Monday, April 14, 2014

looky what I rescued

This little fellow was in the guttering above one of the apartments in our complex.  I ask the maintenance guy if I could have it when they got around to cleaning the gutters.  The poor thing was all shriveled up and the dirt around it was bone dry when he handed it to me.  I put the bag in a loaf pan and filled the pan level full of water.  The dirt is about dry again.  Next time I'm in a big box store I need to look for a planter for it, so I can get it potted and outside with the rest of my cactus.

I have no idea what kind of cactus it is, but I think it is a type of prickly pear.  I have seen prickly pears around Phoenix that have a more elongated pad than the classic round pads.  Wonder what type and color of flower it has when it blooms?  And what the tunas (fruit) taste like, cause evidently it tastes good to some bird.

Everybody have a good day!


Thursday, April 10, 2014

sister suzy's memory quilt

We've been saving t-shirts for quite awhile, from grade school through high school.  I had to wait on a few that she wasn't ready to give up.

The blocks are 12 x 12-inches.  While doing research on how to put the quilt together, there were several different opinions on seam allowances.  Most suggested half-inch while a few suggested quarter-inch.  I used half-inch, but if I make another one I will use quarter-inch and see which one I like best.  One of the suggestions was that you need one t-shirt per block.  We didn't have that many shirts.  What we did have was most of the t-shirts were printing on the front and back, as well as on the sleeves of several t-shirts.  So look your shirts over to see what you have.

You will want to use a featherweight iron-on interfacing or interfacing for single knit.  Be sure to check your interfacing for stretch and place the interfacing stretch 90 degrees to the stretch of your t-shirt before ironing.  I cut my interfacing the exact size I wanted for my block which in this case was 13 x 13" for the large blocks.  This includes the seam allowances.  Some sites said you wanted to purchase a half-yard of interfacing per block.  There are 42 blocks in this quilt.  That would have been 21 yards of interfacing!  I found some 72" wide interfacing and only picked up 6 yards.  I had more than enough.

Because of the expense of just obtaining the rights to run two shows of Beauty and the Beast from Disney and the fear of potential hassles over copyright infringements their theatre director choose not to make everyone shirts for this play.  So, we saved a hand-bill and copied it onto light fabric, transfer paper and ironed the transfer onto the back of one of her shirts.  (I could do a full-blown rant on the cost of obtaining the rights to do this play by a very small high school.  Let's just say, I think, Disney should be ashamed of themselves!)

 This is a photograph of the girls in her class and the woman class sponsor on their senior trip to Missouri.  Everyone had great fun dressing-up in period clothing and posing.  She doesn't know about this block, it was a piece of last minute inspiration.  You can see I had trouble getting the iron-on to separate from the backing.  I didn't try this with regular woven fabric; I wonder if the transfer would have separated better?
On to the piecing!  This block is strips pieced together from a shirt.  The top part of the block was from the front and the bottom part of the block is two strips from the back.  I felt I would have had too much empty space if I had made two blocks instead of one.

 On this block the upper-wing of the mockingbird was just a little bit above the neckline of the shirt, so I turned the square ruler a bit to pick up all of the decal.  Then I set the block off-center to finish filling it out to the 12-inch block I wanted.
This block is from the long sleeve of one of her shirts, denoting her contribution to the production.

I did the backing in flannel with no batting.

There were several factors involved with the decision to tie the backing and top together.  One being the top was heavy and I didn't want to add any more weight to the quilt.  If you get the quilt too heavy you will need an industrial washer to clean it.  Next, I didn't want any quilting to distract the eye from what was going on in the blocks.

So technically this blanket is not a quilt but a comfort.  The difference is whether or not you sew the layers together, so say the old ladies my mother quilted with.  Also, most comfort's binding is the backing pulled forward and covering the raw edges.  Which is how I bound this one.

Well the label is now on; time to finish up the surprise that goes with this comfort.

I hope everyone is having a good day!


Saturday, April 5, 2014

it's official

I'm becoming a Crazy Cat Lady.  I knitted The Cat a bed.  I not only considered the bed a brilliant idea, I went out and bought four skeins of 100% wool yarn in colors I thought The Cat would like.  I think I may have slipped a cog or two.

The Cat loves dark colors.  If you lay anything down that is dark The Cat will be laying in the middle of said object and upset because you shooed her off.  Hence me thinking of a bed that was exclusively for her in dark colors (The blacker, the better she would like it.) would work.

I went to Ravelry and found two patterns I liked.  One being Felted Cat Bowl by Mary Hough for two cats and Junebug's Kitty Bed by Wendy Engstrom for one cat.  I used Wendy Engstrom's pattern.  This pattern has a welt around the bottom to help the bed hold its shape.  I have never knitted a welt before so I got to learn something new, also.  Easy straight forward knit!

Here are some pictures.

The bed at this point, unfelted, was 20" in diameter and the sides were 10".  The yarn was Patons Classic Wool Worsted, 3 skeins in Palais (that were on clearance, Yeah!) and one skein of Royal Purple for the welt and top.  I got the yarn at Michaels.

Wish I had taken a picture of the bottom with the increases spiral out to the welt.  I haven't gotten any measurements after the first felting.  Somebody has taken possession of the bed!

This last picture is the true colors of the bed.  The bed is going to need a couple of more feltings as the stitch definition is still pretty pronounced and the sides don't stand up.  That is, if, I can get it away from The Cat without being eaten alive!

I hope everybody is having a good day!


Sunday, March 9, 2014

a recipe that didn't work

We were at the local WinCo and I spied buckwheat flour in the bulk bins.  I really like buckwheat pancakes, so off to the Internet to find a recipe.  I came across several that were very similar to this one I got from allrecipes.

1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
3 TBSP melted butter
6 TBSP all-purpose flour
6 TBSP buckwheat flour
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
3 TBSP butter for frying

First thing I did was cut the baking soda in half.  A teaspoon really?  I cut the salt in half too.  A half-teaspoon for 3/4 cup dry ingredients?  I thought the liquid to dry ratio was a bit skewed also, but what the heck let's give it a try.

What I got was something crepe like.  According to the crepe recipe by Alton Brown from the Food Network:

2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 cup flour
3 tablespoons melted butter
Butter, for coating the pan

That’s what I got.  Not a pancake as I know them.

Here's my pancake recipe from my 1963 Pillsbury Cookbook:

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 TBSP sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup veggie oil or melted fats

I replaced half of the flour with buckwheat flour.  Whisk all your dry ingredients together.  Throw in all the wet ingredients at once; whisk until smooth.  Using a 1/3-cup-measuring cup to scoop the batter into your pan for about 12 pancakes.  Delicious!!!

So my quandary is do people not know the difference between a crepe and a pancake?  Or am I confused about the difference?

Okay, I did some research.  There are 2 differences; one, crepes has no leavening agent and two, crepes are very thin.  So technically, the first recipe is a pancake but who wants one with a crepe consistency?  Not me!

As far as I'm concerned the top recipe is a fail, eatable, after the adjustments I made. (Can you imagine what they would have tasted like with all the salt and baking soda called for in that recipe?  I shudder thinking about it.) But not something I would want to repeat.

Well back to the salt mines.  I have a sewing project I'm working on.  Pictures when I get it finished.

Everybody have a good day!


Sunday, March 2, 2014

knitting instead of working

While back in Kansas in November of last year, my sister asked me to knit her a hat that would stay on her head.  I, of course, jumped on the opportunity to knit instead of sorting, cleaning and junking all the stuff we had left in Kansas.

We both suffer from bowling ball head and we haven't found a style of knitted hat that stays put.  I suggested that an earflap hat might be the ticket for us because the back on some is longer than the front, thinking that might be what we needed.  The hat still rode up but not quite as badly.  So I'm still on the hunt for a knitted hat pattern that works for our round heads.

I sent my sister to find yarn she liked and to Ravelry to find a pattern. She found Short & Sweet Earflap Hat Pattern. The yarn she found was Michaels Loops & Threads Charisma in Black Raspberry.  The weight of the yarn was bulky.  The hat took one skein of yarn.  I cast on 5 stitches for each earflap on US #8s and increased every other row until I had 15 stitches and the earflaps were 2.5 " long.  I then cast-on 19 stitches using a knitted cast-on and joined the second earflap knitting until the earflaps were 4" long and the back band was 1.5".  Then I cast on an additional 23 stitches for the front for a total of 72 stitches.  Knitting Garter stitch in the round for another 1.5", then I switched to Stockinet and knit until the length was 4.5".  Did the decreases until the hat was finished.

Because she had bought 2 skeins of yarn I suggest a pair of fingerless mitts.  And she was agreeable so long as I didn't get them too tight.  She has had surgery on her hands and anything-tight makes them hurt.  I used the same basic pattern I used for Sister Suzy's Helix Mitts except instead of ribbing I used Garter stitch.  I cast on 30 and knit a Garter stitch band of 1".  I used 1 x 1 ribbing for the thumbs so they wouldn't be too loose and get in the way.  If I were to do these mitts again I would go back to Michaels and get DK weight yarn as I thought these mitts were too thick in the bulky weight yarn, although my sister likes them as is.

I had Sister Suzy model the mitts.  I had her giggling about something silly.

I hope everybody has a good day!


Sunday, February 23, 2014

housesitters quilt

Before I left in November I completed a quilt I had in my UFO tub for the young couple that were housesitting for us in Kansas that I thought they would like.  The house in Kansas is cool at best and down right cold at times.  I was pretty sure neither one of them had brought enough blankets to stay warm and I was right.

Let's just say the young lady was a prime example of Einstein's comment on stupidity.  She was warned the house gets cold.  She needed to find and put on warmer clothing; and she didn't.  Then she couldn't figure out why she was miserable.  (Walks away mutter under my breath.)

I finished the quilt at the last minute and didn't get any pictures.  So my plans from EQ6 will have to do.

This is the quilt top I cut all the blocks to and didn't make a sample block to find out if the template that was published in the Kansas City Star was accurate.  The block was the Apple Core.  The published template is a quarter of an inch off.  Needless to say I mentally kicked myself because I had been warned to make a sample block and didn't.  So now you have been warned!  The quilt block patterns published in print need to be double-checked, especially old newspapers.

This quilt measures 94" square, each strip is about 5" wide.  The rectangular block pieces were about 2 1/2" wide.  To quilt the pieced strips I used stitch-n-the-ditch.  The borders and long un-pieced strips had a diamond quilted in them.  So for kicks-n-grins I quilted everything with varying shades of purple as that is her favorite color.  I used the thickest batting I had in my stash for the middle layer.

This quilt was a long slog to get finished.  I had to really push myself to stick with it and get it done.  It looked really nice when it was finished and washed.  The quilt puffed up nicely but man-oh-man was it ever a struggle to finish.

I hope everyone has a good day!


Sunday, February 9, 2014

I'm here, again!

Well, most of the business in Wichita is done.  We left Monday before this on Tuesday:

Sorry about this!  The picture has loaded upside down and I have rotated it in Windows 7's photo viewer, re-saved and can't get it to do what I want it to. :( 

Edit:  2 March 2014  WaaHoo! I finally got the picture to rotate!

With temps hovering around 0.  Hubby and I drove straight through to Alamogordo, NM only stopping for fuel.  We wanted to get south of any ice or snow.  I-40 between Grants and Flagstaff was forecasted to be freezing rain, ice and snow after 4 PM last Monday. So we hurried to get through the mountains above Alamogordo on US54 to avoid any potential bad weather up there.

We got home Tuesday evening; this is how it looks from our balcony.

It is 73, today, and the windows are open.  My sister tells me there is still snow in Wichita and is getting ready to snow again.  I'm glad to have my achy bones back in Phoenix!

I had a stroke of good luck!  Hubby sit down and figured it would cost us an extra $40.00 for him to come and get me above the price of a bus ticket.  Yeah baby! How fast can you get to Wichita?

The tranny looks like it's fixed in the Focus, so now we have to get it inspected and tagged in Arizona.  I need to get an Arizona Driver's License, find banking here, and start looking for more permanent housing.  Then we can head back to Kansas and clean out the storage room we rented.  After that, when we make a run to Kansas it will be to visit family.  We can make it spring or fall when the weather isn't freezing cold or blazing hot.

Hope everyone is staying warm!