Thursday, January 30, 2014

The As-You-Go Stripey Blanket

I don't usually attempt long, big yarn projects. I find them boring because they last  forever, and usually the work is unbearably repetitive. Then I saw this blanket on Pinterest. Click on over and see it at Hannah's "Not Your Average Crochet" blog. It's an impressive pattern!
This is Hannah's photo -- I wanted to show you HER work.
I started my version yesterday.

The burgundy/gray portion is called a Catharine Wheel. I'd never done that stitch pattern before, and it was fun to learn! That's one thing I want from this project: the opportunity to learn new stitches.
The blanket pattern is fun because each row is new -- either a new color or a new pattern. I love that! And my blanket will be unique because of my color selections -- and I'm using yarn I already have from my stash, so this project is useful to decreasing the growing volume of said stash. That's important; it gives me good reason to buy yet more yarn! All my yarny friends will identify, I'm sure.
Tonight, I've made more progress. I've started a new stitch, the star pattern.
 What fun! I like all the bright colors and variation.
 Here's the first row of the star pattern.
This blanket may take some time; I'll be sure to keep you apprised.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Painting Recovery

Hi, y'all. Yesterday, in an effort to have a slower school day amidst the snow, Julia and I painted. It was a bad painting day, I'm sorry to say. I finished a very bad, very ugly watercolor. Wasted paper, wasted paint.
But today we attempted it again. I'd printed off an adorable Corgi bookmark from Susan Branch's blog site, and wanted to give it a little color for my mother, who adores Corgis and Tasha Tudor. Read the lovely quote from her:
Julia and I giggle about this quote because she's adopted a new pronunciation of "sausages."
She pronounces it like "massages." :)
Anywho, today went much better. Julia painted a little owl. She gave it to me!! Isn't he fine?
After the Corgi bookmark, I recalled something else Susan Branch said -- that she cut up her scrap watercolor paper after she dabs her brushes on it, and gives it away to her fans as bookmarks. From Susan Branch, even a bedabbed piece of paper is a real find!
So I decided I'd paint something small and non-threatening, on already-used paper so it wouldn't matter when it turned out U-G-L-Y.
And I think I found my niche! And a very small niche it is, but I thoroughly enjoyed painting/penning these little bookmarks! The candle one is for Julia. I really like the tea one. I think I should include a couple of these in the giveaway package I'm mentally assembling for sometime in February.
Because absolutely ALL my blogging friends love to read :)
((I just realized that lily looks more like a limp pair of pajamas .... ))

A Visit from the Queen

 I told someone lately that a visit from 3 inches of snow, here in the South, is a bit akin to a visit from the Queen. It's a rarity, and we Southerners hardly know how to behave.
Never mind that Oriental is populated by about 80% Yankees!
The docks were chilly this morning. No one was out-and-about. No doggie walkers. No geezers chatting over coffee at The Bean. Adam and I had the road to ourselves. We strolled right down the middle of Broad St., with nary a car in sight.
A sailboat under snow -- quite a sight. We prefer our cruisers to think of Oriental as a warm spot. Oh well!
Adam, Sandy, and I headed out the house this morning for a blog walk ... that means Adam knows I'll want to go get photos for the blog, poor dear, and he's willing to come along. This is our street. We were the first beasts to leave prints in the snow.
Adam pulling on gloves. He wore two pair. As we neared the water, the wind picked up, and he zipped up, and switched from his old-guy hat to a stocking hat. Sandy said to us, "Cold? This isn't cold!"
An ordinary sight to all my Northern friends, but snowy steps are unusual here.
Walking down Broad Street unmolested by traffic gave me a rare opportunity to photograph the older homes there, right in the heart of the old village of Oriental. This pale yellow lady is so beautiful. She's now a nautical gift shop.
I've never seen anyone at this pretty farmhouse.
This large home is still being repaired and raised after Hurricane Irene. It houses the local county newspaper.
This pretty blue home is also always uninhabited.
And this brick home at the foot of the bridge -- I've never seen anyone there either. So many of these homes are owned, but they are 2nd or 3rd properties, I suppose. I wish they were lived in and really used.
This sea green beauty was once the town's hotel. Now it holds a gift shop and a realtor's office.
A row of three homes along Hodges St., in various states of disrepair. This type of farmhouse must've been very popular at some point in Oriental's history. They're everywhere in town.
Of the three, this one looks the worst. I'd love to buy her and fix her up, but Adam and I have both learned over the years that we're not very good at that. We never have the money for it. And even a house like this, in Oriental, would cost a pretty penny. Real estate in town, simply because of its location, is very high.
Someday, that house will sell to a person who will turn it into a jewel.
Here, Broad St. goes uphill over the big bridge. Some brave souls had already attempted it. We saw some trucks fish-tailing around down the road.
The ladies at the Provision Company have a good sense of humor with their signage.
Their dinghies are full of snow.
The Neuse was flat and steely gray.
Thanks for going on our chilly morning walk! Now I shall knit, paint, and sip hot tea for the afternoon.
Blessings all around!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Crochet Rescue Society

Do any of you do yarn rescue work? This is my third time, I think. A partially-finished blanket came into our prayer shawl group on Thursday. This blanket was made by Mrs. S. She's now in a care facility and no longer does any handwork.
But in her day ... oh my lands! ... Mrs. S. did a phenomenal amounts of all kinds of handwork. Mr. S. brought in her yarn, fabric, books, patterns, needles and hooks and all manner of things. There were piles. That woman had a stash. I think after they moved off their sailboat (they crossed many oceans), she decided it was time to spread out and start collecting :) Okay, here's the other side of the blanket.
It's an interesting piece, made in a shell pattern, very thick because you work one color on one side, and one on the other, and thus it's double thickness. Somehow. I don't have the pattern, so I can't tell you how that works. But I'll figure it out!
A few stains mar the white yarn.

I volunteered to finish it up as best I can. Not much yarn remains to do so. I'll wash it well, and it will be a lap robe for an elderly man, from our prayer shawl ministry.
I know many of you do yarn rescue work too, at your local thrift shops. You know -- you see a skein or two of some odd yarn, priced at 25¢ each, and you pick them up and give them a home. I did that with this yarn:
I knitted a scarf on my trusty size 19 needles.
I still haven't decided if this yarn is interesting and unusual, or just plain ugly. What do you think?
Originally $1.00.  I paid 50¢.
I made it rather bulky, I'm afraid, so I stopped after the first skein. It will be a good length for an infinity scarf. The yarn is soft, light, and warm.

It's just kind of odd-looking. I think. Or smoky and alluring?
To give it some pizzazz, I decided to add some beading along three sides, and then one run from corner to corner. I suppose that did help.
Julia and I are regularly surprised at what will sell at the market. I once made a hat with some crazy yarn, a truly ugly hat. Julia called it the bug hat. It was a muddy green yarn with black strands sticking out. They looked like a thousand antennae. After a few weeks, a lady came by, saw it, exclaimed, and said it was just perfect for her mother -- she'd love it! I smiled, took her money, and shook my head as she walked away. You never know!
So, somebody will love this scarf. Somebody.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Adam's Day in the Kitchen

I slapped all these photos up on facebook in one thread, and it looked so much like a blog post, I thought, "Hey! A blog post!"
We read on the weather forecast yesterday that a big winter storm is headed our way this week -- a "weather event," as we now call them. This got my hubby's cooking spirit all riled up, and he started slamming pots around and dashing to the grocery. It was a cookin' day, in anticipation of being snowed in! Does ice and a few inches of snow count as a snow emergency? Ha! In the Deep South is sure does!
First he made this Moroccan bread, khobz. I can never remember how to spell it. We don't know how to pronounce it. Who cares? It tastes delicious.
These are for supper tonight, with homemade chicken salad.
Then he made a fresh batch of granola with dried fruit. Very good.
He made another batch of bread, a recipe of his own invention. It'll be bubbling away until tomorrow, when he'll bake it off and we'll eat it.
Then Adam started something very new. He made mozzarella cheese. He used a gallon of milk, some rennet tablets and fresh lemon juice. I don't really know the whole process. I just jump in the kitchen occasionally and snap photos.

It looks a lot like yogurt, which he also made a batch of today.
Here's the finished mozzarella. We'll have it on pizza tomorrow night for supper when the wind is howling and the snow is blowing and the ice is slick on the roads.
This is some of the whey that you set the mozzarella in, in the frig. He used the rest of the whey to make ricotta cheese, which he said was too much trouble for the dab of ricotta he got.
The mozzarella is firm. Isn't it fun to think you can make this at home? From milk?
We'll be hunkering down in our winter weather event, giving you regular updates. I'm looking forward to two days on the couch, doing next to nothing except knitting, painting with Julia, smelling lovely aromas from the kitchen, and watching Downton and Sherlock on the site. Delightful!