31 December 2012


I have an addendum to this post where I made a slide show of all projects completed in 2012. I didn't think I'd make anything else but, I did. These are my absolutely final, finished projects for 2012!

 First off, I made the 2 yellow dishcloths. I retrieved a ball of yellow cotton that had been languishing and forgotten in a corner, under the couch for who knows how long. After digging it out, dusting it off, I spilled coffee on it. I decided to go ahead and make the dishcloths and then toss in the washer. No big deal if they were stained because none of my other dishcloths are pristine either. Take my word for it, working with cotton yarn that is damp in some places is not an easy thing to do.

For Christmas, I had given the gentleman next door some dishcloths. He thought they were potholders but they're not so I made him these to coordinate with his dishcloths. 

Then, the leftover yarn I had from these and a small ball of reddish stuff that coordinated, I made this dishcloth that I'll go ahead and have dh give to him too.

Patterns used:

I had a little extra time to crochet because dh and I were both down with the flu bug that's resistant to the flu shot given this year.

First project for next year is to pick up an ufo afghan. I only have about 6" finished.  I've promised to make this for someone and I really need to get my rear in gear and get it done. 

And this is it for 2012

Happy New Year everyone!!!

Monday's Link to Free Crochet Pattern (31 December 2012)

It is hard to believe that today is the last day in 2012. As I've gotten older, the years seem to go by in the blink of an eye.  When I was younger, I remember that "old" people seemed to frequently reminisce but now I realize they were talking about current events. I'm off topic here but I just had to share that thought with you. Today's link to a free pattern is for a baby vest . It has granny squares and is adorable. Check it out here for yourself. Thanks for visiting!

26 December 2012

Roundup of 2012 Crochet Projects

Since I probably won't complete any more projects before the end of the year, I made my yearly slideshow up. I do believe I got a bit carried away with the slippers this year--I still have a stack of them in the gift drawer. Anyway, here's my yearly roundup of projects.

24 December 2012

Kids in Their Christmas Sweaters

Opi and Nellie Belle wish you a merry Christmas.

Peppermint Bark

Last year when I visited with friends in Northern California, they had the most delicious peppermint bark. It was rather pricey so I decided to make my own. I found a simple recipe here. I improvised a bit. I used candy canes because they were already marked down in price and I used 1 1/2 lbs of almond bark. I chose this recipe because I didn't have to buy the peppermint oil. By pulverizing some of the candy canes until they were powder and stirring the powder into the melted bark, there was no need for peppermint oil.  Here's a picture of mine cooling.

Have a blessed holiday. Hugs to all of my wonderful family and friends.

More Peppermint Bark

Monday's Link to Free Crochet Pattern (24 December 2012)

It's almost Christmas and you forgot to get something for your sweet fur baby. You're in luck because here's a quick gift you can use some odds and ends of yarn to make and you won't even have to leave the house..

Happy Holidays....

More dog crate end tables

20 December 2012

Favorite Cookies--Pizzelles

I love pizzelles and I try to make them every year at Christmas time. I thought I'd put the recipe here for you.

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon ground anise
3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup margarine or butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla

  • In small mixing bowl stir together the flour, baking powder and anise. Set aside
  • in a large mixing bowl beat the eggs with an electric mixer on high speed about 4 minutes or until thick and lemon colored. With the mixer on medium speed, gradually beat in the sugar. The beat in the melted margarine/butter and the vanilla. Add the flour mixture. Beat on low speed until combined, scraping the the sides of bowl occasionally.
  • Heat an electric pizzelle iron according to the manufacturer's directions. (Or, heat a nonelectric pizzelle iron on the range-top over medium heat till a drop of water sizzles on the grid. Reduce heat to medium-low)
  • Place a slight rounded tablespoon of batter slightly off center toward back of grid. Close lid. Bake according to manufacturer's directions.(For a nonelectric iron, bake for 30 - 60 seconds or until golden, turning once. ) Turn wafer out onto a paper towel to cool. Repeat with remaining batter. Makes about 18.
I made 2 batches of these tonight. For some reason the batch I made with Splenda instead of sugar turned out heavier--the batter was more like a dough. Maybe it was the Splenda or maybe I added too much flour (I was making a double batch). Anyway, the "normal" ones turned out great.

I may have posted this recipe before but this year I upped the amount of anise I use by adding an additional 1/2 teaspoonful. 

Here's a few of the pizzelles I made tonight:

It's time for some hot chocolate and a pizzelle to dunk in it. 

19 December 2012

6 More Dishcloths

Here are 6 more dishcloths. These are for Christmas gifts.

Miscellaneous Things on My Mind....

The Sister Wives show has started to irk me. I used to watch it and feel kind of sorry for the wives and I believe that their upbringing and shared husband  have brainwashed and manipulated them into an unhealthy and illegal lifestyle. Now, with each wife getting her own home with over 3000 sq ft of living space and in at least one a wet bar I think that WE are being taken advantage of and that TLC is being irresponsible promoting an illegal lifestyle. The family is selling overpriced jewelry and are expecting the public to purchase it and support their lifestyle. Yeah, I know, most of us have broken the speed limit and that's breaking the law and shame on us if caught we're going to pay a speeding ticket. These people just got a free pass and the prosecution of them is off. I wonder if stud muffin will get hitched again if ratings go down??? Soon these ladies, models of fashion, will soon be selling clothing too. I don't really think I want to base my wardrobe on what they consider fashionable.

Recently I went to the facebook page for their jewelry. They have designed some beautiful pieces but they are definitely not for the budget conscious  I probably shouldn't have, but did, leave a note that even though they seemed like nice people, I wasn't going to support an illegal lifestyle by purchasing from them. Boy, was I slammed by some readers. I deleted the post but not before saving a copy of it.

Gun control is another thing I have strong feelings on. Do I think that we should make guns illegal? Nope. I don't own a gun and don't plan on purchasing one either. I do think that comprehensive background checks should be done, that anyone with felony convictions should not be allowed to own/use guns and that limits on the number of weapons an individual can own should be put in place. I heard one gentleman on television (can't remember his name, sorry) say that guns are not biodegradable and the millions of them that are already owned will not go away. That means that there may always be guns involved in crimes and that those wanting to purchase a gun for target shooting or self-protection won't be able to.  Convictions on using guns in a crime, illegal ownership of guns, loaning out of guns used in crimes or illegal attempts to purchase a gun should result in life in prison--at hard labor, sort of a chain gang type thing. Penalties for many crimes are not severe enough. This is a bit off subject but the neighbor and I were talking not long ago about how if a person abuses a pet the pet will be removed permanently from the home but if a child is abused, the abuser will be ordered to classes/treatment and will get a 2nd chance with the poor child. Sometimes I just don't understand how such a great country can be so irresponsible.

OK, that's out of my system. I've been making some dishcloths lately and I'll post some pictures of them when I finish the one I'm working on. I'm going to make some cookies later on today.

I'm off my soap box now. ;) Have a great day....

Beautiful sterling silver jewelry from Amazon

16 December 2012

The Christmas Story According to Children

Here is a wonderful video of kindergartners and preschoolers telling the Christmas story. I dare you not to smile.

Note--If my blog is playing music, the music player is now located at the bottom of the page and you may turn it off to better hear this video.

Thanks to my friend Mary for sending me this.

Christmas Music at No Cost!

Here is some Free Christmas Music from Amazon. I don't know how long this will last so check it out soon.I've been playing loads of Christmas music to get into the spirit of things. Enjoy!

15 December 2012


Acts of terrorism are vile and horrendous. Compound these acts with the fact that they are done by Americans rather than foreigners makes it even more frightening. To an extent we can keep foreigners out but when it is the quiet, intelligent young person next door who goes into a school and kills 20 young children we find  reason to be in a heightened state of fear, reason to not trust our neighbor and a need to always be on guard. I don't have the solution to this. I do know that we need to return to basics in this country and that's putting more emphasis on our families, not material things but getting to know each other by talking, playing and working together without the interference of electronic devices. I wanted to find a special prayer to post here for victims of crime/terrorism but couldn't find one. The best prayer is probably the one that comes from the heart.

May God give the people in Newtown, Connecticut the strength to handle the horror and losses they are suffering.

14 December 2012


Rest in peace Mom.

mom in wedding finery

JoAnn (nee Jungles) French
16 Nov 1936 - 14 Dec 1969

A Couple Dishcloths Finished

Here are a couple dishcloths I finished last night. I think I'm going to like these. I especially like the "texturedness" of them.


13 December 2012

Starting to Make Dishcloths

Last night I started to make a dishcloth right before bedtime. I only got 1 partially completed but so far I like the pattern I'm using. The pattern has "ridges" that should be helpful when washing dishes and counters. Most people like crocheted dishcloths so I figure that I can put aside some of these as last minute gifts or maybe to give to our neighbors.

11 December 2012

For Some, Holidays Aren't Cheerful

For many people, the holidays are not the season of happiness and cheer. For some the holidays bring on bouts of depression because of sad times in the past and separation from family/friends due to distance, death or dysfunction. After reading one woman's blog recently who was seeming to suffer this way, I was really touched. Maybe if we just reach out a hand of friendship we might ease the suffering of people like her. It isn't always the financially challenged who need our help during this time. I found the following article is right on to help someone suffering from seasonal depression.

9 Holiday Depression Busters

By T. Borchard

9 Holiday Depression Busters
These 9 rules help me put the joy back into the festivities–or at least keep me from hurling a mistletoe at Santa and landing myself on the “naughty” list.
1. Expect the Worst
Now that’s a cheery thought for this jolly season. What I’m trying to say is that you have to predict bad behavior before it happens so that you can catch it in your holiday mitt and toss it back, instead of having it knock you to the floor. It’s simple math, really. If every year for the last decade, Uncle Ted has given you a bottle of Merlot, knowing full well that you are a recovering alcoholic and have been sober for more years than his kids have been out of diapers, you can safely assume he will do this again. So what do you do? Catch it in your “slightly-annoyed” mitt. (And maybe reciprocate by giving him a cheese basket for his high cholesterol.)
2. Remember to “SEE”
No, I don’t mean for you to schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist. SEE stands for Sleeping regularly, Eating well, and Exercising. Without these three basics, you can forget about an enjoyable (or even tolerable) holiday. Get your seven to nine hours of sleep and practice good sleep hygiene: go to bed at the same time every night, and wake up in the same nightgown with the same man at the same time in the same house every morning.
Eating well and exercise are codependent, at least in my body, because my biggest motivator for exercising is the reduction in guilt I feel about splurging on dessert. Large quantities of sugar or high fructose corn syrup can poison your brain. If you know your weak spot–the end of the table where Aunt Judy places her homemade hazelnut holiday balls–then swim, walk, or jog ten extra minutes to compensate for your well-deserved treat. Another acronym to remember during the holidays is HALT: don’t get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired.
3. Beef Up Your Support
If you attend Al-Anon once a week, go twice a week during the holidays. If you attend a yoga class twice a week, try to fit in another. Schedule an extra  therapy session as insurance against the potential meltdowns ahead of you. Pad yourself with extra layers of emotional resilience by discussing in advance specific concerns you have about X, Y, and Z with a counselor, minister, or friend (preferentially one who doesn’t gossip).
In my life with two young kids, this means getting extra babysitters so that if I have a meltdown in Starbucks like I did two years ago–before I knew the mall was menacing to my inner peace–I will have an extra ten minutes to record in my journal what I learned from that experience.
4. Avoid Toxic People
This one’s difficult if the toxic people happen to be hosting Christmas dinner! But in general, just try your best to avoid pernicious humans in December. And if you absolutely must see such folks, then allow only enough time for digestion and gift-giving. Drink no more than one glass of wine in order to preserve your ability to think rationally. You don’t want to get confused and decide you really do love these people, only to hear them say something horribly offensive two minutes later, causing you to storm off all aggravated and hurt. (This would also be a good time to remember Rule #1.)
5. Know Thyself
In other words, identify your triggers. As a highly sensitive person (as described in Elaine Aron’s book, “The Highly Sensitive Person”), I know that my triggers exist in a petri dish of bacteria known as the Westfield Annapolis Mall. Between Halloween and New Years, I won’t go near that place because Santa is there and he scares me with his long beard, which holds in its cute white curls every virus of every local preschool. Before you make too many plans this holiday season, list your triggers: people, places, and things that tend to trigger your fears and bring out your worst traits.
6. Travel With Polyester, Not Linen
By this, I DO NOT mean sporting the polyester skirt with the red sequinned reindeer. I’m saying that you should lower your standards and make traveling as easy as possible, both literally and figuratively. Do you really want to be looking for an iron for that beautiful linen or cotton dress when you arrive at your destination? I didn’t think so–life’s too short for travel irons.
I used to be adamantly opposed to using a portable DVD player in the car to entertain the kids because I thought it would create two spoiled monsters whose imaginations had rotted courtesy of Disney. One nine-hour car trip home to Ohio for Christmas, I cried uncle after six hours of constant squabbling and screaming coming from the back seat. Now David and Katherine only fight over which movie they get to watch first. If you have a no-food rule policy for the car, I’d amend that one during the holidays as well.
7. Make Your Own Traditions
Of course, you don’t need the “polyester” rule if you ban holiday travel altogether. That’s what I did this year. As the daughter/sister who abandoned her family in Ohio by moving out east, it has always been my responsibility to travel during the holidays. But my kids are now four and six. I can’t continue to haul the family to the Midwest every year. We are our own family. So I said this to my mom a few weeks ago: “It’s very important that I spend time with you, but I’d like to do it as a less stressful time, like the summer, when traveling is easier.” She wasn’t thrilled, but she understood.
Making your own tradition might mean Christmas Eve is reserved for your family and the extended family is invited over for brunch on Christmas Day. Or vice versa. Basically, it’s laying down some rules so that you have better control over the situation. As a people-pleaser who hates to cook, I make a better guest than host, but sometimes serenity comes in taking the driver’s seat, and telling the passengers to fasten their seatbelts and be quiet.
8. Get Out of Yourself
According to Gandhi, the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in service to others. But that doesn’t necessarily mean holding a soup ladle. Since my name and the word “kitchen” have filed a restraining order on each other, I like to think there are a variety of ways you can serve others.

Matthew 6:21 says “for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” In other words, start with the things you like to do. For me, that is saying a rosary for a depressed Beyond Blue reader, or visiting a priest-friend who needs encouragement and support in order to continue his ministry, or helping talented writer friends get published. I’d like to think this is service, too, because if those people are empowered by my actions, then I’ve contributed to a better world just as much as if I had dished out mashed potatoes to a homeless person at a shelter.

9. Exercise Your Funny Bone

“Time spent laughing is time spent with the gods,” says a Japanese proverb. So, if you’re with someone who thinks he’s God, the natural response would be to laugh! But seriously folks, research shows that laughing is good for your health. And, unlike exercise, it’s always enjoyable! The funniest people in my life are those who have been to hell and back, bought the t-shirt, and then accidentally shrunk it in the wash. Humor kept them alive–physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Remember, with a funny bone in place–even if it’s in a cast–everything is tolerable.

From: http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2009/12/08/9-holiday-depression-busters/

10 December 2012

Cute Christmas Cartoon for Kids (Big People Too)

When my kids were kids, I loved the Berenstain Bears books. I bought every one I could find. I do believe that I bought them for myself because the kids could take them or leave them. Anyway, as I was looking for some Christmasy Cartoons to watch on Youtube, I found The Berenstain Bears Christmas Tree. Here for your enjoyment is this cute cartoon.

Note: If my blog is playing music, you can mute it at the music player that is now located at the bottom of the page.

More Berenstain Bears

Hi-Fiber Cheeseburger Anyone???

I had scheduled the free pattern of the week ahead of time and forgot about it when I whipped up my version of it last night. The only change I made to my version was I made a square slice of "cheese" instead of the round one in the pattern. So, without further delay, here's a hi-fiber cheeseburger for you--

Monday's Link to Free Crochet Pattern (10 December 2012)

Do you need a quick to make gift for a younger child?  Here's a cute "cheeseburger" that might fit the bill.

09 December 2012

To All of You---

Little Opi's Christmas Sweater

I finished Opi's Christmas sweater last night. I pondered for a while on what to embellish it with and ended up making a Christmas tree out of a plain ol' triangle and decorating it with buttons for ornaments. The white "fuzzy" yarn is a "shedder." It's made by Bernat and I got it at Walmart specifically for the Chis' Christmas sweaters so it's a bit disappointing that little bits of fluff end up everywhere when I touch the sweaters/yarn. For inspiration, I used this pattern. I "winged" the Christmas tree. I'm looking forward to dressing up Opi for Christmas. Poor little guy has allergies and has to wear a shirt all the time otherwise he'll scratch his skin raw so he's used to wearing clothes unlike our Nellie Belle.

That's it for now folks! Have a great week....

08 December 2012

Old Christmas Photo

Have you ever found some old photos you forgot about?  I found a small box of photos that I forgot I had. I really enjoyed looking at some of them and in honor of the season I'm sharing one with you. Happy weekend!

03 December 2012

Monday's LInks to Free Crochet Patterns(03 December 2012)

In the past, I've made Christmas stockings to put small gifts in.I decided to share a few links here in case you might be interested.

Christmas Stockings

There are many more free patterns for Christmas stockings available, just google away if one of these isn't the one for you.

Happy Hooking!!!

02 December 2012

My Wonky Dishcloth

Tried a different pattern to make a dishcloth. I love how it is supposed to look. Unfortunately, I kept losing track of what I was doing and it came out a little bit strange. It's just to do the dishes with so that's ok.

To see a much nicer look at the basket weave stitch and the pattern, go here.

Have a great week everyone.

Christmas Decorations

Since the boys are now grown and on their own, we've downsized the amount of Christmas decorating we do. We now have a small, artificial Christmas tree and don't do too much decorating outside other than a wreath and putting some old garland on the spruce trees.

I did buy a couple new ornaments this year:

In honor of my mom who passed away 1 1/2 weeks before Christmas when I was 12

I honor of my grandmother who passed away the day after Christmas when I was 17.

Ornament with happy memories:

I love this one because we were still young when stationed in Hawaii and had a very close-knit group of friends there. 

Ah, the fond memories of my son Matthew when he was a little boy. Somewhere there is one with my other son's name on it too.

I do believe I'm finished with the Christmas decorating  I usually go into a funk before the holidays but this year I'm making a big effort to get into the spirit of things. It has been many years since I started decorating the house so early. A few times I barely got the tree up before Christmas. 

This year, I'm trying to think of the things I've been blessed with and not the things I've lost or don't have. I have my little family and we love each other. I don't have grandchildren but I do have a great granddaughter of my heart since my younger son married her nana. The economy is tough but we're making it. My little family is for the most part healthy and health issues some have are not life-threatening as long as medications are taken. My little chihuahuas, Nellie Belle and Opi, give me lots of love when I'm feeling down. I don't have lots of friends but the friends I have been blessed with are true friends (love you guys). Life is good...