him?  Was she injured?  Who'd he hit?  How badly were they hurt?  Did he hit another car or just a ditch/tree....?  What legal fees for the DUI would he face....   All of that was running through our heads while we searched, along with visions of Zack's sweet face bruised and bloodied.  Not to mention the thoughts of how tightly I'd hug him once we found him.  And how as soon as I'd hugged him, I was going to stab him in the eye with my knitting needle for doing something so stupid as drinking and driving.  This total panic went on for almost three hours while we searched and searched. 

And then we got the brilliant idea to call his cell phone.  

And Zack answered.  After a few weird moments of "You got something you want to tell us boy?" and "I don't think so." responses, and Zack starting to freak out a little bit about what the hell we were talking about and us realizing that he was okay... and at work, not jail... We realized that the dear family member had simply been confused and the entire story was made up. Made up!   Zack was not and had never been in jail.

Oh. My. God!  The day will be forever known as The Day Zack Did Not Go to Jail.  I still get a little shaky just thinking about it.

2.  So after that fun and exciting way of waking up after only 2 1/2 hours of sleep.... I decided to calm my nerves with a little knitting.  I've been knitting another diagonally striped, queen sized bed blanket out of Kroy sock yarn.  I don't think I've mentioned it here on the blog yet, but I've been working on it here and there since before Christmas.  

I started wondering if it was anywhere close to long enough and laid it out on the bed to check.  

And I immediately had another curse fest.  No! NO!! No!  *^$;%$^&@#* Dammit!

Have you ever knit a diagonally striped blanket, or any kind of rectangle?  You know how once you get the width you want, you have to start decreasing on one side while continuing to increase on the other to get the rectangle shape?  Well, I hadn't done that.  I'd simply stopped doing any shaping at all.  No!  NO!! No!  *^$;%$^&@#* Dammit!

Sixteen inches of fabric removed from my Kroy blanket.

I took the scissors to it, cut off about sixteen inches of knitting, sixteen inches of fingering weight garter stitch, and cursed.  And tried not to cry.  And slowly and painfully picked up all the loose stitches and started knitting again.  Apparently, I created my own sock blank.

3.  Having a total pity party melt down, I texted my husband and told him to bring home comfort food.  He brought frozen pizza and a chocolate pie.  We ate three quarters of that pie ourselves.

No! No! No!  I have to fit into my work uniform soon.  *^$;%$^&@#* Dammit!

Monday, March 4, 2019

The Jeweled Cowl

This post contains affiliate links.  Please see my About page for details.

I'm going to be a beading expert when I finish knitting my latest project.

Knitting a beaded cowl with Knit Picks Preciosa yarn. https://shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=751588&u=1446317&m=59159&urllink=&afftrack=
blue & green sea glass beads

I'm knitting a Jeweled Cowl.  I started it, using blue & green sea glass beads I had in my bead stash.  I couldn't decide what beads to use and I'd asked my Wednesday night knitting group for help with the decision.  Everyone agreed with the sea glass but.... Turns out, they were a poor choice.  They completely disappeared into the yarn.  I frogged that version and started over.

Knitting with Preciosa fingering tonal merino. https://shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=751588&u=1446317&m=59159&urllink=&afftrack=
Retro Blue beads on Preciosa

This time, I'm using "Retro Blue" with a few other slightly more sparkly beads thrown into the mix.  Although there isn't that much difference in the photos, there is a huge difference in real life and I'm much happier this go round.  Good thing because every other row is beaded.  There are only 14 beads per row, but with placing them every other row, it seems like I'm constantly putting on a bead.  

The yarn I'm using is Knit Pick's Preciosa and I'm loving it!  It's been in my stash long enough that I don't remember ordering it.  I absolutely Love the color and I've picked it up and thought about knitting with it 1,000 times, but I've always put it back in the drawer.  It's a single ply merino and my experience with single plies are that they tend to be splity (splitty?? One or two T's?? Spellcheck doesn't like either spelling.) and well, I've just never overly enjoyed knitting anything with single ply yarn.  But I had those sea glass beads and they looked so good with the skein and...  

And now I'm kicking myself for not knitting up this yarn sooner.  It's an absolute delight!   It is SO soft and not splity/splitty at all.  Even after frogging my first attempt and having to fight to get a few of the beads off, the yarn showed no wear at all.  I will definitely be ordering more of this yarn in other colors.

Drat!  But, Cool!  I just jumped over to the Knit Picks website to see what other colors the yarn comes in and... I see my skein of fingering weight Preciosa is so old, Knit Picks doesn't even sell it anymore.  They only have it in worsted now.  But that's cool because I was thinking I'd like to have a sweater knit out of this yarn and a worsted weight sweater would knit up a lot quicker than a fingering weight one.

Besides knitting, I'm also still on a reading kick.  So far, my Kindle is hanging in there although it looses 1% of it's battery life every six minutes.  That just means I need to read faster!
  
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37759106-the-king-tides
The King Tides

I'm currently reading The King Tides.  My Kindle is appreciating that it's a fast paced read.  I'm having a hard time putting it down.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Sunday Supper - Caribbean Chicken

I'm feeling particularly lazy so this week's Sunday Supper recipe is ridiculously quick and easy.  The recipe is written for use in an Instant Pot but it would be simple to adapt it for the stove top.  Enjoy!

Caribbean Chicken

1 bottle of sweet BBQ sauce
1 can pineapple chunks
3 - 5 chicken breasts
prepared rice

Pour half of the BBQ sauce into the Instant Pot.  
Add chicken.
Pour remaining BBQ sauce and pineapple with juices over chicken.
Cook high pressure for 11 minutes.  Natural release.

Serve over rice.

This is a family favorite of ours.  I like to add a splash of hot sauce to mine.  I also like to add green peas to mine but no one else in the family likes peas.


Thursday, February 28, 2019

Three on Thursday

It's Three on Thursday and I got nothing. Well, I have one thing, but other than that one thing, my mind is completely blank.  Hopefully as I type the one thing, a few other things will come to me.  Let's see...

1.  Hallelujah!  Today is February 28.  I am very, very joyful that today marks the end of the 28 Days of Joy challenge.  I can now return to my normal, grouchy self and sporadic blog posting.  I wonder who is more relieved to see the challenge end - me or you?

Honestly, the challenge wasn't that bad for me.  I've done a daily gratitude thing for years so commenting on something that brings me joy each day hasn't been difficult.   What has been difficult is coming up with a photo.  I'm not crazy about posts without photos and nine times out of ten, these Joy posts have been written at the very last minute.  And nine and a half times out of ten, my camera and/or phone have been out of battery.

2.  Speaking of batteries... and me being grouchy.... What's up with my Kindle?  It's battery/charge has always lasted a week or three, depending on how much reading I was doing.  All of a sudden, for the last four or five days, I'm having to charge it every single night.  I wake up and it's at 100% and I go to bed with it below 20%.  I have been reading more than usual, but not That much more!  I really, really hope my Kindle isn't dying.  I love my Kindle!

3.  What have I been reading on my Kindle you ask?  Smut.  I absolutely love reading romantic trash.  Comedic romantic trash all the better.  I've read the first three books in the Spotless series.  I read A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas and am dying to read the rest of the series.  I'm torn between paying for it on my Kindle or reading my daughter's hardback copy for free.  I'd much prefer to read it on my Kindle but... free is free so...  Since I despise making decisions, I next read Tagan's Child by Amelia Ford and will probably read the next book if not the whole series. While I enjoyed Tagan's Child, I'm not sure the plot line can support more than one, maybe two more books.  And I just started reading Repo Girl by Jane Fenton.  I'm only a few chapters in to it and I'm thoroughly enjoying it.  Repo Girl reminds me of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series, except the main character repossesses cars instead of bounty hunting.

So, look at that!  I came up with three things after all.  Am I good or what??

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Smells Like Meadow

Are you a Target shopper?  Have you tried any of their Smells Like... products?  I'm over the moon about the Smells Like Meadow scent.

I love the inexpensive Smells Like Meadow line of body care and cleaning products from Target.
Smells Like Meadow

I don't normally buy products like these because my face and body are SO sensitive to, well everything.  I can't use any hand lotions, soaps, body washes, shampoos... that have coconut, avocado or several other 'healthy' oils in them because they irritate my face.  I wash my hands, touch my face and the next day I wake up with red, blotchy swollen lumps all over my face.  And just about every cleaning product on the market with the exception of Pine-Sol (the plain kind in the big bottle, not the fancy spray things) and Pledge dusting spray either bother my ability to breathe properly or give me a bloody nose.   

But, my daughter loves LOVES smelly stuff.  She is always coming home with a new soap or cleaning product, or some kind of smelly laundry detergent.  She came home with some Smells Like Meadow hand soap, I loved the way it smelled, took the risk and tried it and... nothing!  No bad reaction! Joy oh joy!  

So Sarah gave me three bottles of it for Christmas.  

And then we discovered they had more than just hand soap.  And the rest is history. 

Yes, the stuff is pure chemical.  There is not a single natural ingredient in the products but I love them anyway.  I love the scent so much, I actually look forward to cleaning the bathrooms now!  And, my house and I both smell like a spring meadow.  Oh, and did I mention that none of them cost over $2.00?  Joy oh joy!!

knitting a Simple Yet Effective scarf or cowl with Winter's Candy Cane merino wool.
Simple Yet Effective scarf

As for my knitting, I've made a little progress on the Simple Yet Effective scarf.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

52 Weeks - Travel

This week's 52 Week Blog Challenge topic is the top five places I'd like to visit.  This was actually a hard post to write because I want to go everywhere!  Well, everywhere except the very few places I don't want to go.  But in broad strokes, I'd like to go to:

photo courtesy of wallpapercave.com

My maternal side of the family hales from Ireland and I would love to go for a visit.  It doesn't hurt that they have sheep.  And castles.  And did I mention the sheep?

photo courtesy of halatrip.com

And before they migrated to Ireland, they lived in Scotland.  Scotland, also known for sheep.  And if I happened to run into Jamie, all the better.

Mykonos, Greece

And ever since I first watched The Bourne Identity, I've wanted to visit Mykonos, Greece.  Or more specifically, that little shop Marie is running at the very end of the movie.

photo courtesy of pintrest.com

And I would love to stroll along the streets of Tuscany.

photo courtesy of wanderlust.co.uk

But most of all, I'd like to sail the world, stopping off at any and every place that strikes my fancy.

What about you?  Do you have the travel bug?  Where would you like to go?

Monday, February 25, 2019

So, this happened

So, this happened...

I started out with a sock.

The sock was too big so I frogged it.

A sock that was so big, I could have simply knit arm holes and worn it as a sweater.  I mean, look at that thing!  It's laying on an 8.5 x 11 notebook and the width of the sock practically covers it.  I don't know how I didn't notice its hugeness while I was knitting the leg.

Anyway, I ate a bowl of Cheetos and drank a glass of wine, (It's okay to have wine with antibiotics.  I looked it up!)  took a deep, calming breath and frogged it.

Simple Yet Effective infinity scarf or cowl. https://www.ravelry.com/projects/jeanniegrayknits/simple-yet-effective
Simple Yet Effective scarf

And now it looks like this.  It magically turned into a Simple Yet Effective scarf.

As much as I despise frogging gone-wrong projects, (I much prefer to curse them and toss them into the trash rather than suffer the pain of frogging.) I'm not really minding re-knitting this yarn.  It's wonderful to work with.  It's soft, it has great stitch definition and its Christmasy colorway is muted enough that it only whispers Christmas rather than yelling it at me.  It's fairly easy to pretend I'm knitting a rose garden instead of a Christmas candy cane.  Oh, I guess I failed to mention - the yarn's name is Winter's Candy Cane and it hails from Puff the Magic Rabbit.

 I don't know why there are so few projects on Ravelry using Puff the Magic Rabbit yarns.  Perhaps it is more of a hobby business.  I bought my skein from a fiber festival but I see that they do have an Etsy shop that's been in business since  2007.  Whatever, I wouldn't hesitate to knit future projects with their yarns.  This 100% superwash merino, particularly, is a joy to knit with.


Sunday, February 24, 2019

Sunday Supper

Today's Sunday Supper recipe may not sound like much but we scarfed them down so quickly, I never even had time to think about taking a photo.

Cornmeal Pancakes

1 1/3 cup flour
2/3 cup cornmeal
2 TBS sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup canola oil
Optional:  
5 - 6 slices very crispy & crumbled bacon
1/2 can of corn, drained

Mix the dry ingredients.
Whisk the wet ingredients in a separate bowl.
Combine everything and stir just until moistened.

Cook as you would a normal pancake.

I have no idea why, but out of the blue, I got a hankering for pancakes.  Except I don't like to eat pancakes because for some reason they destroy my blood sugar.  Twenty minutes later, I'm nauseous and shaky.  No matter what I eat afterwards, I sort of stay that way for the rest of the day.  But I suddenly wanted pancakes.  Badly!

So, what could I eat instead? Hmm....

I decided to try making cornmeal pancakes.  I don't know why I thought they would be any different, but I decided to try.  While I was searching Google for recipes, I decided I'd put corn in them to make them "healthy."  And while I was wondering if we had any canned corn, I suddenly thought.... Bacon!  Bacon would be really good crumbled up in my corncakes.

And so I took this recipe for the basic cornmeal pancakes and added the corn and bacon.  And YUM!  Yum and no weird, shaky blood sugar issues.  Yum and Yay!

And I think I could probably add some finely chopped spinach to the mix to make them extra healthy.  I should probably mention that I have no intention of putting syrup on these pancakes - only butter.  

I'm thinking spinach, corn & bacon corncakes would be a fairly healthy and portable meal to take to work this summer.  Well, portable for sure and healthier than the hot dogs and pizza sold at the employee cafe.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

JOY

What brings me joy?


Mercury glass vases with candles in them, bought with gift certificates.  Thank you Zack!


Friday, February 22, 2019

Cheetos and Wine

Phew! I'm almost done with these daily Joy posts.  Only six more to go.

But before we get to the joyful part, let me take a moment to say thank you for all the dental well wishes.  They meant so much to me.  And yes, I did get to see the dentist yesterday.  I got some nice antibiotics and will go back in a few weeks to decide what we'll do about my broken tooth.

But enough about icky dental stuff.

Let's talk Cheetos and wine.  My all time favorite food group.

Forget Pringles and wine.  Eat Cheetos and Our Dog Blue wine from Chateau Morrisette.  Yum!
Cheetos and Our Dog Blue wine

Everyone has been talking about Pringles and wine lately.  Honestly, I haven't tried Pringles and wine, but I have had Cheetos and Our Dog Blue wine and let me tell you - there just isn't anything better.  I mean, absolutely nothing better!  

Yes, even when my teeth hurt and I can't chew, I'll still figure out a way to eat Cheetos and wine.  

And yes, I do drink my wine out of a tumbler rather than a wine glass.  A tumbler is much less likely to get knocked over.  And not knocking my wine over onto my knitting is important.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Three on Thursday

Three Very random things for today's Three on Thursday:

1.  Remember me talking about receiving an Uncalendar?  I'm really loving it and have been much more productive since I started using it.  I'm not sure if that's because of the calendar itself or just the thrill of a new calendar.  Who cares!  I'm gettin' my stuff done! (Joy!) 

I haven't been using the project pages as much as I expected to.  I'm having that weird 'my new journal is too pretty to write in' experience with them.  I don't want to waste them on frivolous stuff.  But the weekly calendar.... I am LOVING the weekly pages!  The left hand page with all those empty boxes is just... Heaven!  I can not believe how handy those boxes are.

I knit another Burberry cowl with Berroco's Ginko silk/wool yarn.
Joy! Burberry Cowl #3

2.  I finished knitting another Burberry cowl.  I got kind of lazy and instead of kitchnering the two ends together, I bound them off together.  It left an obvious line of stitches... so I can't possibly give this one away.  Guess I'll just have to keep it for myself.  What a shame.  

3.  I'm throwing myself a bit of a pity party.  I have an abscessed tooth.  Or at least that's what I assume it is.  It's obviously something wrong.  I'm all swollen, achy and feel like I've been punched in the face.  Punched really, really hard.  And my teeth have this weird magnetic feel to them.  If my top teeth get too close to my bottom teeth, they sort of snap together like two magnets.  And when my teeth touch... OUCH!  It's like a lightening bolt in my mouth. 

Of course, it all started Friday night.  I was brave through the weekend, thinking I'd be able to get some kind of emergency appointment on Monday.  Except the dentist isn't open on Mondays.  On Tuesday when I called, the first appointment they could give me was Wednesday....  Except we had a snow and ice storm and the office was closed so I have to call them today to reschedule. I really, really hope they can fit me in quickly because my self pity parties are not pretty.


Wednesday, February 20, 2019

227,008

Finally!  It's only taken me five years to knit...

https://www.ravelry.com/projects/jeanniegrayknits/mitered-square-blanket
mitered square blanket

My mitered square blanket is finally finished.  Well, the knitting is finished.  The squares and the i-cord border are finished.  I'm jumping for joy!

The back of a mitered square blanket.
rear view

There's still the matter of the back of the blanket to deal with.  In case you can't see all the loose strings....


The whole back looks like that.  (Sorry it's so blurry.  My editing thing didn't appreciate doing such a huge cropping job.)

So, yeah.  Lots and lots and lots of loose ends to deal with.  Except I'm not going to deal with them.  Since many of the squares are not knit with superwash wool, meaning washing this beast could become a problem... I decided the easiest thing would be to simply cover up the loose strings with a nice piece of preshrunk fabric, which will hopefully help the blanket keep it's shape when I wash it.  One day soon I'll get to the fabric shop, then one day hopefully not long after that, I'll sew the fabric to the back of the blanket and then I'll be truly done.

And if you're interested in some truly horrifying numbers...

I started the blanket sometime in early April, 2014 meaning it has taken me almost exactly five years to knit it.  Not that I knit on it continuously, but it had been on the needles for five years.

The blanket ended up with 16 squares across and 24 down.  Each mitered square starts with 33 stitches and measures about 2.5 inches wide.  It was knit with random scraps of fingering weight wool.  The final blanket measures approximately 40 x 60 inches.

Assuming I'm doing my math right, the mitered squares contain a total of 221,568 stitches.

I added a four stitch i-cord border around the edge of the blanket.  There are 5440 i-icord stitches.

All total, this blanket contains 227,008 stitches.  Just shy of a quarter million stitches.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

52 Weeks - Favorite Quotes

Okay, this 52 Weeks Blog Challenge post should be easy.  I have lots of favorite quotes.  In no particular order and with apologies for the language in a few of them...

"I would make you dinner but I can't find the phone book."

"Do something every day to make others happy... even if it's only to leave them alone."

"Think big thoughts but relish small pleasures."  H. Jackson Brown Jr.


"All the coffee in Columbia won't make me a morning person."

"Excellence is not a skill.  It's an attitude."

"Today is the day."  Mel Fisher

"Learning only happens when a child is interested.  Otherwise, it is like throwing marshmallows at their heads and calling it eating."

"Destination, determination, deliberation."  J. K. Rowling

"Anything worth taking seriously is worth making fun of."

"The most courageous act is still to think for yourself.  Aloud."  Coco Chanel

"Dare to embarrass yourself."

"Bad planning on your part does not automatically constitute an emergency on my part."

"If it's to be, it's up to me."

"Never let school get in the way of a good education."

"I love deadlines.  I especially love the whooshing sound they make as they fly by."  Douglas Adams

"I love being married.  It's so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life."  Rita Rudner

"There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."  Dave Barry


"There is a strange sense of pleasure being beat to hell by a storm when you are on a ship that is not going to sink."  Captain Cleopatra Highbourne

"Sanity calms, but madness is more interesting."  John Russell

"The difficult we can do at once, the impossible may take a little longer."

"F*ck me gently sideways.  With a chainsaw."

"Right away is the easy way."

"That's a negative, Ghost Rider - the pattern is full."  Top Gun

"I run like a girl.  Try to keep up."

"My center is giving way, my right is in retreat; situation excellent.  I shall attack."  French General Ferdinand Foch

"Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly."  Dalai Lama

"Slow is smooth and smooth is fast."  Bob Lee Swagger, Shooter

"Whether I fail or succeed shall be no man's doing but my own.  I am the force; I can clear any obstacle before me or I can be lost in the maze.  My choice; my responsibility; win or loose, only I hold the key to my destiny."  Elaine Maxwell


"Buckle up, kids.  Daddy's puttin' the hammer down."  Spike, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

"Laugh at your problems, everybody else does."

"So... We got a bump coming up."  Jason Bourne, Bourne Identity

"Help, not harm."

"Fine:  freaked out, insecure, neurotic, emotional."

"Snafu:  situation normal; all f*cked up."

"Oh sh*t!  Our donkey's in the ditch."

"Pull from the tangle."

"You just have to fight this f*cker all the way to the crash site."

"Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid."

"Fail better."

and of course, my all time favorite...


"Knit on with confidence and hope, through all crises."  Elizabeth Zimmerman

And yes, they all bring me joy.  So what about you?  Do you have a favorite quote?