31 May 2019

Friday Funnies - End of May Edition

Well, after today, May's a wrap.  I don't know about where you are, but here in Philadelphia, this week has been brutal - disgustingly humid, and each day there has been a downpour of epic proportions, as well as a couple of tornadoes in the neighboring suburban areas.  This is not generally part of Tornado Alley, so that should give you an idea of how wonky things are in the universe.

Of course, everyone (well, except me) is already talking about the excitement of summer, and how great the hot weather is, will be, etc. Though the official start of summer is weeks away, after Memorial Day, I think most of us go into summer brain mode.  I am hoping that this summer will not be a brutal one, but in my heart I know better.  So like every year, I'm trying to psych myself up for the things I actually do enjoy about summer (fresh fruit and veggies, spending the day at the ocean, for example) and try to be in as good a mood as possible.  This year we won't be taking any vacation in the sense of traveling, but I'm hoping to take some days here and there to just not be at work, which after all is what vacation is about anyway.

I thought that some of these cartoons might give you a smile as we say goodbye to May and hello to June, while summertime barrels towards us.

One thing that helps is if you can dress more appropriately.

Also, keep telling yourself that it *is* summer, and you are supposed to take it easy.

This one reminded me of the past few days and all the rain - the other day, The Tim said, "Well, at least our plants are happy!"

Also, barbecues can be fun.

In the end, though, I can sympathize with Calvin ...

Here's to a good weekend, whatever you do, and whatever the temperatures might be!

29 May 2019

Vacation Brain

Today will be my first day at work since last Thursday.  I'm not looking forward to it, but then again it *is* already Wednesday, so it's a short week, and I'm sure I'll live.  ;-)

We had a wonderful trip home and a great holiday, I hope you did too.  I do need to apologize in advance because I have inadvertently deleted your comments that were sent to my e-mail regarding my last few posts, so those whose e-mail addresses that I have, and who usually hear from me, will not.  (I'm too lazy to go through to the posts and respond.  Really.)  I was paying bills yesterday, and when I went through to delete the electronic bill messages, I accidentally hit Permanent Delete on them all, and WHOOSH!  But I do appreciate hearing from all of you, and hopefully you understand.


Our actual drives back and forth were completely uneventful, traffic-wise, which is always a good thing.  We managed on both days to get an early start, which I believe in my heart makes a difference.  We had good weather - sunny, not too hot, nice breezes - and any rainstorms were either in the evenings, or were brief showers that came and went.

You're probably hoping to see photos.  Yeah, me too.  If anyone sends me any.  I failed to take a single shot, except for a couple that I posted on Instagram, and will try to pull out.  But also, plenty of others were taking lots of photos, so I'm hoping to snag some of theirs.  What can I say, I was too busy having a good time.

Hamlet had THE TIME of his life!  He actually didn't want to leave, he was enjoying himself so much.  Thankfully, everyone was leaving right about when we were, so that made it a little bit easier.  But between the attention, the endless supply of ice cubes (his favorite treat), and all the opportunities to play Blue Ball (TM) and sit on my sister's porch, it was a hard sell to get back in the car and come home.  He had close encounters with robins, deer, rabbits, and chipmunks, all of which were very exciting, but fortunately not a bad experience for anyone.

One really nice surprise is that one of my nieces and her family who we don't see too often ended up coming for a quick visit, so we had a chance to catch up with them a bit.  There was a lot of laughing, drinking, catching up, and of course, eating.  My niece Amanda and her husband Patrick always put themselves in charge of the food, and those two go nuts!  Besides every side dish known to man (and some that were new), they grilled the usual hot dogs and hamburgers, but also shrimp, crabs, lobster tails, and corn on the cob.  Everyone who came contributed a dessert, and those were equally ridiculous.  There was a peanut butter cake with peanut butter frosting and Reese's cups chopped up on top that should be illegal.  Needless to say, the picnic was on Saturday, and we didn't need to actually cook anything the rest of the weekend.

The funniest thing that happened is that two different waitresses thought that The Tim was Steve Martin!  Now this always amuses me to start with, but two in one weekend???  A few years back, my brother-in-law and a couple of nieces decided that he looked just like Steve Martin.  I don't see it, but I guess the white hair is at least something they have in common.  Every once in a great while, someone will say, "Oh I can see that," when you mention it, but otherwise, no one has ever gotten excited thinking he's a celeb.  Anyway, Friday night after we arrived, we went out to dinner, and when the waitress was taking orders, she got to him, and said, "OH MY GOD STEVE MARTIN IS IN WHEELING???"  And she was serious.  And he was not in Wheeling, nope it was The Tim.  Well, as you can imagine, this lead to great hilarity for the rest of the evening.  Then on Monday morning before everyone headed home, we all went out to breakfast, and again, when the waitress got to him for his order, she did a double take, and then said, "Oh sir, I didn't mean to stare, but at first I thought you were Steve Martin."  Go figure.

Do you ever do this?  You are going along, and you think "Gosh I hope I don't drop this," and then you immediately drop it, or some similar kind of cause-and-effect activity?  Well, as we were leaving on Monday morning, The Tim wanted to stop at Kroger and put gas in the car.  So I went in to the store because I wanted to buy some mints and get a soda.  The checkout lanes were packed already, so I went to self-checkout.  And as I was standing there, I thought "I wonder if any idiots ever put their change into the dollar slot when paying by mistake."  And then guess what this idiot did?  I would have been more embarrassed if I hadn't been so amused.  Vacation brain, indeed.

OK, this has been pretty rambly, so I'll wrap up.  I can tell you all about the knitting I did over the holiday weekend next time - maybe even with photos! 

Have a good Wednesday, and here's to the rest of the work week just moving itself along.  :-)

27 May 2019

Memorial Day 2019

We don't know them all,
But we owe them all.
    -- Unknown

Wishing you and yours a lovely Memorial Day holiday, and hoping that we all take a minute to thank those who can only celebrate in eternity.  God bless every single one of them.

24 May 2019

Have a Great Holiday Weekend!

Yankee Doodle Dug!

The Tim, Hamlet, and I are on our merry way to (Almost Heaven) West Virginia for the Memorial Day holiday weekend.  The kitties will be guarding the homestead with the help of a cat sitter, who I'm sure will get quite an earful from Pip.  As much as I wish they could come with us, I know they would not enjoy the trip, so they have a better holiday here at home with someone else to honor and serve them ...

It will be fun to see everyone and catch up on everything and everyone.  I'm sure there will be a lot of laughing involved too, which is part of the fun.  Hamlet even got a bath, since this will be his WV debut!

Here's hoping that your weekend - whether you celebrate Memorial  Day or not - will be a fun, relaxing one, and that you can just enjoy things however you wish. 

23 May 2019

Prepping for the Holiday Weekend

If you live in the U.S., you know that the long Memorial Day weekend is nearly here.  This heralds the unofficial start of summer (OK that part depresses me), and in our house it means we get ourselves ready for our (mostly) annual trip to see my sister and her family and about a thousand other friends and relatives for a day of picnic and fun at her house.  This year the actual picnic will be on Saturday, since that's the day most people are able to come.  It never ever fails to be fun and hilarious, and though some of the cast of characters might change from year to year, that only adds to the "interesting" nature of the whole thing.

So even though we will all be busy on Saturday morning setting things up, organizing food, drinks, dishes, etc., that will be no big deal as far as I'm concerned, because I will have already taken care of the major organizing and set up that I have to do - before we even leave our house!

So today I'm participating in Three on Thursday, and sharing three of the main things that have to be taken care of before we even leave our house on Friday morning.

1. Prep things for the cat sitter.  We are taking Hamlet with us, but the kitties will be cared for by a cat sitter who will start on Friday afternoon.  This involves making sure there is enough food available, that the litter box has plenty of bags to use, paper towels and cleaning supplies are easily available, and the list of instructions and necessary phone numbers are posted and clear.  Even though this is something we do every time we go away, there are always some variations that keep it from being automatic.

2.  Pack the extra stuff.  Packing our clothes is the easy part.  It's the extra stuff that takes time.  The Tim has about 50 things related to various gadgets that he just *must* take with us, even if they never get used.  I want to be sure I have a knitting project and a book.  Hamlet's stuff and toys have to be organized.  Then there are things like food and gifts.  There are things that we are somewhat particular about (tea comes to mind), so we like to bring our own.  And since it's a holiday weekend, that means we each get to take a treat - potato chips for The Tim, Twizzlers for me (Hamlet's favorite treat is ice cubes, so we let him have the ice from our drinks along the way).  We usually take some wine to give to my sister and brother-in-law, and small gifts for them and some others.  Then of course, bed pillows, bug spray, etc.  This all usually ends up being much more than our single suitcase!

3.  Tell the neighbors we'll be gone.  This is so that a) they won't be worried when they see that someone they don't know has a key to our house, but also so the cat sitter can contact them in case of emergencies; b) so they can water our plants and flowers while we are gone (we do the same for them), and c) so they can contact us if anything major comes up in the neighborhood (this was useful when we were in Ireland during Superstorm Sandy, and they gave us updates so we knew all was well).  We are fortunate to have great neighbors on one side of us and right across the street, so it's an extra level of comfort when we are away.

It always seems that there are so many things, large and small, that go in to getting ready for a trip.  Whether it's a weekend or a week, a lot of things are the same, but when I have the time to think and prepare, I think it's kinda fun.  For me, the anticipation is often just as much fun (sometimes more) than the actual trip!

I am off work today, so I'd better post this, and start getting some things taken care of so there are fewer last-minute crises.  :-)

21 May 2019

Buzzing Along

Before saying anything else, I think you should know that I am highly irritated with The Tim, who has given me his cold.  As if I wanted or needed it!  And I can't just get a cold - no, I have to get a cough that makes me feel like I'm losing a lung every time as well.  I think it's just rude.  Particularly with a holiday weekend coming up.

OK, rant over.

Today is Tiny Needle Tuesday, when Dee and some others show their needlework projects.  I showed a counted cross-stitch that I was working on right when I first started it, but not since then, because though I knew I had made progress, it wasn't easy for anyone else to tell.  But I have made some significant progress AND I wanted to show off my new project bag, purchased here.

One thing I really love about it is that there is a window in the front where you can get a peek of the project - however, trying to illustrate that in a photograph is, as you can see below, difficult at best.

So instead, here is the project on top of the bag - I have finished half of the honeybee's body, and got a start on one of the surrounding honey cones.

As it's turning out, I've really only been working on this on Saturdays, so progress is slower than if I put it in rotation with my knitting projects.  But I'm not on a deadline, so I'm just gonna work on it when I feel like it, and if that is only on Saturdays, no big deal.

I won't be making progress on it this Saturday, since we will be in West Virginia for Memorial Day weekend, and whenever we go there, I only take one project along, and one that is not terribly involved at that.  Between the visiting and everything else, there's not a lot of time to concentrate heavily on a pattern or anything like that.

I've very pleased with my honeybee so far, and yes, I've made lots of mistakes, but as long as it looks like a good approximation of what the pattern image looks like, I'll be fine with that.

Are you working on any non-knitting projects? 

17 May 2019

Recipe: Easy Spinach-Feta Pie

I haven't shared a recipe for a while, and early in March of this year, I mentioned trying a new recipe that was a big hit with us, and promised to let you in on it.  So though it took me a while, here you go.  Let me know if you try it, and what you think.

The original recipe can be found at Skinnytaste, and is for a crustless, lower fat pie.  When I tried it, I didn't have lowfat ingredients, and I also decided to put it into a pie crust we had in the freezer.  It's one of those recipes that is pretty easy to make your own, depending on ingredients that you have on hand or that you prefer.  And the resulting pie is kinda-but-not-a-quiche.  You really don't taste the eggs, as in a quiche - rather, they work as more of a binding agent.  This dish has quickly become a fave at our house.

Image from the Skinnytaste site, of their original version - but you get the idea, right?

Easy Spinach-Feta Pie


  • 1 frozen pie crust (of course you can also make your own - I have no talent for that)
  • 10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and with the liquid squeezed out
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • 2 T. chopped fresh dill 
  • 2 T. chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 T. chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 cup (2.5 oz.) crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 T. grated Romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • Pepper to taste


1.  Take pie crust out of freezer and set aside while you prepare the filling.

2.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

3.  Mix spinach, scallions, herbs, and feta cheese together and pour into the pie crust.

4.  Sift flour and baking powder together in a medium-sized bowl; add the remaining ingredients, mix well, and pour on top of other ingredients already in the pie crust.

5.  Bake 28-33 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle of the pie comes out clean.  Let it stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Of course, you can substitute dried herbs for the fresh ones, and I used Romano cheese, but I'm sure others would be just fine - use what *you* have and/or like!

Leftovers will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator if well wrapped or in a Tupperware container, and can be reheated in the microwave easily.

Bon appetit - and happy weekend!

16 May 2019

Everyday Happy

I haven't done a Three on Thursday post for a bit, so I thought this would be the day/week. 

I suffer from depression.  I have been that way for as long as I can remember, and like any other person with this condition, it's an ebb and flow type of thing, regardless of drug assistance, talk therapy, or other methods.  And there are times when I just have to wait until I feel better to feel better - meaning that no kind of positive thinking, or vision boarding (OK, I don't do that anyway), or other things that get suggested to me by others who might mean well but have no real clue, will help. 

OK, slight digression, but it's for a reason.  I've been thinking lately about things that always help to improve my mood when I am not in the depths. There are plenty of days when I can feel better by doing and concentrating on small things, so I thought I would share three of them here.

1.  Move.  My preferred thing to do is to take a walk or a bicycle ride.  But if you don't enjoy that, or if you will not/cannot deal with the weather, do something that makes you move your body.  Do your workout, or simply stand up, touch your toes, and swing your arms.  Find a way to move from one room to another.  Sometimes I'll realize that I'm starting to dip because I have just been sitting in one place mulling over how I'm not doing anything. 

2.  Be nice to someone.  This can mean just saying "Thank you" or "Hello" to someone if they hold a door for you, or smile at you.  It can mean playing with your cat or dog (which also gets you moving) or your kid should you be of the parenting kind.  This also means being nice to yourself.  Sometimes I'll take a bubble bath, or give myself a manicure, or even treat myself to a chocolate bar, and that can work too.

3.  Do not look at social media after 8:00 p.m.  Actually, this is a rule I made for myself a few months after the 2016 election.  Granted, I don't spend a ton of time on social media anyway, but I have found by not even thinking about it after 8:00 p.m. (chosen arbitrarily on my part, related to nothing specific) means that I enjoy my evening and do not get my brain into a swirl of worry/anger/frustration/irritation - well, you get it - and do not have as much trouble falling asleep as a result.

Like I said, there are times when none of my ideas help, but a lot of the time, they do.  I would suggest that even if you do not suffer from depression, you still consciously devise some little habits or practices that can just add to your feeling of contentment.  No one is deliriously happy all of the time (frankly I would find that exhausting), but we should all be lucky enough to feel a basic level of good most of the time, in my opinion.

15 May 2019

Embracing the Crazy

Hello all!  The sun is actually out this morning, and the sidewalks are dry - who'da thunk it??

On top of which, it's Wednesday, which means the work week for me is officially half finished (a HO, if you will), and that is good news.

I thought I would chime in on Unraveled Wednesday, since I was able to get some projects underway last week while I was on vacation, and some books I had on hold at the library arrived - when it rains it pours, right?

I don't remember where I read about this book, but it sounded like something that would be a good read.  So far, I've been reading it on my lunch hour, so I'm not making quick progress, but I am finding it really interesting and want to keep going.

Knitting-wise, I'm making good progress on the gift socks I'm making.  I just finished the gusset, so it's onto the foot and toe of the first sock.  I think part of the reason it's going so quickly is because I really like the yarn I'm using (Fiberstory Fave Sock).  

I also started my Crazytown Cowl, and find the pattern to be quite addictive, once you "get" how it's going to work.  I cast on and then ripped back and cast on again after a few rows five different times before the light bulb went on, and it has been smooth sailing from there.  Since this photo was taken, I've already completed another section.

The pattern, by the way, is The Shift, by Andrea Mowry.  I realized last night that my Neverender was also an Andrea Mowry pattern, which is weird, because I didn't consciously decide to make two of her patterns in a row.  I didn't consciously decide not to, either, but you know what I mean.  I do have to say that based on these two knits, her patterns are very well written and clear. 

Now that I have had success with knitting a few garments, I will admit to kind of having an itch to knit something for the summer - a short-sleeved or sleeveless item.  The problem is that I am trying very hard to use stash yarn, and most of what I have is wool, with the occasional blends of wool and alpaca, or wool and acrylic.  Granted, I wouldn't need as much yarn as a "regular" sweater would take, but I also don't really have the cash to buy non-wool yarn (or any yarn) at the moment.  So maybe I'll plan ahead for fall and use some yarn that I already own.  Who knows, I may also decided that my cross-stitch project is my third thing and stick with that, at least for now. 

Decisions, decisions, you know??

14 May 2019

OK, Answer Time!

Hello from slightly-less-rainy-than-yesterday Philadelphia!  The bad news: I'm not on vacation this week.  :-(  But the good news is that I'm here to answer the questions that some of you asked after my last post.

Araignee asked the following question:

Oh, oh, oh ... (imagine me waving my hand at you) I've got one!  Every time I address a package of soap to you I marvel at your pretty Irish name.  Is there a story to tell?  IRL I am a Debbie (Deborah).  I was named for Debbie Reynolds after a huge fight between my parents because my mom had her heart set on naming me Nanette.  I am very happy Daddio won.  Can you imagine being called Nanny all your  life?

I'm guessing that Nanette was for Nanette Fabray?  Anyway, there is a story behind my name.  My mother's grandparents were Bridget Ann Field and Jeremiah Patrick O'Connor, who came to the U.S. from County Clare, Ireland.  My grandmother promised them that she would name her first child after "Pop" (aka Jeremiah).  Well, that first child was my mother, who was then named Geraldine.  Growing up, my mom loved her grandparents' names and always said she would name her kids after them.  Apparently when each of my sisters were born, people convinced my mother that she shouldn't give them the name Bridget, because it was too unusual and also because they would end up with the nickname "Bridie," (I don't quite get why this was a thing, but anyway.)  By the time I was born (11 and 10 years after the aforementioned sisters), my mother refused to be talked out of it.  Since I was a girl, my name is Bridget Ann. And it was an unusual name when I was growing up, but I spent a lot of my school years in Catholic schools and since it is a saint's name, it was all good.  :-)

Kim in Oregon asked me this:

Where did your blog name come from?

When I started my blog, I spent way too much time trying to think up a name.  I asked The Tim for help, and told him that I didn't want to make the name too "knitterly" oriented, since I was such a slow knitter, and that I might also want to talk about books I've read, etc.  So he suggested "The Ravell'd Sleave," since it would be both knitting-related and has literary origins, most specifically a line from Macbeth (Act 2, Scene 2), by William Shakespeare:  "Sleep, that knits up the ravell'd sleave of care ..."

sprite wanted to know:

If I were going to take a day trip to Philadelphia, what would be a couple places you as a local would recommend visiting?  (In D.C., I recommend people visit the FDR memorial and try the cafeteria at the American Indian Museum if they're planning on visiting the Smithsonians if they want something on the lesser known end of the touristy spots and shop at our indie bookstores, catch a film at the Uptown, and visit Malcolm X (Meridian Hill) Park if they want a more local experience.)

First of all, I like her recommendations for D.C., and was just thinking about the hours we spent at the Uptown Theater seeing movies when we lived there!

As for Philadelphia, there are of course all of the well-known historical spots, such as Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and usually people want to go there, which is fine.  But when people come for a second visit, or if they are just not interested in that stuff and would prefer something a bit different, I like to take people to see Elfreth's Alley, the oldest residential street in the country (where people still live in the houses) because it is just incredibly evocative of the time and place.  I love to take people to the Italian Market in South Philly, to walk around and see/smell/hear everything there, and walk a few blocks to get a cannoli or some other goody either at Termini Bros., Isgro's, or Sarcone's if they want amazing bread.  I also love to go to the Rodin Museum (though it has to be a nice day, since it's all outside), which is the largest museum dedicated to the works of Rodin outside of France.  If they have strong constitutions, the Mutter Museum is interesting (I don't have a strong constitution, so they would have to go on their own, or with The Tim - once was plenty for me).  Also, Eastern State Penitentiary, the first prison in the U.S., founded with the goal of rehabilitating people.  It operated as an active prison until 1971, and is now a restored ruin.  It is incredibly fascinating.  OK I'll stop now.  It's hard to decide on just a few places, as you can see ...

kathy b had two questions:

Of Tess, Garden Kitty and Jetsam who likes to be photographs Beatles, my black beauty tried to put his face right in the camera ... like an inch away!

And what is your favorite piece of jewelry?

Well, those three (who sadly, are no longer with us), all loved to be photographed - if they saw the camera, they'd sit right in front of you!  Of our current pets - Pip, Milo, Jack, and Hamlet - I would say that Pip likes to be photographed the most, and Hamlet is a fan of extreme closeups ... :-)

And I'm not sure I have an absolute favorite piece of jewelry, but one of them is a charm bracelet that my father gave me.  He used to travel a lot for his work, and on one of his trips to Washington, D.C., he brought me back a charm bracelet that had pearls on it (well, pearl-like objects), and each charm was something signifying D.C.  I sincerely doubt that it was more than $5.00 (this was of course a long time ago), and I was probably about 8 or 9 when I got it, but I thought it was so incredibly fancy and elegant that I was in heaven.  I still have it, and wear it occasionally.  I tried to take a photo for this post, but it's so gloomy here that I couldn't get a good one, so I'll try to show it to you at another time.  When we lived in D.C., I noticed they still sold similar souvenir bracelets, but they were a) more expensive, b) not as well-made (seriously), and c) did not have pearls.  Pffft.

Lilly's Mom wanted to know:

What a fun idea!  What is the number one priority in your life?

I would have to say that having enough money to pay bills is the number one priority in my life.  I know that may sound harsh, but having grown up poor, I know that if you can pay your bills, most other things will fall into place.  Of course on an hour-to-hour basis, I focus on my family and my health, but if we can pay our bills, we can stay in our house, have food to eat, take care of our health, etc., so for me it boils down to that.

KSD inquired:

Why did you decide to allow people to ask you anything?

Because I was curious to see what people might want to know.  Because personally, I am a nebshit and love it when people give me a legitimate reason to ask them questions, and if someone did ask something that I considered too personal or inappropriate, they were already warned that I would likely not respond.  (No one did ask anything like that, by the way.)

Nance had the final question:

What's your favorite time of the day?

Admittedly, during the work week, it's 4:00 p.m. when I can leave work and go home!  But in my "real" life (meaning when I don't have to be at work), early morning is my favorite.  I am an early riser, even when it's the weekend or vacation time, and I absolutely love having quiet time to myself first thing.  Sometimes I just have a cup of tea and enjoy it, other times, I read or knit, and sometimes I'll just think.  The Tim does not get up early when he doesn't have to, so it's just me and the animals, and I love watching it become daytime and having that as my own, so to speak.

For the record, Wandering Cat Studio commented that she wanted to think of a good question and come back, but I guess she didn't get the chance.  Maybe next time, OK?

Thanks to everyone who participated - I really really enjoyed this experiment.  So much so, that I will definitely be doing it again - so save up those questions!

In the meantime, have a good rest of the week.  We're two days in already ...

10 May 2019

It's Friday - Got Questions?

I thought I would try something a bit different here to see what happens.  If you watch knitting or other crafting podcasts, you know some of them will have an episode or part of one where they answer questions submitted by viewers.  I always enjoy hearing the answers, so I thought it might be fun to try it.

So here's your big chance.

Yep, anything at all - crafty, personal, silly, serious - what have you always wanted to know about me???

Leave your question in the comments of this post, and rather than responding individually (as I try to do when I have your e-mail address), I'll collect the questions and answer them in a post next week on a day to be determined.  Maybe Monday, maybe Friday, maybe not - who knows?

I think this could be fun, though I have to say that I reserve the right to *not* answer questions that are just plain rude (though I can't imagine that any of you would ask those - but who knows, maybe some of you are secretly weird and kinky, I don't know your life).

So here's your big chance to learn all kinds of things you never knew you wanted to know.  

Have a good Friday and a wonderful weekend, and Happy Mother's Day to those who celebrate!

08 May 2019

A Fun Day Followed by an FO

Yesterday was one of the best days ever!  Dee has some great photos on her blog documenting the day (because of course it didn't occur to me to take any photos.  At all.  Eejit).  The weather cooperated and the kitties and Hamlet were thrilled to have company.  Hamlet was quite disappointed at the end of the day when I came home alone - he looked for Dee for a few minutes and then looked at me as if to say, "WHAT have you done with her???"  I haven't had such a nice and fun day for a long time and I have to remember to remember it when I get back to work and have a regular day there.
Today by contrast is overcast and misting outside.  A good day to be inside and doing some of the things I'd planned for this week.  But first, it's time for me to show you the last of the Started-Before-I-Broke-My-Wrist-Projects.

Project:  First Down Socks
Pattern:  My own!  And it worked! (And it's nothing difficult or earth-shattering, but nonetheless ...)
Yarn:  lolodidit Everyday Sock, in the Fly Eagles Fly colorway
Needles: US size 1
Notes:  I was perusing the lolodidit site one day after hearing the Grocery Girls talk about her yarn on their podcast, and saw this colorway and decided I MUST HAVE IT BECAUSE - EAGLES!!!  I cast on these socks last fall when football season started, and then of course broke my wrist and that was that for a few months.  But once I was able to knit again, they started to feel the love and I decided that I would not start any new projects until all of the BBW (Before Broken Wrist) projects had been finished.

Of course, I wanted the pattern to be something special.  But I couldn't find one that I wanted to use with this yarn.  So I made up my own, and am quite pleased with the result.  The yarn is wonderful to knit with, and the colors are so great (though you can't really tell in my photo, sorry).  I will now put these away until football season starts again this year.  Hopefully both the Eagles and I will have a better season this year (though they did very well last year - me, not so much)!

So now I'm all "caught up" to myself, and can start some new projects without leaving others in limbo.  I have started another pair of socks - the ones for the friend's husband getting a kidney transplant - and will be winding yarn today for this pattern.

I hope all of you have a good one today.  :-)

07 May 2019

Another Needle Project

As I mentioned in my post from yesterday, my mother became wheelchair bound in the last years of her life.  One of the things that I think helped to keep her sane (because my mother was always on the go), was when her cousin taught her to do counted cross stitch.  She loved it, and did amazing work.  Once when she was staying with us, she taught me to do it, and I also really enjoyed it, though I wasn't as adept as she was.  But it was long before I learned to knit, and I liked having projects to work on and making a picture suddenly appear out of thread!

Once I learned to knit, I seldom got out my other supplies to do cross-stitch.  But I still enjoyed looking at what others did, and looking through the choices of projects available.  It occurred to me a few months ago that I should get out some of the things I had and give it another try, and also count it as a change from knitting.  It's supposed to be good to challenge your brain as you get older, right?  So it would also be healthy.  ;-)

Then Dee started Tiny Needle Tuesdays, where she would post what needlework project she was doing.  Others joined in, and I thought, well, I should give it a shot too.  My final push came when I watched the latest episode of Stitching the High Notes, when Joanna talked about her plans for Stitch May-nia.  I got such a charge out of hearing her talk about all of her projects, I started poking around for what I had to do.

I recalled buying a kit a few years back that had a bee as the main image.  I was certain it was a small item, and was puzzled when I couldn't find it.  Then I found it.  It was not small, but rather what I think of as "full-size" - meaning larger than 3 x 5.  Anyway, I wanted to stitch a bee, so onward and upward and all that.

On Saturday afternoon, I completed this much while watching an episode of "Shetland."

That's nearly 1/2 of the bee's body, and I had so much fun with it!  I forgot how much it draws you in - just one more part, one more row, etc.  I told myself that when the episode was over, I would stop and I think that was a good idea for both the project and for my hands.  :-)

I'm so happy I poked around until I found this project.  It's nice to have something to do that is just as enjoyable as knitting, but not the same.  And since I have some of the stuff, I'm glad I'm using it instead of just letting it sit in a drawer indefinitely.  Maybe soon I'll have a honeybee picture to hang in the craft room/office/junk room/extra room that collects everything.  It can only be an improvement.  :-)

Also, in theory, it will make me clean out that room so that I can get to my sewing machine ...

06 May 2019

It's Not Genetic

Here it is, the Monday of my week off from work.  In an effort not to lose as much vacation time as I have in the past (and I'll still be losing a lot), I decided to take this week off from work.  Since Hamlet's birthday was yesterday (as well as being Cinco de Mayo), I decided I we could celebrate with some adventures together this week.  It was nice to not feel the sense of impending dread last night, and was lovely to sleep a bit later this morning. 

Anyway, that's not what this post is about.  Rather, I was reading Karen's post this morning about her weekend and the visit with her sister.  It sounded like they had a wonderful visit, and I enjoyed reading about their crafty time together. 

And I realized that as much as I love my sisters, and though we have a wonderful time together, if I suggested we did something crafty together, they would probably a) laugh, b) faint, or c) both.  I know a lot of siblings who have interests that intersect practically in every way, but that's not the case in our family.  Particularly in the sense of craftiness. 

My mother spent the last 10-15 years of her life in a wheelchair.  Though she knew how to do needlepoint, and could sew on a button or a hem, she was not much interested in any of that kind of thing while I was growing up.  When she became chair-bound, her cousin taught her counted cross-stitch and she really really loved doing that.  She was incredibly skilled at it, and all of us have some of her work in our homes.

She was always supportive when I wanted to learn to sew, and was proud of anything I could make, but I definitely did not inherit my love of making and crafts in any genetic way.  Of course, I know my grandmothers and those before them learned to do things as necessity, but I didn't know them to know if they actually enjoyed doing any of it.  So my interest is really just my own, as far as I can tell.

But my sisters?  Um, that would be a big NO.  My oldest sister Nancy is an amazing seamstress, having learned to sew in a high school home economics class where they covered even really advanced techniques.  However, once she could afford to buy designer clothes instead of whipping up copies on her own, she lost all interest in sewing, period.  I asked her a few years ago if she ever thought about sewing again, and she looked at me like I'd just eaten a baby or something.

My sister Mary Ellen is all about science.  I don't know that it has ever even occurred to her to try any kind of hand crafts.  She certainly likes things I make for her, and I can tell she thinks it's kind of magical but she just has no interest.

So when I am with my sisters, I can knit or do whatever I'm involved in, but we never do anything like that together.  And I kind of wish we could.  I am often amused by how little we have in common as far as our interests and personalities.  Who knows, in our case, mabye that it why we get along so well. 

Fortunately, I have many friends who fill the void to knit and craft with, and I guess since I'm around them more, it's actually better this way.  I see my friends regularly, but my sisters seldom.  Maybe my genetics knew that's how it would turn out.

What about you?  If you have siblings, or even siblings-in-law, do they join you in your crafty pursuits?

Psssst.  Guess who I get to hang out with tomorrow???  Dee!  I'm so excited I could spit.  :-)

03 May 2019

This Friday Is Brought to You by an FO

Well, after months of working on it, then not working on it, then working to finish it, I can finally report that my Neverender is officially finished!!!

Here it is, blocking away!

Project:  Neverender
Pattern:  The Weekender, by Andrea Mowry
Size made:  34
Yarn:  Brooklyn Tweed Shelter, in the Caribou colorway (6.5 skeins)
Needles:  US size 7, 8, 9
Modifications:  When you are finishing the neckline and the sleeve cuffs, you are doing 1 x 1 ribbing.  To bind off, the pattern has you put the purl stitches on one needle and the knit stitches on the other, and do the kitchener stitch to bind off.  I followed it for the neckline, because I wasn't really sure what was going on until after I finished it.  It was awkward, and I think another bind off that would be more straightforward would be fine and look better (my kitchener is OK but not perfect).  So when I got to the sleeve bind off, I just did a tubular bindoff which was much easier and looks just fine, in my opinion.
Notes: This has been a really popular pattern on Ravelry since it first came out (as of this post, there are 4405 projects listed).  I was not lured into it until I actually saw one of the women who works at Loop wearing the one she had knit.  I liked it so much better than any of the photos I'd seen, so I decided to make one for myself.  I also had a store credit, so I decided to purchase the yarn used in the original pattern (which I am seldom able to afford to do).  I'm happy with the final product, but I just felt that this was a knitting project that would never end.

The pattern is fairly straightforward, and easy to follow.  The construction is different, at least from anything else I've knit (granted, I'm a fairly new sweater knitter), but the instructions told you exactly what you needed to do and when.

I made a size 34, because I figured it would be the size that would work best for me once it was finished.   The pattern states that it is intended to be worn with 10 inches of postive ease, and I did not want my size regular size with an extra 10 inches - I don't like overly large things, and there was no one I wanted to ask to join me in it when I wore it.  I'm really pleased with my final product - it has room for wearing with a layer underneath, but it's not crazy oversized.

The yarn was for me the worst part.  I did not enjoy knitting with it at all.  I am the only person I know now who is not in love with Brooklyn Tweed Shelter, so keep in mind that if you ever give it a try, it may turn out to be your favorite yarn ever.  I found it kind of scratchy and just didn't like the way it was to knit.  Who knows, maybe if I had used a different yarn, I would have enjoyed the whole process of knitting it more.  But I powered through, and I do have to say that when I soaked it and blocked it, the yarn ended up feeling very soft (which is good if I'm gonna wear it).  

This photo gives you an idea of how it fits me.  And of course, there is a story behind this photo.  Last Saturday was sunny, cool, and REALLY WINDY here.  I had asked The Tim if he would take a finished product photo of me wearing it, and he said that was fine.  So on Saturday, he suggested we take some photos out on our deck.  As I said, it was very windy, and stuff was flying everywhere.  In every single photo, my eyes are either closed, my hair is straight up, or something has flown in front of my face (a leaf once, a plastic bag another time, for instance).  The photo above is the best of the lot, even though it's not.  At one point, a branch from the neighbors' tree bonked me in the head.  So in this photo, my hair is being blown around AND my glasses are in the process of being knocked off my face.  After the "photo shoot," The Tim said they had turned out really well.  When I saw them, I asked how he thought they were so great, when I was either standing with my eyes closed, or in this case, had my glasses heading off my face.  He responded, "I was taking photos of the sweater, not of you."

So there you have it.  This was the best photo of the sweater.  You'll have to take my word for it that I'm the one wearing it ...

Artistes, am I right???  ;-)

02 May 2019

Just Don't Tell Me About These Things If You Know Me

One of my co-workers is having twins in a few weeks.  She already has a 2 1/2 year old little boy, and was not planning to have any more children, so she is not very happy about the whole thing.  You might think, well, there are ways to prevent that from happening, but she admittedly was not paying attention.

To her credit, even with her first child, she was not super into being pregnant, and did not talk about it all day every day.  She clearly loves her little boy, and we all like hearing stories about him, mostly because she also discusses other topics.  So she is actually fine.  It's everyone else that is talking about it all of the time, and driving everyone in our department crazy (even the one woman whose "true goal" in life is to be pregnant at least four times).

And during this time of having to listen to everyone question her about things even if/when she clearly doesn't want to talk about it, I have been reminded of a few things that people say/do that make me want to scream (at a minimum).

In honor of Three on Thursday, here we go.

1.  Baby bump.  I think it's supposed to be cutesy, but it's not.  It's really just annoying.  Especially when the person having the baby hates the term but has to hear it over and over.  My co-worker cringes every time someone says it to her, and I do not blame her one bit.

2.  Babymoon. This is apparently something prospective parents just absolutely must do.  It's a trip for just the two of them  before the baby comes - their last time to spend together as a couple.  When the aforementioned co-worker was asked with her first baby if they were taking a babymoon, she first asked what it was, and then answered that they couldn't afford it.  The person who asked then responded, "Well, can't either of your parents pay for it?"  Which only made it more obnoxious to me.  I don't care if people take such a trip, but call it that - a trip, vacation, getaway, etc.

3.  Gender reveal parties.  OH MY GOD PLEASE SPARE ME.  This is when people have a party to reveal whether they are having a boy or a girl.  There are various permutations, but often an envelope is given to a baker with a note from the doctor's office saying the gender of the baby (even the parents don't know!), who then makes the cake with pink or blue filling.  Then the parents find out at the same time that their guests do whether it's a boy or a girl, and festivities ensue!  I thought wedding and baby showers were annoying, but this pushes them way out of contention.  I have been invited to two of these in the last couple of years, and have sent regrets each time because I. Just. Cannot.

As I said, I have been invited to two gender reveal parties, and one of my very own nieces and her husband have gone on a babymoon.  I know plenty of people think this is all just the best stuff in the world, and so whimsical, and fun, etc., etc.  And I know I'm a weirdo, because when I was getting married if anyone told me they wanted to throw me a shower, I told them I would not be attending, because I absolutely hate them - this caused much consternation, and people kept asking my mother if something was wrong with me ("Just what's been wrong with her for her entire life, I guess," was usually her answer).  So it's not like I haven't been exposed to any of this stuff before, it's just that I think it's stupid, and so, if you are planning to say or do any of these things at all, just please don't tell me. 

In this case, ignorance really IS bliss.  :-)