Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Favorite Email of the Week

Have you seen my lipstick?

Why would you even ask me that?
I am so insulted!
Every time something
goes missing around here,
everybody looks at me!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Sewing Rooms from Pinterest

Great looking sewing areas, all from Pinterest.  Makes you want to create one that eliminates clutter and keeps all your sewing gadgets accessible, while it still has theme interest.

And for all you quilters, and you know who you are:

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Becoming a Pensioner

These articles are worth a look.  I became an early pensioner today, so everything is not all bad.

Pensions in the United States  Thank you, Sisters of Charity, for my pension plan

Study Hints That Statins Might Fight Breast Cancer  (more advances in breast cancer research)

The Upside Benefit for Women of Guaranteed Income in Retirement  (women do live longer than men)

and finally, just for a chuckle, here is one of the cards daughter Julie sent me for my birthday:

Happy Birthday to me, just another old broad :o)  And thank you, Gene, for my new red leather loveseat where I can plot, plan, knit, read, converse, watch tv, and generally thoroughly enjoy my retirement.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tiny Vignettes of Nature

All pictures are from The Pothole Gardner in London where he creates miniatures of natural delights.

Thank you, Steve, for bringing a smile to all the faces who view your exquisite work.

All pictures from The Pothole Gardner, a guerrilla gardener's blog

Sunday, January 22, 2012

How to Sew a Quick and Easy Drawstring Bag

Making drawstring bags is easy.   If you can use a sewing machine, one can be made in half an hour.  This is a great sewing project for kids, too.  I am making several as project bags for knitting goods.

These bags have so many purposes: projects, jewelry holders, shoe bags, make up containers...you name it.

When traveling, stashing makeup and personal items keeps the clutter at bay, especially if you find yourself being a companion to another sharing a bathroom. One bag can hold lipsticks and eye makeup, another used for shower items, while a separate one can contain curling irons and gels.  Just remember the color of your bag for certain items, and you can dress and be ready for the day in a flash.

An easy pattern can be found for making these bags at the same site where the above picture was located.  Go here for complete instructions.

Here are my fabric choices and what I am sewing on today. One larger bag, the ladybug material, will make a large project bag with dimensions of 16" x 11".

Two smaller bags will be made from fat quarters purchased for $1.50 each.  How inexpensive is that?

The batty bats are my favorite!  Brown grosgrain ribbon will tie up this one.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Online Cookbook at No Cost

Thank you, Natalie, for sending this link.  It is a downloadable cookbook from Penzey's Spices.  Go here to see the entire cookbook online.

There are many great recipes in the book, and I thought it interesting to read about the spices Penzey's sells.  My first purchase will be "vindaloo seasoning" for chicken (page 22).  It says this about Vindaloo Seasoning:  
This hot and spicy blend comes from Goa, a small state nestled in the middle of the Malabar Coast of India. Though control of Goa was returned to India in 1961, the four and a half centuries of Portuguese rule left many lasting impressions. Pork Vindaloo is a favorite dish of the Catholics, who make up a third of the population of Goa. The Muslims and Hindus of India prefer Vindaloo lamb or duck. 
Mix 2-5 TB. spice in 2-5 TB. water, set aside. Heat 2 TB oil, brown 1 ¹/2 lb. pork
cubes, remove, then brown 1 large minced onion. Put browned pork back into pot, add Vindaloo paste, 1 cup water, 6 TB. vinegar and 1 tsp. salt, cook 30 min. Add 4-6 cups cubed potatoes, cook till tender (45 min. or so). For authentic fiery hot Vindaloo as served in beach
front restaurants in India, add an equal part cayenne pepper. Hand-mixed from: coriander, garlic, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, crushed brown mustard, cayenne, jalapeƱo pepper, cardamom, turmeric, black pepper, cloves. 
1⁄ 4 cup jar (net 1.0 oz.)   #12531   $ 3.65
1⁄ 2 cup jar (net 2.2 oz.)   #12557   $ 6.29
4 oz. bag   #12544   $ 6.89
8 oz. bag   #12586   $ 12.75
1 lb. bag   #12515   $ 24.40
This is just ONE of the recipes that looked good to me for Creamy Chicken Chowder:

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Scroll Lace Scarf

Popular knitwear designer Ysolda Teague showcases her Scroll Lace Scarf available here with it wrapped around the shoulders on this pretty model:

It looked easy, so I began it with some hand dyed yarn from KnittingRose.

This was one pattern that definitely did not turn out as expected, and was a project that schooled me in what NOT to do from the start of the project to its very end.

Although it ultimately turned out well, the learning experiences for me were:
1: Use SMALLER needles; the lace holes were from 3/4 to 1 inch in size, way too large for wearing without poking a finger into the holes. Will use size 6 needles next time it is knit
2: Do NOT use circular needles. Awkward to hold while doing the 15 row, 15 stitch repeat ad infinitum.
3: ...not crazy about the picot border; think about another edging next time
4: ...stockinette stitch will curl on the body, so ensure some purl rows are included every 6 rows or so.
5: ...perhaps too many lace repeats since it is LONG! 
Finished dimensions: 85”length x 12” at widest middle point with the called for 28 repeats...Make less lace repeats next time it is knit for less length in the scarf
With these thoughts in mind, I started another Ysolda Teague Scroll Lace Scarf last night. Practice, practice, practice.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Thrill of What You Already Have

A new blog challenge hosted by Floss in Toulouse, Haute Garonne, France is something that intrigues me. Floss says about her blog challenge:
This is the idea - every month I post a photo from my calendar (this year it's iconic Scottish rail tourism posters from the 1920s and '30s) and we use that photo - colour schemes, shapes, images, location, content - ANY aspect of it - to inspire us. We search through our drawers, boxes, attics, stables etc and make up a display of lovely or surprising things, and then share a photo on our blog. If you're like me, having a monthly excuse to rummage, combine, display and then gloat will be a very enjoyable experience. Sharing our pictures will really give us a chance to thrill over our 'stuff' without any need to go out and buy any more of it. And seeing photos of other people's ideas should give us further inspiration of what we can do ourselves. 
A commenter named Carolyn said about this 2012 blog theme: 
 I think this is an excellent idea, esp as it not only encourages us to be content, to be happy, to appreciate and enjoy what we have; but it will also encourage us to look for things we had forgotten, to tidy out those cupboards, to reclaim old forgotten loves.
What a great challenge: be thankful for what you have, reflect on your blessings, and be aware of the beauty around you.

Here are some things I am thankful for (and yes, I DID clean out the china hutch last week, including taking all the crystal out, washing each piece, and windexing all the glass shelves!)

(A cut glass vase over 100 years old that was a wedding present to my grandmother.  She kept it filled with flowers when I lived with her during my teen years.  The bottom is discolored despite all the vinegar efforts to remove the lime deposits.)

(Cut glass salad bowl my mother received as a wedding present in 1944)

If you are a blogger, swing on over to Floss and join in this challenge.

Friday, January 13, 2012

How to Make Modge Podge

Buying Modge Podge can set you back a few bucks more than making it yourself. Since it is used in the craft room about as frequently as scissors, here is a recipe for a home made brew, courtesy of thekrazycouponlady:

1 jar (An old pasta sauce or salsa jar will work)
1 bottle of Elmer’s glue
Empty the glue into the jar. Add water; you will need equal parts water and glue, so you can even use the (now) empty glue bottle to measure your water. Now, shake the jar until it’s well blended. You will need to shake it a lot, so pace yourself!! This recipe will make Mod Podge that is a little on the runny side. If you want yours to be a little thicker add more glue.

That's all there is to it!

(All pictures courtesy of Pinterest)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Knitting in January

While in Waco, I made a bit of progress on a new project with a pattern from Ysolda Teague:  the Scroll Lace Scarf.  Hand dyed yarn from KnittingRose, a 75% superwash wool, 25% nylon for stability, KnittingRose dyes beautifully.

Because I was listening to Aunt Mary and stories from her college years in the 1940's at Hardin Simmons in Abilene, Texas, it was easier to knit a sock in the round than to follow a lace chart.  So the socks below were begun, using Knit Picks yarn in a fingering weight.  I'm going to complete an afterthought heel.  The pattern is again from Ravelry, and is from LaLa found here.

Aunt Mary thought it was fascinating that the yarn was self striping.  She had never heard of that aspect of knitting.  For a video showing how to complete an afterthought heel,  go here.

One quick story from Aunt Mary, who has a dry sense of humor and kept me giggling. Wish I could quote her, but the gist of the story was this, with apologies to my male cousins Mark and David.
First born Cindy, a good student, industrious and courteous and kind to a fault, was a pleasure to teach.  One of her teachers took Mary aside and told Mary that she should write a book about how to rear children since Mary was both a preacher's wife and an excellent mother.  Mary's other two younger children, boys, were a real handful in school.  Mary said after the boys got into school, not a single teacher EVER again asked her to write a parents' handbook. 
Now this shawl by Rose Beck, available on Ravelry and found here, was finished on January 1, 2012.  I really like the stitch definition, and the yarn from Quince and Company was a dream to hold and knit. It is my first project finished in the new year, regardless that it was begun in 2011.

(close up for stitch definition and pattern)

January continues, and I am knitting in color after all that olive green wool.  What are you knitting or crocheting, sewing, painting or cooking?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Back from Waco

Aunt Mary, my mother's sister, and her handsome son David

Brother Chuck, moi and Aunt Mary

SIL Karen

Cousin David and Aunt Mary in her new leggings

Great niece and nephew, DIL Martha and Dad's wife Pat

Rosemary around the swimming pool at Aunt Mary's in every direction.

After I had just gotten on the road, leaving Waco and Aunt Mary to drive to Austin for visits with more family, my Aunt Mary had a mild stroke.  She is recovering well.  I was so glad to see her and visit with her for a week prior to this unfortunate occurrence (she is 87).  Got home last night to cold weather in Colorado.