Update 11-18-17

As usual, life is busy with crafting, canning, Pathfinders, college, and making sure DH has everything in place to start his Masters in January. You would think that with the holidays coming, other than working hard on Christmas gifts, things would settle down a bit. However, that is not to be. I will be going in to work three times this week: 12 hours tomorrow, 3 hours Tuesday, and 4-5 hours on Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving will have to be handled carefully as I also need to make sure and cook a full dinner. DS has volunteered to help and my BFF is giving advice on the turkey as this will be the first time I have ever cooked one. Usually DSIL takes care of the turkey, however they are eating elsewhere so it’s up to me. Wish me lots of luck. The rest of the dinner is easy as I have done all of it before.

Thankfully we don’t have any traveling to do between now and the first of December…but you never know. Plans have been known to change. And December more than makes up for it with the following Pathfinder oriented events: a 3-hour one-way trip and back on December 2, three appointments of 2-4 hours each on December 9, and a 3-4 hour one-way trip and back on December 16. That doesn’t include the usual Sunday work days and appointments in between for the kids. Oh well, let the busyness continue.

So to catch up from the end of October, I will try to just make some brief notes:

  • Dyeing of fabric was done early in November with coffee grinds. It is light and I’m not sure I like the  mottling, but it is a good first try. I may try to darken it, but not until after the first of the new year. Too many important projects ahead of that.

    The piece on the left is a pale peach Aida that I included in my dyeing. I think I will use some tea to re-dye it. The one on the right looks better in the picture than in reality. However, with the right project, I hope it will be a good fit.

  • On November 1, I started the latest Christmas ornament. It was completed on November 8 after many comments regarding the unique dress/robe on the angel. This ornament is by Little House Needleworks and found in the 2008 Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament issue, stitched with DMC on the other half of the above peachy Aida before it was dyed. 20171109_092216
  • On November 13, I decided it was important to try for one more attempt at turning the rose hip jelly into actual jelly. It was still more like syrup despite appropriate pectin, so I recooked with more sugar–after tasting to make sure that it wasn’t too sweet already–and re-canned. This time I ended up with 20 pints and am hopeful that it will set up as I boiled it forever to reach the appropriate temperature. DH and I have determined that if this does not work, we will just enjoy it as really nice homemade syrup because it does taste really good.
  • DS’s bedroom window that was warped and would no longer shut was also letting in cold air. DH measured the window, placed the custom order and we waited the two weeks for it to come in. When it arrived, we had to wait a week because of weather, however last Sunday DH and DFIL were able to put the new double-paned window in and it has made a world of difference. And just in time for the lower temperatures. DS is quite pleased and we hope that over time we will be able to replace the rest of the windows with the same type as was used for his.
  • November 14 was quite productive as I was able to finish the baby blanket and also made my first batch of sour dough bread from my new starter.

    There are two loaves of rising dough in the picture on the left and you can see my new Ball jar that is huge and perfect for my starter. I will be making another batch this coming week. The blanket is nice and soft, perfect for a baby. The intended recipient was born on November 1 and won’t receive the blanket for a bit yet as his mom is on maternity leave. I may call her however, and slip it by her house so baby can enjoy keeping warm considering our much colder temperatures (well below freezing quite a few nights).

  • In an effort to keep getting all of my projects completed, I started canning the applesauce from the Pink Lady apples that DH and I had gleaned. The first five-gallon bucket of apples was brought in, quartered, cooked, processed through the Victorio, and ladled into hot jars. After lids were added and rings tightened, the jars were placed into the canner to boil in hot water for 25 minutes. So far so good. While the first canner was processing, I finished the jars for the second canner as I ended up with a total of 11 jars for the 15th of November. When the timer went off for the first canner, I proceeded to lift the hot jars out of the boiling water so I could add the remaining four jars. However, one of the jar lids decided for the first time ever in my life, to pop off, ring and lid, as it cleared the top of the water. Right behind the ring and the lid came boiling applesauce that hit my right palm and between my thumb and first finger. It also splattered on the stove and the floor, but the jar did not shatter and not quite 1/4 of the quart of applesauce was lost. I was not that much concerned about the mess as about the fact that my poor hand was burning dreadfully. I immediately began running cold tap water over it. Thankfully our tap water is very cold as it comes from our well. I filled the kitchen sink and kept my hand in it for well over an hour. I was home by myself and had to wait that long until DH got home from work. It hurt too much to take it out of the water for very long, but at least I was able to re-seal the jar, put the rest of the jars in the canner and process while I was standing in the kitchen with my hand in cold water. DH pulled out the first aid kit when he came home and after drying my hand, put something called 2nd skin and then wrapped my hand in gauze. That stuff is amazing because within 24 hours my hand was only a bit tender, with no scarring or blisters, and I was able to think about making bread on the 17th.
  • The same day that I burned my hand, DH began burning the tumbleweeds, wood, and leaves in the back yard behind the garden. He was able to get quite a bit of it completed before the mist turned to rain. We are hoping that he can finish more this week or next so that after he sprays for weeds, we can shovel it into the raised bed, cover it with two bales of straw and maybe plastic so that it can compost over the winter. Then all we will need to do is add the diatomaceous earth and soil from the recycling center for our new raised bed garden next spring. We also have to drag out the old box springs, turn them upside down and make them into a bed that we will fill and plant next spring with strawberries. We are trying to repurpose things instead of dragging them to the dump when we no longer need them.
  • My knitting has been limited as a result of the above, but I have been able to do some cross stitch. I have the next ornament by Prairie Moon started as of the 15th, as well as a Jane Austen inspired pattern from the Gazette94 website that I had printed out years ago. The ornament is part of my continuing effort to get some ornaments made for this year, and the Jane Austen pattern is for a Christmas gift.

    There are a total of five girls with flowers above them, their names and more flowers below them. Then you have a border around it all. The colors were not specifically listed so a floss toss with the help of DD was necessary. I am hoping that I will finish that in time to frame for a Christmas gift. The ornament is another angel and I hope to finish it very soon. My hope is to be able to FFO most if not all of the ornaments stitched so far this y ear over the Thanksgiving holiday. I will use scraps on the back of each and ribbon from my sewing stash.

  • Lastly is some knitting that I hope to finish by Christmas. This is the beginning of a headband and mittens for our niece. The headband is cast on and I have 17 more repeats before grafting the two ends together and then stitching the mittens. After that I need to cast on a pair of socks for her dad who will be in for Christmas Eve. 20171118_185926Hopefully I can do the knitting in the car on the projected trips as well as spare moments here and there as I can’t cross stitch in the car very well.

And finally, new glasses have been ordered after a lengthy discussion with the eye doctor as to what I hope to accomplish with a new prescription. There is a definite change to the prescription bifocals, but this time I hope to have glasses that will allow my cross stitching without having to look over the top of the glasses with the project held really close. The new glasses should be in by the 27th of November and I have to admit I can’t wait.

I think this is plenty long and the dryer and washer are both beeping so I had best go get that done before sneaking off to sleep. If I’m not back to post before Thanksgiving, please have a wonderful holiday for those who celebrate! Enjoy your family and count your many blessings!

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Update 10-31-17

Lots has happened since I last posted, but not necessarily in the finish world. We have had many other things happening, so I will just go through the highlights.

  • The mid-month ornament was not started until the 17th of October as I needed time to just concentrate on it. This is a Christmas stocking ornament by The Work Basket from the 2008 Just Cross Stitch Christmas Ornament issue. The fabric is a 14-count white Aida with the called for DMC threads.

    The one on the left is as of October 26 and the one on the right is when I put in the last stitch last night, October 30. You wouldn’t think this would take that long, but the counting and recounting was challenging.

  • The fabric has been put on the Q-snaps with the center marked for the next ornament to be started tomorrow. I am missing two of the called for DMC colors as I was unable to find them at Walmart. Their selection was extremely limited and none of the colors I needed for the next four ornaments. I will start with the other colors and wait until Thursday or Friday to pick them up from Joann Fabrics with a coupon.
  • Work on the crocheted baby blanket continues. 20171026_233001This picture is as of October 26, however I have added almost that much again since then. Today I crochet on this project in between other chores.
  • The waterbed has been fully retired. Unfortunately the leak that had been fixed and fixed in the last 2-4 weeks refused to quit leaking despite glue, patches, and tape. We knew we either needed to get another mattress (the right size this time also) or go back to a traditional bed. After exploring our options and talking about the potential black hole that money would disappear down over having to replace mattresses every year or two, we decided to retire the waterbed and invest in a queen size frame and mattress. Of course this meant that we also had to purchase sheets. However, we had some reward points that we could apply to the frame and mattress, so the order was placed. This evening we learned that instead of waiting until next Tuesday, we will be receiving our order on this Thursday. The flannel sheets will also be in on the same day and then we just have to wait for the regular cotton ones. In the meantime, we have set up an airbed that my DMIL gifted to us about ten years ago. We have not ever used it, but last night we slept on it. For the first time in about a week, we didn’t end up wet by the end of the night.
  • In the course of changing out the waterbed for the airbed, it was decided that DH needs to have his two pillows repaired. He does not like big fluffy pillows, nor does he like the two pillows made into one. Thursday or Friday when I go to Joann Fabric, I will also pick up some pillow ticking to fix those two pillows and possibly one of mine. The possibly is because I love fluffy new pillows and Walmart has a fluffy one for approximately $3.50 which I don’t think is so bad since the ticking looks like it is $5.56 per yard. I’ll decide and then let you know in my next post.
  • The tomatoes are still ripening so I have not had the last batch ready to juice and can yet. I am waiting for the majority of them to be ripe so that I can just complete one last canner full.
  • Scooter the cat enjoyed catching, chasing, and killing his first mouse on his own this week. We watched him play with it as only cats will. He started in the kitchen where he apparently caught it and then brought it out to the dining room carpet. DH sent him back to the kitchen and then to the garage with the mouse. Unfortunately while we were out putting the chickens to bed, he brought the mouse back in through his cat door. So we had to put him and his pretty much dead mouse back in the garage and put towels under the laundry room door so he couldn’t send his mouse flying under it back to the kitchen. He toyed with the mouse until it was dead, but he didn’t eat it. Silly cat! We were just glad that he finally caught one.
  • DH had another birthday this last week, so on Saturday night we had his family over for supper. Here is a picture of DH and DFIL. You can tell they are definitely related. 20171028_190033
  • Two loaves of homemade bread were made today, but no pictures taken. The first was oatmeal and the second was antique white. I haven’t made bread in a long while, but decided it was time to get back into that process as I really don’t want to go to the Franz outlet store. Too many other expenditures right now and I have the ingredients to make the bread. Plus there is the added bonus of warming up the house while baking the bread.
  • Finally, I tea and coffee dyed a scrap of Aida this evening. I used two mint tea bags, two spiced tea bags, and one green tea bag as well as a teaspoon of instant coffee. I put this all on top of crumpled Aida in a glass bowl and poured boiling water over it. Then I sprinkled it with just a bit of table salt and let it soak for an hour. After that, I rinsed it out with cold water and then put it in the oven on the “Warm” setting for one hour. It just came out of the oven and has not been ironed yet. I will iron it in the morning after it is fully dry. 20171031_211810This is not quite as dark or as orangy-brown as the actual fabric, but shows the mottling pretty well. I am saving coffee grinds from brewed coffee tonight and in the morning to see what a scrap done in just coffee looks like. My preference is more of a tan and less of an orange color, however I will find something to put on this “experiment”.

Now I’m off to watch Flosstube and work on the baby blanket. Tomorrow is laundry day along with other Wednesday chores and the beginning of the new ornament. Thankfully they are caught up and I am back on schedule. Hopefully I can put most of them together and make them FFOs over Thanksgiving. The holidays are coming and while some plans have been made, others still need to be completed. I have to work 4 hours on Thanksgiving and DH has to work all day Thursday and Friday, so we won’t be going anywhere. I also have to work a 12-hour shift on Christmas Eve, so we will be home then as well. Scheduled days just fell weird this year.

Until next time, thank you once again for checking in. Hopefully we will have some FFOs before too long!

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Quick Progress Update 10-14-17


Hi everyone! The temperatures took a decidedly much lower dip last night and when I woke up this morning it was 24° F. We had not turned the heater on and it was about 67°F in the house. Everyone was snuggled down under quilts not wanting to face the day. Thankfully it did warm up to about 48° F which wasn’t too bad. We will most likely drop lower tonight as the sky is clear and we are already down to 36° F.

Since the rose hip jelly was finished last week, 8 quarts of tomato juice were canned on Wednesday and 10 3/4 quarts of salsa verde from tomatillos was canned on Thursday (See photos above as WordPress refused to put it where I wanted.). I decided to can the salsa verde in quarts because I didn’t want to spend the money for two dozen pint jars. I have quart jars that need to be filled so they were filled with what I had. With the drop in temperatures I should be able to pick the last of the rose hips on Monday and can another batch of jelly. That may require that I break down and purchase one dozen pint jars as I only have 1 dozen empty right now and the last batch made over 18 pints. Still it will be a good harvest.

We are very glad that we cleared out the veggies and covered the strawberries for winter. It was just in time. Now we just need to winterize the chicken coop and run as well as order the window to put in DS’s room since his now has a gap that refuses to shut. In the meantime we will cover his window with plastic inside so his room doesn’t get too cold and our heating bill go up too much.

Lastly, I can now say that I am caught up on the Christmas ornaments. While they are not FFO’d, they are all stitched and I am ready to start tomorrow evening or Monday on the one for October 15. It is wonderful to be back on schedule. This last ornament gave me “fits” and I have to say it is a pleasure to call it done. Usually I don’t mind symmetrical ornaments or projects but this one was just not intuitive at all. Here is where I started the third color, not realizing that I would need to take out the bottom “purple/lavender” cross and move it as it was not in the right spot:

20171010_234010This is “Poinsettia” by Ink Circles from the 2008 Just Cross Stitch Ornament issue in the colors listed. I believe it is on 18-count white Aida. And here is the finished stitching as of just a short while ago:

20171014_205905_Burst01The colors are not totally true as they are more pinkish red instead of the tan and brown that it is showing up as. My one disappointment is that most Poinsettias that I have seen are shades of red, but this one is definitely not.

Tomorrow I will hopefully get a few stitches into the new one for October 15 when I get home from work. It all depends on how tired I am and the length of the paper that I need to proofread for DS. He has settled into college for the  most part and is getting his work done in a timely manner. We are paying attention to teachers so that hopefully when I go back to college next August to begin pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Forensic Accounting, that I won’t get some of the “difficult” teachers who seem to prefer lots of busywork.

For now I am off to bed as morning comes early and I have a 12 hour shift ahead of me tomorrow. Thank you for coming back and checking out what is happening in our corner of the world. It is my hope that I will be able to get regular updates posted here for the forseeable future. Of course, we are still busily planning another smaller Pathfinder event for March 2018 that will probably stall me from time to time, but my hope is to keep it more regular.

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