Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year!

2016 was a real challenge and I am not sorry to see it go away.  Faced with a possible year of 2017 where anything awful might happen, eek.  We can only go forward, though, never stay in the present or revisit the past.

My thinking for the New Year personally is as it always is, look at what I like to do and do more of it, learn new things, try to spend more time with those I love and dodge those I don't.  I'm so good at that last bit!


I love it to death now, and am a bonafide yarnaholic.  Mastering techniques and pattern reading are high on my list.  You'll see more more crochet here.


I've been collecting books and patterns for embroidery without actually doing any for a while now.  What happened there is, on two separate projects, my thread, careful as I was, became hopelessly tangled at the back of the project.  I have a huge dislike and zero patience for untangling knots.  I will find a way to untangle and get back in there, because embroidery is one of the loveliest arts you can spend time on.


Thanks to the seed companies who know we're all crushed in a ball by winter and the state of the world.  Life will find a way, the garden will thrive again in a few short months.  I will find a way to keep the rabbits out!


I had a good year of fine reading and am writing down authors to try, and series to read, and I'm ready to have a really good cozy year in books.  I joined Goodreads with my Merlyn book blog account and hope to do what I've not actually done, use Goodreads to share my reading and see what others like.   I may try a book challenge in 2017.  Have you seen those? You join the challenge on some site and it has a theme such as Historical Fiction, and you follow its guides to meet a reading goal.  I'll post those as I find them over on Merlyn as well.

Speaking of Goodreads, I think I'll try for 50 again.  When I was a librarian in Wheeling, WVa, we had a program "I Read 50 Books".   The customer would take as long as they wished and read the 50 titles, noting them on a form we had.  When they got to 50, they sat down with a librarian and had a nice chat about the books they'd read, fun for both! and they would get a red T-Shirt with the Library logo and I READ 50 BOOKS emblazoned across the front.  So 50 it is, and I'll buy myself a nice literary t-shirt when I get to 50.

DOA at the Movies

I like doing the Saturday Night At The Movies feature, and am behind a film, I saw Fantastic Beasts and will be seeing Rogue One this week.  I also would like to watch a film on Saturday nights from the comfort of my cozy couch, then write that up.


There are so many good shows on, and coming up for the midseason.  I can't keep up, and I fell behind this fall big time.  I'll catch up somehow.

Utter Foolishness

Cryptograms, Crosswords, Cartoons, Word Searches, Rebuses, and more to come, because they're fun.  We are here solely to have fun.

Happiest of New Year's, travel safely, go forth and enjoy enjoy enjoy.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas Afghan Rows 4, 5, 6


 Christmas, as you may guess interrupted the work on this.  Now I can relax and crochet away. This square is 11" x 11" . Big!  Wooly and so soft.  It is so cold out that it is a pleasure to work on this just for the warmth of it. 

Two rows of the original green next.  See? The New Me (as my husband would say) will be finishing projects left and right going forward.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

ABC Food Photos, Yes? No?

I love cooking and baking sites.  The step by steps pictures are so helpful.  Everything that isn't fish looks so good!

In November, I noticed a picture accompanying a recipe that looked like someone had taken a bite out of the cookie. And left teethmarks, eewww.   Then I started seeing more.  Maybe some are done with a fork...I dunno.  You decide!  This isn't a pleasing, makes me want to eat this thing.  Nope.

ABC, in case you grew up in grander circumstances than I, means Already Been Chewed...

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Christmas Afghan Rounds 2 and 3

See me whip this baby up!  Remember, the usual length of time from start to finish for me is ten years so I am rockin' and rollin' here.

I had to resort to writing out the round two directions for myself in plain English. Voila!

Round Two

A little bumpy at the edges because the strands you need to tuck in are the size of a truck, compared to a normal bit of yarn.

Boink!  Looking to Round Three and the picture of the afghan grrrrr there are two rounds of red and I fastened the stinker off.   I had happily wound the white color into a nice soft sparkly ball, too.   Alas, I had to slink in the red again, which didn't quite go according to directions.  In fact round three's directions seemed so whacko, and I was in No Mood, so I just crocheted around the square as I normally would and poof to the directions for this round.  I'm sure I'll pay dearly for this bit of rebellion.  But not yet, muahaha.  Resting before Round Four, Five, Six in soft sparkly white.

Round Three

Saturday, December 10, 2016

DOA's Favorite Christmas Films

I can't put these in any order, except that my very favorite is Magoo's Christmas Carol.  Magoo was such an odd, bumbling, cranky at times character.  He seemed an odd choice for Ebeneezer Scrooge.  Somehow, the story, the other actors, and particularly the music made it the most touching of films.  The play within a play format added additional charm.

Magoo's Christmas Carol

Muppet's Christmas Carol

I don't know what happened to the Muppets, in recent times, but I'm sure you can't keep a good Muppet down.  In top form here, the phrase "light the lamp, not the rat" pops up frequently in our house. Michael Caine's lovable Scrooge is a big draw, as is seeing Kermit and Piggy happy at last with little froggies and piggies.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (animated with Boris Karloff)

There he is, the Green Monster with a tiny heart and a long suffering pup named Max, stealing Christmas, so he thinks.  His heart may have been two sizes too small, but it was always there.  Fantastic songs.

Frosty The Snowman

A simple story, lovely music, all good will and happiness.

Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer

A classic tale of those who seem different being capable of wonderful things, with Burl Ives telling the tale and singing in his warm deep ol' voice.  There are some really great characters in this little film.

A Charlie Brown Christmas

Who better to tell a tale of Christmas love, hope and faith but Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang?  Not a fan of jazz music but I bop along to the tunes anyway.

Die Hard

Ho ho ho!  What a good cop won't do to save his wife...taking on a bunch of baddies who have crashed her work Christmas Party.  Yipee Kay Ay, Santa.

The Family Man

One of those What If... movies. Cold slimy executive Jack gets an unasked for glimpse of what his life would have been like if he'd married his sweetheart Kate, and been a tire salesman with two kids.  He hates this new life...until he realizes he doesn't. (sniff)


I watched this a ton after my mom died.  A little girl misses her mom, who has died.  She finds a lost reindeer who she is certain is Santa's Prancer and tries to find a way to get him reunited with the Elf.  Her faith in the reindeer and Santa is so sweet, though no one believes her.

Jack Frost

Rock musician Jack Frost breaks one promise too many to his son, but is killed on the way home one night near Christmas as he tries to make good on his Christmas plans with the family.  A year later, his son makes a snowman that looks like the last one he and his dad made.  Playing his dad's old harmonica brings Jack Frost back for a bit as a snowman.  Your heart will melt.


The Little Drummer Boy

I love the song The Little Drummer Boy, and this simple and sweet little tale with puppetry always suited it very well.

The Santa Clause

Certainly the funniest film on the list, The Santa Clause's Scott Calvin unwittingly becomes the new Santa after the old one falls off the roof of  Scott's house, oops!  Santa disappears, but his suit is left behind. Trying it on at his son's insistence, he finishes up the night's work.  He's informed that he will be the new Santa and has till the next Thanksgiving to prepare.  He gains weight practically overnight, his hair turns snow white, and a beard he can't keep trimmed keeps getting longer and longer.  It's so funny and touching at the same time, as the little boy loses his dad to the Santa legend.

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. 


I'm working on Round 2.  I think this looks good so far but the pattern suddenly gets hinky in the middle of this round.  You have to pay such attention to every stitch.  I do like the colors together.  The Poinsettia yarn is silky smooth, much more so than the green Spartan.  They're both just so lovely.  Fingers crossed.


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?