31 July 2020

Furball Friday

Pip and Milo wish you a relaxing weekend.  

See you in August!

29 July 2020

Christmas in July - This Year with Bonus Week 5

Hello all - well, 2020 may have been challenging and/or awful in a lot of ways, but then again, it did give us an extra week to celebrate:

Christmas in July!!!!

This means that anyone who is interested has another chance for a giveaway prize, and here is what it is this time around:

That's a skein of yarn from Puff the Magic Rabbit - Fairy Sock Silver base, in the colorway "Silent Night" (438 yds/100 gr; 75% superwash merino/20% nylon/5% stellina).  Mindy's yarn is lovely, and she is a one-person operation (recently moving from Virginia to Texas with all of her goaties), and this is a beautiful shade.  Then you have a folk-arty holiday print on a lovely project bag from The Stitchin' Ewe.  Riann's bags are always well made, and this one has plenty of room for a sock project, or any other small item.

To be included in the giveaway, I'd like you to answer the following question:

If you could spend your birthday or any holiday that you celebrate with someone, who would you choose?  A family member?  A famous person?  A celebrity?  This includes people from long ago and/or people next door, so give it some thought.  

Leave a comment on this post only by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, August 2 (August!), and I'll announce the winner on Monday.  Then I can give the random number generator a rest until next year. 😀


Yesterday I finished the knitting on my Mystery KAL project and frankly, I spent the day wondering who was I????  Not only did I participate in the KAL, but I kept up with the clues.  All I can say is, quarantine does strange things to people.  That has to be it.  It's going to be tricky to block, so you may not see an FO post for a while.

I hope all of you are well, and if you are in this heat wave, I hope you are finding a way to keep cool.  That's always my problem - at a certain point when I am too hot, I cannot cool down no matter what I try.  So I've been pretty miserable, but realize that it is in fact summer, and this is what summer does (and why it's never my favorite season).  Other than that, I am supposed to return to work two days a week starting next week and frankly, it's making me nervous.  But with The Tim laid off, and the chance to get 40% of my salary as opposed to only 20%, I really don't have much of a choice.  Since the extra unemployment payments are ending, we will be more strapped than usual, so that extra 20% of salary will make an especial difference.  In any case, this is a whole 'nother saga, not worth going into here.  I'll just do the best that I can.

Have a good rest of the week!

27 July 2020

Here's the Winner for Week #4!

I don't know that I've laughed as hard in a while as I did at some of your worst gifts!  One was more ridiculous than another, and I just have to wonder what makes people think some things are good ideas as gifts for anyone. 

In any case, the winner of the fourth giveaway for Christmas in July is:

Caffeine Girl!!!!

Here's what she had to say:

Worst X-mas gift came from my wealthier (former) SIL: It was a children's book about the planets. Clearly from the Border's clearance table. I was 30 and have no special interest in space!
You gotta admit, that's one crappy gift.  Go figure.

Congratulations - from earth! 😉  When you have the time, please send me an e-mail at thekittyknitterATverizonDOTcom with your name, address, zip, etc.  Believe it or not, I may actually get everything into the mail this week - in any case I'll certainly e-mail everyone to let them know when things are on the way.

I have to say that my worst gifts - yes, gifts because there were more than one time I received these - were birthday gifts from a great aunt.  My father had two aunts who were Catholic nuns:  Sister Mary Joseph and Sister Marie Jeannette.  Sister Marie Jeannette was the "fun" one - meaning that she was only about 100 years old (to us, I'm sure she was much younger in her actual life), she was really nice, had a good sense of humor, and seemed to really like kids (which was a good thing since she was in charge of an orphanage).

Then there was Sister Mary Joseph, who had to be about 150 years old, and was everything the stereotypical nun was - old, mean, and expecting everyone to serve her every whim ("What can I say - again, it's your father's family," my mother would regularly remind us).  She never announced visits, just showed up and expected the world to stop for her (I have many funny stories about this, for another time), and even my father would get exasperated with her.  Every year on my birthday she would send me a birthday card.  I LOVE to get mail (still do!), and every year, I'd open the envelope and there would be some kind of religious happy birthday verse on a card, and then inside there would be a holy card.  Which is a crappy gift in and of itself, BUT - when you turned it over, it was always from some dead person's wake!!  She sent me a free card from a dead person who I didn't know's wake Every. Freaking. Year.  When I was really little, I would use them for bookmarks, but after a while, even my father said, "Throw it away if you want to, I don't know what the h**l is wrong with her."  Part of the problem was that I always would expect to open the envelope and find a regular birthday card, and that was disappointing enough.  My sisters used to at least get a dollar bill in theirs.  One of my mother's theories was that she did this because not only was I named for my *mother's* grandmother, and also that Sister didn't like the way my parents spelled my name.  In any case, "death cards" as we called them, were terrible gifts, especially for a kid!


The weekend was fine, if uncomfortable.  I did in fact go to my haircut appt on Saturday, and it went really well, and I'm very happy with my cut.  I'll give a fuller report on another day.  I didn't do as much knitting or reading as I'd hoped to do, but since neither is required, it's not like I'll be in any trouble for it. 

Hopefully this will be a good week for all of us - it's July's last chance to impress us, you know ...

24 July 2020

Another Friday FO! Plus, Leaving the House!

At the beginning of December 2019, I started a pair of Christmas-themed socks for me, knowing that with everything else happening during Christmastime, it was likely they may not be finished.  And by the time the holiday season was over, I had one sock completed.  Which was fine with me, I figured I'd start sock #2 sometime around November 2020, so they'd be completed for that holiday season.

You know, thinking 2020 would be pretty much like any other year.  And we all know what *that's* taught us! 😲

Project:  Rudolph and  Clarice Socks
Pattern:  Vintage Fairy Lights, by Helen Stewart
Needles:  US size 1
Yarn:  Sweet Sparrow Sock Yarn, colorway Rudolph and Clarice
Modifications:  I knit the foot of the sock plain, rather than continuing the ribbing.  I remember that when I was knitting the first sock, once I got past the heel, I forgot completely about the ribbing, and got to a certain point and just figured I'd go with it.
Notes:  Thanks to Christmas in July, now both socks are finished!  The second one took longer than I expected because I had just started the foot when I realized that after the patterning at the top, I'd stopped doing the ribbing at all!  So I ripped back because I knew that it would bother me (particularly on a pair of Christmas socks!), and re-knit in the ribbing until the heel flap.

I've had this yarn for a couple of years, and if you have read my blog for any amount of time, you can surely understand why I purchased yarn in a colorway called "Rudolph and Clarice."  The pattern was well written and easy to figure out (I have since noticed that this is the norm with Helen Stewart patterns), and the yarn was lovely to knit.  It was fun watching the "fairy lights" start to show up, and I would definitely knit this pattern again. 

Now I have a finished pair of socks for July, as well as a finished pair of Christmas socks.  Plus, a reminder of my very fave Christmas show.  Who knows, I may just get them out and look at them every year instead of wearing them! 😉


This is supposed to be another hot and steamy weekend here in Philadelphia - you know, the kind where you wonder why you bothered to even shower since you don't really dry off the whole day.  I want to do a couple of organizing projects on our third floor, which has an air conditioning unit, so there may actually be chance they will at least get started ... but the most exciting thing coming up for me is that TOMORROW I AM GETTING MY HAIRCUT BY AN ACTUAL PROFESSIONAL!!!!!  Don't get me wrong, I've appreciated The Tim's willingness to do what he could a couple of times, but I'm looking forward to an actual haircut by someone who is trained to do just that.  When I made the appt soon after it was announced that salons could open, I made sure to make it enough in advance so that I could determine if it seemed like a good idea to go.  Lately there has been an uptick in Covid-19 cases (don't go there with me), but most have been traced to restaurants and bars in the area, none to hair salons.  I checked on some local websites, and it sounds like the place where I am going (which is new to me, because of course) is doing an excellent job of cleaning, social distancing, etc. and receiving excellent reviews.  So I'm gonna give it a try.  As I told The Tim, from everything I have heard and read, they seem to be on the ball.  He says that as I am a person who is so abundantly cautious, he feels confident it will all work out.

And of course I want it to, because this is a huge venture for me at this point.  But if the worst happens, at least my hair will look better ... ?

23 July 2020

The Next Needle Project

Before I tell you about the project referenced in the title of this post, I have to say that I think your responses to the question of what was the worst gift you have received are some of my favorite responses ever!  I admit to laughing at your pain, but come on, those are some good stories, people.  And note to Alison - just because you live in New Zealand, it doesn't mean you cannot be part of the giveaway, I'm happy to send things wherever they need to go.  So please let me know if you would still like to be added in before the deadline this week.  I would truly love to include you on this giveaway or any future giveaways.* 😊

If you recall, last year I completed a couple of counted cross-stitch projects, and enjoyed working on them so much that I was glad I'd gotten back to it.  Then I had some knitting projects that I really wanted to do, and they started taking up all of my brain space and interest.

During the time I was working on those projects, I came across a kit that the store junebug and darlin was selling through the Strand Bookstore.

As you can imagine, this was something I felt I just MUST have!  First of all, I love books; second, I am a cataloging librarian; and third, they are renovating our space at work and I thought this would be a really nice touch in my new work area.  So I ordered a kit, and it arrived in a very timely fashion.  Since I was busy with other stuff, I put it away for another time.

I feel that the time has come, so to speak.  Yesterday I pulled it out to start looking at the pattern, the instructions, what was in the kit, etc.

And look at this - the floss is attached to a library check out card, like we all used before things became computerized!  (Some libraries still use them, but most large libraries nowadays use barcodes and scanners.)  I just love that presentation, it makes my librarian heart sing.

Since we are supposed to return to work in the next month or so (don't get me started on that topic right now), and at least in theory, the renovations will be finished (really?), I thought it was time to start this project and have it ready whenever I can finally walk in to my new office.  My only concern right now is that I am suffering big-time from heat-addled brain, so it might be better to only do a small amount of stitching on any given day.  That way if there is a brain disconnect, there won't be as much to un-stitch and start again.  I'll keep you posted.

*OMG someone in NEW ZEALAND reads my blog!!!  This makes me all kinds of happy.  One of my fave places (no I haven't been, other than in my head and in photos, news, others' stories).  I have always wanted a friend who lives there. Plus, they are having winter now.  Sigh.

22 July 2020

Christmas in July - Week 4

It may not feel like Christmas, but it sure feels like July, right???

Regardless, it's time for Week 4 of:

Christmas in July!!!!

As I'm sure any previous winners have noticed, I have not yet mailed their packages.  I am hoping to get to it this week, and will send an e-mail when they are on their way, so you can be on the lookout.

Right now though, it's time to show you this week's prize in the giveaway.  I present to you a kit for the Annalise Wrap, from my LYS, Loop:

package front

package back

I won this kit a couple of years ago when they had a giveaway to celebrate an anniversary.  The kit contains a printed version of the pattern, as well as six skeins of Koigu Painter's Palette Premium Merino (KPPPM), enough to make the wrap.  The colors are lovely, and of course you could use them for whatever you like.  But I can tell you the wrap is truly pretty in person.  Please note that this is one single kit - I took two photos so you could get an idea of all of the colors of the yarn.

I have kept this kit, and have finally realized that you know what?  I'm never going to knit the wrap.  I like it, but there are things I like better that I hope to knit someday.  So I thought it would be a perfect prize for this week.  I've never opened the package, so there should be no worries regarding moths or weird odors, in case you were wondering.

Are you interested?  If so, let me know your answer to the question below.

What is the worst birthday/Christmas/other holiday gift you have ever received and why?  A Chia Pet?  A gift card to a restaurant not in your town?  Let me know!

Be sure to leave your comments on this post only, no later than 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, July 26.  Then it will be up to Ye Olde Randomme Numbber Genereightor to pick a winner, which will be announced on Monday, July 27.


In the never-ending saga this is this year, when my computer died, and our oven died, guess what kids?  Our bedroom air-conditioner died over the weekend!!  We do not have central air conditioning, but we did have an old unit in our bedroom that didn't work all that well, but kept some of the heat and humidity at bay.  Ugh.  This will be something that we likely will not be able to afford to replace this year, as it is a unit for a casement window, and those are fairly pricey, and require professional installation, which of course adds to the overall cost.  Granted, the unit that died is one we have had since we moved into our house eleventy billion years ago, and as I said, it wasn't working in an optimum fashion anyway.  We had not replaced it before, because again, money.  Sigh.  We'll live, but it's pretty miserable.  Neither of us grew up with air-conditioning and only one apartment we had ever had it already installed, so we know how to exist otherwise, but I have to admit that it would have been nice if it at least could have waited until mid-August to die, when in theory there would be fewer horrible heat and humidity days left. 

Oh well, who needs a good night's sleep anyway, you know?  😢

20 July 2020

The Week 3 Winner Is Announced!

I have to say, I really enjoyed all of your responses to the most recent question for Christmas in July.  And frankly, I'm glad it was the random number generator that had to choose, because as I read each comment, I'd think "Oh yeah, me too!" - at least until I saw the next one. 😀

In any case, the random number generator decided that the week 3 winner is:


Here's her answer to the question: What is your favorite holiday symbol?

As for holidays I adore my New England Christmas village we set up on our mantel. It usually comes out about mid November until end December. I guess it is Christmas to me. Recently I split the village in half as we have downsized and gave half of them to my niece. On the promise someday she will get the rest. I love looking at all the wee lighted pieces.

I can picture it in my head, and would actually love to see it in person.  I love little villages of any kind - I guess because they are usually old-fashioned looking and for me at least, evoke scenes from stories in books and occasionally in old movies.

Congratulations, Cheryl!  You know the drill by now:  Please send an e-mail to:  thekittyknitterATverizonDOTnet with your name address, zip, etc. and I will get the package ready to mail.

I'm afraid I'm very fickle with my answer - I tend to think whatever holiday is happening NOW is the one with the best symbol!  Though overall, I'd have to say that lights - twinkle lights, Christmas lights, candles - anything that is extra light to just what the everyday lamp or overhead light provides makes me happy.  I remember when I was a kid, and we would be driving at night around Christmastime, I liked that the brake lights on cars were red, and traffic lights turned green, which I decided meant they were for the holidays.  Having said that, today I noticed that some twinkle lights I had put up in the craft room/office had 1/2 of one of the strings out.  I fooled around to see if one bulb was loose, but none of them were.  Most of them are still fine, but it was a bit disappointing, I have to say.


The weekend was fortunately not humid, but stupidly hot.  And I'm sorry, but it CAN be too hot, even if it's not humid.  We also got some sad news from a dear friend whose father died.  Mr. E. was one of the few people I ever met in my life that I can truly say found God in every person.  He was a freedom fighter, a minister in every sense of the word, and one of the kindest and funniest people I have ever known.  A few years ago, our friend's older sister died from MS, and his mom died about a year and a half ago, so it's been a few hard years.  And now he is the only one left from his family of origin, which must be a sad feeling.  Of course, we have always considered him, his wife, and his kids to be part of our extended family, so I am hoping he feels the love from all of us.

So that is the 3rd parent of a friend who has died from Covid-19, even though according to some people it's no big deal.  It's extra heartbreaking because they couldn't be with loved ones, and if you need loved ones any time, it's during a loss.  I would ask that even if you can't be with loved ones right now, that you make sure you say you love them.  And please keep a kind thought and/or prayer for Mr. E.

And so, on to the week.  It's supposed to be in the high 90s/low 100s this week here in Philadelphia, so it will be a mostly inside week for us.  I have three Zoom meetings - two are an hour only, and then there's another 3-hour one, which if there is a God, should be the last one.  Three hours is too long for any meeting, but even worse via Zoom, if you ask me!  My non-work related plans otherwise are to finish a book I'm about halfway through, and finish the second sock of the pair I'm currently knitting.  Thrilling stuff, no?

Stay cool if you are in this heat wave, and in any case, have the best week that you can!

17 July 2020

It's An FO Friday!

And with this item, my Quarantine Projects have all been completed.  This particular one was finished during June - but until yesterday, it was officially Too Damn Hot to put this sweater on for an FO photo.

Project:  Social Distancing Sweater
Pattern:  Pavement, by Veera Valamaki
Yarn:  Quince & Co. Finch, colorway Smoke (a dark green)
Needles:  US size 2.5, 7
Modifications:  None
Notes:  I had been wanting to make this sweater for a long time, and had the pattern in my Ravelry library and the yarn for at least 2 years.  I decided that if we were going to be in quarantine, I was going to knit this.  It was finished in June, but due to extremely hot and humid weather, even the thought of putting it on for a photo was too much.  Fortunately, this week has been nice, weather-wise, and so yesterday was the day for a photo.  Verdict:  I like this sweater.  I don't love this sweater.  I will happily wear it, but for some reason, I had it built up in my brain as something that would just blow me away once I knit it.  I think the generous use of short rows did it for me.  Yes, I did them - German short rows instead of Wrap and Turn - but I just don't like short rows.  I know why they are there, and that they make a difference, but I think they are just so annoying to me, that it kind of ruins the final feelings about the project.

I *like* this sweater, and will happily wear it.  I fully expected to LOVE this sweater, and I don't.  At a certain point, I finished it because I just wanted it DONE.  I think it's a nice sweater, I love the yarn and the color.  But I really think the short rows just ruined the project for me, which is just too bad.  It doesn't mean I'll never knit something with short rows again, it just means that in this project, I was disappointed because of them.

It's finished.  I like it well enough.  It fits, and I think it looks nice.  I just don't love it.  Maybe by the time I pull it out again in the fall, I'll feel differently, who knows.


Don't forget - if you want to be included in the possible winners for this week's Christmas in July, be sure to comment here!

Have a lovely weekend.  It supposed to get too hot and too humid here next week, so I'm hoping this weekend will at least be a good one.  Today we take Hamlet to the vet for his annual checkup.  Yesterday he got a bath and was brushed so he would look his best for his fan club at the vet's office.  He wasn't all that pleased about it, but he'll love the extra attention ... 😊

16 July 2020

Book Report for April, May, and June 2020

I realized the other day that another three months had swanned past, and I could share some of the books I'd read with you.  I enjoy doing this, mostly because I often forget just exactly what I did read, and I like revisiting what I thought about each book.  I hope if you add any titles to your to-read lists after these posts, you don't feel that my opinions were misleading.  But if so, that's how the world works, right?  😉

Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen.  Fanny Price is the eldest daughter in a family of many children.  When she is sent to live with her cousins at Mansfield Park to provide some financial relief for her birth family, she moves into a completely different type of atmosphere than where she started.  She grows up with her cousins, but is not really considered at the same level as they are regarding most social activities.  Fanny becomes a sweet but meek young woman, who is mainly considered to be the companion to her aunt by the family.

As the cousins mature and go out into the world, Fanny is left behind, and her uncle not only becomes more aware of her, but begins to think of her more as a daughter.  When Fanny refuses a proposal from young Henry Crawford, who along with his sister Mary has become a friend of the family, her uncle is shocked and dismayed that she has ignored the chance to increase her social status and make a match that would improve her standing, as well as benefit the family.

A series of scandals and a severe illness of the family's eldest son throws everything about their lives into complete disarray, and what everyone believed about themselves and about Fanny is seen in a different light.

Being that this is a Jane Austen novel, things generally work out for most of the characters by the end of the book.  But not before Austen provides commentary through the story about the rules of society during that time, and provides her characters with lines that make it clear who are the fools and who are the people to admire.

Girls Like Us : Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and Carly Simon - and the Journey of a Generation, by Sheila Weller.  This book was a gift from a friend, sent to me shortly after it came out.  So since it's 500+ pages, and I'm in the house for quarantine isolation, I decided it was time to give it a shot.  I'm so glad I did, and I'm glad I read it at a time when I could spend time with it, and not only read it in small snippets.

Sheila Weller has written the stories of Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and Carly Simon to illustrate their amazing talents and influence on modern music - rock and roll, folk, and even the standards.  We get to know each woman in a fairly in-depth way, and see how/when/with whom they intersected.

Since I am a big fan of all of these women, I found the book to be really interesting and also fascinating.  Each of them had aspects of their lives that really surprised me, and their circles of friend and acquaintances were incredibly broad.

This is also one of those books that drives my husband crazy, since I'll be reading along and then all of a sudden say, "Did you know _____?" because I have just read an interesting factoid about the people involved, or the people they knew (Professor Irwin Corey knowing Lenny Bruce = Mind Blown).

If you are a fan of music you will enjoy this book in general.  If you are a fan of these women, you will enjoy it in particular.

Bettyville, by George Hodgman.  Just so you know before you decide if you want to read this, you should know it is very, very bittersweet.

George Hodgman left Manhattan and a high life lifestyle to go back to Missouri and take care of his elderly mother, Betty.  At first, he thinks it will be a relatively short visit, but it turns out that he is there for the long run.  Betty has always been a force to be reckoned with, and never really accepted the fact that her son was gay.  But now she suffers from dementia, which adds another layer to both her behavior and their relationship.  The book goes back and forth between Hodgman's life growing up with his parents, and his life as the caretaker of his mother after his father has died.

The book has moments that are really funny, moments where you realize that mother and son truly care for one another, but also moments that illustrate how life has changed and will likely continue to change in smaller towns in America.  Loss of jobs, community, local institutions and the effect on those who remain.

I enjoyed this book, even though sometimes it was hard to read.

This Must Be the Place, by Maggie O'Farrell.  This is the story of Daniel Sullivan, a linguistics professor, and his family - or rather,  families.  He has spent most of the lives of his younger children away from them.  Kept away by his ex-wife after a contentious divorce.  Then he met and fell in love with Claudette Wells, a movie star that simply vanished from the world it seems, that he meets during a trip to Ireland where she lives with her young son Ari in a remote area.  They marry and have two more children.

The stories are told in each chapter by a different person who is either part of Daniel's life or past, or is on the periphery of said life or past.  Each one tells you something different about Daniel and his relationships, and the chapters all take place in different places at different times.  Daniel himself narrates some of the story.  But mostly the book shows us how two of the characters - Daniel and Claudette - have a relationship that is so tenous, and so affected by previous relationships, that their marriage is always on the brink.

I found this book really interesting, and a good read.  The characters were interesting, and though not all of them were particularly likable, learning about them was pretty fascinating.

Songs Without Words, by Ann Packer.  This started with an interesting premise, but I as much as I tried, I just couldn't get up enough interest to finish it.  There wasn't even a character I felt interested in enough to try to find out what happened.

The Daughters of Erietown, by Connie Schultz.  I am a big fan of Connie Schultz, and follow her on Twitter and on Instagram, so I really wanted this book to be a good one.  I had heard pre-publication comments about it, and it sounded like something that would appeal to me.  But I am always worried when I have high hopes for books, because so often they are OK at best, and really disappointing in the end.

This is not the case with this book.  In her first novel, Schultz introduces us to Brick and Ellie, two teenagers in a working-class community in Ohio during the 1950s, who are in love but also have big plans.  Brick is a star basketball player, with the chance to attend college, making him the first in his family to do so.  This also means that he can leave home and not be a victim to the whims and actions of his abusive father.  Ellie, who was raised by her grandparents after her father's new wife didn't want her around, has a dream of going to nursing school, and knows it could happen since she has the best grades in her class.

But everything gets changed around completely when Ellie gets pregnant.  Dreams of furthering their educations are abandoned for both her and Brick, and they get married while Brick gets work as an electrician in the union working at a local plant.  Their daughter Samantha ("Sam") is born, and we see most of the rest of the story through her eyes.

Sam has to grow up fast, because when Brick and Ellie start having marital issues, Ellie wants her to help.  When her younger brother is born, she is responsible for taking care of him.  Their home life is OK, but tenuous in lots of ways, as their parents' marriage experiences ups and downs.

As Sam watches her parents, and learns more about their lives, she decides that her life will be different.  She is able to be the one who goes to college, though she ends up at Kent State University, rather than her first choice, Smith College.  She receives a full scholarship to Smith, but her father refuses to allow her to accept "charity."  So she attends Kent, and her dreams and opinions expand and change, even if in the end she finds herself right back in her hometown achieving them.

This books is good not just because of its base story, but because it is an exploration into the lives of regular people who want a nice life but instead of the life they planned, they have to deal with the life they were given.  For some, it means their ambition is increased; for others, frustration and irresponsible behavior begin to define their existence.  The story illustrates life during a period when so much changed in the world and in the lives and expectations of women.  And it describes the life of working people who may have big plans and dreams, even if they have to be deferred.

There is a lot to like in this book.  The characters are interesting, and even if they are not always sympathetic, you realize that it is largely because they have the failings that most humans do.

Waste and Want : A Social History of Trash, by Susan Strasser.  I actually finished this book a while ago, but forgot to update.

This was a truly readable book, about the social history of trash.  Trash as we know it is almost a modern kind of thing.  It used to be that people did their best to use every single bit of something, because materials and money were more scarce.  Particularly since the Industrial Revolution, the decision to throw things away rather than repurpose or reuse them has become the norm.

There was a lot in this book to make you think, and I feel that for anyone trying to be better about sustainability in all aspects of their lives, this would be a useful book to read.

A Royal Pain, by Rhys Bowen.  Lady Georgiana is considering a trip to London, since she is growing bored with her brother and sister-in-law in Scotland.  But she needs to figure something out.  The she finds out that her money-making scheme - opening up and preparing closed houses before the London season opens - gives her both a job and an excuse.  However, she is soon summoned by the Queen for assistance.  The Princess of Bavaria is coming to stay for two weeks and the Queen is hoping that the presence of a young, beautiful, vivacious girl will distract the Prince of Wales from that "awful Simpson woman."  She wants the Princess to stay with Lady Georgiana, so she has a chance to be around some younger, more lively people.

After Georgiana manages to find a "staff" for her own London house, the Princess arrives.  Georgiana finds her pleasant, if not puzzling, and some strange and tragic things begin to happen after her arrival.  It's up to Georgiana to not just try and pair her up with the Prince, but find out what happened that caused a couple of deaths.

With the Wallis Simpson aspect, the rise of Hitler, and the influence of Communists, there's a lot happening in this book.  But it's a highly enjoyable read, and gives you a feel for the time period.

Murder by the Book, by Lauren Elliott.  When Addison Greyborne moves to the small coastal New England town where her great-aunt left her an estate, it's a chance to leave sad memories in Boston, but also open her own shop, dealing with old/rare books and interesting curios.  But trouble finds her on the very first day the shop opens, and soon a lot of people in the town are blaming her for a rash of crimes, including murder.

This was an interesting cozy mystery.  It had interest to me since part of what Addie is interested in is books and their backgrounds.  The problems she had and that seemed to follow her around were ones that you knew had to somehow involve her and her past, even if they seemed to be unrelated to one another.  And there were enough "moving parts" so to speak, to keep my interest.

This one veered very close to new-woman-in-town-falls-for-hunky-cop, but at least in this installment, that was only where it seemed to be headed, not where it ended up.  But I would not be at all surprised if in the next book that just happened from the get go.  We'll see.

But this particular one had a lot in it that I liked.

A Pure Clear Light, by Madeleine St. John.  Simon and Flora Beaufort have been married for a while, and have three lovely children.  In this book, Simon finds himself having an affair with a young accoutant he meets through a mutual friend while Flora and the children are in France for the summer holidays.

Upon their return, the affair continues, but what worries Simon the most is that Flora seems to be leaning towards going to church regularly.  She was raised Roman Catholic, which Simon finds appalling, but converted to the Anglican church when they were married.  And they only got married in a church to appease their parents, and have since lived a completely secular life.

Throughout the book, Simon comes across as a controlling, self-centered heel.  His needs, wants, and opinions are what he thinks should count above all else.  He wants Flora to stop going to church and is really upset when the children start going with her.  He wants to keep the affair going, and is annoyed when the young accountant seems to be drifting away, living her life with her friends.  He is, in a word, a douchebag.

Flora seems to sense that something is off, but cannot put her finger on it.  She finds that going back to church fills her with a feeling that there is something other in the world, not just her life and her worries.  One of her friends spots Simon and his girlfriend in a cafe, and though the woman's husband says yes, of course Simon is cheating, no one wants to tell Flora.

The book goes back and forth, though it mainly spends time presenting the story from Simon's point of view.  But St. John is clearly doing this on purpose, to show us not just how self-centered Simon is, but how his wife and family are only important to him at *his* convenience.

The story is interesting, and well-written, with some true sardonic wit that will make you chuckle to yourself when reading it.  St. John is able to present the characters without making any of them perfect, but while also letting you appreciate their feelings and inner thoughts.

Devoted Ladies, by Molly Keane.  I tried, I really did but it's just not doing it for me.  The people are awful and there aren't enough amusing bon mots to read more.

As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner.  Another read-aloud book for us.

First of all, I have to say that unlike most people, I have only read one other thing by William Faulkner - for whatever reason, it was never part of any literature classes I took in school.  But I did like the one other thing I read.

I liked this book as well, primarily because the language was so amazing.  It's the story of the Bundren family, and their journey from their home across some of Mississippi to bury the mother, Addie.  Different chapters are narrated by different characters, including Addie, and there is a mix of sadness, some funny things, and a lot of frustration.

I can't say I really liked any of the characters.  The whole family in particular seemed like they would be very frustrating to be around, and I particularly found the father to be annoying.  But as I said, the language of the story was worth any amount of frustration with the characters.

Dead in Dublin, by Catie Murphy.  Megan Malone is a native born Texan, but has been living in Dublin for the last three years, working as a driver for a limo service.  When one of her customers, a popular food blogger, is found dead near the restaurant where she and her husband just ate dinner (a restaurant owned by one of Megan's good friends), initial suspicions are food poisoning.  Well - the poisoning part is right, but soon there's another victim - the co-owner of the restaurant!

Megan's friend asks her to see if she can find out anything, so she has an idea of whether or not her restaurant is finished.  As Megan starts to look into things and ask around, she learns that for everyone involved, there was a lot more going on than met the eye.

This was a fun read, and just about what my brain could handle at this time.  The killer turned out to be someone that I hadn't even thought about, and having been to Dublin, it was also fun to know places that the author referenced in the book.

Whose Body? by Dorothy L. Sayers.  I've known about Dorothy L. Sayers and Lord Peter Wimsey for what seems like forever, but I finally read one of them, the first in the series.

As the book opens, Lord Peter is on his way to a rare book auction, when a call from his mother asking him to help an acquaintance of hers waylays him.  It appears that the man, Mr. Thipps, an architect, has discovered a body, naked but for a pince-nez, in his bathtub.  Mr. Thipps has no idea of who the person is, and the local inspector is suspicious that Thipps is involved.

This was such a fun read!  Lord Peter is quite the character, and the mystery was a good one.  As the book was published originally in 1923, some of the language may bother people today, but taken as a time capsule, I was not offended.  Sayers has created a witty, erudite, and interesting character, and this is a strong start to the series, if you ask me.

Law of Attraction, by Allison Leotta.  I almost put this book down, because the first few chapters were just annoying to me.  But once I got past that, it was a pretty good book!

Anna Curtis is an Assistant United States Attorney in Washington, DC, specializing in domestic violence.  One day she runs into a former law school classmate, and they begin a torrid romance.  However, when she takes on a case and finds that the former classmate is defending the attacker, and actually manages to get him freed, she ends the relationship.

Shortly afterwards,  Anna's client is found murdered, and all signs point to the boyfriend.  When Anna joins the case, which is now a felony murder case, she starts to learn more about both the deceased and the defendant.  Her investigation loops around several times, before we get to the resolution of the case and her story.

Once I got past the beginning, the story had a lot of interesting bits and ups and downs.   I'm glad I stuck with it, though I don't know that I'll go crazy reading any more in the series.

Murder on Cape Cod, by Maddie Day.  Mackenzie "Mac" Almeida owns a bicycle shop on Cape Cod and is looking forward to the summer tourist season, when she is able to make the money to keep the place open for the rest of the year.  She also belongs to a book club, the Cozy Capers Book Group, who only read cozy mysteries.

On her way home one evening, she nearly trips over the body of a local handyman, Jake Lacey.  He has been stabbed to death, and Mac recognizes the knife used as belonging to her stepbrother.  In addition, many people witnessed Mac having a disagreement with Jake earlier in the day at a food kitchen.

This was a pretty decent read - their were quite a few possibilities who the killer may have been, and the story took a couple of turns I didn't expect.  However, I found the end somewhat unsatisfying because although we learned the identity of the murderer, we didn't learn enough about the motivatios of that person, or several others mentioned in the book.

Murder in the Manor, by Fiona Grace.  On the day that Lacey Doyle receives her divorce papers to sign, she decides on a whim that she is taking a trip to the small seaside England town where her family had a wonderful vacation right before her father left for good.

When she arrives, the little town is much as she remembered it, and she feels happy and comfortable there.  Once she realizes that a storefront is available for purchase, she decides to apply for a working visa, buy the place, and open an antiques shop like her father had.  With her work and educational background in antiques and the approval to stay, she opens her dream shop and starts to feel that she has made the right decision to stay.

When a customer stops in and asks her to come to the local manor house to appraise some items, Lacey is thrilled.  However, when she arrives the woman is dead, and of course the local police find Lacey to be a perfect suspect.  Her store suffers because everyone suspects the outsider.

This was a pretty interesting mystery, not just because the small town sounds lovely and the author writes about it in a very evocative manner, but because the mystery keeps taking twists and turns.  And at the very end, we *may* have found someone who can tell Lacey something about her father ... but that will have to wait until the next book?

The Burgess Boys, by Elizabeth Strout.  Another good one from Elizabeth Strout.  The Burgess Boys grew up in Maine, with their sister and their mother, after a traumatizing incident in their childhood killed their father.  Both are now men, living in New York City - Jim, a mover and a shaker in a large law firm, and Bob, a low-key, divorced lawyer doing appeals work.  Jim has always been the one that people have admired, and who - for all intents and purposes - is living the American dream, with a perfect wife and family.  Bob lives a quieter, more internal life, being more sensitive than both his brother and his twin sister, who still lives in Maine, with her son Zach.

When Zach gets into some very serious legal trouble, the brothers are called on to help him.  As the story continues, we see each brother deal with it in his own way, and also realize how their childhood roles may not have been based on what they each believed.

This book covers a lot, but it also demonstrates how each person in a family can live their lives according to their perception of things as a child.  It also shows how families react when they are forced to come together as adults after being apart for a while.

This book was a good read.

A History of the World in 6 Glasses, by Tom Standage.  I enjoyed this book so much!  Sometimes non-fiction books are good, but not that enjoyable, but this one was both.  Standag looks at the history of the world by looking at how six beverages made such a huge difference in civilization.  This is social history at its best.

What are the six glasses?  Beer, wine, spirits, coffee, tea, and cola.  He takes us through time beginning in the Stone Age, to show us that each of these beverages showed up at a place and time pivotal to life.  They are also representative of the shift from a primarily agricultural existence to one which is clearly more industrialized and where more people live in urban settings than before.

Not only do you learn the history of people and places, but this book helps you realize how everyday things can be as much of a catalyst for change as anything else we do or create.

The Drowning House, by Elizabeth Black.  This was one of those, "If you enjoyed X, you might like this" recommendations, and it sounded intriguing to me.  It turned out to be really interesting.

Clare Porterfield has returned to her childhood home in Galveston, Texas, after being away for many years.  Her young daughter died in a freak accident, and though she and her husband Michael moved to a new place, their marriage has never recovered.  When she has the chance to do a photographic exhibition in Galveston, it's the perfect way to restart and regroup.

Once she arrives, not only does she feel like she can figure out what to do next, but she reconnects with the people and the place.  And hopes to see her childhood friend Patrick.  When they were younger, they caused lots of trouble together, and after "the fire," he was sent to Europe to study and Clare was sent to her grandmother's in Cleveland to finish school.

Her return leads her to try and figure out what happened - with her and Patrick, with her family members, with the history of the places and people there.  It leads to a series of revelations that mean that what Clare had always believed was not necessarily the case.

Overall, it's a good book.  Clare is a difficult person to really care about - at least for me - but the story is interesting, and the history of Galveston woven through is extremely evocative.

If I Should Die, by Grace F. Edwards.  Grace F. Edwards died recently, and when I was reading her obituary in the New York Times, it mentioned that she had begun writing a mystery series when she got older that was groundbreaking in the way that it captured the lives of everyday people living in Harlem and their relationships not just with society at large, but with the police.  So I decided to give this book a try.

The book takes place in the late 1990s, in Harlem, when the crack epidemic is in full force.  Mali Anderson is a former cop who is pursuing a Ph.D. in social work, and has spent her entire life in Harlem.  Her father is a well-known jazz musician and she lives with him and her nephew Alvin, who was orphaned when Mali's sister and her husband died in a climbing accident in Europe.

Mali left the police force when she filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against a fellow officer.  One day when she is walking to pick up Alvin from choir practice, she happens upon what seems to be an attempted child abduction.  She manages to scare away the kidnapper, but realizes that the choir director is lying in the street dead, after he was shot while also trying to foil the kidnapping.  Her instincts from years of being a police officer kick in, and she starts to try and find out what is going on.  Some of her old department contacts are assigned to investigate, but they don't seem to be following procedure as she knows it.  When a former colleague reaches out, and they become romantically involved, she is able to learn a bit more.

But as other murders happen, and an attempt on the life of Mali's dear friend happens, it seems there is a whole lot more going on than originally seemed to be the case.  Things start to get really dangerous, really quick.

The murder mystery is interesting, but the best part of this book is the historical information about Harlem and its people, as well as its depiction of families and family life.  If you didn't know they were black, you would be appalled at some of the things that they have to endure.  But since you know that they are, it just reinforces the fact that though they lives lives similar to everyone else, there is an undercurrent of fear, prejudice, and the feeling that society sees them as the "other."

I liked this book and plan to continue with the series.

Starling Days, by Rowan Hisayo Buchanan.  When this book opens, we meet Mina, who is standing on a bridge over the Hudson River, thinking about dying.  When she throws one of her flip flops over the side of the bridge, she is (unwillingly) pulled off the bridge by a couple of cops and taken to an EMT station where she calls her husband Oscar to come and get her.

Oscar and Mina have been married for a short time, and though in many ways their life together seems fine, they are together in a very tenuous way.  Mina suffers from severe depression, and Oscar spends a lot of his time making sure she is OK.  As a matter of fact, on their wedding day and on what should have been their wedding night, Mina overdosed on pills and had to be in a psychiatric hospital for a while.

A kind of redemption happens shortly after the river incident, when Oscar's father asks him to go to London on business (Oscar works for his father's company).  They stay in a flat owned by the company, and Oscar sees this as a chance to start fresh.  Oscar grew up in England, and his mother currently lives in Inverness, Scotland.  He has many friends there.  Oscar himself is interesting, as he is the result of a one-night-stand between his mother and father.

Not long after their arrival, Oscar is called back to the States briefly for a business meeting with this father.  The book takes place primarily in this period.  In the beginning, Oscar is torn between working with his father and worrying if Mina is OK back in London.  Mina, in the meanwhile, becomes involved and infatuated with the sister of one of Oscar's friends.  As it turns out, Oscar ends up staying in the U.S. for a longer period of time, going to California to stay a bit with his father and his stepmother.  Mina becomes more enamored of her friend Phoebe, and they have a brief affair.  Eventually, Oscar returns, and he and Mina both are changed.

This book was really interesting, moving back and forth between Oscar and Mina.  It does an excellent job of illuminating what living with depression, and what living with someone with depression, can be like.  It shows how people and families can all have secrets, and relationships of all kinds can be long or brief, happy or sad, and how outside influences can change things suddenly.

I don't know if this is a book you can "like" per se.  But it was interesting and well-written.

Fashionopolis : The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes, by Dana Thomas.  After reading this book, you will want to slap anyone who ever says, "I have nothing to wear." (I say that all the time, and yes, I want to slap myself.)

Clothes used to be valued, and even for wealthy people, they were used and reused because replacing them was not an automatic response.  With the rise of fast fashion, all of that went out the window.  This book talks about that, but also discusses how so many of the companies that claim to be "ethical" are walking a fine line on that definition.

Having said that, I understand why people purchase fast fashion, because it is what you can afford.  For instance, I am lucky if I can purchase something of quality in any given year.  But during that year, I also need things to wear because so much is worn out - and I wear my fast fashion purchases until they do wear out.  It becomes a vicious circle of sweatshops continuing because the resulting pieces are affordable to a large swath of the population.  Which means that they have no reason to stop, because the company they are producing for is continuing to make money.

I will say that this book will likely make you think about what you buy and if you really truly need it.  For the most part, it was interesting, but there were sections that were so packed with statistics, my eyes tended to glaze over.  But if you buy clothes, care about people, and the planet, this is well worth reading.


So there you go - a couple of duds, but most of the others were at a minimum readable.   What have you read lately?  Anything you particularly do or do not recommend??

15 July 2020

Christmas in July - We're in Week 3 Already!

Hello all!  I was surprised myself when I realized we were already in Week 3 of

Christmas in July!!!

But then I also remembered - this year, there are actually five weeks - count 'em FIVE weeks during the month, so you have an extra chance to win, or win again, or ignore the whole thing.  😁

This week, we have two books for the giveaway - one with knitting patterns, and one that is about knitting:

The book on the left is Knits About Winter, by Emily Foden.  This is a lovely book, very evocative of time and place and gives background on what inspired Emily Foden to create the lovely patterns.  It contains 12 patterns, including hats, mittens, sweaters, and shawls.  (Please note that this one is the first edition - a second edition was published in 2019.)

On the right, is Vanishing Fleece : Adventures in American Wool, by Clara Parkes.  As usual, it is written in Parkes' conversational way, and makes you feel that you took the trip with her during a year when she wanted to see just what it takes these days in America to create yarn.  I really enjoyed it.

Here is your question for this week:

What is your favorite holiday symbol?  A menorah? Thankgiving turkey? Your nation's flag on a national holiday?  Sunrise on the winter solstice?  Tell me which is your favorite and why.

Be sure to leave your comments on this post only, no later than 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, July 19.  Then it will be up to the old reliable random number generator to pick a winner, which will be announced on Monday, July 20.

BTW, in a case of Well Who Knew, the winner for week 2 - Karen - turns out to be someone I know in real life!!  We both worked at the University of Pennsylvania at the same time, and we were two of the founders of the Penn Knitters, which still exists today!  This makes me all kinds of happy, since I lost touch with Karen after both of us left Penn, and though occasionally, I'd come across her one way or another, I'd often hope she was well and still crafting away, because frankly, she had some serious talent. 


In other news, I - who has never even started the project during an "official" KAL (meaning one is actually officially joined), have completed Clue #3 for the current one I joined.  WHO AM I??  I have to figure out how to get a photo of my progress so far to show you (notice I didn't say a *good* photo, let's not get carried away here).  I'm pleased with how it looks, even though there are of course a couple of places where I successfully fudged things to make it work. 

Today I have a single Zoom meeting but it is scheduled to last 3 freaking hours.  That's inhuman.  But it's also one of those where they are taking attendance, so you know you have to show up and look thrilled to be there.  Wine o'clock cannot come early enough!

I hope the rest of your day is more interesting than mine will likely be. 

13 July 2020

Week 2 Winner - Holidays and Virtue

I hope all of you had a good weekend - mine was for the most part uneventful, mostly because I worked on some stuff around the house since it was too hot and humid to be enjoyable outside.  I did get to spend Sunday working on my Cozy Squares of Memory blanket, which was a good thing because it had been a while.  I finally decided to move along on it, after something that I felt had messed it up.  But it is supposed to be a patchwork blanket, right, so I decided it didn't need to be 100% perfect (spoiler alert - it already wasn't ...).  Anyway, it felt good to work on it again.

But what I am really here to tell you today is that we have a winner for the second week giveaway for Christmas in July 2020:


Here is what she had to say about people in her family or that she actually knew who had a name related to any holiday:

My grandmother had a friend whose two grandchildren (twins) were Holly and Noel.  I thought them wonderful names!  Still think they're pretty good.  My husband's family has a tradition of virtue names; his mother, God bless her, was named Prudence.

This answer had something of everything - good holiday names, twins, and some "virtue names" thrown in!  I think those twins were lucky, because Holly and Noel are actual lovely names, so not made up ones that the kids have to spend their lifetimes spelling or explaining.  And Prudence is one of those names that makes me think of someone dressed as a Pilgrim, but it is also a name that I think is kinda pretty.   I must admit that I also find "Pru" to be a cute nickname.   So congratulations Karen!  Please send an e-mail to:  thekittyknitterATverizonDOTnet with your name address, zip, etc. and I will get the package ready to mail. 

The reason I thought up this question was because it was right after the Fourth of July, and every year at that time, I remember this one person's name that frankly I don't know if I'll ever get over.  In one of the jobs I had, we had transcripts from an affiliated college that had closed.  So when someone needed one, they called us.  This guy called for his transcript once, and I said, "Please give me the name your transcript would be under - so for instance, if you use a nickname, but the transcript is under your proper name, give me that."

His response was "My name is E Pluribus Allen; the letter E with no period after, then P-l-u-r-i-b-u-s then A-l-l-e-n."  Now for those of you who do not live in the U.S., or maybe just don't pay attention, the motto of the U.S. is "e pluribus unum," or "out of many, one."  Well, I guess some patriotic (?) parents thought it would be a most excellent name for their child.  Personally, I so wanted to know what this guy was called on a daily basis - "E" or "EP" or maybe just "Chip" - who knows?  But it's truly one of the most - shall we say - Unique names I've ever heard.  And as a co-worker said, "Just remember: Out of many, Allen."  Which I have to admit makes me laugh every single time I think of it.

It *is* memorable, you've got to admit.

10 July 2020

Sitting in the Dark

Well, here I am sitting in the dark, even though it's daytime and we have lights on.  Tropical Storm Fay is visiting today, so it's really really really dark outside, and you have the sense of being in a cave.  I'm just glad to be inside and dry at this point.

I just finished a two-hour webinar for work about White Supremacy and to be honest, I don't think I'll do much for the rest of the day.  It was exhausting both physically and emotionally, plus given how this week has gone, I was tired even before we started.  I used to not mind webinars/Zoom/online meetings, but now that they are the norm, I find them difficult, and my eyes start to bother me at some point.  I'm sure others are feeling some kinds of effects as well.

Thank you for the compliments on my in-progress KAL shawl from yesterday's post.  Clue #3 arrived yesterday, and it includes Star Stitch, which will be a new one for me.  Not today though, since I know my concentration wouldn't be on point.  Besides the shawl, I'm working on the second sock of this pair:

I started these for myself in December of last year, but only got the first sock done with everything else happening.  So I decided to put it away and work on the second sock during Christmas in July.  Which works out really well, but if you don't pay attention to what you did on the first one, you can get well into the second one, realize you did something different, and have to rip back quite a bit.  It's all good though, since I am now beyond where I was when I had to rip.  

Speaking of Christmas in July, if you want to be included in this week's giveaway, remember to comment on this post before 11:59 p.m. this coming Sunday.  I'll announce the winner on Monday.

I hope wherever you are, you're having a decent Friday, even if it's dark and stormy.  I have no specific weekend plans, but I'm sure I'll find something I want to do, and if I'm lucky it may even be something beneficial, like cleaning out a closet.  (Don't hold your breath on that one, though.)  Have a good weekend, and please please please if you leave your house, wear a mask!  And if Tropical Storm Fay is visiting you also, I hope you can stay dry.  💧🌧⛈☔

09 July 2020

It's Thursday, But This Week Has Been At Least a Month Long

Sometimes, when a lot happens in any given week, it seems like the time went by in a flash, and you kinda wonder where all time went, or what happened. 

Then there are weeks like this one.  As mentioned above, I'm pretty sure it's been a month long.  At least.

Since it's Three on Thursday, I thought I'd tell you three things that have made it seem sooooooo long.

1.  Hamlet had diarrhea.  Fortunately, he is on the mend.  But for two nights in a row, he needed to go out to go to the bathroom approximately every hour and a half.  And then in the daytime, I was exhausted but too wide awake to successfully take a nap.

2.  We finally got our new stove, which was very exciting.  Except, 1) they couldn't get the delivery truck down our skinny street, so the poor delivery guys had to walk the stove (using a dolly of course) up the street in 96 degrees with humidity; 2) then they didn't have the right thing to install the gas connector.  So The Tim had to go out after they left, get the part, and install it himself.  It was a much longer process than it should have been, but at least we do have a working oven again!  It looks like this one:

3.  I told you I had signed up for a KAL.  I finished the first clue pretty quickly last week, well before Clue #2 was released:

Then Clue #2 was released, and it is 99% lace, which as you know, is a challenge for me.  And this was truly just very simple lace.  But *(*^*&*&%%%!! did it give me fits.  The question is, WHY does it take me so long to figure out that all you really need to do - especially with this pattern, since it stayed the same throughout - is figure out how many repeats there are, and use markers?  Once I did that, it was smooth sailing, but before then, I ripped back at least three times.  I finally did finish Clue #2, which is good since the next clue comes out today, but I gotta tell you, I was ready to just scrap the whole thing.  I'm glad I didn't, but geez, what a self-imposed slog!

Add in a week of approximately 8-10 Zoom meetings, and I have to ask - was this week really a month long???

08 July 2020

Christmas in July - Week 2

Another Wednesday, another post for this year's

Christmas in July!!

This week is a little bit different, because the giveaway consists of five small needlework kits - mostly cross stitch, with one embroidery kit.  They are from needlework magazines that were being taken off the shelves to be tossed a few years back when The Tim used to work at Barnes & Noble (previous issues would be tossed when new ones arrived; it was the way the arrangement worked with the publishers).  He would bring me the little freebies that were inserted into the magazines.  While I was sorting through my craft things recently, I realized that some of them were duplicates - and though there's a good chance I'll make one, there's a very very small chance I'd make two!  So I thought some of the needleworkers, those who wanted little projects to try and learn needlework, or those who might know someone who would enjoy them. might be interested.  Here they are - I apologize for the really awful photo, believe it or not, this was the best one I got ...

(Descriptions, starting at the top left, going clockwise: A Sunflower Card; 2 Christmas Card Kits; Handbag Mirror Kit [kind of Delft-inspired blue and white] (includes mirror); Beaded Notebook; and, Michaelmas Daisy Gift Sachet (embroidery).  These are all kits including everything you need to make the items)

Here is this week's question:

Do you know anyone personally, or through a friend, whose name is related to a holiday or something related to a holiday?  For instance, I used to work with a woman whose sister was named Ave Maria, because it was her mother's favorite Christmas song.  Now that's one thing, but the family wasn't even Catholic, and so I thought it was just extra weird.  For those wondering, they called her "Ave" for her everyday name (as one would, of course ...).

So time for you to share some of the names you may have come across.

Be sure to leave your answer in the comments for this post only, no later than 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, July 12, 2020.  I'll fire up the random number generator again and announce the winner on Monday, July 13, and let them know once their package is on the way.

I don't know about you, but I am endlessly fascinated with names and how people ended up with the ones they have.  Then there are those that you'll never know that story of - like Pinkie Eldorado Parrot, listed in an 1858 directory as the wife of a Presbyterian minister.  What I wouldn't give to know how her name came to be!

Your turn next.  😁

06 July 2020

Our First Winner, and Her Easter Basket

Hello all - Well, July is taking itself very seriously, at least here in Philadelphia, where it is ridiculously hot and supposed to become hotter and more humid as the week goes on.  Ick.

I am happy to announce our first winner for Christmas in July 2020:


One of her funniest holiday memories was this:

i was an only child...so it was a big deal to visit cousins on holidays. We all got up early one Easter morning, only to have my youngest cousin announce to all 5 of us...you can't eat your candy because I licked it all, and it's covered with my cooties, so it's all MINE. This didn't bother me at all....she left my Easter basket alone, because it was full of black olives, cottage cheese, and cocktail onions. The Easter bunny knew me well; and I had never thought of my Easter haul as unusual until that Easter morning. (Boy, did Cousin Jane get a lickin' for her antics, though.)

A fun little trip down memory lane!

I loved this answer on so many levels - not just her cousin "getting hers," so to speak, but also the contents of her Easter basket.  So many people would not be willing to give their kids the things they actually liked, because they weren't the usual chocolate bunnies, jellybeans, etc.  Congratulations, Steph!  To claim your prize, please send an e-mail to: thekittyknitterATverizonDOTnet, with your name, address, zip, etc., and I can get the package ready to send.

As for my answer, one of my funniest memories is from a Christmas dinner.  My parents went all out at Christmastime (which is probably why we were so poor the rest of the year), and would always kind of collect extra people to come to Christmas dinner, which in our house was on Christmas Eve.  One year, it was the first time my father's Uncle Bill and his wife Aunt Viola were on their own for the holidays, as both of their adult daughters had moved to California.  So my parents decided to invite them to come and join us. 

A bit of background:  Uncle Bill was well known as being really really cheap, and my father used to always say that "he was so cheap, he wouldn't pay a nickel to see Christ jump off the cross."  (!)  Aunt Viola was an amazing cook but whenever you went to their house, the servings were always incredibly tiny - so we all used to wonder, was she really that good of a cook, or were we just always hungry when we got home because there wasn't enough food ...

Anyway, when my mother called to invite them, Aunt Viola asked what she should bring.  My mother said to bring something that they always have for Christmas dinner that they would miss by not eating at home.  Aunt Viola said she would bring some of her homemade noodles. 

Well.  HOMEMADE NOODLES!!  We were in heaven, waiting for that goodness, as my mother never made homemade anything, and we talked about those stupid noodles most of the day in anticipation.  When dinnertime came, everyone was around the table, and just as we all had our plates full, and everyone started to eat, Aunt Viola asked my mother where the homemade noodles were.  My mother responded, "Oh my God, things were so hectic, I put the bag on the table, and then forgot to make them at all!," to which Aunt Viola said that was too bad, but she guessed she would just take them home with her after dinner.  (Meaning we would never actually taste said noodles, ever.)

Only later in the evening when all the guests were gone did we get the actual story.  I guess when my mother talked to Aunt Viola on the phone, she said she would bring homemade noodles because "we always have them at Christmas, and [Uncle] Bill loves them."  So when they arrived she handed my mother a small plastic bag with the homemade noodles in them.  As in, ONE SERVING - for Uncle Bill!  Because you know, he loved them!  Both of my parents said there was no way they were cooking something that had only one serving and then giving it to a single person to enjoy.  (Needless to say, it was said in much more colorful terms at the time.)

As you can imagine, this is the stuff of family lore.  Uncle Bill and Aunt Viola never joined us for Christmas - or any holiday dinner - ever again, because for a few years their daughters' sent them plane tickets to visit, and eventually they moved to California to live near them.

So the next time someone offers to bring something for a meal, you may want to ask them about the number of servings ... 😂

03 July 2020

Friday FOs - Two, Count 'Em, Two!

Before I completely melt today and lose all interest in anything, I have two finished objects for you - yes TWO.  Granted, neither one was a major undertaking, but they are still both finished, and that counts!

First up, the shortie slipper socks I knit for The Tim:

Project:  Same Mother Shortie Socks
Pattern:  Just a plain sock, turned into a shortie sock
Yarn:  Plymouth Encore Worsted Solids, in the Oatmeal, Purple, and Orange colorways
Needles:  US size 5
Notes:  As you know if you have read my blog for a few weeks at least, I knitted the first sock, and then strongly suspected that I would not have enough of the Oatmeal colored yarn to complete the second one.  For some people, that would mean they would take apart sock #1 and do some color-blocking.  I'm not those people, and because I had not thought ahead, I warned The Tim that his socks would not match and why.  He said, "Well, if you have to throw in another color, make sure it's something that pops." And I think the orange definitely pops, right??  Anyway, these were really quick to knit, and since they are just meant to be slipper socks, it didn't bother me that they wouldn't be the same.  I called them "Same Mother Shortie Socks" because they are like family members who have the same mother, and look similar but different.  😀

The best part was that when they were finished, The Tim was *thrilled* with them, so all's well that ends well.


Next up, something for the kitchen:

Project:  Leftovers Kitchen Towel
Pattern:  At Your Service Knit Cloth (a free pattern)
Yarn:  Knit Picks ColLin, in the Conch colorway
Needles:  US size 7
Modifications:  None
Notes:  I had some yarn left from my Down the Shore Shawl, and decided to give this pattern a try, since we use these kinds of hanging towels in our kitchen all the time and they are not that easy to find in stores.  The pattern was overall easy and pretty quick to knit, but in my heat-addled brain, it did take me a few times to get the decreases right.  In the end, it turned out just fine, and I see many more of these in my future.  The Tim thinks they would be nice Christmas gifts, but I'm not sure that people would enjoy that kind of gift.  Then again they might.  I'll have to give it some thought.

Both of these projects were from stash yarn, and that always pleases me - the button for the kitchen towel is also from a stash of buttons that I have, so no extra money at all was spent for this project, which is even better! 


Before closing, I wanted to remind anyone who is interested that you have until one minute before midnight this coming Sunday, July 5, to comment on this post and be in the mix for a giveaway. 

And finally, tomorrow is Independence Day here in the U.S.  This country is far from perfect, but if we can get back on track, I really believe that things could move forward and we can be what we wanted our country to stand for.  It's still better than lots of other places.  So, if you celebrate, have a lovely day, and remember to VOTE in November!!

And for everyone, I hope you have a good weekend no matter how you decide to spend it.  See you on Monday for the announcement of the giveaway winner.