Stash-Busting Dilemma


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Stash-busting is great.  But, there comes a time when you are at a crossroads.  You have lots of beautiful yarns, but not enough of any of them to make what you want at that moment.  So, you look at them and rethink.  Do I go for the granny?  Try another ripple?  Resort to making hats?  Or perhaps a multi-colored scarf?  Or do you find a loop hole in the "yarn diet" and return some single skeins in exchange for more of the color you need?  Aha!!!  :-)

p.s.  In the meantime, I'm going to start another ripple.  :-)

Just in Case


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So the meteorologists are predicting snow this weekend...again.  The last time they predicted snow, it was actually quite warm.  Maybe this time they'll be right.  If they are, it will be our first snow for the season.  While others are thinking of playing in the snow, my mind ran quickly to the idea of quietly crafting and eventually some photography practice since it's so rare for snow here.  There's a different feel even indoors when it's snowing outside.  Especially when you live in what some would refer to as "the country."  lol

So, just in case it snows, what am I planning?  Humm...you'll have to wait and see.  But in the mean time I will let you know that I'm in my fourth foot on the ripple scarf.  I usually aim for 5'.  :-)
* The picture is from last year's view of the snow from my back door.

Not Going to Be Defeated


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So every time I tried this current scarf, I was defeated.  By a ripple.  A zig zag.  Who knew?  The funniest thing is that long ago I made an afghan with this stitch, but this time, every time I tried, I failed.  Changed patterns and still no such luck.  Part of the problem was that I was converting afghan patterns to a scarf.  Part was that I clearly couldn't understand how to make the second row work.  Eventually, I had to resort to You Tube videos, change the stitch and give it another go.  Although I'm fairly certain that I will try any of those patterns again, I'm satisfied at the moment with this one, which really isn't a pattern.  The color change is based on an afghan though.  So, here's my WIP for the latest scarf.  I'm loving the colors!


 

Quick Update


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Just popping in to let you all know that I miss you!  Remember those days when posts were more frequent.  hehe
  • Anyways, just letting you know that tomorrow I plan to deliver the latest scarf.  The vibrant one. :-)
  •  I organized all my unopened skeins of yarn on Ravelry.  That "stash" is such a cool feature, and I believe it will work in my favor.
  • I have desperately wanted to use Noro yarn for a while.  It's looks so pretty online.  I finally bought a skein this summer and it's still unused.  I tried working with it today, and then I discovered that this yarn isn't cooperating with me or with that pattern.  The texture is harder than I thought and the stitches kept twisting.  Maybe it's one of those fibers that softens after blocking or maybe it's one of those that is better knitted?  So, I put it away for later.
  • No I haven't finished that zigzag scarf.  I frogged it and am trying another version.  We shall see...
  • Bummed about not starting a project "just because," I rifled through my fabric and made a scarf/shawl.  So I got to use my sewing machine today and finished an idea I've been holding onto for a while.  It's shades of browns and orange.  It's plaid.  And it has frazzled edges on purpose.  When I find a proper way to display it, I'll post pictures.  I'd like to make more of these.
  • I'm getting better at reading charts!  Now I find myself jotting chart notations on scrap paper, napkins, receipts...
  • Crocheting is my current passion and my escape.  Is that wrong?

A Catherine Wheel for Caroline


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You remember Caroline?  The one who wanted the polka dotted scarf?  Well, it seems that  her niece stole her scarf over the holidays and so now I'm making her a new scarf to replace that one.  I chose to use Caron Brites for this scarf.  After adding a black edging, I chose to make a fringe that would mimic the pattern in the scarf.  It's so bright, I can't stand it.  :-)



 
 
(still using the yarn stash.  I know, right!) hehe

Now I'm working on a zigzag scarf for Michele....

Pretty in Pink


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It feels like so long since I've been able to blog, but I haven't been entirely absent from the craft world.  This time of year is very hectic for me, but nonetheless I am always happy to find even just a smidgen of time for crafting.

During the Christmas holidays, an 8 year old girl at church asked me to make her a pink scarf.  (Yes, I bring my crochet bag to church.  No I don't crochet during services, but sometimes when we go to church out of town, the people I ride with may have meetings so while I wait, I craft.  And while I'm riding, I craft.)  Anyhoo, it was too close to Christmas for me to honor her request and I didn't want to start something between other little ones who wouldn't be receiving anything, so I decided to make this gift set for her birthday instead.  That will also buy me a little time to make something for the ones with spring birthdays.  So, the January birthday girl will get all the pink she wants in this hat and scarf set.  I think she'll like it.  I remember loving pink just as much when I was her age.  :-)  Before you ask, yes, I used my yarn stash.  Be proud.

 
 
 

I also finished a very cool scarf last night, but it's being blocked and hasn't dried yet.  As soon as it does, I will be sure to post pics!

A Granny for Baby J


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It seems like everyone has been pretty busy and away from their blogs for a while, including me.  I haven't had too much time to devote to crocheting even though I've gotten a stitch in here or there.  I finally finished the granny square baby blanket for my cousin, although not in time for the baby shower which was last Saturday.  Instead, I crocheted a small square and placed it inside of the card so that they would have an idea of what they would be receiving soon.

So, here's Baby J's new blanket.  I chose to block it after I had assembled the four big squares together and then I crocheted the edging.  After leaving the shower I found out that my other cousin's wife was having a baby due in June.  And yes there's the other other cousin's baby due in April!  (I have a bunch of cousins y'all.  First cousins.)  We have a long weekend coming up due to the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr's birthday.  I hope to be able to catch up on more than a few needed things and begin working on two scarf orders.

 
 
 

Mom's Fried Cornbread


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My mom loves bread.  She believes in bread at every meal.  I'm not totally clear on her system, but she makes a certain type of bread that she believes should go with a meal depending on the meat and/or the type of vegetable.  One of the types of cornbread that she makes is fried cornbread.  This type would be cooked with a fried meat like fish or chicken, with a thick cut of meat like a chuck roast, or with a dark leafy vegetable.  Can you believe it, but although I have her "recipe", I don't know how to make it.  In truth, I haven't even tried, because unlike my mom, I don't believe in bread at every meal.  What I do believe in; however, is capturing my mom cooking these items that are so dear to her. 

I took a few risks with these shots - trying to avoid popping grease and also ignoring my mom telling me to get out of the way.  She listens to the sound of the grease and knows when it's ready for the batter and when the bread is ready to be turned over.  Apparently I was throwing off her time a little.  Secretly, although she fusses a little when I'm in her kitchen with the camera, I know she likes it.  I see her smile behind the fuss.

Enjoy!



Southwestern Black Bean Soup


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One of the dishes that I prepared for the Game Day that I hosted over the holidays was a Southwestern Black Bean Soup.  I'm not sure where I got the original recipe because it's been awhile since I've made it according to those directions.  I will post both the original one and the modifications below.  The picture of this dish is not the soup I made for the Game Day, but the version of that dish that I chose to make tonight.  Tonight's soup is served with jasmine rice and topped with a little of shredded cheese and a dollop of sour cream.

Southwestern Black Bean Soup (Original)

Ingredients:
1 c onion; chopped (1 large)
4 ea Clove garlic; finely chopped
2 T Vegetable oil
1 lb Black beans; dried
2 c ham; smoked, cooked, cubed
6 c Chicken broth
2 T red chiles; ground
2 T cilantro; fresh, snipped
1 T oregano leaves; dried
2 t cumin; ground
28 oz whole tomatoes, undrained
1 ea chipotle chile (in adobo sauce)

Directions:
Cook and stir onion and garlic in oil in 4-qt pot until onion is tender.  Stir in remaining ingredients; heat to boiling.  Boil 2 minutes; reduce heat.  Cover and simmer until beans are tender.

Serve with sour cream.

* My modifications:  Generally I use canned black beans, rinsed.  I don't add the ham and instead of using chicken broth, now I use Herbox No-Sodium chicken broth (in the packets), then I add salt to taste.  The heat factor in this dish is solely determined by the type of chiles that you use and if you choose to remove any seeds from the chipotle pepper.  Tonight I used one can of black beans and one can of light red kidney beans and I took most of the seeds out of the chipotle pepper.


Breakfast Casserole


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By now you know that I do a fair amount of cooking and don't mind trying new recipes.  For me, experimenting with recipes is fun, but when I have to cook for someone else, I tend to make things I know will work out well.  Over the holidays was one of those times.  So, what was part of New Year's breakfast?  None other than a breakfast casserole.  I love those all-in-one dishes, although grits accompanied this dish.

If you're interested in the original recipe, click here.  However, if you want to know my version of this recipe, keep on reading.

Breakfast Casserole, Revised.

Ingredients:
1 (16 oz.) package of ground turkey sausage
4 large eggs
1 (10.75) can of cream of mushroom soup
1 (12 oz.) can of evaporated milk
1 (16 oz.) bag of tater tots
shredded cheese (your choice - I used a mixture of sharp cheddar and Monteray Jack)
red and green bell peppers, julienned
one onion, sliced
black pepper
hot sauce

Directions:
  1. Cook and drain ground turkey sausage.
  2. Sauté onions and bell peppers.
  3. In a separate bowl,  mix the eggs, cream of mushroom, evaporated milk, black pepper, and a dash of hot sauce.  Set aside.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  5. Grease 9"x13" pan.
  6. Line pan with frozen tater tots.
  7. Layer cooked ground sausage.
  8. On the next layer add sauteed onions and bell peppers.
  9. On the following layer, add the shredded cheese.
  10. On the last layer, pour the egg mixture over the top.
  11. Bake uncovered for approximately 45 minutes.

 Bon Appetit!

I Was Good


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I was good and only purchased one white and blue skein of yarn.  I only had a few moments of craft time today, so I finished the white edges on all the small squares and began the stitching process.  I decided to sc them together instead of sewing them.



It's Been a While


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It's been so long since I made a traditional granny square that I will admit to you all that I had to go find a pattern!  Once upon a time, that's all I knew, so it was weird last night when I was fumbling, frogging, and forgetting what used to be the norm.  Don't stone me, but grannies aren't exactly my favorite to make, although I see lots of granny patterns that I love.  (I think I probably made them for too long.)  At any rate, when I received a baby shower invitation over the holidays for a shower this coming weekend, I couldn't think of anything I would like to make other than a granny.  Is that weird or what?  All the small squares have been started.  I just need to add one more row and an edging.  Then I'll make the large squares.

Now about that yarn diet.  I've been faithful.  Faithfully deleting emails from Michaels, AC Moore, and the like.  The last time I even visited the inside of any craft store was Dec. 12, but now that I'm making this granny from my stash I realized that my other worsted weight "whites" aren't really white, and I feel certain this navy blue is going to run out right after I make the last square and I need it for the border.  All of both that I have is what you see in the background.  I believe the exceptions I made would be covered for a case such as this.  One skein of each color, I promise.  Is that okay?



Ooh, Pretty Fabrics!


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In the mid-month of December a co-worker of mine visited Egypt for a couple of weeks.  What was my request?  Fabric.  She brought it to me today.  Her daughter-in-law started looking in advance and was able to use her Arabic-speaking skills to do some negotiating.  All I know is that I love what she selected for me.  The four fabrics to the left are cut pieces, but the one to the far right is actually a skirt and/or dress.  It has unfinished edgings and no back seam, but it has an elastic bodice.  I already know how I want to sew this piece.  Oh, to have a dressform would be so nice right about now.



New Year's Day 2010


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If you follow this blog, you already know how part of our New Year's Day was spent!  We first began by having an annual church service at 10:00 a.m.  We don't do Watch Night services at my church.  Here's an interesting piece of information on Watch Night:
...However, in doing some research, I discovered there are two essential reasons for the importance of New Year's Eve services in African American congregations.  Many of the Watch Night Services in Black communities that we celebrate today can be traced back to gatherings on December 31, 1862, also known as "Freedom's Eve."  On that night, Americans of African descent came together in churches, gathering places and private homes throughout the nation, anxiously awaiting news that the Emancipation Proclamation had become law.  Then, at the stroke of midnight, it was  January 1, 1863, and according to Lincoln's promise, all slaves in the Confederate States were legally free.  People remained in churches and other gathering places, eagerly awaiting word that Emancipation had been declared.  When the actual news of freedom was received later that day, there were prayers, shouts and  songs of joy as people fell to their knees and thanked God... (Reference)
So as I mentioned, we had a beautiful service at my church.  Afterwards, my immediate family traveled to visit with my dad's side of the family.  There we had our annual New Year's Dinner.  You know the tradition:  black eyed peas, collard greens, etc.  I even saw a pan of pig tails and a pot of chitterlings, better known as "chitlins".


There was a host of family there.  Cousins I hadn't seen in a while, friends of the family.  People were talking and eating and watching the game.  Some where watching the latest cousin's wedding pictures on a laptop.  Conversations were so diverse.  And more family just kept coming.  Once you got up out your seat, that was it!  I even caught one cousin knocked out on the floor between the couches and the back door!


Before the night was over, a few of us went to another aunt's house and one person came back with a whole new hair style.  That's family for you.  :-) 


Here are a few more pictures of our gathering in a slideshow.  Brace yourself.  :-)


My hope for all of us is that we have a blessed year!

Happy New Year!

New Year's image source.