Thursday, January 2, 2020

One Second After - Preparedness

I love preserving food and am always looking for interesting ways to put up our bounty or new ways to cut out processed/packaged foods from the grocery store. I am always watching something on YouTube or combing through the groups I'm a part of on Facebook. One of the things that I've been hearing about throughout these communities is a book called "One Second After" by William R. Forstchen. 

I was curious, so I borrowed it from the library. Talk about a captivating read!! The premise of the book is what happens after an electromatic pulse (EMP) has gone off. There is a foward by Newt Gingrich and an afterword by Captain Bill Sanders of the U.S. Navy, both stating this scenario could truly happen. The story was fast paced and well written. It was very thought provoking and made me think of what could happen and how we would or would not handle the situation. 

I'm not a prepper, but one who puts away a little food because I don't care for the taste of most processed/prepackaged items that I've tried at the grocery store. I do a small batch of soups, etc. and my pantry looks like everyone else's except that my food is in jars instead of cans. Not a lot, and certainly not enough to get me through something like this disaster. 

This book should be added to everyone's reading list. If nothing else, it's an entertaining and informative read.  "One Second After" is my first finish of 2020.

Another first for 2020 - actually for the first time ever... we didn't have pork and sauerkraut for New Year's Day, yesterday. Pork was quite high at the store, so I purchased a ham instead. I figured I could use some of the left over ham for ham and bean soup. Well, that certainly didn't turn out well. I sliced open the packaging around the ham and my knife came out with a long string of slime hanging from it! It was horribly gross. I pulled the plastic back some from the ham and it was covered in a thick slimy mucous that was certainly not appealing nor should it be there. It appears we had purchased a spoiled ham! That goes back to Walmart today. We ended up having hamburger soup instead. I guess we'll find out if eating pork and sauerkraut on New Year's truly brings luck and good fortune!

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

2020: New Year - New Decade

The new year arrived quietly under a bed of white for us. Our son's plans changed, and instead of chancing the weather, he spent the evening with us. I treasure the time we can spend with our children, because they will soon have families of their own and lives of their own.

I am looking forward to this year. Our daughter will be getting married in the fall and our son has started a new job that is much more suited to him compared to his last job. Hubby and I are planning on planting a larger garden which will be nice. We have many ideas we are tossing around between us. It will soon be time to start planting seeds and seeing the miracle of those tiny embryos turn into plants and food for our family.

I have a few personal goals set:

1. Lose 10% of my body weight
2. Read through Paul's books of the Bible 12x
3. Complete at least one online course
4. Remove processed foods and most sugars from my diet
5. Try making cheese
6. Read 33 books including:

  • 10 classics
  • 10 of the 1001 Books You Should Read Before You Die
7. Complete a few knit and crochet projects off my list
8. Turn the basement into a nice usable area
9. Make a craft area in the basement
10. Weed out unused/unnecessary things

I'm sure the list will grow longer as time goes on. I have so many things I want to complete or try.

That's my year's plan in a nutshell.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Goodbye 2019

I can't believe it's really the last day of 2019. Where did the year go? I had so many plans and ideas, but because of weather or other circumstances, they didn't all get done. There's always next year and I am really looking forward to it!

Although many things weren't done, there were accomplishments and new things tried. We dehydrated more, canned new things and explored new places. I cannot complain, even with all that we didn't do. Every year is a time to try to better one's self and every year that seems to be accomplished, maybe not to what I'd originally set out for, but still there's improvement.

Tonight will be quiet for us. We will settle down with a good book or movie and probably go to bed before midnight. Us old folks here don't stay up late like the young'uns do. We will just enjoy the day and evening and reflect on the last year and think about all the things we would like to do next year.

Now on to a new and clean slate!

Have a safe and happy New Years Eve!!!

Monday, December 30, 2019

Last Finishes of the Year

Bluprint had a nice sale last week where they had all knit and crochet scarf and cowl kits at 50% off, plus I had a 25% off coupon that I could use on top of the discount as well. I purchased 4 kits - 1 crochet and 3 knit - each costing less than what the cost of the yarn would have been for them!

My first finish was the Start Up Library Crochet Cowl Kit by Salena Baca and it really was a surprise to me. When I purchased the kit, I had originally gotten it to try out the yarn included in the kit: Sprightly Yarns Spectrum in Worsted Weight #4. I found a lovely color, Cresting Waves that would go with a few things in my wardrobe. Well, when it arrived, I thought I'd just work a few rounds of the cowl and see how it behaved and find another pattern. That cowl had such a lovely drape, that I decided to finish it. It's such a simple pattern - chains and double crochets, however, when put on, it looks so nice. Who would have imagined that I'd have fallen in love with it!?! Even more strange, is that I'm considering making another one from some yarn I have stashed. I think I'll make it a bit longer next time.

My next almost finish was the Fisherman's Wife cowl by Kalurah Hudson of I can not find the link to the kit, so I'm assuming it has been sold out since it was on clearance. The pattern is very well written and even has a link to a tutorial for making the picot edging. I'm really quite impressed and if her patterns are anything like this one, they are definitely worth the money! Now, back to the kit... This pattern uses Sprightly Acrylic Wool Super Bulky #6. I chose the color "suede" for my scarf. I so enjoy doing cables, however have never done any cabled projects in super bulky weight before. I'm still on the fence when it comes to bulky yarn, but it does look quite neat when finished, plus, it was a quick knit. I still have to block it and put on the buttons. Unfortunately, when laying my scarf out to take the photo, I found, not one, but two mistakes! (can you find them?) I haven't decided if I'm going to fix them or just say, hey - it's for me and just leave them as is. That's what I end up with when I'm counting and talking to hubby at the same time! I really should have checked my work before binding off. I have 2 more skeins of the super bulky in a Blue Heather colorway, so I could just make another one (or 2). I still haven't decided what I'm going to use it for.

This appears to be my last finishes of the year. I've had hats and other finishes I never recorded and will just have to do better next year. I made many gifts this year as well as some hats, scarves and mittens to donate. Hopefully, next year will be even more productive than this one was!

Sunday, December 29, 2019


What can I say? I'm an old fashioned type of gal that loves handmade things. One of those things is handmade dishcloths that are either knitted or crocheted from cotton yarn or thread. I was running low hand have been in the need for some new cloths for some time now. I  was looking for something just a bit different than my old standby, Grandmother's Favorite Dishcloth. It's such an easy pattern, but since it's all knit except for one YO at the beginning of the row, it gets boring and it relies heavily on the color of the yarn. It's great fir mindless knitting in front of a TV or knitting in public, but a girl just needs something new now and then. (In the photo, you can see the lovely set of handmade Peppermint soap and Peppermint lip balm that my husband got for me. He knows how to spoil me!)

Speaking of the old standby, I found some Bernat Handicrafter Holidays in Holly Jolly Print colorway that I thought would be perfect for Grandmother's Favorite. I love the jogs of color throughout the white and loved how crisp and clean it looked after it was finished. Certainly a color that was perfect for gift giving, so I made a few to give away as well. I really wished I had tested the colorfastness before giving them away, as it really ran and the white became a pink. Now, mind you, I still like the color. The pink is light and pretty, but I lost the crisp look that I fell in love with. I've never had a yarn run like this one from Bernat. This is my first time using Handicrafter and I certainly will never buy another skein of it unless it's on sale or it's a solid color. I'm really bummed because I gave all the cloths away except one.

While browsing my Facebook Feed,  I came across a posted a link to the Flower Power Dishcloth.  It's a quick and easy to follow crochet pattern that created a bright and cheery flower dishcloth. As soon as I saw it, it screamed "MAKE ME!!!"  The directions call for a solid cotton cloth, but I had some scrubby yarn in my stash that I thought would be perfect for the center. The purple cloth was made using Premier Yarns Washi (Purple)and Lily Sugar 'n Cream Scents (Lavender). For me, the Washi was a bit difficult to crochet with. It could be my old eyes, but with all the texture and nubbies, I found it hard to find the loops of the stitches. It was only 3 rounds, so it wasn't too frustrating and I liked how the center turned out - nicely textured.

The blue flower was made using Red Hear's Scrubby Sparkle (Lemon) and Premier Yarn's Premier Home Cotton (Delft Blue). The Scrubby Sparkle was easier to work with, but made a tiny bit smaller flower center. It was much easier to work with and adds a sparkle to the center. The Premier Home wasn't as easy to work with as the Sugar 'n Cream. It kept splitting. I'm going to have to get used to it, as I bought a case of it from the Dollar Tree.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Winding Down 2019

Here we are with only a few days left in 2019. Looking back, I didn't do as much as I wanted, but did do some things I hadn't planned on. I know, life does that. That's why I don't do New Year's Resolutions, but instead make a list of things I'd really like to do. Every year I do this, except for this past year. I started the year healing from a shoulder injury I ended up with in 2018. The surgeon said it would take a good year to heal, so I decided I wouldn't push it, but just work with it. There was no garden and I put up food that I had bought from the farmer's market, etc. when I could. It's not what I originally would have wanted, but, hey, it's life and we got to work with what we have.

Hubby surprised me a couple of weeks ago and bought me a lovely bread maker. I have one, but it's showing it's wear and making noise and not making nice loaves any more. The new one is a Cuisinart Convection Bread Maker CBK-200. Wow - what a machine it is! It has 16 settings including quick breads, jam, gluten free and low carb. It works well, produces lovely loves and is so much more quiet than my old one (even when the old one was new!) Although I enjoy making my own loaves, when making one loaf at a time, this is much more economical than heating up the oven for just a loaf of bread. Now, if I'm using the oven for other things or cooking more than one loaf, I'll use the oven and make the bread by hand.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

An Imperfection Can Hold the Greatest Beauty

December is my time to reflect on what has happened throughout the year. I go over my accomplishments, "failures" that hold lessons learned, and things I didn't have time for. It is also the time that causes me to remember so many things about family and friends.

As I was sorting through some boxes in the basement, I came across a box that held a ceramic bird tree.  My mother made this tree for me many years ago. She was taking ceramic classes at the time and decided to make a snow covered bird tree for me for Christmas. She had glazed it and put the snow on it and perfected it to make it look exactly how she wanted it to be. The tree was put in the kiln to fire, and that evening, the electricity went out, so the owner of the shop couldn't fire it right away. I can't remember how long the power was out, but it was long enough to allow the snow to slide down a bit. The owner didn't let Mom know what happened and just fired it. When Mom went to pick it up, she was very unhappy with it and was going to throw it out! It wasn't the perfect tree that she wanted and felt it wasn't gift worthy.

I absolutely loved it. It looked so much more realistic to me. I begged her to finish it by adding the lights and to let me have it and not toss it. She did finish it for me, but was terribly reluctant to give me the tree. She was so disappointed in it. My mother was a perfectionist and , believe me, she would never gift something that she felt was not up to her standards. However, by her doing this, I'm sure there were things people missed out on, because something she made for them was not "perfect" and she wouldn't gift it, but go out and buy a gift from the store instead.

I will admit, her needing things to be perfect had rubbed off on me some. It has taken me a long time to get over the need for perfection. Pulling out the tree brought back so many memories and how much I learned from it. Believe me, I see the tree and realize that an imperfection can hold the greatest beauty. I think the tree is much more beautiful that if it had turned out perfect.