OK. Microwave controls vs. food package instructions. If you cook something in the microwave for 1 minute, the microwave timer counts down from 60. So, if the food package says to cook something for, say, 4-1/2 minutes, do you set the timer for 4.50 (half a minute = 0.50 minute) or 4.30 (half of 1 minute (60 seconds) = 30 seconds)? Somebody in the food industry (or the microwave industry, not sure which) has really dropped the ball here. You’d think they’d put the microwave times on the package directions the way you should punch them in on the microwave controls, for crying out loud!
I’ve finally finished crocheting all the snowflakes I plan to crochet this year. There is glitter EVERYwhere, especially in the living room carpet by where I have the ironing board set up. Whoopee!(I have it set up in the living room right next to the dining area so I can use the dining table to put the bottle of stiff stuff, and the containers of glitter and straight pins, and what not on. I still have two snowflakes that need the second side stiffened and glittered, and then glue the ribbon loops on, and then packing one bunch to mail. I was going to try to get them there before Christmas, but obviously, that isn’t happening.
Then I have to clean up the mess. Ugh. I out-and-about-ed all day yesterday — I went to the dentist and the verdict is that the post is looking great. I’m supposed to come back Wednesday-week to get the impressions made for my new molar. I had the tooth pulled in May. I’ll finally get the implant/replacement in January. I will be so glad to finally be able to chew on that side again. (Oh, I can chew on that side, but it’s a bootless undertaking . . .)
After that, I went to visit my friend LB and took her a snowflake. She had knitted a bunch of snowmen and gave me one. She is currently dealing with her third recurrence of breast cancer which has now metastasized to her bones. ( She’s being treated at the same cancer center where I donate the hats.) She’s had a third round of chemo and radiation treatments to her ribs where it first showed up in the bone. Her latest MRI showed she had lesions in all but two of her thoracic vertebrae. She’s trying to stay upbeat. They’ve started her on this new pill type chemo that is supposed to be really great. I hope it works.
Last week, the battery on my computer UPS device died — I have two UPS devices, and the battery on the other one died first, and I changed them out. Now this one died as well — and I had to go get a new battery. I took one of the dead ones in to be sure I got one that would work, and since both devices use the same battery, I got two. I left the dead battery with them to recycle (it contained lithium), and one of the errands I had to run yesterday was to take the other dead battery in to get it recycled as well. And I had to go to this store to get this thing and that store to get that thing, and then shop groceries. By the time I got home, and got everything sorted out and put away, I was pooped. As a result, I went to bed too soon after I ate supper and had a bad reflux episode, woke up coughing and gagging, with my nose streaming. I had a hard time getting back to sleep again, and I have a sore throat, and I’ve been wheezing all day.
I had an optometry appointment at the VA today, and they dilated my eyes. I looked a little weird wearing dark glasses on such a grey, overcast day, but I was able to drive home. In addition to being grey and overcast, it was also colder than the proverbial wedge (our overnight low is supposed to be 24F/-4.44C tonight). I stopped by my moms later this afternoon, after my eyes had settled down, and her halls are quite thoroughly decked. Our family moved to that house in the 1960’s. The house had a fireplace but no mantelpiece, which my mom found odd and disappointing. At the time, my mom was doing ceramics as a hobby — one of her friends had a shop for hobbyists with molds and kilns, etc., — and she was working on this deluxe nativity set which would have been perfect to display on a fireplace mantel — alas! My dad decided to make her one, and did woodcarving on it. It took him forever (his projects usually did), but finally he got it done. (The reason it took forever was that he was so painstaking. The results speak for themselves). The white pieces pf the nativity set stood out better before mom had the brickwork (and the wood paneling) in the den painted.
The picture above the mantel is a photograph my dad took of my late aunt’s former house in El Paso all decorated with luminarias. He had it enlarged and framed and they gave it to her one year for a gift. When she passed, her son wanted mom to have it as a memento. My dad’s niece made my parents promise that if they ever sold the house, she could have the mantel. When my brother and I were little (1953), this lady in their church made stockings for us and my mom hangs them up every year. I cropped them out of the picture, because this is not Facebook.
As mom and I were sitting in the den visiting this afternoon, I looked up through the sliding glass door into their back yard, and it was snowing — just not sticking. When I got back home, Lo, how a rose e’er blooming in my flower bed was sprinkled with snow. Three days before Christmas, it’s still blooming.
After having to listen to this rock diva and that country music star warble and butcher all the popular* Christmas carols in practically every business I went into yesterday, I hunted up some little off-piste delights — trained singers singing a carol that hasn’t been sung into the ground because it’s one everybody knows.
A little picture essay on the making of snowflakes . . .
I really needed a size larger crochet hook than the size 6 (1.8 mm) hook I was using, and the thread was very slubby, which didn’t help. And in the years since I’d made them last, I had forgotten just how brain intensive following a crochet pattern is. Life is hard, then you get over it.
About three pins into pulling out the straight pins after the snowflakes had been liberally coated with stiff stuff, I realized why God gave us needle nosed pliers. Duh!
I didn’t have days for the stiff stuff to finally dry all the way through, so I got creative. Air circulation did the trick. I elevated it even further off the table by putting it on upended juice glasses. Use what you have in more creative ways.
The last three snowflakes! Small victories add up.
Fifteen snowflakes, stiff and sparkly. Gluing on the ribbon loops with a hot glue gun reminded me why I hate hot glue guns. GLUE STRINGS!
Three sheets of this paper cost me $23! — (mostly because 3 x $0.79 for paper, 2 x $1.50 for two tubes of glitter which was on sale for half off, and 2 x $9.99 for two “teacakes” of yarn. . . .yeah, I know. I was going cold sheep, but . . .) I have no willpower and I need to stay out of Michael’s.
Sewed them to a piece of blue card stock and stuck some little plastic snowflakes on as accents. Presentation is everything.
Mom took them to the auction at her SEKRIT KLUB. They were auctioned off for $25 a set, so $75 toward a very worthy cause.
And . . . there is knitting news. The yarn “teacake” got rolled into a big ball and a hat is in progress. It’s superbulky yarn (6) so it ought to go fast. I’m calling it the Mossman hat because it’s a man’s toboggan done in moss stitch. Pattern to be posted in my knitting blog once I’ve finished knitting it.
Our relative humidity has gone up to 38% from 9% earlier today, but curiously, even though the temperature has gone up about 5F as well, the rise in humidity makes it feel colder, not warmer. Right now, it’s 33F (0.5C), heading for a high of 70F(21.1C).
My computer guy brought my computer back last night. He said, just take the side off and blow a fan straight into the box, and I can use it. Fans, I’ve got. So I am typing this now on my big girl keyboard. I love this keyboard so much, I’ve got a new one squirreled away in the closet because this one will wear out. I love the touch on it. Very light and fast. (It’s a gamer keyboard.)
So, sitting in the office, at the ‘puter, eating pineapple chunks for dessert after a meal of Pedro’s beef tamales (their factory burned down, and we didn’t have any for SO LONG, but now it’s been rebuilt and I don’t care if I was in the middle of Walmart, when I saw them in the meat case, I did a happy dance!). I had three, with a big glop of refried beans on top, a sprinkling of chopped black olives, and some shredded “Mexican four cheeses” on top, zotted in the microwave. It was sheer nums. When I opened the can of pineapple chunks, I dumped juice and all into the bowl, and drank the juice when I’d eaten them all. (Did I mention the humidity was 9% earlier today?)
I need to put Burt’s Bees Lip Balm on my shopping list. I’ve got a tube in my purse, but I’ve been using Vaseline around the house because I’m afraid if I take the tube out of my purse, I’ll forget to put it back, and be caught out without any. Vaseline works OK, but Burt’s Bees Lip Balm has peppermint in. . . I might get a couple of tubes, one for my bedside table, one to put in the junk bowl on my computer desk, and maybe another to put on my reader’s table in the living room. . .
When our humidity dips below 20% I can put two dryer sheets in the dryer, and I still end up playing Rice Krispies clothes. I run a comb through my hair and it just stands up and roars. I’m wearing a little flannel lap robe at my desk, and when I get up, if I don’t take my ear buds out before I pull the lap robe off, the static electricity goes right up the ear bud cord straight into my ears. Gets your attention, I can tell you! Home baked ECT therapy.
Here’s the junk bowl on my computer desk. As you can see, it has cable needles, a crochet hook, and stitch markers in it, plus a little stylus that came with my phone in case I want a little glittery thing dangling off it all the time. I have a matching plate on my side table for my carafe.
I’ve had the bowl a while, and only recently ordered the plate when I saw that the carafe was leaving a ring because if there was any liquid in the spout, it tends to dribble if I tilt it when I pick it up. The first plate I ordered was evidently drop-kicked at some point during the shipping process, but they were prompt to send me a replacement.
Houston got snow. This is hilarious because the same front came through us (and was colder) before it got to them. (The fact that the humidity here was under 20% when the front came through may have had something to do with it.) I, however, have been having snow flurries in my living room for days now. I have one finished except for the ribbon, 8 with one side stiffened and glittered, 5 more to crochet, and 6 more to “process” with the fabric stiffener and glitter. Mom needs them by Wednesday. I’d best get cracking.
It’s been right nippy. Down in the low 30’s F(0’s C) at night, and in the 40’s-50’s F (4.4-10 C) during the day. My heater’s been coming on fairly regularly, especially last night. It’s 29F (-1.6C) at just after 7 a.m. this morning, and I’ve already been thinking about taking the lap robe off the back of my chair and putting it over my legs.
These past two nights, I’ve been snuggly buggly sleeping under my waffle blanket and bedspread with a microfleece blanket Z-folded at the foot of the bed that I can pull up if I need it. That back bedroom tends to be a little colder than other parts of the house because of that stupid sliding glass door — but that’s OK. I like sleeping warm in a cold room.
I think next time I make these slippers, I’m putting a ribbed cuff on them. They tend to want to pull off unless you wear them over socks. That said, they do keep my feet warm.
My carafe, which is technically for coffee, is great for hot tea as well. Three bags is what it takes. I’m having one made with two bags of Twining Earl Grey and one bag of Stash Double Spice Chai with a small blop of apple juice in. It’s just lovely, all hot and spicy.
Snowflake crocheting continues.
That’s a size 0 (1.8 mm) hook, BTW. Those at left will look like the one below once they’ve been blocked, coated with stiff stuff and sprinkled with opalescent glitter. Alas, the glitter doesn’t photograph well at all, but it makes them glitter like real snow.
The ones I’m working on now have double trebles (dtr) and triple trebles (trtr), and if I never do another picot . . . .
It’s been a grey, cold day. We’ve finally gotten some wintry weather. Perfect for bundling up in a blanket on the couch and binge watching all those great Films Noir — “Laura,” “The Big Sleep,” “Strangers on a Train,” “Woman in the Window,” “The Big Heat,” “The Maltese Falcon,” “Casablanca.” Turner Classic Movies was not cooperating, unfortunately, and besides, I have snowflakes to crochet, and then I remembered I had this Carly Simon album. . . .
Very small. Just five flakes, actually. This batch is a hostess gift to the dear friends who are having mom and me over for Thanksgiving dinner later today.
Here are the other materials you’ll need besides crochet thread (not yarn! Cotton crochet thread, such as Coats’ Knit Cro-Sheen or Aunt Lydia’s) and a size 5 (1.9 mm) crochet hook. (You might also want a set of binoculars so you can see what you’re doing! LOL!) You’ll need a bottle of Mod Podge Stiffy fabric stiffener, lots of straight pins, a spool of the narrowest white satin ribbon they make (not shown), a small paintbrush, a hot glue gun and hot glue sticks (not shown), and a container of opalescent microglitter. You want the smallest glitter particles you can find. Opalescent embossing powder will work if you can’t find the microglitter. You can use silver or gold glitter if you go for that completely over the top look, but personally, I think the opalescent glitter provides just the right amount of subtle sparkle.
First you crochet the snowflake — this pattern ends up too big for a tree ornament, I think, but I couldn’t tell until I’d made a couple. Still, they’d look OK as a festoon — hung in a window or from a mantelpiece, or something. The patterns I’ve selected are all patterns that are new to me and I can’t really tell how suitable they’ll be til I’ve made one up.
Then you spread some sort of plastic wrap over the top of your ironing board or blocking board and use straight pins to pin the snowflake out in the shape it’s supposed to be in. (This is why you need so many straight pins!) If you’re using an ironing board, you’ll need to angle the pins so that they go between the board and the cover, otherwise they won’t hold. It is essential you spread down the plastic wrap so you don’t get Mod Podge all over your ironing board cover or blocking board!
Once you’ve got all your snowflakes pinned out, you paint on the Mod Podge. I would thin down the Mod Podge to about two parts Podge to one part water. Be generous. You want the cotton thread to soak up the Mod Podge. Do one snowflake at a time. Immediately after you’ve put Mod Podge on it, sprinkle it with the glitter. You want to put the glitter on while the Mod Podge is still soaking wet so it will stick.
Once the Mod Podge is completely dry, pull out the pins (I use a pair of needle nose pliers to save my fingernails!), flip the snowflake over, and give the other side a light coat of Mod Podge followed immediately by a sprinkling of glitter. The glitter I got has a “shaker top” but I like to take pinches of glitter (like you do salt) and sprinkle it carefully, following the shape of the snowflake rather than shaking it out all over it. This allows you to apply the glitter in a more controlled manner and makes the container of glitter go farther.
Note: The Mod Podge has a tendency to “sheet” across the open spaces in the fabric of the snowflake, and you will probably have to take a paring knife or craft knife to poke these “sheets” out, remove them, and otherwise clean up the snowflake.
Once the second coat of Mod Podge is dry, and you’ve cleaned up your snowflakes, you can hot glue a small loop of ribbon to one “point”. And there you are! The loop of ribbon allows you to insert one of those metal ornament hooks into it to hang them on a tree, or you can tie them to a garland or hang them in a window by tying on some nylon fishing line.
I might point out that snowflakes are “nondenominational” — there’s nothing about them that has any overt religious connotations or symbolism, and they would be appropriate (and politically correct!) as gifts and/or winter decorations for those who espouse any of the world’s major religions — or no religion. Total win.
That loud grinding noise you heard a while ago was me changing gears from knitting to crochet. (Yes, I am ambicraftous.) My mom belongs to this Sekret Klub, and every year in early December they have a fund-raising auction. The members bring things to auction off, pay inflated prices for each other’s stuff, and the money goes into a college scholarship fund of some sort. Last year, I made her four buttoned cowls. This year, I’m making her three sets of five crocheted snowflakes. I’m also making several sets of three for hostess gifts.
Tuesday after knitting group, I need to dash over to Michael’s and get some stiff stuff, some opalescent embossing powder, a container of sewing pins, and a paint brush. I’m pretty sure I already have enough crochet thread in my thread stash. In order to turn the snowflakes into tree ornaments, which is the goal of the exercise, they have to be blocked (stretched and pinned into shape), then soaked in the stiff stuff and sprinkled with opalescent embossing powder to give them just the right amount of sparkle. When that side is dry, you flip them over and repeat the process. Once they’re thoroughly dry, you hot glue a little loop of the narrowest white satin ribbon they make to one “point” so an ornament hook can be attached for hanging it on the tree.
One down, many to go.
I googled crocheted snowflakes and found this website that has a whole slew of free patterns for them. More than enough for the 15 I’m making for my mom. I’ll choose the 15 I like best, and do them.
I was searching for “Russian waltzes” on YouTube yesterday (because I couldn’t remember whether this one waltz was written by Prokofiev or Khachaturian)(It was Khachaturian.) and found this serendooglously*.
And yes! It’s from a Russian film. And yes! An English language version is available on Amazon, . . . And yes! It’s been shipped! (It’s dubbed in English. I wish it had been in Russian with English subtitles, but I may just turn the sound off and gorge on the video.)
Here’s the Russian language trailer.
Matvey Lykov, who plays the guy she really loves (spoiler alert: Not the blond guy.), is yummy. And that wedding ensemble she’s wearing in the boat is just fabulous.
*serendoogle — something you find serendipitously while googling for something else. I made this word up by mashing “serendipity” and “google” together.