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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Kaleidoscope and Little Princess Afghans


KaleidoscopeFrom a huge stash of various sized squares and rectangles the above design has been laid out. I'm calling this ghan, Kaleidoscope. Still in thinking stages, more then WIP stage technically. Debating on edge color. Thinking currently either light blue or black. Will check stash and go from there. These squares are donated Through Bridge and Beyond, and will be used for Mothers and children at Faith Mission.
Little PrincessThese crocheted granny squares also donated are a bit further along in The WIP. I have 10 other squares waiting to be edge before the joining will take place. This ghan also for Faith Mission will go to a little girl and so is, I think appropriately named, "Little Princess".

I've also started a rather unusual baby blanket (at least I think that's what it's going to be). Unusual in that it's pink and black. It's knitted, a corner to corner style blanket. Sorry folks haven't yet taken a picture of it.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lake Lois, NOT

backyard pondThis picture is my neighbor's backyard. She's had so much standing water lately in her yard from all the downpours I believe you could go fishing.
standing waterWe've had more snow then normal this winter, and we've had far more rain then normal. One wonders what will happen come April. April is when we're suppose to get rain. Lordy, think I might need to keep my boat handy. The day after I took these pictures we had cold and snow again and so her yard then looked like a ice rink. What a mess. We used to get water in our basement from her yard, as we're a bit down hill from her. A few years ago she had work done on her basement and drains etc, which took care of the problem we had in our basement with water. So....now she has tons of water in her yard which beats the heck out of in her basement and ours.

It's a good thing her yard is fenced, some small child could drown in that water.

Oh how I long for warmer weather. Perhaps this means it's on it's way?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Baby Luke's Blue Blanket

Lukes Baby Blanket
Baby Luke's Blue Baby Blanket. This granny square baby blanket started as a result of my joining my first ever CAL. I've made more granny squares then I can count through the years, and more ghans then I can count too; but I'd never joined a CAL. Doing so, got me making squares differently, using patterns I've not used before...actually using a pattern is rather unique for me. I'm a bit of a winger of many things. But, I really got into this. I used 3 different pattern books. Blogged about the books and patterns HERE where you can see it coming together.

I'm very pleased with this blanket. I love the mix of blues (4 shades of blue), none of which are traditional baby blue. I stitched the squares together using the whip stitch method. Which while much slower then crocheting them together in the join as you go method; I believe I still prefer. I've really gotten into making borders and have yet to use the same border for any of the recently completed afghans I've made or assembled from the various groups I'm in. Taking time to do a border I think really gives it the Finished look.

Baby Luke came into this world on Friday March 18th at 1:34 a.m. weighing 6 pounds 9 oz and measuring 19 inches long. Congrats to Mom and Dad (Heather and Ryan). Ryan is my youngest nephew, so once again I am a Great Aunt.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

So many projects In The Works

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This afghan is a real piece meal effort. Some of these squares are squares, others rectangles. Some of these squares are knitted, some of these squares are crocheted. Some of these squares are big and some are small. The largest squares are around 12 inches, and the smallest is about 5 inches. As you view the picture about 2/3 of the squares have been edged and joined. I'm going about this in a different manner then I typically do. I'm edging in one color (dark forest green), and joining in a different color (dusty rose). Normally I use the same color. I'm using the join as you go method (crocheting squares together), sorta. I say sorta, because it's not continuous due to the variety of sizing and the need to piece meal, with lots and lots of measuring to determine how it will come together.

My stash often dictates how I put ghans together, as well as what method I use. I see what colors I have that will work, how much I have on hand. Crocheting them together takes more yarn then whip stitching them together. Whip stitching though takes longer. Crocheting them together adds texture. I didn't have enough of either the dark green or the dusty rose to do this all in one color, and thus decided on the merging of the 2 colors. I think it actually is helping to pull all the various shades of green and pink together; so rather like the look so far.

This is a ghan being made of so many different sizes of squares because the squares come from lots of people. They were donated through my blog, Bridge and Beyond for the homeless and abused Mother's and Children at Faith Mission.

I like to name afghans I work on, and have so named this one, Rose Garden.

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring has Sprung?

miniature iris close upThis is the first, the very first sign of spring in my yard. This is short lived I know cause these cute little miniature Iris never last. They pop their little heads up while the ground is still cold and can be seen normally only a few days before a snow, or freezing rain comes and destroys them. But......they do make me smile, they do give me hope. They don't reproduce well, or perhaps because they pop up too early, they don't get a chance too? I have 3 clumps, but it doesn't seem like the clumps get any bigger with each they show themselves. Now this picture is cropped from the one below.
miniature irisBecause of where I had to stand (to keep from sinking into the rain drenched ground), you see my shadow. I tried to stand off to the side as much as possible and still be close enough to get the picture. The question is this. Which is the better picture? In other words, to crop or not to crop? I almost always do with my digital pictures (the only kind I take). Partially because it brings the item closer, makes it easy to see, and partially because it loads faster for blogging and posting on forums and uses less bandwidth and all those things. But, it occurs to me perhaps the non-cropped pictures show you more? With my shadow being visible you know we actually had sun....you know that round yellow thing in the sky. You've seen it, probably not much lately though. This second picture also shows how nothing else is green, telling you how early in the season the photo was taken. So, which is the better picture? Do you crop your pictures?

Please leave your comments, thoughts, and suggestions. I'm interested to learn what you think.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Completion of the 2nd longest Work In Progress EVER


opal afghan This ghan has been in the works for far too long. For a friend at work. I blogged about here, but the short version is...I estimated yarn needed badly on this one. That doesn't happen often and by the time I realized it I was about 2/3 rd done. Soooooo, I had to frog it. Once that was done, I searched my stash for yarn that would blend and came up with the taupe you see on the 2 sides and in a the centers of several of the squares.
close up afghan border Here's a close up of the border which I liked and felt pulled the project all together nicely. In truth, I didn't care much for this ghan which was another problem in trying to get it done. I used a smaller hook then I would normally use for these stitches and yarn in order to make it nice and tight and warm. She doesn't like holes in her ghans.


Here's a close up of the squares again with a view of the boarder. She was very pleased with her ghan and once she got it placed on her sofa she skyped me so I could see it on her sofa. Gotta love technology. I had selected the yarn from colors in one of her sofa pillows. The design--circle in a square also comes from the design on her sofa pillow. It's a very large ghan, larger than I usually make; but was necessary I think to pull off the design and have the new color work.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Blues for Baby Luke, Granny Squares

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Baby Lukes ghan
Stage One of this baby ghan is HERE
15 squares thus far done, 12 of which are joined. The bottom row not yet joined in above picture. Note the 3 books these squares are from, plus a few standard squares where I just crocheted the basic granny, and 2 various circle in a square from an on line free pattern. This has been a bit more tedious then I like for a baby blanket, and has taken more time then I like...or thought it would when I began.

I joined my first ever CAL on RAV. Blogged about it here. Then after making a couple of squares decided to switch to The Blues for Baby Luke. Luke's my youngest nephews soon to arrive in this world's baby.

The book on the right 101 Crocheted Squares by Jean Leinhauser is NOT a book I would recommend. The patterns are poorly written and many are much smaller then I like. 4 and 5 inch squares don't appeal to me. Additionally, she has lots of squares that have applique's which I'm not a fan of, particularly not for a baby, or a ghan that get's lots of use and will need to be laundered. Many of her patterns are very similar to those found in other books which is also a bit surprising. This book though is no longer in print, and buying one now on line is quite costly.

The 2 books on the left, 99 Granny Squares to Crochet, and Contest Favorites afghan squares are both Leisure Arts books with a variety of designers. Each square has the name of that particularly designer. Thus far I've found the patterns in both these books to be much better/ easier to understand patterns. I would recommend both these books for anyone wanting granny squares.

I have 10 squares to go, then select border....hoping to get finished before she delivers.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Wine Clubs are Fun

wine bottle and wine cardI1 Papavero Primitivo 2009, Puglia IGT, Italy. Puglia is the heel of Italy's boot if you look at a map. That's where this wine comes from. It's Italy's hottest region with lots and lots of sunshine. You'll notice the bottle is empty, lol. Well to say we enjoyed it would be an understatement. It's on one of my favorites list. We joined a wine club about a year or so ago. The Wall Street Journal Wine Club. You buy a case at a time at a much reduced cost. You can select a mix of wines, or stick to a particular type. The fun is trying different wines. The card you see tells you about each of the wines, where they're from, what type of grape it is, what types of food it's best served with etc.
wine book and tasting glassesYou get a notebook when you join and an extra gift. The first time we joined we received a very fancy wine opener and case. We've not used it much truthfully. It's large and somewhat a pain to get out and put away. We lost interest in the club after awhile and stopped our membership. They weren't good at sending the cards which annoyed me. However, just recently they contacted us to see if we'd like to rejoin and made us a really good deal. And so...we did rejoin. The above specialty glasses are quite nice were our gift this time round. They will indeed be used. They're small taster glasses, very nice stemware from Italy.

Do we know how to detect notes of this and that in a wine, either in taste or aromas? Not really. But, we do know what we like. Hubby says I'm better at picking up on scents and flavors then he is, and perhaps over time I'll get better. But, it is fun even without those abilities. On the back of the card you're to make notes, so you know what you liked and didn't in order to know what to purchase or not purchase in the future.

Notes on this bottle read: Great with Pizza. So, you see this isn't a stuffy thing for us. lol My note continues to say, "Plum does come out as it warmed up, some chocolate aroma's. $10.00 bottle. Buy Again

Buying it from the club in our case of mixed wines we paid less than $10.00, but with each bottle, we check the price her on the net to add to our decision whether or not to purchase again. You can see, my notes aren't those of wine connoisseur at all. They say if you like a California Zinfandel, you'll love this wine; it's Italian Cousin.

Definitely a wine I'd recommend, and hope to enjoy again.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Secondly Longest Running Work in Progress!

work in progress Wed meme
Opal ghan stage 2Opal Ghan. A co-worker gave me a pillow from her sofa and requested a ghan. I've made ghans for her previously, before carpal tunnel and arthritis were an issue. She doesn't like open stitches of any kind, she likes solid. When I was younger that wasn't an issue, but it is now. That's my excuse for this being the 2nd longest running WIP I've had in all my years of crocheting and knitting. I started this ghan with one idea in mind. I rarely use a pattern when making ghans, as I like to wing it. I'm actually good at that, good at seeing what something will look like, and guestimating how much yarn to purchased. NORMALLY that is. Somehow with this, I was really off. I was coming along nicely with the project, probably about 2/3 of the way there, when I grab the bag to select another skein of yarn and realized............YIKES! I didn't have enough. m I'd had it long enough I knew there was no reason to even try and match yarn, plus....couldn't ask her to buy more or give me money to do so. Sooooooooooooo, checked my stash and decided the taupe (see 2 side panels), would blend nicely. So, frogged the whole thing (except squares), though I did take apart those that had been joined. ARGH

Rip it, Rip it, I really hate frogging. Often if I run into a snag I'm able to change midstream without having to do that. Not this time. And so, the project continues. Here you see it in stage 2. The other problem I'm dealing with is working from both ends of a skein of yarn, can't risk running short with this 2nd design. So, I do a bit on the middle, then a bit on the side panels, then make a square or two. Not at all the way I like to work. I need to constantly keep counting and measuring to be sure the 3 pieces will come together properly.

The other problem I'm having, I don't like what I'm working on. I'm not a fan of the colors and I find working on something I don't like, or am not excited by difficult. I am however forcing myself to keep this out in the open and work on it a bit each and everyday, even as I work on other projects. Breaking it up like this helps.

Someone please pour me another glass of wine!

RAV

Monday, March 07, 2011

RAIN, memories of Mom

rain bonnettRain, I don't actually like ran; it ruins good outdoor time, can alter ones travel plans, cause flooding can be dangerous...........But, RAIN makes me think about Mom. When I was young, most of the families in our neighborhood had electric ranges; Mom had gas. So when we'd have a rain storm and the electric would go; she'd warm up soup on the gas stove for all the neighbors. They'd walk through the yard with a pot of soup in hand and she'd put it on the stove. She'd laugh, cause she didn't really like the gas stove; thought it dirtier than electric--but it did have some advantages. In those days gas was considered old fashion, and all the new appliances were electric. I have an electric range; but hubby keeps wanting to buy a new one, a gas one. Gas is all the rage again it seems. All the cooking shows on TV talk about how superior gas is for even heat, all the chiefs use gas not electric.

That's not the only memory though that comes to mind with the word RAIN and my Mother. Back in the day before people spent hard earned money to buy special irons, or pay for distilled water (that was certainly a luxury only the wealthy could afford); Mom would put out large pots or bowls when it rained to collect rain water to be used in the iron and to water the house plants. More natural for the plants, without chemicals and all, and apparently better for an iron also; as the chemicals are what clogged up an iron.

It also seems rain water was a special thing to do for ones hair. She'd rinse our hair in rain water when she had enough. No need to pay for hair conditioners and rinse when you had rain water on hand. Now days, I suppose the rain water is full of junk and so perhaps that wouldn't be so advantageous?

AND, let's not forget the ever NOT stylish but wildly popular plastic rain-bonnet! Now for those of you younger then me, this may not bring back a memory; but if you're as old as dirt like me...well then, that's another story. Do you remember rain-bonnets? The one pictured is the more stylish model, however the one I remember most was folded back and forth like a fan with little plastic ties and fit into a plastic sleeve that measured about 1 inch by 3 inches. They snapped back folded when you pulled on the ties. Mom hated those things, older women always wore them back then. You know older women had their hair done once a week, or once every other week and so couldn't risk their style getting wet. No proper lady would go out and about without a rain-bonnet tucked neatly in her hand bag. Anyway, every-time Mom would see someone put one on, she'd tell me to shot her if she did that when she got older. I found this rain-bonnet a few years ago and was going to include it in a gift as a joke to her. I never did give it to her; though I know she would have rolled her eyes.

Then there was the time the family was camping during one of the summer vacations and it was raining and raining and raining. We were at Lake Erie, and Dad was outside trenching around the tent to try and keep the tent dry. He wasn't a happy camper, actually I don't believe anyone was. Mom grabbed the old 35 mm movie camera and had me open the tent flap so she could film Daddy trenching with a little camp shovel. As she's filming it, we all got to laughing and Daddy said this was his most favorite thing to do, next to swimming across a lake with man eating Piranhas. Needless to say, the mood was much better after that. And, it wasn't too long after that, that the sun came out.

No, I really don't like rain; but I do have some pretty fond memories. Thanks Mom.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

New Look in the Bedroom

The different light in the room makes the colors look a bit different. We decided we really needed to upgrade from a queen to a King. Seems we always sleep better away from home when traveling and generally...we have a King when we travel. The previous room was Red and Gold, we're more muted now with gray and tan. The walls are an a shade of off white that is almost a pale gray, carpet is tan and the drapes are a lighter shade of the tan. The room is small and so we've opted for the bed in the corner to free up a little floor space.
Here's a little different look before I put up the tiebacks. Again the light here is a bit different than above. We both feel like we're sleeping better which is nice. It's not a traditional style mattress, it's foam and therefore we don't feel each other getting up and turning over. Highly recommend you look into this if you're in the market for a new mattress or bed.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Put on your Apron

eggsPut on your apron and join me in the kitchen. I make egg casserole in batches typically. At Christmas I make tons of it. I don't bake, I don't make cookies, I make egg casserole. Everyone gets a casserole or 2 or 3 for their families from me on Christmas Eve which they then can cook for Christmas morning brunch. We have a fruit salad and champagne with ours. It's a long standing family tradition.

I also make egg casserole for all home Ohio State Footfall games that are noon games. It makes a great tailgate breakfast/brunch also. There we serve bloody mary's with it. Others in our tailgate group bring fruit salad, and potatoes to go with it.

My daughter made a bunch of this a few years back for her classroom, added fruit salad too. It was part of her lesson plan on table manners. They all learned about setting the table, putting a napkin in your lap, keeping your elbows off the table, not talking with food in your mouth, and not eating until everyone was served. They loved this lesson as the final was them serving each other the brunch she had prepared for them.

My Darling Daughter made another batch of this not too long ago for her teachers. She's in a new city now and so this was new to them. It was a business brunch and her egg casserole was a huge success.

My niece recently facebooked me to ask how to make it. She made it for her dorm in Texas. She's an RA there and made it for her group, and there too it was a huge hit.

6 eggs
6 slices of bread cubed
2 cups milk
1 cup grated sharp cheedar cheese
1 pound cooked sausage.

Combine and beat eggs and milk and cheese, add bread, add cooled cooked and drained sausage. Pour into a greesed baking dish(casserole pan etc.) and leave in fridge over night. Cook at 350 about 45 minutes, until golden brown on top and your knife/toothpick comes out almost clean.

Options:
add onion, spice to your liking, mushrooms, green or red peppers

Serve with breakfast rolls, juice, fruit salad and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Meow

cat ghanThis afghan (catghan) was made for my niece's daughter who is now 14 years old; so it's been around awhile. This was her baby ghan, made with good old Red Heart Yarn and crocheted from mostly granny squares. I wanted to put eyes and wiskers on at the time, I remember...but, didn't want anything she might put in her mouth and choke on so it remained a little bland. It needed a little repair. Not bad after all this time and many washings. Still looks pretty good. Definitely a testimony to the durability of Red Heart Yarn....acrylic washable yarn.

Just joined a meme (WIPW), fun idea. This was a work in progress in terms of the repair, so I'm counting it here.

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