Saturday, December 26, 2015

Adventures in Knitting

My first swatch
I decided to use this yarn to make a hat for a friend. 

I've always been pretty content to crochet and have made, in my opinion, some pretty nice scarves, but the hats I've made, well - they generally ended up either being too big or too small (See the Goldilocks connection...) and only one hat was "Just Right" and I measured the heck out of that guy's head because it was a cap for him to wear after chemo and I wanted to make sure it was perfect, and it was. 
K1 P1, K5 P1

But the person I was making this hat for was not available to have a head measurement, and I didn't have any idea what size hat he wore or anything. 

I remembered a hat that friend Yvonne had knitted for The Shepherd several years ago on his birthday.  It was stretchy and would fit what ever size head it was on.  Got me to thinking - "Hmmm - maybe friend Yvonne could teach me how to knit."  Now that is a GOOD friend - yes, she was available on a day I was, and after a quick trip into town to get knitting needles per her instructions, I was all set. And, so, as Shania Twain sang - "I gol' darn gone and done it"  I learned how to knit. 

She helped quite a bit to get me started, she did the cast on so it would be even, & etc. and I knitted my first swatch.  Envision, if you will, the little kid, working on the project, with the tongue stuck out of the corner of the mouth, concentrating...  That was how I looked, but it got easier when I switched to a different needle set where the needle part was white bamboo instead of brown - (see my problem here.  Or rather, I couldn't see - yarn was the same color as my needles - oops) - fixed that, and off I went, with a little help from one of the ladies at my spinner guild who saved my sorry backside with I dropped a bunch of stitches.  Crochet is SO SO much easier! 

But, I persevered, and here it is.  All done.  Washed it up and it has a pretty brown "alpaca halo" to it.  

Already making plans to make one for my friend Diane.  She tried it on today and liked it.  So, knitting hats may be my new super power - gotta do something to get rid of all that yarn..........

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas!

My sister makes me a wreath for Christmas.  This little snowman is selling snowballs for 5 cents each...I hope he doesn't have any ideas of selling them around here - ha ha. 

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night...

Friday, November 27, 2015

What's been on my wheel -

 A couple of years ago, some friends of ours gave me 4 or 5 Alpaca fleeces.  Two of them were this lovely coffee color - in fact, the critter's name was Java - two were that pretty rose grey color, and unfortunately the black fleece came infested with moths - it went in the dumpster.  But when John was meeting up with Chuck from Evergreen Fleece Processing to take him the last of our Shetland fleeces, I decided it was time to get those fleeces out of the living room so I took them along with.  The results were about 8 lbs of lovely alpaca roving. 

This lovely Alpaca fiber has 20% Merino and it is a dream to spin.  I have about 5 pounds of it.  There are also about 3 lbs. of straight rose grey alpaca roving (not blended with wool)   If you are interested in buying some fiber, or having me custom spin you some yarn, leave me a comment.  :-) 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving!!


Did you know that this is one of the luckiest turkeys around right now?  
He is headed to Washington DC, where Pres. Obama will officially
"Pardon" him from execution and then he and a buddy turkey will go off
to live their lives in luxury at a farm in Virginia.  Nice job if you can get it....

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Golly, I almost forgot - We hosted a Spin-In

 Back in October - Holy cow - almost a month ago! - my spinner guild "Spindrifters" hosted the NW Regional Spinners Assoc. Board Meeting and Spin-In.  I was on the planning committee - we had been working on this since early in the summer.

Although our attendance was not as high as we would have liked, we had about 60 people turn out, and I think everyone had a great time. 

I was in charge of getting our vendors - for what good is a Spin-In without great Vendors?

Niki K. from JNK Llama Farm in Bellingham
was there with her lovely llama fiber.  

Of course, The Shepherd was there with our award winning Shetland Fiber. 

My friend Janet was there with Dorset fiber and some lovely shawl pins that her daughter makes. 

Allen Berry, woodcarver, was one of the first vendors I contacted.  His hand carved wooden items are  beautiful! 

Our guild put together 5 or 6 gorgeous and highly anticipated raffle baskets.  

Doug & Yvonne Madsen from Spinner's Eden Farms were there with their prized CVM fiber.  They host the Wonderful Woollies spring fiber sale that we take part in.  

There was lotsa spinning going on -

Lotsa laughing, and lotsa hugging.  It was a great day.  

And there was lotsa buying going on too, and since I was the one who got all these vendors out, of course, I had to buy a few things.  Like this adorable fabric bag that is just the right size for my crochet hooks and accouterments.  

Just look at this adorable fabric with the little Japanese kitties. 

And I was very excited that Scarlet from Huckleberry Knits was willing to be a vendor. She lives here in Bellingham, but sells all over the US through retailers and her ETSY Store 
Of course I had to support her booth!  (Of Course!) 

All in all, it was a great day. 


Friday, November 06, 2015

Three Beautiful Things

 Hello effurrybody!  Gracie here - I was out
helping Mummy take pictures in the garden last
week. The Shepherd says that Somebody needs to snooopervise her to make sure that she doesn't trip on something and fall on her casaba.  I'm very good at snooopervising. 

We went out in a hunt for beautiful things, and thought we'd share some of them with you.

We found a little fairy cap mushroom growing in the mulch bin...

One of the last marigolds in the garden.  Such a pretty summery color. 

More 'shrooms - the caps are almost as big as dinner plates! 

Ok, so I lied - four beautiful things - more Sweet Gum leaves - oddly enough, Mummy found out that Sweet Gum seed pods contain shikimic acid, a major ingredient in Tamiflu. 

Herbalists have used Sweet Gum tea as an herbal treatment for the flu and the Cherokees made a tea out of the bark.

So many things from nature that we don't know about that heal or harm.

Have a great weekend!  XOX  Gracie!


Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Blog Blast for Peace

This is the 10th year for the Blog Blast for Peace

The picture is from Pinterest.   


Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Howl-o-ween!

 Crazy things growing in the garden - 

Crimini, that's a big 'shroom

Nobody will mistake this cauliflower for mashed potatoes - no wait there are purple potatoes now too - maybe they might.  No, wait, how could ANYBODY mistake mashed cauliflower for mashed potatoes???  Pinterest fail...

Sweet gum leaves in the fall are my favorite - I could take a picture of each one that comes off the tree.

 Kansas City could have used this bat sized zucchini tonight.  9-3 - how sad.  Hopefully they'll pick up the pace tomorrow. 

Look at this sweet little Meowlaweenie kitty I found out in the garden. 

My friend Misti has been helping me with some cleaning - so far we've attacked (I say "we" in the royal sense, ha ha) the dining room, the kitchen and today, the "music corner" in the living room. 

I'd like to have her help me with my wool room, but I don't think she understands the concept of "stash" - so that might have to wait. 

Have a great Howl-o-ween and don't eat too much candy! 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Life, Miracles and Chicken Soup

Some of my faithful readers may remember a couple of years ago when I had a "little heart issue" that landed me in the hospital.  Well, last month, I discovered, it was back.  This time, I knew what was happening and after it hadn't stopped after a couple of weeks, I ended up going into my cardiologist office on 9/28, (to eliminate the panic that had ensued from my GP's office in 2013) -  Pulse rate - 130 beats per minute. 

They kindly confirmed what I had suspected, and changed some of my meds, that didn't work after a couple of days, so they had me come in and meet with a Nurse Practitioner.  Very nice lady who happened to take a copy of my EKG out to talk to one of the docs in the office when the Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiologist  Dr. happened by, and just in a moment of grace, saw my EKG and said, "Well, I can fix that" - A cure - who knew? 

That started me on the path to a Cardiac Ablation that was performed on Monday Oct. 12.  The pretty flowers above - they are from my sisters - to wish me well after this very successful procedure.  I have to tell you that from the time I walked into the Surgery Center at 7:30 a.m. on that Monday until the time I walked out the door at about 4:30 p.m. (*pulse rate 63 beats per minute) I felt loved and cared for.  It was really an amazing day and, quite frankly, miraculous.  (And,  I was able to be back at work on Wednesday afternoon to be at a dinner meeting that I had been working on for 6 weeks).

I feel much better now, and hopefully this will be the end of that issue. Oh, and the kitties - they stuck to me like glue for about three days after I got home.  I think they took their nursing skills very seriously!  And many thanks to all of you out there who included me (and my doctor & his team) in your prayers last week.  I'm sure it made a difference! 

One Pot Chicken & Vegetable Stew
So, what you always need when you're feeling down, is Chicken Soup, right?  I put this recipe together about a month ago - I was in an "email club for Chicken recipes" from Pillsbury.  Most of the recipes looked pretty good, but used a lot of pre-made items and mixes - and I mostly cook from scratch.  So when I saw a recipe for a "one pot chicken & vegetable skillet" - I thought - maybe I can improve on that - we still had LOTS of zucchini and I had some other vegies in the fridge that I could chop up - and ta-da "Chicken Stew" was perfected.

 Last year for Christmas I got myself a Williams-Sonoma 7 qt. Non Stick Dutch Oven.  I had (ahem) "destroyed" my big soup kettle by draining all the water out of my green beans, but unfortunately putting the pan back on the burner with the burner still on.  Ahem - really toasted that pan.  So I'd been on the lookout for a new 7 or 8 qt. pan, and boy, let me tell you, this is a nice one.  You can see more about it HERE

This pan is perfect to cook soups or stews or a "fricassee" - It also is great to steam ears of corn, cook a nice pork loin roast (because you can brown it and then tuck it in the oven and let it finish cooking).  I use it a lot. And without further chatting, here is my recipe 

One-Pot Chicken and Vegetable Stew
This recipe is based on a Pillsbury 30 days of Chicken & Vegetable Skillet recipe.  I like using fresh vegies instead of frozen. 
2   tablespoons olive oil
2   boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1   medium onion, finely chopped
1/2 tsp Tastefully Simple "Garlic Garlic" granules
2   cans (14 oz) Hunts Fire Roasted diced tomatoes, undrained
1   Russet potato, diced
2   medium zucchinis - diced
1/2 head of cabbage roughly chopped
1 14 oz can of chicken stock
Salt, pepper, Seasoning Salt, Mrs. Dash original seasoning, any other herbs or spices you might like, to taste
  1. In a non-stick Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat. Add chicken; cook, turning occasionally, until chicken is browned on all sides. Remove from skillet to plate.
  2. To same pan, add remaining tablespoon olive oil and the onion; cook over low heat until onion is softened and golden.  Add the Tastefully Simple Garlic Garlic granules and any other spices or herbs you might like.  (you could use fresh garlic here - I just prefer the taste of the Tastefully Simple product)
  3. Add potatoes, zucchini & cabbage.  (I have also added chopped carrots here)  Add canned tomatoes to pot; cook 5-10 minutes longer. Add the chicken stock.  Cover and cook until vegetables are tender crisp, stirring as  little as possible so you don't mush up your vegies.
  4. Return chicken to pan; if desired, season with salt and pepper. Cover; cook 10-15 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.
    Buy a nice loaf of crusty Italian bread to go with this and you'll have a tasty supper.  It probably makes enough for 6 or so people, or 2 people for two nights.  Enjoy. 


Saturday, October 10, 2015

Happy Birthday to my darling FurBabies -

George & Gracie's "Gotcha Day" was July 9, 2011.  We were told by the lady who gave them to us that they were born "sometime in October 2010"  - So I went with the best date 10-10-10 - a very lucky day indeed. 

They still sleep like this - all curled up together.  It's the sweetest thing I've ever seen.

George loves to help me with any project I'm working on - here he was helping to wrap Christmas presents.  His current favorite thing to help me with is typing on the computer.  
And any comfy spot he can find to sleep is good with him.  

Gracie prefers The Shepherd's side of the bed.  But I'll often wake to a crushing sensation - as soon as I figure out that I'm not having a heart attack or something like that, I realize that all 14 pounds of her is balanced on my chest.  Breathing issues soon arise...

So, happy birthday, my darling little FurBabies.  You have brought us much joy...

 and lots of small dead animals. 

To celebrate they got special dinners & extra Party Mix.  And maybe just a little Half & Half poured over their pate... 


Sunday, September 27, 2015

You know the old sayimg?

"I brought Mummy a Present this morning.  A real live burdy.  Then it flew away.  Someplace in the house.  We don't know where it went, and we haven't seen it all day. Oh well, them's the breaks..."

Mummy here, and Nope, that's not the "old saying" I'm thinking of...

But, he looks pretty proud, don't ya think?  

 And don't you look so nonchalant, Missy...
Yeah, you know what I'm talking about...

"Oh, Mummy,  I just don't give a rat's ass"

Yup, that's the old saying I was thinking about - seems the "MIGHTY HUNTERS" were out in force this a.m. 

I woke up to hearing George with that "gutteral Mreow" that generally means he's got some kind of a critter stuck between his lips.  I went running down the hall uttering words that would probably cost me a buck or two if we had a swearing jar.  George had something, "Oh, it's a bird."   I think it might have been a chick-a-dee, although it was awfully dark, and it flew away before I could catch it.  I don't know if The Shepherd caught it in his net, or if it is still languishing someplace in the nooks and crannys of the kitchen.

You know, there's something very comforting about sleeping with a cat sometimes - their purr is just at the right decibel to encourage healing -  sometimes they can hog the bed a little, but frankly, it was the "rat's ass" that really got me going this morning. 

Got up, took shower, got ready for church, spread up bedding - "Ick - what is that on my bed?"

OMG, it is a dead rodent - or rather HALF a dead rodent.  ICK, ICK, ICK!!!!!! 

The BACK HALF of a dead rodent, to be exact, (which my church choir partners seemed to think was hysterical - Hence coming up with the old saying "I don't give a rat's ass..." )  Luckily, there wasn't a lot of blood and gore, and after knocking half the stuff off of my bedside table trying to get to my box of Kleenex, ratty (or, what was left of him) was wrapped in a shroud of tissue and dispatched to the garbage can.  Of course, blankets & bedding had to be washed after we got back from church - like I didn't have anything else to do. 

Found this on Pinterest - thought it fit the situation... Ha ha -  Those kitties better watch it, I'll start shutting the bedroom door at night. 

Well, I'm off to write in my gratitude journal (like, "I'm grateful that rat was not alive!") and hit the sack. 

Have a great week!  


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Meow Like a Pirate Day & 3BT

Well I missed Meow Like a Pirate Day on Friday - too much going on -

Changes at work have me feeling anxious - I'm sure everything will turn out OK - it's just like I feel like an old episode of Star Trek, venturing into the unknown, I guess. 

I made some Chicken Stew tonight with some end of the summer vegetables - It really turned out delicious - I wish I'd thought to get a nice loaf of Italian bread to go with it - maybe tomorrow - there's planned left overs for tomorrow night.  I also thought it might be good over brown rice.  I'll have to see what The Shepherd would prefer.

The Seahawks are behind - Darn!  Also,k it rained cats & dogs this afternoon and today at church we talked about Gratitude.  I was grateful that I didn't have to be out in the rain, that's for sure.

 It made me remember that I have been remiss in posting about Three Beautiful Things.  - So here goes -

Peach Cobbler - probably one of my favorite desserts - I like to make it in my Pampered Chef Deep Dish Baker so I can put LOTS of peaches in there.  I just use the old recipe out of my Betty Crocker Cookbook - it never fails.  

Ah, another food item - POPCORN!  I love popcorn, and generally make up a big sack full of it and then snack on it for several days.

I got this popcorn from - it never ceases to amaze me what you can get from them - it comes prepackaged with popcorn, flavored coconut oil and popcorn salt.  The idea is to dump it all in the pan at the same time, but there is WAY too much salt so I have been pouring the salt into a shaker and only using part of it - YUM. 

And pretty Yarn - this yarn turned out so colorful - (I need to get back to taking pictures of the roving so I can see how it looked before being spun)  I was hoping to get to do something with it, but I sent it and a bunch of other yarn to the Bow Little Market with my friend Donna & I'll be darned it it didn't sell - but it was beautiful.  I hope the person who bought it makes something pretty with it.

Everyone have a great week out there! 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Umm - Mummy's Sunday Selfie

We can't remember if we told you about Mummy's hurt footie sometime in the past month - well, it got worse over the Labor Day Weekend - she basically had to spend the time just lounging 'round and complaining because her foot hurt.  Finally The Shepherd had enough and said "I think we need to take you to the ER" 

What happened was she was just walking down the hall and heard a "Snap" & felt pain in her foot. right below her little piggy toe.  (This was in mid August, mind you)  So, thinking it was a stress fracture, she made a Dr. appointment and went to the Dr.  He said "Oh, I don't think it's broken, I think you sprained it" - What the heck - he wasn't listening to what she said, we thinks... but they took x-rays and nothing was conclusive, so he told her to just stay off of it and it should get better.

It didn't. 

She called back to his office and they said - "Physical Therapy"  Mummy said "NO Physical Therapy"  having had a verrry bad experience with it last year when her neck was hurting.    Ok, a referral to a Podiatrist.  (Who couldn't see her for two weeks)  Meanwhile her foot continued to deteriorate, until Friday before Labor day it got really bad - pain was up into the ankle and she couldn't put any weight on it at all. 

On Saturday, she called the Urgent care clinic for her Dr.'s office.  Turns out, if you have already been seen for your problem, they will not take you at the urgent care clinic, you have to call the Dr. on call.  So she did.  The attitude of the Dr. on Call was "Oh, Broken foot?  Too bad, so sad.  Can't do anything for ya.   Find some crutches and stay off of it"

So, if you have a broken foot, as far as we can tell, the medical profession doesn't give a diddly squat.

So, Mummy got up really early (for her) on Tuesday a.m. - (The Shepherd is already up at 0-dark-30 to do sheepie chores.  They were at the ER & checked in by 7:15.  Then some people with more urgent problems, like strokes, etc. came in behind her and she was dropped to the bottom of the list.  Waited almost 2 1/2 hours.  BUT at least they were willing to help her.  More x-rays were still inconclusive to a fracture so the good ER Dr. suggested something for the pain and one of these huge boot things.  Well, after 2-3 hours in the boot thingy the pain went away, so she didn't need to fill the prescription, and her foot is getting a little bit better every day.  She'll probably have to wear the boot thingy for another couple of weeks.  The Dr. said to follow up with an orthopedic surgeon, but she doesn't have the best insurance, and they are 'spensive.  So, she's hoping that it continues to improve and she won't need to do that. 

The weird thing is that the day Mummy hurt her right foot, The Shepherd found out that he had a broken bone in his LEFT foot, and then Wednesday evening when she got home from the Salt Mine, George was sitting by the side of the driveway holding up his paw and looking quite sad, and limping when he walked.  They ended up taking him to the After Hours V.E.T. - who determined that he had been bitten, it wasn't badly abscessed, and so they gave him a shot of heavy duty anti-biotics in his tushy.  He's all better now though.

The Shepherd has loads & loads of zucchini in his garden, so Mummy has been putting the scary green stuff in everything she cooks - at least she doesn't expect George and me to eat it.  But she has found a yummy quick bread recipe that she says she'll share with you all later this week.

And that hatched egg?  We never did find out what escaped from it, but I'm keeping my eyes to the skies, just in case. 

That's all the noos that I have for you this week.  Love,  Gracie

Friday, September 04, 2015

We think something might have hatched in the garden.......

Hi Effurrybody and Effurrykitty!

Gracie here with an odd report of things happening in the Shepherd's Garden -

We think something might have hatched.....

Mummy was out walking in the garden with some friends and they came upon one of her dragon eggs -

It was cracked open!!!!!!!!!!

We think something might have hatched! 
Mummy - you'd better get the net out - what ever came outa that egg - it looks like it might eat joocy kitties for dinner!  
To Be Continued............ 

PeeEss -  Mummy says to tell you all that things are really good at The New Salt Mine and she Love, love, loves her job.  :-)