Sunday, July 28, 2013

Socks, Not a Bad Idea

I am sick of working on the blanket and as the hubby informed me, I need at least 16 more rows to get it big enough to cover the bed.  Oh my!  So, I took it upon myself to stop and take a much needed break from it.  I cast on for a pair of socks for me. 

Yep, they are mine.  I am already on the foot.  I started at the cuff and I am working completely without a pattern.  After all the years of knitting socks, I figure I can knit a pair completely by rote.  So far, so good.  I improvised my heel and it worked.  The yarn is one of my own hand painted, in Acid Rain.  It is a super wash merino/nylon blend that is so soft and comfy.  I have several pairs of socks out of this particular yarn. 

It holds up really well against the carpets.  One pair I actually managed to shrink by accident in the dryer.  Don't use it in the dryer.  I found that out on my own.  I should know better since I am normally dealing with yarns. 

Our microwave gave up the battle last night and after the hubby stuck his frozen hamburger patty in the thing for 2 minutes and it came out ice cold, we knew, it was dead.   I called my sister who gets a killer discount on appliances and since I am family, I had to ask to use the discount for our new microwave/convection oven.  It comes in next Thursday.  We are moving up in the world. 

We did know that it was on it's way out since the turn table stopped working a couple of years ago and we decided to wait and see how long it would work after that stopped.  It held up for a couple of more years.  We did get our money's worth out of it.  The rule of thumb for appliances in this day and age is if they last 10 years, then you are lucky.  If they last longer, you are damn lucky! 

I am taking it easy today, I am completely worn out from my road trip on Friday.  I went to see my second to oldest sister and put flowers on my parents' graves along with my Aunt Melie, my great grandparents and my older brother.  I ran out of flowers and will need to buy more flowers for the rest of the family who are buried there.  I took my sister the figs out of the refrigerator. I had so many, I was out of room in there.  My sister wanted them, so, I drove the 100 miles to take them to her.  I have to pick more figs for another sister.  She wants some.  I will have to meet her half way since I am not inclined to go south right now. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Progress on the blanket

Top photo shows the blanket as it stands right now.  I am working on the dark berry section.  I went and bought more yarn to put into it today, the new colors are in the bottom photo. 

I am still going.  I have to say, it is hard work and my hands are killing me already.  This is why I do not do that many blankets, my hands can't take it. 

I went to the store to see what else I could find and the one color I need, they didn't have, I will have to go to another store for strawberry.  My cat had her way with it and now, it is in the trash, it was beyond saving. 

She also had her way with two other skeins besides the strawberry and I managed to find those two colors today at the store, a buttery yellow and a medium blue.  That cat, she is horrible where yarn is concerned.  She loves wool yarn and it can take the abuse she gives it but, acrylic can't.  I have no idea why it can't. 

Hubby seems to think I am a quarter of the way to my goal.  Okay.  If that is the case, I am in trouble and I will be working on this thing for more than just the summer months.  I might be working on it into fall and winter.  Oh well, I guess this will be more than a good exercise in patience. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Figs and More Figs

Today I was going to sit and work on the blanket.  Did that happen?  No!  Instead, I had to deal with the figs that were in the fridge.  I have massive amounts of figs.  So, I started the process of getting them clean and getting them into the pot for stove time.  I started my first 5 pound batch with xylitol since I can't have sugar.  I ended up with 8 pints of this mixture.  Since the figs that were in the fridge really needed to be processed, I decided to do another batch of preserves.  So, I used sugar for the next 5 pounds of figs.  I have 6 pints from that batch.  Then since I really didn't want to have to deal with them tomorrow, I decided to go ahead and process the next 5 pounds of figs with sugar.  I have 5 pints from that batch.  I still have more figs in the fridge that need to be processed but, I am tired and I really don't want to be in front of that stove any more today. 

I am not even going to go pick the things off of the tree today since the leaves are wet from the rains we have had and they are super toxic to my skin right now.  Dry fig leaves not a problem, wet ones, forget it, they had me breaking out in welts in under a minute.  It was awful. 

I even informed the hubby that I am tired and not even willing to crank that stove up again for supper.  I am not cooking.  I just want to sit and work on my blanket and not have to think about much of anything.  I also have to add wide mouth jar lids to my grocery list since I am completely out. 

What are my plans for the sugar preserves?  They are going to family and friends who want them.  I get requests each year that I have had this tree to please make fig preserves.  So, I make fig preserves during the summer.  Some people give me jars back which helps since jars are not cheap. 

How do I manage to get so many figs?  I have one Turkish fig tree and I use Algoflash flowering plant fertilizer on the thing in April.  I went ahead and used it in May and now I am dealing with copious amounts of figs.  Huge figs.  Some of them are bigger than my palm.  The tree has been only fertilized twice and that makes a huge difference in production.  I used it last year and we had a bumper crop this year is more of the same but, if you can imagine it, more than last year. 

I hate being sticky and today I was sticky from all the sugar in the figs.  They are more sugary this year than last year, I wonder if the second fertilization with the Algoflash did the trick?  I have to wonder since I know they weren't as sappy and sticky last year.  Forget it if you get the sap on your skin, it is on there for days.  I have even tried using rubbing alcohol on my hands to get the stuff off and it hasn't worked, yet. 

I wonder if I can figure out a way to bottle it and sell it as an amazingly long lasting glue. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Let the De-Crapifying Begin

We have serious clutter at our home, I have yarn galore and all the accoutrements to go with it.  So, I am sick of it.  It started last night, maybe that is why we have rain.  Ha!  I have come to the conclusion that coffee tables and sofa tables are nothing but crap collectors.  I am about to sit down and pull every single knitting book off of the sofa table, and donate them to a local school.  I figure if nothing else, they can have them and the kids can learn a valuable craft.  If it helps them to become self sufficient, then I have done my job. 

I am still working on my blanket.  I am going to take the time today to sit and work on it.  Yesterday, was dry figs day.  I have to do something other than canning since the things are everywhere, literally. 

Gary has now found out that the fig tree makes him itch and burn.  So, he can no longer help me pick the things.  I am going to have to find a way to pick the ones in the top branches, I am a mere 5'6" tall.  He is 6'1" tall.  I was always told as a child I would marry a man shorter than me.  Nope, didn't happen.  I have a tall man.  Love that big tall man, he is amazing and yet, he does make me crazier than anyone else I know.  Rawr! 

I have to clean out the Dyson when I have a chance, it is no longer sucking.  It take a quick spray with the water hose to clean it out and then it needs 24 hours in the heat to dry it.  It does get gunked up pretty quickly.  If you have one, then you know what I am talking about.  If you don't have one, buy one, it is the best vacuum cleaner, ever!  I have the pet canister and seriously, I thought my carpets were clean before using the thing and then I found out how freaking wrong I was.  It cleans that pet hair and everything else up and yes, I have to dump the bin far more than I would like but, it is amazing!  They need to make the bin bigger for those of us who are lazy. 

The dogs love that the family room floor is now de cluttered and nice and clean.  I had my yarns next to me by the couch and of course it spilled everywhere.  Ody loved sleeping in the yarn nest.  He would snuggle into the yarn and go to sleep. 
This mess is no longer there.  He is going to have to find some place else to sleep, now.  He usually can be found by the front door snoozing on the cold tile.  He stretches out and cools his belly. 
Today is also wash day, I am doing my laundry and I have to go upstairs as soon as I finish this post and put the clothes in the dryer, the towels just buzzed, they are done.  I also have to strip the sheets off of the bed and wash those.  Hubby gets to help me with that chore.  Fun! 

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Bead Sale Two Days Only!

I love beads, I have quite the collection but, once a sale comes along, I admit, I get a little out of control.  Okay here is where you get to save, if you are Crazy for Czech beads...I am, funny thing is, I am a Czech should have known...heh heh!  Anyway, the code you are looking for is CZECH, the place to go is Artbeads. This will get you 35% off.  Yep, and they offer free shipping.  This sale is only for 2 days but, it is worth sharing. 

For those of you who don't give a fig about beads, I have been perusing a pattern site that lets you download your patterns to your computer and they always have cheap patterns.  Even pattern books for $4.98 and these are the ones you normally would drop $20 for.  The place to go is e-patterns central.  They have it all on there. 

I love to share my findings with everyone since we all deserve to save.  Yarn has gotten expensive and I know since I do sell it, my wholesaler raises their prices and I have to raise mine so, if you can save on patterns, it helps. 

I am still working on my blanket.  I have realized, I will have to go buy more yarn.  Hubby is okay with this since he wants this blanket on our bed.  He said okay, I nearly had to reach over there and make sure he was my hubby.  Who are you and what did you do with Gary? 

Yesterday, I took the time to go swim for an hour.  It felt glorious.  I was amazed that I wasn't all that winded after an hour of swimming laps.  I was starving but, that was to be expected.  Nothing better than a sandwich with fresh tomatoes right out of the garden.  Amazing! 

I picked figs and managed to get 2 pounds in one picking so, I will be making more fig jam today.  I know, fun.  It has to get taken care of since I don't want the figs to spoil.  They are big and sweet this year.  The birds have been attacking them as well.  Grr!  They have started to leave the tomatoes alone and are out for the figs these days. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Today I am Making Jam

Today started with me making fig jam.  This batch is being made with sugar.  I will be making more with xylitol, later.  I have 10 pounds of figs to process.  My tree is producing like wild fire.  I have to go picking later today for more.  It looks like we will be needing more pint jars for this.  There are 5 pounds of cut up figs in this pot. 

Yay!  I love fig jam.  I just can't have it with sugar so, I make mine with xylitol.  Tastes like sugar, looks like sugar but, none of the horrors of sugar.  :) 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Marshmallow Dips

Today I was enterprising.  I decided to make something for the kids who will be on our float for the annual 4th of July parade we have in my subdivision. 

I took a bag of campfire marshmallows, the big ones.  1 bag of Guittard semi sweet chocolate chips, and 1 bag of Andes Crème de Menthe pieces and made marshmallow dips.  1 sheet of parchment paper.

This will make a simple treat for kids or adults. 

Take the bag of Guittard chocolate chips and empty into a microwave safe bowl.  Place in microwave for 2 minutes on high, check to make sure if they are melted or not.  If you mix with a spoon and they aren't ready, zap them again for another minute.  Mix when they are finally melted, do this in short increments of time since chocolate will scorch and ruin, quickly. 

Open bag of marshmallows, put aside.  Open bag of Crème de Menthe pieces and place in another bowl. 

Take a marshmallow, dip one end in the melted chocolate, then immediately dip the chocolate end into the Crème de Menthe pieces, place on parchment paper.  Keep this up until you have as many as you want or you run out of pieces.  When the marshmallows are dry, place them in a container.  The chocolate will cool and set in place as long as there is no humidity. 

Can be made several days ahead.  Enjoy! 

Have a Safe and Happy 4th of July!

I hope everyone has a safe and Happy 4th of July!