Thursday, December 31, 2020

Three on Thursday - New Year's Eve

I imagine 99.999% of the population will be quite happy to say goodbye to 2020 tonight.  I'm hoping and praying 2021 will go a little better than 2020 did.  For today's Three on Thursday, I have three current but random things.

1.  As a family, we are doing all we can to ensure 2021 is an improvement over 2020.  To start, we'll be taking our tree down tomorrow and eating black eyed peas.  Lots and lots of black eyed peas!

We don't do a whole lot to celebrate New Year's Eve.  We stay home, usually in our pj's, eat a "fancy" meal, and by "fancy," I just mean a meal we don't normally have.  There will nothing fancy about it.  After all, we'll most likely be in our pj's.  This year, to celebrate the end of 2020, Mike will be grilling a standing rib roast and Sarah has plans to cook way more food to go with it than we'll possibly be able to eat.  I plan to knit while they cook.

2.  Yes, my butt will be parked on the couch with my knitting and my new Gilmore Girls DVD's while Mike and Sarah cook.  Hey - I need my rest for the tree removal ordeal tomorrow.  

I'm really enjoying the fast pace of my Felix pullover.  I'm also loving the ragland design.  It's just enough different to make the simple sweater a little bit special.  I'm definitely going to knit the cardigan version sometime soon.

3.  Miss Hayden got her two front teeth for Christmas!  Actually, she got those two on the bottom around Thanksgiving, but the top two, which are still too small to see, popped through just a few days before Christmas.  She has these baby Cheeto's looking snacks that she likes and it was so fun to hear her biting and crunching them instead of gumming them.

That pretty much sums up our holiday.  I hope yours will be as relaxed and enjoyable.  Stay safe out there!

Happy New Year!


Tuesday, December 29, 2020


I wasn't sure I'd get the opportunity this year so I was quite excited to start my #ChristmasEveCastOn project.

And yes, I'm well aware I should have been sweeping rather than knitting but I'm a knitter.  I have priorities.

It's quite amazing how quickly a bulky sweater grows!  I'm knitting a Felix Pullover.  I may regret not knitting the cardigan version but hey - it's knitting up so quickly, I can easily sneak a cardigan into the knitting schedule.  I'm using Wool of the Andes Bulky.  It's a first for me.  I generally don't knit with bulky yarns because they make my carpal tunnel flare up but so far, so good.  The knitting is going so quickly, I think I'll finish the sweater before the carpal tunnel issues have a chance to kick in.  Knock on wood!  

Besides how fast it's knitting up, I'm also surprised how much softer/less itchy the bulky yarn seems to be compared to the regular worsted.  The worsted doesn't usually bother me, but I can already tell that this bulky feels different.

So, what are you knitting now that the Christmas gift knitting season is over?  I'm looking forward to seeing and hearing about everyone's projects.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Sunday Supper - Slow Cooker Ham and Black Eyed Pea Soup

Okay, let's be honest here.  I'm writing this several days in advance.  I imagine we'll still be eating Christmas left-overs tonight, not soup.  But....

I thought I'd share this recipe for ham and black eyed pea soup from Betty Crocker.  It's made in the slow cooker and will most likely be our New Year's Day meal.  

You just gotta eat black eyed peas on New Year's Day!  I normally make Hoppin' John which the family tolerates but most don't overly enjoy.  I thought I'd try something new this year.  Besides, it will be a good way to use up those left over ham bits I'm sure we'll have.  

Do you eat black eyed peas on New Year's Day?  Do you have other New Year's Day traditions?  

Growing up, we always took our tree down on New Year's Day.  Never before, and never ever after.  It was the law in our household.  I've kept up the tradition.  It doesn't matter what else is happening that day.  The tree comes down and we will eat black eyed peas.  We definitely need the luck they will bring this coming year!

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Merry Christmas!

No Three on Thursday today but I wanted to wish everyone a merry Christmas.  I know this holiday season has been pretty weird for so many people.  There's been fear, loss and loneliness for many but I hope you will remember your blessings, no matter how small, and that your heart will be full of joy over the coming days.  My Christmas wish for each of you is peace and happiness.  And of course, a fun Christmas Eve Cast-On project.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

I won!

 I'm pretty excited!

I finished the pink gradient shawl.  I finished two days ahead of schedule, and, I won at yarn chicken!  I was sweating it out once I'd bound off the first half of the shawl. Even my hands were sweating over the last quarter.  It was only over the last five or six stitches that I began to calm down and have a little faith that I'd win the game.

I hope my mother-in-law will like it.

Pink is her favorite color and she wears head to toe, multiple shades of pink most days.  She even has pink shoes, a pink hat and even a pink coat.  The shawl should complete her outfit.

Oh, and did you notice - I finished it then got it blocked two whole days ahead of schedule!  I don't know what to do with myself now.  I don't think I've ever finished Christmas gift crafting early.  Ever! Normally, I'm sewing seams or blocking things on the car heater vent on the way to deliver the gift. How am I supposed to fill those extra two days I've created?

I want to have a special #ChristmasEveCastOn project but I don't want to wait until Christmas to knit something.  I also don't want to knit on anything from my UFO pile.  Should I start something new that I won't finish?  Do I force myself to knit something I don't want to knit?  Or should I just go eat rum balls and cookies for the next few days?

Decisions, decisions!

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Sunday Supper - Snickerdoodles

One last edible Christmas gift idea and then we're back to regular Sunday Supper posts.  I can NOT believe Christmas is only a few days away.  Just where has December gone??

Do you leave out cookies for Santa?  Around here, Santa likes snickerdoodles.  They may not be a traditional Christmas cookie but there isn't anything Santa likes much better than late night snickerdoodles made from the original Betty Crocker recipe.  And if they are good enough for Santa, they should be good enough to give to friends and relatives.

Happy holidays and happy baking!

Friday, December 18, 2020

The Captain always comes for Christmas

 It's that time of year...

The Captain made his annual visit yesterday.  It was rum ball day.

I've made rum balls every Christmas for more years than I can count and I've always enjoyed it but I have to say, it's a Lot more fun with an adult daughter helping out.  We had to make eleven batches this year (they are that good and that popular!) and we've added a little 'spice' to the tradition.  One of us makes the dough and the other rolls the balls.  And after each batch, we take a shot of rum then eat a rum ball.  

A shot and a rum ball may seem like over kill but by the seventh or eight batch, we have to taste them to make sure we didn't leave out any ingredients.  Or add one ingredient in twice.  It's surprisingly difficult to count and measure when you're sloshed!

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Three on Thursday - Eight Days

It may be Three on Thursday but we only have eight days until Christmas.  Eight!  Where are the days going??

I'm feeling pretty good about it though.

The stockings are lined and hung.  I didn't do the best job in the world hand sewing the linings but the stockings will only get used once a year and I made sure to, at minimum, make my stitches small enough so that a Barbie shoe couldn't pass through.  I couldn't think of anything a young lady might like that was smaller than a Barbie shoe.  Maybe beads, but I figured Santa wouldn't be dumping loose beads into a stocking.  If Santa does ever decide to give something smaller than a Barbie shoe, he'll just have to put it in a box.

I finished four pair of beaded socks for Hayden and Fred is enjoying showing them off.  I will make more at some point - either when she requests a certain color or she's moved up to the next size socks.  That girl is growing like a weed so it will probably only be a matter of months, if not weeks, before she needs new socks.

The shawl for my mother-in-law is coming along and should go much faster now that it's the last Christmas item on my list.  I'm not sure I've ever posted a photo of it before.  It's a Very pink, very simple garter stitch, triangular shawl. 

I'm using Stroll Gradient Duos in BFF to knit the shawl.  My MIL's favorite color is pink and this colorway is very pink!  To make the shawl, I started using the yarn from the outside of one skein then from the inside of the second.  I've just made it to the middle shade on the second skein but the idea is that the shawl will fade from light to medium to neon pink, then fade back to medium then to light pink.

The last shawl I made for her wasn't received well but she is ALWAYS cold and pink is her favorite color.  This one is definitely pink so hopefully she'll like this one better.  But just in case, I'm not bothering with any fancy lacy bits on it and thankfully, the yarn is machine wash and dryable.  Yay for that!

I hope your holiday projects are going as well as mine, (Gosh, I probably just jinxed myself with that shawl!) and I also hope you'll join me over at Carole's for Three on Thursday.

Eight days and counting....

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Tiny Tea Leaves

Tiny Tea Leaves is officially finished.  It's knit, it's blocked, it has buttons, and it's even wrapped and under the tree.

I'm not sure why I'm using a black and white photo when I've already shown other in-color photos but...   ...And, the yoke lines up much better than it appears in the photo. 😊

This was a great little design and I'm so thankful Karen from Pumpkin Sunrise gifted me the pattern a while back.  Despite it taking me ages to complete, it's a simple little cardigan with easy to follow instructions.  The pattern is written for sizes ranging from 2T up to preteen and I can see myself making many more of these in the years to come.

I used a heathered yarn for this one but the pattern is designed so that you could use just about anything and even multiple yarns.  I'm thinking it would be really cute with the yoke and garter edging knit in a different color from the body.  I'm also thinking Hayden will need one knit in her favorite sports team colors.  Her mom and I will have to battle it out over who her favorite football team is though.  Hayden's mom is just as sweet as she can be but she has very poor taste in football teams. 😊

Crud!  Now I'm thinking about all the color options I could knit and I'm about ten seconds from tossing aside my next assigned project to cast on another Tiny Tea Leaves cardigan.  Aack!

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Sunday Supper - Bacon Jam

Continuing with giftable food ideas for Sunday Supper this month, I thought I'd share a recipe for bacon jam that I stumbled across recently.

Bacon jam!  Bacon that can be spread on bread or crackers or pancakes.  Oooh!  Oooh!  And waffles!  Just imagine all the baconey goodness of a waffle smeared with bacon jam!  Yum!

The recipe comes from and can only be stored in the fridge for a few days.  Well, this recipe says a few days.  The one I originally saw in a magazine said up to a week.  It might not be a good idea to mail this one off to Great Aunt Sally but it would make a wonderful hostess gift.

And since it's bacon, you might just want to gift it to yourself!

Friday, December 11, 2020

Worst Post Ever

 Is there a "worst post" award?  I'm pretty sure this one would win.

Yes folks, we have not only bad lighting but also boring content!

I finally decided I couldn't put off sewing the stocking linings any longer.  I've been dreading it.  I don't know how to sew.  I have a sewing machine... in storage.  Apparently way, way in the back of the storage unit because I couldn't find it.  Not that my sewing would have been much better if I'd used a machine.  Only slightly faster.

Did I ever tell you about the time I failed sewing lessons?  Yep, I failed sewing lessons and the teacher suggested I find a different hobby.  It was so disheartening!

I think it was back in my senior year of high school, maybe the year before... Really doesn't matter, but I was a teen and I took a class at the local technical center.  Our final project was to sew a dress.  I was so excited about making myself a dress!  I loved the fabric I'd picked out so much I can still picture it today.  It was green with blue flowers and white butterflies on it.  Doesn't get much more late '70's than that! 

Anyway, my dress was dismal.  One sleeve was longer than the other and the zipper was inside out and upside down.  I was heart broken!

Personally, I think I have potential talent.  I think I just had a lousy teacher.  And despite everyone else's dress turning out perfectly, I'm determined my pathetic non-dress was the teacher's fault, not mine.

All I can say is, thank goodness the stockings will only be used once a year.  It means the lining has a chance of holding up long enough for Hayden to start kindergarten.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Three on Thursday - Amost ready

I'm almost ready for Christmas and so far, I'm feeling pretty relaxed about it.

I still have to deal with the kitchen stuff.  Stuff like making a menu and baking plan plus the grocery list...  But the gifts are bought and wrapped.  And 800 of 3,000 lights we put on the tree are still working.  I'm embracing the dark areas and calling them artistic whirls.  If the strands continue to die, I'm going to go buy a spot light and shine it up into the tree.  I am NOT taking all the decorations off to fix the lighting!  Nope! No way!

Hayden looks like she's contemplating doing something naughty. She can't talk yet, but she looks like she's thinking, "Hold my beer."  

And no, that wasn't one of my three things for Three on Thursday.  I just didn't have a photo for #2 and well, I can't resist photos of Hayden.

My Christmas shopping got cut short this year, and I am Not complaining!  It's tradition to give my kids wall calendars every year.  I always got one - I don't remember ever not getting one a single year until my mom passed.  I may be weird, but I have the fondest memories of laying under the Christmas tree with colored pens filling in everyone's birthdays after I'd opened all my gifts.  I have carried the tradition on with my own kids, although they were never interested in laying under the tree with colored pens on Christmas morning.  

This year, they both admitted that they didn't really want a wall calendar.  Oh, sweet relief!  It's unbelievably difficult to find ones that they would be interested in, not to mention the cost of the interesting ones.

It's funny how relieved I am at not having to search for $30 dollar sports team calendars, yet I'm also sad about it too.  It just doesn't feel 'right' not to have calendars under the tree.

I bought myself some candy cane flavored Chapstick, but when I opened it, the entire candy cane striped wrapper came off.  So I washi taped it.

So, here's to hoping you too are feeling a sense of calm with your holiday preparations and you've got the "Ehh, whatever" attitude rather than a sense of panic when things go wrong.

I hope you'll join me for today's Three on Thursday link up.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

On the Needles

Just a quick OTN update.

Remember Tiny Tea Leaves?  It got shoved down to the bottom of the knitting bag while I knit Christmas gifts.  I only have a sleeve and a half left to knit.  And well, I guess the button band.  The point is, I should be able to knock out this baby in time for Christmas too.  I better!  Hayden is only eight months old, almost nine, and already wearing 18 month size clothing.  She's slim but tall.  Anyway, I thought I had until late summer of 2021 to get this little 2T sweater knit but apparently not.

If you're interested, I'm knitting it with Blossom Heather Wool of the Andes.  I'm not normally a big fan of pink - I may have mentioned that a few times before - but I LOVE this Blossom Heather colorway.  I have knit many, many hats and mittens for my Etsy shop as well as for various gifts.  I'm not sure it will look too good with my skin tone but one of these days I'm going to knit myself a sweater with it.  It's just such a pretty, pale heathered pink.  It's just perfect!  It's a delicate, pale pink without looking the least bit babyish. And after I knit the sweater for myself, I just may knit a blanket and some pillows and maybe a skirt.  Thankfully it will take me a lifetime to get all that knit because if I'm going to wear a knit skirt, I'm going to loose 100 lbs first.  I have time!  😊

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Sunday Supper - Russian Tea

I'm shaking things up slightly.  For the next few weeks, instead of Sunday Supper being about what we're having for dinner, I thought I'd share a few easy to make edible giftables.

Today, it's a recipe for Russian Tea from Allrecipes.  Have you ever had Russian tea?  It's delicious!  I remember my mom making the mix when I was a young child and I've always loved it.  


The recipe is for a mix and this particular recipe makes five cups of mix so it's perfect for gift giving. 

The ingredients are simple, as is the recipe.  Just separate the mix into pretty little containers, write an instructional gift tag and presto, magic!  You have five four gifts.  Yes, it makes five cups of mix, but you'll want to keep one for yourself!

Friday, December 4, 2020

That time of year

 It's that time of year...

That time of year when all the knitting photos are in black and white.  

I am officially done with the Smitten mitten ordeal.  I was starting to think bad thoughts and wish the receivers ill will so I decided one Advent garland a year would suffice.  The extra little mittens I'd managed to knit will become ornaments and/or package toppers and the rest of people who were supposed to be getting Advent garlands are going to get something store bought.  I decided store bought is better than giving them ill will vibes.  Even if I have no earthly idea what to buy them because I am THE worst at gift shopping.

To add a little color to this post,

I have a new friend.  His name is Fred and he sings and dances.  He sings and dances about as well as I do, which is not saying much!  I can't wait for Hayden to meet him, although he may terrify her.  He looks like he's going to break a hip when he dances and his singing isn't much better.  But I think he's adorable anyway.  I can't quite decide what he is though.  I think he's supposed to be a lama but his face looks more like a camel to me and his body/fur looks like a sheep.  Whatever he is, I love him!

And then there's our tree.  Our Griswald/Rockefeller tree.  

I don't know what happened this year.  First, my husband usually buys Christmas bushes, not trees.  Second, he normally waits until just a few days before Christmas to buy it - which might explain why he always ends up with a bush sized tree instead of something decent.  But this year, the morning after Thanksgiving, he went out and bought this monstrosity.  

Don't get me wrong.  The tree is Gorgeous!  It's perfectly shaped and definitely Not a bush.  But good Lord!  There aren't enough lights in Walmart to light the thing up.  We put 1,000+ lights on it and it only barely lit half the tree.  We bought another 1,000 lights and now it's fairly well lit, except for the top three feet.  We can't reach the top three feet with a five foot stepladder.  We're going to need a real ladder.

I really can't get over the size of the tree.  It's either going to be The most gorgeous tree in the history of trees or it is going to be the most ridiculous looking tree in the history of trees because it won't be decorated or lit at the top.  Only time and my nagging my husband to bring a ladder home will tell.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Three on Thursday - A small haul

 Yarn shops are so dangerous!  For today's Three on Thursday, I thought I'd share a recent shopping trip.

I ran into my LYS, Center of the Yarniverse, right before Thanksgiving to pick up a copy of Painterly.  Have you seen Painterly?  Are you into Mason Dixon/Modern Daily Knitting's field guides?  (Sorry - I'll never get used to the new name. I have a hard enough time remembering names and if they suddenly wanted me to call them something different, they should have used different initials.)

Anyway...  If you are a Kaffe Fassett fan, you MUST get a copy of Painterly.  I thought their previous Fassett field guide - what was it?  #13??? - was awesome but Painterly is just.... Oh My Goodness!  If you haven't already bought a copy for yourself, you should definitely include it in your letter to Santa!

But because I'm utterly incapable of walking into the yarn store and buying only what I went in for, I also picked up a new knitting bag.  My friend Betsy from Love Ewe Farm makes them and sells them out of the yarn shop.  Sadly, I don't see them listed for sale on either Betsy's or Yarniverse's website but if you are interested, I'm sure you could contact either place to purchase one. 

There are two versions of the bag.  One has the painted sheep on the turquoise background pictured above and the other is a real photo of two of Betsy's sheep.  I had THE hardest time deciding between the two.  The turquoise background finally won out.

And wouldn't you know, while I was wandering around the shop trying to decide between the two knitting bags, this skein of yarn jumped into my arms.  Frankly, I think I did pretty good to only buy one skein.  It's named Charred Marshmallow and the photo does nothing for it.  The yarn is so much warmer and rustier brown, and well, exactly charred marshmallow color, in real life.  And if the colorway and the name Charred Marshmallow wasn't enough to convince me to buy it, the yarn base is called Sugarcookies Sock.  How on earth could I resist that?

While I'm feeling a little guilty for breaking my 'no more yarn purchases this year' rule, I'm glad I broke it.  The thought of getting to knit with this yarn is keeping me motivated to finish my Christmas gift knitting.

And while I realize that's three things, I have to throw in a fourth.  I just love my LYS.  They always tuck a little something extra into your bag.  It may be a stitch marker, a pin, a tiny bar of soap that looks like a cookie, or a knitting related sticker... You never know and it's always fun to get home and discover it.  This time, it was a tea bag.  A tea bag from Stash Tea.  

How did my LYS know I was trying to drink more tea and less coffee?  I don't know, but I do know the Spice Dragon Red Chai was so good I immediately went online and ordered a box of practically every kind of tea Stash Tea offers.  

Good grief that was an expensive $14.95 Field Guide #16!

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

A light at the end of the tunnel

 There's a tiny little light at the end of the tunnel.  The Christmas gift knitting tunnel, that is.

The hat is finished, blocked, tagged with washing instructions and placed in a box waiting to be wrapped.

All that's left is six pairs of beaded socks for Hayden, those #$&&#! never ending Smitten mittens and a shawl.  Oh, and I still need to line the stockings for Hayden and her mom.

It's a good thing Hayden is so adorable because she's a lot of work!  😊

Actually, Grandma Nana (I'm having trouble getting used to being Nana) is always happy to knit for Miss Hayden.

Good thing I'm happy to knit for Hayden because I just remembered there's a sweater on the needles in the bottom of the knitting bag for her.  Best get that finished too.

So yes, that light at the end of the tunnel may have just dimmed a tiny bit but there's one good thing keeping my spirits up.  I am NOT the one that's going to have to wash the sticky candy cane out of that fuzzy blanket!

Happy December knitting!