Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Just Keep Swatching....

This winter break seems to be flying by all too quickly. We've been having a low-key, relaxing time together, without too many emotional outbursts, and for that I'm grateful. 

I'm currently swatching for my OWL proposal for Astronomy, a lace Morticia shawl in Madelinetosh Tosh laceweight yarn in Tart colorway, with size 8/0 dark plum iris beads. I'll add an extra two pattern repeats to make it larger and hopefully OWL-worthy. 

I do love the magic of blocking, it never ceases to amaze. 

Freshly bound-off swatch:

(Love how it matches my crafting chair)

Ready for its warm water Soak bath, approx. six inches tall and two inches wide 16 sts across):

On the blocking mat:

Next day after blocking - lovely!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Tail progress

30" long so far, getting there!

Crocodile stitch the right way

I'm not sure if I misread the pattern directions or messed up not turning when I was supposed to, but I've decided to cut the yarn, turn the tail and work the dc v sts from the wrong side, turn it again to work the scales as I saw on YouTube, so the right side of the tail is the backside of the scales. This way I don't have to secure them down. 

There will be three distinct changes in the scales themselves, but I don't think it will harm the overall aesthetic of the magical piece. :)

I will frog DD2's tail to work the crocodile sts the correct way -- that's a post for another day. 

Detention Jan 2016

I'm taking a slight break from the mermaid tail, and working on Kari's puppy pullover sweater, so it will be close to finished for Detention come January 1. 

I'm knitting long sleeves for the front legs, as she's a Rat Terrier, with short hair. She doesn't like being cold in the winter, and must be sitting on my lap or along my left thigh if I'm sitting anywhere. And it's best if she's under a blankie. Case in point: 

I love her to death, but it gets annoying at times. She will sit on the couch across from me, staring me down, until I call her over to join me on my chair. 

Hence the new wool sweater with long sleeves. Because short-haired pups suffer in the winter, poor dears. She just might need matching leg warmers for her back legs, too. ;)

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Fixing Crocodile stitch mermaid tail lap blanket

I'm crocheting the mermaid tail lap blanket for DD1. The scales should be worked so the back side is the right side, so they would curl under. As written, the front side of the dcs is the right side, so the scales are curling up. To fix this, I'm working the sc at the bottom of the scale as a fpsc around the v st posts of the scale in the row below. 

Posting pics so I don't forget how I did this. 

Worked 5 dc as the first half of the scale:

Hook is under the v st:

It can be a little tricky to work the loop and pull through, but fpsc worked:

Finished the 5 dc for the second half of the scale.

And here we see the last five rows of scales have been secured in this manner. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas baking

I didn't do any baking last year, and since we added an additional thyroid med, I actually have more energy this year. So we are baking some Christmas cookies. The hubby asked if we could bake some for him to bring in to work, so we're doing lemon cookies and Crookies for that, plus some peanut butter/kisses drops. I also remembered the chocolate snowballs I baked for him when we started dating way too many years ago, so might make some of them as well. 

I'm posting the recipes here, as I seem to lose them!

Lemon Cookies

1 pkg (Duncan Hines) lemon supreme cake  mix 
2 eggs 
1/3 cup veg oil 
1 T lemon juice 
3/4 C chopped nuts or flaked coconut (we omit) 
Confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease cookie sheet or use parchment paper

Combine cake  mix, eggs, oil, and lemon juice in large bowl, beat at low speed with electric mixer until well blended it will lighten in color a bit

Shape into 1-inch balls. Place on cookie sheet 1 inch apart.

Bake 6-7 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet, remove to cooling rack. Place paper towel under cooling rack and dust with confectioners sugar. paper towel helps make clean up easier!

Makes about 3 dozen.

Before the sugaring --

Easy PB Cookies

1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk 
3/4 to 1 cup peanut butter 
1 egg 
1 t vanilla extract 
2 C bisquick baking mix 
Hershey’s kisses, Unwrapped 
Granulated or candy coating sugar

In large mixer bowl beat sweetened condensed milk, PB, egg, and vanilla til smooth. Add bisquick, mix well. 
Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on I ungreased cookie sheet. 
Bake 6-8 mins or until lightly browned. Do not overbake.

Press kisses in center of each cookie immediately after baking. Let cool.


4 oz saltine crackers (1 sleeve) 
1 C butter 
1 C brown sugar 
2 C choc chips 
Chopped nuts if desired

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C). 
Line cookie sheet with saltine crackers in single layer to fill the pan, edges touching parchment paper lining helps wih clean up 
In a saucepan combine the sugar and the butter. Bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes. Immediately pour over saltines and spread to cover crackers completely. 
Bake at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 5 to 6 minutes it will be bubbly. Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over the top. Let sit for 5 minutes. Spread melted chocolate and top with chopped nuts. Cool completely and break into pieces.


Chocolate Snowballs

2 C sifted all purpose flour

1 t baking powder

1/2 t salt

1/4 t baking soda

3/4 C butter

3/4 C firmly packed brown sugar

2 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted

1 egg

1 t vanilla

1/4 milk

10X sugar for rolling

Measure dry ingredients into sifter

Cream butter with brown sugar until light

Beat in melted chocolate, egg, vanilla, and milk

Sift in dry ingredients a little at a time, blending well to make a stiff dough. 

Chill overnight or until firm

Roll dough a tsp at a time into marble-sized balls. Place 2" apart on ungreased [parchment lined] cookie sheets

Bake 8 mins in 350 degree F oven, until tops are crackled

Remove and roll in 10X sugar while still hot

Cool on wire racks, then roll again in 10X sugar to make a generous white coating 

Monday, December 21, 2015


Happy Christmas week to you!  We are in the home stretch, and I can almost hear the clicking of needles and the whooshing of crochet hooks and weaving looms around the globe, singing in frantic harmony with my own.

I saved up vacation days from work to be at home with the family, and I am *still* working on gifts. So here's the skinny -- gifting plans have changed (they always do), but I am actually making some good progress.

I'm not sure who in the family has bothered to look for my wee blog (lol!), so I shouldn't go into detail nor show any pictures until after the big day.  I have managed to finish something for DH, DS, and DD2, and am now near the end of DD1's boyfriend's gift.  DD1's gift is the largest and I'm about halfway through, and have put it into brief hibernation until I was able to finish up the others.  If I gave it to her to open with skein still attached, to give it back to me immediately to finish up, she would understand (she knows about it, anyway).  I had wanted to knit something else for DH that he actually mentioned he'd like to have, which was a first, but as it turns out to be quite time-consuming, I went with something quick and easier with chunky yarn instead. Maybe next week, if I can get the yarn I have on hand to make gauge.

And for the first time in her life, DD1 will not be with us on Christmas day, but in another state meeting bf's father for the first time. So technically, I have more time to finish her gift before giving it to her.

Oh, getting back to the wedding blanket I mentioned back in March, the squares are done and I still need to seam them together. Bit of a win! I truly did have good intentions, but life just got away with me. I hope to get it together and shipped to them before Valentine's Day (it's good to have a goal, no?).

So that's enough about that.

I started listening to an audio book this morning, albeit tardily as it expires via the library in about 14 hours, An Unquiet Mind.  I haven't shared here publicly, mostly due to the fear of stigma, and also because I don't know who may find this wee blog, but we have bipolar disorder in the family.  It is a roller coaster ride, to be sure.  I've requested to be put on the wait list for it again, and there is one reader before me, so not sure when I will have it to listen to again.  Since it hits home so closely, it's hard for me to listen to for any length of time, but it is helpful to know that we are not alone.  I mean, I *know* that millions of people are impacted by BP, whether in themselves or close family or friends, but often it does feel that we are all alone in this, that nobody would understand what we're going through, and not knowing where to turn for support.

DH and I attended a 6-week "Basics" class by our local NAMI chapter, and there were a few other folks there going through similar situations, but none with a clear BP diagnosis.  And there really are no answers.  Every situation is unique, each person dealing with it reacts in different ways.  I have bought about 20 books now and each recommends different techniques for dealing and coping and redirecting.  I continue to find myself in a haze of uncertainty and fear about the whole thing, hoping that we will make it through another day in one piece, praying it will be not as bad a day as the one before, and walking on eggshells if it was a good day, waiting for the hammer to drop and explode all around us.  It's exhausting -  emotionally, mentally, and even physically, and I worry when it negatively impacts my performance at work.  I think I'm getting less resilient, the older I get, and that's not good.

So I knit.  I knit so I won't kill people, lol.  And try to take it one moment at a time.  And I try to remember to breathe.  Breathing is important.

Monday, December 14, 2015


So I have been pathetic in keeping up with this blog -- not that anyone reads it, anyway. :). 

Our garden did fairly well, every thing produced except for the raspberry sapling that died quickly and the blueberry bush that just sat there. The corn only grew one foot high and also sat there. I know we should increase the soil depth, maybe that will be an option next spring. 

In the meantime, we have 10 baby trees hanging out there, from the Arbor Day Foundation. Hopefully these will live longer and we can transplant the dogwoods to permanent homes in the backyard, and donate the rest to the school. Last year's didn't make it there, where they were transplanted. 

I finished a massive Tunisian crochet blanket for my OWL project, Winter Is Coming, and I just love it. It's a wonderful pattern and the designer has a CAL going, and is very helpful in answering questions and sharing tips. Had a great time making it, and I'm relieved it's done!

New House Cup term is starting on Jan 1. Ravenclaw won both the House Cup and Quidditch Cup, and we're all elated! I'm back on House Staff, working with the blog for the first time. I'm nervous and excited at the same time. 

This term, I'll be proposing a Morticia beaded shawl for Astronomy in MadTosh Tosh laceweight in a gorgeous red colorway. Two subjects to complete, and I'll be OWL Mistress. Very exciting. 

I need to post my completed OWL and NEWT projects here for posterity - to do list!  Right now it's all in Ravelry. 

Christmas is next week, and I am busy working on gifts, mostly hats and mittens, though there's a mermaid tail halfway done that may be gifted as a WIP with skein attached and completed as soon after the holiday as I can  manage. :)

Happy Monday!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Two weeks gone

It's been two weeks since we lost Babcia. The sadness comes in waves, ebbing and flowing like the tides. I see her in the daily chores I do, in each stitch I knit, in the hugs and kisses of my children. 

Today we baked cupcakes, and I missed her, and remembered when she tried to give me this old KitchenAid stand mixer, and I resisted. It was old, I wasn't sure it would work, and it's quite beat up. But she was patient with me, and didn't give up. She kept offering it, until finally I said yes and brought it home. 

It was amazing! What a difference in mixing for baking and cooking. I wanted to kick myself for not taking it the first time she offered. I don't care what it looks like -- my godfather had offered to spray paint it, but I kept it as is, and I enjoy the retro look of it now. I'm so grateful now that I have it, and the memories of her. 

I'm so grateful for Babcia's love, her prayers, her self-sacrifice for her children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and the life lessons she taught me. 

I remembered her today, and cherished the memories of picking apples and baking apple pies with her up the farm. I tried to be a bit more patient with our youngest DD today, who just wants to spend time with me, and we both felt a bit better. 

The cupcakes are cooling, and we'll glaze them with a vanilla glaze. They smell heavenly. 

I will miss Babcia forever, until we are reunited again!

Thursday, June 25, 2015


The strawberries are starting to produce, and lil lady can't wait to eat them. :)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Farewell Babcia

Lost my Babcia tonight. 

There just aren't any words. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Slow growing but still alive!

Our two baby corn plants are still growing, and some of the baby carrots are starting to sprout their second set of leaves. We have a few strawberries growing, as well. 

We fixed the broken sprinkler in the back yard, so seeded the bare spots in the front lawn again. Really hope this time it takes. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Gardening take two

So I hate to admit, after we planted our spring garden plants, frost hit and we lost the basil and tomatoes, and the rosemary and parsley took a hit but survived, somewhat. 

Enter hail season, and the rhubarb was decimated. 

Today I dared to buy another basil, and also a sweet mint, oregano, and thyme. I repotted the chocolate mint together with the sweet mint in a new pot, and potted the new Italian herbs together. I'll keep that one on the back stoop, at least until the sun gets too hot for them there. 

We finally received the "free" trees from the Arbor Day Foundation (for a  donation, and a worthy cause to help plant trees in the forests), but they're way smaller than anticipated. They also shorted us three dogwoods, which they can't ship again until the fall. We've decided we'll donate the baby trees (above, bottom right) to the elementary school's garden club, of which DD2 is a member. 

We're bringing them to school this week, and I think we'll plant carrots across the bottom of the garden where they are now, and try some corn towards the top of the bed. 

Praying it all grows! It'll be good for DD2 to take care of during the summer, give her something to do. :)

Monday, April 13, 2015

Frost s****

The new plants yesterday? Frost last night took out most of it. :(

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Gardening day 1

We went to Home Depot to get mulch and things for the front lawn, and picked up plants for the garden. Yay!

Got basil, Italian parsley, rosemary, and cherry tomatoes again. Adding in sage, chocolate mint, and a blueberry bush and a raspberry bush. Really excited to see if they will survive here. The rhubarb and strawberries came back, which is awesome. The catnip did too - that's in a large pot by the patio, so leaving it there for now.  

Here's hoping it all lives!

Thursday, April 9, 2015


One of the things my husband's family would make for Easter are Puppas - cookies wrapped and baked around hard-boiled eggs. It kind of looks like a pretzel. 

When we moved cross country, I looked for a similar recipe, but only found a papoose bread. It was good, but it wasn't the same. I finally broke down and asked my husband to ask his cousin for the recipe, and the younger kiddos and I made them this year. I'm posting the details here so when I lose the recipe, it will be safe and waiting on the internets. ;)

We halved the recipe, using 
5 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 T baking powder
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 cups sugar 
1 T vanilla (not halved)
6 eggs
Plus a hard-boiled egg for each Puppa
(We made 6)

Mix all ingredients (except hard boiled eggs) in stand mixer until a smooth dough consistency

Score dough in the bowl into quarters, divide 1/4 in half, and in half again 

Roll into a rough ball, then roll between hands into a sausage

On parchment lined cookie sheet, roll out into a thinner rope, between a quarter and a nickel in diameter

Set aside

Roll out remaining portions for each Puppa. Leftover dough can be baked into cookies

To shape Puppa, place dough rope where you will bake it, form into a horseshoe, lay the egg on the cookie sheet, touching the dough, wrap the dough around he egg and twist the bottom ends around each other to secure (we didn't and it was a weak point)

Repeat. (We baked 3 on each sheet)

Bake 8-11 mins until bottom edge is golden brown (and top of cookie firms)

Remove from oven, let cool a few minutes on sheet

With long spatula, carefully move to cooking racks (with paper towel underneath to catch drips of icing)

When cooled, mix 1 cup confectioner's sugar, 1t lemon juice, and 1T milk together. Drizzle over cookie. Sprinkle with candy confetti or colored sugar. 

Note: The eggs can be a bit hard to peel due to the extra baking in the oven. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Easter already

I can't believe that Easter is on Sunday already. Did the requisite Easter basket shopping yesterday, and included some nice non-candy surprises for our three kiddos. We're (read that as I'm) going to bake Puppas, a cakey-cookie thing wrapped around an Easter egg, sort of like a pretzel. Haven't had them since we moved here 13 yrs ago, and I've been searching for a similar recipe and finally had DH ask his cousin for the family recipe. It isn't even the family's, it's from an old neighbor of his grandparents'. Go figure. 

It's incredible how this year is just flying by, and the kiddos will be out of school in two months! It had warmed up nicely, and then today we had snow, so the weather just can't seem to make up its mind. Turned the heat back on, so we don't freeze tonight, lol! 

Sunday, March 29, 2015


As of the beginning of this month, I've stepped away from House Cup professorship duties so I can refocus on family and work, and I'm missing the interaction with the staff and students, but I know it's for the best right now.

I'm refocusing my crafting time for some gifts, birthday and wedding, and although it will be extremely strange being able to craft when and where I want, without the constriction of crafting within the calendar month or several months for OWL, Missions, or NEWTs, it may be a bit liberating. That, or I just won't get a bloody thing done on time. We shall see!

I haven't gotten any other blocks done for the GAL, and I'm frankly putting it into hibernation. I've written out all the WIPs I have, either hibernating or active, and I really have too many to be completed in any realistic timeframe. I have to go through them and cull out those I don't want/need anymore, and just frog them. I don't have the energy to do it today, but I plan to do so over the next couple of weeks - something I'd usually think about doing during Break Month, lol. Seems I can't get out of the Term cycles easily, and that's ok. It's a great discipline, and I hope to return to active student status someday.

Enough for now, I have to get back to a huge, cabled wedding afghan, Lord help me! At least the wedding isn't until December. Let's see if I can get 'er done in time to ship cross country, before the wedding, this time.

Hacked again, sigh...

So I think I've figured out how my wee blog was hacked yet again, and hopefully have put in safeguards to prevent it from happening again. Hopefully!  Otherwise, I'll have to take this one down and try again with a different blog host. We'll see.