Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Some Items Just Aren't Meant to be!

Tonight I decided to install a new game on my computer...oh man, freaking big mistake, it hosed the whole damn computer.  I had to uninstall the game and now the computer is so happy!  I guess some games aren't compatible with Windows 8.1.  Fun! 

I have been working on the afghan for charity.  I also worked on my stole.  It is going to be a stole, it is just too wide to be a scarf.  I managed to get another couple of rows taken care of.  I also decided to work on the afghan.  I want to see the end of the thing. 

I also have an afghan to finish for my friend.  Notice I am not too thrilled about it.  I am afghan'd out.  I said it.  Pretty much that is it.  I want to sit down and work on stuff for me, just me. 

The neighbors are popping fireworks.  I could care less as long as they don't hit my car with them.  I am not into the whole New Year's party thing anymore.  I did my share of partying back in my 20's and I am shocked that I am still alive after some of the things I did back then.  I have calmed down in my 40's, I think. 

Well, not my driving.  That is still as good as it was back then.  :)  I scare the crap out of my sister, she refuses to crawl into my passenger seat.  I love that car of mine, though. I love to drive that car, it is fun. 

Tomorrow is scrapbooking day.  I have so many photos to put into the chapter scrapbook.  I was printing them out today and ran out of ink.  I had to go searching for my ink stash.  I found it after sitting down and thinking...where in the world did I put it? I cleaned my house and that is the worst thing for me, I can't find a thing right now. 

We had a weenie roast tonight with my fire pit.  I love that thing.  It was last year's Christmas present and it has been a wonderful addition to the household.  We use it on cold nights and we have weenie roasts and marshmallow roasts.  My dogs love melted marshmallows.  They are spoiled doggies. 

They are good boys, my doggies.  I would be lost without them. 

I hope everyone has a very Happy and Safe New Year. 

Back to watching The Wizard of Oz. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Beads! Why Did I Wait So Long?

I bought some seed beads and decided to go ahead and take the plunge to start knitting with beads.  I had originally thought that beads and knitting were something far flung and hard to do.  Boy, was I wrong!  Big time.  The hardest part is getting the beads onto the yarn.  Yep, that is it.  I used dental floss to get the beads onto the yarn. 

I thought of knitting socks.  No, that didn't happen. I went with a scarf or stole, I am thinking it might turn into a stole.  I am working on it right now.  It is looking pretty so far.

I am using one of my own hand painted yarns.  This one is called Pomegranate.  It is merino/nylon blend.  The beads are Toho cubes, 4mm trans-lustered rose.  They work really well with the yarn.  At first I didn't think they would look well with this yarn.  I found out that yes, they look fabulous with my yarn. 

So exciting!  I love when it all comes together. 

I love the beads and I found them at Artbeads.  I also look for beads at my local bead store.  She has a pretty good selection.  I want to go peruse her beads as soon as possible, again.  I have one bead here that I need more of with another yarn. 

I can see why so many knitters are into bead knitting, it is very addictive! 

Thursday, December 26, 2013


Now that I am officially sick for one whole week, I am starting to really despise the crap in my lungs.  I have used up one box of each of my nebulizer solutions.  We can't even get lucky enough for some serious rain to wash down the offending pollen that is causing this whole miserable mess. 

I did decide to start knitting if I can stay awake long enough.  So far, that hasn't happened.  I did find the pattern I want to knit.  It isn't socks.  It isn't anything that I should be working on, it is something for little ole me.  Yep, me. 

I bought the new Jane Austen Knits 2013 and found a shawl I want to knit myself.  It has beads to be added to the pattern.  I went looking on Utube to find out how to attach said beads with a crochet hook and wow, that is simple.  So, I decided to go ahead and try my hand at making myself a nice shawl with beads. 

Then came the hard part, trying to decide what color of bead to use on my project.  So, I went bead shopping, like this is a real hardship to me...heh!  I found two different colors of purple beads that I want to use.  One is a silver lined lilac, so cool looking and the other one is a deep dark amethyst.  Very striking.  Since I couldn't decide which one to use, I plan to use both since the yarn has both colors in it.  Now the fun part, trying to find my steel crochet hooks to use with this pattern.  I have a set, I just need to find the bag that the set is in.  Always a trial over here with something.  I guess I should get myself better organized and it would be better for me. 

Hubby is probably reading this and thinking...oh yes, you need to be organized and start with your office first.  Yeah, I know this...when I can stay awake longer than say an hour, I will think about it. 

I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe New Year. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Oh Great...My Allergies are Flairing Up!

It all started Thursday night, I had a bad sore throat and then I started to cough.  I had a major asthma attack and couldn't figure out what in the world was going on.  Then hubby tells me that cedar and juniper are really high right now.  That must be it.  So, I was thinking, I can deal with this, it is just allergies.

Well, Friday rolls around and I feel like crap.  I am thinking...okay, I will take my antihistamines and I will be fine.  I had the family party to deal with on Saturday.  It should be okay by Saturday...what was I thinking?  No, it wasn't fine, it was worse.  I was hacking like a smoker who smokes 3 packs a day.  My voice was going in and out and the sore throat was lingering.  No fever so, I knew it was allergies. 

So, Saturday comes and I am still feeling awful.  I had a house full of people and I was miserable.  Thankfully, I am blessed with a truly wonderful husband who took over for me.  I love you honey! We managed to get through Saturday and I am hoping everyone had a truly great time.  We had a first happen here, the kids did a White elephant present exchange.  What really shocked me during the present exchange with the kids was the fact that two of the boys were fighting for a rubber band loom.  I wouldn't have thought it. 

Then it was the adults turn to have their fun, it went well.  I came out of the deal with some trinket bowls, which I will use for beading.  Gary came out of it with a gift card from the local hardware store.  We used it already to replace the smoke detectors in the house.  They are hardwired into the alarm system. 

I figured Sunday would be better for me.  Was I freaking wrong!  I woke up to no voice whatsoever and I was more miserable than the previous days.  I moved to the couch and slept most of the day away.  I woke up only long enough for Gary to feed me.  Then I would fall back asleep.  I was miserable as can be. 

I woke up this morning feeling worse than the previous day, this allergy crap is getting the best of me.  I am living for the times that I get to nebulize!  My nebulizer is my friend at this point.  I am moving to the couch full time right now. I can't even sleep with my hubby since I hack all night long.  It is pure misery.  I sleep so much better on the couch.  I have my blanket and some throw pillows and I am quite comfy.  I had my jammies and my hand knit wool socks on.  Totally comfy.  Tonight I am planning on doing the same thing, just sleeping on the couch.  I plan on downing a cup of sleepy time tea and letting it take me to dream land.  Hopefully, this will let me sleep.  Still no fever!  I am finding this is the damndest stuff.  I have no idea if it is the cedar or the juniper, doing it to me but, it needs to quit.  I know cedar is a potent allergy on my Mom's side of the family.  One of my cousins can't breathe and has to have cortisone shots during the season.  I am starting to wonder if I need one.  That would explain a whole bunch.  I know when the wildfires were burning a couple of summers ago, I was in agony from the whole smoke thing.  Gary went out and bought me an air purifier and that is what I spent my time sitting in front of. 

I had myself a cup of coffee and then a decaf chaser.  I am hoping this will help thin some of the mucus in my lungs.  I miserable with the crap right now.  I don't even feel like crocheting or knitting, that tells you how bad it is. 

I closed the shop for the rest of the week, I need some time away from it.  I don't even feel like driving my car and I love to do that.  I just want to sleep and get rid of this crap.  I know how my 2013 Christmas is going...sick with allergies. 

I am catching up on my reading, though.  I have finished one book and I am working on the second one in the series.  It is pretty good.  It is a sci-fi fantasy.  I found the first book for free in the Kindle store and bought the second and third book.  There might be more books in the series, I will have to look. If nothing else, this gives me some much needed down time after a month of cleaning my house.  It did make it to being clean and the moral of this lesson, don't let it get that way again.  Seriously, it was freaking miserable.  I have plans to do maintenance work on it so, it looks good for the rest of our time here.  That is the plan.  Now my office needs to be gone through and crap organized and thrown out. 

I need to get my scrapbooking stuff organized and in one spot, not strung out all over the house, like the yarn was.  I am going to try to do better in the new year. 

My resolution is:  to get myself better organized and clean my house on a weekly basis to keep it looking good.  I also plan to use my yarn stash up.  No more buying yarn until I have half of the stash gone.  That means two rooms will be freed up.  Yay!  I have plans to do charity knitting anyway so, this should work out. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Making Candy on High Heat...Yeah...Bad Idea!

I have a new cookbook with some super yummy looking recipes and one of them is a candy recipe.  I should have realized that when it said high heat for 6 to 8 minutes I was going to be in trouble.  It didn't click today, and I paid dearly for this costly mistake and so did everyone in this house.  My hound dog was howling it was so awful, black smoke, and the STINK!!!!  Barfy funky stink. 

So, my hubby being the wonderful man that he is, volunteered to go and get me more almonds so, I could try another batch at a lower temperature.  I think he wanted to escape the funk.  I tried again and well, this time at a much lower temp, it turned out great.  I should have realized that the directions were sadly lacking on that recipe. 

I had also made some peppermint bark before that.  If you can nuke, you can make it.  So easy.  I will share my recipe with you.  People will think you slaved over a hot stove to make what is simply the easiest thing going.  You will need, a bag of semi sweet chocolate chips, I used Guittard, my favorite brand.  One bag of white chocolate chips, I used Nestle, get the 12 ounce sizes for both and one bag of crushed peppermint candy, same 12 ounce size, you won't use all of it, either.  Only about half of the bag. Wax paper and a cookie sheet.  Roll out some of the waxed paper onto a clean cookie sheet. 
Dump your chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl, nuke for about 2 minutes, then check, stir and if they aren't melted, nuke for about 30 seconds, check by stirring, if no, try 30 more seconds until they stir and lose their shape, do not over cook since chocolate scorches easily, you will have funk...see above and will have to throw it out.  Pour your melted chocolate on the  sheet of waxed paper.  Spread it with the back of a spoon.  Try to make it into a rectangle. 

Now, take another microwave safe bowl and pour in the bag of white chocolate chips, start on 1 minute and nuke it.  Be forewarned, white chocolate actually scorches faster than the semi sweet, try to mix it, if it won't mix, then nuke for 30 seconds, and try to stir again, if not keep doing 30 second increments and when it finally stirs, pour this melted chocolate onto the rectangle of the semi sweet chocolate.  Now, take the bag of peppermint and cover the white chocolate with it.  I try to coat it pretty good.  Not all of it will stick, you will have excess.  Take the whole cookie sheet and waxed paper, place in the refrigerator for about an hour. 

The fun part...breaking it up into bite sized pieces after it has been in the fridge for an hour.  Find a spot where you won't mind the mess...it is messy.  I let the hubby take out his aggressions on it.  Break it into small pieces.  I store mine in a plastic container with a lid in the fridge. 

When I was asked by my hubby what I was thinking with the high heat...I realized, I haven't baked or made candy in years.  Not since the diabetes diagnosis.  I just haven't been in the mood to do it.  The new cookbook inspired me to bake and make candy for Christmas. 

I have the family Christmas party this Saturday and I am trying to clean the place up and find spots for all of my crafting items.  I have yarn galore, scrapbooking supplies, and fiber all over this place. We are slowly getting there.  I also have fabric.  No more crafting supplies in this house, we are full up. 

I hope everyone has a wonderful and Merry Christmas.  Happy New Year.  Be safe. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Sabrina Sock!

I finally finished my niece, Sabrina's socks.  So, I decided to name the pattern after her.  It is a simple lace pattern that gives really nice results.  I used my hand painted yarn, pink frosting, it is merino/silk sock yarn.  One of my favorites to work with. 

As you can see by the three pictures the sock is pretty.  I love the three shades of pink in this one.  She mentioned to me that she loves pink. So, she is getting a pair of pink wool/silk socks.  Now, I just need to make the tag and washing instructions for her.  These are hand wash, cold water.  No heat whatsoever. I can't state this enough to my family members who do not seem to realize that putting them in the washing machine will shrink and felt them.  After this fiasco has occurred, you are no longer on the sock list, you are banned from ever receiving another pair.  Two weeks goes into a pair of socks.  I just love the fact that one of my nieces, didn't realize how long it takes to knit a pair of socks.  She thought I could zip a pair out in a matter of days.  Uh, no!  I have a life other than knitting. 
I was inspired by a pattern in a lace book.  I can't remember which one it was but, the pattern struck me as beautiful on a sweater and I knew it would be impressive on a sock.  I used a Dutch heel for this sock since it gives a more tailored fit to the heel.  It is very simple to do.  Almost mindless and when you have knit as many socks as I have, mindless is wonderful.  No counting involved.  So, as your husband or wife is yacking in your ear, you won't have to count loudly to let them know you are in the middle of a short row.  If you know the signs to look for, the Dutch heel will become your go to heel.  I even do stockinette heels for my socks with a nice garter stitch edge, it gives it some interesting texture.  I do love the eye of the partridge heel flaps, they are awesome looking in a hand painted yarn. 
This sock was knit on two circulars.  It is my preferred method of sock knitting.  They were knit one at a time since this is the way I knit socks.  Two at a time isn't enjoyable in my book.  I would rather take the time to enjoy knitting each sock.  It is after all my exercise in patience. 
I am also researching my next sock pattern since I have another pair to knit for one of my nieces by marriage.  She has a small foot( a size 6), love small feet, they are so much easier to knit for.  I am trying to decide if I should do a lace sock for her or maybe do some left twists or right twist patterns for her.  I have the yarn ready to go.  Her sock yarn is merino/nylon.  She has two small children to deal with and she can just throw hers into a cold water washer.  Each yarn has their own qualities that make them unique.  These are my two favorite sock yarns.  Not only do I paint the yarns, I use them as well. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Doing A Little Sock Knitting

I am taking a much needed break from crocheting blankets to knit socks.  One of my many nieces needs a pair of wool socks.  She lives in North Texas and has cold feet.  This shouldn't surprise me at all since the rest of us have cold feet, too.  I call us the cold foot brigade. 

So, I used one of my own hand painted yarns in my favorite blend, merino wool and silk.  Love this yarn.  The color is pink frosting.  For some reason it didn't sell in the shop so, I am repurposing it by knitting socks with it. 

I was perusing a lace book and found this pattern, it was being used for a sweater and I am not a sweater knitter at all so, I decided to write a sock pattern for it.  I think it makes a nice looking sock.  I have already knit it once before.  I knit myself another pair of socks.  Face it, you can never have too many pairs of hand knit wool socks. 
With this last cold spell I managed to wear every single pair I own during the week.  I was washing socks left and right.  So, I am happy with the amount I have right now. 

I also have been asked to knit a pair for one of my nieces by marriage.  She tells me she has really cold feet year round.  So, I will be knitting a pair for her after these are finished for Sabrina. 

What I love the best about both pairs of socks...both ladies have small feet.  Sabrina's socks are size 6.5.  Anita's socks are going to be size 6.  I love knitting for little feet. 

My hound dog is barking and trying to tell me it is past his bed time and I need to come upstairs and lock him in his kennel.  I am surprised the cat hasn't come to whine to me that it is her bedtime and I need to get to bed so, she can sleep on the bed comfortably.  She also demands that I pet her before I go to sleep.  It is her ritual.  We can't mess that up, heaven forbid if we do. 

I have a merino/nylon blend that I had hand painted and I was going to put in the shop but, decided to not do it.  That yarn will be used for Anita's socks.  I think one of my other nieces wants socks for her kids.  I guess I am going to be busy knitting socks for a while.  I have to stop at some point to finish crocheting my charity blanket.  I need it for February.  I guess it is a good thing that I have so much sock yarn, it looks like I will be using it up this year. 

It works out for me since I am flush with yarn.  I did send off my charity items and it cost me $46 in shipping to get 16 pounds of items to the kids.  The ladies in the chapter are so amazing.  The ones who can't knit, they bought mittens and hats for my charity project.  Even one of my niece's teachers donated items.  She plans to give me more items, soon.  I donated to her cause a skein of hand painted sock yarn, a bracelet and some custom made stitch markers for her.  All of the items were made by me.  If you help me out, I am very generous with my thank you presents. 

I had ordered my niece, Maribeth her usual round of winter clothes for her birthday and some of them came in today.  It seems that when I checked big kid, the company I bought the clothes from ignored this and gave me the little kids version.  Thankfully, the clothes were made in San Salvador so, they were big for their sizes, if they were made in China or Taiwan, they would have been cut smaller.  So, I had Maribeth come over to try it all on.  She took everything except for 3 items.  Since those three items are cheaper than the shipping, I am keeping them.  I asked around to my nieces if any of their daughters wore a size 7/8 and sure enough, I found one.  So, I have 3 items going to one of my great nieces.  She said her daughter needs clothes so, this works out for all of us.