Monday, June 22, 2020

I'm So Happy

According to a lip reader who watched Kate Middleton as she was driven in an open carriage after her wedding, that is what she said to William. "I'm so happy."

Well, I'm so happy too, but it's because of this:

The spices, all but one, are in identical new jars with readable labels on the tops.

Apparently it doesn't take much for me to be happy during this endless pandemic.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

It's Been Awhile

And what have I been doing? Not much. It's Pandemic World.

Each day is the same as the last, and the next. Some days all we accomplish is breathing and eating three meals.  

However, Yay! Today I have a project.

It will probably be mind-numbingly boring, but that's where I am. I have 24 identical bottles and lots of matching labels and I am transferring my spices to these bottles so they will fit in the pantry AND so that I will be able to see what is in the bottles. I'm going to go really crazy and alphabetize them.

Because I'm cooking more than I ever wanted to, I occasionally break up the menu with something different, and that's where the confusion of spices comes in. I fumble amongst them looking for the one a recipe calls for, it takes a few minutes sometimes, and because I have nothing better to do, I get annoyed. When I pulled all the containers out of the pantry, I found that I had duplicates, and in one case, triplicates, of some of the spices.  

And a funnel to transfer the spices with.

 Baxter helped!  sort of
The box the bottles came in.  It must be sat in.

I have been knitting as well, and this is the scarf (Perfect Blend by Casapinka) I'm working on. It has twelve different colors, (Miss Babs Yummy Two-Ply Toes) and lots of variations in patterns among the 23 sections. Slow progress, but I have time. Slow, interminable pandemic time.  

I acknowledge that I am lucky.  I am staying-at-home comfortably, but anything gets tiresome enough after awhile.  If people would just WEAR MASKS when they are out and about, we could all emerge sooner.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

The Sweater is Finished

and has been for awhile.  I just forgot about it, stay-at-home being so hectic and all. 


So here it is: 

In the fall I will get to wear it, I hope.

And I was bored, so I've made scones using what was labeled as a British recipe.

Here they are:  

The pasty yellow ones are bland; they need clotted cream and strawberry jam.  They were supposed to have blueberries in them, but I forgot.

These turned out ok.  AND I remembered the blueberries, and I used a larger wine glass to cut them out of the dough.

I don't know why the Great British Baking Show has not called me.  

I am such an organized, clean baker: 

As long as they don't mind breakage, I'm their girl.

I broke the wine glass I used for making the circles for the first batch; I was holding it by the base.  

I'm currently making something resembling strawberry jam for the pasty-looking scones.

I'm not using a recipe so wish me luck!  

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Almost Finished!

The Throwback by Andrea Mowry

Sort of, if I don't consider that I still need to:  

Pick up stitches around the neck and knit the ribbing.
Pick up stitches on each side of the front opening and knit the ribbing.
Weave in all the ends.
Wash and block the whole thing.

So there's a lot to do yet, but I do see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I'm also knitting some socks:

Basic sock pattern by Janet Stephens

I am halfway done with the second sock, so again, light at the end of the tunnel.

AND next!

Perfect Blend by Casapinka.  Twelve colors (Miss Babs yarns) and twelve different stitches.  That should be fun, but first, I must finish the sweater.  Says I.  

I might not be listening.

Sunday, March 8, 2020


It has been a long time since I have been here, but I have made some progress on my sweater:

It's sort of weird looking, but it hasn't been blocked and that won't happen until I have finished knitting the whole thing. I did start a sleeve, picking up live stitches and casting on about eight more for the required total of 62 stitches.

Then I started knitting, and according to the pattern, I should be decreasing two stitches every 8 rows. I did that and then tried on the sweater. The sleeve was very form fitting, skinny, narrow, tight, all of those things.  

So I performed what I call a "Sally?,"which involves yanking the needles out of live stitches and pulling out row after row after row. I’ve seen Sally do this over and over, and each time, any knitters present, including yours truly, gasp. It will all unravel. She will lose stitches and NEVER get them back, we all fear.

She has never had anything unravel that she didn’t want to unravel, and she doesn't lose stitches, at least not in the presence of other knitters. ( We don’t know what happens at home.)

I pulled back row after row, and then stitch by stitch, took back the first row that I had made decreases in. I came out with the right number of stitches, and, my theory is, that I can just work with that number of stitches, no decreases, and keep trying the sweater on.  If it looks as if I can make some decreases further down the sleeve, in order to have the right number of stitches for the ribbing section, then that’s what I will do.

I probably ought to write down what I do so that I end up with two identical sleeves, right?

Monday, January 27, 2020

I am struggling along on the Throwback sweater, sweating and swearing (quietly) as I knit the rows that use three colors. True fair isle, I am told, does not ever use more than two colors, and I swear, as doG is my witness, that I will never do three-color stranding again.  The yarn gets more twisted than you can imagine, and I can't find a way around it.

This is nothing like the worst of the tangling.  

People who have seen me work on this have noted that I take more time untwisting yarn as I knit a row than I do actually knitting.  I'm sure it's true.

However, I have no problem purling the wrong side of the sweater while I am stranding two colors, and people on Ravelry and in person have said that purling stranded knitting is really difficult.  I find it pretty easy, which probably means I'm doing it wrong, but it's turning out ok.

Yesterday I had only two rows of three-color knitting to do, but after I finished the second row, I found a mistake halfway across the first row.  I had to take a row and a half out, just when I thought I had finished with the most difficult of the knitting.  The rest would be a breeze.  

So I start over with three colors today, sweating and swearing (maybe not so quietly), hoping for the best.  

In other news, I bought this good-looking cat tree.  It's so much nicer than the one we've been using.  No thick carpeting to hold onto hair and barf.  Easier to take care of.  All wood, so sturdy.  The last cat tree we will ever need, I told my husband.  He spent an hour and a half putting it together. The cats don't like it.  

I'm hoping they will eventually learn to love it, but so far, nope.  I even squished Baxter's old cat bed into the bottom to replace the white fluffy faux fur pillow.  (White?  What were they thinking?)

ODC cats, right?

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Look at Me!

I am fair-isle-ing!!!  (not a word, until today)

I didn't think I could do it, but apparently I can!  Knitter/needlepointer Elizabeth told me to keep the old yarn on top as I went from color to color, and that's what I did.

Yay me!

Saturday, January 18, 2020


One of these things is exactly like the other.

Do you see the two identical halves of a snap?  Yes, yes you do.

I carefully cut off the hand-sewn half on the knitting, flipped it and re-sewed it.

Now I have this.

The snap is a clever way to attach the pom-pom to the hat, but I think I prefer the elastic loop method, where the elastic is pulled through the top of the hat and then buttoned around a, well, a button.  Less sewing.

I played yarn chicken with this project because I was using left-over yarn from the second Cowboys and Angels wrap.  I both won and lost.

I still had rows to go before I could start the decreases and I gambled that I could make it because I had made the ribbing section shorter in order to save yarn.  

As it turned out, I bet I could have knit several more rows of ribbing and still made it, so I sort of lost, even though I won and didn't run out of yarn, because now I have so little yarn left over that there's nothing to do with it.  I should have knit on.

And because it's raining and cold today, I finished my socks as well.

It's a good day for hand knit wool socks.

Now, unless I can come up with another knitting distraction, it's on to the sweater.  I've only had the yarn for a year and a half.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

So It's Been Awhile

So here's an update.  Yes, the bathroom project in the previous post is finished.


I am back to knitting, working on some socks

String Theory Colorworks, colorway Inertia

and a hat (that I am probably going to run out of yarn for) in order to continue avoiding the sweater project I'm intimidated by. The Throwback by Andrea Mowry.  

With these colors:

As I was shopping on wandering around the internet today, I found these bobbins:

Photo by Crafty Flutterby Creations

Aren't they cute?!

And I NEED them, right, for the areas where I don't have to carry a lot of yarn.

I suppose I could have gotten by without them, but why do that?  They will be on their way on Monday.

I do hope they are coming on a slow boat  from China.  

Sunday, December 8, 2019

So, is the Bathroom Project Finished Yet?

No.  No it is not.

On the good news front, it didn't require cutting away drywall to put in more backer board. The board that was there was large enough to provide support for the new sink.


painting, which began over three weeks ago, is not yet finished.

New sink, new outline.  And yes, there is wall paper under all the layers of paint.


Friday, December 6, 2019


Returning to the mission creep episode, nope, the project will not be finished today.

It seems that the new sink is just enough taller than the old one that it requires installation of new backer board, which means cutting away some of the freshly painted drywall and then patching the drywall and re-painting the drywall and then installing the sink.


Mission Creep

Because there were just the two of us for Thanksgiving, we (meaning I) decided that the half bath on the first floor needed re-painting.  We (meaning my husband) had previously painted it in a semi-gloss paint.  It was too shiny, reminding me of what might be used in a run-down gas station bathroom, a bathroom that might need scrubbing down.  I'm not imagining why that might be necessary.

Anyway, when we were re-doing the bathroom upstairs, a salesperson at Sherwin-Williams told me about the matte finish they sell.  Not quite flat, not quite semi-gloss.  It was just right. So I took everything off the walls, bought the paint and off we (meaning my husband) go.

Painting is finished.  Hmmm... maybe we should get a more modern, low-flow toilet.  Off to Lowes and Home Depot.  Found one, bought it, installed it, and done.

But we needed new faucets to "update" the sink.  Off to the Lowes and Home Depot, bought new stuff, and when my husband tried to un-install the old plumbing stuff (I don't know what that entails) he discovered that the sink had a couple of cracks in it, all the way through.  Apparently that happened because the plumbers, 30 years ago, used something resembling concrete to install the plumbing, and hammering that away broke the sink.

By the way, we are three weeks out from when we started this project.  

Off to Lowe's and Home Depot. Again. Buy a new sink, and maybe later today, everything will be finished.

Cross your fingers, ok?

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Come On Over for Dinner!

Tonight, for the first time ever that I can remember, I decided to make a standing rib roast for dinner. There are only two of us, so I bought a two-pound roast.  How difficult could this be with the help of the internet?

Recipe:  Roast at 450 degrees for 15 minutes, turn the oven down to 350 degrees/20 minutes per pound.  EASY!!!

1st step:  450 deg:  15 minutes

2nd step:  350 deg:  20 minutes.  Instant read thermometer reads 55 degrees.  OK, maybe that's ok.

3rd step:  350 deg:  20 minutes.  Instant-read thermometer reads 71 degrees.  OK?  Seems odd.

4th step:  350 deg:  20 minutes.  Instant-read thermometer reads 79 degrees.  WTH? (Not quite what I said)

5th step:  350 deg:  25 minutes.  Husband is closer to the oven, he checks the thermometer, thinks that this doesn't make any sense because it's still not over 100 degrees.

He flips the thermometer over.  It's set for Centigrade.  I didn't even know that was an option and I've had the thing for a couple of decades.  AND I have no idea how it got set to centigrade.

The temperature in Fahrenheit:  190 degrees.

It wasn't charred, but it sure was well, well done. 


Monday, November 4, 2019


I'm just wandering around in my mind because I don't feel like getting organized, so here are my rambles:

My two daughters and I went to Ireland, had a great time, saw the usual places and some new ones.  

I learned the value of really good car rental insurance.  I have no problem driving on the left side of the road while seated on the right side of the car, and oddly enough, I am a champ at parallel parking.  I DO have a problem with tiny parking spaces in parking garages, and I scrubbed the left front of the rental car on a concrete post in a garage in Galway.  There were two narrow spaces between two large posts and that's where I had the problem; when I returned the car, no problem.  Phew.  Also, the car was a Toyota hybrid, which I think means a Prius, and I loved it.  Used not a lot of gas for a lot of driving.

We found the church in Garvagh where my paternal grandmother was baptized in 1881. She moved to the US in 1905 and died here in 1953.  I only met her once and I was not even five yet so I only vaguely remember her.  I have tried without success to get her birth certificate but I just found my grandfather's bc and it is on its way to me.  If I can get his death certificate, I can apply for Irish citizenship.  

Isn't it pretty!

I need my grandfather's social security number to apply for his death certificate, and I have no idea if he even had one, and if he did, how to find it.  More research ahead.  I have no idea why I would want an Irish passport, or what I would do with it.  But I'm stubborn enough to think that if I CAN have one, I SHOULD have one.  

We had fish and chips, of course, several times. And, of course, Irish stew, and of course, Guinness.  Or at least, I did.  

Because one of my daughters had been to Ireland before, and I had been there twice before, some destinations were a repeat for one or both of us, but everything was a first for older daughter.  A special treat for all of us was Newgrange.  

It was built in about 3200 BC and is an example of very early genius engineering.  It's quite small inside and the ceiling is amazing---slabs of rocks arranged and stacked to form a dome, and the builders knew to slightly tilt the rock towards the outside of the structure so that rain would not get inside---and it hasn't in all these centuries.  Soil is mounded up over the rock portion so it looks much larger than the inside actually is.  Archaeologists aren't sure what the structure was used for, but during winter solstice, at sunrise, light comes inside through the window above the doorway and lights up the path to the center of the round space where we gathered, only fifteen of us at a time.  

In Galway I bought another cabled sweater.  What Georgia resident doesn't need even more wool clothing?

And speaking of knitting, since I returned home, I have finished two more projects:

A second Cowboys and Angels

And another pair of socks.  (Magpie yarn)

And now, for something completely different, this explains where ghosts come from, but now that Halloween is over and the ghosts are gone, we are still left with the struggle to put duvets inside their covers.  I've gotten smart and let my husband do it.  He has come up with a technique that involves turning the cover inside out and then doing something that involves hanging the whole thing over the stairway railing.  I have not bothered to learn this technique.  

And speaking of Halloween, sort of, this is what is left of a bag of 90 assorted candies.  I had never heard of Starburst so I tried one.  The pieces look like bubble gum, but, SURPRISE, they aren't.  I'm not sure what they are; they aren't particularly sweet and I couldn't discern a flavor.  Sorry kids, but I'm sure you got some M&Ms, Twix and Three Musketeers I gave out in each handful of candy.

And, that's probably enough rambling for now. 

Thanks for reading, especially if you made it to the end.  


Sunday, August 11, 2019

My Very Own Pool.

Monday starts my favorite season---kids go to school and I pretty much have the pool to myself.  Here is a re-run of the post I originally put up celebrating my very own pool.

Paradise is what our neighborhood pool felt like today. For some reason, once the end of summer vacation comes and the kids are all back in school, no one comes to the pool, and so I have it to myself. It was lovely this morning: the bluest, cloudless skies; no noise except for the birds and whatever the noisy insects in the trees are; perfect temperature and humidity; and the occasional, silvery corporate jet gliding noiselessly overhead, very high in the cloudless blue sky. I have said for decades that the only thing I would trade my soul for is my very own swimming pool. Natas, are you listening?

When I lived in Florida, I was a regular long-term substitute teacher in a school for the gifted. It was a separate facility, on its own campus, and the students had to meet IQ and other ability requirements to qualify for the school. The kids were amazingly bright, smarter than most of the teachers probably, and teaching there required that the teacher’s ego could stand knowing that if a student questioned something, it was OK to say, “I don’t know, but let’s find out.” We couldn’t fool these kids. Since it was a separate school, the kids weren’t bullied by the types of people who would call them “geeks” or “nerds.” They may have called each other that at times, but all in teasing fun. They tended to spark off each other so classes were never dull and it was a blast to teach there.

One student has stayed in my memory. His name was Pete, but when I took over the class for the remainder of the year at the start of second semester, I couldn’t figure out who he was; he signed his papers “Natas.” I asked Natas to let me know what his real name was so that I could record his grades correctly in the grade book. Turns out, he was signing "Natas" because that is "Satan" spelled backwards. It was meant to shock, I’m sure, but I just said “OK.” Let’s just say that Pete was dancing to his own music. He was sort of Goth before Goth was even in existence and occasionally got in trouble for his behavior and his appearance, but all in all, he seemed like a nice kid. His poor father was called in once for a conference after Pete had done something wrong, and he certainly was rattled by his son’s behavior. He said to me, “Do you know he signs ‘Natas’ on his papers?”

Well, yes I did, and I told him it didn’t worry me, that it was just meant to shock and it wasn’t working. He finally bought his son a computer (before the days when every home had one, let alone multiple, computers), hoping that using it would inspire better work. Oddly enough, Pete started signing his papers “Pete *anonymous*, 3rd.” I guess he liked how his actual name looked in print.

We teachers wondered what would happen to Pete. Would he end up a bored office worker? I hope not. I hope he’s found a creative and fun way to make a living, and is able to use his sort of odd outlook on life in a way that he and those around him can appreciate. It’s just one of those things I will probably never know….


What? Who’s there?

It's me, Natas. 
Huh? Wha…?

Quitcher bitchin. 

Didn’t you just go on and on about how no one is at the pool and the weather is perfect and blah, blah, blah? 
Well, yes.

So you already have your own pool. Stop bugging me. I don’t want your soul. Geeze, you’re practically circling the drain aren't you?
Uh, well, I hope not, but...
Well, you're old. So there's not much soul there for me to work with, right?
Well, Ohh...kay . I see your point.


Sunday, August 4, 2019

I'm So Smart!

I have this print hanging over our bed.

Isn't he a pretty peacock?  

He is ever so slightly off center.  I tried, but in spite of the several sets of nail holes behind the print, it is still slightly off center.  I was too lazy to measure, y'all, and I didn't.  I just kept making holes for the nails and n.e.v.e.r getting it quite right.

We are getting a new bed on Tuesday.

What does that have to do with anything? you ask.

Well, here's where I tap my head, acknowledging my stroke of genius.

Mattresses are heavy and I can't push the bed over to get it centered under the print, so when the mattress is OFF of the bed, before the new one is put ON the bed, I will, tah-dahmove the bed ever so slightly to get the bed and the print correctly centered.

Work smarter, not harder, says I.

My mama didn't raise many dumb children.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Dear Diary,

Dance as if no one is watching. check

Sing as if no one is listening. check

Write as if no one is reading. check!

That I can now do because I announced to the world in general that I was not writing any more posts, and so I imagine that no one gets notices that there is a new post, and yet here I am again. Talking to myself, as it were.

But I have knitting news and it has to go somewhere:

I'm working on my second Cowboys and Angels.  The first one came out really well and it was fun to make so why not make a second in a more neutral color?  So I am.  Also it serves to put off starting work on theThrowback Sweater.  It is going to be such a difficult knit because it involves stranding ON THE BACK SIDE, which I hear is torture.

I am also working on a pair of socks because having two WIPs definitely stops me from working on the sweater.

I'm using Knitjan's basic pattern, the only one I've ever used. (Magpie Yarns Swanky Sock, color Très Bien)

Swanky indeed; it has cashmere in it!  

So the yarn for the Throwback Sweater lies dormant, waiting for me to work up the desire to knit it.

Someday it might look like this:

A girl can dream.