kitty companiona

kitty companiona

Friday, December 31, 2010

It's 7:30 p.m.

And the party's over! 
We've gone out and are home already, sitting around the woodstove drinking hot chocolate, watching TV and petting the cats.

We went out for dinner at our local Japanese restaurant, Mei Lin's House in Shippensburg.  We have been doing this for many years with Chuck and Willa, our best friends.  This year Brad and Kami and Chuck and Willa's son, daughter-in-law and their grandchild joined us.

We made reservations for the hibachi grill table for entertainment as well as food.

Our chef filling small dishes with the dipping sauces.

 Then the show begins with a pillar of flame.

Preparing the meat and vegetable.  During this time he does twirling of utensils, juggling eggs, and tossing bits of food for us to catch in our mouths.

Chuck with his son and grand-daughter.

The flaming volcano of onion rings.

Brad, Kami and Zip.

The meal began with fried noodles, a salad and miso soup.  Then we were given fried rice.  By the time the meat and vegetables were served, I was pretty much at my limit.  Leftovers are no problem!  Not having to cook lunch tomorrow is OK with me.

That's about as exciting as our New Year's Eve gets!  We are NOT Party People!
Sharing food, conversation and laughter with friends and family is good enough for me.

Hope your New Year's Eve is safe and enjoyable!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Digging Through the Past

When Brad was digging through boxes in the attic on Christmas Eve he found a quilt top that I had done back in the late 70's.  I have been wanting for years to unearth this piece and quilt it, but hadn't found it.  Maybe I just wasn't looking hard enough!

When I first started quilting, I bought a few already constructed tops and quilted them.  I also took antique blocks I found at flea markets and put sashing between them and made quilts from them.  I found that I loved applique and started making my own tops.  This was one of the last ones I did during that period.

I didn't realize it was quite so gaudy!  This was a time in my life when I was really into COLOR.  Hahaha!  Somewhere between then and now I went into my 'drab period'.  I could only get about a quarter of the quilt top in the picture without going outside and hanging it from the porch railing.  Way too cold and windy for that!  I still think I'd like to quilt this one.  There are two others that may have to be given to someone else because they are *boring*.

I used to love stitching historical samplers.  I started out in the early 80's with a kit from the Scarlet Letter.  Just last year I finished that first piece.  It's not framed yet, but some day I'll be able to show it.  I became hooked!  I bought so many leaflets and patterns, that I could not finish them all in two lifetimes!  I found original samplers at antique shows and flea markets and started charting them and selling them as kits.  I designed several of my own and marketed them at craft shows.

The Yellow House is one of my designs.

I put fake names and dates on them but explain in the labelling on the back that it is not an original sampler, as I do with all my reproductions.

This is a partial repro of an antique sampler.  It had a very long and involved verse extolling the virtues of education.  The thread count was somewhere near 45 threads per inch.  Way too fine for my eyes, so I used 32 count linen and just used the lovely design motifs and lettering in my repro.

The Anne Parry sampler is an exact copy of the original.

I just love this sampler!  It has so many amazing details.

With all the genealogy information available on the web, I should do some research to see if I can find info about some of these girls.

If there is any interest I will post more from time to time.  I have a lot!

And if I ever get my weaving website up and running, I plan to once again offer these samplers for sale as kits.  But that's a big IF and WHEN.

Maybe the past should just stay in the closet!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Big Sigh of Relief

Did you hear it???
AAAAAAAhhh!  It's Over!

I am glad, it's been a hectic past few days.  Even though I tried to keep it simple and relaxing, it never seems to stay that way!

The Day Before Christmas...
I spent all day Thursday cooking so that I had the food prepared ahead of time and would have an easy day on Friday.  Everything was finished except the deviled eggs and roasting the turkey.  The turkey had set overnight in a pot of brine, awaiting it's time in the oven.

I got up Friday morning and was ready to tackle the turkey.  I had the brilliant thought that if I fed the kitties first, maybe they would leave me in peace.  I got out the canned cat food and prepared the dishes.  Tippy didn't eat hers.  Very unusual because she loves canned food.  She had thrown up twice in the past few days, but I didn't think much of it with all the food prep excitement.  Then I thought that with Christmas being tomorrow and the next day being Sunday, there would be no vet service except for the Emergency Clinic that's 50 miles away (and expensive!)

I called our vet and we took her in for a check.  They couldn't find anything, but drew blood and gave her antibiotics and anti-nausea medication.

Meanwhile back at the homestead, the turkey is not in the oven even though it should have been!  Our kitchen stove is an antique gas stove from the early 1940's.  We run it off a little propane tank like what is used on a grill.  It's amazingly fuel efficient, with a tank usually lasting about three months. 
Something made me think that with the turkey needing to roast all day, maybe I should check the tank.  Oh, No!  Getting very low!  Will there be enough gas???  We decided to roast the turkey on the grill instead.  I've never tried anything like that before, but it came out well and in a shorter time than it usually takes in the oven.

Meanwhile Brad, Kami, and Emily arrived.  Brad went to the attic to explore through boxes of old stuff.  Kami and I worked in the kitchen finishing the cooking.  Zip and Emmy played with the cats.

Christmas Eve...

This was a VERY informal dinner as you can see by the classy serving containers!  LOL!
We were trying for a German theme this year- potato dumplings, cabbage with spaetzel, bread stuffing balls, asparagus and the turkey and gravy.  We got a little starchy, I think!

But it came together fairly well for a dinner made by totally disorganized people!  hahaha!
And for dessert we had cherry and blueberry crisp made by Kami.  We had a fun time with lots of laughs and reminiscence.  The kitties were so worn out from all the company, they slept through dinner.

After the kids left, we vegged out in our favorite chairs and watched 'A Christmas Story' on TV, my all-time favorite Christmas movie.

Christmas Day in the Morning....
No, I didn't see three ships a-sailing.  Just a gray sky and a few paltry snowflakes.
It was quiet and peaceful, with just a cup of coffee and my own thoughts to keep me company.
Several weeks ago I had gotten a recipe for 'Air Buns' from the Mennonite Girls Can Cook blog.  There's nothing I love more in the kitchen than baking bread.  My Christmas morning gift to myself!

This is an easy recipe with only a minimal amount of kneading.  Instant yeast is used so it rises quickly.

The changes I made were making only half the recipe and using an extra cup of flour because the dough seemed very sticky.  I used SAF brand instant yeast.

I had some dough left after shaping my pan of rolls so I made some quick pecan rolls with the remainder.

I'll have to see how well they keep, but I'm thinking they will make great burger and hot dog buns as well as dinner rolls.

Over the River and Through Chambersburg....
To Grandmother's house we go.  As usual Mom had made a pile of delicious food.  By the time we got there I was tired and not at all hungry.  Everyone else did justice to the culinary delights, though.

Mom is a Christmas afficianado!  She has trees in each and every room and hundreds of ornaments- antique, Old World, Christopher Radcoe and who knows what.  You will also notice that she is very organized, clean and neat, a perfectionist!  I think they must have gotten babies mixed up because I do not have any of these traits!

Trees in the living room:

Wreath of pipecleaner Santas in the kitchen.

Trees in the bedroom.

A cabinet of assorted small decorations.

Zip and Kami looking at Mom's Christmas postcard collection.

Mom and her tree.

The Aftermath of Christmas....
WARNING!!!  This next picture should not be seen by young children!
It may make you never want to celebrate Christmas EVER AGAIN!

Disclaimer:  There were NO drugs and alcohol involved in this frightful scene.

Yes, it's over and now we can breath a sigh of relief!
Hope yours was as good as ours!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Learning Restraint

Our First Little Snow!

It's been a while since I posted.  My computer desk has been hidden under a pile of junk for a week and a half.  The whole downstairs is a mess.  Two years ago I made one of the upstairs bedrooms into a sewing room.  It was a nice quiet place to work most of the year, but in winter it's COLD up there!  I have been doing my sewing on the kitchen table, which is not the ideal situation. 

Recently I found out about an industrial machine that was for sale in Bedford County.  Sunday a week ago we went and got it.  It's BIG and HEAVY!  It's NOT going upstairs!  No Way!!!  So now I am in the process of setting up a sewing area in what was supposed to be a living room.  But since we don't usually lounge around watching TV and doing nothing else, it was more of a Work Room.  The TV, Zip's fly tying desk, and the comfy chair have now been moved into what had been the dining room near the woodstove.  We hardly ever used the dining room table for eating.  It was more of a depisitory for books and papers and anything else we didn't feel like putting away at the moment.

Needless to say there was a lot of furniture being moved around and lots of junk that needs to find a home elsewhere.  Elsewhere is becoming harder and harder to find.  My storage spaces are FILLED!  The industrial sewing machine was parked in front of my computer desk awaiting it's space.  I read everyone's blogs, just didn't have room to sit down and respond.  So I must apologise for not commenting lately.

Things are now getting back to where we can move around and not trip over the mess.

We have been spending a lot of time with the cats.  Reggie is fitting in nicely.  The initiation process was accomplished with a minimum of hissing and growling.  He's a sweet little guy!  He looks like there may be Maine Coon in his ancestry.

We have always allowed cats to pretty much wander where ever they want in the house.  We don't yell at them for being on the countertops or table.  Mostly they are pretty well-behaved while we eat.  Deiter and Isabell are not interested in 'people food'.  Tipper will wait politely and we will give her three small pieces of meat.  All she ever wants is three pieces.  Penny is our Hungry Cat.  She wants anything that we eat.  We had sternly talked to her about staying back a reasonable distance from our plates and waiting till we offered her something.  Her manners were improving.  But you can see that she is not happy.

Reggie, with his feral outdoor upbringing, is also a Hungry Cat.  It's a grab-n-growl world out there!  So with two who seriously want to raid our plates, things have gotten out of hand!

Here Penny is just a little too close and is giving me that 'aaaw, Mom!' look when I tell her to get back.

She will try to hide next to Tippy because Tippy doesn't get chastised because she quietly sits back out of the way.  She is making herself look like we beat her!  Because.....

Sometimes we have to show her the Long Arm of the Law.  A little smack of the paper on the table and Mommy is NO FUN!

Now she is really looking pathetic.  Check the squinty eyes, the pinched and starving look!  Oh, the poor sick little darling!!!  I don't think she gets enough to eat.  Even though just three feet away there is a full bowl of kitty kibble....

Meanwhile Reggie is NOT being a perfect little gentleman either.  He's trying to climb up Zip's pants leg and clawing into the flesh.  Zip is mumbling nasty things under his breath.

So everyone has now been banned from the table while we eat.  No more people food treats until manners are firmly in place!  The one who is having the hardest time sticking to the plan is Zip.  The Old Softie!  The kitties have only needed gentle verbal reminders that they need to stay down and not beg.

Other times they may be on the table and join in whatever is going on.  Like unpacking the groceries.

Or working on my sewing projects.

Oooops!  There goes the nose in the coffee cup!  Just when you think you're making progress.....

I do know that eventually these young ones will grow up to be well-mannered adults.  It just takes time and patience.  And when they finally get there, they are a true joy to live with.  Like my darling Deiter who loves to sit and hold hands.

Learning restraint isn't easy!

Could that be why I'm sitting here amid a pile of 'stuff' that I don't know what to do with???

The Machine

Hope all of you are ready for Christmas!
It will be over before we know it and we'll be left wondering why it had to be so crazy.
I just want to get back to some rug hooking.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Done! Finished!

It's been sooo cold here!  I am sitting around the house not wanting to go outside for any reason.  The temperature has been lingering around the freezing point with very blustery winds that make the wind chill down into the teens.  Even with the woodstove going strong, it's cool and drafty in the house. 

I've been bundled up in my warmest clothing.  Sometimes I even wear a scarf because my neck and ears get cold.  A good time to just sit and knit.  As a result, my sweater vest is finished.  I'm rather pleased with it.

Closeup of the collar.

It fits well and looks the way I hoped it would.

The back view.

I'll be adding these interesting buttons that I found at Joanne Fabrics.

If I ever use this pattern again, there are a few little tweaks that I would work on.  I would make the armholes a little smaller.  I fudged them by pulling them in a little with a row of single crochet.  I added some increases about two inches from the edge of the collar to make sure it was full enough to lie flat.  I'd do those increases in a way that blends them in less noticeably.  But on the whole, I like the result.

Christmas is fast approaching!  We are keeping it quiet and stress free this year.  We have a little two-foot tree that we put into an antique crock that we will be using this year.  Hopefully it will be too small for kitties to climb! 

Deiter wants to remind everyone who has kitty companions that poinsettias are poisonous to cats (and maybe dogs too?)
The plants in the picture are really attractive ARTIFICIAL ones I got on sale at Joanne Fabrics last year.

Please keep the holidays safe for your dear furry ones!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

WOW! It's Raining!

We are getting torrential rain!  It started yesterday and this morning is even worse.  From the weather map, it looks like the storm will be over this afternoon.  If this had been SNOW, we would be buried under about three feet of white.

On Monday I went to the Cumberland Valley hook-in.  We had a nice sized group.  I guess everyone was glad to get out and hook after all the Thanksgiving festivities.  I know I was!  Currently I don't have any hooking I'm working on.  It was nice to see what everyone else was doing, even though.

Ann is hooking this cute kitty.

Marian is working on her sun, moon and stars.

Lots of serious hookin' goin' on!

I didn't get to see Joan's rug before she put it on the frame, but I know it will be lovely.
Ruth is working on an apple mat.

Her name escapes me.  I think this might be her second chicken rug.

Joyce showing her acorn pad.  Ann always brings jokes along for our entertainment.  I think she's contemplating which one to tell first.

Thelma was working on her kitty rug.  Isn't it beautiful!

By the end of the meeting, Ann had completed her kitty face.  Great job, Ann!

On the home front, I've finished the back and front panels of my sweater vest.  Since I knit it all in one piece, blocking it was not going to be easy.  I finally decided to wet it and lay it out on the screen insert for our front storm door.  Then I put it over the bathtub to catch the drips.  It seemed sensible in theory. 

The reality was a bit different!  The minute I had it all arranged, the heathens appeared!  They walked all over the sweater, pulled the loose ends that I planned to weave in later, and clawed at the screen.  After the little guys had gone on to better things, Deiter arrived on the scene.  Mr. Triple XL is so heavy the screen started to pull out of the frame.  You can see where it separated at the upper left corner of the photo.

The sweater was dripping wet, yet he laid there on it for HOURS!

It was still wet the next morning.  I gave up and put it in the washing machine and spun it and then into the dryer it went.  So much for blocking sweaters!  Now when I get some free time I'll sew the sides and start on the center front and shawl collar.