One of My Favorites

It’s been awhile since I’ve made an entry, because I have been so frustrated with my little “fan art” project, not even a third of the way through.  I was just going to make three beanies with a design.  That was it; however, I have tried two separate methods to achieve the

No way was I continuing with this method!

Removing the stitching

look I want, and have failed miserably!  I tried intarsia in the the round. The method used a modified short rows hook up, and you actually went back and forth. Not good.  The site of the join was lumpy, bumpy and quite easy to see.  I went to my LYS where I was told to use duplicate stitch instead.  So I tried the duplicate stitch which, apparently, I’m not that good at.  Stitching on fabric knitted with fingering weight yarn is beyond what my eyes want to do anymore, even with reading glasses!  The hat itself is fine.  The pattern that I attempted to duplicate stitch over the fabric, not so good.  As you can see, I am in the process of recycling the hat itself and someone (my husband) will get a nice, bright red toque.

This one worked!

That was actually the first time I’d worked with fingering weight yarn for something other than a pair of socks, and the process took way longer than I thought it would.  So, learning from this disaster, I changed the design, and employed worsted weight yarn.  The results?  Not as fancy as I would have liked, but at least it was completed, and I can carry on with my life!  Will I try fingering weight yarn again?  You bet.  Will I try the same design again?  Yes, because it was supposed to be correct.  Will I post it?  Eh.  Maybe.

If anyone out there has successfully created designs with duplicate stitching on fingering weight yarn fabric, please let me know what your secret is!

Now, on to one of my favorite subjects – food!  The title of this blog is referring to the food, not the knit fails!  I thought I would share this with you, as it is a good all around pork recipe that can be incorporated into many other foods, and is not seasonal, even though it’s cooked in a crockpot.  I originally posted this on Cafe Luna’s blog to see if I could get some other fab recipes from locals here in Colfax using Mario’s salsa.  So far, I’ve been the only one.  Maybe that will change?  For those of you not fortunate enough to live in the area, substitute your favorite green salsa in lieu of Mario’s blend.  You guys have any good recipes that uses salsa?  Post it here!

Glenda’s Gringo Slow Cooker Pork Chile Verde

2 lbs. pork, preferably a little fatty, cut into one-inch cubes

1 onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 pint Tenderfoot Salsa Verde

flour for coating

salt and pepper to taste

cooking oil

Heat oil in a large skillet on medium high, then add onion and cook until almost transparent; add the garlic.  Cook another minute, careful not to burn the garlic.  Remove the onions and garlic from the skillet and put into your slow cooker.  Add more oil, if necessary; should cover the bottom of the pan.  Coat the pork in salted and peppered flour and brown the meat in two separate batches.  You’re not trying to cook the meat at this point, you’re just caramelizing the proteins to give the verde a richer flavor.  Mix all ingredients together in your slow cooker and pour the Tenderfoot Salsa Verde over the mix.  Remember, the slow cooking will render out meat juices, so you may not want to use the whole pint.  That’s up to you.  Anyway, cook on slow for 6 – 7 hours, high for 3 – 4 hours.  Makes a nice meal with leftovers!

The original posted here – https://cafelunacolfax.wordpress.com/2018/01/09/salsa-recipes/

If you want rice to go with, here is a recipe of mine:

https://nittinninja.wordpress.com/2016/02/16/chile-rellenos-casserole-and-green-rice/   –  Scroll all the way down for the green rice recipe.  It’s worth it!

 

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The Endless Scarf

Showing off the scarf length

We’re getting there! It’s a simple garter and moss stitch design and is going to be fab WHEN I finish it!

We’re halfway through March and the February blahs have followed me with dogged determination.  I have been working, very slowly, on a simple red scarf.  It should have been a week at the most  We are looking at a month right now – daaanng!  For those of you who are following the link, be aware that I only cast on 29 stitches and didn’t do a center piece.  Didn’t want to count all those rows.  I feel like I’ve been too busy; even writing this entry seems to be a great excuse to not knit or crochet!  Does anyone else have this waxing and waning pattern towards your yarn?  I know that when I’m finished with the scarf, I’ll be fired up to do something else.  I’ll be trying a new technique, working intarsia in the round.  I’ll definitely document it, even if I don’t finish it.  I’ll be doing “fan art”.  Christ, I’m 54, almost 55, and I’ll be making”fan art”.  What’s this world coming to?

Upside, my social media biz has grown; woo-hoo!  So far, I’m still doing trade instead of receiving money, because it seems everyone I take on has a product or service I need!  Tax-wise, it’s easier, and it’s definitely more friendly for new, local businesses that don’t have a budget or time to take care of their social media.  I feel it’s more…organic? primeval?  In any case, it’s the way I roll.

And speaking of rolls, around December 27th, after stuffing myself silly during the holidays, I reached my top weight.  No, I’m not going to mention it; suffice to say, I was not happy.  I didn’t want to do a New Year’s Resolution, because there is the new tradition, I’ve noticed, for the resolutions to fail.  Have you seen that?  Most people resolve to lose weight, but by February, they’ve given up.  And that means more weight gained over the course of the year, and another resolution to fail.  I didn’t want to do that.  So I began thinking of food differently the day I decided I was going to lose weight.  Nothing happened for the first month or so of me just eating less.  It wasn’t until I started counting my calories, which I really didn’t want to do, that I noticed a change.  I still have a ways to go, but I figure – eh.  What else are you going to do?  Any of you have New Year’s resolutions you’re still keeping? gave up?  Let me know!

 

 

International Women’s Day, pt.2: Finding Sally Dawley

After posting the pic of Margaret Thatcher for the International Women’s Day tribute, I felt I should choose another candidate, one closer to home. I just met her two days ago, but her dedication to her cause has garnered kudos and international recognition and my respect.  Her name is Sally Dawley and she is affectionately known around these parts as “The Butt Lady of Auburn”.   This interesting moniker came about in 2014 when she started picking up butts along her daily walk and thus began her odyssey that continues today.

How I came to meet her has its own quirky story.  Don’t worry – I’ll make it brief!  I’m a big Trailer Park Boys fan and have a subscription to their Swearnet website and on their podcast episode #133, they congratulated Sally and asked for help contacting her because they want to talk to her themselves.  That was an unusual request – I’d never seen them do that before.  So, I thought, hey!  I live near Auburn, I’ve got free time, let’s find her!  A cursory Google search came up blank, Facebook zilch and even Duck-duck Go produced no results.  I now understood why the unusual request; she has absolutely zero web presence.  Thankfully, my first action of posting in the Auburn group on FB got me in touch with her.  Thanks everyone!

Our meeting was really unusual, and think about it;  to Sally, I’m some random stranger looking for her, who just wanted to let her know that a group of guys from Canada were looking for her.  Not suspicious at all.  It must have taken a leap of faith for her to call me.  I don’t know if I would have done the same!  When we finally talked the night before meeting, I had to explain that I am in no way affiliated with The Trailer Park Boys (they wouldn’t have me), only a fan who had time on her hands and likes helping people.  Weird, right?  The next morning I showed up at the appointed Starbucks, prepared with my laptop and headphones so she could see what had prompted all the furor.   Sally was amused by what she saw and was definitely game, and I thought, oh, great! mission accomplished.  Then we both looked at each other, and she asked, “What do we do now?”  I laughed and said I would give the appropriate people her phone number…in an e-mail.  She shook her head and explained she didn’t want that kind of information on the internet.  I ended up writing a letter to that effect, where, as far as I know, it’s sitting in someone’s inbox in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

When we were fairly comfortable with each other, we went out into the parking lot and, yes, you guessed it, picked up cigarette butts for about an hour.  Well, I got to use the clicker for the most part and she did the hard work.  During that time I found out that not only does she find butts while she’s out and about, she finds wallets, cash, (she’s collected $900 since 2014!), ponytail hair ties, and of course, used condoms.   And don’t worry if you drop your wallet with your credit cards, $1,000 cash and no ID – she’ll get it to you one or way or another.  She’s scrupulously honest that way, but if she finds a stray $20 here or there, the law of “Finders, Keepers” comes into play.

What saddened me and galvanized my respect for Ms. Dawley was that after about 20 minutes of picking up butts, the magnitude of what she was trying to accomplish hit me.  There was always another butt over there, by this fence post, trapped in the sidewalk cracks, underneath a truck trailer, disguised as dead leaf – it seemed endless.  I asked her if she’d noticed any difference in the volume of cigarette butts she was finding since she’d been receiving some notoriety and the city of Auburn had installed ashcans for smokers in public places.  She shook her head and said, “No, not really.”  Then she remarked how unusual it was to have someone helping her.  I was shocked at this point, and clarified if I’d understood her correctly, in that no one has ever helped her.  Nope.  I had heard it correctly.  Then I was really disappointed.  And really proud of her.  A lesser mortal would have given up well before the 1,000,000 mark.  As we were nearing the end of our time together, I asked her what message she wanted to get out, and she said, “For people to stop throwing their cigarettes everywhere.”  Ultimately, she wants everyone to stop smoking, but as seen through the eyes of this ex-smoker, that ain’t happening any time soon.  Besides the fact that it’s highly physically and psychologically addictive, it’s a tremendously personal decision and you’ve got to want to stop.

So next time you’re out on the town, or anywhere, for that matter, getting ready to toss your cigarette because you can’t find an appropriate place to put it, try field stripping.  That way, you’re less likely to find a cigarette butt in the stomach of the fish you caught that morning, you won’t have to worry so much about your dog eating a stray butt while you’re walking them and making them sick, the birds will have less to line their nests with and the landscape in general will start looking a lot better.

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Oh, My Word!

Have you been as busy as I have?  I’m sure you have, if not more so!  My last post was in November, and here it is, one week before Christmas.  At least the last post was a freebie crochet pattern, so that’s good.  I had a visit with my mother after Thanksgiving and we had a grand time; I finished the Coffee Shop Wrap, which took way too long to make!  Nothing wrong with the pattern, I just couldn’t get into it.  I do love it, though.  Wearing it as I’m writing this post.  Thinking of making some more – have lots of fans!  In the interim, I’m making a slouchy using the leftover yarn.  It’s cotton, and I’m thinking it won’t hold its shape, hence, the slouchy!  I’ll post when done, and if you want, I’ll get the basic numbers and graph to you.  Yea, there’s coffee cups on it.

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Since I most likely will not be posting before Christmas, I would like to wish everyone a good time this holiday season, no matter what your preference is.  I do not know all of the holidays being celebrated around the world at this time, but I believe they’re mostly in the northern hemisphere.  Everyone needs a break from winter!!

See you all in the funny pages.

Maybe It Wasn’t Meant To Be…

I really hate that expression.  It’s usually preceded by some depressing story about love, loss, etc., with an overwhelming feeling of helplessness.  What are you supposed to say?  “Maybe it wasn’t meant to be” always seems to be my go-to platitude.  And if to the receiver, I’m sounding like a broken record, then you need to make your life better, even if it wasn’t meant to be!

The incident that brought up this vitriol wasn’t nearly as dramatic as those stories one hears, but equally frustrating.  As those of you who have follow me on Facebook, you know I’ve been busting my buns, making accessories that I hope will sell at crafts fairs.  I was excited that maybe today, the last day at this one venue,  I’d be able to cover the basic costs of making all these goodies.  With three dismal shows under my belt, I was willing (and still am) to give it another go.

I made my normal preparations last night, ensuring that I had proper ice packs for my lunch since the temperature hit the 80s today – again – that I had plenty of business cards, that all the inventory was in the traveling bags, that the dummy heads still appeared presentable, and everything that was in its proper place and order.  Everything was A-OK.  We were ready to roll.

Then reality sets in.  Didn’t get to sleep until 6 am and the alarm went off at 8:40.  Had to splash cold water on my face at least twice.  Since part of my prep is picking out the clothes I’m going to wear, that didn’t take long.  With a set-up deadline of 9:45 looming over my head, I was in my car and driving with 25 minutes to drive 10 miles and be ready for biz.  As I don’t have a very complicated display table, we were still good.

Then the fuel gauge gives me an orange light.  We are on “E” and I’m not one of those types willing to push my car’s gasoline capacity limits!  So I had to go out of my way to get to a gas station, and while there, I discovered I had forgotten my cell phone.  I needed that to make scheduled calls as part of my business.  So back I go.

When I get back in the car it’s already after 10:00.  That means people are already ambling around at the farm, looking at the animals, examining the goods for sell. Well, mostly ambling around in my limited experience; it’s rare that people start buying before before 1:00.

After reassuring myself that the owner, who was emphatic about being on time, won’t be too terribly miffed, I’m watching my speedometer to ensure I don’t get crazy fast, which is kind of hard on these back roads anyway, and trying to remain positive.  I hate being late, especially in this kind of situation, but I always seem to be in a losing battle with the clock.

When I reached my destination, all was well.  No one was waiting with arms crossed and toe tapping, so I pulled my van into the vendor’s area, being as careful as I can because there are little children everywhere.  I see my spot, turn off the engine, and scoot around to the back to start unloading everything.  And I see this. 20171028_115345

So let’s play the game of “What’s Missing?”.  See it?  No?  That’s because it’s not there.  The table, where I’m going to place everything and drape with a cloth and dangle items from there with clothespins.  OMF!

I text the owner and ask if she has something I can use.  She does not.  And I’m hemmed in now by the horse buggy that’s loading up with it’s first payload of the day.  So I wait.  When the buggy has moved, the owner comes around and helps me back out so everyone’s safe and she’s all ready to see me next year.

The point of this story?  I’m losing my mind.  I cannot believe I forgot the table.

Well, it’s done and apparently, there will be another opportunity for another major screw up next year!!!

See you in the funny pages.

To Etsy or not to Etsy?

I’m going full tilt trying to get a Christmas inventory set up for either;

a. Etsy
b. Local Crafts Fairs
c. Consignment shop

To break it down, they all have their pros and cons. Let’s start with Etsy.

~ Worldwide competition where items are offered for less than I can purchase the yarn, 1.8 million sellers as of 9/5/17, and monthly fees.  This would seem to be a dismal market for a small crafts maker such as myself and I’ve read in more than one article that finding a niche market is what  a successful entrepreneur does.  I don’t do that.  I make what moves me at that time.  The are two things that offsets all this negativity is that it’s relatively cheap to sell and one does have a larger market.

Now onto Local Crafts Fairs

~ Nasty weather, low turn-outs, long hours of exposure to said nasty weather, seller’s permits and insurance are all part of selling directly to your customer.  Having said that, the big draw is that you are offering a product and the buyer is looking, handling and appraising the product right there.  No waiting for shipping, no information given at the electronic checkout, it’s just look, like, buy.  There’s a lot to be said about this approach in our instant gratification society.

Consignment shops

~ High cost of sales, the disposition of the shop owner and their willingness to display/market your product.  These would all seem to be a major deterrent, but if you are in with a shop owner who has high foot traffic, this can mean $$$ for your Christmas budget, UNLESS you get paid after Christmas.  With me, that would not be a problem, as I don’t have small children in the house.

So there you have it.  And now that I’ve written it, down, it seems I will not Etsy again; at least, not at this time.  It looks like the crafts fairs and consignment this year!  Thanks for hearing me out, you guys!  What do you all do?