Food for Friday! 1/14 – 1/27

So once again I got out of the habit of making a grocery list/menu every 2 weeks.  For the past couple months I’ve been scrambling the morning I head to the store to find/print my coupons and put the finishing touches on an only partially functional menu.  I’m going to try to get back on task and start doing a better job of menu planning and house keeping.  Now I just have to keep myself following my menu and each week will go by smoother without me standing in the kitchen trying to decide what I can make with the frozen lump of meat I forgot to thaw…

In the housekeeping department I’m planning to keep up on my kitchen a bit better and put the laundry away rather than let it sit, often times already folded, in the laundry baskets for days.  I’ve already started making the beds each day and trying to get most of my daily chores like laundry done in the morning so I can have more time to knit and spin later.

Here’s the menu for the next couple weeks.  Trying out some new recipes as well as some new family favorites.  I’m also trying to use the meat that I’ve got stored in the freezer rather than buying a ton more.  My grocery list this time around is filled with lots of necessities that I don’t normally buy on a regular basis (things that usually last for a bit like salt, peanut butter, honey and maple syrup…I’m trying to keep the bill down under $250.

MondayCheesy Chicken and Rice Skillet
Tuesday – Buffalo Chicken Pasta
Wednesday – Homemade Pepperoni Pizza
Thursday – Pork tenderloin
Friday –  Tacos
Saturday –  Steak-ums
Sunday – Leftovers/fend for yourself

Monday – Homemade Chicken Parmesan served over angel hair pasta.
Tuesday – Spaghetti and homemade sauce
Wednesday –  Cajun Pot Roast
Thursday – London Broil
Friday –  Bacon and Eggs
Saturday – Roast pork chops with cheddar and bacon grits (Paula Deen)
Sunday – leftovers/fend for yourself

2012 Ups and Downs

2012 is over and done.  It wasn’t a bad year.  Lots of good things happened with the bad and I’m thankful for all of it.

Probably the biggest thing that happened was figuring out my soy allergy/sensitivity.  Call it what you will, but I’ve been doing fantastically since cutting out every last little bit of the nasty substance.  Only once in a blue moon (I’m talking really only once every 2-3 months) will I have an episode and only after eating things that I know I shouldn’t eat!   I’m really glad that Darling Hubby was able to figure it out and that it wasn’t milk.  Despite the friendships I lost during the whole brouhaha, I feel I’m better for having the whole thing happen.  I’m feeling better overall.  I don’t wake up feeling like crap every morning and don’t go to sleep in pain every night.  And, it was all because I simply changed my diet.  Who’d have thunk it?

Another good thing that happened was that I learned how to knit socks.  I’ve made 14 pairs of socks since the start of March.  They are all pretty simple socks, but I love them simple. I’m not a real fancy lace and pattern girl.  I even challenged myself to do some unusually constructed socks like the carousel socks and the sideways socks.  Unfortunately, I didn’t finish the Owlie socks my friend Barbara and I started as a knit along.  I just had a bunch of other projects come up that took precedence.   I wear a knitted pair of socks practically every day and most members of my family have received a pair of socks at some point.  The only one who hasn’t is Fidget…

Another good (and bad) thing was that I opened my own shop on Etsy.  It’s been open since April and I’ve only had one online sale and that was a custom order for a friend…but, the recipient of that custom order Cthulhu hat is delighted with it, so that’s what really matters.  I will admit that most of my sales have been off etsy to friends or at the craft fair I did in September with some of the girls from the library knitting group.  I made 3 blankets for a friend from back home for her to give for Christmas gifts.  I also made another blanket for someone at the knitting group at the public library after she fell in love with one of the 3 that I made.  I haven’t had much time to do my own knitting lately because I’ve been doing projects for the shop.  I’m still excited to have the shop open…I’m just a little disappointed that it hasn’t done as well as I’d hoped.

Another good thing is that I went to Rhinebeck for the first time for the Sheep and Wool Festival.  It’s where I got bitten by the spinning bug.  I came home with a drop spindle and taught myself to spin yarn on it.  Of course I couldn’t just stop with that.  I’ve fallen in love with wheel spinning.  I’ve been getting better by leaps and bounds and just learned how to Navajo ply and I might even list this most recent yarn in my etsy shop (if I can talk myself out of keeping it!)  I’m hoping to save up enough money to buy my own wheel at some point.  I’ve tried a Kromski Sonota and an Ashford Kiwi and so far I really like the Kiwi, despite the nasty creak that it has in one of the treadles.  But, I’ve heard that Ashfords have a tendency to creak…lol

The bad was, thankfully, few and far between.  Things didn’t really start to get bad until November, which seems to be a pretty crappy month for many people.  Darling Hubby was off for the week of Thanksgiving and we woke up that Monday to a very cold house.  Despite the fact that the furnace was running all the radiators were stone cold.  Turns out the circulator pump blew and a day of waiting for the technician to come to fix it and $700 later we had a warm house.  Thankfully we have the wood fireplace for back-up warmth…then, Darling Hubby had to have his car inspected and that needed $400 worth of work…so in 2 days we’d spent over $1100…and we hadn’t even started to buy Christmas presents.

Probably the worst and absolute last thing that happened in 2012 was that on New Years Eve around 9:30 pm, our little dog Spiral passed away peacefully in her box.  It’s something that we’ve been expecting could happen at any time due to her age and health, but it was pretty sudden how it happened.  Literally it was she was alive one minute and gone the next.

We came home early from a New Years party, Darling Hubby walked the dogs and I started ushering the kids upstairs.  I filled the dogs water bowl (both dogs were happy and dancing around) and headed upstairs to do the bedtime routine while Darling Hubby went out to plow out the bottom of the driveway, thanks to not 1, but 2 plows coming through right after we got home.  Anyway, Fidget left his new Buzz Lightyear downstairs and wanted to sleep with it, so I went down to get it.  I noticed Spiral was laying with her nose down in the blanket and not on her paws like normal and I got no response when I called her name.  I’d seriously only been upstairs 10 minutes.

It came as a complete shock to both me and Darling Hubby as to how sudden it was, but like I said it was expected.  We’d had her for over 9 years and she was estimated to be around 2 when we adopted her.  She had bad teeth and a severe heart murmur that had progressed into congestive heart failure where she was constantly coughing, but she was still active, ate well and seemed happy.  I’m thankful that she seemed to go peacefully and that she’s in a better place and has hopefully been reunited with her best friend, Grace, who passed away nearly 2 years ago.

So, the bulk of 2012 was good (oh, and I should add that we didn’t die in the apocalypse that didn’t happen!)  I can only hope that 2013 is even better!

My First Homespun Yarn

In my Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival post I wrote about buying a Turkish Drop Spindle and some fiber with plans to learn to spin.  Since then I have been working a little here and there when I find a few minutes to give it a try.

I’ll admit that it’s not as easy as it looks…sometimes I feel like I need a 3rd hand, but it’s given me an appreciation for the art and a desire to branch out.

Now, I’m proud to present my first ever handspun yarn made with the batt from Loop Fiber Studio which is a mix of merino, bamboo, tussah silk and angelina that I purchased at Rhinebeck.  This skein weighs about 19gram (.6oz) (yes, it’s tiny, but it was just for practice) and is thick and thin in places.  I’ve been told that if it wasn’t my very first attempt at spinning it might be worthy of selling in my Etsy Shop as an art yarn.

 

I love the colors.  Different shades of blue and green with some blue sparkly tinsel randomly throughout.

 

It’s kinda of an arty type yarn with lots of sections of thick and thin spots.

 

Since I’m not a properly outfitted spinner, I didn’t have what’s called a Niddy Noddy for winding up the newly spun yarn into a skein…Since I’m crafty, I made my own temporary one out of  some string, 2 rulers and a tube from a roll of paper towels.  lol  Well, it was just a quickly thrown together things and I put the towel roll on as an end…I should have put the tube in the middle as it didn’t survive, but it worked and served a brief purpose before being put out for recycling.  In hindsight I probably could have just used one of my dining room chairs.  lol

 

 

I’m excited to try my hand at a different type of wool, some unidentified pinkish wool that my awesome spinning friend Barbara of Kitty Mine Crafts (yes, go check out all her awesome spun yarn and wool fibers!) sent to me to practice with.

My next adventure will be learning how to spin on a spinning wheel.  I’ve been doing some research lately and I’m going to check out a Kromski Minstrel and Kromski Prelude at The Spinning Room in nearby Altamont this weekend.  I’m kinda excited, but I’m not getting my hopes up on getting one soon since they are super super expensive, nearly $600 for the Minstrel which just based on the specifications is the one I’d most like to have.  Maybe Santa will be super kind to me.  🙂

Socks, Socks and More Socks!

Once again I’ve been neglecting my blog in favor of spending time with my kids during the summer and crafting.  Just yesterday I took the boys to the Auntie Shannon’s house and we went swimming in her condo’s pool.  It was a lot of fun.  We actually haven’t been swimming all summer and both boys really enjoyed it.  Even Bug taught himself to go underwater and Fidget was enjoying jumping in when he was wearing his floaties.  Everyone was thoroughly tuckered out, including me.  I could barely focus on our roleplaying game last night and didn’t even have the focus to work on the vanilla pattern sock I’m currently working on.

We’ve also been spending a lot of time at our local library.  Every summer they have the “Summer Reading Program.”  Kids are encouraged to read so many minutes a week and they earn little prizes for their success.  The culmination is an ice cream social with a magician.   This summer the kids made dream pillows (Bug’s was a mouse in space wearing a space helmet so he didn’t eat his cheese house), worry dolls (Bug’s was a ninja), wind chimes using clay pots, and they even tasted jelly beans to vote on the best tasting.  Bug read over 25 hours!  He’s still reading, too, even though the program ended.  He’s got a stack of books that he personally checked out on his own library card!

On the crafting front, I’ve been mostly working on socks.  Since my last craft post I’ve finished 6 more pairs of sock, a Bullseye stuffy and got most of the Spring Flowers blanket done.  Here are some pictures of my complete projects.

These are a pair of belated birthday socks to myself.  For my birthday I went to the awesome LYS, Trumpet Hill, and picked out some sock yarn.  When I was there I was introduced by the wonderful staff, to Opal’s Van Gogh Sock yarn.  The awesome yarn designers took the colors from some of Van Gogh’s famous paintings and turned them into yummy yarns!  Since it was late in the month, Trumpet Hill was running low on colorways, so I picked out a skein of In Variation Nach.  I asked if there was a colorway of Starry Night, since it is one of my favorite Van Gogh paintings (we have a print hanging in our living room) and there was, but they didn’t have it in stock.  Fast forward a couple weeks and I saw on Facebook they’d received a new shipment of the Van Gogh yarn and when I asked, they said they had Starry Night!  Squee!  I rushed over that evening to pick up a skein and also came home with a skein of Vase with Sunflowers, too!  Of course I cast on the first sock as soon as I got home!

Van Gogh's Starry Night Socks

Van Gogh’s Starry Night Socks

Barbara (Knittin and Kittens) and I did a KAL (Knit Along) for these interestingly designed socks called Carousel Socks.  We both stumbled over this pattern on Pinterest and decided to give it a try together.  I’m glad we did.  These socks had very interesting construction and we ran into the same issues together, which made getting through the project a little easier.  We’ve both decided that while it was nice to learn a new technique, we probably won’t be making these again any time soon.  They are comfy, though and I do wear mine regularly.

Carousel Socks

Carousel Socks

Upon finishing the Carousel Socks, Barbara and I decided to venture into the world of Sideways Socks.  This was another pattern that had a unique construction.  We made some major modifications to the pattern after reading notes from others on Ravelry.  I’m glad we did because otherwise our socks would have come out being knee highs!  We also modified the heel to do increases and then decreases around the other side and Kitchener the seam at the top rather than cutting the yarn and rejoining.  I think we’re both agreed again that while it was nice to learn something new, we won’t be making these again any time soon!  lol

Sideways Socks

Sideways Socks

I’ve also been getting ready for a craft fair in September.  I’ve got some baby blankets and some baby bibs done, but want to have some socks as well.  I pulled out some worsted weight (thick yarn) and made these Broken Rib socks.  They will make great boot socks for someone (with a size 9 foot) here in the great northeast during the cold winter!  They are very thick, cushy and warm!

Broken Rib Socks

Broken Rib Socks

Another pair of socks for the craft fair are these Pink Camouflage socks.  These are a size 9/10.  I kind of like this colorway for myself, but I’m going to save them for selling.

Pink Camo Socks

Pink Camo Socks

I’ve also started on another pair of striped socks for the craft fair.  I have a feeling these are going to be identically striped socks…fingers crossed, anyway.  It’s the same yarn and colorway I used for the Carousel socks.  It’s called Harlequin.  I really like this color and stripes, so I may have to pick up some more to make myself a pair.  I currently plan to make this pair of socks a size 7/8 so I can have a variety of sizes.

Harlequin Socks

Harlequin Socks

I also finished a pair of socks for Darling Hubby.  His “Whether He Wants Them or Not” Socks.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture.  He’s worn them and they are ok.  He said they were a bit slippery and I noticed that they stretched a bit more than I thought.  I think that’s the yarn I used, which is a bit of a heavier sock/fingering weight.  It’s a learning experience.

I also finished a Bullseye amigurumi for Fidget.  He’s on a Toy Story kick.  He loves anything and everything to do with Buzz and Woody.  He has a big stuffed Woody and Buzz, little mini ones and even a talking Woody.  The one thing he didn’t have was Bullseye.  I searched Ravelry high and low for a pattern that I could turn into Bullseye and the wonderful April Draven made one called “Brown Pony” that was exactly what I’d been searching for.  Apparently it had to be renamed because apparently someone was unhappy with it’s former name.    I actually managed to whip this little guy out in 24 hours!

Woody and Bullseye

Ride Like the Wind, Bullseye!

I’ve also been working on the Spring Flowers blanket.  It’s been tough working on it since it’s been so hot…I just don’t want to sit under a hot blanket on an 80* day.  I’m getting to the finish line, though.  I’ve gotten most of the border done and then I need to weave in all those ends…I’m kinda dreading that!  lol

So, that’s it for now.  Kind of a big ol’ Finished Object Friday post…

Fraternal or Identical?

I finished another pair of socks in record time this week.  I cast on Monday night at Craft Night (because I was tired of making hexes and because I was at our agreed upon stopping point for the Carousel sock and wanted something else to work on) and had both socks completed by Sunday afternoon…less than a week.  It was kinda a belated birthday present to myself, since my birthday was Friday.

This pair (number 6 on the sock counting tally) is made with Berroco Sox yarn in color 1476.  There’s lots of purples, pinks, blues and white in this yarn.  I love doing plain vanilla sock patterns and using a self-striping yarn. I don’t have to think about what stitch comes next and it’s great for when I want a quick traveling project.   This yarn was super fun because the stripe pattern was random and I never knew what color would show up next.   I just wish the yarn was a bit softer.  It feels almost stiff in a way, even after washing and drying it.

When I started sock # 2 I didn’t have the same starting point in the yarn as the first one, so my stripes don’t line up the same, but that’s ok because I love the colors and the random differences.  Someone on Ravelry pointed out that my socks are not Identical twins, but Fraternal Twins.  I like this line of thinking!  Even though they come from the same ball of material, they are each their own unique entity.  🙂

So, I hereby present pair of socks number six (pair number 3 for me) – Berroco Sox in Purples and Pinks.

Berroco Soxs

Fraternal Twins

Berroco Sox 2

Love the random stripes!

I also finally finished Bug’s Red socks.  He was so excited for them that I didn’t want to disappoint.  I finished them at Craft Night on Monday and didn’t even have the chance to wash them because Bug wanted to wear them to school the very next morning.  The pattern I used was A Thousand Kisses and it’s a good pattern.  I didn’t have a good contrasting color yarn, so I left off the X’s and O’s and make the heel, toe and cuff the same color as the body.  I’ve found that I’m just not a fan of the heel flap and the gusset.  I much prefer the short row heel.  The heel flap is great for when I don’t want to think about what I’m doing and just work back and forth, but I love the simple look of the short row heel.  I think for the next time I make Bug a pair of socks, I’ll use the same pattern, maybe with the multi-colors this time and do a short row heel instead.

Now presenting Bug’s Red Socks:

Bug’s Red Socks

I can’t wait to start working on my next pair of socks.  I’m thinking of a pair for Darling Hubby (whether he wants a pair or not!  lol)

Food for Friday! 5/7 – 5/20

Coupons and sales aren’t great again this week…Might have be decent if I remembered to print out the Price Chopper triple coupons before I deleted the email…

Monday – Rotisserie chicken with couscous and corn on the cob
Tuesday – Pancakes or waffles with fresh whipped cream and strawberries
Wednesday – Chicken Quesedillas
Thursday -Steak with sweet potato fries and veggies
Friday –  Tacos
Saturday – Crescent Chicken – still haven’t gotten to make this yet
Sunday – Happy Mother’s Day!  Chicken cordon bleu, rice and veggies

Monday – Cheesy Shepherds pie (modified from this recipe)
Tuesday – Spaghetti and homemade sauce
Wednesday –  Homemade pizza
Thursday – Game Night –  Mini meatloaves, mashed potatoes and veggies
Friday – pork chops, rice or couscous and veggies
Saturday – Fish, picked up fresh
Sunday – Sausages and fries

WIP Wednesday – Hexes, Socks & Lima Beans

I’ve been busy with crafting over the last couple weeks.  I’ve been plugging away at the twin size Spring Flowers hexagon blanket.  I realized that my original calculation were slightly off.  The blanket is now the proper width (12 rows), but I’m going to need many more hexes than I figured to bring it to the proper length.  I’m currently at 130 hexes completed and crocheted together.  I figure that I need a total of 205 hexes to bring it to bedspread length.  I finished 15 hexes in the past couple days and have completed through the 2nd round on 10 more.  I haven’t been given a deadline to finish by, but I’m hoping to get it done before the end of the month.  I’ve only been working on it for 2 months now, which isn’t too bad considering the size of the project.

Here is an updated picture of it.  I’ve also been granted permission from the pattern creator to make blankets and sell them in my Etsy shop.  So, a big shout out and thank you to Jessie from Jessie at Home for creating a beautiful pattern!

Spring Flowers Hexagon Blanket

Since I finished 3 bibs for Sarandipity Handmade and I like to have a little traveling project with me, especially when I am sitting down at the school waiting for Bug to be released, (those bibs were great for that) I started on another pair of socks for myself for Mother’s Day.  I’m following the same vanilla pattern that I used for the other 2 pairs I made, but I’m doing my heel and toe a bit differently, following a pattern in a book I borrowed from the library.

And, I’ve realized that my diet is still a work in progress, too.  I’ve been doing so well, nearly another month soy free without an issue until Monday night when I ate lima beans with dinner.  According to some research  lima beans (as well as other legumes) can trigger the same effect if you have an issue with soy.  So, until then I’m avoiding lima beans.  I’m thankful I don’t have issue with green beans, kidney beans or peas, cause we eat those all the time.

I’ve got so many ideas floating around in my head, but I’m hoping to finish one of the 2 projects I’ve got going before starting more…though I’m sure I’ll probably pick up another small project before all is said and done…that’s just how I am!  lol