Monday, June 30, 2014

CAL with Wink - Marinke Slump Bag

As if I needed another project to start.  But I did.


I decided to join in with the Marinke Slump Beach Bag CAL with Wink from A Creative Being Blog.  We are using THIS PATTERN.  It's free!  And, tho. I LOVE the yarn used in the pattern picture, I wasn't able to get that yarn as it was on backorder, so I settled for using some stuff from my stash - good idea, right?

The pattern is easy, repeated rounds using a stitch that looks like crocheted knitting.

I guess it's a good thing I took this to my neighbor's knitting group on Sunday afternoon as I was the only Happy Hooker, aka crochet gal, in the group and at least it LOOKED like I was knitting.

After the knit group, the weather was still lovely out, so I decided to sit in the front yard and continue stitching.  Inside the house was the loud shouting and cheering of World Cup Soccer fans.  My hubby had moved our TV to the back screened porch and the kids and friends and hubby were all cheering along with the games.

I have to admit that I did set down my project every time they got really loud and ran in to see what action I had missed.  We have all been soccer players in this house, so we can appreciate a sport that is less popular in the USA than it is basically everywhere else in the world.  Tho. it seems that during World Cup, even soccer has a lot of fans around here.  All good.

I used a combo of yarn, all dk weight and a 4.0mm hook.  Some of the yarn was knitpicks CotLin and the other was Cotton-ish by Bernat which is a cotton/acrylic blend.  I somewhat followed the color scheme in the photo, but I am using one additional color (orange) and each of my color stripes is 7 rounds.  The color stripes in the pattern use 9 rounds.

I do plan to line the bag and put pockets on the liner.  I'm not sure how I will like the drawstring closure and I love handles, so I may have to make two handles for the bag.  We'll see how it goes.

I planned out the yarn for this project in hopes that I would sit and crochet while my son attended the freshman summer orientation day at his college:  Shippensburg University of PA.  However, I read a book instead - it was a quickie and cute, I'll be sharing that soon.

So while my son and a high school friend who will attending the same university got introduced to their college and registered for their fall classes, I read in an Adirondack chair under a tree on a lovely breezy day - not bad.

TATA for now, Sher

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Square Sizes and Simple Snacks

Since the new year (that being 2014), I challenged myself to make one 6-inch crochet square each week by following the book: 200 Crochet Squares by Jan Eaton.  I am not up to date but I'm not that far behind either.  I haven't posted about the squares recently but doing so is on my to do list.

You can read about my squares here in THIS POST and also THIS POST and even THIS POST.

This past weekend, we had such lovely weather and I finally had a day that wasn't packed with things that had to be done ALL DAY LONG at certain times, so I sat myself down on the breezy back screened porch and got about making a few more squares.

Top two squares are done in the round and fit pretty well atop one another, bottom square is NOT at all the same size.
Up to this point, all of the squares I've chosen have been "in the round."  I decided to add a few "done in rows" squares to the mix.  The way the book works is that as long as you are using the same yarn or yarn weight and the same hook size thorughout, all the examples in the book will be perfect squares and they will all be the same size.  Now, I have a complaint.  I haven't found this to be the case.  The squares vary in size tho. I can always add a row around the outside and help to make the sizes closer.  BUT... when I finished the square in rows TWICE (because I pulled it out and did it all again), I was annoyed that the sizes were nowhere close.  I pulled out my final product and decided to stick to squares in rounds for now.

After pulling out the granny stripe square TWICE, I decided to get a quick snack to encourage me to keep going with the squares so I made this yummy little eat:

Fresh, multi-grain loaf from the farmer's market and a schmear of cream cheese topped with thinly sliced radish circles and fresh, crispy pea shoots... YUM.. refreshing, satisfying, delish.

I'll have more square adventures to share with you soon.  TA TA Sher

Friday, June 20, 2014

Honored with a Liebster Award

I'm so honored to have been nominated by Amanda of Amjaylou Blog for a Liebster Award.  As part of the award, I will answer some questions that Amanda posed to her blog nominees.  You can read Amanda's nomination post and her own Liebster answers over at THIS POST.

Here are my answers to Amanda's questions:

1. How many WIP's do you have at the moment?

At least 9, though I'm sure I'm forgetting a few things!

2. What are they?


Doll quilts and bedding for my niece
Africa (Ghana) fabric quilt
Hand-quilting my curved piecing table runner


Square a week crocheted squares from Jan Eaton's book
Rip out a crocheted blanket I don't like and re-use the acrylic yarns
Playing around with Sun and Stars and Summer motifs (created some new patterns to post) to make some summer decor for my house
Crocheting some curtains for the kitchen
Crocheting a multi-colored blanket with Cotton-ish dk yarn (my own pattern)


Teaching myself to knit (again) as I think I've forgotten all I learnt a few years back and a friend invited me to a knitting afternoon together (of course I could just always crochet!)

3. Regarding days out what would be your idea of heaven?

Beautiful weather (high 70s on the fareinheit scale, low-humidity, gentle breeze, sitting near a body of water - lake, ocean, whatever - with lovely friends and enjoying some great food and drinks).

4. What would be your idea of hell?

ALS - aka Lou Gehrig's disease - awful, horrible, terrible, no cure and I saw both my grandmother and aunt die of this dreadful disease - trapped inside bodies that don't work with a mind that is completely lucid.

5. What book are you reading at the moment?

I'm in between books, waiting to hear the title for my next book club read but just finished a book called I Dare Me by LuAnn Cahn (I will blog about this book as the author herself visited our book club!)

6. What is your favourite tipple? ( can include non-alcoholic!)

Hands down I'd have to say very dry champagne.  But, I do really enjoy my tipples and other faves are: margaritas, mojitos, and good Belgian beers among other things...

7. What's been the best holiday you've been on so far?

When I graduated from college - I took myself on a trip around the Northeast USA and Northeast Canada. I paid my own way thru college so I figured I might as well by myself a trip in celebration.  I bought a cargo van with only two seats upfront.  I loaded the back with whatever camping equipment I had and I set off with a handful of maps (no cell phone, no internet, not really any plan).  I camped (by myself for 2 weeks and then was joined by bofriend/now husband for another 3 weeks) in a different location every night - I hiked, swam in lakes, read books by firelight, lazed around in tents, drove around the country, met lots of people, cooked whatever I had time for over a fire or charcoal, listened to music and enjoyed the out of doors.  I only planned where I was going next one or two days at a time.  It was the most idyllic experience.  I'd do it again! (I went as far west as Kentucky (starting from Maryland) and Ontairo and as far north as Prince Edward Island and across the entire state of New York, went thru the Green Mtns of Vermont, White Mtns of New Hampshire, all over Michigan and Maine, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and down the entire northeast coast of the USA.  I ended my trip with a week at the beach outside of Wilmington, North Carolina)

8. What is your dream destination?

For my 25th Anniversary (this year) I had hoped to take a 2 week trip to Croatia and the surrounding countries that border the east side of the Adriatic Sea.  I have been saving for this trip for 10 years (to go with my husband by the way).  I haven't managed to save enough so I had to decide not to go.  I am very sad as I had looked forward to this for many years.  Instead we were going to go to the Northwest of the USA (Oregon and Washington State) since the plane flights make it much less expensive but my husband scheduled an event smack in the middle of the time we were due to go - so now I have no 25th anniversary trip and I am very sad and disappointed.  I'm hoping maybe we can make a go of one trip or the other soon, or maybe next year.  More than anything, my entire life, I have wanted to travel - EVERYWHERE - all over the world.  My life took other paths and instead I have done very little travel and have left the USA only once to go to West Africa.  I hope I still get to travel more.

9. What would you put into Room 101?

Okay - here's my USA coming out... I had to look up what is Room 101.  But I think I've got the gist.  I'm not familiar with the TV show which is apparently a British thing?  But if I am to choose something I really really don't like to go into Room 101 - I'd choose MONSANTO - the chemical and genetic modification company in St. Louis, Missouri who is out to ruin everything about food and seeds and in this world.  I believe they are a HUGE EVIL and they are poisoning our food for financial gain and our hands are tied - they are in the process of taking over the entire food chain and are the scariest threat to us all...fortunately the European Union has managed to keep Monsanto at bay - but here in the US, they seem to own most of the government and it's very very hard to stay clear of them and their poisoned food.  My sister has nicknamed them MONSATAN.

10. Do you have a favourite TV chef?

I watch TV cooking shows in small doses.  I have been known to watch a bit of everyone: Ina Garten, Rachel Ray, Bobby Flay, but I really don't pay a lot of attention to TV cooking shows.

11. What is your all-time favourite cake?

The limoncello cake I just ate last weekend with my husband at a little restaurant in Manayunk.  I would go back JUST for this cake - tho. all the food was really good too.

Amanda also asked that I answer the following things:

Name 11 random facts about ME:

I DO NOT like country music - at all - even for a second!
I LOVE really fresh and organic, non-GMO food
I have dance parties in my living room with my husband (REALLY)
I am left-handed but do most crafts including crochet with my right hand (some with both hands)
I am a very fast reader
I love to body surf and snow shoe
I HATE shopping (except for the thrift store where I buy most of my clothes - Salvation Army)
I have hosted year-long exchange students twice (from France and Germany) here with my family
I absolutely despise radio ads (I usually only listen to listener-supported, ad-free radio)
I am on the board of our local Historical Society - which is like a part-time job!
My "real" job, aka paying job is as a self-employed personal photo organizer - a perfect job for me

Nominate 11 blogs/bloggers for a Liebster Award:
(I love to find new blogs but many I follow have way more than 200 followers - or the ones with fewer followers have already received this award - therefore I have selected nine blogs from my blog reading regimen to receive the award and they are listed below)

A Conversation with Moo
by Petra
Diaper Mum
A Stitched Pattern
Crochet Missy
Simply Penny
There Where is Soleil

Those of you who have received the award from me can do the following:

Type a post on your own blog explaining that you have been awarded a Liebster and then answer the 11 questions I have posed below.  Nominate up to 11 other blogs with under 200 followers (tho... I think you can fudge a bit here) who have not been previously awarded.  Let those other bloggers know that you have nominated them.  You can also opt to search google and find a liebster award button to pin on your site and to indicate that you have received the award.  I hope you enjoy discovering a few new blogs and supporting a few new blogger friends!

11 questions I'd like to ask my nominees:

1. How long have you been blogging and how does it make you feel?
2. As a blogger, have you made true friendships with other bloggers?
3. Who lives in your house besides you (pets included)
4.  If you had to move to another country besides your own - where would you go?
5.  If someone handed you $100 to spend RIGHT AWAY - what would you buy?
6.  What 5 shows have you recently watched that you liked (TV, Series, Movies, Netflix, etc)?
7.  If you could have only 3 hobbies, what would they be?
8.  Who are the people who make you feel the best about yourself?
9.  What habit do you wish you could discard?
10.  Name your favorite: fruit and vegetable and dessert.
11. If you had $5000 to give away to a favorite charity or organization, where would you give?

Following Amanda's lead - also give us 11 random facts about you!

TATA - Enjoy and happy Liebster!

If you were nominated by me, please feel free to put a link to your post in the comments section of this blogpost below.  Thanks!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Lighten and Brighten Your Lunch

If you work from home like I do - maybe, sometimes, you don't really fix yourself a real lunch.  Maybe you just munch a bit here and there - like grab an apple, eat a bagel.  Maybe you eat standing up or don't even use a plate.  Ok- I have bad eating habits even though I eat healthy, the fact that I don't fix a real meal and sit down to enjoy it probably has an impact on my digestion and my lunch health as a whole.  How about you?

One of the benefits of staying home to work is not having to buy meals - or even prepare them to carry in to work.  But sometimes, that makes meal time both boring and lonely.  Or at least that's how it is for me.  I've been trying to create exciting lunch meals for myself that I actually sit down and eat - from a plate.

Here's what I made today:

Crisp butterhead lettuce from my CSA.  A layer or organic pea shoots (Trader Joes).  Some shreds of raw organic sharp cheddar (Oakmont Farmer's Market).  I put these on a plate and then made up a fancy tuna salad to put on top.  I used a can of TJs tuna, a tablespoon or so of organic mayo, salt, pepper, shredded carrots, chopped red pearl onions (CSA), walnut pieces and topped it off with fresh dill (CSA).

It looked super pretty and it tasted great! I was satisfied all day.  It felt more like a treat than my usual stand around and grab some food kinda lunches.  Now, I'm not opposed to having a friend join me for such a lunch, but today - I ate this solo.

Do you work from home?  What's lunch like for you - do you sit down and eat a formal meal?  Anything that you love to make that's easy and filling and quick to both make and eat?  I'm happy to hear all about it - Sher

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Pan Fried Stir Fry

I really don't know nothin' bout cookin' Asian food.

In fact I don't know nothin' bout cookin' most food - but I wing it and get lucky pretty often.

My friend JoAnn (yes this post is for you dear!) and I joined a CSA (community supported agriculture).  We split one full veggie share and we each get our own fruit share.  Neither of us has ever done a CSA.  So far it's been fun - and adventurous and new and fresh and cool.  So far, we have eaten a mountain of lettuce!  It's really awesome to be trying this with a friend.  Today JoAnn gave me some funny looks when I told her to take her share of certain CSA items and I instead came home with all of the beets and all of the swiss chard.  We also got a bunch of stuff I'd never eaten: fennel, radicchio, escarole.  AND... I had never cooked my own beets.

Because we are trying so many new things, I often suggest to JoAnn things that she can try to cook with the items that are new to us.  Today, I came home and experimented with all the food we got and tasted everything and decided I would make some sort of an Asian inspired dish.  Now, as I said before, I don't know nothin' bout cookin' Asian food - and that is the truth!

But, I do know that I like fresh veggies and I do know that I like pan fried (crispy) noodles.  So I decided to do that.  Here is what I came up with and it was REALLY - seriously like I was some kinda cooking pro - REALLY good.  Give it a try JoAnn - I think you have all the ingredients!

Oh yeah, did I mention that I had the beet greens because I roasted my own beets?  I put the beets in a little foil packet with some olive oil and put them in the toaster oven at 375F and then promptly forgot about them for 40 mins which as it turned out was the perfect amount of roasting time.  When I took them out of the foil and ran them under cold water, the skins came right off.  I then sliced them up and stored them in the fridge to add to salads - YUM.

Once the noodles are almost crisped enough, I toss all the separate veggies (and shrimp) back into the pan and let them warm and blend together on medium heat for just a bit.  At that time, I dump in any sauce I have made for the dish.

Now, when it comes to the sauce, you can simply buy a sauce you like at an Asian market but I usually make my own.  I have no idea what I'm doing when I make it - I simply take every Asian inspired ingredient from my fridge and mix them til it tastes right to me.  Today I used: ginger/garlic paste, chili sauce (Siracha would work here as well), sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, peanut sauce and a bit of brown sugar.  I just kept mixing until it tasted the way I wanted it to.  So - good luck.  Mine was delish by the way.

As soon as I add the sauce and give it all a stir, I turn off the heat and get ready to serve.

Put some crispy noodles on the plate and top with the veggie/sauce mixture.  Whether you eat it with a fork or chop sticks, ENJOY!

Triangle Bunting Tutorial

I know, I haven't caught you up yet with lots of things I promised to relate.  But, I thought you might like a new little photo tutorial first.

Even though there are many things I should have been doing instead, the urge to create something entirely new, an original triangle for a new bunting, I simply had to make this happy little bunting instead.  Of COURSE I had to share it with you - so enjoy.

Oh - and I made two - so if  you are more of a bluesy person rather than a multi-color person, maybe this inspires you.

For this project, I reached up to my stash of Sugar&Cream and Peaches & Cream worsted weight cotton and whatever balls or yarn fell down on my head are the ones I used - no lie.

This project used a size 7 - 4.5mm crochet hook.

So that's it.  I don't write patterns well.  So, I use a lot of photos to show and explain.  One day, I will learn to write a diagram.  I think this would be an easy pattern for trying a diagram.  I try to make the photos close up so that you can see the stitches.

This pattern uses American crochet terms.

So now go and make yourself a little bunting.  How happy you feel.

Enjoy!  Sher

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Yarndale Mandala

Yes - there has been a 3-month hiatus.
No - it wasn't intentional.
Maybe - I was too busy to even miss posting?
SO.... I'm back and hope to visit this place more frequently.
(rarely did a day go by that even in extreme busy-ness I missed reading my favorite blogs -smile)

Today I bring you my Yarndale Mandala.  There is no pattern.  WHY?  Because I started with three rounds from a book, just to get me going.  And I finished up with rounds I didn't keep track of.  Maybe you love this mandala and will be disappointed that I cannot offer a step-by-step instruction.  Maybe you can take a look closely and figure out my stitches.  If you can -  you are welcome to do it.  Maybe you just take a look and add it to your pinterest board of mandalas since they seem to be ALL OVER crochet cyberworld. (E-size hook, Cotlin and Dishie Yarn by Knit Picks).

Mine is done, ends sewn in, awaiting a bit of glue stiffening and then into the mail to the UK.

What the heck am I talking about?


Can I just offer a brief thank you to the two of you who emailed me to ask where I was and let me know you noticed I hadn't been blogging and missed me.  You know who you are.  You don't know how much it made my day that I was noticed as M.I.A.

I will be filling in some of the holes from the past 3 months of absence.  Ta ta for now -Sher

OMGoodness - my blog header needs to be much less snowy!  It's almost summer here.
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