Monday, December 10, 2018

It's Monday Again!

Good Morning!

Monday seems to have come around awfully quickly (as always).  For those of you in the Southeast with the major snow storm I hope you are all ok and warm and safe.  I talked with my friend who lives outside of Greensboro, NC and at 3 p.m. yesterday they had a foot of snow!  It was still coming down while we talked and then it changed to freezing rain - not a good thing.  My parent company's office in Charlotte is closed today.  Meanwhile in PA we have no snow, but it sure is cold!

The weekend turned out well.  I got a little cleaning and a tiny amount of decorating done Friday night.  I was up early Saturday cooking and then had to run out to the store.  I had no fresh veggies for our meal!  (and needed wine...).  I made an easy chicken casserole with mushrooms and we had some cinnamon carrots and French green beans to go with that.  My SIL brought a loaf of home-made 12 grain bread (yummy).  Dessert was a pear & cranberry cobbler with whipped cream.  Colin and Mailing joined us as well.  It was fun and nice to see my brother and SIL again, but I had to lay down after they left - my head was pounding.  My brother is extremely loud and gets even louder the more worked up he becomes on any given issue (and the more he has to drink).  Luckily no political discussions came up.  I'm just not used to the noise level.  But, still, it was a nice time and I'm glad they came.

That night I was still too full from the afternoon meal for any dinner.  But I did accomplish some knitting!  Not finished yet, but close (still playing yarn chicken here - I think/hope I will win).

I'm pleased with how I've managed to match these.  I unraveled some yarn from the skein before starting sock #2 so that I would begin in the same place yarn-colour-wise.  And it worked!  These came with me to work today and I'm hoping to knit some at lunch.

Yesterday was full of chores.  We went grocery shopping.  I paid bills and updated spreadsheets where I track what we spend (basically so I see how much $$$ we waste).  I made a HUGE pot of spaghetti sauce for dinner using some Italian sausage (hot and sweet) that Fletch had grilled the other week.  Lots of peppers, mushrooms and onions too.  Now we have a bunch of sauce in the freezer.  And last night I finally started making cookies.  To start with I made oatmeal raisin.  Probably my least favorite cookie, but Fletcher's favorite so I think I deserve some points for that.

And I wrapped Colin's birthday gifts (his birthday is tomorrow and we are celebrating next Saturday at his and Mailing's place).  Look at this great wrapping paper I found.  I love it!

Sorry - I can't manage to turn it around.

It's amazing what I can get done when I don't take a nap - lol. 

And, as always happens, I had 4 books come through on Overdrive in the last couple of days!  The latest by Louise Penny ("Kingdom of the Blind") - Inspector Gamache.  Can't wait!  And "The Feather Thief" which I've been waiting for it feels like a year!  "Overstory" came in - I will probably let that one go and put myself back on the wait list, and one other I will let go (can't remember the title right now).

I hope you all had wonderful weekends and that the week ahead finds you smiling!

Friday, December 7, 2018

Friday Felines

Hi All,

A very busy Friday!!  Not my usual style, but there you have it.  Nothing was accomplished last night...but that's ok, because Colin was over for dinner and that trumps chores any day of the week.  Fletch is doing some cleaning today (Yay!!) and I will tackle bathrooms tonight.  And the kitchen....I need to start cooking early tomorrow morning as we are planning a mid-day meal for my brother and SIL (and Colin & Mailing).  My hope/plan is that by tomorrow night I am taking it easy and knitting.  Time will tell.

Meanwhile, for your enjoyment, here is a shot of Talbot reading the Wall Street Journal.  LOL  If I'm not mistaken that was the WSJ's gift guide - perhaps he was perusing for gifts for Colin & Mailing?

Tyg has been in some very cute/playful poses lately, but every time I try to get a picture of him he moves and turns his back to me.

The weekend is pretty full.  Believe Fletch plans to go out and get a tree for us early next week and we will decorate on Thursday when Colin comes over for dinner again.

Wishing you all the best of weekends - enjoy!!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Unraveled Wednesday 12-5-18

Well Hello All,

Here we are on an unraveled Wednesday...3 weeks before decorating has been done at my house (well, Fletch did put up the pine cone wreath that his Mom made for us a long, long time ago...he tried 3-4 different strands of lights for our patio and all of them only half lit - I think he is going out today to buy more lights).  I have not written a single card and I have not wrapped any gifts.  Also, I have not baked a single cookie.  And, I'm not sure when any of that will happen...but there is time and for once in my life I don't feel anxious or pressured.  YAY!!!

Tonight we are meeting friends for dinner and I'm looking forward to that a lot.  So between Thursday and Saturday morning I need to do some cleaning and food prep - my brother and sister-in-law are coming up on Saturday for the day to celebrate the holidays (at least their gifts are bought...just not wrapped - ha!).  Colin & Mailing will be coming over too.  I'm not taking either Thursday or Friday off, so my nights will be a little busy.

On the knitting front, I made it to the heel flap on the 2nd sock last night:

This morning over coffee I started the heel flap.  I'm thinking/hoping I'll be ok with yarn.  I made the 1st sock pretty long (88 rows for the leg).  I kept weighing the yarn and had not used half of it for the first sock.  BUT this is Lang Jawoll yarn and I had not realized that tucked in the center of the skein is a bundle of reinforcing yarn (which I didn't use on the first toes because I didn't know it was there!!).  If I run out towards the end, I'll just use black yarn...after all, the socks will be in shoes.  Wish me luck!!

I finished reading "The Alice Network" by Kate Quinn the other night and I really enjoyed it.  I may have liked it even more than "The Nightingale."  "Overstory came in on Overdrive and I hope to start that in a few days - there have been so many mixed reviews, I'm curious about it.  Meanwhile, I wanted something very light (a la "chick-lit") to read and picked "The Hideaway" by Lauren Denton.  Enjoyable and very fast reading - I managed to get through a third of it last night!

That's it for me on this mid-week day.  Clouds are moving in and there is a chance of some "wintry mix" of precipitation later - but I think that is mostly for South & East of Philadelphia (we are North & West).  Hope everyone's week is going well.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Another Finish and Another Parade!

Hi All,

Hoping you had a wonderful weekend.  Mine started off with a finish Friday night!!

My little brother's mitts are finished.  I love the way they turned out.  I'm also happy to be finished (for the time being) knitting with Lopi yarn.  I had no problems with it when making my Sigla sweater, but knitting the mitts was very hard on my hands/fingers.  The yarn was also very, very splitty.

So, Saturday Dee and I met up in Franconia at the Mennonite Heritage Center for their annual Christmas Market.  The barn (where we first went) was filled with produce of various kinds.  I ended up getting some scallions, kale, salad turnips and beautiful loin lamb chops.  The main building had a room set up with items for sale:  Moravian (I think) stars, beautiful wooden bowls, some woven items.  I managed to find a little stocking stuffer for Mailing.

The Center is very nice.  There are a number of rooms - there was an art show in one and historical items and info in another.  Hanging high on the walls are gorgeous woven coverlets.  One wall had a sampler and a wreath.  My pictures are not great due to the glare, but this sampler/linen towel was stitched in silk in 1833!

The wreath is made from hair!  I know that hair was often incorporated into samplers in memory of a loved one, but I had not seen a wreath previously:

That's a lot of hair!!

It did not take long to look at everything and then Dee and I were ready to head out for some coffee.  We went to Broad Street Grind in Souderton.  It took a little longer than expected to get there...we had to detour around a closed road because:  yup - another Christmas parade.  If you have not already, check out Dee's blog - she got some great pictures of the John Deere tractors in the parade as well as many fire engines.  Once again, our seats afforded us great views as the parade went right by the coffee shop.  We ended up having lunch there as well which was delicious!

I headed home mid-afternoon...had a short time at home and then Fletch and I took off for Colin & Mailing's for dinner.  Colin cooked a delicious birthday dinner for Mailing:  brisket and veggies and a carrot cake for dessert.  Everything was tasty and we had a great time. 

Now it's another work week.  Hopefully it won't drag out too much!

Friday, November 30, 2018

Friday Feines

Hello All,

Happy Friday and Happy December (tomorrow)!  It's a bit grey outside (again) and we expect some rain later on (again).  But hey!  The weekend is just about upon us and that makes me happy.

I did manage to knit during lunch one day this week, but last night saw no knitting at all.  Colin stopped by for dinner and after he left I ended up on the phone with a friend.  Hopefully more knitting at lunch today.

Tomorrow I'm meeting up with Dee at a Mennonite Christmas Market (part farm market and part craft fair) - hopefully that will be fun and then hoping to find a nearby coffee shop and settle in for coffee, chatter and a bit of knitting...and some lunch.

We will get to see these two tomorrow night when we head over to Colin & Mailing's to celebrate Mailing's birthday (which is today).

I love Marcel's crossed paws...and what a fluffy tail he has!

Wishing you all the best of weekends!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

One More Finished!

Good Blustery Morning!

Whew!  It is SO windy outside.  I heard on my drive into work that we were having tropical storm force winds.  Let me assure you, our temperatures are not even close to tropical.  It is just around 30 outside...there is snow on the radar map all around us - fairly close - but luckily nothing right here.  But those winds...they could knock you off your feet!  I am cozy warm though in fleece leggings, boots and a beautiful cashmere sweater that was given to me...gosh!  probably 25 or more years ago!

Last night I made a vegetable dish that my Mom always fixed at Thanksgiving - scalloped onions and peppers.  Basically you just saute some bell peppers (sliced) and onions (sliced) in butter.  Pour them into a casserole dish and then make a white sauce and add a boat load of cheese to that.  Pour over the veggies and bake in a moderate oven (325) for 30-45 minutes.  Fletch loves this dish...Colin doesn't eat cheese, so we never have it at Thanksgiving these days.  I enjoyed it, but I guess I'm not used to such rich food because I did not feel so good later on....

But, I did manage to finish the first mitt for my brother in CO:

Again, this is made using leftover Lopi yarn from the sweater I knit myself last year.  The colors are hard to see in this photo, but the bottom part is green and the top a kind of burnished gold.  The second mitt will be reversed.  I hope to get that started tonight.

Each day this week I've brought my sock knitting to work (and my book), but so far I have not had a chance to knit (or have a proper lunch hour).  I'm hoping that changes today.  It should be fairly quiet.

Mid-week and I am looking forward to the weekend!  Hope your week is going well.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Back to Work

Hello All,

How was your Thanksgiving?  Tasty?  Ours was delicious.  And also bitter cold (outside temp - not the food - lol).  It did not get above 28 on Thursday!  The gathering at Colin & Mailing's was smaller than usual as her parents were both in China.  Colin and I watched a few episodes of Monty Python (the original Flying Circus - now on Netflix!!) before dinner.  Fletch and I waddled home around 8:30 or 9 p.m.

It was so wonderful to have so much time off work!  I think I averaged 10 hours of sleep each night!  Of course, last night was the exception and I was awake most of the night (and am dragging this morning).

I did manage to finish the mitts for my sister-in-law.  The colors are not accurate in the photo.  The cuffs are grey, and then the other two colors are purple and blue.  I realized I did not have enough of any one color to make two mitts, so I just reversed the blue and purple and I like them!

The picture above makes them look huge, but they fit my hands nicely.  Being made with Lopi yarn, they are extra warm!  I'm more than halfway finished the first mitt for my brother- they should be finished this week.

I made breakfast bars using Colin's recipe and they turned out great!  They are a bit crumbly and easily fall apart, but the taste is wonderful.  Kathy B wanted the recipe, so here it is:

Breakfast Bars

2 Cups dried fruit (Colin used dates and cherries; I used apricots and cranberries)
2 Cups nuts (Colin used almonds; I used pistachios and walnuts)
2 Cups rolled oats
¼ Cup nut butter (we both used peanut butter)
¼ Cup honey (I used maple syrup instead)

Chop the dried fruit in food processor until it becomes a ball.  Put in bowl.  Either chop the nuts in the food processor or rough chop them with a knife.  Add to bowl with fruit.  Add the oats.  Using your hands, mix all of that together.

Put the nut butter and honey or syrup in a small saucepan and heat on low until it is all liquid.  Pour into bowl with fruit, nuts and oats and mix all together.

Line an 8” x 8” pan with parchment paper and add the mixture, tamping it down.  Put another piece of parchment paper on top and weight that down.  Place in freezer for 2.5 hours.

Pull out of freezer, cut into bars, individually wrap and store in freezer.

 Let me know if you make any!!

Some of you asked about the cranberry and fig sauce.  It was a recipe from the November issue of Bon Appetit and it was good...but I missed the flavors of orange and cinnamon.  Instead there were flavors of shallot and fresh rosemary and balsamic vinegar was added. 

On the reading front, I finished "To The Bright Edge of the World" last Wednesday.  Fabulous!!  Five Stars!!  I did not want the story to end.  Now I'm in the midst of reading The Alice Network which is an easy, but good read.

Friday, the 30th, is Mailing's birthday and we will be back at Colin & Mailing's for a birthday dinner on Saturday.  I think/hope here parents will be back from China and will join us.

Luckily it seems pretty quiet at work today.  I plan to order a few things on line this morning and then knit on a sock at lunch!  Hope everyone is doing well.