Sunday, December 4, 2016

Pink Shroud Complete!

Four fairly tidy single crochet rows around my long-in-progress pink throw (labeled The Shroud by my mom) and it is complete! 

I love how much prettier it looks (the picture doesn't do it justice) and I'll now allow the cat to sit on my lap since I'm not actively trying to work on it.  It's all single crochet so it's sort of heavy, but it is very nice and warm.

WIP Wednesdays may pay off after all!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Christmas Afghan Using Red Heart's Weekend Granny Throw Pattern

Trying this with Bernat Handicrafter Holidays Yarn, in variegated, sparkly white and sparkly red.  You can't tell from the picture, but these are HUGE skeins.  I looked all over for them and finally found them at Joann's.  I found I own two size N hooks, but think because of the gauge requirement, I'll need to find another size or so up.  I've gone off the crochet deep end, because I now love hooks as well as yarn.  A trip to Michaels!  (Larger hook selection)

It isn't the bulky yarn they ask for, but this is the simple pattern I want.


Off to both Joann's and Michael's this morning.   Joann had one more of each of the Bernats, which I'm going to make using a more appropriate sized hook for the yarn I'm using.  The pattern will certainly look a bit different but I'm confident it be lovely.

I got it into my head that I'd like to try it as well in the Red Heart Super Savers Chunky the pattern calls for.  I was up for making it an any nice color combination that I found.  Problematically, I couldn't find a single skein of it in either store.  I looked at all the chunky yarns and decided to go voila! with more Christmasy colors so I'm hoping the Lion Brand Wool-Ease Yarns I bought are the same weight as the Red Heart.  Wool-Ease Poinsettia (2), Wool-Ease Spartans (2), Wool-Ease Starlight (3)

I'm eager to try this out, and have already rolled my first skein into a ball.

Happiness is rolling skeins of yarn into balls!  I've done it since I first started to crochet.  Once you've come to a knot in the center of the skein that is hard to untangle with your project not fitting through the tight loops so well, agh.  It is really relaxing to roll the skeins as well, and they unravel as you crochet smoothly, particularly with my beloved yarn bowl.

I'm thinking of working the two projects in tandem.  Apparently because the pattern is a rectangle rather than a square, the beginning is tricky.  I'm hoping to see how it should go with the chunky yarn, then I can replicate it with the thinner yarn.  


The plot thickens.  The pattern is actually not easy, not at the start in any case.  My first effort came out looking very strange indeed.  So I looked to see if others had advice and found this similar soul:

Okay I think I have lost my mind. I have played and played with this pattern from Red Heart and I can't get it. Everything from
slip st in next ch – 2
ch-1 spaces. (in Row 1) to here in

Round 1 (Right Side): Ch 3 (counts as dc here and
throughout), work 2 dc in ch-1 space, ch 2, 3 dc in same
space, ch 1, ([3 dc, ch 2] twice, ch 2, 3 dc) in next ch-1
space, ch 1, 3 dc in first ch-1 space, ch 2, slip st to top of
beginning ch to join. is just not making sense to me. What am I not understanding. Please help

She gets several people telling her there is an error in the pattern and a couple more saying the pattern is fine, you just need to do xyz.

I'll have to read through again now that I've played with it to see if the advice makes more sense to me.

It occurred to me one of the problems is that I'm used to granny squares and circles, but that rectangles may be a different beastie altogether.   They are indeed, and it seems you have to get the base rectangle right or bad things happen.

These were helpful in letting me see how to make the rectangle, though they're using different length beginning chains:

Crochetbug actually tried to do the afghan in a weekend.  She mentions a bit of trouble at the start, but it didn't remain a problem for long.  

A video tutorial on making a rectangular granny, not quite what we're trying to do, but helpful in seeing how the rectangle should take shape.    by Yolanda Soto Lopez

Tips on making a rectangular granny from Crochet Again.  Also not quite like the Red Heart throw, but it let me see the idea behind this technique. 

I thought I had the idea now, right?


Slowly trying again, and this time I really thought I had it.

You have to admit it's vaguely rectangular.   The directions say "fasten off" then talk about four corner holes, and ha I have five holes. 

I'm finding the bulky yarn a bit difficult to work with, it doesn't slip over the hook nicely.  I like the coloring and the chunkiness of it though, and think the project will be really pretty if I can just master this bit.

I'm going to try the directions again with a size H hook and some regular weight yarn to see if I can see where the flaw is.

Stay tuned. 

Looking Up

Friday, December 2, 2016

Cat Toys, Not

Try to make the bed.

Unpack a box

Work with Yarn

What happens?


So very helpful.  The one that really gets me?

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Farewell, November

I've decided not to make this last day WIP Wednesday after all.  I think I've shown the most interesting projects, and as I hoped, I've made actual progress completing them.  I have high hopes for the entire waiting-for-its-turn collection of items.  I'll certainly put any completed items up, so you can say "whoa, she actually finished something".

I have an actual post for every day of the month, which was a goal.  My next blogging goal is to have 100 posts for the year.  If you look on the sidebar way way down you can see how many posts I have had each year. Pretty puny!  I think 100 posts over the course of a year should be a reasonable thing, particularly since I have so many things I can write about.

I also plan to give some attention again to my book blog and games blogs, which I also enjoy writing for.  So more of me, blah blah blah.

 For December I have in draft a favorite Christmas movies post, a compilation of some of the Christmas crafts I've seen on blogs, and a favorite Star Trek Episodes post that didn't make it into the November mix.

More TV and movie posts incoming, and I have the plot and basic draft of the next Casefiles of Detective Open-Shut.  Exciting stuff!

Thanks for stopping by this month, and see you in December!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

From The Casefiles of Detective Open-Shut

Detective Open-Shut And The Missing Beagle

I found a new cartoon maker for Detective Open-Shut, who was featured a few days ago in a cartoon here, created on the now-defunct-for-our-purposes Bitstrips.  Look at that little Clouseau-like figure. Perfect for a detective.  There was another dog that looked a bit more like a beagle, but this guy has the same silly bug-eyed look as the detective.  Awooo.

This cartoon was created on Toondoo.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Garden Planning For 2017 : Garden Mapping

Here it is, November 28th and it rained hard with thunder and lightening all day long.  It was 50 degrees and if all of that doesn't get a person in the mood for spring, what will?  Maybe we will have a short balmy winter.

When I'm on top of things in the garden I know every plant, and their common and Latin Names.

I have maps of the garden which include date planted, and notes if I've moved something or if it didn't survive the winter.

Planning next year's garden is fun, particularly the vegetable garden, which is all new every year.  I faithfully rotate my crops so nothing is grown in the same spot every year.

For the 2017 vegetable garden, I know which beds I want to plant a few things in, tomatoes need the sunniest spots, lettuces would like some shade and protection from varmints.

Many of my beds have lots of open spaces in my plan thus far.  I want to see what seeds I buy, and I'd really like to try the Square Foot Gardening method in a couple of beds next spring.    How I've managed to garden all these years without trying it, I don't know.  Perhaps because I've only been working on vegetables for a few years.  There are many techniques to try, and I'm excited to see what can be done.

Here is my vegetable map so far:

I'm not sure what varieties of beans, peas, peppers, melons or culinary herbs I'll plant, but I penciled those in at the side of the map as a reminder to look for varieties to fill the beds.  There is plenty of space in this garden for plants in pots as well.  It is usually my favorite area of the yard.

Time to dream of summer.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Twitter Notes

I found this old (2009) cartoon I had created in the now defunct Toonlet regarding Twitter Followers. 

I just don't get how people even find me to follow, particularly the Women In Thongs with their behinds raised to the camera...eeww, do you sincerely mind?  I also wonder why those accounts don't get popped by Twitter.  I've gotten so any new follower with a profile pic of a young woman with a certain look in her eyes...I don't look at the posts, I just hit the block button.

I haven't many followers even though I've been active for awhile now.  I could have more, Thong Women excepted--but my policy is to follow or block.  I look at the persons profile and posts and if I feel they're someone with my interests who might be interested in what I have to say, I follow them, if not, I just block em.  I also look at how many people they're following and are being followed by.  The folks who follow ten trillion people and are followed by the same number or a low number...hinky city.  If I looked at my own numbers, I think hinky city, lol.  Pay attention, people.

Followers aside, I find Twitter to be a much more pleasant place than Facebook ever was, there is a much more positive attitude, but maybe I only follow perky people.

This was all just an excuse to use my old cartoon.  Have a good day!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Saturday Night At The Movies: Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children

I've read and loved all of the books in this series.  They manage to be very suspenseful.

The concept of the Peculiars with their varied abilities inspired by strange old photographs which were included in the books is just so fascinating.  I loved that they used some of them in the film as well.

The film really explains the "time loops" the children and Miss Peregrine live in, which you'd think might be a difficult concept.


All of the actors, particularly Eva Green as Miss Peregrine were just spot on.  Rarely has a book been brought to life so charmingly and faithfully.

Asa Butterfield as Jacob portrays the boy becoming a man under the most frightening and wonderful circumstances.  His father was exactly the silly goof that he was in the book.  Kim Dickens from Fear The Walking Dead was an odd choice for the mom.  Maybe I just can't picture her in another role now.

It was a bit of a cheat to have Jacob's grandfather alive at the end.

A few reviews compared the Home For Peculiar Children to the X-Men, how ridiculous.  The children were always in the time loop to protect them, never to train their "mutant powers".  They were just all accepted as they were in the loops.

I hope there will be more movies from the series!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Five On Friday: My Favorite Country Singers

Yay! We made it to the last Friday in November!  For my final Five On Friday, I'm sharing my five favorite country singers.

Just as certain books shaped me as a reader, I think the music I heard as a child shaped my musical tastes.  My parents were totally country music fans.  They had a pretty nice record library, and frequently played the tunes.  Sometimes they danced on a newly waxed kitchen floor.  Mom actually would wash and wax the floor then encourage us to put on socks and dance/slide around on it to buff it up.  True story.

I loved country music for the melodies, but even more, I loved that practically every song told a story.  Mostly sad stories, but each was a short tale, and who loves stories more than I do?   Here are my favorite storytellers:

Patsy Cline

There has never been a singer like Patsy.  What a fantastic voice, with such range of emotion.  I even like the songs where she sort of yodels.  Her personal life was as tragic as any of her songs, and for such a sweet sweet woman, I wish her short life had been happier.  Because even her sad songs are infused with joy somehow.  She never let anything get her down, never lost that luminous spirit. Favorite Song:  Sweet Dreams

George Jones

Talk about an unstoppable force in music and life.  Such a wonderful deep mellow voice, so many great songs that he seemed to embody, particularly his many drinking songs.  Those drinking songs were sung with great relish.  His sweeter songs revealed the gentle soul within that he sought to hide and protect his whole life.  I read his biography and the scene that stands out is his driving a lawnmower into town to the liquor store when his driver's license and car keys were taken away.  Self destructive, yes, bolder than anything, yes.  I appreciated that he was a mentor to many new singers who were interested in traditional country rather than the pop music country that invaded sometime in the 70s or 80s.  Favorite Song:  Walk Through This World With Me

Ray Price

This man's songs are the quintessential country tunes.  He sounded as if he would break down sobbing after every song.  His rich, plaintive voice could take you to a very lonely place, but its ok, he was right there with you.   Sometimes its nice to just let the music wash over you, as you sing along to "I've got heartaches by the number", you bet.  Then you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and enjoy the City Lights.  Favorite Song:  Heartaches By The Number

Marty Robbins

I used to watch everything on TV, including old westerns.  Marty Robbins sang many songs featuring life in the Old West.  Talk about stories told in song, ah, he was the master of songs of the west.  He is the only one of my favorites I've seen live as well, in Wheeling's Capitol Music Hall, where everyone sang along with Marty and uproariously rang the cowbells that were handed out as you entered the auditorium.  Favorite Song:  El Paso

Reba McEntire

I'm not such a fan of her later work, because she seemed to go Pop Country at some point, and her wonderful, wise, vibrant songs were no more.  Her early songs were not only beautiful, but they were very wise stories of the way modern relationships could be as heartbreaking in a Country way as anything from earlier decades.  Favorite Song:  Is There Life Out There?