Welcome to my blog... you'll find patterns, recipes and maybe a poem here and there, with lots of friendly chatter. The focus may be on quilting, knitting, crocheting, beading... or whatever comes to mind that day! Join me for a cup of tea or coffee; I hope you enjoy our time together.
Christmas is just 5 weeks away!This year, I THOUGHT I had a “jump” on it by
ordering a lot of gifts online and beginning my handwork projects in
October.I seem to have a major problem…
one which I realize I’ve had all of my life.No matter how early I start, I always think of other things to add, and
with 5 children, their spouses, and 10 grandchildren and now several
step-grands and great-grands, I try to keep things even.If I give more to one, I need to give more to
the rest, as well.My family continues
to grow and the gift list expands right along with it.I am blessed to have a large, loving family…
but I need to figure out how I can cope with the gift issue logically and
practically. Most importantly, I need to regulate MYSELF! I knit dishcloths and
crochet net scrubbies year round while I am “resting” or watching television,
so one of the items I give every year is a box that includes some handmade
dishcloths, scrubbies and hanging terrycloth towels with crocheted tops, to
hang on an oven door handle.They are
easy to make, fairly inexpensive, and very useful.
Here is the pattern for my crocheted top on the dishtowels:
Crocheted ruffle top
Size F or G crochet hook, depending on how tightly you crochet. Gauge isn't important with this pattern, but it shouldn't be too loose.
4-ply Knitting Worsted Weight Yarn
Hand Towel (I use terry cloth)
SC = Single Crochet
DC = Double Crochet
CH = Chain
SK = Skip
STS = Stitches
Fold towel in half, wrong sides together.I find it helpful to sew a zigzag
along the edge of the fold, to keep it evenly in place while I work with the
towel.Punch holes approximately ¼”
apart along folded edge of towel, using a sharp object like an awl. I can only punch about 4 holes at a time
without them closing up again, so this step takes the longest. Single crochet in each hole across towel,
approximately 50 STS.It really doesn’t
matter if you have more, as you will decrease down to the correct number on Row
Row 1:Chain 1.SC in top of each SC across towel.CH 2. Turn.
Row 2: DC in top of each SC across.CH 2.Turn.
Row 3: DC in top of first DC. (2 DC made). *Sk 1 DC, DC in
top of next 2 DC.Repeat from * across
row.CH 2. Turn.
Row 4: DC in top of every other DC across row.Ch 2.Turn.
Row 5: DC in top of every other DC across row, decreasing
evenly across row.Ch2. Turn.
Row 6: DC in top of every DC, decreasing evenly across row
to end with 8 sts.Ch 2. Turn.
Row 7-8: DC in top of each DC across.Ch 2. Turn.
Row 9:DC in top of
first 3 D.Ch 2, SK 2 DC, DC in
remaining 3 DC.Ch 2. Turn.
Row 10-15: DC in each of 8 sts across row.Ch 2. Turn.
Row 16: 2 DC in top of each DC.Ch 2.Turn.
Row 17: 3 DC in top of each DC.Fasten off.
Edging: SC evenly around all crocheted area of towel,
beginning at one side and going up each side, around ruffle, and down the
remaining side.Fasten off.Put ruffle through buttonhole formed with Row
I’m busy wrapping gifts and putting them into big boxes,
according to which family they are for.Everyone will be here for Thanksgiving, and I don’t want them to see the
gifts unwrapped in boxes in my dining room, which is my “storage” room!The Minnesota children will take their gifts
home with them, but the Michigan contingent will probably come down to
celebrate at some point, probably shortly after Christmas, so all of us in the
Cincinnati area will celebrate together then.Holidays celebrated on a specific day don’t mean as much as when my
family can gather together… then it is my favorite holiday, whatever day that
happens to be!
A few weeks ago, my youngest son came down from Michigan to
spend a few days with me and do some of the things on my honey-do list.His Cincinnati siblings all came over to
visit and help with various projects throughout the weekend.I love the spouses my children chose, and
love their children… but it was a selfish delight to have four of my children
together and see how wonderfully they relate to each other as adults.We laughed and reminisced, and it was my
first Christmas gift this year… and one that could never be boxed and
wrapped!My yard is raked and
November is my paternal grandmother’s birthday month.She has been gone for over 20 years, but she
left an indelible imprint on the lives of all who came into contact with her.She was generous with everyone, although
she had meager means and did manual labor her whole life, working as a cook in
a restaurant, a lineworker in a cannery, and in later life my father and his
brothers built her and their father a small building that became a Home Bakery.They got up at 2:00 every morning to begin
the baking.Grandpa baked the bread…
huge loaves of white bread rose majestically in pans lined up under tea towels
every day and he alternated wheat and rye bread every other day. I can still picture him with the paper cap
covering his head as he stood kneading the dough by hand on the long wooden
table, often humming a tune as he worked. Grandma made raised doughnuts and cinnamon
rolls every day, light as air, and made “fried cake doughnuts” and cookies several
times a week. My mother took orders for
pies and cakes and helped by making those. Grandma Charlotte was my angel my whole life,
probably one of the only people I ever felt loved me unconditionally.She wept with me when I cried, rejoiced in my
accomplishments, and taught me not only to cook, bake, crochet and sew,
but also was a role model for how I lived my life.When I began to date, she gave me
advice:boys will try to put their hands
inside your blouse, but don’t let them!She taught me to be frugal, and was very stern about turning the lights
out whenever I left a room, and not using more than a couple of inches of water
to bathe in, so as not to be wasteful.My first teachings about God came from her lips, as I sat on the floor
curled up against her knee, while she stroked my hair and told me the ageless
stories.She had eleven grandchildren,
and every one of us felt we were her favorite! Her hugs were warm and plentiful, and she
always said, “I love you”. She loved to
have us line up and sing for her, and when she died, we all sang at her
funeral, the last gift we could give her.Grandma Charlotte and Grandpa
Charlie taught us how to be grandparents, perhaps the greatest legacy they left
She made simple foods, like corn chowder from milk and creamed corn, macaroni covered
in tomato juice with bacon on top then baked until the bacon was crisp, baked
beans... and always pancakes, which Grandpa ate topped with a combination of salt
pork grease and syrup.Here’s her
Pancakes (everything is in twos!):
2 cups of all-purpose flour 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar 2 Tablespoons baking powder 2 cups milk (if you use buttermilk or soured milk, add a
teaspoon of baking soda) 2 eggs 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil 1 teaspoon salt Mix all ingredients so that the dry ingredients are just
incorporated into the liquids; no need to overmix.Bake on a hot griddle (medium heat) sprayed
with cooking spray or spread with a little bacon grease until bubbles form and
they begin to start to look dry around the edges, then flip and cook the other side.Do not overcook them.Left over batter can be refrigerated, or you
can bake up all the pancakes and reheat them in a toaster oven or toaster.My grandkids love when I make shapes, like
Mickey Mouse and ducks… sometimes we need to use our imagination, as pancake
batter doesn’t always present the easiest artistic medium to work with!
Every year, I make a Christmas ornament for each of my
children and grandchildren.It’s a
tradition my mother started many years ago, and I’ve continued it with my
family.This year, I saw an angel made
of butterfly charms with a body of feathers and pearl beads for the head.Mine are a bit different from the tutorial I
saw, but I got the feathers and charms from Amazon, and used E6000 epoxy, as
she recommended.My pearls are cultured
pearls I got from Fire Mountain, but they are probably available through any
craft stores in less expensive glass pearls.
Here is a photo of my angels, and the address of the Domestic Diva’s website where I got the idea.
Mary used turkey lacers for her beaded stilettos, but I
wanted something a little longer.I
found a set of double-pointed 6” sock needles at Walmart online for around $6,
with 5 needles in each size from 000 to 001, twenty needles to a package.I used mostly lamp-worked beads, but included
some cloisonné, porcelain, and metal beads, also.I glued them with the E6000 epoxy.Here’s a photo of my completed
stilettos.The main thing I had to be
aware of is to choose beads with holes large enough to fit on the knitting
I have also been sewing some snack mats and matching napkins to give with mugs and assorted teas and drink mixes for the grandchildren, according to their ages and
preferences(tutorial on one of my prior blogs... you can use the search function to find it). I didn't plan ahead to make mats to match the mugs I bought, but if you have time to do that, it would be really special.
Winter has surprised us here in Cincinnati much earlier than is the norm. I woke yesterday to over 4" of snow on the table on my deck. The first snowfall always looks beautiful, but I'm not ready for winter yet! Here's the view from my deck.
The leaves hadn't even all fallen yet! My youngest sister is flying in next week to spend
Thanksgiving with me.Since she and her
husband do not have children, she shares my children and grandchildren, even
though she is only five years older than my oldest son!Everyone will be here for this holiday, which
doesn’t happen very often.I’m over the
moon excited to have all the chicks back in the nest! I have some ideas of projects to work on with the grandchildren... one might be making Advent Candy Banners, like my children had when they were small. I hope your holiday season will bring you as
much joy as I am feeling.And may your
angels awaken your own memories of the happy times you’ve shared with loved ones.