October 24, 2017

Crockpot meals: perfect for crafting days

I was wandering around Pintrest yesterday trying to find some good Wednesday night, church night, crock pot meals. While I was there I decided to take this week to try out five different ones to see which ones the fam would like.
The kids are really good eaters so I don't have to worry about someone not eating or complaining about not being hungry.
We started with this Cheesy Lasagna from Recipes that Crock.com
This Crock Pot Cheesy Lasagna will be an INSTANT family favorite!
In hind sight, using oven ready noodles and cooking the same amount of time was probably not the best idea. I should have cut my cook time down by about an hour and it would have been better. It was still really good tho and has been added to the Wednesday night meal list.

Tonight we are having Smothered Pork Chops from The Country Cook.net

I have to admit, we have had these before and they are absolutely delicious with creamy mashed potatoes.

Wednesday night we will be having one of the kids favorite crock pot meals so far:
Crock Pot Meatball Sub Casserole from Recipes That Crock
If you love meatball subs, then you want to check out this awesome Crock Pot Meatball Sub Casserole
They would eat this every night of the week if I would make it for them.
It really is a good recipe and easy peasy to throw together.

I say all of this to get to the crafting part of this post.
Crock pot meals are awesome for knitting, sewing, crafty fun. Throw everything in there and you have tons of time to get work done.

I started an easy rag quilt made with fat quarters cut into quarters.
Trin jumped in and helped with the cutting and pinning and placement so I was sewing right along in no time. 
If you haven't seen how to make one of these, YouTube has tons, literally, of videos.
And then there is always Google

Don't worry about the alignment of the seams in this pic, the strips aren't sewn together yet. They will match up later, I promise.
And you know me, even if the don't "personality" lots and lots of personality!
Sissy B's blanket is almost finished. I decided to add just a little bit more of a third skein to add some length. I didn't want her to have to ball up under it to keep warm. 
Little Man's blanket is coming right along. 
I really like the blacks and greys in this colorway that fade into a beautiful blue. 
Since there are two more blankets that have to be knit after this one. I need to make sure I put at least 25 right side rows on this a day. That's 50 rows that have to be done a day to stay on schedule. 
Perfect t.v. knitting for when it's time to settle down for the night.

So needless to say, I am in love with my crock pot right now. So much to get done, and that little ceramic pot affords me the time to accomplish as much as possible in a day.

October 20, 2017

Knitting. On the beach. At sunset. In my boots. Picture intense

With Sissy B's blanket almost finished, it was a little too big to bring down to the beach and still keep it sand free. So I grabbed up some extra needles and decided to start on Lil Man's blanket. Still using the Lion Brand Mandala yarn. 
Let me tell you, I washed up BB's blanket so I could give it to Mom, wow! This yarn is soft before you wash it, after, it's almost too soft, which makes it perfect for new babies.
For Lil Man's blanket I only cast on 130 sts. He is a little guy and I want him to have something he can drag around with him if he wants. 
And yes, the kids did eventually, accidentally, sure, uh-huh, knock it off into the sand. 
Luckily the beach was dry and a good shake out was all it needed.

I love it when PB comes home from work and says, "Hey babe, want some mullet?" The sunsets on the island are stunning this time of year!
Those crazy kids will get in the water all the way up until December. And if it's a warm*ish winter, they will get in through December!

This right here is the life, point your sailboat towards the setting sun in calm waters and just relax and enjoy!

And wish the people with those loud kids would go home already! LOL

With my boots on! I'm not nuts, I knew once that sun was gone, the temps were going to drop like a ride at the fair. And they did. And a side note: Mosquitoes on the island come pterodactyl size

October 18, 2017

My first binding, I think. Is this really binding?

It was time to decide how to finish this quilt. I have a navy blue back for it but I wanted that to be a border around the front. 
Not going to lie here, I am totally intimidated by the whole binding process. It just looks like one little mess up and I could mess up my whole quilt! And trust me, my quilt has enough "personality" sewn into it already. I don't need to add to it.
As in the patches that were supposed to be on the top. Well look where they ended up. Distracted by homework, I sewed them on upside down and didn't even notice until I laid it out for this picture. So the top of the blanket quickly became the bottom.

Then DD#1 sent me a pic of a blanket she had made, it was the cutest thing.
She had brought the back around to the front and used it as the border. Perfect!
The things we learn from our kids! 
So I cut my backing bigger than the top and rolled it for a hem.
It set the top off perfectly!

Since there were no blue patches (the flags were the 'blue') doing it this way set it up just the way I wanted. So after a half hour discussion with the BFF on the best way to do this, and to quilt afterwards, I finished pinning it all up.

I spent an hour sewing the binding down. I set the machine on the slowest it would go so I could follow the lines without messing it up. 
It was so slow grandbrat #5 asked me did my machine go any faster. LOL
So it's all pinned and the binding is sewn on and she is ready for some quilting.
My machine came with a double needle and I am seriously thinking about trying it out for double lines around the seams. It would be the only way there would be any conformity in double lines if I am doing it. 
This quilt is loaded with my 'personality' but I'm not going to point any out. If you don't notice it then it's all good.

October 17, 2017

Just some gameday photos

For my 50th birthday all I wanted was some Alabama boots.
I love my boots! And that face.
It's always good to be able to get to a game and show them both off.

I love going to Ttown almost as much as my boots.
You just can't beat the feeling of being at a game. The crowd, the noise, the cheers. I just love everything about it.
And it's especially awesome when you meet up with friends, and end up in the perfect seats!

I know most people like the end zone, or being down near the fifty yard line.
Not me, I like being up above the field so I can see everything.
And the sunsets over the stadium! You just can't beat it!

By the time the game started it was a packed out stadium, people were already trickling in an hour before the game.
It was a fast and fun trip. We got to meet up with friends and be around adults for a while! I had a blast! 

October 16, 2017

Quilting and A New Sewing Machine

I don't know what my obsession with driving myself crazy is.
I hate trying to figure out colors and patterns and put them together into something that looks good.
So what do I do, "Hey! Let's start another quilt!"
This one took me and DD#1, well mostly her saying, "why do you keep asking me? I'm throwing out ideas and you're not catching!" , about thirty minutes of moving and switching and flipping to get this design worked out.
I started with red, white, flag. But with the amount I had to work with that would have put some flags touching and some not. It didn't look right at all. So after crawling around for 30 minutes on the floor, this emerged.
Brat #1 helped me pin and label all the rows and I quickly picked it up before I could change my mind again.
Once I get the design process out of the way, I enjoy everything else about quilting. I love to sew I've found out.
And with the new machine it is a dream. This thing is awesome! So much easier to work with than my old one. And it does all kinds of nifty  little tricks!
Like this!
I would love to take credit for this idea, but I finally caught something DD#1 was throwing.
She had mentioned that I should put her and her brother's name on the quilt somewhere as a memorial for their service. It was a good idea but I had no clue how I would do it.
Then the new machine showed up.
It really does do some nifty stuff.

I decided to add them to the quilt along the top row. I think it is going to be absolutely adorable when it is finished.
Strings everywhere!

There was weekend knitting. A dear friend invited us to the game. So a four hour ride turned into an almost finished blanket for Sissy B. I am just short a few rows of binding it off and starting on the next one for little Man. 
I will post pictures when it is finished, hopefully sometime today.

October 13, 2017

Sissy B's blanket is almost an FO

In between all the quilting and cooking and cleaning, there is SEC football.
There used to be NFL football, but now it's just SEC, which is fine with me. (don't even get me started)
During the games I get all the knitting time a person needs.
I knit fast during stressful nail biters, and slow and steady when "we got this!"
Sissy B's blanket is growing by leaps and bounds after last Saturday's game. It is almost as long as I am.
Sissy B is almost as tall as me so I am going to finish this up at about my shoulders.
Exactly two skeins of the Lion Brand Mandala yarn is all it will take.
I really love this yarn.
Hopefully Sissy will love her blanket.

You see that monkey sitting on the table? He has been calling Alabama touch downs for 21 years now. He can barely lift his flag anymore, he has been slobbered on by almost every grandbrat we have, pulled on by both the German Shepherds and shoved into many a corner during football games. And he still chants his heart out after every touch down!
Roll Tide! My friends!

I hear there is cold weather.......somewhere.

Here on the Gulf Coast we have had our first, that anyone can recall, October hurricane. Which brought with it wet, humid, muggy, hot air.
But I do hear that somewhere in this country the weather is getting cold. Kudos to you!
Somewhere it is scarf wearing weather!
I love scarves! Naturally I went perusing the internet to see what I might want to make for cold weather, no matter how brief, this year.
Here are some really cute ones!
 The Prismatic Scarf
This pattern can be found on Ravelry, do we really need to have this conversation again? It's free! Join!

Upstairs Pattern

If you are more into lacy and stylish than warmth this is perfect.
I think this would also be a great gift for someone on your gift knitting list.
Just sayin'

Cerus Scarf

I made this scarf a few years ago for my Uncle for Christmas.
It was an easy pattern to follow and makes a great gift for any man on you list.

Holding Hands, Feeding Ducks Scarf
Or star stitch scarf

While this would be pretty in any yarn, I think it is perfect for the more colorful yarns.

Side to Side Self Fringing Scarf 
If you like fringe, this is the easiest pattern ever.


Another really nice one for a guy.

Mira Cowl

One of my faves. I made quite a few of the cowl patterns as gifts a few years ago, even made one for PB to wear when he is hunting.
Knit in Lorna Laces camo yarn it kept his neck toasty warm. 

And he's just cute, I had to put his picture up! ;0)

So there are plenty of options for keeping the howling wind from going down the back of your neck, fancy, lacy. And any of these would be welcome gifts for the upcoming season.

October 10, 2017

My first quilt! Hurricane knitting

My lines are a little gimped up, mostly crooked and nowhere near the 'ditch', but it's finished. It's my first quilt. And I love it!
It was definitely a learning experience. Just like my first knit sock. It was the ugliest thing ever and the sts were tight in some places and loose in another and my heel had gaps. But it was my first sock, and I still wear them today.
The walker foot definitely made this go by a lot faster with not as much effort. A must have to keep that batting from creeping, no matter how many pins I stuck in it.
Unless I decide to start another one today, this will be the first and last quilt on this machine.
My singer is bare bones minimum and I decided I wanted something that does just a little bit more for Christmas. PB, being the sweetie pie he is decided I didn't need to wait until Christmas and let me go ahead and pick one out.
I was helping him by showing him what I wanted for Christmas, stop the Christmas Eve struggle for him, but hey! Ok, I'll get one now and he can struggle through another Christmas Eve shopping spree. :0) More about the new machine later.
Here she is! All finished, washed and dried. That was the worst part for me, waiting to see if it survived the washing machine. But all the worry was for naught, it's nice and clean and fluffed and smells like Snuggle! (excuse the mess, hubby didn't make the bed when he got up!) and no, I didn't make it either for the picture. LOL
Those little squares in the top corner are the beginnings of my next quilt. Like my knitting, by the time I am finished with what I'm working on, I have already moved on to what I am going to do next. 
As you can see on the back, I just stitched the lines around the squares. Nothing fancy, just a basic, snuggly warm quilt.
Do you see that orange square turned up at the bottom?
Yes, it is sewn that way, I gimped up this block and thought I could fix it by sewing it. Didn't work!
But I don't care. Like I said, learning experiences. And it's mine! All mine!

I did get quite a bit done on Sissy B's blanket during the football game last Saturday, there was some serious fast knitting going on! Whew! We barely pulled that one off!.
We got to watch half of the game before the power went out thanks to hurricane Nate. After that it was all radio, which made me knit faster while trying to visualize what in the world our guys were up to. 
It is now about 3/4 of the way finished. I need to get on it so I can start the little kids blankets to have them finished in time for Christmas. Their's are not going to be big, bed sized blankets. I'm going for something they can carry around with them or snuggle under to watch Saturday morning cartoons.

October 6, 2017

Gnitliuq: Is it the same thing as tink?

When we have to frog several rows of knitting it's called tink. Knit spelled backwards.
So what is it called when you have to un-quilt a line? Like a whole line.
I spent the better part of the last two days unsewing my first line of quilting.
I guess I got so excited about actually getting to the quilting part, I skipped the basting, pinning and straightening part.
I only tell you this so that you can learn from my experience.
But I guess you already knew that, I'm a little more stubborn and hard headed than most.
I was buzzing right along, excited about finally making my quilt A quilt. Get all the way to the end of my line and well look at that! Here is all the batting, just lying down there in a pile!
Ok, Ok, lesson learned.
After un-quilting I started again, straightened everything back out, basted everything down with pins, added the new walking foot to the machine and wala! Better results the second time around.
For some reason it already looks quilted in this picture. This was before all that pinning. 
Speaking of the walking foot, get one, as soon as possible, run out and buy one before you ever cut your first square. It is amazing. All I had to do once I installed it is hold the fabric straight so it wouldn't gather up. The feet on top and bottom pulled the material through on it's own. It's awesome! Get one!
I did get almost all of my lines finished yesterday. I am hoping to finish it today and get some pictures. 
It's a good thing this is a learning curve quilt and just for me. It wouldn't win any awards.

October 3, 2017

Are ponchos coming back in style again? Finished my first quilt top!

I've always liked ponchos, before Martha Stuart made them a fad, I liked them.
But I don't like them short. I like them to come down to at least mid thigh. The cutsie ones that come to your waist, well those are ok for people who don't freeze once the temperature gets below 80 degrees. I do.
The best part about fall to me is now I don't look so weird wearing all my long sleeved shirts.
I may live in the south, it might reach 102 degrees, but when it is freezing everywhere you go, church, the grocery store, home, work, restaurants, I tend to always have a long sleeved shirt or jacket nearby. And since PB is always complaining about the jackets I wear in church, (he says they aren't fancy enough to wear to church) I decided maybe a nice hand knit poncho might make him happy, and keep me stylishly warm.
I like this one:

This free pattern is at Ravelry, I know I've said it before, but here it comes again. If you haven't registered at Ravelry yet, you should, and why wouldn't you? It's FREE.

If you don't mind sewing pieces together and fringe, this cute poncho is perfect for football, soccer, any games that have you hovering outside in the cold weather.

Game Day Knit Poncho

Game Day Knit Poncho

Tho this is a cape, I had to add it here. I love the simplicity of this pattern and if made in wool, this could actually be my perfect church cover up.
Swirly Striped Cape

 If you need pockets there is always this cozy poncho knit with bulky yarn. I also like the collar on this one.
Cozy Pocketed Knit Poncho
Cozy Pocketed Knit Poncho

If you are going for style instead of warmth, this adorable cover up (I can't bring myself to call it a poncho) is perfect for you.
Firefly Poncho

This quick knit poncho has snuggly warm written all over it.
Double Cable Poncho

This is just cute! Nothing else to say

I may have to rethink my earlier statement, this could be the church poncho.
Loving that cable down the center!
Stunning Liliane Knitted Poncho

I would really like to see this knitted up. The picture looks interesting.
Ray Poncho
knit poncho

My very first ever, never before done, go me! quilt top is finished!
I didn't have the batting and backing I needed because I assumed it would take me longer than 45 minutes to sew all the rows and columns together and get the seams all pressed out.
Some of my lines are a little wonky, but just like with may knitting, any mistakes are proof I made it. LOL.
I went to Wally World and picked up the batting, some basting spray and a neutral color sheet for the backing. By the time I got back home it was too late to be working on this. Dinner was almost ready!
I plan on getting it all sandwiched up today before I head out for my evening plans.

I really like it! I think it came out cute!
I am just going to stitch the ditches in this one for the quilting. I watched a few YouTube videos yesterday for free hand quilting but I think I am going to do some practicing before I actually apply that to anything. Besides, this just begs for straight lines don't you think?

Getting back in the groove

It's been so long since I have wanted to knit anything.  I knit so many socks when I started knitting back in '99 that I was comp...