Color Block Scarf - Complete


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I don't know what I was thinking when I was deciding on my block pattern. I guess the math in me was a little off. I forgot that I designed each color to be 10" so I couldn't possibly repeat my pattern because the scarf would be super long. As it is, it measures approximately 50 inches. I decided not to fringe this one. It is a super soft scarf and was easy to make.

And We're Off!


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This morning I mailed my traveling scarf piece to Ohio. When I got to the post office, I decided to purchase one of the cute mailing envelopes. Then I snapped a picture right before I mailed it. I don't think anyone noticed. :-)

Color Block Scarf


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The day I started my traveling scarf piece, I started a new scarf with the same basic V-stitch. It will be a skinny scarf this time. I decided to make it in blocks of colors. I'm about halfway done, give or take some rows. My plan is to finish the 19 rows of this natural color by Caron and then do a block in the chocolate brown. Afterwards, I will reverse the colors so that it is balanced (*again, the math in me*) and finish with the chocolate brown on the end.

The turquoise and chocolate brown are both Red Heart Soft Yarn, but I couldn't find a pink and shade of white in that yarn, so I had to purchase it by Caron. They both more or less have the same sheen, but I really prefer sticking with the same brand for one project even though they are the same weight.

I will work on this piece as often as I can and then I probably don't need to start too many new projects because of the knitting class that starts next week, and also because someone asked me to make their granddaughter a baby shawl for Easter. I'm already looking at pattern choices....

Sending My Scarf Off


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In about 12 hours, my scarf will be on its way to Ohio to be stitched by a fellow crafter. I made the introductory entry in my little journal notebook today. I added my glittery stickers that I had from the days when I thought I would like to be a scrapbooker (NOT!) - digital scrapbooking is more my speed.

The scarf I have to add to is coming from out of the country so I probably won't get it until sometime later in February, depending on the mail system. It will be interesting just to figure out what kind of stitches and what color yarn to use to compliment what has already been done.

Here goes:
A larger version of this photo can be seen by clicking on the picture above. Much more readable. :-)

Today's Assessment


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Since blogging about trying to go to bed earlier, I was asked if I felt better at work after having done so. At first I will admit that I saw no change. Maybe that's because I have pushed past the point of exhaustion for too long. However, today I will admit that I felt better than I have all week. Not a total improvement, but I do see a glimpse of hope.

I attended an out-of-town church service last night (and I will be attending the last night of it tonight) and even though I got home rather late and didn't end up going to bed until 12:30 A.M., I still felt as if I had had some rest. In fact, I slept almost the entire way to church and napped on the way back, so when I got home I didn't try to do anything to wake me up more. (Well, I'll admit, I did crochet - but only a couple of rows, then I stopped.) For the first time this week, as soon as my head hit the pillow, I was asleep. I wonder if that cup of Sleepy Time tea helped? I'm about to make me a cup now - not because I'm intending on going to sleep at 6:51 P.M., but to just relax. Herbal teas don't get enough props!

An Update on My Goal


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So yesterday I finished my work early and made time to crochet before bedtime. Lights were out at 11:30 P.M. So I did make my goal. My sleep wasn't as restful as I would have liked, but I'm figuring that my body has to make the necessary adjustments. I'm looking at it as, I'm doing something natural that feels unnatural because I've pushed through what was natural so many years ago! Got it? So in other words, going to sleep should be a natural process, but I've been a nightowl for so many years that staying up late is what my body now wants to do. Now I'm saying, "no! go to sleep early" and my body is rebelling some. There's always a struggle before a victory, so I will press on.

Recently I was reading an article about how every minute that your body can be asleep BEFORE midnight the better. Apparently our bodies weren't created to work at all hours of the night. My mom was reading a report about how people who work 3rd shift jobs tend to have more health problems because they are working when the body does not need to be.

Ever since I started this blog I can see the same struggles I've had reappear. My readers may not think I'm getting better at anything I tried to "fix", but I will say that since starting this blog I have become more aware of the weaknesses in my life and the need to have them hashed out. So the journey continues and I will continue to persevere until I do have a victory, no matter how small.

These are just a few things I've learned about myself since starting this blog:

1. I need to eat more.
2. I need to eat better.
3. I need to exercise - REGULARLY.
4. I need to get adequate sleep and rest. Apparently they're not the same.

* I did receive a lot of compliments from my co-workers when I was out jogging really early in the morning. I fell off the wagon when my jogging buddy got sick and then the cold weather hit. Recently one of my co-workers lent (without a certain return date) me her treadmill to help me get motivated during these colder days. I hope so because I long to get back to jogging outside and feeling wonderfully.

Continuing with Yesterday's Goal


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Yesterday I aimed to get in bed before midnight. I will admit that I was in my room, but I didn't really go to sleep then. The instructions were (I don't know if I mentioned that one of my co-workers and I are setting this same goal) to be in bed before midnight, lights out, the t.v. can be on if you're listening to the last few minutes of something - then it too must go off, and you can't be doing anything like reading, crocheting (in my case); just relaxing and ready to doze off. Honestly I couldn't fight that urge to crochet a little sample piece and that's one of the reasons I didn't make my goal completely. The other reason was that after I got home from work, I took a 45 minute nap. Any nap for me, no matter how short it is, usually disrupts my night sleeping.

So today I set the same goal. In bed, ready for sleep by midnight. I really believe that it will work out this time. I've finished my work, I crocheted a little piece of a scarf for this traveling scarf project I'm involved in, and I'm now crocheting a piece of a scarf that I will complete. Clothes have been picked out for work and lunch for tomorrow has been made. I even drank some Sleepytime Tea.

I'll have to let you know how it goes...

Traveling Scarf Project


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I joined a new Group on Flickr about a week ago. One of the projects that I've committed myself to was that of the traveling scarf. My instructions were to start a scarf and make it 8" long. Then I write in a little notebook my name and why I chose the color and pattern. Afterwards, I mail both the scarf piece and notebook to the next person on the list. My scarf piece has to be mailed on February 1. Each month I will be adding to someone's scarf and mailing it on the first of the following month. When you get your scarf back in the fall it will have been stitched by people all around the country and we even have one international member so our scarf will travel overseas as well.

So, today after I finished my work work, I completed my scarf piece. I used a really simple stitch - the V stitch. I started my scarf with a chocolate brown color. I think it will be exciting to see what scarf pieces I will receive and what types of stitches I will have to add to match with whatever I am sent. Definitely an interesting challenge.

Here's my 8 inches:

Chunky Twist Scarf


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I made a scarf on Friday evening, but I wanted to add some fringe to it. This was the first experience with fringing. I ended up cutting the fringe to 3 inches because I wanted to scarf to be unisex. I asked around and I know some men wear fringed scarves, but apparently not as many with the long fringe like we ladies do! :-)

The scarf is made out of Bernat's Chunky Softee Twist yarn. I used the taupe and white blend. I was also working on a solid taupe toboggan to match, but I kept messing up, so I knew it was time to put that piece up, take a nap, and try it again later. I want to make a hat/scarf set.


I've been searching and I've found lots of great patterns to make. It's exciting, but I must put this crocheting aside for a bit and finish my other work - the paid kind! :-)

Until then...

My Personal Goal For Tonight:


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To be in bed before midnight.

I finally understand something


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I finally understood something - I can draw contour lines and actually understand what the lines mean (to a degree). Baby steps here people. Baby steps!


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I'm sitting in a training on rocks, minerals, and landforms and I feel like everyone else had some course in geology but I missed it. Look at the ridges. Do you see the contour lines? Which way is the river flowing? How far is this point from the other "as the crow flies"? AAAAAHHHHH!!!!!

Escaping?


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Today I went to the capital city to prepare for a weekend training session. You know I had to stop by Michael's because I have a few 40% off one item coupons and they were also having a sale on yarn. I tried to put myself on a restraining order from purchasing any more yarn, but it's really not possible because I have so many other items I'd like to make that require a heavier yarn. So I got a few skeins.

Right now I'm working on a scarf/hat combo. The scarf is halfway done. It's in Bernat's Softee Chunky Twist yarn (taupe and white). The matching hat will be in taupe. I can already tell by working with this yarn that this is not a yarn that I could use for my own personal use. It's way too warm for this area (and I'm usually the cold one!).

I questioned myself on why I'm crocheting this much lately. Is it because I really enjoy crocheting? Is it because I haven't been able to do it in so long that I just can't resist? Is it because I'm trying to find an escape from my "regular" junk that's always going on? Or is it a combination of all of these things? I really don't know yet, but while I figure it out, I'm happy to be crocheting. Hopefully I'll be able to put this hook down and get even just a little prepared for tomorrow's workshop....

The Purple Toboggan


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Today I didn't have to go to work because it was snowing. We don't have the equipment in our state to get the roads cleared properly for buses so when it snows we're out. Don't worry, it rarely snows. Well, I got one of those telemated calls letting me know that we are off tomorrow as well. I had worked hard (after the inauguration was over) and I felt that I deserved to make something. So I started on a new pattern: a toboggan. It's been a while since I've worn one of those, but I wanted to see what it was like to actually make one.

If you remember, I put myself on a restraining order from any yarn store. I don't know how much longer I can hold out though because the more different projects I try the different types of yarn I need. (I know someone out there understands me.) :-)

Well, I used what yarn I had - the last little bit of the purple Homespun yarn I used to make that coin purse. I had just enough to make this hat. Hopefully I'll be able to go out sometime tomorrow and try this hat out. It sure is cold enough. Now it's 27 degrees. (My brother would scoff at that statement. He's in Michigan and when he phones in, he's like, "It's 7 degrees today." And he keeps his thermostat no higher than 68! But I digress.)


Now I have three items made from this yarn - a scarf from a while ago, the coin purse turned camera case, and now this toboggan. This is just proof that the more you work at crocheting and crocheting with different yarns the better you get. I say that because I put this yarn in the bottom of my pile after I made the scarf because I had such a hard time seeing my stitches. I'm not perfect, but it's getting better. Having the perfect size hook helps too. Maybe now I might tackle those jumbo size skeins of boucle yarn I bought back in November or so.

Folks We Have a New President


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I will just say that today history was made. Right here in the United States, the first African-American took the oath of the presidency. It was an emotional moment for me. Although I wasn't in D.C. standing out there in the cold, I could still feel the wave of emotions that swept across that field right as I was bundled up in my covers.

No matter what your choice was on your ballot back in November and no matter how you feel today, we all need to offer up many prayers for this man, President Barack Obama, as he takes on this awesome task of representing our country. My hope is that this country realizes that he is not the answer to our prayers, God is. And I hope that the country is patient as many decisions have to be made that will affect us all. No one human being can change the world in one day or in four years, but our new leader needs our support.

Have a great day!

First Snow 09


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Work was canceled for today because it is snowing. I was content to lie in the bed a little longer, but the phone kept ringing and I had to get up. Is that a sign of age? As a kid if I heard there was no school, I couldn't get ready fast enough to go play in the snow. Now I'm like, It's snowing? Hum, I can get a little more sleep. :-)

When I got up, I reached for my camera and my tripod. I wanted to see what I could photograph from inside my house. I do want to go outdoors and get some really interesting shots but it's still snowing and I have to find protective gear for my camera and for myself! I don't like being cold.

The black and white picture was my first shot of the snow from indoors. Here's a color shot - taken from my back door. I tweaked it some in Picnik.

Well, I guess I'll be able to watch the inauguration after all. And finish the last two things on yesterday's "to-do" list.

Purple Coin Purse


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Today (well on Monday the 19th) I was off from work, but I had a ton of things to do. The first thing I did was make a To-Do list because that helps me stay motivated when I have a bunch of tasks. It felt good to check things off that list.

I promised myself that if I did everything that was mandatory and finished cleaning and worked on my taxes some then I could crochet something small. So I did. I know it's late and I should be fast asleep, but I had to post my very first coin purse.

I made this purse out of some scrap Homespun yarn. I found a stray wooden button in my sewing kit so I decided that the coin purse would be my item for today.

It was really simple and I can already think of ways to improve and embellish this simple design, but for now, here is my coin purse and I'm off to bed!

Tax Time


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My treat to myself this morning....working on my taxes. Well, not really working on this as much as working towards working on them. I wasn't as organized this year as I usually am. Usually, I have every paper, receipt, form filed in the the appropriate category in an expandable file folder or in labeled manila envelopes. I don't know what happened to me this year, but I didn't do either, but I didn't throw away the papers. I put them in small piles that got bagged when I was sick of looking at them and then stored away so nobody could see. (Please don't try this at home.)

Today I started with one small pile, discarding, shredding, saving and filing the appropriate papers in the appropriate places. Good thing there's a movie on.

My goal: to beat my mom to the accountant's office. Every year we race to see who will be ready first. Even the accountant and his secretary know about this race. They egg us on. It's hilarious. Since I haven't heard my mom mentioning anything about taxes, I better be on the lookout. She might be doing a sneek attack and getting ready under my nose. I'll have to watch out for her...

Cooking For One


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Most days I enjoy cooking. I even enjoy searching for recipes online, trying to find the perfect one that matches most of the ingredients in my kitchen or my mood for that day. But I have to admit, cooking for one has been difficult for me.

When I learned to cook (okay real basic stuff here) everything was prepared for a minimum of 4 servings, but most times 6. My mom made sure of that. Then when I moved out I realized that a lot of the things I enjoyed from my time with my folks weren't things that I'd been able to easily scale down. I've been torn between cooking those particular dishes and not wanting to waste food and not wanting to eat the same thing over and over again until it's gone.

This may be part of the reason why I enjoy using the Allrecipes site. There, no matter how many servings the dish was intended for, you can reenter the serving size that is appropriate for you and the calculator will recalculate all of the measurements. That's a great feature.

Just a few moments ago, I stumbled across someone's blog that is dedicated to cooking for one: Well Enough Alone. I haven't had a chance to really browse this blog, but the concept is nice. On the right column, I noticed recipes entitled "Just Enough.." Just Enough Banana Bread Muffins. Just Enough Apple Crisp. Just Enough Spaghetti. You get the idea.

I'm going to keep working on cooking smaller portions, but if you have any suggestions, feel free to comment. Otherwise, I might end up with a freezer full of leftovers!

The Easter Egg Blanket Is No More


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So, I did work diligently and got some things accomplished enough that I could take some time to crochet tonight. And I did find something on t.v. with a simple enough plot that I didn't have to focus on the tube - The New Cinderella Story with Selena Gomez.

I worked a couple of rows on my blanket, switching colors every set of four and then I realized that I really didn't want to complete this blanket. So...I made it into a scarf. I crocheted another set of four rose pink rows because I like balance - that's the math in me. I used the ivory yarn for the edging which was really something basic, but it's done.

Here are a few more views:

My Easter Egg Blanket


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I'm calling this piece my Easter Egg blanket because I don't know what else to call it. I picked that name for this new baby blanket because of the pastel colors that I chose. You know they're my leftover yarns - rose pink, pistachio green, ivory, and pale yellow. I'm determined not to go yarn-buying until I have no other alternative.

Yesterday I decided to start another blanket. I didn't get much further than the foundation row because I was watching the movie "Pride" and it was so good that I didn't get any real crocheting done.

I may work some on it today, but I haven't been feeling well today and I still have lots of work stuff on my to-do list that if I wait until my real day off (tomorrow) to get it done, it won't really be a day off.

We'll see, but here's a picture of the WIP:

If I pace myself just right, I may be able to treat myself to mindless t.v. watching. Then I can crochet some. I'm not one of those skilled craftspeople who doesn't have to look at her work while crocheting. I admit, I look!

White Lace Border Blanket -Complete


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Today I finished the white baby blanket that I've been working on. It's hard to believe that I've actually completed a crocheted baby blanket in under a week. It's a first. I've been excited all week to come home and just get a few rounds in. I'm hoping to be able to start and complete a couple of other projects before my knitting class begins in February.

I wish I could stay home and crochet and watch the inauguration on Tuesday, but I'll be at work. So, to other times then.

Here's the completed blanket:

Moving Faster Than I Ever Have Before


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Man, I don't really know what has come over me, but I've just really been feeling the urge to crochet lately. I do have to admit in part I believe that it's because of my addiction to Flickr. Up until this year on Flickr I've not been surrounded by people who share a love or even a small interest in crocheting. I was always one of those young adults who enjoyed being around my aunts or older people moreso than people my own age cousins at times. I think people my age always thought I was acting "matronly" because I enjoyed certain crafts. But no more. My Flickr contacts have revived that interest in perfecting or at least indulging in one's craft. So now, I'm no longer a closet-crocheter!

I've been working on this white baby blanket every free moment I can get this week. It's weird. I've been rushing home from work to get prepared for the next day of work, take a shower, and get to crocheting. It's been wonderful.

A few moments ago I finished the inside of this blanket. The only thing left is the edging process. The edging is what makes this blanket stand out a little from being just ordinary, but trust me, it won't be as intricate as the previous pink and green blanket.

Well, it's way past my "bedtime", but I couldn't wait to post this entry. Again, I apologize that the picture won't show this white blanket in the best light. I'll definitely work on improving that for when I post the finished blanket. Until then, here is the middle portion of this blanket:

Nighty Night!

We Made a Pact


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The nurse on my job loves to make crafts. She is getting ready to start making these dolls that have wooden bodies and heads, but their bodies are made out of fabric and batting. They are really cute. She's going to make some of different ethnicities and of different historical time periods.

Today as we were chatting about crafting, we decided that in the fall we should do a craft table at our local Seaboard Festival. We can start making things early in order to be ready for the October fair. I've always admired people who sold their items like homemade candles, quilts, hand-painted gourds, photography, etc. Now maybe she and I can be one of those people!

Now that's enough extra commitment for me. No more new things. Now I just need someone to hold me accountable. :-)

My New Project


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I'm done crocheting for the day. I've gotten a lot done in the intervals that I've been able to work, but there's still a ways to go. So far I have 11 inches done for the middle. The middle section is supposed to be 29 inches before the edging is put on.

This photograph isn't going to be the best because I have a hard time capturing white objects in snapshots, so you'll just have to imagine this yarn being white. Actually it's the yarn made by Bernat that has the shimmery string woven into the yarn. It makes it sparkle. :-)


Well, off to bed I go....

Etsy and Me


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Last night I decided to start on a new crochet project. Another baby blanket. This will be the first baby blanket that I will make that is not created for a particular baby. In the past I've not been able to keep my motivation going to complete a project as such that was for an unknown baby or for the good of the cause.

Recently I've been pondering whether or not I'd like to sell a few items on Etsy to get a feel for what it would be like to have a small business. Since Etsy encompasses all handmade crafts, I wouldn't be limited to just my crochet projects, but I could include my love for photography as well. What I've decided to do is to start making some items in advance and then post them up at one time (or in a staggered order). Then wait. If anything sells, then I will finally know what it feels like to put a price tag on a handmade item. If they don't sell, I can always find ladies who want a handmade item for their newborn. Then I would have the item already made. The way I look at it, it's a win-win situation.

Since I can't commit to crocheting on demand, I've decided to start early while the mood is hot. So that's the reason for this particular blanket. I'm using a pattern that I've made several times, but in a color that I've never used for an entire blanket - white. This should be an interesting journey and I'll be sure to post some photos once I get past this chain 112 part.

Yo llore...


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I was browsing through my Flickr contacts and I saw a caption that read:

(image source: Isol2 at Flickr - http://flickr.com/photos/21170393@N02/3190059908/)
"Yo llore porque no tenía zapatos hasta que vi un niño que no tenía pies"


Translated, this means: I cried because I didn't have shoes until I saw a boy who didn't have feet.

It's amazing how we complain about so many things when in fact we have so much to be thankful for. When I was at church this morning, a visiting preacher was speaking on this briefly. He admonished us to separate our needs from our wants. He also asked us to reflect upon the goodness of God. He told us to think back 10 years ago. Think back to what it was that we needed. Now think about today. Are those needs met? Did we take time to thank God or did we overlook it and just complain about even more things that we face today.

I looked at this minister because he was crippled. His legs turned in and were twisted. He walked with the support of two crutches. Yet, this very man said, "Don't feel sorry for me. I can do everything that I need to do; I just have to figure out a different way to get it done." He let us know that there were more people that were in worse shape than him so he had no right to complain. How many of us would think that way? Would we complain that we couldn't walk or drive or would we make the most of it, being thankful just for life?

The truth is that no matter what situations we have going on in our lives, no matter how bad they seem to be or really are, we still have no right to complain. Then when we look at the example of Christ, how he bore the iniquities of the world on His shoulders without complaint - and He wasn't even guilty - we definitely have no right to do so.

I'll admit that this is an area that I need to work on. Am I alone? :-)

One Day Project


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Today after church I was itching to do a craft. Maybe it was just a way to escape the lesson plans that are due by tomorrow, but at any rate, I wanted to do a small craft project. So, I made a phone cozy for my cell phone.

I recently purchased a smart phone and even though I bought a hard case that snaps to the phone, the front panel is open and I don't want any damage to get to this phone any time soon. That's why I decided to make a cozy.

It's pretty basic. Just a series of scs, but at least I can protect my phone from the junk in my purse!

Knitting 101


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You know by now that I am not a knitter. I'd love to learn though. Once I went on a retreat and someone there tried to show me. Those efforts resulted in a half-stitched scarf.

It's been a couple of years since that experience and I have tried to re-teach myself the process so that I could at least finish this scarf. Well, that hasn't happened.

About a week ago, my pastor's wife, the same lady from church who taught me how to crochet, mentioned that the local community college is offering a 6-week beginner's knitting course for only $25 or for free if you're at least 65. So you know I'm in! Then her daughter decided to enroll in the class too. That makes three of us. My schedule is really tight this time of year with teaching, tutoring after school, and doing some off and on-again weekend work, but I'm going to be as diligent as I can, working in advance when necessary, because I really want to take this course that starts the first week in February.

I'll be sure to blog about those experiences. In the meantime, I plan to keep on crocheting and soon do a little sewing. A friend of mine is into wearing mei tais now and I'd like to practice making those.

Syndee's Blanket is Complete


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I'm so excited. I wish you could see the silly grin pasted on my face as I type this entry. The blanket I was making for my baby cousin, Sydnee is finally complete! There are two basic mistakes in the beginning rows of the blanket which account for some extra tightness, but I stretched those rows as best I could to make it even with the rest. Although I said that I wouldn't make this pattern again, I probably will. It was tedious, as I've mentioned earlier, due to the fact that the inside of the blanket consists of a repetition of 8 different rows of stitches so I had to keep looking at the pattern, but once I got the stitches down, it wasn't that difficult.

I can't wait to give this blanket to Syndee's mom later this month. I don't want to mail it and since I'll be in their city at the end of the month, I'll hand deliver it.
Thank you for taking this particular journey with me. Now on to the next project. I'm trying to decide if I want to try a sewing project or keep on crocheting. Humm.....

The Amish Have it Going On


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Ok, I know I said I wasn't going to blog anymore, but I just couldn't help myself. Today was Day 10 in the Amish Cinnamon Bread ritual and as I was closing down my kitchen I realized that I needed to store the bread I baked earlier this evening. Well, you know I had to slice it first to get a little late-night sample. Remember, I haven't had this bread in over 7 years.

Let me tell you, this bread rocks! I don't know what the Amish have done to create this recipe, but I do know that I am so thankful to them for creating it. I put two bags of starter in the freezer to make for a later time and now I am so glad. The bottom of the recipe states that if you give away all of your starter, then you will have to wait until someone somewhere gives you one from theirs. Apparently only the Amish know how to create the starter. So I've got my two bags in the freezer and I will give away two bags. (I know I'm writing out of order. I should have mentioned earlier that when you follow the directions for Day 10, you have to feed the starter more so that you can have 5 batches of starter: 1 to save (or in my case two), 3 to give away, and 1 to add the remaining ingredients to so you can make the bread.)

After you follow the directions on adding the ingredients to the starter batter, you grease two loaf pans and then add a mixture of flour, sugar, and cinnamon to the bottom of both pans. You add the batter to both pans and then top them with the flour, sugar, cinnamon mixture. You bake for an hour, let cool for 10 minutes in the pan on a cooling rack, remove the bread from the pan to continue cooling on the rack, and then VOILA! You are done.

Here is this delicious treat. I wish the screen was scratch-and-sniff so you could get a whiff of all this goodness. Oh well; you'll just have to take my word for it. :-)


Amish Cinnamon Bread Recipe

Important Notes: Do Not Refrigerate! Do Not Use Metal Spoons or Bowls for Mixing! It is normal for the batter to rise, bubble, and ferment.

Day 1: Do Nothing. This is the day you receive the batter.

Day 2: Mush the bag.

Day 3: Mush the bag.

Day 4: Mush the bag.

Day 5: Mush the bag.

Day 6: Add to the bag: 1 cup all purpose flour, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup milk, then mush the bag.

Day 7: Mush the bag.

Day 8: Mush the bag.

Day 9: Mush the bag

Day 10: Follow the instructions below:

  1. Pour the entire contents of the bag into a large non-metal bowl.
  2. Add 1 ½ cups each of flour, sugar, and milk.
  3. Measure out into four separate batters of 1 cup each and put into 4 one gallon Ziploc bags. Keep a starter for yourself and give the other three bags away to friends along with a copy of these instructions.
  4. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  5. To the remaining batter in your bowl, add:
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
½ cup of milk
2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp. vanilla
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. salt
2 cups flour
1 large box of vanilla instant pudding

Grease two large loaf pans and mix an additional ¼ cup each of sugar and flour and 1 ½ tsp. cinnamon. Dust the greased pans with half of the mixture.


Pour the batter evenly into the pans and sprinkle the remaining sugar and cinnamon mixture on top.

Bake for one hour, cool until the bread loosens from the pan evenly (about 10 minutes). Serve warm or cold (much better warm).

If you keep a starter for yourself, you will be making bread every ten days. The bread is really good and makes a great gift. Only the Amish know how to create the “starter” so if you give them all away, you’ll have to wait until someone gives you one back!

* Potential modifications: This recipe is definitely not all that healthy, but it tastes really good.

  • A friend of mine made her bread and she used half the amount of oil and the other half with applesauce.
  • When I make another bread, I will not use the cinnamon/flour/sugar mixture because I didn't like the white look on the bread. I will use it on the bottom, but dust the top with just cinnamon/sugar.
  • You can add 1 cup of chopped apples, 1 cup of pecans, or 1 cup of raisins, or a mixture of them all. Be creative.


Also I know that the recipe says that only the Amish know the real starter recipe, but I found a starter recipe online. Check it out here.



Gumbo for Dinner


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I don't have much time for blogging tonight, but I just wanted to share my dinner for this evening - gumbo. Never made it before, but I wanted one of those all-in-one meals. So here it is.


Basically this is what I did:

I browned some Italian Hot Sausage, then sauteed onions, bell peppers, and celery in the drippings. I added some oregano, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and ground thyme. Then I added the sausage back in the pot with some canned whole tomatoes and some basmati rice. I let it cook a little then added some sliced okra and shrimp. (I'm still using that blasted non-deveined shrimp I put in the freezer earlier. I'll be glad when those bags are used up. Deveining is such a chore!)

Giving You a Little Sneek Peek


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It's official. Round 3 has begun. I read and reread the directions a couple of times. I'm determined to get better at reading these patterns, but I tell you, sometimes my eyes get on the wrong line when the directions sound so similar. This is one of those patterns that keeps having you refer to the symbols to repeat certain sections. Geez!

Anyways, here's a little sneek peek of what Round 3 consists of. As much as I would love to keep crocheting, I really must go to bed at a semi-descent hour tonight. It's already quarter past 11!


If You're Vegetarian, Turn Your Head :-)


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I'm trying to do better about eating my meals too far apart and about eating dinner too late at night. Preparation is the solution to that. Remember me last night, hungry and having to cook from scratch? That wasn't fun.

After last night's experience, I decided to go ahead and look in the freezer to see what I could prepare for tonight. I saw one lonely steak in there and quickly decided that it would be my source of protein tonight. I rarely crave steak, so I must be in need of some protein.

Not trying to waste any food, I looked in my stash of leftovers to see what to match with this meat. Shame on me, but I know that I'm supposed to have something green and leafy but again it won't happen tonight. I'll plan better tonight for tomorrow.

I decided to pan-fry my steak so it wouldn't take long. After I tenderized it by pounding it with the bottom of a candle (not burning, by the way) I seasoned it with "Sexy and Sassy", a spice blend I picked up on my spring trip to Charleston, SC. The lady said, "Put it on everything" so that's what I'm doing. It smelled like the right seasoning/taste for this steak so I tried it. As I try not to use that much salt, I didn't add any to the steak. I forgot that the seasoning blend, unlike most, didn't have any salt. But that's okay.

I reheated one of the papas rellenos (stuffed potatoes) from the fridge and some creamed corn. Too much starch right? Yeah, yeah. These problems can be easily fixed with a trip to the grocery store to restock my pantry/freezer with some missing, necessary items. Right now I'm just "piece-milling" it.

I realize now that I am addicted to snapping pictures of food. I got this shot right before I took the steak out of the oven...and no I didn't eat all of it...I never do!



I don't know all of what is stuffed inside these mashed potatoes, but I know that there is egg and hamburger meat. Delicious!

Well, I'm off to finishing yet another goal for my other job so that I can kick back and relax, watch some t.v. and do some crafting! (oops, I said I wouldn't mention that!) :-)

Days 7-9


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I've been faithful to my Amish Cinnamon Bread Starter. Ever since I fed it on Day 6, I've spent the last 3 days just squeezing it. Twice the bag blew up like a big balloon and I feared that it would explode, leaving a fermented sticky mess all over my kitchen. So, I released some of the air (which smelled like beer - yuck!) to prevent that from happening. Tomorrow I will feed the starter again and then split it into four servings. With one of the servings I will add the remaining ingredients to make the bread. With the other servings I will find someone to give it to. I may put one serving in the freezer so that I can make this bread again. Freezing it will stop the fermenting process and will allow me to make this bread when I have the time for it. My schedule is getting really busy really fast!

Now I'm off to complete some online writing training for work and I'm going to pan fry a steak, which I rarely eat.

Dinner's Ready...Finally


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I was busy running between my computer room and the kitchen trying to do too many things at once, but finally, finally dinner is ready.

I didn't have anymore red beans in the pantry so I couldn't make my rice and peas, so I just have my coconut rice. The only beans I could find, with the exception of my stash of dried beans, was soy beans (edamame). Never had those before, but it was worth a try. The curry chicken was pretty descent, but it tastes way better when you cook it slow like you're supposed to. I'll do that on another day. And the baked sweet potatoes were delicious. A farmer friend of ours always grows some really nice potatoes that they cure out so they're richer and just better than the ones you see most grocery stores and other farmers have. Even the skin is a different color.

Here's my plate. I really wanted something green up there, but I'm about tired of collard greens right now and I was too lazy to search the freezer down to find something else.

I know I mentioned submitting recipes, but I'm a little too tired for that right now. Plus I made a deal with myself that if I completed a certain portion of my work for my job (without the interruption of the t.v.) I could crochet before bedtime. I'm working on this baby blanket for my little cousin. The details are on my other blog. I won't spend time on this one talking about my craft-side.

Now for a cup of tea! I think tonight it will be Lemon and Chinese Ginger or Peach tea. I'll be drinking it out of my new mug that my aunt made. She's into pottery now.

Where's the Dinner?


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Today I've learned a valuable lesson, and that is You Can't Depend on Getting Your Meals from Other Folks.

My mom made this really good neck-bone soup last night. If you just asked yourself, "What's a neckbone?" then you can't be from the South! lol When my mom makes soup she always makes a lot, but I forgot to factor in that my brother has been home for the holidays and the things we like to eat around here he can't get in the north where he lives. He considered himself making up for lost time. In that making up for lost time process, the soup got gone as well as the pan of chicken she baked the way my grandma does. Oh my.

Anyways, the newfound knowledge that the soup was gone has made me have to get in my own kitchen and cook without any earlier preparation. I always try to keep certain basic pantry/freezer items on hand, but since I've been working on not eating so much processed foods I have to look in the freezer for almost everything and almost everything must be made from scratch. That requires some prep time.

Since it's obvious that no one is going to feed me (you know that family of mine didn't even sound sympathetic when I said, "You mean the soup is gone, gone?"), I'm cooking right now.

I decided I have a taste for something a little Caribbean-like. No, it won't be totally authentic because I haven't taken the time to work on this style of food. I just enjoy it though. I'm making a fast version of curry chicken, rice and peas, and baking some sweet potatoes. I plan on having this for tomorrow's lunch at work too.

I'll blog again later when I have the chance about how this turns out and post pictures and recipes. I guess I better get a light snack while I wait and work....

Round 2 is Almost Complete


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I've been working a little on round 2 of the edging on Sydnee's blanket. I'm very pleased with the order of the color selection. I hope to get done with my work for my job so that I can at least complete round 2 tonight and possibly start a little on round 3. If I don't set some guidelines, I won't be able to focus on my work fully so that's why I tell myself, "Libby, if you finish something completely for your job, then you can turn on the t.v. and crochet." That's my motivation!

Here's a sneek peek of the edging again...

Round 3 will provide the connection to all of these pink "finger-like" pieces.

Now It's Time For the Edging


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Last night, or shall I admit to the wee hours of this morning, I finished the inside portion of Syndee's blanket while watching the movie, "Honey". Because I just had to see what the edging would look like with the change of colors of yarn, I began round one of the edging process - 500 scs!

Because I'm using three colors, I decided to place the cream color between the pistachio green and the light rose. I think that that will be an interesting contrast. The pink and green are so dominant.

Now I'm transitioning to the pink yarn now to work on the intricate edging process. I'm going now to reread the directions very carefully because there seems to be a lot of steps. Wish me luck!

Chinese Green Tea


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In an earlier blog I mentioned that I visited one of my long-time friends who doesn't get to come home but once a year, which is understandable because she and her husband have four girls all under the age of 5 and they leave all the way on the west coast. So because we can only see each other/communicate once a year it makes each visit so memorable.

This time her entire family was home at one time and all of the kids were awake...eventually. I would have been delighted to have gotten a family photograph, but it was really busy. Maybe next year, huh?

Every time I visit with my classmate, her mom is serving green tea. Well they all drink it everyday, but it still feels nice when I'm asked if I'd like a cup. It makes me feel special. Mrs. L's green tea is the best I've ever tasted. I purchase green tea, but usually I steep it with another tea because I don't like the taste of store-bought green tea by itself.

I kept complimenting Mrs. L on her tea and then she admitted what I should have expected. Her green tea comes from China. My green tea is straight from wherever Bigelow, Celestial Seasonings, or Lipton can purchase it. Since her tea consists of potent tea leaves, she steeps a little of that with the kind we purchase in our stores. I was honored by her gift of four packages of Tieh Kwan Yin green tea. I don't know when the next time I'll be in a Chinese Food Store, especially since I can't read the characters! :-D

Now I have some authentic tea to add to my tea stash. Maybe It'll zap all of those free radicals floating around in there! If you're interested in reading more about the benefits of green tea, click here.

Image source: http://fruits.en.china.cn/selling-leads/detail,1069002690,TiehKuanYin-Tea.html

I've Got Some Starter, So Let's Get Started!


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I was working diligently on the job today in my isolated workspace when one of my coworkers came knocking. She was trying desperately to share some of her Amish Cinnamon Bread Starter that she had been feeding over the holidays. She was looking for one last person who didn't mind baking. And she found her - ME! I was so excited that I literally jumped from my desk and gave her a hug - which really isn't unusual for me. I'm a hugger! (I better work on that though because I do it without thinking, but I digress.)

So I'm pumped about getting this starter because I've wanted it for years but didn't know how to *create* it so to speak and didn't know of anyone who already had it going. Fortunately I won't have to wait very long to see the fruits of my labor because when I received the starter it was on day 6 - which reminds me, I've got to feed it before I go to bed tonight. After I feed it, I've got 3 days of just mushing the bag and then on the fourth day I can split my starter to have three to share with my friends and one to make the bread from. I've already started scoping out who I can give my starter to.

I know this will be some good bread, but you know I'll keep you posted - with pictures and all! Now I've got to find something quick to cook and go feed that bag!

Have a Great Weekend!

Still Working on Sydnee's Blanket


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Yes, I'm still working on Sydnee's blanket, but I'm getting there. There were some wrong turns here and there - a lost stitch or two that had to be recreated in my own special way because I was too stubborn to take out any more rows. But she's just a baby. She won't be able to tell, right?

You know, when I first made some errors in pattern interpretation, I declared that I would never make this pattern again, but as I persevere and continue working on it, it really isn't that bad. The only downfall is that I keep having to read the pattern on every single row because all 8 rows are different. I'm used to patterns that repeat the same stitches on every row and then have a different style border. But challenges are good. That's how you learn.

So here is what I've done so far. My tension is usually a little tighter than some patterns suggest, so I stepped the hook up one size, which is perfect for me because my absolute favorite hook is the "H" hook, or for those of you outside of the U.S., it's the 5.00mm hook. (I know this is an aside, but I love Susan Bates aluminum hooks!) I have to complete a total of 24" for the inside part of the blanket before I can start this intricate edging process. I have 4 more inches to go. I plan to get that done tonight.

The edging will be completed is these cream and light pink colors - my cousin's sorority colors (of course)
Here you can see the stitches a little more closely.

When I finish this project, I will not have any outstanding projects to complete. I'm hoping to make something for another friend who is due in a couple of weeks, but I don't know yet what I want to make - something personal, yet quick to make. We'll see. Maybe I'll just wait until she has the baby and reveals his name. They won't tell anyone. In the meantime, I'll focus on one thing at a time - oh, that's so hard for me to do though. :-D