Wednesday, April 16, 2014

And they're off!

In the mail that is....Easter treats for the grands.  Whew!  I was rushing around trying to bake, buy and wrap and write out cards and get it all in the mail so they would have it before Easter.  Ta Dah!  Although the postage was more than the value of what was in the packages.....but then how can you put a price on love?
I get such a kick out of doing it as it brings back the memories of when mine were little.  All wrapped and ready to ship out.
 Can't forget the Bunny Tails........
That little bunny has his eyes on those tails!
Now I'm going to spend the rest of the day cleaning up the mess I made.  Have a nice evening.
Happy Trails!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A bunch of bunnies........

   Here are the little bunnies waiting to be lovingly stitched together.
  Ah! We can see!  They called for bead eyes but I didn't have an appropriate size so I just used black yarn and made French knots. 
Then they got stuffed and sewn up with love!  They could still use a hanging thread in case they want to hang out on an Easter tree somewhere.  I love these little guys and will be making more for myself to hang among the eggs on my Easter tree when it gets put up. lol!
Their Mom will be accompanying them on their journey.......remember I made her a while back and decided to hold off until Easter to send her to my daughter.  This was something she had "pinned" on one of her boards.....won't she be surprised?
Then I ran up town to get cards (Dollar store.....$.50 each).  I usually make my own and personalize them but I am out of printer ink so I had to buy some.
I got each of the grands a pack of sidewalk chalk as it is the season.  My older grandson used to go down in my basement and draw me beautiful pictures on rainy days.  I think I must be the only person alive who doesn't have a "finished" basement as he thought that was "so cool". LOL!
I got ingredients to make bird nests (like rice krispie treats but with chow mein noodles and you shape into nests while still warm and put 3 jelly beans in the nest).  I used to make them for my children when they were little.    
I'm also going to make Bunny Tails which will be my Italian Wedding Cookie recipe that I use at Christmas time.  I figured they look like bunny tails and they are so good!  There's quite a few recipes for them on All Recipes   This all has to be mailed so I can't exactly bake a cake.  Speaking of cakes though,  every year when my children were little, I would make a bunny cake surrounded by green tinted coconut and jelly beans but I would always put the black jelly beans under the tail.  I'm so bad!  Every year the kids would look to see if the black jelly beans were there under the tail and they would laugh and laugh when they found them.
We had a "red moon" last night but it didn't really look red to me but the clouds were sort of pink.  Does that count?  Stop by tomorrow and I'll post pictures of the Bunny Tails and Bird Nests.  What are you doing for Easter?  Happy Passover to all my Jewish friends.  Passover started today.  Healing thoughts and prayers go out to Boston today on the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing.
Happy Trails!

Monday, April 14, 2014

YOP Sunday

 I have been trying to blog all day but the phone kept ringing.  Sunday is "calls from the kids" and I should know better by now and have my blog ready on Saturday night.
 I've been getting in the Easter spirit and today was Palm Sunday for us Christians and of course I have to put something in the mail this week for "the grand babies".  I'm been thinking of the wonderful Beatrix Potter who I adore even as an adult.
 I'm busy crocheting these......so busy in fact I forgot to take a picture of them so here is the picture from Pinterest and you can find the pattern at Whiskers and Wool and no, mine aren't nearly as cute as hers but I'm trying.........you can be the judge next week when I post them.  (BTW this satisfies my Holiday projects)
 The story of my socks is a saga similar to Goldilocks.......first there were size 1 needles but they were TOO SMALL, then I went to Wal-Mart and found size 2 and 3!  I know!  I was shocked as they have never carried dpns before (not that I'm crazy for aluminum but they'll do until I get my wooden ones).  So I brought them home and decided to jump right to size 3 as size 1 was so tiny but after casting on and doing a few rows it seemed that they were TOO BIG so then I tried size 2 and they were JUST RIGHT!  Or so I hope....time will tell.  I have finished the elastic part of the cuff and now it's just straight knitting for 6 inches.....ahhhhhhhhhh.
The afghan/blanket is coming along but this  row has been re-crocheted about 3 or 4 times....it's the back post cluster and the stitch is fine but it depends on where you start your stitch and if they're too close you start getting too many stitches and it starts curving outward and if you don't have enough you get gaps and holes.  I can't count them as I CAN'T SEE THEM!  It is the craziest but hopefully I will stay sane and persist and the results will be good enough to give next Christmas.
There are many beautiful handcrafted pottery bowls for yarn but they can be pricey.  I found this little ceramic basket several years back at the thrift store and I've used it for Easter decorating but I gave it a whirl to hold my yarn and it works perfectly.  The yarn never "hops out" and the basket is heavy enough not to tip over when I pull for more yarn.   You might want to check your own ceramics or your local thrift for one of these "yarn bowls".

We had severe storm warnings with possible hail and damaging winds for tonight so this morning I went out and gathered some blooms before Mother Nature whisked them away. 
These are red bud blooms. 
The last of the pear blossoms..........
and these are some annuals I bought and was going to plant until they predicted temps dropping into the low 30's after the storm.

Happy Trails!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Pic Monkey...better late than never?

 Yes, I'm late to the dance, I know and I wasted spent a good amount of time playing with all the different features of Pic Monkey, a favorite blogger photo editing software.  Of course, the features I really liked were all the ones requiring money.
 These plants were 1/2 price at Wal-Mart yesterday.

 "One of these things is not like the other one".....too much Sesame Street when my children were little....don't judge me.
 Ah, yes...I wasn't going to mention this but here is the evidence of the third coat on the ceiling.  I think its the paint.  The first time I used it I had no problem but it has sat for a couple years and I think it chemically changed it's composition.  It was Dutch Boy's ceiling white with a novel pink dye that showed up so you could see where you painted and where you hadn't.  The "pink" disappeared after it dried but I won't be using it again.
 I picked up this pack of material at Wal-Mart to make some Easter candy bags for the grands. I do love me some polka dots!
 My friend Sue, the book fairy stopped by today but now she is not only the book fairy but the yarn fairy too!
 Look at this gorgeous yarn she gave me!!!!  I just keep gazing at it.  It is called "Coming Up Flowers" and tells you to "watch as little boucle flowers magically appear".  I should have taken a picture of Sue's scarf she is knitting from it.  She used a skein with reds and it is so pretty.  The yarn label states to "cast on 14 stitches with  size 11 needles and knit until you are happy or run out of yarn"!  LOL!  I'm happy just looking at it!  Thank you, Sue. 
Tonight is Friday Night With Friends where I attempt to sew on some projects.  Wish me luck as I am fading fast tonight and haven't even had supper yet.  But what a beautiful day it was here in the Ozarks!  It's still 80 degrees and no humidity....ahhhhhh.....Spring!  Open season on windows!
Happy Trails!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

10 steps forward and 5 back......

 Things haven't exactly been "humming along" this week but compared to what else is going on around the world I'm not complaining.  Prayers to all who are suffering from all kinds of atrocities this week and this month!  I can't even keep up with it all.
I was so enjoying my sock knitting but they look like they may be too small?  I'm not sure but when I measure it looks like I have about 11-13 stitches while Susan Anderson (whose pattern it is) says she usually has 7-8 stitches per inch for these.  So do I go ahead and just see it they work or take the hint now and go up a needle size?  I don't have size 2 dpns so I'll have to order them.  Will I ever have socks?  Good thing the warm weather is coming!
 I did make some delicious cookies though!  Does anyone remember the old Dutch Windmill cookies you used to be able to buy in the store?  When I was a child I loved those as they had an imprint of a Dutch windmill on them and they were crispy and yummy!  I finally found a recipe for them but it requires a cookie mold which I don't have so I decided to try and make them without one.
If you roll them into balls and bake on an un-greased cookie sheet they are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside but if you roll them into balls and flatten with your fingers (you can see my imprint) they turn out crispy all the way through.  I can live without the windmill. 
 Here's the recipe:  (don't ask me where I got this....I get so hot on the trail of something I literally get lost on the internet but I definitely want to give credit where credit is due!)


Production Manager Mark Moynihan's Speculaas (St. Nicholas cookies)
By Sue Moynihan
This classic Dutch recipe is also known as St. Nicholas Cookies, or in northern Germany, Spekulatius. St. Nicholas Day is celebrated on December 6th.
Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
Directions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add beaten egg and blend well. Sift the flour and all remaining dry ingredients together and beat into the butter mixture. Mixture will be stiff. Press dough into a special Speculaas mold or other cookie mold. Cut off excess dough -- wire or dental floss laid flat and drawn across the mold work best. Decorate the cookies with sliced almonds. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 10-12 minutes until a light brown. Store in an airtight container. Makes about 36.
Backstory
My Mom's Mom really loved Christmas. She wasn't satisfied celebrating only the 25th. She kicked off the season on Dec. 6, St. Nicholas Day, by baking this delicious, buttery spice cookie.
I continue this family tradition by baking them with my kids just as I was taught by my Mom and Gram, using the same 60-plus-year-old mold. The spicy scent of these cookies in the oven is one of our family's favorite harbingers of Christmas; each one is a yummy expression of love from my Gram through four generations to my family. And it's not the only one. St. Lucia Day comes on Dec. 13 and we'll bake Lucia cats, but that's another recipe with another story!


I am testing cookies for the holidays too and this is definitely a "keeper"!

 Look what I found out in my yard leftover in a pot from last year
...bless it's little heart for blooming!
 Easter will soon be upon us and I am starting to do some little projects for the grand babies.
These are called Easter Marshmallow Babies by Doni Spiegle.  I'm not sure if they're on my Easter board on Pinterest but I think so.  I have a "secret" board too for presents for people who look at my boards (my daughter) so I can keep some things a surprise...lol!  She doesn't crochet though so I think I'm okay on this one.  They look just like the "peeps".
Here I go attempting to replicate them.......I just started........why am I getting those spaces in the middle?  I think someone jinxed me this week.  I'll keep practicing.  You make 2 the same, stitch together and stuff.
  Her's are so perfect and I'm using the suggested hook and yarn type.....oh boy!
Also, my painting of the bathroom ceiling is still ongoing.....2-3 coats it's taking.....do you believe it?
I would like to see some progress around here if it's not too much to ask?  I am certainly putting in the hours but nothing much to show for it....everything in "limbo".  Oh well, it could be worse...lots worse!
I hope all is well and good in your world this week.   Happy Trails!
If anyone has any hints as to what I should do with my needlework dilemmas, please do tell!  Thank you all.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

YOP Sunday

 Boy, did this week go fast!  The swallows have returned to Capistrano or the songbirds are back in Arkansas rather and singing their little hearts out.  I usually open the windows but it has been cold and wet here this week.
 I had to tell you about this quick, delicious and healthy little breakfast that I found in Country Living magazine.  Take a little ramekin, put a slice of Canadian bacon in the bottom, whisk one egg in a separate bowl and pour on top of the bacon, microwave for 30 seconds, stir the egg, microwave for another 15-30 seconds and top with some shredded cheese.  Fast, healthy and tasty!  I must admit I have to have a couple pieces of toast with it as it isn't enough to fill me up but maybe some day it will be.  It would be great for kids too.
 A new book I picked up at the library.  It's non-fiction and was written by a woman who was married for years to a man who was gay and she didn't know it but more specifically it is how we deal with sometimes drastic and dramatic change in our lives.  So far it is very good.
Oh, yes, what have I been working on this week for my YOP's?   I am moving right along with the afghan made out of the "yarn from hell" and not doing too bad.  It has required patience and concentration and following directions....not bad for a woman who has trouble in all those areas! LOL!  I'm actually learning to work with this yarn and because the rows are so long I get a rhythm going and can even watch t.v. while crocheting it.   I'm come a long way, baby!  I am on row 9 of 102 not counting the edging.  Last week I misspoke and said there were 110 rows.  Whew, instead there's only 102....every little bit helps!
I've cast on the socks for MOI and have more done on the cuff than shows here.  I'm getting used to the tiny needles and sit down and knit a row when I want to take a break during the day.  I've been painting the bathroom ceiling this week and it is slow as I can't stay up there too long...the air is thin...lol.
I'll be by later to check up on everyone....it's been a busy week!  I hope it was a great one for you and that this next one holds lots of promise too!
Happy Trails...........

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Spring fever and weather............

I'm trying to hurry and get this posted as we have tornado watches all across the state.....the clouds are dark and "rolling" out there and we are right in the cross hairs.  It was in the 80's today but the cold front coming in is what causes the storms.  We're very "unstable" here but then I didn't need to tell you that. LOL!

The Bradford pear is blooming.........

and the daffodils
I was "under the weather"  this week for a few days so my usual get up and go got up and went.

I did start a new book although so far it isn't "grabbing me"but hopefully it will get better.....
I'm also reading Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen but I think I enjoy watching it on PBS as opposed to reading about it and I did see this on PBS previously.  Again, I haven't gotten that far into it. 
I finally cast on my socks....again.  Hopefully this time all will go smoothly but no T.V. watching while knitting these!  BTW, my daughter's afghan is coming along....Row 7 of  110 but at least I can work on that while watching t.v.

 
 I did manage to get to Walmart before I got sick and picked up some paint and tools as I've decided to start painting the trim in this house.  I have some great pins on my DIY Home board on Pinterest and one is a gal that swears that the best improvement and the biggest difference in her home happened when she decided to paint all the wood trim in her house.  She shows before and afters (love those) and it really did make it brighter and more open looking.  I have so much wood here it looks like I live in a cave.
She said she paints her trim with a brush and then takes that little sponge roller over it to eliminate the brush strokes.  Genius!  That little foam roller kit was all of a couple bucks and includes a replacement roller and the package IS the tray!  Now someone was thinking!  She recommends specific tools she uses and another was the Spray Grip you attach to your spray paint cans and it makes it easier to use and of course you can reuse it over and over....don't throw it away with your can when it's empty! LOL!  I say that because I did might have done that once maybe...I can't really remember.
The paint is just plain white semi-gloss with a sealer in it...she recommends using a sealer first such as Zinser or Kilz.  I'll see what happens using just this combo.  I got all this at my not so local Wal-Mart.
So you can see I really haven't gotten much done this week but hopefully I'm "ramping up"!
Happy Trails and I promise I will catch up with you all....eventually.  Stay safe this Spring!