Just….Summer…

51. Appreciate your siblings, especially if you get along with them.

52. Friends are the family you select!

Those are two that should have been included in my previous blog about turning 50 and the things I’ve learned.

That said?

WHEW!!!!

Work has been a whirl-wind and after every week? I spend time in the shade (and sometimes the sun) with my Kindle. I read. A. LOT! As in, I can knock out 3-4 novels per weekend, either hanging in the hammock or chilling in a chair in the shade.

I love to read. Ever since I was a kid with a bedside lamp, I would read when I couldn’t sleep. Laura Ingalls and Betsy, Tacy and Tib were some of my literary besties when I was growing up. Then I got into Judy Blume. I loved all of her tween books, as well as her adult-related novels later in life.

In the past weeks I have discovered the likes of Skye Warren, A. Armitage, Ninie Hammon, Andrew Kaufman, Casey Hill, and many more.

Summer is my reading time; my time to spend outdoors, trying to center myself and live someone else’s wonderful fictional ideas.

I watch little T.V. and spend my time outside. I get some odd looks from people at work when they ask me if I caught thus-and-such on the tube last week and I tell them I’ve not watched much T.V. Fall, winter, and early spring are what HULU and Netflix were made for.

Those of you that are readers and have a Kindle or grab Kindle e-books on the regular? I would highly recommend Kindle Unlimited. For a low monthly fee, (which I won’t quote because I am too damned lazy to go look it up, but it’s under ten US dollars) you can pick from hundreds (maybe thousands) of titles. You can have ten books out at a time, and at 3-4 novels per weekend at roughly four dollars per book, I figure I must be saving money; I’m reading roughly $16.00 worth of books per weekend times four, so do the math. I won’t, because it’s summer and I’m a lazy something or other.

Aside from reading, I’ve blown up my tablet and my cell phone is acting stupid, so I’ve been more unplugged than I am used to and finding that I actually LIKE IT.

I’m writing this from my laptop, which is hard wired to the outside outlet, whilst sitting on the deck this evening. I really had to force myself to bring the laptop out because I needed to see how to turn my wisteria vine into a small tree. Figuring I had a little time on my hands, I wanted to write this to let my blogging friends (Rob, Janie, Skwarl, Ode to Joy, and others) know that I’m still alive. I’m here, but I am lazy as hell.

In other news…The gazebo/structure that we’d hoped to have completed by my birthday has proven to be a lot larger project than we anticipated…

Maybe we'll finish it in our lifetime, LOL...

Maybe we’ll finish it in our lifetime, LOL…

We have the rafters up, and need to put some more 1×4 cross supports up prior to installing the metal roof (help!?) and wiring for ceiling fan and laying down a tinted concrete floor. I miss my tent, which is now covering the work area on the side of the studio housing the miter saw and any extra lumber.

We’ve had quite the little heat wave and it’s done a number on our garden, except for our cantaloupe, which is amazingly sweet and wonderful.

Yet, again, this year, our squash didn’t do as well as we’d hoped, I went light on jalapeno peppers, and the tomatoes are starting to turn red, finally.

I’ve also really found myself getting into infused water, which I will blog about in a future post, as I’m collecting recipes that I try and like and will share them with you. Currently, my favorite is cucumber lemon, and I’ve really acquired a taste for the cucumber. I’ve also done lemon, mint and blueberry, as well as a cilantro citrus, and a killer jalapeno mix, so stay tuned.

I’ve also been crocheting my butt off to get Mattix’s little granny square afghan done (and I’ll show you a picture in an upcoming post, as it isn’t quite done, yet) so that he will have something soft and warm to snuggle under this fall/winter.

All that said, it’s all I’ve got for you, tonight. 🙂

Until next time…

Getting My Crafty On

I look forward to my weekends. They give me two days in a row to get in touch with my inner kitchen witch, as it were.

As much as I really hate that I broke my ankle last November, it has forced me to slow down and FIND things to do. I get bored really easily, and being winter, I have to fill the shorter, colder days with something.

So far, you’ve seen my crochet projects, the progression of our first batch of homemade wine, and the natural skin care items I whipped up for Christmas.

Only 356 more to go...

Only 356 more to go…

On the first of the month I started an afghan project that has me making one granny square per day; the colors are based on my mood that day. I’ve been consistent thus far, though it IS only the 10th of the month. I’ve been trying to do the mental math on how I am going to lay out the 365 squares so that they are not 5 across. (Each square is about 5 inches square, so at 5 across, it’d only be 25″ wide, which is way too narrow for an afghan, in my opinion.) None of the numbers that go into 365 will make for even rows, so I’m figuring I will do some plain white squares to make up the missing squares. I have eleven and a half months to come up with a solution, so I’m not trying to overtax my brain at this point. 😉

Racked and bubbling! :)

Racked and bubbling! 🙂

This morning I racked our mead, taste-tested and added sugar to our second batch of Hell Hath No Fury red, and washed and sanitized all the associated equipment (auto-siphon, tubing, wine thief, buckets, spoons, etc.) I also updated both pages under the “Wine Making” menu.

Oh, yeah! I added two new pages to my menu last week. One is obviously for wine making (it’s a good thing to have a record of the steps one goes through to create a successful batch of wine and to have them all in one place, easily found again), and the other is a place to put crochet patterns and body care recipes for easy reference. This year it’s all about being organized, although you wouldn’t know it if you saw either of my desks. 😉

I still have two little projects on the agenda for this afternoon. One is another batch of body butter for my mother-in-law (I accidentally gave my step-daughter both jars at Christmas), and my friend Kara, who turned me on to my second project of the afternoon; lotion bar sticks. 😀

Have any of you ever tried a lotion bar? Kara sent me one and I tried it and I’m hooked. It comes in a twist up container (think deodorant) and glides on and moisturizes beautifully. I am noodling with a recipe that calls for equal parts of beeswax, coconut oil and shea butter. I picked the recipe up from Wellness Mama and am going to start this as soon as I’m done whipping the body butter.

Lemon body butter in jars.

Lemon body butter in jars.

In fact, I’m typing this while I have my body butter back in the fridge so I can beat it a little more, then add essential oil. I’ll probably post the modified recipe under the “Crochet & Crafts” menu before the day is out…

Fast Forward About 30 Minutes…

Now that the body butter is in the jars, I can start on my lotion bar sticks. I am really excited, because a new project is like a little kitchen adventure. For this batch I am using 2 ounces each of the ingredients and adding lavender essential oil before I put the mix into the deodorant tubes.

Fast Forward Another 30 Minutes…

The lotion sticks came out better than I thought that they would! I used a Corel serving bowl over a pot with 1 inch of water in the bottom as my double boiler. It took almost ten minutes for everything to melt down, and then I stirred in my lavender essential oil into the concoction, let it cool just a bit and used my gravy ladle to spoon it through a funnel into the deodorant containers. The process looks like the following photos:

So there you have it…A cold Saturday in the life of the girl that really can’t sit still and LOVES to make “stuff.”

What do you do when the creative bug bites you? What do you make? Will you share the recipe/pattern?

Until next time…

DIY December IV

Do It Yourself, yo!

Do It Yourself, yo!

This whole “being benched” concept has been really good for my creativity.

I have been a hooking fiend. Yes…I’m a hooker. *snicker*

This since I posted last, I completed three scarves, two pairs of baby booties (did I mention the Hubs’ daughter is expecting and she tagged me on Pinterest and I HAD to attempt my first baby booties EVER, because she loved them?), a pair of slipper socks for myself, and started another variegated afghan for our grand baby-to-be.

At any rate, the past seven days have been kind of a whirlwind.

Did the day job for two days (oh, poor me), went to the in-laws’ for supper on Tuesday night, went to our favorite pork place on Christmas Eve morning to get a country ham and some fresh sausage for the freezer (and my mom and sister), then off to get gift bags, tissue paper, dog food (because it gets REALLY ugly around here when we run out of dog food on the day that all the stores are closed), alcohol (what to get the guy who either has everything or you don’t know what to REALLY get him for Christmas, or you’re just not that comfortable buying weed…), and resealable freezer bags just because you know you’re going to need them to freeze some of the spoils you nailed at Nahunta.

Once all the wrapping and bagging was complete, I settled in to do some more crochet, at which point I finished some of the aforementioned projects.

Curled up on the couch, I looked forward to 8:00, when I knew “A Christmas Story” was coming on, and knocked out a few more projects. It was rainy and unusually warm for December 24…Like, close to 70 degrees during the day. Yeah, I hate to say it, but we had to run the air conditioner that day…

Christmas DinnerChristmas came and we went to mom’s house. We exchanged gifts, ate to our hearts’ content (because any day ham is involved is a good day), and visited. It’s always good to spend some time with the family.

I think it’d been over a year since we’d seen my soon-to-be brother-in-law (STBBIL?), and it was also great to be in the presence of The Christmas Tree. I didn’t think it would be possible, but I really missed having ours up this year.

We then raced home to meet my step-kid and her fiancé, exchanged gifts, and made plans to meet up the following afternoon, which we did, until he had to go to work and she stayed to hang out with the seniors until the wee hours of the morning. She also brought us another DIY project…Eeyore.

SweetPea has had Eeyore since she was a baby, and I’ve done my fair share of stitching, stuffing, mending, re-stitching and associated cosmetic surgery on this beloved Disney guy. Poor Eeyore. SweetPea’s puppy got ahold of him and the results aren’t pretty. Her dad and I promised we would do our best to repair our old friend, so she brought him to our place for “donkey rehab.” Before and afters coming soon.

So, below are some pictures of the projects I knocked out this week. I was tickled (not ticked, thanks auto-correct…) to find a grown-up slipper pattern very similar to the one my grandmother used to crochet all of us slippers every Christmas. I used some scrap yarn to do the prototype and then added a “sock” cuff (of my own doing, mind you) and am looking forward to creating some more, as well as “Grandma’s booties” for some of the family.

Until Next Time….Welcome, 2015!