Thursday, September 29, 2011

Green Doily with Edging

As many of you know, my attempts at making doilies are very new. It seems with each one, there's something new to learn about the art.

At first, you'd think that it should all make perfect sense once you know the crochet stitches, but I'm still learning things about how to keep them flat as I'm working on them, how to hold the thread for the tension to be to my liking, and especially some things about spray starch and ironing them since I still don't feel like I've 'officially' blocked any of them correctly yet.

With the next doily that I made on Sunday afternoon, I did two things I was sure I'd never do... at least not until I was much more experienced as a doily-er... doily-maker... doily-ist... doily-izer... (well now I have to make up a new word for 'one that makes doilies' so that my life will be complete).

The first unbelievable experience occurred as I was getting toward the end of the pattern. I had already had a lot of trouble with this pattern because the directions just didn't seem very clear and didn't always work. (My husband might tell you that I was arguing with the sheet of paper, but there is no evidence of that...) I had to adapt the pattern on the fly to make it work. But then it was coming toward the last round and was still much smaller than I would have liked.

So I added some rounds!  


I have admired some gorgeous handiwork on doilies, but I've always been sure I would never be creative enough to make up a pattern. It's definitely not that far yet, and I'm still not creative, but man, did it feel great to come up with something all on my own!

The next new thing is that I actually changed colors for a little accent on my last round! Again, I've admired the gorgeous work of several-colored doilies, but I was always intimidated by the inability to hide the thread. It wasn't nearly as bad as I expected!

So without further ado, here is my life-changing (well, at least as far as being a doily-ist) and most recent doily:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Weekend Pineapple Doily

The itch to make more doilies came along again.

This pattern was the Pineapple Placemat and called for worsted weight cotton and Size G hook. I chose some thread I had on hand (it seems slightly thicker than my Size 10 thread) and a Size 5 hook to make it more doily-like than a placemat.

Here it is after spray starch and ironing:

I like the pointy corners on this one!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Housekeeping Schedule: Saturday


Today is the day for catching up on anything that got missed through the week or taking care of a special project. Isn't it so much easier to set aside some time to clean out a closet or organize basement storage or rearrange a room when the rest of the house is already (mostly) in order?

Someone asked me how this schedule has been working out for me this week. Thus far, it's all been covered!

However, as organized as we can be, life still happens. I've been following this Housekeeping Schedule since the beginning of April. I have an actual checklist that I've typed out so that it's easy to see and follow. (I also just love that accomplishment of physically checking something off a list. It's the little victories, right?!) There were certainly weeks of being gone or being extremely busy, and the list just didn't get 100% done. There's the beauty. The following week, you don't have to cram to get it all accomplished, you just start fresh at the beginning (or whatever day it happens to be), and give it the 5-15 minutes it will take to get that day back on track.

Perfectionist that I am, YES!, I still have empty boxes. But I'd sure like to believe that I spent that time playing with my boy or something else equally worthy. ;-)

Were there any glaring omissions? Watering houseplants? Weeding the garden? Emptying out the refrigerator? Please share! But I'll tell you right now, if it's cleaning out the oven, I'm sorry. We've had this one for a few years, and I have yet to tackle that project.

Well, that was a whole lot of information this week into our household cleaning habits. Hopefully it gave you some new ideas of how to keep a couple chores under control. If not, we'll be back to your 'regularly scheduled' crochet projects soon.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Housekeeping Schedule: Friday

It's almost the weekend! Phew! The house is mostly in good shape, so we can enjoy Saturday or (as is usually the case) take care of a million obligations rather than working on rushing through some cleaning jobs.

As always, dishes top the list. This is extremely important to me through the whole day on Friday, because if I get behind, it bites me in the behind on Saturday morning. Hubby likes to make breakfast when he has the chance (what am I saying? Hubby just plain LOVES to cook and he's very good at it). But if I've gotten lazy on Friday evening, then I have loads of extra dishes with all the breakfast prep dishes added.

Friday: Vacuum carpet throughout house
           Change sheets (this doesn't always get done every week)
           Laundry: son's laundry hamper

I really love to vacuum. It's one of my favorite chores. Yep, I'm a freak.
This is my weapon for vacuuming and saving space (except mine is a few years older and blue...).

Not much left on that cleaning list!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Housekeeping Schedule: Thursday

Thursday is a simple day as far as there not being much on the list, but it takes a little longer.

Dishes are still at the top of the list.

Thursday: Vacuum and wash kitchen and bathroom floors
               Laundry: Dark colors in cold water

This is my mop (without the green fuzz on the sponge), and it is great! My kitchen floor, on the other hand, is horrible. It's this awful, textured, poop and mustard linoleum (sorry, was that crossing the line?). But this wonderful mop with my horrible kitchen floor makes it all a little better. See that bristle brush? Boy! Does that thing work wonders when there is something giving me extra trouble in that textured linoleum. I love it!

As far as cleaner, I'm currently using up an old-school bottle of cleaner, and then I'm moving on to this.
Quite frankly, I highly doubt it will make our ancient linoleum 'shine,' but it will at least keep it clean!

Someday, if I'm feeling brave and not in fear of scaring you all away, I'll snap a picture of the kitchen floor. I'd really rather not subject you dear people to the terror.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Housekeeping Schedule: Wednesday

Wednesday is typically a pretty busy day for us, so I've tried to keep my list minimal. Overbook yourself, and you're quickly overwhelmed, and nothing gets done, right?

As always, I include dishes, but I don't add laundry on Wednesday unless we're desperate.

Wednesday: Clean counters
                   Clean stove

Typically, Fantastik is a great cleaner for this day.
This cuts through the grease on the stove or crud on the counters really well. Yes, I wipe things down as I'm cooking, but doing an extra 'grease clean' helps keep it tidier.

However, if we've had a slew of dishes cooking on the stove or I've had a pot of beans spill over and burn, that's when the big messes have to be scraped off.

Comet and Scrubby Sponge are a good combo for that, too!
Halfway through the cleaning week! Phew!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Housekeeping Schedule: Tuesday

Tuesday's cleaning schedule includes the bathroom along with dishes and laundry.

Tuesday: Clean sinks (kitchen and bathroom)
              Clean tub
              Clean toilet
              Laundry: Dark colors in hot water

My dream is to someday have a stainless steel sink that doesn't get marked up by pots and pans, but in the meantime, this is my close friend:
Comet and the scrubby side of a Scrubby Sponge usually gets rid of any sink markings.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Housekeeping Schedule: Monday

There are some housecleaning jobs that I love to do. There are others that I do my best to avoid at all costs (yep, I know I'm the only one...). So I've figured out a way to try to keep up with all of the housekeeping chores so that the majority of it gets done every week.

The solution is little bits of cleaning each day. Most take only a few minutes, and I find it easier to accomplish in smaller portions.

This week, I'll post my schedule. It works for me. Each day includes dishes (obviously) and a designated set of laundry.

Monday: Wipe mirrors (and the occasional window)
              Dust surfaces
              Laundry: Whites
I love my Windex! Is there anything better than that shiny, spotless mirror?

In all honesty, dusting is my least favorite, so usually this means just swiping everything with a Static Duster. That's OK in my book because it's still more than I used to do as far as dusting. It also makes it much easier to actually move everything and dust with Pledge and a cloth when I feel like it.

I'm certainly not claiming to be a housekeeping expert, and this is obviously not the full solution since I still have my 'magnet spots' that collect piles of junk regularly (i.e. the computer desk area and my yarn corner of the couch), but it helps!

On the crochet front, I am just finishing up the last steps of those projects I told you about, so rather than post them 99% done, I'm hoping to finish the last steps soon and post the completed project.

Friday, September 16, 2011

My Dilemma

That previous Mystery Project has a bit more progress, but I've run into a dilemma.

It all started because I was plowing along with the Ugly Blanket last weekend (can't wait to show you more...even though it's ugly ;-) but that's the point), and it was time for color change. There was a skein someone found for me that didn't have a sleeve on it, and as I started working it in, it felt like it was wool.

Of course, it is an Ugly Blanket and all, but I really like it anyway, and I don't want to have a random patch in it felt up eventually.


It was time to figure out whether or not it was wool. It was suggested to light some on fire. Apparently, if it is acrylic, it simply melts. If it is wool, it will light on fire more like a candle wick.

Brilliant! That works for me! I couldn't wait to try it. I felt sort of silly like I should have known that trick, but in case it was new to anyone else, I was going to share it with you.

Lo and behold, as I was taking pictures, wouldn't you know it: both kinds of yarn lit on fire for me! Gar! Now how was I supposed to tell?

Getting back to what started it all. Since I had originally figured out the gold color was wool, I decided to take the plunge and try to make something different with it with the intent to felt it when I'm done.

Now, I'm not certain if it's wool! I have another color of yarn that I was going to work into the gold for some variety of stripes or something, and the sleeve on that contrast color promises that it will felt when machine washed and dried. I can't risk one yarn felting and the other not felting, right?

So again, HELP!! What should I do? Any other suggestions?

I had always thought that I wouldn't want to take all the time to work on a project only to purposely felt it, but now that I've decided on something, I can't help but be disappointed and determined to follow through on it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Current project

Here's a sneak peek of my current project.

In all fairness, I may end up taking it all out and resizing or possibly adding in an accent color, but in the meantime, any guesses?

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Son: If you had my dreams, you would laugh in your sleep.

Mama: Oh. Do you laugh in your sleep?

Son: Nope. 'Cause I can handle my dreams.

(Is he going to follow-up with, "You can't HANDLE the dreams!!"?)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Long Weekend

There was LOTS of crocheting going on over the long weekend! I was really excited to plow through and get a lot accomplished on some WIPs.

I suppose that means that next I have to put down the hook and pick up the camera to actually show some proof of progress?

All in good time. Just let me finish up that one...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Chicken Rice Soup

For several reasons, I decided to throw together some Chicken Rice Soup the other day.
- We've all had those nasty mid-summer colds hit us.
- We had leftover chicken from our camping trip that hubby had prepared to perfection on the smoker, and it needed to get used up before it was wasted.
- Our refrigerator is slightly possessed and has a tendency to freeze things at random times. That left us with a partially frozen bag of celery that needed to be picked through to find and use what was still fresh.

We recently got a Rice Cooker with a gift certificate, and we've LOVED using it. Make yourself a batch of about 4 C (dry) of rice. I ended up spooning my soup over the rice every time we ate it rather than ever mixing them together and letting the rice soak up all the broth. It worked for me.

For the soup: Start with the standard carrots (2), celery (whatever was useable), and onion (one large or two small). Saute that in a bit of olive oil, then add some herbs. We used what we had on hand that was given to us fresh by a friend: lime basil and parsley.

It already looked and smelled amazing!

Add 5 C. of water (or whatever seems proportionate to the amount of veggies and chicken you have available). I added pepper (a lot), but since the chicken was already seasoned, I left it at that.

Toss in your chicken, and cover to simmer for as long as you can. At this point, when I lifted the lid, I was blown away by the amazing smell of that smokey chicken.

Lastly, spoon some rice into your bowl and ladle some of that good-old-fashioned cold cure over top. Perfection!!