Friday, December 31, 2010

Little Update...

I wanted to give a little update on the Eugene Throw I've been working on...

With Christmas, and doing things with the family, I haven't had a whole lot of time to crochet...but, I'm grabbing a row here and there when I can...

It's been a lot of fun to watch the cables emerge from the watch them join, intertwine and become individual lines's a kind of dance......a rhythm of movement.....poetry of sorts...

Crochet is my please bear with me.....


All romantic notions aside, it is very stubborn to photograph.  

Or, it could be my color of yarn....

Maybe once the weather turns, and it's not so wet outside, I'll be able to get some better photos in a daylight setting.  

Until then, Joy in a little progress and enjoying a beautiful project.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wrecking Day...

Today is the day...

We usually wait until January 1st to do it.....

But, we are ready to get the house in order....

The tree, and all it's trimmings, are coming down...

Dear husband will be bringing up the boxes from the basement shortly and we'll bid farewell to the Christmas decorations for another year...

I'm looking forward to getting the furniture put back in place in the family room and tucking away all the Christmas things until it's time to bring them back out in 2011.

Joy in a plan.  :-)


Monday, December 27, 2010

Relaxing Day...

Today, was the first day, since my hubby has been off work, that we didn't have anything planned or anywhere we had to be...

It was a relaxing day of pajamas,  heated Christmas leftovers, warm fire in the fireplace, a little "Zingo" with my son, and some quiet crochet time...

We still have snow on the ground and I'm enjoying the beauty of the white ground cover...

More crochet in store for later, maybe a "redbox" movie for this evening with hubby....once the little one goes to bed.....

Joy in a quiet and peaceful day.....


Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

6For unto us a child is born, 
unto us a son is given: 
and the government shall be upon his shoulder: 
and his name shall be called 
Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, 
The Prince of Peace.

 Isaiah 9:6 (KJV)


Wishing you and your families the merriest of Christmases
and many blessings for a healthy and happy new year.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Fine Arts

Although school isn't in session, there is always an opportunity to learn...

Dear husband is off work now until the first of the year.  With that in mind, we thought we'd take advantage of our free day, and have some quality family time at the Cincinnati Art Museum...

The museum is just a short 30 minute drive from our home and a nice activity to do on a cold winter day...

It was fun to introducing my son to some of my favorite artists.....Monet.....Renoir.....Cassatt.......and, 

Breton (Last Flowers - 1890).

Another one of my favorites, is the Rookwood Pottery exhibit...

And what child isn't fascinated with...

all things mummies (or a sarcophagus in this instance)...

All in all, a bright, cheerful day spent with my little family.......

Homemade pizza, a glowing fire and relaxation are in store for this evening...

Pure joy...


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Eugene Throw

I started working on the Eugene Throw the other day.  It's a free pattern and can be found HERE.  It's really pretty and I love the way the cables cross over on the blanket.  

I have had to "frog" it a couple of times trying to find the right hook size for the yarn I'm using.  I ended up using an "N" hook.(?)  I don't think I've ever used an "N" hook except to do double-stranded work.  I'm much happier with the way it is looking now though, so I'm going to proceed.  

I haven't done a lot of cable work, so this should be a fun experience (I love a challenge).  I did make this below, a couple of years ago as a wedding gift.  It has some cabling in it, but the cables are all in straight lines. 

I'm looking forward to getting comfortable in my "crochet chair", putting my feet up on my foot rest and losing myself in this lovely project.  

I only hope mine looks half as good as the one pictured on Caron's website!  If so, it's going on the foot of dear husband and my bed.

Joy in a new challenge!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter Break, Errands and Preparations

Our little home school is officially on "winter break".  I think dear son and I both need the time away from school work.  We'll rest our minds until the 1st of January and dive back in head first.  :-)

Yesterday, the little guy and I wrapped hubby's gifts and made chocolate chip bar cookies.  You just follow the recipe for the cookies, but you put the dough in a jelly roll pan vs. making individual cookies.  They turned out good and have been placed on my Christmas goodie sideboard I'm preparing for the holidays.  

Today we have some errands to run and I want to get one last gift for the hubby.  Then we are either going to make pecan tassies or raspberry thumbprint cookies with almond glaze.  I love almond flavoring.....

We got about an inch of snow last night.  But, not sure how long it will hang around as I think it is supposed to warm up to the mid 30's today.  I'd like to have a white Christmas, so I'm hoping it all doesn't disappear.

I'm feeling more organized this week and am looking forward to my little families' Christmas celebration.  

I'm so thankful for the reason that we celebrate this joyous holiday...........the birth of Jesus.

  10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

Luke 2:10-11 (KJV)


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Peanut Butter Fudge and A Little Crochet

I decided this afternoon was a good time to pull out the peanut butter fudge recipe.  I like to let it cool for 24 hours, so we will have to wait until tomorrow to get into it.  

Hard to believe, but I've been making this recipe for 10 years!  My print out says 2001.  It's a really good recipe, that is easy to follow, and the fudge always turns out great!  

It's called Creamy Peanut Butter Fudge and you can find the recipe HERE

On the crochet front, I finished up another scarf today.  

I wanted to see what the Soft as Lamb scarf looked like in a variegated yarn.  This is I Love This Yarn in High Sierra Ombre...just something I had in my stash...

Our ornamental bunny looked so cold out in the snow, I had to bundle him up!  :-)

The lighting today was really poor.....even outside, our skies were gray and cloudy.  So, with that being said, I didn't get very many pictures.

Joy in a relaxing Sunday afternoon doing some things that I enjoy.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Easy No-Bake Christmas Treats

This is one of my son's favorite Christmas treats.  We make them every year.  Around Thanksgiving time, he starts to ask about them... 

They are.....super-easy.....Almond Bark Pretzels.

What you'll need:
  1. Almond Bark Vanilla Flavored Coating
  2. Bag of small shaped pretzels (I think the traditional pretzel shape works best)
  3. Nonpareils Mix multi-colored dessert sprinkles (optional)
  4. Wax paper

  • Follow the melting instructions on your Almond Bark (I use the microwave instructions)
  • Dip the pretzels in to coat
  • Drain excess coating from pretzel with a fork or tong
  • Sprinkle with the nonpareils; if desired
  • Place on wax paper to dry
  • Put in a pretty bowl once the pretzels have hardened
This easy treat is complete in approx. 20 - 30 minutes and you don't even need to turn on the stove.  

The best part is watching my son put on the sprinkles.  :-)

Joy in a quick treat with minimal clean-up.


Friday, December 17, 2010

Making my List...

...and checking it twice...

It won't be long now, Christmas is just a week (and a day) away.  

The holiday has really crept up on me.  I don't feel as prepared this year, as I have in years past.  I usually have my menus planned out and have started some baking... 

So this morning, I got out the old steno pad.....the secretary in me still likes to use steno pads...and started my list(s).  I'm feeling more organized already. 

I think some Christmas cookie making and baking is in order for this afternoon.  And, if time allows, we'll make our almond bark pretzels my son loves so much....

Joy in a little orderly, Christmas holiday, planning.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sweet Tarts as a Motivational Tool...

Who knew sweet tarts or "Smarties" could be such a powerful motivational tool...

As part of our phonics lesson, my son and I will review his words periodically through the week.  He'll often try to guess at the words instead of working on sounding them out and thinking the words through.....

Last week, I had an ingenious idea to give him one little Smartie for each word he sounded out and said properly......he got 69 words correct (no Smartie for guessing though).  We did the same excercise this week and he properly sounded out 94 words!  Who knew Smarties could be such a powerful motivational tool!  I think I'm going to have to try pennies next week.......not sure I have enough Smarties on hand!

Today we introduce some double "l" words with "e" and "i" and talk about compound words like sunset......

Joy in learning........for both of us!


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Snow Storm...

We are supposed to get 3 - 5 inches of snow in the next 12 or so hours.......

In my part of the country, everything shuts down with that type of accumulation.....

Schools will be closed, county snow emergencies declared, and all the milk, bread and eggs will disappear from the store shelves......

When dear husband came home from work with the weather forecast, I figured I better run out after dinner and pick up a few fridge shelves were looking a little bare anyway.....

My local Kroger was a madhouse!  They were packed with people stocking up on everything from  batteries to dark chocolate.  Every check out lane was open and the registers were ringing and singing "cha-ching!" 

Our local economy will definately benefit from the predicted snow storm.....

Joy in a stocked fridge and not having to leave the house tomorrow!


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Citrus Twist Dishcloth

I wanted to include a couple of dishcloths with a family member's Christmas gift, so I found some pretty cotton yarn in my stash and started working away.  I wanted to use sunny and bright colors that would be cheerful on the grayest winter day.  

What I came up with is the Citrus Twist Dishcloth...

A fun little dishcloth with a lot of "a-peel".  :-)

Citrus Twist Dishcloth
by Heather P.

100% cotton worsted weight yarn
G crochet hook

Stitches used:
ch - chain
sc - single crochet
hdc - half double crochet
dc - double crochet
sl st - slip stitch

Ch 32

Row 1:  sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each ch across, ch 2, turn.  (31 sts now and throughout.)

Row 2:  dc in 1st st, sc in next st, *dc 2 times in next st, sk 1 st, sc in next st, repeat from * across to last two sts, sc in next st, dc in last st, ch 2, turn.

Row 3:  dc in 1st st, hdc in the next st and in each st across, end row with a dc in the last st, ch 2, turn.

Row 4 and 5:  Repeat row 3 (for a total of two additional rows).

Alternate Rows 2 and 3 until your cloth measures approx 6 1/2 inches (end with a Row 2).

Repeat Rows 3 - 5 (for a total of three additional rows).

Repeat Row 2, ch 1, turn. 

sc across, ch 1 (do not turn work).


Round 1:  sc evenly around cloth with (3 sc) in each corner, sl st in 1st sc, fasten off.

Round 2:  Attach a complimentary color in any corner, sc evenly around cloth with (3 sc) in each corner, sl st in 1st sc, fasten off.

Weave in ends.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Branching Leaves Scarf - Fini!

I finished up the Branching Leaves Scarf over the weekend...

It is such a pretty pattern.  You can find the details on the scarf in my original post from last week. I ended up using an "f" hook with the worsted weight wool.  I've washed and blocked it, so I didn't want to take it outside for photos....we've had about 3 - 4 inches of snow in the last couple of days.  

I'm currently working on a new dishcloth pattern that I hope to have typed up and ready to post for tomorrow...

Joy in a crochet day!


Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Busy Saturday and a Couple of New Books...

Today was a busy Saturday......

My son had his first soccer lesson with Lil' Kickers.......

He did well and had fun running around and chasing after the ball.....

Then I worked on our family Christmas cards while the "boys" went to get haircuts...Karen Carpenter's "Merry Christmas Darling" kept running through my head as I was writing the notes and addresses....  In the opening lines of the song she says "Christmas cards have all been sent..."  not quite true, but I'm working on it...

Then we went to one of the "antique malls" in our area.  Really they have more "retro" or "vintage" things as dear husband and I recognized a lot of the items for sale from our youth.  We aren't antique...yet.  :-)

I did pick up The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Book of Needlecrafts (1994) for $5, and we found a Christmas Carol book that we thought looked fun and purchased for $4.  Dear son had to get in on the buying action and pick out an old version of Rapunzel for $2.....

The Good Housekeeping book looks really interesting....

And, I'll be sharing more on that note later!  :-)

We rounded out our busy day with a pepperoni, mushroom and black olive pizza from LaRosa's...a little family owned pizzeria/Italian chain restaurant...

Joy in a busy, but fun day and breathing new life into old books.......


Friday, December 10, 2010

Easy Dinner Nite...

I wanted to make something easy for dinner last night so I took some chicken out of the freezer and thought, "I'll figure something out......"

Then a light bulb went on... 

 Why not fix Mexican Chicken and Rice... 

This recipe is from a friend, so I'm not sure where it originated.  If I had to guess, I'd say it was from a magazine..maybe a recipe advertisement for Minute Rice......  

This is simple, easy, and can be thrown together (and ready to eat) in just a short amount of time.  I usually add a dollop of light sour cream on top....

Mexican Chicken and Rice

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Pound boneless skinless chicken breasts (cubed)
1 small onion (diced)*
1 small green pepper (diced)*
2 Cups frozen sweet corn
1 Cup chicken broth
1 Cup salsa (mild, medium or hot depending on taste)
1 1/2 Cups Minute Original Instant Rice
1/2 Cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Heat oil in large skillet on medium-high heat.  Add chicken, onion and pepper; cook and stir until chicken is cooked through.  Add corn, broth and salsa; bring to a boil.
  • Sir in rice, cover, remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.  Fluff with fork.  Sprinkle with cheese and cover again.  Let stand 2 minutes or until cheese melts.
Makes 4 servings.

*On nights when I'm feeling really pressed for time I have opted to leave out the onion and green pepper as both are in the salsa...



Thursday, December 9, 2010

On My Hook...

Unfortunately, the Branching Leaves Scarf pattern is no longer available and I did not keep a copy of what I printed in which to crochet the scarf.  

If you are looking for a free scarf pattern, you might like to try Crochet Pattern Central or one of the yarn brand web sites.  

Best wishes!

I've been crocheting a lot of scarves lately.  It's a nice change from large afghan work...

I started working on this last night.  It's one I've had saved in my "favorites" for a long time.  It's called Branching Leaves Scarf .  The pattern is done as a chart.  The stitch symbols are easy to pick up and can be learned quickly. 

My scarf doesn't look like much yet and I may decide to go down a hook size.  This is a "G" and I'm thinking it may look better if I use an "F"....we'll see.  I'll play around with it some more.  I'm also using Paton's Classic Wool in Woodrose Heather.  This yarn is really nice; very soft.  I received this yarn as a gift from a nice lady in one of my crochet groups.  I've had it stored away for just the right project, and I think I found it!

Joy in newness and discovering new ways of doing the things I love!


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Soft as Lamb Scarf

I made the pictured Soft as Lamb scarf for my sister. 

It's a light fluffy scarf that has a nice drape due to using a larger hook size than called for with worsted weight yarn.  I'm happy with the end result, but it was a bit quirky to make trying to get both sides symmetrical. 

I used  Lion Brand Wool-Ease in Wheat that I had stored in my stash.  I thought the natural color would go with a lot of things and in that sense, she would get a lot of use out of it.  It's not a Christmas present, just a "sisterly" gift and I'll give it to her next time I see her.

So with all that being said, here are the instructions for my scarf:

Soft as Lamb Scarf
by Heather P.

6.5 oz (approx.) Worsted Weight Yarn (I used Lion Brand's Wool-Ease in Wheat)
K hook

Stitches used:
ch - chain
sc - single crochet
sl st - slip stitch

Small Shell = (2 sc, ch 2, 2 sc)
Large Shell = (3 sc, ch 2, 3 sc)

Scarf is worked lengthwise

Ch 170 (multiples of 3 + 2 for beginning ch)

  1. Small shell in 2nd ch from hook, *sk 2 ch, small shell in next ch, repeat from * across to end (total of 57 small shells).  Working in same st as last small shell, you will begin row 2.
  2. Small shell in same loop as the small shell you just completed in row 1 (this will make a little circle and you'll now be on the other side of your original chain), *small shell in the next single loop created by the shell on the opposite side of your work, repeat from * across (total of 57 small shells), sl st in next sc, ch 1, do not turn work.
  3. Small shell in ch-2 sp, and in each ch-2 sp across (total of 57 small shells), sl st in next 2 sc, ch 1, do not turn work (first side of edging is complete).
  4. Small shell in ch-2 sp, and in each ch-2 sp across (total of 57 small shells), ch 1, turn.
  5. Repeat row 4 until scarf measures 5 inches, ch 1, turn.
  6. Large shell in ch-2 sp, and in each ch-2 sp across (total of 57 large shells), ch 1, turn (this is the first row of edging for the other side of your work).
  7. Repeat row 4 (as written with the small shells).
  8. Repeat row 4 (as written with the small shells); fasten off.
 Weave in ends.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tortilla Soup...

With temperatures in the 20's yesterday, it was a good day for Tortilla Soup.  This is a recipe I've made often since I discovered it.  It is a bit on the spicy side, so you may need to adjust your ground red pepper, but I just love it and if you have a cold, it will clear your sinuses in no time!  :-)

I substituted the turkey I had in the freezer for the chicken and used the farm fresh corn my sister-in-law had blanched and frozen over the summer and brought to us at thanksgiving.  I chose to add Great Northern beans to the mix as I think beans add a heartiness to soups and are filling.  

There are a lot of good crock pot recipes on her blog.  Some we've liked and others not so much, but there are plenty to "wade" through and find a favorite.

On the crochet front, I'm currently working on a woman's scarf.  I'm still trying to figure out how to "balance" both sides so that it is symmetrical.  If I figure it out, I'll post some pictures.  If I don't, you'll know it went the way of the "frog" (ribbit).

Joy in the scent of soup wafting through the house!


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Snowy Weekend...

We've had a bit of snow this weekend; the first real snow of the season.  Not a lot compared to many parts of the country, but enough to cover the ground with a magical blanket of white...

Dear husband and I purchased a sled for our son for Christmas....but when you live in southern Ohio, you have to take advantage of a snowy opportunity when you get one!  So, I got it out of hiding, and we headed to one of our local parks for a little family fun.

As with anything, there are always rules to follow....

The little one wanted to try it by himself.  I held my breath until he made it safely to the bottom.  He turned around and had a huge smile on his face.  A tugging on the old heart strings moment for sure...

And, of course "boys will be boys" as they headed up the big hill to try it out....

...but, they only did that hill's a long walk to the top...

After a little while, I drifted off to check out the pond and the ducks that were frolicking in the water as if it were the middle of summer...

After our outing, we headed to our local Starbucks for a frothy hot cocoa then headed home....

A great day at the park!

Joy in snow!


Friday, December 3, 2010

Burly Tweed Man's Scarf

I wanted a little distraction from the blanket I've been working on for my son........

And, with the colder weather we've been having, I decided to make a scarf for my husband......

He takes the bus to work and says the bus ride can be quite cold.  So, I dug out some masculine looking yarn from my stash and put together this scarf for him.

 I used Vanna's Choice yarn in Barley and a J hook.  This is a simple stitch pattern and with that in mind, I wanted to add a little visual interest to the texture of the stitch, so I broke it up with some straight lines in three different spots; the beginning, the middle, and the end.

It was fun to make and worked up quickly.  I've attached my instructions below for anyone who might be interested.

Burly Tweed Man’s Scarf
By Heather P.

This scarf is sized for a taller man (approx. 6 ft or taller) and is 7.5” x 77”

10 oz Aran weight yarn (I used Vanna’s Choice in the color Barley)
J crochet hook

Stitches Used:
Ch – chain                                             Dc – double crochet
Sc – single crochet                              Ss – slip stitch

Ch 22

1.       Sc in second ch from hook and across; ch 1, turn (21 sts)
2.       Sc in first 2 sts, alternate dc, sc across, ending with sc in last st; ch 1, turn
3.       Sc across; ch 1, turn
4.       Sc across; ch 1, turn
5.       Sc across; ch 1, turn
6.       Sc in first 2 sts, alternate dc, sc across, ending with sc in last st; ch 1, turn
7.       Sc in first 3 sts, alternate dc, sc across, ending with sc in last 2 sts; ch 1, turn

Repeat rows 6, 7, and 6 (always ending your pattern sequence with a row 6)
Repeat row 3-5 (for a total of 3 add’l rows)

Repeat row 6 & 7 alternately for a total of 5 additional rows (always ending with a row 6)
Repeat row 3-5 (for a total of 3 add’l rows)

Repeat rows 2 & 3-5 ( for a total of 4 add’l rows)

Repeat rows 6 & 7 alternately until scarf measures 31.5” (ending on a row 6)

Textured Band Series*
a.       Repeat row 3-5 (for a total of 3 add’l rows)
b.       Repeat rows 2 & 3-5 ( for a total of 4 add’l rows)
c.        Repeat row 6 & 7 alternately for a total of 5 additional rows (always ending with a row 6)
d.       Repeat row 3-5 (for a total of 3 add’l rows)
e.        Repeat row 6 & 7 alternately for a total of 5 additional rows (always ending with a row 6)
f.         Repeat row 3-5 (for a total of 3 add’l rows)
g.       Repeat rows 2 & 3-5 ( for a total of 4 add’l rows)

Repeat rows 6 & 7 alternately until scarf measures 62.5” (ending on a row 6)

Repeat textured band series “a” through “f”
Repeat row 2

  Sc across; ch 1, turn
  Ss across; fasten off
  Go back to start of scarf and ss on row 1; fasten off

Weave in ends

*Note:  As an alternative, you could do the sc rows, in the textured band series, in a different color to add interest.  My husband tends to be conservative in dress, so I kept with a solid color.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things...

As I've been getting out my Christmas decorations, and placing them about the house, I've been doing a little thoughtful reminiscing...

I received this little sleigh, in high school, at a drill team Christmas party.  It was a handmade favor that was given to each girl.  I still have it and cherish the memories of fun I had on the drill team...

My Department 56 Caramel Cottage...the only Dept. 56 I own...that I purchased for myself, on a whim, (on sale) many years ago...and all these years later, my little "splurge" still brings a smile to my face...

This little beauty was a gift from one of my former bosses, I believe his wife selected it for me.  Every year, I'd pick out items from Tiffany and Company for the executives for their "holiday gifts".  He must have known how much I liked them, but also probably knew this wasn't something I'd ever purchase for myself and in he and his wife's thoughtfulness, gave it to me as a gift.  Every year as I put my Christmas cheese ball on the little plate I think of them and their kindness...

My few pieces of Spode came as gifts from my Mom over the years.  And, each year, without fail, I layer my "famous" peanut butter fudge on the cookie tray with a canopy of cellophane draped over the top and as I put it out...I think of her...

This sweet little ornament came from a dear, dear friend who has seen me through many of life's joys and triumphs, as well as the valleys.  Every year as I put this ornament on the tree I think of her and what a special person she is to me...

And, my Byers Caroler......because it's from my husband.  He selected her and gave her to me one of our very first Christmases together...

So, call me sappy, call me sentimental if you like, that's OK by me...

It's not the object I treasure, it's the memory, or the thought behind them that makes each one of these little items special...

A Few of My Favorite Things
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things

When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad

Oscar Hammerstein II and Richard Rodgers


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A New Recipe...

And, the main ingredient?

Turkey!  :-)

I made Broccoli Turkey Casserole for the family yesterday.  It turned out really well.  I did make a couple substitutions.  I didn't have cream of chicken soup on hand, so I just used two cream of mushrooms and I cooked the rice in chicken broth to give the dish the desired chicken flavor.  I served it with muffins.  There was plenty left for hubby to take to work as well as for me to have for lunch also.

I have enough turkey for two more casseroles or a casserole and soup.  That portion of meat is now in the freezer for next week.....or, maybe the week after.

Joy in plenitude.