kitty companiona

kitty companiona

Thursday, February 24, 2011

It's Baaaa-aaack!

Last week we had a few warm days in the 50's and once even up to 60 degrees.  The snow had melted and there was a green tint in the dry brown grass.  Spring is coming!

Well, here we are with snow.  AGAIN!  And temps down into the single digits at night.  I guess the good news is that it is supposed to get gradually warmer through the end of the week.  Maybe this white stuff won't last long.

Meanwhile I've been waiting very impatiently for yarn and books to come in the mail. 

I'm not sure what has possessed me.  I signed up for an online rug hooking challenge on Rug Hooking Daily in January and have the idea drawn on paper with it almost the way I want it, but am not moving along too fast on that.  Then I joined a sweater knitting group on Ravelry that was initiated by Julie on the Knitting at Large blog.  It's a really lovely cardigan that can be seen by accessing the blog on my sidebar.

Plus I have lots of sewing to do for Brad and Kami.

I'm not sure why I'm piling up so many 'to do' projects.  Sounds like a good formula for lots of UFO's!  And I doubt if I'll have time for housework.  Since I have all this fun stay-at-home stuff lined up, I needed audio books to listen to (and drown out the constant strumming on the guitar!) so I can concentrate.  I've been wanting for a long time to show pictures of our local library.  I love this place!  Shippensburg is so lucky to have this lovely old building for it's library. 

For me, a new modern library just would not have the same appeal.  This is the side entrance hall leading to the desk.

The main reading room, with computers available for public use.

It's so comforting to sit and read by the fireplace.  A friend of mine holds her Thursday evening knitting group in this room.

Cumberland County has an excellent library system with a user-friendly online system for ordering books from anywhere in the area.  If the local library doesn't have what you need, you can order from any library in the county and have it delivered to your local one.  They encourage educational programs for both adults and children.  The South Cumberland Fiber Guild meets here for their spinning and fiber-related meetings.  Most days the parking lot is full.
For a small-town library, this one is very well used!

Plans are being made to expand the library (and hopefully the parking lot!).  I just hope they don't build on too much of this lovely area behind the building. 

It doesn't show on the picture, but there is a stone patio with seating available in summer for outdoor reading.  The lovely little Branch Creek runs alongside the building.

OK, that's the mini-tour!

My box of yarn has arrived.  Time to knit up a swatch to see if I can get the correct gauge for the sweater.

Hmmmm!  Did I mention that my yarn is the same color as a cardboard box?  LOL! 

Meanwhile the kitties have a few yarn projects of their own.

That blur at the top left is Reggie, wrestling a ball of yarn into submission.  He must have been measuring something, because there's my tape measure!  They love twisting the yarn around the legs of the chair and ironing board.  It's that much more exciting!  Check the tops of the chair legs- that is the Official Scratching Chair.  They don't have a scratching post like most cats.  About ten years ago, someone started using the chair and it has been the scratching place ever since.  Cats make their own decisions!

Guess I better start knitting.
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Stash

Sometimes cats are behaviorally so much like humans it's scary.

I've been getting ready to whip the edge of my little Amish mat.  I was sure I had a little ball of brown yarn left from another rug but have looked everywhere and couldn't find it.  No great surprise in my messy house!
So Kami had a skein of brownish variegated yarn that she donated to the cause.

I was saving this project to take along to the Blue and Gray hook-in on Monday.

On Sunday I noticed Reggie in the bathroom playing with SOMETHING, running and jumping and thrashing around with something BROWN.  Would you believe it was the long-lost little ball of yarn???

It had been months since I had last seen this ball of yarn, but suddenly it was out in the open and being played with. 
Which brings me to The Stash. 
Cats, like so many of us, have their stashes.  They are hidden away where we don't often look, behind cupboards, in the back of the closet, under furniture where only they can go.  We give them toys and think they've lost them when we no longer see them, but they KNOW where they are!  My first cat, Woody used to have food stashes.  His favorite was a partial pack of saltines that he kept under the kitchen cabinet and when I wouldn't give him something he wanted, he'd go eat from his stash.  There are stashes of toy mousies under Zip's desk and an oak cupboard in the living room.

But darn it!  I wish they wouldn't appropriate things from MY stash!

Here they are helping me finish the edge.  Weighting it down counts, right???  Adding a little extra fiber is a good thing???

Extra fiber!

Double kitty weights!

Izzy daydreaming of the next project.

Stealing the yarn, again!

The innocent Penny.

The mat is finished.
I took pictures with different color settings on my camera.  The differences are amazing and NONE of them are accurate as my eyes see the color.  What to do???

The pictures I took at the Blue and Gray hook-in seem to have more realistic color.

Our featured rug artist this month was Lina W.  Here is a sampling of her work.

This is Doris's lovely Adam and Eve rug.  It's all finished except for binding the edge.

I didn't get to the hook-in until late.  Things at home conspired against my best efforts.  But it was a good time with a nice crowd of ladies attending.

I'm happy to report that the thyroid medication seems to be working.  I have more energy!  Things are getting done without so many 'tired' days where I'm totally nonfunctional.  With the days getting longer and the cold weather easing up a bit, I feel like there's a light at the end of the tunnel.

Onward to Spring!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Productive In-The-Kitchen Weekend

I think I've mentioned before that there is nothing in the kitchen I find more enjoyable than baking loaves of bread.  The 'ultimate loaf' is an illusive fantasy that keeps luring me on.

I have been fascinated by the efforts of Thomas on the A Growing Tradition blog to find that same wonderful loaf that I am seeking.  He has been using several books to guide him.  Last week I ordered a few books of my own.

The Bread Bakers Apprentice is quite technical.  I hope I have the brain power to do it justice.  After reading and debating I decided to make a one-day recipe to start out. 

This is my cranberry pecan bread.  It's yummy, with a nice crust and moist interior.  It makes a superior breakfast toast. 

I think next time I will tackle one of the breads that you start and put in the fridge overnight and then do the shaping and baking the next day.  But that takes planning....

Then I decided to make a cheesecake for Kami's birthday dinner that Mom was making today.  For years I've used a Cooking Light recipe that has turned out good every time I've made it.  It's not quite as heavy and calorie-laden because you can use low fat creamcheese and some egg whites in the crust and batter.

I cooked a sauce from blueberries I had frozen during the past summer.

I'm sorry my pictures aren't the greatest.  It was very sunny in the kitchen yesterday.  I have a very small simple camera.  With the flash, things got too light and bright and without the flash they seemed dark. 

During the down time, while waiting for bread to rise and things to bake, I did some hooking.  My Amish couple is finished except for the binding.

In the natural light coming in the window.

Without the flash.

The true color is somewhere between the two. 

I'll save the binding to work on at a hook-in.

I've signed up for an online challenge on Rug Hooking Daily and also joined a few others in a knitting group at Knitting At Large.  The RHD challenge piece I won't be able to show as it progresses.  The knitting is not a secret challenge, so I can post progress.

Stay warm everyone!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Much-Needed Day Out

Yesterday I ventured to Chambersburg for the meeting of the Cumberland Valley Hookers.  We had a room full of ladies, even a few new recruits.  I think everyone wanted to have a nice day out before the Big Storm arrived.

I'm just going to show the pictures and let you enjoy.

I took my Amish Couple project, but with talking and catching up on what everyone else was doing, I didn't get much done.  I hook so much better when I'm home by myself with an audio book. 

This morning I did get some hooking done.  What else can you do (housework, I think NOT!) when it looks like this outside?

I was getting nervous about running out of colors because I'm using up little pieces of 'stuff' in my stash.

There was just enough to do the sawtooth edge if I was careful with the placement of a few of the colors.  I'm still debating the border.  Are they at the 'used buggy dealership'???  Used car lots always have those colorful little flags decorating the the place.  Hmmmm!

What I was trying for was a quilt-like border, but I don't think it turned out that way.
I'm going to put a 3/4 inch border of black on the outside yet.

Meanwhile the kitties are up to their usual mischief.

They have modified their fountain.  We had this for a few months and it was a good investment for both drinking and entertainment.  Sometimes they take baths here.  Once in a while mousie takes a swim.  Or are they trying to drown him?  But there was something about this cap that fit on the top and controlled the water flow that needed to be 'fixed'.

See, Mom!  It works so much better since we removed it!

I can't even wash the thing without them all hovering around the kitchen sink watching and waiting for it to be put back on the floor.

Here they are in the trash can.  They love to play in it after being emptied and a new bag was put in.  Penny's headlights are ON!

 Innocent-looking Isabell is the little hoarder of stolen goods.  On second thought, she does have a certain look in her eyes.

She was seen running through the kitchen with this in her mouth!

When Zip yelled at her, she promptly scooted under a cupboard where he couldn't reach her or the socket.  Planning a destruction project, Izzy?

Penny is helping me at the computer.

This is a little smile of satisfaction because she knows I can't do a darn thing with her sitting on the keyboard.

Hope the Big Storm does not cause you too much inconvenience or extra work.
If at all possible, stay home and hook!