30 September 2016

Furball Friday

Pip, 2012

This is the picture that my friend posted on Facebook of her foster kitten, then called Legoless (since he had to have a leg amputated), that convinced The Tim that we needed to add this sweetheart to our family.

Have a good weekend!

27 September 2016

Q's, A's, Fall

I haven't gotten myself together for a few weeks to do Kathy's Q&A, but this time I was determined to participate.  Good thing too, 'cause most are questions I can actually answer without spending time pondering and then giving up. (Does anyone else overthink everything?  It's always been an issue for me.)

*Do you work better in groups or alone?

ALONE! I absolutely cannot stand group projects.  Mainly because I am somewhat OCD, and get annoyed that not everyone is putting the same amount of effort into things.  

*Butter or margarine?

Butter.  We don't eat a whole lot in our house, so it lasts a while, thereby making it not quite as expensive as if we slathered it on everything.

*For a day: no phone or no computer?

No phone.  I could live my life happily if I never ever had to talk on the phone again.

*Gym shoes: wear them out, or replace regularly?

I replace mine regularly.  Since I have foot problems, I suffer if they get too worn out.

*More likely to find in your couch cushions: money or needles?

Neither.  I am most likely to find crumbs (The Tim is a messy snacker), or shedded kitty claws.

*What kind of knitting hurts your hands/arms/fingers?

Knitting with stiff cotton for too long, and also knitting with large needles.  I've done a couple of projects with larger needles (US 15 or 17) and though they have been fine, they took a long time to finish, due to the fact that they made my hands hurt.

*How do you feel when someone asks you to knit for them? Delighted? Burdened?

Other than The Tim, who will occasionally mention something specific, I've never had anyone else ask.  I guess it would depend on who it was asking, and what they wanted.  I'm more than happy to knit stuff for family.

*I choose my patterns based on: the designer? the difficulty? the ability to use stash on hand?

Well, I guess it depends.  Sometimes if I really love something, and it's a technique or item I haven't tried before, I'll give it a whirl.  But I guess most of the time, it's designer or difficulty.  I do like certain designers more than others, and 99% of the time, I want to feel confident that I can knit the pattern.  If I have stash that I can use, that's icing on the cake.

*I store my yarn in: plastic bags? project bags? bins and pots and pans?

I have one of those cubby things from Target with cloth bins and I add mothballs.  WIPs are in project bags.

*Last company you called customer service?

I can't remember.  I did e-mail customer service a few weeks ago at Madewell, after I went into the store for something and two salespeople went above and beyond to help me.  I try to report good service as much as awful service.


It seems that fall has arrived around here.  Though this week is supposed to be rainy, it's also supposed to be cool, which is fine with me.  The only down side for me is that I seem to be catching a cold - gah!  But at least I can cozy in a sweater or blanket to make myself feel better.  :-)

25 September 2016

Sunday Doings and Pictures from Mystic Seaport

How is your Sunday going?  Mine has been quiet so far, which is fine.  The Tim is at work, so the kitties and I are having a lazy Sunday.  This morning I got the Boston Baked Beans going in the crockpot, and I am really hoping they will end up tasting as good as they smell!  And of course, there's the usual laundry, bill-paying, and cleaning up that will happen, but on my own schedule rather than on someone else's and that is one of the best things about Sundays on your own.

I'm also going to be finishing the second sock of a pair I started during our vacation.   Which is surprising, even to me.  Never before have I knit a pair of socks so quickly.  A show-and-tell post is in the near future.  I'll likely work on them while I watch the Pittsburgh Steelers-Philadelphia Eagles football game later.  Or, as they say in their respective towns, the Stillers vs. the Iggles ...

I finally have some vacation pictures to share.  I realized as I was getting things organized, that The Tim took a whole lot more pics on his camera.  I'll see if I can swipe some of those, but these will at least give you a good idea of things.

Our very first stop was Mystic Seaport, in Connecticut.  The Tim had gone on his own for a long weekend a few years back, and wanted to go again.  I have wanted to go since I saw a couple of pictures in my 4th grade geography textbook!  Fortunately, it did not disappoint.

Though the drive up was overcast, and somewhat warm and humid, shortly after we arrived, a storm front moved through, and within half an hour, the temperature was down, the humidity gone, and the sky was perfect.  We spent the better part of the day at Mystic Seaport, but we also had a great time walking around the little town, crossing the drawbridge and getting to see it raised and lowered, and walking through a food festival.  The Tim spotted Mystic River Yarns - YAY!!  That will be part of its own post, but I can say it was a lovely shop.

So here are a few pictures.

I adore lighthouses.  They had a really cool little movie screen inside this one, with a 15-minute film about the history of lighthouses and lighthouse lights.  

The harbor.

We toured  a couple of historic ships.

 A modern sailboat passing by.

 I am always amazed that humans climbed up on the masts to adjust sails, check to see what might be ahead, etc.  Fascinating and dangerous.

On board - the little "house" there leads down to the quarters for the captain and the crew.

They also had an exhibit showing how the the rope cables on the ships were made, which I thought was crazy interesting.

 It all starts on bobbins ...

 then each bobbin has to be threaded through one of these holes ...

 which then go through this ...
and then go through these dividers and get twisted into rope cables before ...

they are finally twisted into HUGE rope cables for the ships.  These truly were huge and I really liked this exhibit because frankly I'd never appreciated a) what was involved in making even basic rope, and b) the way it was able to be "automated" in the sense that machines could help with a lot of the backbreaking stuff.

After we left there we stopped at a lovely little restaurant for lunch, which was a seafood BLT and a local beer.  Both were wonderful, and our waiter didn't even flinch or make a face when we asked for our sandwiches without the bacon.  :-)

Then we walked around the food festival, over the bridge and to the little downtown area. Where we saw this.

The Tim was astounded that it was a real place! (I was just glad Julia Roberts wasn't there, since I can't stand her ...)

We agreed that we both want to go back to Mystic Seaport, and the little town sometime.  It's such a nice place, and since we were there in mid-September, there weren't crowds of people.  I'm not so sure I would enjoy being there in the summer!

I would not, however, mind being there again right now ... ;-)

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday, and hopefully this week will be good to all of us.

23 September 2016

July and August Harry's Hundred Update

First of all, thanks to all of you for your supportive comments on the previous post.  I feel better knowing that I was not just being oversensitive.  Granted, it's not like I can do anything much about the way I feel, but sometimes you just want others to weigh in, you know?

Anyway, on to other things of a more positive nature.  :-)

I completely flaked out and forgot to do a Harry's Hundred update for both July and August.  And when I did think of it, I would be at work, or on vacation, or ready to fall asleep - times when I did not have easy access to either my computer or the pictures.  So let's do it now, while everything is ready to go!

I don't have pictures, because she forgot to take any before sending them off, but Dee knitted two hats for Harry's Hundred, and they have likely been received by now, and will happily warm heads once the cold weather actually hits.

During July, I knit this pair of fingerless mitts (Ravelry link here).

These were fast and easy to knit, and you end up with a really nice pair of mitts.  The pattern is very straightforward, and I can see many of these in the future, both for this project as well as for gifts, etc.

August brought these items into the overall count:

First up, this hat made by frogstitch, which looks so cozy, I wouldn't mind having it for myself!

Then, the ever-reliable GringaTurista made these mittens, which she calls "Mitten Pox Are Contagious," which completely cracks me up!

Finally, another effort of mine, which I call the Seedy Stockinette Hat (Ravelry link here).  When I made this, I made it so that the brim is extra warm around the ears, by knitting an extra long brim that is then folded inside.  I'm very pleased with how it turned out.

Thanks to every single person who has been nice enough to work on projects and let me know about them.  We are getting a nice variety of things, and it makes me happy to think of how many people will have something nice and/or warm this winter as a result.

Here's our latest tally:

Goal:  100 items
Tally so far:  42

Almost halfway there - and even if we don't hit our goal, at this point there will be 42 warmer, cozier, and hopefully somewhat happier wearers of our work!

21 September 2016

On My Mind

So that you know from the get-go, this post has nothing to do with knitting, reading, or our vacation, and mentions belief systems.  So you have been warned.  It's just something that has been on my mind for a few days, and I want some opinions if you care to share.

We have a neighbor who lives down the street who is truly a nice and lovely person.  I mean, genuine.  Not someone who grates on you.  She is kind to every person and creature in the neighborhood, and truly caring.

This past Monday, I ran into her on my way home from work.  I hadn't seen her for most of the summer, and she expressed sorrow at hearing that our Doodle Dog had died.  She said how he always seemed so happy, and was so friendly, and that she missed seeing him.  I said that we were heartbroken and still missed him terribly.

Then she said, "I'd like to tell you that there is something to believe in, and that you will see him again.  But there isn't, so he is just gone."

WHY WOULD YOU SAY THIS TO SOMEONE?  Even if I agreed with her (and frankly, I don't, but that is neither here nor there), I still found this extremely insensitive and rude.  I felt like I'd been slapped in the face.  I think I murmured something about having to get home and walked away, but I have been feeling so hurt since then.

Whether or not you believe in God, Goddess, gods, clouds, flowers, or nothing at all, I don't think it would ever be appropriate to say something like she did.  If I had asked her, maybe that would be different, but I didn't and I had said nothing beyond what I already mentioned here.

Then I also wondered, would she say the same thing to someone who had lost a human family member?  I hope not.  I do know that a few years back, her husband died, and perhaps she got tired of people telling her they would see each other again.  That is her business not mine.

The whole thing still upsets me.  Do you think I'm being oversensitive?  If I am, I can't really help it, it's how I am feeling, but I am curious to know if anyone else would feel hurt by this kind of comment.

I promise not to keep harping on this, but I just wanted to throw it out there for your consideration, if you are still reading this post.


20 September 2016

Five Plus Five

While I wait for the photo editor to start working again so I can share vacation pictures (The Tim is on it), I decided to participate in this week's Ten on Tuesday.  Carole wants us to list two sets of five things:

The 5 Best Things You Did This Summer


The 5 Things I You Are Looking Forward to Doing This Fall

This summer sucked big time, for a number of reasons. But  I need to make myself  remember some highlights and here they are.

1. Spent the day in Annapolis.  It's one of our fave places, and we had a great time.

2. Went to the Barnes Foundation for the first time.  Amazing.

3. Had a great visit with friends from WV, who we hadn't had a chance to spend time with for a while. 

4. Fixed up the garden, though the horrible heat and humidity kept us from enjoying it very much.  We got to sit out there once!  But still, I'd been wanting to get it fixed up, and I did.

5. Our New England trip last week.  I have to tell you, it saved the summer for us.  

Looking towards the fall, here are things I'm hoping will happen and be fun.

1. Enjoying being out in the garden!  Cooler weather should mean we can enjoy sitting out there and relaxing.

2. Going to Rehoboth Beach for a weekend in October and staying with my niece Amanda and her husband Pat at his family's wonderful little beach house.

3. Trying baked beans from scratch in the crockpot.

4. Being able to enjoy taking walks and riding my bicycle.  

5. The weather!  Nice enough to cuddle with the kitties, drink tea, wear and make knits, and overall be cozy.

I for one cannot wait until it's not only officially fall, but for when it *feels* like fall!  :-)

15 September 2016

Halfway Point

Hello all ~ Just a quick check-in, at the halfway point of our vacation.  I can't tell you how great it's been, and if I thought I loved New England before, I love it even more now.

I am writing to you at the moment from our room in the B&B we found in Bar Harbor, Maine.  We are in a lovely room just a short drive (and only slightly longer walk) from the main part of town.  The place we are staying (The Cleftstone Manor) is on the National Register of Historic Places - how cool is that?  In a little bit we will be heading to breakfast, and then off to Acadia National Park for a hike.

The weather has been perfect (high today is expected to be 65 degrees!), and our adventures have been fun.  I can reassure you that fall is on the way - the leaves are starting to change up here, and it's been pleasantly cool and crisp.  The people we've run into have said it's taken a little longer for the leaves to start changing, and apparently the summer was hot enough and without as much rain, so many towns have water bans in place (however, everyone's garden's still look lovely - what is the secret!?).

We have eaten delicious food, had amazing local beers, and easily walked 8-10 miles every day.  (Which is good, considering the first part of that sentence.)

I've taken LOTS of photos, and will share them when I'm home and can get organized.  But suffice it to say, this trip is a huge success.  I mean, how could it not be, when you see things like this every single day?

Have a good rest of the week!

10 September 2016

One More Before the Big Trip!

Well tomorrow is traveling day - we'll be up early and on our way north!  We've looked at the weather forecast for the week, and though of course it could all change, right now, it's looking pretty wonderful.  We have a lot of our stuff gathered to take and pack, and will likely work on that tonight.  The cat sitter will arrive tomorrow, so that is sorted out, and we'll set out our trash tomorrow for Monday morning pickup (which will drive one of our neighbors insane, thereby only making it better as far as we're concerned).

The cats are already ensconced near and on our empty suitcase. :-)

I have some pictures to share, but not today.  For reasons unknown to me, they downloaded into my laptop, but I cannot open them.  The Tim has offered to look at things, so hopefully next time I can do a show-and-tell.

I'm bringing the laptop along on our trip, for various things, but I really have no idea if/when I'll post.  So you may hear from me this week, or you may not hear from me until we're back.  Enjoy the suspense!

Well, it's been nearly two weeks since I announced my giveaway winner, and I have not heard a peep from Lynn.  I sent her an e-mail, using the e-mail address in her blog profile, but nothing.  I know she gets busy once her kids go back to school, but I feel like two weeks has been plenty of time to even just say, "I'll send my info soon, I'm too busy right now."

So I decided to choose again.  Rather than go with the random number generator, I wrote everyone's name on slips of paper and let the kitties choose.  The first time, there were two pieces of paper stuck together, so we did it again.  Guess what?  Still stuck together, LOL.  So now there will be two winners and they are:

Vera   and   Dee!

So, ladies, IF you are reading, please send your mailing info to me at baclancyATverizonDOTnet.  (Dee I think I have your address, but please send it along in the event I can't locate it easily!)  I will get the packages together once we get home, and send them, so it may be a couple of weeks until they arrive.  But I do hope to hear from you, as I was very excited to have my blogiversary giveaway!

And that's it for now.  Time to pay the bills that will come due while we're gone, and watch the Notre Dame football game, hoping they can win this one.  :-)

One story for you though - I shared this on Facebook, but I figure you guys will enjoy it too.

Every year when we watch the first home game of Notre Dame football, I remember how it felt to be there at the stadium in person the first time.  It was the home opener against Michigan (a big rivalry).  I was really excited because I'd spent time with my dad as a little girl watching the games on TV when they would be broadcast (he was one of the famous "subway alumni" - Notre Dame fans who have never set foot on campus, but are devoted nonetheless), and being able to actually go to a game in real life was a dream come true.  Anyway, the ND players came out onto the field, and the place went crazy, and the band started playing the fight song.  The Tim looked up from his book and said, "Is that us?"  I assured him that it was, and that it was also very unlikely that the Michigan team would have gotten the same welcome.  ;-)

It remains one of my happiest and funniest memories, ever.

Have a wonderful weekend!

06 September 2016

Labor Day Weekend

Carole wants to know 10 Things I Did This Weekend.

My weekend was pretty quiet.  The Tim had to work Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, so for the bulk of it, I was on my own.  Fortunately on Sunday and Monday, he worked the opening shift, so was home for dinner and the evening.

So here is my fairly unexciting list. :-)

1.  Took a bubble bath (Friday night).  I usually take showers, but every once in a while, I feel like it's a decadent treat to take a bubble bath.   A Friday night of a long holiday weekend when I was left to my own devices seemed like a perfect time for decadence.

2.  Bought a new pair of jeans.  This is a huge thing for me because a) I hardly ever shop for jeans, and b) I have a hard time finding a pair to fit.  A friend had mentioned that Madewell jeans were nice, albeit pricey.  So I saved my $$, and was waiting until they had a sale.  The local store had a flash sale promotion where you got an extra 30% off the sale price.  So I headed over, and with the help of two lovely sales assistants (one who seemed near my age, which was a plus), I found a lovely pair that fit well.  They will be my "good" jeans - meaning, that I will save them for very casual but presentable times.  (My regular jeans are in terrible shape, and I wear them around, but would never wear them for anything other than running around at home.)

3.  The Tim and I [finally] finalized all of our reservations for our vacation next week!  We are going to do a driving trip through New England.  We'll leave on Sunday and return the next Saturday.  It was a big relief to get all of our hotels and such straightened out, and now we're just deciding the things we definitely want to do/see.  Best of all?  The Tim said, "Maybe you'll see some yarn stores and can get a souvenir."  Well, if I must, I must, you know??

4.  Laundry.  Loads and loads of laundry.  I actually enjoy doing laundry.  The stuff goes in all dirty and messy, and comes out clean and fresh.  I think it's the immediate gratification of it.

5.  Finished the book I was reading.  An enjoyable, somewhat non-involved mystery that I started after finishing a pretty intense book earlier in the week.

6.  Knitted.  I am nearly finished with Portfolio Scarf #2 out of 4 for a Christmas gift.  I worked on it while watching some stuff on TV and when listening to an audiobook.  I would have finished it if I had not messed up a section watching a football game on Sunday night.  I had to rip back a few rows, and waited to re-do them yesterday, since I was tired on Sunday night, and feared I would make a bad situation worse if I continued.

7.  Watched the Notre Dame-Texas football game - well, most of it.  I got too tired to stay up for the end.  Sadly, Notre Dame lost, but at least it was just by 3 points rather than a blowout.

8.  Mending.  Why is it that, when you have something that needs to have the simplest amount of mending done, but it's not something you wear all of the time. that it takes so ridiculously long to mend it?  I'm not even gonna say how long the 4 things I worked on had been waiting, because I'm actually embarrassed to admit it.  Of course, once I sat down to do it, the whole thing took about 1/2 an hour.

9.  Cleaned.  I have a thing where, when I know I'm going away, I like to clean before I go, so I can come home to a nice, clean house.

10.  Slept.  It was nice to get some extra rest.  Granted, when I have a weekend and/or a day off, I don't necessarily sleep until noon, usually maybe an hour or so later.  But it feels very luxurious!

So it was not an exciting weekend, but it was a nice one.  And best of all, it felt longer than three days!

04 September 2016

You May Have Already Seen These ...

but I'm gonna show them to you again.  These are the two items I finished during the Olympics but didn't want to show and tell you about until I knew my swap partner had received them.  Well, she did receive them, and posted on her blog today about it, so I can provide details here (whether or not you asked!).

Araignee was my dishcloth swap partner.  I knew she lived in Maryland, so my first dishcloth was inspired by that.

Once I finished it, I realized it might have been easier to see the raised parts if I'd used a slightly different color.  but, I did get a picture so that it showed up, so I'm happy about that.

Project:  Maryland Dishcloth
Pattern:  Knitted Maryland Cloth
Yarn:  Sugar 'n Cream, colorway Cream
Needles:  Size 7US
Notes:  This is definitely something that looked like what it was supposed to be once it was blocked.  Before that, no one would be likely to have a clue.  ;-)

The second one had such a lovely stitch pattern, I decided I would like to incorporate it into a scarf or something sometime.

Project:  Blackberry Bramble Dishcloth
Pattern:  Blackberries Dishcloth
Yarn:  Cotton-Eases, colorway Violet
Needles: Size 7US
Notes:  This is a pattern where when starting, you have to pay close attention, but after the first or second pattern repeat, it's easy to remember.  And as I said above, I love the way the stitch pattern looks.

It's funny because for two small projects, I got a ton of satisfaction with how they turned out - and it was nice to work on something that was finished quickly.  There's a lot to be said for immediate gratification!

And now, let me show you what I received in my swap package!  Araignee outdid herself with this:

From top to bottom, right to left:  Farmer's Market Soap, Lemongrass Verbena Soap, Blackberry Sage Soap, 
Peppermint Tingle Soap

I opened up the box, and there were four little packages, plus a card she made herself!  There were four handmade soaps, and each one seemed to correspond to a season of the year.  Cool, huh?

However, she didn't stop there.  When you opened the little tie ribbons on the package, each one had a corresponding dishcloth:

Aren't they lovely?  I was sooooo excited to open each one and see what it looked like.  I think this was such a lovely idea for a swap package, and I feel like I hit the jackpot.    Thanks, Araignee!

I have been in a few swaps, but the last one was years ago.  I liked the idea of this one, because it seemed manageable, and there was no feeling of it being a "contest" to see who could send the most, or spend the most.  I'm so glad I signed up, and am grateful to Kathy for getting it all set up and organized.

I [finally] mailed the Slutty Pumpkin socks to my niece, on the same day I mailed my swap package.  She posted a picture and a very enthusiastic "thank you" on Facebook.  I guess when she would see the in-progress pictures on Facebook and Instagram, she kept wishing they were for her, as she said, "especially since they were called  Slutty Pumpkin."

So it sounds like it was a good week for packages all the way around.  :-)

02 September 2016

Furball Friday

Jetsam is ready to relax over this coming long weekend ... are you? 

Whatever you do or don't do (I'm in the latter category), enjoy!