Monday, January 30, 2017


Hello All,

Another bleak, grey, damp, cold morning here in eastern PA.  Sort of matches the mood we are all feeling these days.  Bleak times...and frightening.

We did manage to have a nice weekend though.  Saturday was the Chinese New Year and we headed over to Mailing's parents' home for dinner.  First we made dumplings.  Mailing's Mom made the dough and then rolled out the dumplings.  She is speedy!!  Using chopsticks, you pick up some filling and put it on the dumpling and then  fold it up.  The filling was ground port, ginger, scallions and some other stuff.  Delicious.  Mine are the ugly ones - lol

Once they were all made (and there were a ton), Mailing's mom cooked them.  Some were pot stickers and some were boiled.  Both were delicious.  Here are some of the pot stickers.

There was so much delicious food!  We had roasted duck on buns with slivers of scallions and cucumber, Chinese Cauliflower (different than the cauliflower your grocery store sells), other veggies and some sticky rice cake (love!!) for dessert along with fresh strawberries and blueberries.  I had also made a French spice cake and brought that with some cinnamon whipped cream.

We waddled out and went home to watch an episode of the Crown.

Yesterday I managed to do some knitting on the socks for Mailing.  I decided on Dee's Take Five pattern which is so pretty and easy to memorize.  I think this yarn may be a little too busy for the pattern to show up, but at least it keeps me from getting bored with straight knitting - lol.

I also (finally) used my bow that Fletch got me for Christmas.  What a hoot!  I have not done archery since high 44 or 45 years ago.  It was pretty chilly, so I only shot two arrows.  The first one I didn't pull back enough on the string and the arrow went into the ground about 2/3 of the way to the target.  The second one I way overshot and the arrow flew into our woods (we did find it though).  Obviously I need a bit of practice.  But it was fun!

Tonight I am finally going back to yoga.  Some classes were cancelled around the holidays and I skipped some just being too busy or the weather was too lousy.  I need to get back!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

One Finish, One Start

Ha!  That post title sounds suspiciously similar to the George Thorogood song "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer."

I had mentioned that I finished my friend's socks.
Hopefully we will get together soon!  I have a bag of Christmas and Birthday gifts for her.  These look very much like a pair I made for myself last fall.  My friend saw them and immediately wanted a pair for herself.  I changed up the speckle yarn a bit, but the pink toes and cuff are identical.

I wasn't able to get a start on Mailing's socks yesterday at work, but I managed to cast them on and do about 6 rows last night:
Shot taken this morning on the edge of my desk at work.  Hoping to finish the cuff at lunch (emphasis on HOPE as I usually work through lunch and just munch on stuff at my desk).  Haven't decided on the pattern yet.  I may do Dee's Take Five, or I may try the Pin Stripe.  Whatever pattern I choose, I certainly hope they go more quickly than that last pair above.  They seemed to take FOREVER.

Looking forward to the weekend (soon!!).  It is the Chinese New Year and we will be going to Mailing's parents' home to make dumplings.  YUM!!  I'll be sure to take some pictures.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Some (old) Stitching

The switching of my knitting and stitching "things" over the weekend prompted me to look at some pieces I have stitched and it has also re-sparked my interest in stitching again.  So, I thought I would show you a few of the pieces I have done.  There are a couple of framed things in my house, but the majority are un-framed.  We only have so much wall space and Fletch certainly doesn't want walls covered with cross stitch - lol.  And, to be honest, I don't either, but I do enjoy the process of making these.

The first is one of the largest pieces I have done.  It is "A Parrot, A Leopard, A Lion" from The Scarlet Letter.  Believe I finished this in 2014 or 2015.  I haven't found the right frame for it yet, but once framed it will go to my son (the only piece I've stitched that he likes!!).

Some of my favorite samplers are those depicting Adam and Eve (and that awful snake - lol).  This one is one of most favorite and is aptly named "The Evil Serpent" and is from Examplars From the Heart.

The last is one that I designed and then taught at a local shop.  I think I just called it Spring Band Sampler.

Seeing these (and all the others) has reminded me how much I do enjoy cross stitch.  I may need to go through my stash and see what calls my name.  I have several large pieces "in process" and also some smaller ones, but I might just need to start something fresh!

Mind you, I am not giving up knitting - lol.  In fact, I did finish the 2nd sock for my girlfriend last night and have brought a new skein of yarn and some DP needles to work in the hope that I can cast on a  new sock -- I want to make some for Mailing that are a little more feminine than the pair I knit for Colin.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Pretty Flowers and Kathy's Monday Questions

Good Morning!  It is still grey, windy, damp and just kind of ugly around here, so I figured a picture of flowers might help.
I picked these up at Trader Joe's last Wednesday or Thursday.  TJ's flowers seem to last forever and they add a much-needed spot of color to my day.

Yesterday Kathy had a whole new group of questions for us:

*What fear have you conquered?

Well, not conquered…not even close.  I am petrified of snakes and the fact that I have seen a snake in my basement (where my washer and dryer are) twice does not make me happy.

*What’s your favorite spicy  food?

I love spicy food – Thai, Mexican, Chinese, hot peppers, hot sausage.  And I love Sirachi sauce on so many things – my go-to condiment.

*What’s a color you never wear?  


*When sock knitters want a bigger needle project, what do you knit?

A shawl.  Sometimes a sweater, but these (so far) don’t seem to ever get finished.  This year?  A sock yarn blanket from odds and ends…to be started soon (and finished, I swear!).

*When did you last read Shakespeare?

Most likely college when I took a Shakespeare course.  Don’t think I’ve read any since.

*Are you gregarious or solitary?

Both, but leaning towards solitary.  I treasure my alone time!

*What’s your favorite cookie recipe and why?\

Just one?  I can’t remember the name, but I have a recipe for a cookie with chocolate chunks (not chips), dried ginger and dried blueberries.  Oh My!  And also a toffee-pecan cookie.

*Do you dip your PB and J in milk?

WHAT?  Definitely not…but then I do not drink milk either…have never liked it.  I prefer milk in my coffee (don’t like cream or half and half or the fake stuff), but I don’t like to just drink plain milk.

*Do you feel you are becoming a better knitter or have your skills leveled off?

I think I’m getting better!

*When’s the last time you broke a needle?

I think about a year or so ago I broke one of my knit-picks DP needles.  I sent an e-mail and they immediately replaced the entire set!

So far, no takers for my yarn or unwanted needles....I'll give it a little more time and then package up things for a shelter or somewhere!

I think I will finish my friend's second sock today - finally!!!  So looking forward to a new project (or one that was abandoned a little while ago).

Finally, looking forward to going out to dinner with Colin & Mailing tonight.  Bonefish Grill - not my most favorite place, but I did receive a gift card and I won't say no to a free meal - lol.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Does Anyone Want Some Yarn?

Hello All,

Hopefully the post title will get some attention.  I was busy, busy, busy this weekend.  Most of that occurred on Sunday when I re-arranged my knitting and stitching "stuff."  All my yarn, tools, etc. was upstairs in our bedroom, but the totes and shopping bags, etc. were piling up and it was a huge mess and a pain to try to find anything.  My stitching stuff has been downstairs in the office room.  I decided to switch things around. 

First I switched books which ended up being a BIG workout.  Downstairs with knitting books, upstairs with stitching books.  Numerous trips up and down with arms loaded.  Yikes I've got a lot of books!  Next was moving all my stitching patterns, some threads, etc. upstairs and bringing the yarn downstairs.  All of this necessitated looking at things I had not seen in years and I found a bunch of yarn that I know will not be used by me anytime soon.

So here goes.  Please take a look and if there is anything you would like, let me know.  First one to respond wins!!

First up is some yarn I bought probably 25 or more years ago!

The black is Patons chunky cotton.  Skeins are 100 grams and there are 14 skeins plus some.

The chocolate brown is 100% merino superwash by Schoeller Esslinger.  There is one 100 gram skein (which may be a slightly different shade) and then seven 50 gram skeins (plus a bit).

Next up:

The bottom three skeins are 50 grams each and are a 50% mohair/50% acrylic blend.  Sort of a sage green.

The top 3 skeins are a mix.  The two on the left are rayon/nylon/acrylic.  The one on the right is wool/cotton/acrylic/nylon.

The final yarn (for now anyway):

The bottom left turquoise skein is 50 grams of Martha Stewart roving wool.

The Lamb's Pride (bottom right) is 113 grams (approx. 190 yards) and is 85% wool/15% mohair.

The cones and spools at the top are all cotton (thinking they could be used on a loom???).

I also came across some needles that I do not want:

Some double pointed needles in various sizes that (I believe) were my aunt's.  I prefer my bamboo needles.  And then two sets of Knitter's Pride interchangeable circular needles.  I bought one set while on vacation and found that they didn't connect properly (could easily have been operator issues - lol).  The company sent me a replacement set.  I just don't like them!  I've tried them but I must twist needles as I knit, because the joins come un-done.

OK - that's the extent of the cleanout for now.  There may be more yarn, I'm not sure.  I ran out of steam late in the afternoon.  If you see anything you would like, please e-mail me.  I'll be happy to mail stuff out with a thank you note for helping me make more room for my sock yarn!!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Yarn, Yarn, Lovely Yarn

Oh Friends,

Feast your eyes on the above lovelies,  Aren't they GORGEOUS?  So many of you have recently visited Wandering Cat's Etsy page that I just could not resist.  Now I'm wondering what took me so long.

The yarn on the left in the beautifully named Grenache shade is a blend of Alpaca, Silk and Cashmere.  So soft, so yummy.  I wonder what it will become?  The other two skeins are equally beautiful and are both blends of Merino and Nylon.  They will make wonderful socks and I think they will HAVE to be for moi!!  The middle shade is Varadero and the one on the right is I Wanna Be A Cowboy - lol.  Love the name.

And then, because I DO want to make a scrappy sock yarn blanket and because I have no way knit enough socks to have sufficient sock yarn scraps to make said blanket, I just HAD to order the Cat Nip Fun Pack.  I probably would've ordered it even if I wasn't planning to make a blanket.  How can you resist the name?  Just look at the variety of colors.  I am going to be having so much fun!!!

Hello, my name is Vera and I'm a yarnaholic.  Perhaps an intervention is needed?  No...just need more time to knit!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Long Weekend

Hi Everyone,

Whew it was a busy, long weekend.  Sadly I hardly got any knitting done.  I did a ton of cooking (which I love) and a ton of cleaning (which I don't love...but which was definitely needed).  We (finally) put Christmas stuff away and the tree has exited the house (minus a bunch of needles he/she left behind).  I miss the lights and decorations, but it is good to have things back to normal.

Saturday I made a dumpling recipe from one of my new cookbooks Bowl.  I made the beet-tahini dumplings.  Making dumplings is a labor-intensive process for sure.  The filling was delicious...the dumplings not so much.  I steamed them per the recipe, but I think I prefer dumplings boiled or deep-fried.  I made stir-fry bok choy and brown rice to go with.

And Sunday I made a Tart Lemon Tart from my other new cookbook My Kitchen Year.  Oh my gosh, this is a wonderful recipe.  The tart crust is made from ground cashews, a bit of flour and powdered sugar, butter (of course), an egg yolk and a bit of olive oil.  The lemon filling is cooked on top of the stove (like a lemon meringue pie).

Every recipe in this book is something I want to make!

Is anyone else watching Victoria on PBS?  I haven't even finished The Crown, but I really enjoyed the first episode of Victoria on Sunday night.

Yesterday my car went in for inspection.  Yikes!  It's a good thing I ordered all those books and yarn the other week, because if I had waited, I wouldn't have ordered.  My car needed new front brakes, two new front tires and front shocks.  I was shocked at the final bill (and not happy).  The tires actually passed inspection, but just barely and given the time of year and the possibility of lousy weather, I wasn't willing to take a chance with tires that "just passed." 

So now it's back to least it's a short week!

Friday, January 13, 2017 well as New Yarn and a Campfire!

It's Friday!  And, for me, the start of a 3-day weekend is almost here (my office is closed for MLK Day on Monday - YAY).

The other week I was surprised to learn that I had won a give-away over at Kim's and the package arrive yesterday.  What lovely goodies:

Of course, the colors are all different than showing above.  The darker skeins are a teal-ish blue and the middle skein is a pale blue/grey color.  The yarn is an alpaca-wool blend and just gorgeous.  So soft.  Now I just need to figure out what to knit (I was going through various options in my head at 2 a.m. this morning when I couldn't least there was something pleasant to think about!).

The row counter is pink and Soak is one of my favorites to use when washing my knits.  Love it!

Thank you Kim for everything.  It was a wonderful surprise.

So here we are back to our roller coaster weather.  Yesterday it got above 60!  Young son stopped by for dinner and we decided to cook hot dogs over a fire in our fire pit.  Not my most favorite meal, but boy did they taste good cooked that way.  Fletch added pinion wood to the mix and the scent was wonderful.  Colin hung around for awhile to have a whiskey and cigar by the fire.

Tyg was around somewhere, but staying pretty far from the fire (it got quite windy and sparks and ashes were flying).  Amazing to sit out by a fire on January 12th!

Our forecast for tomorrow is snow/ice.  And so it goes....up and down and up and down.....

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!  I may be casting on a new project...but I really need to finish those Christmas socks first...only 3/4 of a sock left to do.

Monday, January 9, 2017

A Contented Soul

(Excuse the mess at the far end of the table)

This was Tyg last night...squishing his ear, pulling the tablecloth and purring - a lot.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Le Weekend

Hello All,

We ended up getting some snow on Saturday which hadn't really been forecast (until it was happening).  It was pretty.  Here's a picture that I took right after lunch yesterday:

That is our shed with a wreath on it.  The birds were feeding like crazy ALL day.  We have a feeder on our clothesline with sunflower seeds in it and then on our patio we have a peanut feeder and a suet feeder.  The birds all flit from one to the other and then back again.  The little bit of snow that landed on the patio was soon covered with bird tracks.  Tyg sat at the door a lot talking to his friends.

I decided it would be a great day to just stay put.  I made a loaf of bread in the morning (which we were able to sample at lunch with soup), did some laundry, knit, read, napped.  It was a beautiful day!

Today it was about 9 when I got up.  According to the radio the wind chill factor made it feel below zero.  I made a German pancake for breakfast with pears and pomegranate which was really good.

We did venture out to go grocery shopping and it was bitter cold.  Sunny, but so windy, not a day for a walk.  So, more cooking was in store.  Tonight we had curried shrimp chowder with some of the bread from yesterday.

Plenty left to freeze, so another meal later on.

Meanwhile, I was busy at work Friday until about 1 or 2 in the afternoon.  This is not good.  A visit to Amazon was in store for me and 5 (yes, 5) books were ordered.  Two cookbooks and three knitting books.  They arrived today - YAY

Knitlandia has been on my list of books to read for some time now.  The Scandinavian Motifs by Mary Jane Mucklestone sounded wonderful (it is) and In the Footsteps of Sheep also sounded wonderful.  I had never heard of it, but basically it is a memoir/travelogue about walking across Scotland, gathering wool from brush and fences and spinning it and then knitting socks.  What's not to like?  The books IS wonderful - gorgeous pictures, patterns for all the socks and maps showing where she walked.  I haven't really looked at it much because Fletch grabbed it and looked through the entire book this afternoon.  Even he said it was great!

The cookbooks I got are:

I had just finished reading My Kitchen Year and almost every single recipe in it (there are a lot) is something I want to make.  I had borrowed the book on my Kindle, but definitely wanted a "real" book to thumb through.  It's great reading as well.  The other one, Bowl, just looked fabulous.  I've already picked out several recipes to try.  Will let you know how they are.

And, if that wasn't enough, you all convinced me I needed some yarn from Wandering Cat, so an order was placed there as well.  Once the goods arrive, I will reveal my choices (everything looked so yummy, it was hard to pick...but I did).

Hoping everyone had a great weekend.  This coming week will be my first full week at work in a long time.  I've gotten awful used to having a day or two off.....this will be a struggle.....

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Hot Pot

Hello All,

What a dismal, grey, rainy, chilly day it is.  Perfect for going back to work (not).

Last night's Hot Pot dinner at Colin & Mailing's was excellent.  I had never had this before and really enjoyed it.  For those unfamiliar, it is sort of like fondu, except that you don't skewer things and hold them in cheese or oil; rather you drop items into hot (boiling) broth.  Their hot pot has two sides so we had a mild broth and a (very) spicy broth. 

To go in the broth we had:  fish balls (doesn't that sound disgusting???  but they are sort of like chicken nuggets except they were Pollack and they were not breaded and deep fried - they were good), squid, shrimp, beef, nappa cabbage, bok choy, mushrooms, Korean dumplings (with pork and veggies in them), seaweed and cellophane noodles.

You start by mixing a sauce in your bowl.  I used Siracha, sesame oil, peanut sauce and a little soy sauce.  Colin & Mailing each added a raw egg to their sauce.  Then you pull cooked stuff out of the pot and put it in your bowl.

The dumplings were HUGE as you can see above.  The round white things are the fish balls.  All the red stuff in my bowl were pieces of chili peppers.  I love hot/spicy stuff, but this was way over the top.  My nose kept running and at one point I could hardly speak!!  Luckily I had some seltzer water in addition to the wine. 

A fun experience and one I would love to do again!

And, the socks that I had such a horrible time knitting for Colin ended up not fitting him...after all that...But, they do fit Mailing.  I've promised to make her a more "girly" pair and also to make Colin another pair...with different yarn for sure.

Now it is back to work.....

Monday, January 2, 2017

A New Year

Hello and Welcome 2017!  I'm hoping for excellent times this year.

I'm still on break - yay!  Returning to work tomorrow is not something I am looking forward to, particularly since it is grey, rainy and chilly (high 30's, low 40's) with more of the same forecast for tomorrow.  Sounds like a perfect day to just stay in bed.

New Year's Eve I did (just barely) manage to stay up till midnight.  After watching Mariah Carey, I'm wondering why I bothered.....

Yesterday, New Year's Day, we did manage to get out for a walk for about an hour.  We walked around Mill Grove (a place very nearby where Audubon lived...they now have a museum and gift shop but everything was closed).  A lot of traffic nearby, so it wasn't quite the peaceful, quiet walk we had hoped for, but it felt wonderful to get outside and move!  We walked down to St. Gabe's (a boarding school run by the De la Salle Fathers).  They have some farm animals - cows, goats, llamas, etc.
On our way back through a field and into woods, we saw this tree with a huge gall.  These things always fascinate me.
Some creature could make a cozy home in there!
Then we came upon a chicken coop on the Mill Grove property.  They were all busy pecking away to find something to eat.
Later in the day Colin & Mailing came over for dinner.  I made red beans and rice - a traditional Cajun/New Orleans dish for New Years.  I did (finally) manage to finish Colin's socks for Christmas...only a week late.  The yarn is KnitPicks Hawthorne which I have used in the past and really like.  However, this time the brown yarn was horrible!  The green was softer and easier to work with; the brown was stiff and unyielding.  I'm glad to be done with these.
The last pair I made for him were on #2 needles and he said they were a little loose, so I went down a size.  I also made the leg portion longer (80 rows after ribbing) and the foot as well...but when they were finished I could barely get them on my feet.  I soaked them and then put them on sock blockers and they did stretch out.  But again, I'm glad to have them finished.  I started another pair of "Christmas socks" - a gift for a friend.  Fortunately we have not gotten together yet to exchange gifts - lol.  Probably in a few weeks which gives me time to get these done.  I managed to get the first sock about halfway done in one day, so I think I will be ok.

It's afternoon and still grey and damp.  I think I will go upstairs to read and then nap.  Later we are going over to Colin & Mailing's for dinner - Hot Pot - which should be fun.