Friday, April 27, 2012


Does anyone else struggle with making decisions on a craft project that they’re planning to keep for themselves vs. gifting?

I always tend to have this problem.  It’s why I have purchased yarn that I love for about 10 afghans for myself and have started, oh I don’t know, probably an additional 5!

Yes, sometimes the work on a project for myself has to be stopped in order to make a gift, but otherwise, the reason I don’t have my own crocheted afghan is just cause I can’t seem to handle the “pressure” when I know I’m going to keep it!  I’ve made around 10 afghans at this point, and they’re always gorgeous.  Once I settle on a pattern and yarn I never second guess and I never rip out days of work.

I thought I’d finally gotten past this with the afghan that I’m currently working on!  I bought the yarn for CHEAP and wanted something to lay over me when I’m sitting on the balcony and it’s chilly.  My first plan for the pattern, as I already mentioned was for horizontal stripes.  I’m pretty proud of myself for not ripping everything out to make the width shorter and settled opted for vertical stripes.  Next, my reps for the pattern of blue and green didn’t work out (too short across my legs), but I adjusted that last night and I am happy with what I came up with.

Here’s what I have (about 8 rows to add total for what I last night was considering “done).  It’ll be perfect if my legs are stretched out…here’s the problem:

Yes, that’s my butt covered in flamingos (and bare feet!) when I’m lay on my side with my legs curled up if I pull the other edge over enough to cover my knees…..

I’m a tall girl (5’9”) and I’ve learned from experience that afghans always need to be made bigger than you originally think, but I’m a bit stumped (big surprise, right?) as to what I want to do.  Sure, I have enough yarn to continue my pattern and make a nice big afghan that works both when my legs are stretched straight, or I’m curled up for snuggling – problem is I wanted this small enough that it doesn’t drag all over my balcony floor (tends to get gritty and covered in dirt easily)

Here’s hoping that once these last 8 rows have been added I’m happy with the size – I’m ready to move onto something else this weekend!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Love/Hate Relationship

I realized yesterday, that I have a love/hate relationship I have with Mondays.

I mean, it's Monday.  I'm sorry, but no one in the right mind is excited that the weekend's over and you have to go back to work right?  I always dread when the weekend is over.  This Monday (yesterday) felt extra hard - I had a wonderful weekend with both Jonathan and our friends, it was cold and rainy, and I started to feel like I was getting sick.  

I hate Mondays.

Then sometime after lunch I started thinking about finding the energy to cook dinner when I got home (it was a metro home night, which I always dread).  Then I found the silver lining to "crappy, the weekend's over, it's cold and rainy Monday" - Monday nights mean DWTS and Smash!!!!  The only reality TV shows/competitions that we (and by we I mean I insist on watching and Jonathan either sits in the same room 90% ignoring it, or reads in the other room) watch are DWTS and SYTYCD, but they are the perfect kind of TV show to crochet to in my book:

  • Do you hands tend to cramp up if you crochet for too long?  You'll likely set your work down to enjoy the performances on these shows - win!
  • Hate all the commercials when watching TV shows in "real time"?  Those commercials are the perfect time to put your head down and really do some crocheting.  Even count, or read a pattern as need be.  I find this the best time for weaving in ends as I go on a larger project too - breaks up the worst part of crocheting - win!
  • This is also great, if you're like me and don't sit down and relax until your favorite TV show comes on, and you then find yourself asleep on the couch around 8 p.m. and then wide awake around 2 a.m. because your body mind decides you've gotten all the sleep you usually get, so your good (not)  Since Smash is on from 10-11, I definitely need to keep crocheting during this one or I'm asleep.  My hand was bothering me last night so I stopped crocheting, and right on cue, I fell asleep 10 minutes before the episode was over!  Good thing I've learned to record these shows regardless if I'm watching then in real time - I can always delete as soon as they're over!
3 hours of TV on a Monday night means I always get lots crocheted.  Too bad I forgot to take a picture of my blanket's progress!  I blame this on having to get up and be out the door by 6:20 this morning to go to the MVA's emissions station when it opened at 7 and still be to work at 8:30.  One more reason to dislike any version of the DMV (it's called the MVA in Maryland...)

I do believe I've created a new Monday night tradition over the past 2 weeks:

Veggie Pizza Night!!!

Turned out MUCH better than last week's.  Here's why:

  1. I took the time to saute everything separately as you can see above*.  Not only was I able to focus my seasonings per vegetable, but the end result was much prettier :-)  Obviously prettier means tastier!
  2. To avoid making them too spicy this week, I added the red pepper flake to the onions while they were sauteing.  I used some "Pizza Pasta" spices that I have in a grinder from Sam's Club on top of the Ranch dressing.
Basically, they were awesome.
* Yes, I know that the plate with the Summer Squash on it is missing my Corelle pattern, but that's only because my Grannie picked that plate up at a local flea market and it's the same size as our "pre-wedding" dishes!

I think that next Monday morning, if I stop and think about the Veggie Pizza, Red Wine, DWTS/Smash and crocheting in my evening's future, I just might be able to get out of bed a little easier........oh not ;-)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Chicken Salad - two ways

On Saturday, Jonathan and I spent a couple of the morning hours sitting on the balcony - enjoying the sunshine, 80 degree weather and each other's company.  After going for a run, Jonathan decided that he wanted chicken salad and lemonade - neither of which I had the supplies on hand to make!  Even though the temperature dropped about 35 degrees from Saturday to Sunday and it hasn't yet stopped raining since Saturday evening, I did go to the grocery store yesterday morning, got out weekly groceries, and the ingredients to make the following as a late lunch:

Jon's is on the right, mine on the left.  Not exactly the summer day we were enjoying when this craving struck, but it was very yummy non-the-less, and I'll most definitely be using these recipes for Chicken Salad* and Lemonade** again in the near future!

*  I did alter this recipe slightly.  I didn't really measure what I was doing (I get that from my Grannie!) but:

  1. I had about 3 cups of boiled chicken, shredded so I doubled the recipe.  I don't believe that much Mayo/Miracle Whip is needed and I will definitely add a smaller amount to begin with next time.
  2. I had Sweet Pickle relish in my fridge which is basically the same as chopping pickles, but easier ;-)
  3. I wasn't in the mood to get out an onion for 4 tsp. so I used Onion Powder (one of my favorite spices)
  4. I also added some garlic powder (too hungry lazy to use a garlic clove), and around 1/4 tsp. of Chili Powder.  
  5. If you can't tell from the picture, there's just a little bit of shredded Cheddar Cheese on both dishes as well.

**  Of course this one got altered too:
  1. I didn't use any mint - sounds icky to me in lemonade
  2. I only bought 8 lemons (why bother reading the recipe before going to the store?), I needed to keep one for something else, and 1T went into the chicken salad = I used about 7 1/2 lemons.
  3. I did still use the full 2 cups of sugar to 1 cup of water simple syrup cause I like my lemonade sweet - just like my Sweet Tea :-)  Jonathan hates the taste of Spenda (I can't tell the difference) but I would prefer making with Splenda in the future if I was the only one drinking it - 2 cups of sugar is A LOT for an afternoon of yummy fluids!
  4. My pitcher is only 2-quarts.  I added the lemon juice (sans seeds, but avec pulp), 1 cup of simple syrup and enough filtered water to fill my pitcher about 3/4 of the way.  I poured over full glasses of ice thinking the ice would melt and dilute things a bit.  I'd forgotten that it was only 45 degrees yesterday.  The ice took much longer to melt that it look us to drink the lemonade but it was strong, sweet and YUMMY just as it was.  
  5. By the end of the night (around 9 when Game of Thrones got put on) I added about 1 1/2 shots of Firefly to 1/4 cup of lemonade (watered down by the afternoon's ice cubes) and 1/2 a can of Sprite and it was quite yummy.  Will try this again in the near future, but hopefully before the lemonade is completely watered down my ice.
  6. Also, did not put the ice in the pitcher, I think it's better to keep your drink concentrated in the pitcher and just add ice to glasses as needed.

I found these pictures on my phone today from dinner one night last week that I never shared:

Inspiration was this RECIPE.  I made it with turkey bacon, no tomatoes and about 2 cups of sweet corn.  Very yummy.  The only downside I always find to meals like this is that the filling is so yummy that I always try to put too much in my BROWN RICE tortilla shell!

Yes, there was crafty shopping, crocheting and sewing during the weekend as well, I have some photos to share tomorrow, though picture quality is pretty terrible with this dreary rainy weather!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

LONG overdue

I’d planned on posted this yesterday, but the day slipped away from me (seriously, I can’t put my HP books down!!)

On Monday night, I made Veggie Pizzas for dinner.  I’d been inspired watching Paula over the weekend, and thought I’d give it a try with what I had in my fridge/freezer.  I started with THESE Udi GF pizza crusts that were in my freezer and sautéed some onion, garlic, zucchini and peppers in olive oil.  My sauce was straight Buttermilk Ranch with some red pepper flakes, and I topped both pizzas with shredded mozzarella, parm and fresh black pepper.  Jon’s has halved cherry tomatoes and mine has chopped mushrooms as well.

They turned our REALLY well; expect that I was a little heavy handed with the red pepper flake!  Sometimes when I’m cooking without a recipe I panic that what I’m making is going to turn out bland and I end up over doing it – with red pepper flake on these pizzas or the salt in my rice last night….oh well.  Jon enjoyed it, we were fed, and nobody has died to date from my cooking so I think I’m doing okay!  I’ve always been a good baker, and I’m great with a recipe to follow – I’m still learning to cook a meal with what we have, and cooking it quickly at the end of the work day.  I look at it as training for being a Mom one day :o)

On to some crocheting.

I picked up a couple of skeins of the new Vanna’s Colors last month while my Mom was in town and opted to start (another, I know) blanket.  Here’s what I have so far:

I apologize for this icky, shaded cell phone photo!  Yikes.  I knew it was bad as I was taking it, but I was running late for work and just couldn’t relocate my photo shoot to another room for better quality.  Lesson learned that with the current sunrise times and location of the sun, my early evening photographs definitely turn out better!  What’s worse is that the “shade” is coming off my dirty windows.  Please don’t judge – reason 503 I hate apartment living would be the fact that our building hasn’t done an exterior window cleaning in the 2 ½ years we’ve lived in the building!  We’re on the 10th floor so I don’t really care what we could rig up to attempt to clean these through the windows that do open, neither of us are hanging out the windows for the sake of something our building management should be taking care of!

Anyway… original plan has been for horizontal stripes, but it seems I chained a few too many and the blanket is actually pretty long horizontally.  “How long?” you ask:

Yup, I’m planning to turn it and have vertical stripes when it’s done!  Not a huge deal, but seriously I’m a tall girl (5’9” with a 34” inseam) and this baby’s long enough to cover my toes and come up past my belly button.  Whoops!  Serves me right for not bothering to COUNT while I was chaining ;-)

At this point I’ve stocked up on enough yarn to finish up my pattern how I’ve planned it out and hope to have it done soon.  I actually started weaving in ends over the weekend – and the only reason was because my Jeep was in the garage getting new brake pads and I’d run out of yarn. 

It’s all crocheted with a hdc, 2 turning ch and my trusty “K” hook so I LOVE how quickly it’s coming together!

Happy Wednesday everyone – what are you working on?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Keeping Busy

Happy Monday everyone!  I hope that you all had a great weekend.  The weather here was pretty fantastic (around 85 and sunny yesterday) which meant that my mornings were spent enjoying the sunshine from the balcony, but by mid-afternoon we were roasting.  No breeze coming through our open windows leads to reason 502* that I hate apartment living - out a/c isn't on yet!  Was very happy to leave for work this morning  for no other reason than turning the a/c in the Jeep!

After spending nights last week starting a new blanket, Friday night and part of Saturday crocheting away on my current projects, I woke up yesterday morning with the urge to sew.  I enjoyed a couple of hours of sun, ran a couple of miles with Jonathan, and came home and picked up the apartment.  By then it was 3 p.m. and I was a feeling overheated from all my hard work on such a warm day.  Neither a shower or glasses of ice water were making me feel much better and by the time I'd vacuumed, the thought of ironing material and then crawling around on the floor to cut out the pants, shorts and pillow cases I was ready to sew this week made me feel even worse.  I hoping to sew next weekend (maybe I'll even try and get the pesky ironing step out of the way this week after work)

By the time the sun set yesterday evening I still couldn't rally and do much of anything, but try and lay comfortably on either the couch or bed.  This of course didn't make for the best night's sleep, but I'll hopefully find enough energy tonight after work to take some photos of my current progress (before it gets dark) and continue my work during DWTS and Smash.

Speaking of - has anyone been watching Smash in it's maiden season? I wasn't 100% on it to begin with but oh my goodness has it become addicting for me!  I have found though that the only people who enjoy the show are those who grew up doing theatre but didn't chose it as a profession.  I love the drama (and the songs!)

*If anyone was interested, reason 501 that I HATE apartment living it would be the women who tried to get onto a full elevator one day last week at the 2nd floor and proceeded to yell at me for having too big of a bag with me (mind you, my work bag is smaller than most carry luggage).

Lastly, I have been keeping very busy reading.  I finally picked up "The Lucky One", my Nicholas Sparks after the frequently aired promos for the movie.  I could barely put the book down once I got about 1/3 of the way though - best Nicholas Sparks book since "The Notebook" if you ask me.  Probably won't be able to convince anyone to go see the movie with me in the movie theatres so I'll have to be patient and wait for it to come out on DVD!  For Easter, my parents were were nice enough to purchase the Harry Potter e-books for me for my Kindle!  I just started "Chamber of Secrets" this morning.  I've seen the movies a bizillion times at this point making the books extra easy reads but fun none-the-less as there is a lot that is left out of the movies (I know, because they couldn't make 10 hour long movies for kids).  I'm doing my best to keep my Book Worm list up to date for 2012 if anyone is looking for a good book, that's an easy read - those are pretty much all I read at the end of a work day.  Not to mention, there's nothing better than a fluffy romance novel at the pool, those come next!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


You're all already seen a quick sneak peak of a couple of my recently completed projects (shown above), but I did want to share them with you in a bit more detail today.

This lone PEEP is the only one makes an appearance this Easter season.  I have bodies ready to go for 5 more, but given how long the sc around each piece, the sewing on of the eyes and nose and the sewing together/stuffing took that I quit!  Don't worry, everything at this point has been bagged up with my notes for future WIP work - I just can't sew Peeps ANY longer!!!  I also need to order some more of the pink yarn to finish them up, so hopefully by next spring I'll have more loving feelings towards there little guys again.  They are so cute I can't stand it, but I'm not gonna lie - last night I was pretty darn excited to put them away for the time being!

"Pinky" is currently in the mail and on his (her?) way to WNY.  I'm hoping the package arrives by tomorrow so Pinky can be enjoyed over Easter weekend!  Aren't these just the CUTEST?!?!?!  

This past weekend, I was lucky enough to have been invited to 2 bridal showers back home.  Sadly I could not make the trip home, but I tried my best to send a little something personal (to me) to each of them.  For the one shower, my mom, Grannie and myself went in on a gift together - one of my favorite wedding gifts was an Ice Cream maker!  I don't use it nearly as much as I'd like to, but it's used quite a bit and always makes very yummy ice cream!  My hope is that the bride-to-be will enjoy hers as much as I love mine!

For the 2nd shower, I crocheted the following:

This was my first attempt at making potholders and I've gotta say - I'm hooked (more on that tomorrow!)

and yes, I'm ignoring how cheesy my hooked "joke" line is above - seriously, I have no better word for addicted (yes, that's the word I should have used!) I am to making these now

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Stay tuned...

the seasons are changing and so is my blog!

My layout is still a bit of a work in progress, but keep checking back 'cause I'm not quite done yet ;-)