Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Unraveled Wednesday 6/28/23

 Good Morning,

Still no sign of Mabel I am so sorry to report.  We miss her dearly.  I keep thinking of our calico cat, Maestro, who once disappeared for a week and then showed up looking like a drowned rat.  That was a very good ending.  But, I'm not sure this time.  It's hard to be optimistic.  I do appreciate all your kind words.

We've had more rain and more thunder and lightning.  After so long with no rain, everything is now dripping.  Our air is still humid.

This is Wednesday when we usually link up with Kat to talk making and reading.  Kat is taking a little break though, so I will just post here.  

It still looks the same, but my green Hitchhiker has grown a little bit.  There are now 27 points or teeth I think.

I knit on this a little bit last night while Fletch and I listened to our audio book after dinner.  The rows are naturally taking longer and longer to knit.  However, I still have 48 grams of yarn left, so still a way to go.

The first PairFect sock is progressing...slowly, but progressing.

The heel flap has been knit.  Usually I will sit down and knit a heel flap, heel turn and start the gusset decreases all at once.  Folks, this particular heel flap took a week!  What???  I have no idea what my issue was or is, but I could not do more than 5 rows at a time.  Weird.  I'm hoping to get to the turn soon and then race down the foot.  We'll see (in this humidity I don't seem to be racing anywhere!).

Reading has been good.  Fletch and I almost finished listening to Vesper Flights last night.  I think we only have 10 minutes left (I would have finished right then and there, but Fletch wanted to get on with whatever it was he wanted to do).  We should wrap that up tonight and then we need to pick a new book to listen to together.

I did finish Finding Freedom in the Lost Kitchen which was just ok.  I wanted it to be more about food and less whining about life.  Then I picked up and read You Could Make This Place Beautiful by Maggie Smith.  So many of you have raved about this book and given it 5 stars.  The writing is wonderful and beautiful, but oh my!  This book was hard to me to read and even painful at times.  It just made me sad.

Now I am reading Hamnet and what a glorious read!  Maggie O'Farrell has such a way with the English language.  I loved "The Marriage Portrait" and now I am loving this book.  Initially I had no interest in reading Hamnet - the plague didn't seem like a very good topic to me (especially during a pandemic).  But this book is so much more!

Yesterday I also picked up 3 more books from the library - a cozy mystery that someone (I forget who) recommended and two other books that grabbed my attention - more on those later.

This morning I'll get out to run some errands.  I need to pick up a thing or two at Staples, a few things at Trader Joe's and also some wine.  While over at that shopping center I will also stop into the office to check mail and print a couple of things in color (knitting patterns...nothing work related...hahaha).

Here's hoping that everyone is having a good week.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Tiny Needle Tuesday

 Hello and Good Morning!

Well, we finally got the rain.  We had a whopper of a thunderstorm last night.  I went up to bed around 10:30 and read for a little bit, turning the light out around 11 p.m.  I don't think I got to sleep until sometime after 1 p.m.  The thunder was so loud and so frequent and the lightening so bright!  Constant flashes and loud crashes.  The rain gauge is showing about 2" this morning.

I would not have slept well anyway as I am worried - Mabel hasn't been around since yesterday morning.  She was here yesterday and came in to eat in the morning, but we have not seen her since.  It is not like her to miss lunch and to not show up for happy hour on the patio.  Please send all the good juju you can that she shows up safe and sound quickly.

Meanwhile it is Tuesday which means an update for Tiny Needle Tuesday.  Autumn Posy is showing a couple more flower heads.

And a few more dark purple do-dads floating around.

The Sampler aux Bouquets has also grown.  

Part I is finished and Part II has been started - a new alphabet and the beginning of some house construction!  Part II is large - looks to me to be roughly twice the size of Part I.  I'm hoping to have the house construction finished by next week.

Wherever this Tuesday finds you, I hope you are doing well.  Take care!

Monday, June 26, 2023


 Good Morning,

The air this morning feels very thick.  We've had a little bit of rain over the past few days, but nothing like what was forecast.  At most we got (maybe) a total of half an inch?  An hour South of us in Delaware, my brother and his wife have gotten so much rain that he cannot mow the lawn or even get out to pick greens from his garden!  As Fletch and I sat out yesterday afternoon on the patio, there was thunder all around us, but no rain.

I walked yesterday and was surprised at how many joggers passed me.  I don't know how folks run when the humidity is so high (and it is so warm).  It is already 70 degrees at 6:15 a.m.  I felt sorry for the dogs that were being walked who passed by me panting with their tongues hanging out.  There was no river traffic which surprised me.  Usually I see one or more kayaks or canoes on the water.  There were a number of people walking and a few folks on bikes.  I heard a lot of bird song, but the only creature spotted was this guy who hopped in front of me.

There were some pretty cobwebs among the foliage.

I'm not much on spiders, but their handiwork can sure be beautiful!

Dee and I had our usual Saturday morning session at Panera.  We were both very tired and I didn't get the normal amount of knitting done.  I worked on my green Hitchhiker and I was just happy not to have messed up very badly (there was one spot where Dee had to figure out what was wrong...and she did!).  Panera's was crowded.  There were the normal folks we see every week and then there was a large girls lacrosse team from Dallas.  They were in the area for a tournament.

That was basically my weekend.  We ate leftovers and cold shrimp - I did not do any cooking.

Today I am hoping to get out for a walk this morning.  Though, my weather app shows we could have a thunderstorm within the hour.  I may wait and go a little later.  I need a bit more coffee in my belly to help wake me up before I try to do anything!

Monday seems to be off to a slow start.  Wishing you all a good one!

Friday, June 23, 2023

TGIF 6/23/23

 Good Morning,

Another grey damp day here, but a little warmer (64 degrees).  No rain yet though.  I thought we were supposed to have heavy rain yesterday and today, but so far nothing!

Still is tick central here.  OMG!  this morning I picked up 3 ticks off the rug in front of the tub.  flushed them all down the toilet and then when I got out of the shower I saw another one crawling on top of the scale.  I'm calling the vet this morning to see if there is something else (besides Frontline) we can use on Mabel and/or if we can use it more frequently than once a month.  I really hate putting the chemicals on her, but I also really, really hate that she is bringing in to the house so many ticks.

We had a lovely surprise in the mail yesterday.  Colin had sent us a bunch of gifts from his and Mailing's trip out West a few weeks ago.  Among the treasures is this hummingbird carved out of marble:

So tiny and delicate!  I've moved it to a shelf over the buffet - I was afraid that here, on the windowsill with a bunch of other things, it might get bumped and broken.  As it turns out, this hummingbird was a positive omen - we saw our first hummingbird coming to our trumpet vine blooms yesterday afternoon!

We also spotted one lone daylily by the shed.  The deer have eaten all the rest of them.

Right after I walked over to take the above picture, 5 deer wandered into the yard and one of them looked like it was going to munch down on this bloom.  We (Fletch) chased him off.  Among the 5 were 2 very little spotted fawns.  So precious!

Dinner lst night was a meal I have made in the past:  One Pot Sausage and Arugula Pasta.  So good!

Hooray for Penne pasta - one of my favorites.  Bring on the carbs!  LOL

Here's the easy/peasy recipe in case anyone is interested.

Plenty of leftovers too.  I froze some and there is a container in the frig for lunch some day.

Well, it's Friday so I have conference calls.  One at 10:00 and then my 1:00 call was moved to 4 p.m.  I'm planning to skip that one.  I'm looking forward to meeting up with Dee tomorrow morning for our therapy session - nothing better than knitting, sipping and chatting with a friend.  Other than that, no real plans for the weekend.  We may head back over to C&M's house to do some things...or we may skip this weekend.  Time will tell.

Whatever your plans are, I wish you all a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Hey! I Made Bagels!

 Good Morning Everyone,

How are you?  So Summer is here with the Solstice having occurred yesterday, but it sure does not feel like Summer.  It isn't even 60 degrees yet and it is another grey, damp day.  I have capri leggings and a tee shirt on, but also a flannel shirt and warm slippers  It is downright chilly!  I'm not complaining, just saying.  I wouldn't mind a little sun, but I don't think that will happen for a number of days.

I had a bit of a rude awakening this morning.  I got up around 5:45 and went into the bathroom to brush my teeth and wash my face.  When I picked up the toothpaste tube I saw a tick on the cap.  Our little tick magnet (that would be Mabel) is bringing them in left and right and center.  Fletch told me he found 2 ticks on himself after Mabel was sitting on his lap.  We do treat her with Frontline (which I hate doing as much as she hates having it done), but I don't want to go more than once a month.  Mabel likes to nap on the rug in front of the tub in the upstairs bathroom and often I will see a tick crawling on the rug after Mabel leaves the room.  It is just gross!

Anyway, moving on to better topics.  I made some bagels yesterday!  I made bagels decades ago when Fletch and I were first married and then I kind of forgot about it what with the availability of them in every grocery store bakery.  But recently I came across THIS RECIPE which calls for just two ingredients:  self rising flour and plain greek yogurt.  I was intrigued.

The process is quick.  This recipe does not call for dunking them in boiling water prior to baking.  You just mix the two ingredients together and knead for about 3-5 mnutes and then divide the dough into 4 pieces and shape your bagels.  Let them rest for 15 minutes while you heat up your oven.  Then bake them and bingo, 4 bagels in under an hour!

Waiting for the oven to heat up.  I used Everything But the Bagel seasoning on them.

And fresh out of the oven!

They turned out good.  Not great, but certainly edible.  I think I prefer a regular recipe, but I would certainly make these again in a pinch.  To me they are a little more dense than a good bakery bagel.  I tried one yesterday with my salad for lunch - had a bit with butter and a bit with cream cheese.  I toasted about half of it and had butter on that.  It all went down easily!  Carbs you know - I do love them.

Yesterday did not yield all that much time for making...I am hoping for more time today.  It is so chilly, I pulled some soup out of the freezer for lunch,so that should be a quick meal.

Happy Thursday everyone - we are edging closer to the weekend!!  Enjoy your day.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Unraveled Wednesday 6/21/23

 Good morning!

How is it already the Summer Solstice?  Time is just whizzing by these days.  It is another grey and damp-ish day here.  No rain yet, but heavy rain is in the forecast for Thursday and Friday and then a chance of rain every day after that through next week!  The lawn and gardens will be happy.

Speaking of time whizzing by, here we are at Wednesday again and time for an Unraveled post.  Let's link up with Kat and talk making and reading.  I'll stick with knitting on the making front today.  And, I will not bore you with another green Hitchhiker phpotograph.  It looks the same even though a few more *teeth*  or points have been added.  No progress on the purple cowl.  I think I have cold feet with that one!

But, the first Pair-Fect sock is coming along nicely and I like it!

(I also like my pen with the mop-head - LOL)

Yesterday I only managed 5 rows, but that is better than none.  The colors are more pleasing to me than I thought they might be.

Last week I managed to finish 2 books.  The first, "The Thread Collectors" I had almost finished last week, but not quite.  It was good - not really compelling reading for me, but a nice read.  I found the ending to be a bit rushed and/or contrived, but it was ok.  

I also finished "Nine Horses" which is a collection of poetry by Billy Collins.  What a joy to read!  This is a book that had gotten buried on my nightstand under varioius library books and when I re-discovered it I was reminded of what a balm it is to read some poetry just before turning out the light at night.  I need to get back into that habit (and I already have numerous poetry books on my nightstand - both bottom shelf and top shelf!).

Currently I am reading Finding Freedom in the Lost Kitchen which is ok.  Not great, but it is keeping me interested.  Lots of abuse so far which is not one of my favorite things to read about...hopefully I will get out of that part soon.  I'm about half way through this book.

And, Fletch and I are contining to listen to "Vesper Flights" by Helen MacDonald and enjoying it a lot.  We have just under 3 hours left of listening time.

Yesterday I picked up two books at the library that I am anxious to delve into:  "Hamnet" by Maggie O'Farrell - I am finally jumping on this bandwagon!  LOL  The second book is the Maggie Smith Memoir "You Could Make This Place Beautiful" which so many of you have raved about.  

I'm planning to do some laundry today, some cooking (Mongolian Beef again - YUM) and hopefully will find pockets of time for knitting and/or stitching.  Fletch is taking my car in for it's 4 year check up and inspection...hopefully no major findings there.

Enjoy the daylight hours on this Solstice Day and have a good one!

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Tiny Needle Tuesday...and More!!

 Good Morning My Friends,

How are you?  It is still early here (5:40 a.m.), but someone (that would be me) had a difficult time sleeping last night and then early, early this a.m. the birds were so loud!  I love birdsong and hearing it, but maybe a little later would be a better idea.

Anywho, I've lots to show you today, so grab your beverage of choice and let's dig in.  First, it is Tuesday, which means it is time for a Tiny Needle update.  My two pieces are moving along nicely and continue to be fun to stitch.  First up is the Autumn Posy by Plum Street Samplers.

The pumpkin is finished and a few do-dads have been added.  This is being stitched on 40 count linen with Weeks Dye Works overdyed cottons.

Next we have the Sampler aux Bouquets.  A 3 part sampler that I am stitching on 32 count linen with DMC floss.

I had thought I would finish up the first part this past week, but that was not to be.  However, Mr. Rabbit has made an appearance along with a potted plant (I think a rose?).  I have confirmed that the X and the Z will need to be moved in order to accommodate the balance of the design on Part 1.  No worries, it will look better when finished.

Now on to other things!  Yesterday, Juneteenth, was a holiday for my office and a 3 day weekend was a lovely thing.  I convinced/talked Fletch into heading out with me yesterday for a short morning walk and then lunch out.  We took off around 10:30 and drove to one of my favorite walks - the one where the canal is on one side of the path and the Schuylkill River on the other side.  It was a busy place yesterday - lots of walkers, lots of joggers, lots of dog walkers, some folks on bikes and a number of folks on the water - either paddle boards, kayaks or canoes.  We actually saw some folding kayaks which are pretty cool.

Along with all the people there was a ton of animal and plant life.  We heard bull frogs, geese, ducks, lots of song birds and then there were turtles!  Of course we did not hear them, but oh my gosh there were SO MANY baby turtles!  I don't ever remember seeing them at this location and certainly not the numbers we saw yesterday.

There were also bees and bugs on various blooms.

So many scents in the air too.  We were noticing how some scents are really strong when you are in the sunlight and then others become more prominent when you are in the shade.

We walked for about 40 minutes and then made our way back to Fitzwater Station for lunch.  We were able to get seats on the deck overlooking the canal so we could watch the water traffic while sipping and eating.  I loved this sign on one of the vehicles at Fitzwater Station:

We had a relaxing afternoon and then it was time to sit on the patio with a beverage.  Back when I was harvesting a ton of rhubarb, Nance had suggested that I make some rhubarb cordial.  Oh my!  What a treat!

This is what we ended up with after ditching the pieces of rhubarb in the bottle (basically cut up rhubarb, vodka and sugar - shake and let it meld together for a month, then strain and indulge).  It is tart, but in a very pleasing way.  I had a small amount over ice and enjoyed it a lot.  I think it would also be tasty with seltzer.

Mabel came around from wherever she had been patroling to join us.  Such a sweetie!

All lin all a very lovely day.

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Cooking - A New Dish!

 Well good morning and hello,

How are you?  I admit that I was initially confused this morning.  I got up at 5:30 thinking it was 6:30.  Oy vey!  I woke Fletch earlier than usual (luckily he was able to get back to sleep).  The bright side is that my Thursday work reports were done and out the door (e-mail door) early, early.  The rest of the day is mine!

Yesterday I finally managed to do some domestic chores...dusting and vacuuming which was desperately needed (no wonder I was always so congested at night - lol).  A couple of loads of laundry which I did have to dry inside - it was raining here by 11 a.m.  I also managed to do a little stitching, a little knitting, and a little reading.  I call that just about a perfect day.

I also made a new-to-us meal for dinner that was delicious!  We had Beef Bulgogi with baby bok choy.

Bulgogi is a Korean dish and THIS is the recipe I used.  Highly recommend.  The flavors were wonderful and it was really easy to pull together (and quick).

Today I want to run to the library to return a book (finally finished The Thread Collectors last night), clean the bathrooms (another desperately needed chore) and have time to stitch, knit and read.  I want another perfect day!

Fletch is planning to grill a pork loin for dinner, so I just need to make some sides.  Work is behaving so far (read that as leaving me alone) and I hope that continues!  Happy Thursday everyone - enjoy!

Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Unraveled Wednesday 6/14/23

 Hello and Good Morning!

How are you?  I'm doing well.  Though I did not accomplish anywhere near what I had hoped/planned to do yesterday.  Such is life!  I did bake more cookies last night!!  These are an oatmeal cookie and the recipe is courtesy of Jane from Prairie Spirits.  Since Jane first shared her recipe with me a couple of years back, these cookies have become a favorite in our house.

Additions this time were:  chopped up dried apricots, dried cherries, pistachios, chopped crystalized ginger and a scant cup of chocolate/peanut butter chips.  YUM!!

I've been baking because Fletch intends to visit a couple this week - former clients of his - who LOVE cookies.  We also want to share some with Rob & Eva - our neighbors who do so much for us including taking care of Mabel when we are away.  I enjoy baking a lot, but we sure don't need two full batches of cookies hanging around our house!  LOL  It is good to have friends with whom to share.

This Wednesday, specifically Unraveled Wednesday, we all gather together and link up with Kat to talk making and reading.  I do not have a whole lot to share!  I seem to be doing more stitching than knitting (and I shared that yesterday) and more baking than knitting or reading.  But, a few things are here.

First up the green Hitchhiker is moving along.  There are now 21 points.

21 points mean that it is also taking longer to do each row.  It is a meditative knit - so much so that I often find myself closing my eyes while knitting on it (NOT a good idea for moi) - especially after dinner when listening to an audio book with Fletch.

I did absolutely nothing more on the purple Abstract Leaves cowl.  I need to pick it up and see if I can manage a row or three without messing up (again).

Some yarn was wound yesterday for socks.  Since I can't seem to knit and chat without messing up the knitting, I thought I'd best get a pair of socks on the needles for my Saturday mornings with Dee.  It was last week that I was so busy chatting that I completely forgot an eyelet row on the Hitchhiker!

This is Pairfect yarn - my first time using it.  It is also souvenir yarn!  This skein was purchased at Webs when Fletch and I were on vacation - I believe the Spring of 2018.  We will see if the socks match.  That does not particularly matter to me, but I thought it might be fun.  The yarn is mostly shades of grey with some dark, dusky blue thrown in for good measure.

As far as reading goes, I am still reading The Thread Collectors.  I thought I would finish last night, but I still have roughly 50 pages left.  Perhaps today or tonight?  Next up, waiting patiently on my nightstand is Finding Freedom by Erin French.  I've wanted to read this for some time and Carol gave me the book when she visited the other month.  And, I've rediscovered Nine Horses by Billy Collins which had somehow become buried under other books on my nightstand.  His poems are wonderful to read just before turning out the light.

Fletch and I continue to listen to Vesper Flights and are thoroughly enjoying it.  Helen MacDonald, the author, is also the narrator and is great.

It looks to be a little overcast and we may get more rain today (still needed).  I'm planning to wash a couple of loads of clothes, but not sure if I will be able to hang them on the line or not.  whatever you are up to, have a good one and be sure to head over to Kat's space to see what everyone is making and reading.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Tiny Needle Tuesday 6/13/23

 Good Morning!

The sun is out and the air is fresher this morning.  We finally had some very much needed rain yesterday.  It started around 3 p.m. as a very gentle rain and then became heavier and heavier.  It sounded wonderful and the scent of rain was like a bit of heaven. Our rain gauge is showing we received about 1.75".  

Yesterday I did successfully avoid any domestic cleaning chores.  However, I was not idle.  I did a bit of cooking.  We were having Oven Roasted Ratatouille for dinner, so I baked some bread to go with that.

A gooey mess that was perfect last night as the temp had dropped along with the rain.  Eggplant, yellow squash, onion, basil and garlic mixed up with EVOO, S&P.  Marinara sauce in the bbottm of the pan, pour in the veggies and top with chopped tomatoes.  Bake at 400 for about 40 minutes...pull out and pur some mozarella on top...back in the oven to melt the cheese.  Kind of like a veggie pizza without the crust!

After dinner I baked a batch of toffee chip cookies!

I used salted caramel chips that I found at Trader Joe's and oh my!  These cookies are so easy to make and so delicious.

In between cooking and baking I did work a bit on my stitching and even some knitting.  Today is Tuesday, so let's see where the stitching is.  First up is the Sampler Aux Bouquets.  I am closing in on finishing up the first sesction (of 3):

I love the birds.  However, I may need to rip out a few things.  There are two versions of the chart.  The first one is the chart for this section only - if you were going to stop after stitching this first part.  Then there is the version you stitch if you intend to add the other section after this (which I am planning to do).  On the second version the X and the Z are placed a little higher on the fabric.  I will work down from the top and see how it goes.  If I need to, I will re-stitch the X and Z.  It's kind of annoying and frustrating that the two versions are noticeably different.  And, this 32 count linen fabric is some of the softest I have ever stitched on and (to me) it is noticeable when something is ripped out.  Hopefully I will have this figured out by the time next Tuesday rolls around!

Autumn Posy by Plum Street Samplers is coming along nicely.

I'm loving stitching on 40 count linen again using just one thread of the overdyed cotton threads.  My plan is to finish that bottom motif today.  Of course, I have other things that I would like to work on as well.  Busy hands and all that!

How is your Tuesday shaping up?  

Monday, June 12, 2023

Weekending 6/12/23

 Good morning My Friends,

It sure is a least around here.  I hardly slept a wink last night and I've no idea why.  I'm just glad I work from home which means I will take a nap later!  And it is kind of gloomy out.  It is grey and overcast which is fine.  We desperately need the rain and I sure hope it does not pass us by.  It is already almost 70 degrees and pretty muggy.

Anyway, I've showered and the first cup of coffee is finding my throat.  There were no breaking emails or notifications overnight from work, so all is good.  How was your weekend?

Saturday, as I'm sure you know, was world-wide knit in public day.  Dee and I did what we do just about every Saturday.  We met up for coffee and chatter and we knit in public.  As Dee said, "every Saturday is knit in public day for us!"  I like that.  Once again I did learn, though, that I am not really able to knit and talk at the same time.  I was blissfully knitting along on my green Hitchhiker when I realized I completely forgot the eyelet row.  Tink, tink, tink and all was back where it should be.  I need to cast on a simple pair of vanilla socks that I can take on Saturdays.

Saturday afternoon, Fletch and I went over the Colin & Mailing's house.  There were more weeds that Fletch wanted to get rid of and I needed to water the houseplants.  Much to my surprise, I discovered that an orchid on the windowsill in the living room is blooming!

I believe this is the orchid that the former owners of the house gave to C&M (along with a nice bottle of champagne) when they closed on the house.  I do talk to the plants when I go over, but I didn't expect this to be blooming (and have more buds, so more blooms to come).  Actually all of their house plants are doing pretty well.  

Sunday was a lazy day.  I made some cold things for dinner (chicken salad and cucumber salad) in the morning and let them chill in the frig all day.  I did wander around the back yard late in the afternoon and discovered that our Seven Sisters Rose is beginning to bloom.  Fletcher's Mom gave it to us from a cutting in her yard which she had gotten from a cutting in her Mom's yard.  3 generations!  The blooms are small and not terribly fragrant, but I love it.

Perfect for a little bud vase.  We also discovered that our Trumpet Vine has started to bloom (which is early for us).  We hope the hummingbirds will show up soon.

Today should find me doing some much needed cleaning, but my guess is that I will determine that it can wait a little bit longer until it is done.  Ha!  Maybe I'll feel inspired, but it's rare when that happens involving cleaning.  We'll see.  Wishing you all a wonderful day and start of the week - enjoy!

Friday, June 9, 2023

Friday Miscellany 6/9/23

 Good Morning!

TGIF, right?  I wish I could say I am in weekend mode, but not yet...I have two scheduled conference calls which have not been cancelled (yet).  I did not think the air was too bad late yesterday, so I sat on the patio with a glass of wine.  Fletch only came out to water the garden, and he wore a mask.  Our neighbor Rob was mowing his lawn and also wearing a mask.  I sure hope this ends soon.

I don't like the pickled watermelon rind at all.  The mix of ingredients just tastes off to me.  I may try again, or I may just order some (hello my friend Amazon).  Fletch has yet to try any - if he likes them they will stay, if not, they will be tossed into the compost.

Our apple tree is really loaded with apples this year.  As usual, a number of them are falling (or have already fallen) off the tree.  This is common.  And it brings this guy in:

The deer have been coming in to chow down on the apples.  Good thing - you could twist an ankle stepping on one in the yard.  I walk out to the garden to gather lettuce and parsley with my head down so I can see where I am stepping.

Then we have this sweet girl sharpening her claws.

Trust me, her claws are plenty sharp, but she does not think so.  Yesterday she was "playing" (or tormenting) a little mouse or vole or mole under the picnic table.  But later I found a dead robin on the ground.  I scolded her and spoke harshly, but it doesn't seem to do any good.

The purple yarn for the Abstract Leaves Cowl may be speaking to me...I knit a few rows last night and once again ended up with the wrong number of stitches (one too many).  I tinked back and will look later today to see how it is (and if I now have the correct number of stitches).  If not, that will most likely be completely unraveled and I will need to come up with another idea for that yarn.  Maybe another Hitchhiker?  That would be pretty.  Maybe with eyelets (like the green) and a few well placed beads?  Leslie might like that.  Hhhmmmmm - something to think about.

Meanwhile, time to get going!  I need to slurp down more caffeine and let the day begin.  Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Thursday, June 8, 2023


 Hello All,

A bit of a later post for me.  This morning was filled with work.  Ugh!

So yesterday the morning seemed ok - a little haze, but not bad and no odors.  I hung two loads of wash on the line to dry. 2 p.m. we could smell smoke.  I got everything off the line before it smelled like a campfire (fortunately everything had dried).

Today I could still catch a whiff of smoke in the air when I first was up.  However, the notice from our county states that the air quality is expected to improve throughout the day.  Still, I have sheets in the washer and I think I will just put them in the dryer today.

The only time I picked up yarn yesterday was to take care of this:

Someone wears his hand knit socks daily - even in the summer - and it looks like his toenails might need to be cut a little more frequently.  Ha!

It was a day of cooking though.  First I did make the watermelon rind pickles.  I'm not sure I will like them - will be trying them at lunch today.  I used an Alton Brown recipe but skipped the Star Anise (since I didn't have it) and instead of Allspice berries (which I also did not have), I just threw in a little allspice.  We shall see.  There is also crystalized ginger in there which I love!

Next I made a cucumber-edamame-avocado-sesame seed salad to go with our dinner.  Fletch didn't eat it because although he likes cucumbers, he does not like edamame or pieces of avocado (he loves guacamole, just not slices or chunks of avocado).  Next time I would skip the avocado.  I think adding that to salads is iffy at best (I'd rather have it as avocado toast or something).  The dressing was good though - a mix of rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, honey, fresh ginger, soy sauce, and a few other things I can't remember.

Dinner was a dish I used to get for  lunch years ago at a great little restaurant in Chadds Ford (unfortunately they have been out of business for years).  You take a croissant, split it, top it with shrimp salad and a little cheese and then stick it under the broiler.  I added fresh spinach as a bottom layer.

And then finally, after dinner I made a batch of blueberry muffins.  When I stopped at the store on Wednesday to pick up something they had Strawberries and Blueberries on display - buy one and get one for $1.  Not bad!

I ended up skipping breakfast today, so perhaps I will try one at lunch.  I need to run out to the garden to pick some lettuce so I can make a salad for lunch.

After that, I hope to find time to pick up my needles - either knitting or stitching.  Hope everyone is having a good Thursday.  

Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Unraveled Wednesday 6/7/23

 Hi Everyone,

How are you this fine morning?  I'm waking up...slowly...have had a few sips of coffee, but still feeling rather groggy.  A hazy sky doesn't help matters.  Last night - whoa!  When our zoom call for Read With Us wrapped up I stepped outside and could actually smell a smoky scent.  About 15 minutes later my phone binged with a text from the county alerting folks to the fact that we are being impacted by the wildfires in Canada.  I stepped out on our patio earlier and I can no longer smell the fire, but the haze from the ash and smoke is still there.

As usual, yesterday's office visit was longer than necessary.  It was nice to see people at the office.  I thought the food was so-so (provided again by Founding Farmers).  There were bacon lollipops (!!) which were fun, but everything else had too much cheese in it for me - LOL.  However, it was free and I did win a gift card as well as get a "bonus" gift card in my email when I got back to work.  Not bad for a day's work!  I'm staying home today.

Welcome to Wednesday and Unraveled Wednesday where a bunch of us link up with Kat to talk making and reading.  Before anyone asks, no I have not yet cast on for my Shakerag Skirt.  I plan to, I just need to find quiet time (counting the bazillion stitches to cast on) to concentrate and get it done.  It seems that when those quiet moments roll around I am extremely tired.  So...another day.

I did begin work on the Abstratc Leaves Cowl for my friend Leslie.  All was going well until at the end of row 6 I had an extra stitch on the needles.  Of course, row 6 was a lace row.  I tinked that and am now back to row 5.  I have not picked it up since (too tired and bleary-eyed at night), so here it is with 5 rows completed.

I am planning/hoping to make a dent in this project today or at least this week.

The green yarn!  I could almost hear it sighing with relief...or humming the Hallelujah Chorus.  That yarn did NOT want to be socks of any kind apparently.  Nancy suggested a Hitchhiker with eyelet rows.  And that is what I have cast on.

The yarn is now behaving beautifully and I think this will be a lovely Hitchhiker once finished.  I will confess that I get quite bored knitting a Hitchhiker, but I will take it a few rows at a time and just be happy that the right project has finally been found for this beautiful yarn!

I have nothing outstanding to mention on the reading side of things.  Fletch and I gave up on listening to Walking Home by Rick Rogers.  We thought it would be humorous and fun, but it was boring and bland.  We are now listening to Vesper Flights by Helen MacDonald and are thoroughly enjoying it.  Bonus, it is read by the author.

I've started two new books.  First up is The Dog of the North (one of the Women's Prize nominations).  This is a quirky book for sure.  I'm undecided as to whether or not it is for me, but I'm giving it a chance.  After reading one chapter I almost put it aside, but picked it up again last night and felt a little more engaged (plus I love the name Pincer for the Grandmother!).

The second book I am reading is The Thread Collectors which my sister-in-law had recommended.  This is written by two authors and loosely based on their family histories.  It is set during the Civil War.  I'm only 100 pages in or so, and it is ok.  Not compelling, but a good read.

Not started yet, but picked up from the library yesterday and now on my nightstand is Quietly Hostile by Samantha Irby.  I have not read anything by Irby to date, but this one has very good reviews and I'm looking forward to dipping into these essays.

Today's agenda includes some laundry (I think laundry multiplies overnight when no one is looking), a little cooking (more deviled eggs, shrimp salad, watermelon pickles and blueberry muffins) and, hopefully, time to knit, stitch and read.  Fingers crossed that work does not rear its ugly head.

Wishing everyone a wonderful Hump Day and let the slope into the weekend begin!!

Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Tiny Needle Tuesday 6/6/23

 Hello, Hello,

Let's hope this Tuesday is better than Monday was!  Whew!  There were more computer woes mid-morning when I got on my first conference call but could not hear anyone.  All was set up correctly, but the way to log onto the call had changed.  Not sure what was up, but I ended up skipping that call.  My next one worked with no was just way longer than necessary!

Fletch and I decided to do grocery shopping yesterday because I am going to the office this morning.  The store was mobbed!  Who would have guessed at 2:30 on a Monday afternoon?  And, of course, one speed checker (15 items or less) and one regular checker...we were third in line and that checker was pretty new and quite slow.  Oy vey!

And then last night I was so tired I couldn't see straight but when I went upstairs to go to bed I ended up with the worst case of indigestion.  Not sure why.  Didn't eat anything unusual.  So, I am ready for a better day for sure.  I'm sorry I am heading to the office, but such is life.

Meanwhile, let's move on to more fun things.  I have a finish!!  Woo-Hoo, the Crows of Strawberry Hill is stitched.  The fabric used was 32 count linen and the threads were a mix of Gentle Art Sampler Threads and Weeks Dye Works (both over-dyed cottons).

And, not only stitched, but made into a pincushion on Sunday!  Who am I?

I couldn't find any fabric in my stash that I thought really looked good as backing (amazing given how much fabric I have), so I just backed it in green felt and I love the way it turned out.

Next up we have The Sampler aux Bouquets which saw more love than I thought.  Quite a bit was added to the mix.

As the designer suggested, I am stitching my initials in a lighter color than the balance of the alphabet.  Love the little butterfly flittering across the top!

With the Crow piece finished I knew I wanted to start another "small."  I dug around in my stash and found a piece from way back in 2014.  I even had all the specialty threads in the bag with the chart, so it was just a matter of finding a piece of fabric.  I decided on Autumn Posy by Paulette Stewart of Plum Street Sampers.

And, I made a small start on this yesterday.  I am using 40 count fabric and stitching with one thread of Weeks Dye Works (an over-dyed cotton) over two linen threads.  So far, I'm loving it!

A few folks have asked how I manage to stitch on such fine fabric.  Not easily!  LOL  I used to be able to just pick up linen like this and stitch away.  Now I have to use magnification.  I have some lights with magnification but I find that they often seem hot in the warmer weather.  Now I wear a headband magnifier (which I refer to as my crown!  hahaha).  This is similar to what I use.  I can flip it up when, say, I have to get up to let Mabel in at the back door.  Then just flip it back down and keep stitching.  I miss being able to just pick up my fabric and stitch, but this is a good solution for me.

As I mentioned, I'll be heading to the office later.  There is a 12 p.m. BBQ to kick off summer (which probably means gift cards or bonus payments, etc.!).  Also Kevin is back in the office (3rd week in a row) for budget reviews.  I don't think I need to be involved in that this time.  It is also Bruce's birthday today - not sure if he will be in for the BBQ or not - his budget review is not till Wednesday and it looks like he may be in Baltimore today (according to his Outlook calendar).  Guess I'll find out at some point.

I'm also looking forward to our "Read With Us" book discussion tonight!  I'll see some of you and talk with you then.  Have a great day!