Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Bunch of "Firsts"

A new project is on the knitting needles, and as I was working on it today, I got to thinking; for some reason, there sure are a bunch of "firsts" involved with this particular project...
  1. First time using this type of yarn - James C. Brett Marble Chunky ( I wish it had a colour "name" )
  2. First time using bamboo needles (love them!)
  3. First time using circular needles (not as complicated as I thought they were going to be)
  4. First time using a stitch marker (technically an old earring; but it does the job)
  5. First time knitting a shawl 

I guess it's not unusual to have so many firsts when you are fairly new to a hobby, but for some reason, it made just made me smile. 

Another thing that made me smile, was finally finding a use for this neat basket that I've had for almost 2 years.  When my daughter got married in British Columbia, my son-in-law's Mom found a local artisan who made these baskets and bought a few to use at the reception.  I was lucky enough to get to bring one home, and I never knew what to use it for until now.  

It even has a place to hang my scissors! :-)


Monday, February 18, 2013

I'm Hooked!

I guess my post title today would be more appropriate if I was going to talk about crocheting, but now that I've rediscovered knitting, it's true... I'm hooked!!

As I've mentioned before, it's been decades since I last had knitting needles in my hands, but I was determined to give it a try.  I thought that by starting out with something small like a dishcloth would be the best way to go.

**Warning: This first picture may be disturbing to some viewers... especially if you are a skilled knitter.**                                           

Now that I've had more practice, my 1st attempt even makes me cringe!

There are thousands of dishcloth patterns out there, so I thought I would attempt a few different ones, to see which one I liked the best.  Jody's birthday was right around the corner, so I thought, why not make some to go along with her gift?  Thank goodness for Youtube videos. They really helped to refresh my memory with all kinds of tips and techniques.

I felt like my Nana was there right along beside me as I worked away on these; using the same needles she used for her many years of knitting.

When she opened her gift, Jody made the comment that she just threw away 3 dishcloths that had seen better days, so I was happy to give her some new ones to use.  (No, I didn't give her the one in the first picture!)

As I like to say... if you have to wash dishes by hand, why not have some pretty dishcloths to do the job?


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I Love Bacon! Bacon Baskets That Is.

With Valentine's fast approaching, I thought this would be a good week for me to blog about something I LOVE. Bacon. Bacon baskets that is.

A few months ago I posted that Pinterest is my new best friend. While visiting Pinterest one day, it lead me to a website with an article called '22 Things You are Doing Wrong'.  There were some very interesting ideas and concepts on how to do things differently.  One such idea was what my family has come to call Bacon Baskets.   The concept behind this keen idea is that when you are making a clubhouse sandwich, prepare the bacon the following way and the bacon will stay in one piece and you will not have all the pieces all falling apart from the sandwich.  This sounded like a neat idea and I thought I would have to try it sometime. 

Backtracking a bit...Christmas this year was going to be a little different and exciting at our house because it was the first Christmas in 20 years that my girls were able to be with me on Christmas day for the entire day.  Normally they spend Christmas eve and Christmas morning with me, then they go and spend the rest of the day with their dad.  Christmas mornings were always rushed what with trying to get all the gifts opened, everyone showered, dressed up, quickly fed and out the door by noon.  This year everyone was excited at the concept of being able to take our time that day and lounge in our pajamas until 4pm if we wanted to before heading to my mom's for dinner.   And it also meant our first relaxing morning to enjoy a nice brunch. 

Emails floated back and forth for awhile trying to decide what to have for brunch and so finally I sent one email that said, 'Everyone pick your top 3 breakfast choices and I'll create a menu from there'.   The responses came back as such: 

Bonnie: Hashbrown casserole, bacon, bacon, and maybe some more bacon.  Fruit.
Niki: Hashbrown casserole, hashbrown casserole, hashbrown casserole, bacon, maybe some fruit.
Shawn: Hashbrown casserole, bacon, fruit.
Holly: Hashbrown casserole, hashbrown casserole, hashbrown casserole, bacon, bacon.
Matt:  Unable to attend (awwwwww)
Paige: Hashbrown casserole, hashbrown casserole, bacon, bacon, bacon.
Brandon  He'll eat anything, but he'd like hashbrown casserole, hashbrown casserole, bacon, bacon and bacon

Clearly you can see that: 
A: we all love hashbrown casserole. 
B: we all love bacon. 
C: only Shawn can count. 

So when I read all the comments, I knew that I had to buy bacon and lots of it. Now what I loved about this breakfast was that I could make the casserole ahead of time, pop it in the oven to heat and walk away.  So how was I going to cook that much bacon for everyone and serve it all hot at the same time.  And then it hit me.  Bacon Baskets. 

So on Christmas Eve I said to Holly, let's weave the bacon now and we won't have to do it in the morning and then all we have to do is pop it in the oven.  We lined the largest cookie sheets we had with tin foil in a way that there would be no leakage of bacon grease onto the cookie sheet.  We wove the bacon pieces onto the sheets and covered it with saran wrap.  Then we stacked all the sheets on top of one another - covered well with saran and popped them in the fridge for the night.  

It was so relaxing to go to bed and know that everything was taken care of and an easy morning to look forward to.  Unfortunately, I didn't think to take pictures of brunch with the bacon weaves, casserole, fruits, fruit dip and cinnamon buns.  Bummer.  But needless to say, brunch was great, the bacon baskets were a HIT and the family time was priceless!!

So the next time I made bacon weaves I decided to take some pictures to give you an idea. 
I start with my favourite brand, and I cut the bacon in half.
Lay three strips of the cut bacon pieces beside
each other on the tray vertically.
Then begin to horizontally weave three more pieces of bacon.

Lift the middle piece of bacon, lay the next piece of bacon on top of the two outer pieces.
Lift the outside pieces, lay the next piece of bacon on top of the middle piece etc.
Continue. You will have used three pieces vertically and three pieces horizontally.
Because the cookie sheet was very large, I made sure to create a sealed seam for an easier clean up.  Be sure not to use a rack, just allow the bacon to cook in its grease.This will ensure even baking and wonderfully crispy bacon!!
Backtracking again...My daughter and son-in-law took me to Bronners this past fall and if you haven't heard of it before, it is a Christmas store where you can find just about any ornament you can imagine. (I say just about because unfortunately, they did NOT have any Cross Stitch ornaments. Disappointing!!)  

Almost immediately upon arrival in the store, Niki found this ornament and after laughing right out loud she said, "OMG, I want to buy this for Sarah!"

We got a good chuckle out of this very odd Christmas ornament, however I have decided I"m not going to go back to buy it.  Besides the fact that it is ... well simply put... it's 'fugly' - it doesn't have a bacon basket on it.  It simply will not do. 

p.s.  It's family day this weekend; I think I should go buy some bacon.... 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Where Did January Go?

While flipping over my calendar pages to February yesterday, I thought to myself... where did January go??  It sure went by in a flash!  But then again, so do all of the months... especially the older more mature I get.  The month of hearts and love and mushy stuff is now upon us, but we are also still in the white of winter and actually getting some fresh snow here today.  I always feel like I'm in a tug of war when it comes to decorating my mantle this time of year... I'm never sure what route to go.

Until about a week ago, my poor mantle had sat pretty bare once the Christmas stuff came down.  Then I decided to try my hand at making one of those pom-pom garlands that you are seeing all over Blogland and Pinterest these days.  I was pleased with the end result, so I hung it up.  Earlier this week, I was looking at the sad, lonely garland hanging there all by itself, so I dug out my Valentine bin and got busy.

I've been thinking for a while now about moving the clock that I've had hanging over the mantle for the past 3 years, to somewhere else in the room.  I thought it would open up the space and give more area to work with when changing up the mantle.  That's the fun of decorating... you can always change it back... but for now I like the look.

I decided to go ahead and make the mantle a Valentine's Day/Winter combination, so I mixed in some white with the reds and pinks.  As you can see, I did get out my Nana's knitting needles like I talked about in my last post.  I have started ripping out knitting again, but we'll leave that post for another day :-)

There... all done until next month.  Then it will be time to replace the reds and pinks with the greens to celebrate all things Irish.  Until next time...


Christmas 2016

Christmas 2016 was held at Jody's this year and we were lucky we had good weather for our travel eastbound.  If there is going to be a...