So. Much. Yarn. = One-of-a-kind Magic Balls

So. much. yarn.

I have a huge yarn stash.  It is wonderful to have so much at the ready for a project but there always seems to be a particular yarn which I’m needing/wanting so I buy more which leads to so. much. more. yarn.

The best thing about having so much yarn is that I can create the best skeins of all.

One-of-a-kind magic balls.

The exciting thing about these is that there will be so much color intertwined together and no one else will have the exact same skeins as I.

I recently took a bin full of yarn remnants, much of which had been remains of my Mother’s skeins, and put together some huge magic balls of yarn.

This isn’t even all of the skeins but it gives you an idea of some of the colors and sizes of yarn skeins which became my one-of-a-kind magic balls.

This is what I have created thus far.  It is hard to determine from the photo but the skeins are rather large.

One thing I know for sure: they will become a warm, fuzzy and quite colorful blanket which will be like no other to be found, either by crochet or knitting.  I haven’t determined which method or even the pattern.  I’m entertaining some ideas of patterns to use, including the simple pattern for the knit blanket which I made last year which used quite a bit of yarn (although not as much yarn as I expected/wanted to use).  I’m anxious to see what the finished project will look like.  It will be an amazing array of colors including many of the yarns which were my Mother’s and there certainly won’t be another blanket like it.

Have you made magic balls?  If so, what one-of-a-kind projects did you create with them?

I’m looking for various stash-busting knit and crochet patterns and have been looking through Ravelry.com for more ideas.

Stay tuned to see what my final project will look like…

 

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Re-purposing vintage household items in my kitchen

I love to re-purpose items which I already own; in other words “make do with what I already have.”  I have made a more conscientious effort to cease bringing things into my home which I certainly do not need because to me “less is more.”

I already have quite an accumulation of many different items but I have begun to donate to a local “Good Will” store to benefit others.  I also dislike clutter in the home which truly affects your life.

In my kitchen I have re-purposed some vintage items which I already own and want to share these tips with you.

For many years now already I have used crocks to hold my kitchen cooking utensils.

I have a large crock to hold the larger ones and a smaller one to hold the smaller items in the corner of my cupboard near my stove.  We love them!

I always keeps napkins available somewhere on either the counter or table and recently I debated on what to place them in.  I had them on my table for awhile but I didn’t want that anymore and I wanted something for the counter but nothing too large or out of place.  I have many different crocks throughout the house so I took one of the smallest ones which I have, removed all of the pine cones which it was holding as decor, and washed it out.

This is quite a close-up of it and I keep this on the counter versus the table.

I also have one of my Grandmother’s vintage molds (a small one).  I honestly can’t remember if she used it for anything when she was living but I had received it.  I wanted to display it on my counter and thought what a wonderful candy dish this would be.

The kitty perched on the “tower” is actually for the side of a flower pot and I re-purposed her too!  She tends to fall off quite a bit though and land in the candy (I guess she’s hungry for some!).

When someone wants a nibble on something they can help themselves.

Before you go out and spend money on something you really don’t need to own just look through all of the stuff that you have already.  It’s all waiting to be used again!

Organizing all those loose “keeper” recipes

I have several tags on WordPress.com which I frequently search through for new blogs and posts.  I’m always looking for others who have the same interests as myself and who I can connect with.  I found a post titled: How do you keep your recipes? and left a comment for Marianne regarding my method of organizing all of my loose recipes.  I read other posts she had written and I now am following her blog and she is participating in my cook-through challenge.  Inspired by my comment to that particular post on the Happily Mrs blog I want to share with all of you the method I currently use (and have used for several years) on organizing all of those recipes which my husband calls “it’s a keeper.”

In an earlier post I mentioned that I’ve kept loose recipes for years and mostly in a drawer.  I sorted through and have really scaled down what I’m keeping to make and then when I cook through all of the loose recipes we decide whether to keep or discard them.  Most times those recipes are given the thumbs up and happy face of my husband and he will say “it’s a keeper.”  Translation: “don’t discard that and make sure it’s not lost; we’re eating that again.”  That’s always a good feeling when your family really loves the food placed on the table for their nourishment.  I had begun scrapbooking several years ago but I don’t do that anymore.  I have so much scrapbooking supplies and don’t know what to do with it all.  I then went on to papercrafts and mostly made, and continue to at times, homemade cards of all types.  I have so much stationery and cards and don’t know what to do with them either, but that’s another story.  Anyway, back to the scrapbooking supplies.  When shopping with a friend and getting supplies several years ago I came across some sheets regarding recipes, kitchens, etc. and here is one of them:

I thought this was perfect for the font of a 3-ring binder which would then house my recipe collection which I would scrapbook for myself.  Don’t you think it’s perfect?  It’s got that vintage look and I absolutely love that!!

So off I was to begin scrappin’ my loose recipes which had to never get lost.  I had already bought sheet protectors to fit into a 3-ring binder; had the scrapbook paper and old-school type 12×12″ paper cutter (which by the way is so worth the price since I use it for a lot!!) and just needed a binder.

I organize the binder much like a recipe book is organized.  I have all of the same types of recipes together in the binder.  I don’t use any type of tabs to find a section quicker because I do know where recipes are located in it from all of the years of use.  Within the last year I had to begin a new binder and have moved the ‘main course’ recipes into that one while everything else is staying in the one above.  I’m sure that will change as I acquire new recipes which must be kept.  If the page of the recipe is a full sheet I typically just insert it into a sheet protector; if it is smaller I then attach it to a scrapbook sheet of paper which I cut to 8 1/2 x 11″ to fit into the sheet protector.

I have kept special recipes from family members in here as well so that they don’t get lost and I can look at their handwritten recipes as I wish.  Here is sample of one which my late Mother had given to me at my wedding shower.  It is in her handwriting and I found the most perfect scrapbook paper to attach it to.  You may notice on the side that I have inserted a label which says ‘2010.’  That was the last year which she was able to home-can food and I saved that from one of her jars as a memento as well.

My Mother in law gave me several of her family recipes and I have them together (since they are Autumn dishes) on a cool Autumn sheet with a few brads which I attached (can’t you tell that I love Autumn and everything about it?!  Even my scrapbooking supplies can tell you that!).  🙂

Sometimes I attach things using an adhesive when the complete recipes is on the front but if I must flip over the recipe card or sheet I will use photo corners so that I can do that without harm to the recipe (as above).

As I had looked through all of my Grandmother’s loose recipes I came across vintage things which she had and I don’t want to lose them either.

When I make a recipe for the first time I often will write the date and comments, including smiley face if appropriate, so that I know for the future.  I do this in my recipe books as well as including my notations concerning substitutions/additions/deletions of ingredients (see below).  I tried this recipe only last Thanksgiving for something different and others enjoyed it so I will make this again.

 For me this method is working really well.  My husband can even go to one of these binders to find a recipe if I’m not home and he will have no problems locating it.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my method of organizing the “keepers” and may even decide to try it out for yourself.

Happy Organizing!!

🙂

Create my Own or Follow Along?

Crochet Alongs (CAL) and Knit Alongs (KAL) are all the rage these days (along with all those ‘Temperature Blankets’ which seems like everyone is doing!).  With the world wide web and the ability to reach people everywhere, the connections to others with the same interests as you have become so easy.

Since I learned to crochet and knit I’ve become more aware of everything that is to be found on the web.  So many patterns (FREE!) and groups of people who have the same interests have drawn me to various sites with great enthusiasm.

Although my intentions were well meaning last year I just couldn’t keep up with two afghan CALs which I found online.  I even began one of them and started making some of the pieces for the afghan but it wasn’t long before life just took over and I stopped following along (I have those crocheted pieces somewhere among my yarn items!).  This month I’ve found a few which interest me and one that will begin next month which I would like to create.  I’m not buying any yarn for the project; just using what I have hidden in my rather large stash.  I don’t know how well I will be able to keep up with this project because it is making squares which must be joined together at the end.  I’m finding that doesn’t work so well for me.  I began making large granny squares a few years ago and still haven’t completed them for the afghan which I wanted to create.  Putting together granny squares for an afghan just seems overwhelming for me.  I love those crocheted and knitted one piece seamless projects which can be used once I get them off the hooks and needles.  Do you find that you enjoy those as well?

I started to think about creating my own ‘Chaotic Crochet Along’ for others to follow here on my site.  I want to do something different then what most others are doing.  Something easy and not too overwhelming but fun!  I recently started a Pentagon-shaped throw which is fun.  It is one piece which means that when it is completed I can use it immediately!  If I was a full time stay at home woman I probably would get those granny square projects completed but that isn’t the case for me.  I work full time (in a city 35 miles from home) and only get to enjoy my knitting and crocheting in the evenings/weekends and days off work.

Crochet certainly uses up more yarn than knitting does so it is a great stash-buster for you.  Would you enjoy something like that?  I know that so many other websites and groups have CALs and KALs so it’s a tough market to get into these days! (lol)

Don’t be afraid to share your thoughts below.

Thanks for stopping in and reading my rants!

A Cool Knitted/Crocheted-Creation Idea

I recently read this on the LionBrand website about a Temperature Blanket.

The idea is not new to me; I’ve read about this concept before, regarding a scarf, and I know someone who is currently making a blanket using the concept too.

I really think that it is a cool idea for a blanket and I just created a temperature chart which I could use for where I live in Pennsylvania:

<0*

1*-32*

33*-50*

51*-74*

75*-85*

86*-99*

100*+

Too bad I didn’t start this project on January 1st because due to the varied weather we’ve been having this calendar-year I’d have quite a colorful blanket.  Our temperatures have been on a crazy roller coaster and our summer is extremely hot and humid which is quite unusual for our area (I think this Winter may be very cold and snowy too).  There is no set time to begin such a project so I may begin it on the first day of Winter 2016 (December 21) and continue until the final day of Autumn 2017 (December 20) so that I create a seasonal-year blanket versus documenting a calendar-year.  And even if I am unable to knit/crochet each day I would document the temperatures which we have at our home (either choose the high or low for each day or choose to put colors in for both the high and low for that day; I would choose one of those to keep consistent throughout the project) and then I could add to the blanket when I have time.

As I ponder this idea and try to determine the colors to use I think I will choose much of what is found in a rainbow.

Here are my current choices on colors-

<0* [gray]

1*-32* [purple]

33*-50* [blue]

51*-74* [green]

75*-85* [yellow]

86*-99* [orange]

100*+ [red]

I can’t guarantee that I will even get to begin this project any time soon but a girl can daydream; can’t she??

 What are your ideas?

Reaching Back In Time

Is it so taboo to want to live the simple life?

In this time period, where just about everyone is “plugged-in” to something electronic or a social media site, it seems like we are evolving at such a rapid pace and no one wants to slow down.

To each generation, the term ‘good ol’ days’ has a different meaning.  As a baby born in the 1970’s, I think often of the 1980’s, of my childhood and what I deem to be my ‘good ol’ days.’  I miss the people most, who are no longer a part of my life now.  And, as strange as it may seem to some, I also miss the life I was living.  It certainly wasn’t easy and there are some bad memories mixed in there, but as a child I didn’t have all the worries and responsibilities as I do now.  And, I had lots more fun!!

For a very long time, I’ve always felt I have an ‘old soul.’  I haven’t had memories, dreams, flashbacks or recollections of a former life, but I just feel older in my soul, than my actual years and get deja’ vu quite often.

My grandparents’ generation lived through the Great Depression and endured and fought World War II.  My maternal grandmother was in Europe at that time and probably had the harshest life imaginable during all of the fighting.  I’m so drawn to that time period and I seek to learn all I can of the 1920’s through the 1940’s; especially the War itself.  I imagine what life would’ve been like on the home front (USA) or abroad in Europe during all of that time.  I wish I could ask my Grandparents.  As a child I didn’t have interest in “the War”, but I do now.  If I could go back in time to live through a time period, I would choose the early 1930’s and live forward.  Would I join the War effort as a Nurse in the WAC or choose to keep the home fires burning here for a man?  I don’t know.  But it is a part of history which I feel so much more at ease with.  I enjoy vintage items and recipes which kept company during all of that.  I’ve been canning food for many years and have been expanding my repertoire in the last few.  I will keep my Victory Garden going the best way that I can (with lots of help from my hubby!).

As I get older, I keep wanting to reach back to a much simpler life and time.  I feel technology is exploding at a very rapid pace and I just feel so lost in all of it.  I don’t use social media mega giant Facebook and don’t feel the need or desire to.  And to be extremely honest with you, the Internet is growing too rapidly that I often sit in front of the computer and feel overwhelmed by it all.  I enjoy the “task” of writing a good old-fashioned letter and putting a stamp on it and mailing it (stickers on the envelope are fun to add too!).  At least I feel that I’m doing my part to help the United States Postal Service stay open-lol!!  I think that old fashioned writing of letters is a lost art and quickly becoming forgotten.  And, I saw too much fraud when I was a bank employee so I still enjoy writing out a check and paying my bills by mail!

I love the process of making and creating by hand versus buying something which was mass produced or made by someone else.  Knitting, crocheting, cooking and baking are things which I enjoy immensely.  I recently purchased a vintage cook book through Amazon titled ‘Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book’, copywrite 1950.  I bought a used one because I wanted an original from the time period with character.  And I got it!!  (I read some posts from others who purchased a new reprint of the book and recipes are missing)!

 

Cookbook

Cookbook3

Cookbook2

 

I love making the old family recipes which I have and cooking from vintage cook books.  It certainly transports me back to a better place and time.  I decided to make the recipe for White Bread (yeast) from this cook book and I used the yeast which I have which is Rapid Rise.  Using that replaces the first rise in a bread recipe and shortens the time to get it ready for the 30-minute baking.  I used that yeast because it is what I have in my fridge and I’m all about using up what I got (see previous post).  It turned out to be the BEST loaf of white yeast bread which I’ve ever made and it was PERFECT!  Instead of using milk, as I’ve done in the past with previous recipes, I used water.  It was a tasty bread loaf; better then the ones you buy at the local bakery.  Many bakeries and family-owned restaurants tend to use their cherished old family recipes and those foods are the BEST!  I keep looking at all the new recipe books from my library and the same recipes just keep revolving around with a few differences (just compare several books of the same type of cuisine and you’ll see each author’s ‘spin’ on classic recipes).  I think the older recipes are best.  They keep things simple and use items which are stocked year-round in my home but the taste is fantastic.  When the Greatest Generation was growing up and living life in their early years, the best thing they enjoyed was putting a great meal on the table for their families and friends and everyone who visited was considered family.  They didn’t go out to eat at restaurants or order take-away food to eat at home.  Why would they?  Their recipes are the best ever!

There’s no way known, yet, to turn back time and most people wouldn’t want that anyway.  But, I can still daydream of a life that is simpler and of what I lived as a child.  I grew up, and still live, in the country.  My family was farming crops and animals with big gardens.  My mother and paternal grandmother canned lots of food each summer to help us endure those harsh winters which we once had and my family hunted to put meat in the freezer as well.  I had a good childhood in many ways; but, at the time, I didn’t think it was.  I do now.  I was fortunate compared to many others.  I’d get on my bicycle and ride to town (up a very steep hill) and visit with my best friend.  We’d spend the day together and sometimes ride all over town, or to the local library where her mother worked.  I’d return before dark and no one worried (too much!).  No cell phones, computers or electronic toys.  We’d go outside and play all day and it truly was fun!  We’d write snail-mail letters to each other and call and talk on the rotary wall phone for hours (with no call waiting).  Boy!  I sure miss all of that!  I certainly would embrace the simple life; however, others around me wouldn’t.  They are evolving, along with the rest of the world, using all electronics and social media, which has gripped the world quickly.

I think that as humans age and look to their final years on Earth, they become more nostalgic and wish for their youth.  It appears to just be a part of the cycle of life.

And, as a final thought, I will say that I really love Miranda Lambert’s song ‘Automatic.’  Here’s a link to the video on YouTube.  Listen closely to the lyrics; I think you’ll feel what I feel.  Let me know….

 

Spring Mandala

My newest hobby is crochet.

I love creating things which are unique and made especially the way I like them.

This Mandala is no exception to that rule.  I want to frame this and hang it on a wall along side of my photography.

You may tweak this pattern to make you happy, as I have.  Choose any hook, yarn and colors to suit your style or make your heart happy!

(I think it would look great made in the ‘Cool Breeze Ombre’ color of Sugar ‘n Cream and hung in a kitchen; don’t you?!

🙂

Spring Mandala

Spring Mandala

Abbreviations for crochet:

ss-slip stitch

sc-single crochet

dc-double crochet

tr-treble crochet

ch-chain

st-stitch

sp-space

I used the following to create mine:

“H” crochet hook

1 2oz. skein Lily Sugar ‘n Cream “Country Side Ombre” (with some leftover to use for another project!)

Ch 5, sl to join into a ring (make more ch if you want a bigger hole in the center)

Round 1: Ch 3 (counts as first dc throughout), 11 dc into the ring, ss to the top of beginning ch3 (12 dc)

Round 2: Ch 3, dc in the st at the base of the ch, 2 dc in each st around, ss to the top of the beginning ch 3 (24 dc)

Round 3: Ch 3, dc in the st at the base of the ch, ch 1, 2 dc in the same st, ch 2, skip the next st, *2 dc, ch 1, 2 dc in the same st, ch 2, skip the next stitch,* continue * all the way around, ss to the top of beginning ch 3 (12 sets of 4 dc, 12 ch 2 sp)

Round 4: Ch 3 (first dc), *ch 10, dc in the next sp between the 4 dc groups,* continue * all the way around, ss to the first dc.

Round 5: Ch 4 (counts as first tr), 5 tr in the same ch-10 space, ch 1, *6 tr in the next ch-10 sp, ch 1,* continue * all the way around, ss to the top of the beginning ch 4 (12 6-tr groups, 12 ch 1 sp)

Round 6: Ch 3, 2 dc, ch 2, 3 dc, sc in ch 1 sp, *3 dc, ch 2, 3 dc, sc in ch 1 sp,* continue all the way around, ss to the top of the beginning ch 3 space (12 sets of 6 dc)

Fasten off and enjoy.

You could use as a doily or hang somewhere to brighten your wall.

Been busy hookin’ (yarn, that is)…

Been busy crocheting since I’ve learned.

My cousin is due to have her baby soon and I just had to make a few items for her.

IMG_7066

Here is the baby blankey which is 35″ x 35″.

IMG_7064_baby_blanket_2014

I also have to indulge in items for myself.

Here is my first hat which is so comfy and warm to be wearing these days here in the NorthEast.

IMG_7069_comfy_warm_hat

For those of you in the snow and ice~take care, keep warm and just stay off the roads and enjoy time at home

🙂

It’s been awhile….

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted.  My photography has been on vacation for several weeks while I enjoy a new hobby which I’ve recently learned.

Here are a few images of my latest “crochet-creations!”

Needlework hobbies were my Mother’s passion and most favorite hobby.

Unfortunately, I never learned how to crochet from her.

I have, however, finally learned and I’m so addicted to “hookin” yarn!

IMG_6958_bag

This is a photo of my first bag which was made ‘in the round.’  I truly am pleased with myself for this creation.  It certainly is not perfect, and I had a bumpy road, but I certainly learned a lot while creating this.  I was thinking of creating more bags to sell (I have been really considering opening an Etsy shop to sell items).  But, for now, I want to just have the luxury of creating items for myself.  I was hoping to create a few things as gifts for Christmas this year, but I don’t know if that will happen.  And, I really don’t want to put a lot of pressure on myself.

scarf

I really am enjoying creating scarves.  They are so simple and yet so elegant.  Here is one which I made as a birthday gift for my 11 year old niece.

Please….share your thoughts.

(psst….hope to get back to those photography challenges in the near future.  for now, i’m camped-out on my sofa with some hooks)! 🙂

My Personal Card Challenge: BABY

I just received news on Independence Day that my Cousin in Rome, Italy is pregnant!

She and her husband are happy for this news.

I am also happy for them.  And, I knew that I would have to create a card to congratulate them….

Here is what came out of my craft room this morning….

IMG_5000

The material which the card is sitting on was bought to match Winnie the Pooh material for a baby bag…

Looks like I will be busy this winter!

🙂

My Personal Card Challenge: die cut scraps left behind

When cutting those die-cuts for your homemade cards, don’t forget the ‘negative space/scraps’ which are left behind.

They work great for cards too!  I placed this on a metallic white cardstock (even though it is difficult to see in this particular photo).

The sender could ‘journal’ their personal message to the recipient in the fancy swirls.

Or just leave it as it is!

IMG_2256

Homemade pinecone ornaments

for Christmas one year, i made homemade ornaments with pinecones.  (i made some for me too)!

as you can see in this photo, i just attached simple white ribbon to my pinecones with a hot glue gun.  i made some with silver and gold ribbon as gifts.

the pinecones are from my yard and the gifts were much appreciated!

they are a simple, inexpensive, yet thoughtful,  gift which anyone can make.  just ‘spice’ up the ornaments with whatever ribbon you have on-hand.

i have unique, bigger pinecones as well which i use to decorate my home.  some have ‘whiskers’ on them!

🙂

don’t underestimate the power of a thoughtful homemade gift; whether it’s something you baked or crafted.

happy crafting this Holiday season!

IMG_2117