Friday, December 28, 2018

Photo Friday

I got a couple of pictures for Christmas.

The first,

Original painting of a sassy lama from a local artist
Gay Lama

"Gay Lama" according to the artist.  I'm so excited and amazed to have received this painting.  Our neighborhood had a craft show a month or so ago and I saw the painting there.  I bought a poster of a different lama, got the artist's contact info and promptly came home and gave it to my daughter with instructions to tell Dad I wanted the painting for Christmas.  

Then I promptly forgot about Gay Lama.  Mainly because Dad doesn't believe in giving gifts that were asked for.  He thinks they should be complete surprises.  I wasn't likely to receive Gay Lama so I put thoughts of him out of my mind.

Until Christmas morning that is.  (Luckily, Sarah didn't listen to the instructions and bought Gay Lama for me herself.) Gay or not, I think he's very sassy and I can not wait to hang him on the wall.

And second,

Finally!  A decent photo of my son!
Zack and Megan

My photo-phobic son gave me a framed picture of him and his girlfriend.  You just don't know how exciting it is to have a photo of his face.  Since he turned three, he has acted as though he was in Witness Protection and has avoided photos like the plague.  Every single picture I have of him has his hand, his hat, a dinner plate, a cup, a bowling ball, the dog.... (you get the idea) in front his face.  

Anyway, I'm quite happy to have a photo of Zack's face and if the gift idea was the girlfriend's, then I like her even more than I did before.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Three on Thursday

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.  We sure did.  My daughter was sick, which was very disappointing (and amazingly, the first time either of the kids were ever too sick to Christmas) but she rebounded, sort of, for Christmas Day.  She had that Dawn of the Dead cast member look to her but we weren't having to poke her to see if she was alive.  Big improvement from Christmas Eve. 

And speaking of Dawn of the Dead... did anyone else happen to notice Shaun of the Dead is currently on Netflix!  I think the camera scene just may be The best bit of cinematography ever!

But I'm digressing.  

It's Three on Thursday and I got a yarn bowl for Christmas!

1.  My awesome sister gave me a new, gorgeous, handmade pottery yarn bowl.  It's much bigger than my small wooden one and is going to make my life SO much better.  No more switching balls of yarn in and out of the bowl when I'm knitting on multi-skeined items.  And look how well the bowl coordinates with my weather cowl.  I am head over heels happy with my new yarn bowl!

2.  The bowl came from Locust Hill Pottery located in Mechanicsville, Virginia if you're tempted to buy one for yourself. 

3.  Wait!  Did my sister tell me she was taking a pottery class from Leslie Messersmith, the artist behind Locust Hill Pottery??  I want to take a pottery class!  I'm so jealous!  But it's okay.  I have a beautiful yarn bowl!  (And hopefully I'll benefit from my sister's future pottery adventures.) 

Monday, December 24, 2018

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Sunday Soup - Mom's Christmas Soup

Okay, so I'm not sure I can count today's soup recipe as an actual recipe.  It's more of a suggestion to grab any and everything from your fridge and freezer that's taking up space and dump it into a big, giant soup pot.

So, let me explain...

Back in the day, our family's Christmas tradition was ... well, there's no other word for it other than insane.  How my parents pulled it off, I will never, ever know.  The weekend before Christmas, we'd go out into the woods (and as an adult, I now realize we were totally trespassing but as a child, it was just a family hike) and chop down a tree.  The tree would sit in our garage in a bucket of water "thawing" and hydrating itself until Christmas Eve morning.  Early, early Christmas Eve morning, my dad would get up and polish the brass and sharpen the knives.  Why he chose to do this on Christmas Eve is a mystery, but he did.  It was tradition.

Once Dad finished with the brass and the knives, it was tree time.  We'd finally bring the tree into the house and my mom, sister and I would put the lights on while Dad sat in the rocker pointing out bare spots.

photo courtesy of
photo courtesy of

After the tree was lit, (not decorated, just lit,) we'd get all dressed up and go to my grandparent's for a fancy Christmas dinner and the annual reading of The Night Before Christmas.  Once that was done we'd go home, my sister and I would hang our stocking and pretend to sleep while Santa decorated our tree and set out the presents.  Yes, Santa decorated our tree as well as put together the bikes and doll houses!

photo courtesy of
photo courtesy of

My poor parents!  I remember multiple years waking up before the sun had even risen and being so excited because Mom was already up and in the bathroom brushing her teeth.  (Little did my childish self realize she was in there brushing her teeth Before bed, not after waking up.)  But Mom was a good sport and Dad was just as excited for Christmas morning as my sister and I so ... we'd all traipse downstairs and open presents.

After presents, we'd have a big, fancy breakfast (admittedly, anything beyond cold cereal was considered a fancy breakfast in our house) then get all dressed up again and go to my cousin's for an all afternoon open house buffet type of affair.

And after the cousin party, we'd come back home and Mom would throw her annual "Thank God it's Over!" party.  And by party, I mean casual gathering.  It was a 'come in your pajama's if you want & if you bother to wear shoes, kick them off at the door' type of thing.  People would drift in and out all evening, until well after I'd gone to bed that night, and the food that was served was ham biscuits, Mom's Christmas Soup and what ever cakes, cookies and goodies my parents had received as gifts.

photo courtesy of
photo courtesy of

Mom always swore that the soup contents were simply frozen leftovers from throughout the year.  And it sort of seemed like she might be telling the truth.  It always contained ground beef, corn, peas, green beans, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots and butter beans. It usually had a few chunks of roast beef, a little onion, and some years had tiny bits of broccoli and/or spinach chopped small enough not to be recognized.  Mom would add a little bit of tomato sauce, a bouillon cube or two and enough water to turn the mix into soup.  And she'd cook it for hours and hours and hours days in advance, until it had a Brunswick stew consistency, then freeze it to be reheated on Christmas night.

Gosh, I miss those childhood Christmases and my mom's Christmas soup.  Mine just never tastes quite the same.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Three on Thursday

I can't believe another Thursday has rolled around already.  Here's my three very random thoughts for the day:

1.  Thank you all for the lovely comments on my Burberry cowl. It was a fantastic project and I've already knit two more!  And now I've discovered a new pattern.

Fingerless gloves with old fashioned Christmas tree lights draped across them.
Yule Mitts

I'm tossing out all my other knitting projects and plan to knit Yule mitts for everyone.  Look at those awesome Christmas tree lights draped across them....  Awesome Christmas lights that will magically look like simple blips of color in January.  I hope.

2018 Snowmagedon.  December 10, 2018 snow storm.
December snow

2.  It snowed!  Snow in December!  Measurable snow in December is rather unheard of here in Virginia.

I added a white stripe to my knitted weather cowl to represent snow.
Snow stripe!

I added a white snow stripe to my weather cowl and went for a walk.

12/10/18 snow storm in Virginia

I didn't realize why my husband was laughing so hard at me when I returned until I looked at my poor attempt at a selfie.  I look like an abominable snowmanwoman!  I also had zero makeup on and was being pelted in the eyes with ice chunks.


3.  I return to full time work tomorrow through New Year's and I'm in a bit of a panic.  We've been doing some remodeling and the house is a complete disaster zone.  Parts of the disaster area have been decorated, parts have been left alone with their light (some places not so light) coating of sawdust.  

The "must knit or die" gifts have been finished and now I'm left with the "really, really want to knit" gifts.  Oh, and those eight pair of Yule mitts!

The baking... Well, I did make a list of what needs to be baked and by when.  I passed the list to my daughter with a hug and good luck wishes.  Thank God for daughters who like to bake.  

And now, I'm going to go do some relaxing deep breathing exercises, knit a few rows and go to work.  I'll be back in January.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Photo Friday - Burberry Cowl

My new favorite pattern - the Burberry Inspired Cowl.

A cabled cowl hand knit with Berroco Ginkgo silk and wool blend yarn.

It may not look like much but... What it is is fantastic!  It's a simple, once around the neck cowl, knit with worsted weight yarn on slightly too large needles with cables spread over 16 stitches and 30 rows.  Because the cables are so large and so spread out, you really don't 'see' them as cables.  They look more like folds than cables.  And the whole thing is knit with a fairly loose gauge so the resulting fabric is soft and drapey.  

And want to talk about soft?  I used Berroco Ginkgo that I picked up recently at my new local yarn shop, The Center of the Yarniverse.  The yarn is a 52% silk and 48% wool blend and is Heaven in a skein.

I loved the pattern so much, I cast on a second cowl the same day I finished this one.  And the whole time I've been knitting the second one, I've been thinking about what yarn I have stashed that would work for a third.  

Or maybe I should just go yarn shopping.  Again.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Three on Thursday

 Christmas is coming down to the wire.  I know it seems far off, or at least most days it does.  It's actually nineteen days away, if you count today.  But for me, because of my crazy work schedule, I need to have everything completed and ready to go by the fourteenth.  Eight days.  Gosh, I wish I hadn't counted.

But the point is, I have eight days to prepare for Christmas.  And that means, if I'm not frantically clicking the Add to Cart button or blindly tossing things into a real shopping cart like a mad woman, I'm knitting.  And what have I been watching while I knit?

1.  Ozark.  My goodness!  Have you watched this show?  I'm completely obsessed!  It's so good,  I'm choosing to binge watch it instead of Hallmark Christmas movies.  I cringe over the characters' behavior while immediately clicking Next Episode.  It's also got some great music tossed into the mix.

2.  Christine.  Netflix has just added the movie adaptation of Stephen King's Christine.  I ended up watching it twice because I missed important parts the first go round due to cables and beads.  Christmas knitting would have gone a Lot faster if I'd left out the beads!

My Christmas cactus is covered in buds that are getting ready to open and bloom.

3.  My Christmas cactus.  I swear, I can see the buds growing!  And I'm so excited to see it actually bloom.  Well, I'm excited to see multiple blooms on it.   Last year was the first year it bloomed and it only had one bud.  This year, it's covered in buds.  I can't wait for them to open!

Join me over at Carole's for Three on Thursday.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Sunday Soup - Lasagna Soup

Today's recipe is for lasagna soup from 365 Days of Slow Cooking.

Lasagna soup made in the Instant Pot; recipe from 356 days of slow cooking
Lasagna Soup, recipe and photo courtesy of

The recipe is written for the Instant Pot but I'm sure it could easily be modified to cook on the stove top. 

I've never had lasagna soup before but I've been craving lasagna and this recipe sounds quick, easy and delicious.  It will probably be a bit less fattening too.