Sunday, December 04, 2011

Cast Iron Skillets

Between Penny and me, we have 6 various size cast iron skillets. Two were my mom's, two came from my grandma, and Penny just got two of her mother's from her brother.  All of these have been abused and neglected for years.  We'd love to use them, but not possible in the shape they're in now.
What to do?
I remember a friend's mom telling me that she would clean and season hers over the fire in the barbecue.  Sounds like a fire just waiting to happen.
So--I decided to put them in the self-cleaning oven and see what happens.
Guess what?  Worked great.  Ran the first 2 thru the cycle, wiped all the residue out, oiled them real good, put them back in the oven for about half an hour @ 350.  Absolutely wonderful!
The last two were really bad, so they are in now for a second go round.
If you try this, be sure to turn on the hood fan and open a window a little.  Kinda stinky, but we were able to save some pieces of our family history.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Black Friday

People are crazy!  I avoid Black Friday like the plague.  Shopping, unless yarn or books is involved, is not a favorite pastime of mine, anyway.  There is nothing in the world I need or want badly enough to battle crazy people for it.
I only caught a snippet of news Friday night, so Saturday when I checked the news, I was appalled to see how folks were treating each other--over some stupid game that the kid doesn't need anyway.  When I was much younger, I heard stories about ladies who would push each other and snatch things from other shoppers when the stores in downtown Los Angeles would have some really big sales, but I never personally saw any of that. A little crowding, cutting in line to pay is about as violent as it got.
But, to actually pepper spray other people to get a game, or steal from folks as they leave the store, or walk over a man having a heart attack.  This behavior has to stop!  Miss Manners is turning over in her grave..
I spent my Black Friday getting some packages ready to mail today.  First, and most important, was the package to my granddaughter, Nic.  She and her hubby are spending Christmas in Michigan with Josh's grandfather.  Grandpa has been very ill recently, so the kids are looking forward to seeing him soon.  Nic's birthday is right before Christmas, so I mailed both birthday and Xmas in the same box.  All crocheted by me.  But, being the very efficient person that I am, I forgot to take pics before I taped the box shut.  Duh!  What was I thinking?  I have a pic of one item as I am writing the pattern, but I forgot 2 others, also original designs which I have the notes so I can write the patterns.  Maybe after the holidays, Nic will take pics and send to me.  I'll tell you more later about what I made with what yarn.
My next box went to my Crochet Partner, Dawn.  Every year, Dawn puts together holiday gifts for our military persons who don't receive packages from home.  I've been contributing scarves for several years now.  This was my most productive year so far, with 18 scarves in total.  Some of my new scarf designs, available on Ravelry, came from this project.
The final package went to my daughter, Heidi.  When she was here about 4 or 5 years ago, she left some things behind when she went home.  I decided it was finally time to get them sent to her.  So, another package on its way.
I also worked on my Xmas cards.  But it seems, some folks don't want one of my snowflakes in their card this year as I can't seem to get the addresses I need.
I am so far ahead of schedule this year that I am not quite sure what to do next.

Monday, October 24, 2011


That's right!  I have no WIPS!  I've have been working diligently trying to get them all done.  I have had a couple of baby ghans sitting around here for a couple of years.  There always seems to be something that has to be done, or some new pattern or method that catches my attention.  So, after we moved last year, and I unearthed all these WIPS, I vowed I would get them all done.  And I have! Feels kind of strange not to have a least one incomplete project sitting around.
Teddyghan is done. I used several different shades of pink to complete her.  This little ghan will be donated to Project Linus.
During our garage sale the first of the month, I met a local member of Crochet Partners.  Cheri showed me the Diagonal Fans stitch that she had seen online in one of her groups.  I was fascinated.  So Cheri shared her notes on how to do this stitch pattern.  After I finished the above ghan, I gave this a try.  So pretty!  I started with WW yarn, but that was just too thick and heavy.  So, I switched to some baby yarn that I had in my stash and an F hook.  Much better.  Of course, I had to turn it into an 8" square so it can go into the comfortghan project.

WIPs completed does not mean the project tub is empty-there are plenty more things to crochet here at Cayscrafts.  And the list seems to get things added to it each week.  

Monday, October 17, 2011

Other Stuff

There has been a lot of talk over at Crochet Partners abut the Crocodile Stitch.  I finally sat down a few days ago and made this cap.   I didn't have any idea what to do with it, I just wanted to make it.  Does that sound familiar to anyone? When I finished it, my roommate got all excited and said she wanted it.  OK!  It's hers.  It matches her pretty blue eyes.  I did use a larger hook, so it took more than the called for amount of yarn.  Which explains the solid color on the crown.  This cap is also crocheted from the brim to the crown.
The other thing I have finally finished is the Turkey Bookmark.  A few years ago when I belonged to the Bookmark Exchange at Crochet Partners, I was trying to find a bookmark for Thanksgiving, which is one of my fave holidays.  I couldn't find anything, so I took parts of this fridgie, and another fridgie, and some basic bookmark ideas and made my own.  Well, I took pretty good notes on what I did, but in my excitement, I mailed the bookmark before I took a picture.  So, the pattern has been sitting in my folder for a long time.
When I got my notes out and was ready to test the pattern I didn't have any dark brown size 10 thread.  What---!  So, Crochet Partners came through again.  Karen from Kansas sent me a whole ball of Fudge Brown.  It is beautiful thread.
Anyway, here is the Turkey Bookmark.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

New afghans

I have been crocheting afghans!  Really!  I know you don't believe me cuz I haven't posted anything for a while.  But, I'm about to make up for that.  The only order of these is how I took the pictures.
The name of this afghan is Color Me. Thanks to Elaine, we now have the link to this pattern.  This is the ghan I entered in the county fair this year.  It took 2nd (red ribbon). 

This is just a Catherine's Wheel stitch that I did using using Kraemer Yarns Tatamy Tweed.  It's a small ghan but a little heavier as the yarn is 45% cotton and 55% acrylic.  Does wash up beautifully.
This ghan is my Baby Bobbles Afghan.  The free pattern is available on the Project Linus website.  It was made with Red Heart Soft yarn and I think the color was called Garden (??) and then a green border.
I am currently writing the pattern for this little number. It is a variation on the Catherine's Wheel stitch.  I'm thinking of calling it "Pocketful of Posies".  What do you think of this name?  It is made of 2 colors of Red Heart Soft Baby.
Mitered Squares afghan pattern is available on the Bernat yarn site. If you look closely, you can see variations in the colors from square to square.  I was trying to use up what I have in my stash.  The only constant is the variegated which is Red Heart Cherry Cola.

P.S.   All of the above afghans will be donated to my local chapter of Project Linus. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

What an Easy Fix

Absolutely amazing what one little change on the old computer can do!  I have been having problems for weeks, things not loading, slow, slow, slower.  When I finally got to the point I could not open my own PDF files, I knew I had a serious problem.  Oh, Please!  I can't afford a new computer right row.  I can't even afford to get my car fixed and I need my car more than my computer (I'm trying to convince myself).
Can't be my Adobe reader: I just installed the newest version recently (Adobe Reader x (10.1.1). 
OMG!  Maybe it is Adobe.  I talked to Peter and he told me to try to download it again.  Sometimes that takes care of the problems.  Tried that, still doesn't work.  Hmmm-OK-let's try uninstalling the whole thing and starting over.  Sh---!  now I'm getting a message that tells me "The feature you are trying to use is on a network resource that is unavailable".  So, I tried to install an older version, but it won't let me because I already have the newer version on my computer.  Catch 22 
Holy smokes!  Now what?  Common sense tells me that Adobe cannot be the only free reader out there, so I start searching.  It is amazing how many different readers there are!  And some of the features are way beyond my level of experience.  They do things I have no clue what they are talking about.  OK, need to slim this down some.  Finally settled on PDF Xchange Lite.  It appears it will do all I need done, plus some, without overloading me or my computer.  So far, so good.  I'm back up to speed and enjoying my computer again.  Even Facebook is moving along smoothly.  Yea!
Maybe I'll try to finish loading my patterns on my blog now.  Should be a lot easier.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Take a good look around this blog

The picture at the top and the color scheme aren't the only things that have changed.
Did you find it yet?  Look right under the picture at the top.  See them?  TABS!  Yes, tabs to my patterns. 
How exciting is that?  My friend, Andy, helped me to navigate Blogger to add the pattern pages. Right now there are only a couple, but there will be more, and as I have new designs, I will post them here as well as in my Ravelry store.
Just another step in my learning to navigate in cyber-space.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Letting Go

At some point in time, I have tried just about every craft out there.  So, consequently, I have supplies for all those things.  I have 2 or 3 different bow makers; punch embroidery needles and thread, cross stitch supplies, beads galore including beading looms, candy molds. We found 6 different glue guns. Lots of stuff.  And we won't even get into the yarn and crochet patterns that live here.
I have moved some of this stuff around for 4 or 5 times.  Time to Let Go!
We are having a garage sale the first of October, so I have been going thru all this stuff and am letting a lot of it go away.  I've even let some of the crochet patterns go.  My yarn stash is actually pretty small at this point.  But I have purged it a couple of times before.
So, if you're in Modesto on 10/1 or 10/2 and need a gas dryer, small freezer, 19" TV or a Bedazzler, come on by.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Facebook Frustration

I delayed joining Facebook for a really long time!  After about the hundredth time of my granddaughter saying to me that I could see pics of this or that on her Facebook page, I finally joined.  And in the large scheme of FB, I am a very small clog with only about 100 friends, mostly crochet related and some family.  I don't play games, or collect roses, etc.  I do try to keep up with birthdays, because I believe every birthday is a blessing from God and the older we get the more in your face that reality becomes.
But, Facebook has never been the pleasure that everyone else seems to enjoy.  It takes forever to move around; when I try to look at pics, it frequently freezes up.  I get this constant security warning about using secure access.  I am constantly cleaning out my browser to try to make things faster, to no avail. 
Is it just me?  My computer is a couple of years old, but it has a Pentium processor and runs on Windows XP, so I don't think that is the problem.
Oh well.  I may just give up FB and go back to crocheting and reading.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

More than one way to skin a cat

You may remember my obsession 2 or 3 years ago with the Diamond Patch Sweater.  I fell in love with this pattern.  Problem--I don't knit!!  I contacted the designer, Jill Vosberg, who is also a crocheter, but she had not done anything similar in crochet.  OK--maybe I can replicate this look in crochet.  Not--
So, after a long time, a lot of frustration, numerous swatches that looked nothing like the pattern, I was about to give up on ever having this sweater. 
I still really want this sweater--but I really hate knitting so my skills are not very good.  As my granddaughter would say, I put on my big girl pants and asked Kitty if she would do it for me.  She said yes, so I got the yarn last year at the Oakland Fiber Festival.  It is a beautiful mercerized cotton from Crystal Palace yarns.  OK!  Now we're cooking with gas.
Kitty delivered it to me about a month ago.  It has crochet trim so she left the finishing for me to do.  A lot of yarn left.  I was surprised, hoping that I was going to have enough.  When I tried it on, I knew why.  The pattern had an option for a cropped length or a tunic length.  I was thinking tunic and actually got cropped.  If I were in my 20's, this might be OK.  In my 60"s, not so much.  I did not care for the ribbing called for around the neck and sleeves so I crocheted several rows of blo around the neck, and then repeated that on the sleeves.  Using my ripple afghan skills, I used this same method to increase the length to cover my little pot belly.
What do you think?  I have my sweater, I'm very happy.  I wore it to a doctors appointment this week and a woman stopped me in the lobby of the medical building to ask me if I had made it.  She told me she thought it was spectacular.  I do, too.

Crochet Partners First Comfortghan

In February, 2008, one of the members of Crochet Partners, lost her son in a school shooting here on the central coast of California.  I knew her from another project we had worked on, so I collected squares and we sent a comfortghan to her.  We knew it would never replace her son, but hoped it would help ease her pain.
From this incident, the comfortghan project was born.  We make our squares, mail them off to an assembler, who puts them together.  She then mails it to a person who is hurting. 
How many of us ever give any thought to that person after we do our small part?
Sometimes the hurting goes on for years, as in Dawn's case.  The young man who killed her son in now on trial.  It took 3 and 1/2 years to get to this point.  Now, she has to relive the nightmare again every day of the trial. I am asking you, my friends, to send out a request to your higher power, to hold and protect Dawn and her family at this time.  Let's not forget the pain doesn't stop with the mailing of an afghan!
The Ventura County Star  has covered every day of the trial for over 6 weeks now.  To learn more, search Larry King.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Look who lives at our house!

Penny was gifted a kit for Winnie the Pooh a couple of years ago.  She asked me to crochet it for her as she didn't think her skills were up to the challenge.  I'm sure she could have done it, but I agreed.  Well, Pooh sat around for a while as I finished other works in progress.  Finally, ready to start.  Get it all out of the bag it came in.  No pattern!  It is only the yarn.  No pattern!  Did I mention? no pattern!  Well, it's a Mary Maxim kit, so I get on the phone to Mary Maxim.  They no longer carry it, but one of their wonderful customer service reps helped me find a source.  Got it ordered.  Yea!  Well, by the time it arrived, I'm knee deep in another project, so the pattern is put in a Ziploc bag with the yarn.  All ready to go when I'm finished. 
Last fall, we decided to move.  And when we were packing, we used yarn and future projects to fill in all kinds of boxes.  Sounded like a good idea at the time.  Actually, if you don't need the yarn right away, it's a great idea.  Fills in all the nooks and crannies in boxes.  But, after we get moved, I decide to start on Pooh, cuz I need a break from all the moving. 
You guessed it!  We can't find him.  He is still in some box in our garage.  Penny is beginning to wonder if she will ever get this bear to add to her collection.  She never said so, but I'm sure the thought crossed her mind that maybe she should have tried to do it herself.
Well, we finally found Winnie.  He had some very interesting construction techniques.  Instead of sewing on the arms, legs, muzzle and ears, They are all crocheted in.  No matter what a kid did to this bear, he will not loose an arm or leg.  Using this method, you have to stuff as you go so the bigger he gets, the more awkward he is to work on.  But all's well that ends well. .  And here he is, sitting in our living room.

Warm, Fuzzy, Feeling

I popped into Ravelry today after not having been there for a while.  After I answered a message from a lady about a blanket I made for Project Linus without a pattern, for whatever reason, I looked at my blanket I designed for Project Linus and is available for free on their website,  Anyway, I have been collecting pictures that other people have made of my patterns and when I took a look at the ones made from the PL pattern, 3 of 4 were made and donated to Project Linus!  How great is that?   Just gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling that people are using my pattern and donating to Project Linus.  My take along project  right now is that very pattern.  Very easy repeat, so can talk and crochet at the same time.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

New Fair-Last Fair

As anyone who knows me will attest,  I'm a big fan and supporter of local county fairs.  I've been involved one way or another for around 30 years.  I started entering things in the Orange County, CA fair back in the 80's, lots of crochet, some other things as well.  In fact, for a couple of years I actually did crochet demos in the Home Arts Building.  When I moved to No Calif in 2000, the first year I just went to the fair.  After that I started entering in the Alameda County Fair.  A couple of years I actually entered in Alameda, Contra Costa, and San Mateo counties.  Our crochet guild chapter has had a table at San Mateo for the last 2 years. 
So, when we moved inland, one of the first things I did was find out about the local fair.  I was really excited to see there were about 20 categories for crochet and only about 8 for knit.  So used to it being the other way around.  Well, I entered 6 items in the fair. 
On the day of delivery, I met the lady in charge of the Home Arts area.  She was not very friendly or talkative, did not seem at all interested in who I am or my experience.  Told me if I wanted to work for the fair to fill out an application and that I could not enter in the area where I work.  Huh?  Julie in San Mateo was so excited that I wanted to volunteer to set up the crochet and knit displays.  And I was allowed to enter my stuff.  I wasn't there to set up until after the judging was done, so I surely don't see any conflict.  Oh well!  Different strokes for different folks, as the old song goes.
Fair day- first thing we did (Penny, Kitty, & me) is find the exhibit building so we can see how I did.  I was very disappointed to see so few handcrafted items.  Very few afghans, quilts, even sewn items were scarce.  Penny only found one very tiny cross stitch item. There was an over abundance of fresh produce and photographs.
This is where I kinda lost it.  The items had obviously been displayed by the guys from the tractor pull!  There were some very attractive pieces there in addition to my own very lovely items, but you sure wouldn't know that by looking at the displays.  Looked like so much laundry hanging out to dry.  Then the doilies are all folded and piled up.
My Dots N Dashes afghan was hung upside down and inside out. ( Yes, I did turn it over!) There was no way you could tell that each color in the Color Me afghan is in the shape of a crayon.  The thing that makes the Crazy Eights Vest so special is the shape, but it is just thrown over a rail.  And tell me you recognize the doily as being the same as the one in the header for my blog. Anyway, here are the pics I took at this fair.
In case you couldn't tell, I was very disappointed in my fair experience this year.  I'm only a couple of hours from the CA State Fair, so I may follow my friends Kathy's lead and put my energy there next year.

Don't Pay the Ransom-I escaped!

I know!  I know!  It's been months since I've been here.  Well, they have been very interesting months at that.
I went on a very well deserved vacation last fall.  Almost as soon as I got back, Penny and I decided to move to Modesto.
Since we moved it has been one thing after another, Move from hell (stolen and broken) Cars won't seem to stay fixed  Penny in the hospital  New doctors, etc. 
We just don't seem to recoup as fast as we did when we were younger.
On a positive note, we do love Modesto.  Still adjusting to the different climate (colder in winter, hotter in summer).  Some of our plants are having some trouble acclimating also. But, so far, we have only lost a couple.
I have been crocheting right along, for Project Linus, myself, Penny, and some things for the house.
I do miss my friends in the Bay area- hi Peter, Laurie, and the others.
I have to go for now, but will be back to tell you all about the fair. Probably my last county fair.