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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Slip sliding away

We had a serious ice storm over the weekend before last, which was of course followed by lots of snow.  I can drive okay in snow, but I don't think anybody drives well on ice.  We've discovered another big drawback to our new digs: the management doesn't scrape or salt the roadways inside the development.  Fortunately for me, I'd already scheduled a day off for the Monday that fell after the storm.  I was cozy & knitting in my lovely new home all that day.  The next day I got up earlier than usual, and the Plaidman escorted me to the car (icy sidewalk to icy parking spot).  There was still enough snow on top of the ice for me to creep along through the development, but the street just outside of it was a sheet of ice.  I had to back up & move a bit left or right before going forward, twice before I got to the main drag (two blocks away!).  I think it took me an hour and 15 minutes to get all the way to work.  I made it in the next day too.  But that Thursday, the snow & refrozen slush had all gone from our neighborhood, and the hill I needed to climb was an impassable sheet of ice.  I tried it three times, slipping towards either the railroad tie wall on the right or the island on the left each time, and I had to back up to try again each time.  I finally decided it was a non-starter; then I had to back up even further (over ice!) to get to a place where I could turn the car back towards home.  I think I was out of the house for 30 or 40 minutes, and went absolutely nowhere!  The next day was just ok; there were semi-cleared lanes through the ice in the neighborhood and the side street, and the main drag was clear.  We had some rain over the recent weekend, and that helped melt some more ice, but we still had ice on our walkway & lot.  Plaidman left the shovel at the old house, so he went out with a hammer and tried to break up that ice.  It took several tries, but the walkway was clear this morning (2/25).  Now if I could just stand next to my car without darn near falling....
ETA:  I did somthing silly this morning, that I haven't done in at least 20 years (don't go there) -- I locked myself out of my car!  It snowed again last night, so once I got in the car and turned on the defrosters, I grabbed my trusty long-handled scraper/brush, jumped out of the car & started swiping away the snow.  The car was running, so that the defrosters would work.  I got the windows cleared, and tried to "jump" (with my bone & joint issues, no actual jumping is allowed...) back in the car.  OOPS!  The door's locked.  The keys are inside, with my phone.  So I slipped & slid back up to the front door, and stood there a good 5 minutes beating on the door & ringing the bell before Disco came to my rescue.  And hey!  I made it to work on time.
In Knittin Knews, I'm still working on my Honey Color Affection, made four rows last night & only have one more four-row repeat of the middle portion.  Then I can add the final color!  Woot!  The end is near, I tell ya.  I'll try to get some pictures this weekend; gotta find the flippin' camera...it's around somewhere.  Moving is the gift that keeps on giving.  We'll have an adventure looking for that camera.  I just home it's not in the "craft room", which is pretty much a "crap room" still.  I did get the smallest of our bookcases moved out to the pantry room, and even moved some of our cookbooks & home magazines out there -- that made enough space to turn around in the "craft" room doorway.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Almost forgot

I'm supposed to be blogging about our library.  Where we're at now, we have one just about a half mile away.  And it's new!  And very nice.  The Plaidman and DiscoDame were there just a couple of days ago, and brought home a small stack of reading material.  I'm reading The Miniaturist (sorry, it's not in front of me & I can't remember the author's name), and I hope to finish it tonight after supper.  It's an historical novel, life in Amsterdam for a young lady from the countryside, who becomes wife to a powerful merchant.  Not at all a romance, and has a good share of oddball actors.  Everyone's got a secret, few of them are pleasant.

The other great thing about the library is, it's not just books!  We've brought home movies, CDs, and audio books -- heck, you can even check out a magazine, as long as it's not the current issue.  Unfortunately, only one knitting mag seems to have made the "cut" at the library.  (You knew this would get back to knitting, right?)  I don't know why this is the case; there are several I'd like to look through (usually before buying them, what can I say?) but only one available.  Maybe they need a suggestion?  or a donation of a subscription?  The other real drawback to our nearby library is the handicapped parking, which is oh, about a block away from the door!  There's no parking at the front of the building, and it's a lo-o-o-ng building, so I just have to hike from the side lot to the door. 

Hopefully, we'll be having the plumber in today to fix a few small problems; nothing major unless it's the pressure regulator.  Our water pressure is super high, and could be contributing to a couple of leaks.  I know the home inspector found the gauge, and wrote up the high pressure as part of his report, so I'm assuming we have a regulator somewhere.  Oh, here's a funny:  I just remembered that DiscoDame woke us up at about 2 a.m. a few weeks ago, because she heard someone walking around in our crawlspace.  She's absolutely terrified that somebody will force the crawlspace door and come into her suite.  The Plaidman went down and took a look, but of course there wasn't anyone there by the time he got downstairs.  So now the door has a deadbolt, keyed on the inside only. 

I found another item I want from Bass Pros Shops: VaxTrax ice cleats!  These puppies slip on over your boots/shoes, and apparently last for years.   I had so much fun trying to get into the office after our ice storm, what with the road conditions (refrozen slush with ice underneath, such fun!!) it took about 1.25 hours to go about 11 miles.  Then when I got to the building, the lot hadn't been scraped or salted, and neither had the handicapped ramp.  I just knew I'd be breaking a hip out there, but managed to get inside ok.  There's handicap parking in back, but no stairs or ramp, so I parked there today.  Whew!  I've had my share of fear & loathing this week. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Huzzah! More furniture!

Tuesday's delivery was the tall chest that goes with our bedroom, and today we got the floor lamp and (drumroll please) our queen-sized mattress -- and we got the frame set up, and the Plaidman wrestled the mattress into it's protective cover.  It's fabulous.  All of our bedroom furniture (except the étagère) matches....  I'm a little freaked, as we've been living with cast-offs & second hand bits & bobs almost our entire married life.  It was like living in a gypsy caravan, or a perpetual college dorm.  And I was so beyond tired of it.  The new furniture, new house, shorter drive to work & to everything else we could want (there are 3 Chinese buffets within 5 miles) have all contributed to my much improved mood.  Some folks go shoe shopping, I went house shopping.....
In Knitting Knews, I've finished 9 of the 4-row repeats on my restarted Honey Color Affection.  It will be a slow process, but not a difficult one.  I'm not actively working on anything else, but I gave away my wooly hat to a homeless dude, and now I need a hat.  I like Lion Brand Wool Ease Thick 'N Quick for hats, because it's washable.  Pretty sure I've got skeins in at least 4 colors, in my craft room.  So, I should get into my collection of hat patterns & get busy!
Time for a Year of Handmade prompt!
    5. Favourite thing you have ever made 
This is a tough one.  As crafters, we're usually pretty smitten with whatever project we're currently working on, or looking forward to starting that next project.  I've made a lot of things.  Those made for folks I love are treasured memories.  My niece is one of my most knit-worthy of kin.  I flew to Texas to visit with Sis & her family some years back, and the timing was just not the best--Niece A was pretty booked up with activities most of the weekend. so I wasn't going to spend much time with her.  She had an overnight (friend's birthday party, 5 girls & the birthday girl's Mom spent the day sightseeing & stayed over) that had her running out the door at 9 a.m.  But she wanted to have "me" with her, so she put on a sweater and picked up a teddy bear I'd crocheted, and wore her brand new knitted & felted hat I'd given her.  All her little friends were very keen on all these items.  I guess anything I've made for her is a favorite thing.  The best part of crafting for someone else is getting that positive feedback.  I knit cowls for my entire department for Christmas one year, something like 20 cowls knit in 6 weeks, and one recipient told me thank you.  She actually told me thank you several times, and said she wore hers almost every day that winter.  This past holiday, I made the silly ruffle scarves -- just knit 6 & turn, repeat ad nauseum.  Those were very well received!  I had several coworkers thanking me for them.  I still have a few skeins of the ruffle yarn, but would rather burn it than knit it.  What can I say, I pretty much DID the ruffle scarf thing to death. 


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Back to the prompts

It's February already!  Friday evening we went over to the folks from whom we bought our sofa, loveseat, & end tables (about 3 weeks ago!).  I'd had a change of heart about a) the dark wood of the end tables, and b) the funky fabric of the sofa & loveseat.  We found another seating set that is in stock, and some lighter pine tables (they have drawers! tiny ones, but big enough for the remotes).  All should be delivered within the week.  Then we went over to the Roomy place where we'd bought our bedroom, 'coz the Plaidman had found out that the order was actually written up wrong!  The salesman had ordered us the queen frame & headboard & footboard, but wrote up the mattress as a king.  That put an extra $353.00 on our account, for no good reason.  So we thought, heck -- we've got a credit, and need some lamps; why not apply the credit to a pair of table lamps and a floor lamp?  And that is what we did.  The table lamps were floor sample sales, two alike for the same price as one not on sale.  Plaidman was an electrician (in another life...), and is quite sure that he can resolve any issues with the sockets if there are any.  He's even offered to change both sockets to three-ways if that's what I'd like.  Hey, knitter here!  Of course I'd like both to be three way sockets!  (Is it me, or does that sound vaguely dirty?  Old ladies = potty minds, I guess.)
In knitting news, I kept looking at the edge of my Honey Color Affection -- it seemed awfully hard and inelastic.  I was about half-way into the second section, and looked at a reference about the M1 increase.  Sure enough, I was putting them on incorrectly -- I was putting M1r where I needed M1l, and vice versa.  The whole thing had to be frogged.  Now I have seven of the 4-row repeats of the first section done, with the correct M1's, and the edge is neat but not so hard as it was. 
On to the Year of Handmade prompts:

3. Favourite craft products that you often use. (I copied & pasted this from Rebecca's list, can you tell she's Canadian?)     The craft tools I use most often are my Knit Picks nickel interchangeable circular needles.  I knit mostly on circs, and this is a nice set.  A corollary to these is another favorite (American spelling!) product: Bass Pro Shops handy keeper for all your fishing flies & lures!  It has lots of zipped clear pockets that are held in place by a ring binder, it's divided in the center so I can put wooden & bamboo circs on one side, and metal circs on the other.  The Knit Picks envelope fits in very well.  Of course, I did get myself some acrylic interchangeables, but they have their own zippered case (very pink....not my favorite color) so they're fine. 

4. Dream craft products to use.   Good work requires good tools.  I would love to have a complete set of Signature Needle Arts Stiletto needles, both interchangeable circs and straights.  I used to think it would be lovely to have a spinning wheel, but I got over it.  Lace calls to me, and very pointy needles are super useful for lace.  I still want a small flock of Alpacas, but that's a dream I need to let go -- we're on a zero-lot line property here.  They'd have to be about cat-sized, and I doubt I'd get much fiber from animals that size.   

Friday, January 23, 2015

Important things

I saw on http://snapdragoncrafts.blogspot.com/ that there's a Love Your Library challenge.  I don't know about a challenge per se, I visit ours at least once a month anyway.
           
We've always been keen on the library, even when we lived 30 minutes from the closest one.  Our new home is only about a half mile from a library branch!  And we consider this one of the home's nicest "features".  Our old digs were just so far from anything; we didn't even have a nearby fast-food chain when we first moved there.  Of course, we didn't have a neighborhood full of meth heads and other assorted lowlifes just out our back door either.  Now we're in a more urban area, with plenty of restaurants and shops nearby (haven't found a yarn shop yet...), but surprisingly it turns to woodland very quickly just a short distance from the main drag.  We see a huge flock of wild turkeys here most mornings, cleaning up all the acorns that fell in the Fall.  And boy are there a lot of acorns everywhere.  Disco had a turkey wake up call last Saturday, from a small group of young toms that wandered just past her window.  I believe that's the first time in a year that I saw her before noon on a Saturday. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Look Ma no prompt!

Last night I found a huge sackful of my headbands.  I have been wearing the same three for about two weeks now, and getting pretty tired of seeing them in the mirror.  I managed to fill one entire drawer of my new dresser with socks, both crew type & trouser socks (remember when those were called knee highs?  Wait, did I just date myself?) .  Another, deeper drawer is now full of my camisole and tank tops, which I use all winter like camis to keep from freezing -- my desk is by a wall of windows. The drawer above the camis is for the "unmentionables", but as it's only about two thirds full I might have to put other things there too.  I'm still not going to have enough storage for my sweaters, unless I put them in a clear lidded box in the closet or on the étagère. 
The Plaidman has just finished putting deadbolts on the deck storage closet and the door into the crawlspace.  Disco is glad to have that last one locked up tight; it opens into the crawlspace from her "suite".  And the cats are still very wired about their new environment.  Our Little Man, TomTom Kitty, tries several times each day to get into the lower cabinets in the kitchen and hall bathroom.  I don't know if he's looking for Narnia or just Trouble. 
  
TRY AGAIN SLOW COOKER PANTRY “CONCOCTION” MEAL

Last night I got home & found a meal cooking in the slow cooker.  This wasn’t a surprise, as I’d asked the family to use the cooker since they were going to be out all day.  However, the contents were…less than stellar, shall we say.  The cooks had made a classic “white dinner” of chicken breasts, potatoes, and cauliflower.  It did not taste bad, just sort of “meh”, but it looked pretty sad.  So I’m putting together a basic, grab-it-from-the-cupboard and cook it template for a concocted dinner from the crockpot, just to avoid having another all-white dinner!  This will be posted on the fridge!!  Please note, this template assumes the cook has some experience in prepping food for cooking – I’m not a cooking instructor, just a gal who’d like to have a colorful (healthy!) meal.

Ingredients (as found in pantry/cupboards/fridge) –

1 15 oz can diced tomatoes, low sodium preferred, any seasoning or none, undrained

1 or 2 15 oz can beans, any variety, mix or match (1 can if there’s plenty of meat), drained

Ground meat, any variety, browned:

            --heat 1 TBS oil in stout fry pan, sauté some garlic and/or onion (you know your tolerance, so use what suits as far as amounts of each) for about 5 minutes

                --add ground meat, break up and brown with the garlic/onion, drain grease

If you’d rather have pieces of meat, you can brown them as for the ground meat.  Smaller pieces will cook more quickly, but you can also just cut up a large roast into 3 or more pieces.  Boneless chicken works well, especially thighs, and doesn’t have to be browned first.

Green veg, as available:

Fresh                     prep as for cooking in liquid (aka boiling)

Frozen                  thaw & press out excess water 

Canned                   rinse twice & press out excess water

Seasonings appropriate to the meat, and in line with the ethnicity you’d like to express:

                --if you’re thinking TexMex, chili powder, cilantro, maybe sub some salsa for the diced tomatoes

                --if you’re wanting Italian, use Italian sausage, basil, oregano etc.

When meat is browned, veggies drained or prepped, and additional seasonings selected, throw all in the crockpot & cook for several hours depending on the size of the pieces of meat.

During the last hour (or about 1 hour before you want to serve), you may add rice or noodles, plus enough liquid (stock, V8 juice, white sauce) for your starch. 

Alternatively, you can serve with pita bread or chips, or tortillas or chips, etc.
 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Prompt #2 In your wildest dreams, where would you love to see you hobby/skill/craft take you?

Well, I'm not sure I need it to take me anywhere.  I would like to go to Rhinebeck, or Squam, or if there's ever another Sock Summit I'd like to attend.  Ooo, I just had a thought: a knitting cruise!  With Franklin Habit & Meg Swanson as instructors.  I want my knitting & crochet to remain hobbies, as stress relief.  These crafts are my avocation, not vocation.  I am Da Knittah, but I have a day job too! 
I have absolutely no idea where our camera is hiding.  The desk that was its home was taken apart to move, put back together, taken apart again, moved partially, and half of it is still in another room.  Moving sucks big time.  We still haven't found the stamps, but since most of the bills get paid online that may not be an issue.  The other Plaid Patrollers went back to the old home today, and collected all kinds of "stuff", like my big wool coat and the cookie cutter collection.  Does anyone know where my Eeyore collection landed?