Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Still Learning to Use My Pressure Cooker


Since my last post, I've used the pressure cooker to make kidney beans, French dip sandwiches, banana French toast, unstuffed cabbage rolls, and chicken wings. Five recipes in twelve days isn't bad at all! And while I'm searching Pinterest to find out what I want to make, I'm finding things to do on the stove top or in the crock pot. (Yes, I know that the multi cooker also works as a slow cooker, but that afternoon it was easier to just stick with what I knew how to do.)

One lesson I'm learning from all of this is that I need to have a backup plan and be ready to try again. The beans were just on the edge of undercooked. If I'd brought the pot back up to pressure and cooked them just a little bit longer, dinner would have been better. Also, until I learn what I'm doing, I need to use it on nights that dinner can be a bit late. Hubby wound up eating a last minute sandwich while I added time to the chicken wings. He did get some before leaving for work that night, but I cut it way too close on that one.

Now that I've found it, I'm planning on following this step by step list from hip pressure cooking. I won't try all of the recipes, but at least I can read about the techniques and learn which buttons to push. I've got the "cook on high pressure" thing down, but there are other features to learn.

It really surprises me how angry many women in the online forums are at these machines. It's not the Instant Pot's fault that someone didn't like her spaghetti and had to order pizza. I'm wondering how bad the results had to be that it truly wasn't edible -- as awful at cooking as I sometimes am, we've almost never had a night that we couldn't/wouldn't eat dinner. There have been plenty of nights that dinner kind of sucked, but that's life.


Monday, January 14, 2019

My Days are Full of Yarn

Sometimes that's less fun than it might sound. I didn't get to the laundromat early enough on Saturday so I had to camp out and wait for a big machine to open up but that meant I made some progress on the new shawl and read a few chapters of the new book in Gigi Pandian's Accidental Alchemist series. And now we've got clean towels and socks. As much as I don't love the laundromat, getting everything washed in one thirty minute session isn't a bad thing. 



I'm still keeping my plans tentative as the bug works its way through the house, but so far so good. I'll get it or I won't and there's nothing coming up in my life that can't be rescheduled if I need to.

To Do This Week

-- set up sewing machine for filming new tutorial
-- wind second skein of yarn for January socks
-- finish Open a New Box Daily
-- make that cheesecake in the pressure cooker

Sunday, January 13, 2019

I'm Going to Start Stitching on Sanctuary

After lots and lots of winding on Saturday night, all of my floss is bobbinated and in numerical order in a brand new project box. At least I think it is -- I didn't check the skeins against the chart, but if a color or two is missing I'll have them other places in my stash. Pulling this one out makes more sense than starting something else from scratch and I really want to work on more full coverage pieces.  


I know I was working on Sanctuary when I started the blog fifteen years ago, but I can't remember actually ever stitching on it. I've got a vague image in my mind of it on a scroll frame, and the way the top edge of the fabric is crimped confirms that.  Did I pack it away with the rest of my stitching, or had I already set it aside because something had gone wrong? The fabric is gridded and the gates will be easy enough to find on the chart, so I guess I'm going to find out soon. 

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Erica Wilson's Children's World Flip Thru

I've been at the thrift shop again, leafing through old needlework books. There are neat projects hidden behind some of these dated covers, but I still didn't expect what I found in Erica Wilson's Children's World.


Does this book look like it would have a latch hook Fozzie Bear rug? Or a three dimensional wall hanging including most of the Muppets?

I was a bit less surprised by all of the Beatrix Potter crewel, which I'm honestly more likely to actually make for myself. This was three dollars well spent, even if the directions for the projects are extremely brief and vague.

You can see me flip through the entire book here --


Friday, January 11, 2019

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {1/11/19}




I'm so sorry that the linky party wasn't working last week. InLinkz made some changes to their site, which I ignored until the last possible moment. No, that wasn't the best plan, but I had a lot of other things on my plate. The link up should be working when this post goes live, but if you have a quilt to link and it doesn't work out, please let me know in a comment so that I can figure out where to go from here.

I really do plan to start making baby quilts again soon, and to have new tutorials for you.  I appreciate everyone who's stuck with me since I started this linky party back in 2013.

Let's Make Baby Quilts Linky Party Rules: 
Link directly to your post or specific Flickr photo. Your post can be about a baby quilt that's finished, or in progress, or you can be writing about what you have planned,  as long as it's about baby quilts. You're welcome to link to baby quilt posts that aren't brand new, but please don't submit the same post or picture more than once. I'd love it if you linked back to my site, either with a text link or the Let's Make Baby Quilts! button.

Inlinkz Link Party

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

{I've Been Reading} Catch Me if Yukon



Catch Me if Yukon by Maddy Hunter

Emily and her tour group of travelling seniors are touring Alaska and, as always, they're in a heated competition to see who can post the most viral photo online. The twist is that this time one of them  snaps an accidental picture of what appears to be Bigfoot and it does draw media attention, much to the dismay of the other group members. Not that Emily has a lot of time to deal with that -- as usual with one of her tours, there's been a fatality and the local authorities are involved.

This may be my favorite so far in the Passport to Peril series. The mystery is complex and intriguing. Emily's husband, Etienne, is travelling with her and the chemistry between the two of them is always wonderful. Jackie is back in Iowa, leading her own tour group and if you've read other books in the series you can probably imagine how that's going.



An Anonymous Girl by Green Hendricks and Sarah Pekanen

When she finds out about a study on ethics and morality, Jess is eager to take part. It means misrepresenting herself a bit, but she could definitely use an extra five hundred dollars and all she has to do is answer a few questions on a computer.

The  first part of the book pulled me in fast.  I found myself answering the questions in my own head as I read Jess's answers. Then the pace shifted. This one wasn't quite as entertaining as The Wife Between Us, the previous book by these authors, but it was still a suspenseful read as I watched to see how much Jess was willing to do to remain part of the survey.

Disclosure -- The publishers provided me with advance review copies. 

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

{Tutorial} Mason Jar Needle Minders


Needle minders have to be one of the best accessories that cross stitchers have come up with. Two strong magnets hold the needleminder to your project and it provides you with a secure place to rest your needle while you're cutting a new length of thread or taking a break from stitching.

They're cute and fun to collect and you can make your own with just a little bit of effort and a few supplies. I'm seeing potential needle minders everywhere and these mason jar stickers from the Dollar Tree practically jumped off the shelf at me.


I already had everything on hand because I've been picking up cute little things with the intention of making them into needle minders. You can get the glue, called E6000, at Joann's or Hobby Lobby with a coupon. Joann's doesn't carry the magnets you need, but you can find them at Hobby Lobby or on Amazon.

To see how I reinforced the stickers to make them more suitable for use as needle minders, check out the short video that I put together.

Monday, January 07, 2019

Trying to Avoid the Plague

My plans for the upcoming week are going to be extremely tentative. Hubby is on his third day sick in bed and no one else is showing symptoms yet. Barring an unexpected miracle, this might get much worse before it gets better. 


I got a lot done over the weekend, but if I catch his plague it's definitely going to slow me down.

-- bobbinate floss for Sanctuary
-- start new sampler with the Sullivan's floss
-- cast on a new shawl for mindless knitting

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Stitching on Linen Again

I used to stitch on linen, but in the fifteen years since I packed up my cross stitching, my eyes have not improved. Even back then, linen wasn't particularly easy for me. 


The plan was to start stitching this project up at Acorns and Threads where the lighting is much better than the lighting at home. I can stitch on aida there without taking off my glasses and holding my project right up to my face.

The tip of the blue crayon was already stitched, because this is a thrifted kit. I wanted to pick it out so that the entire piece would be my own stitching, but didn't know if I'd have enough thread to redo it and I also worried that the overdyed thread might have stained the linen. What I just realized that I didn't do was count the previous owner's stitches to make sure they were correct.  Ooops! I hope that doesn't come back to haunt me.

Turns out this wasn't the best linen to start with. I figured that since it was a ninety-nine cent thrift store kit and an easy pattern it was a good candidate, but the weave is uneven and loose and not at all easy for me to stitch on. (If you've got better eyes or more patience than I have, I'm jealous!)


Saturday, January 05, 2019

Not Quite an Instant Pot, but Close Enough

I've been wanting an Instant Pot. A few years back, I mentioned it to my husband and he reminded me that we already have several pressure cookers I don't use. Those are his toys, not mine.


 Something must have changed, because for Christmas he ordered me a Zavor LUX LCD multi-cooker. Its not an Instant Pot, but his research convinced him that it was a better option. I don't know why. I just want to be able to dry beans and make a roast in a hurry and make a cheesecake. This will do all of that, plus a bunch of other things, so I'm happy.

In the week since Fedex  abandoned the box on my doorstep, I've used it to cook a batch of rice and to cook dry beans that I then used in taco soup. Next on my list of things to try are baked apples and French dip sandwiches.  I used the Kohl's Cash that we got when we purchased the cooker to buy a bundt pan and a spring form cake pan, which increases my options even more.

The only thing I don't love is that I can't find an online forum  or any videos about this particular multi-cooker. I want someone to hold my hand and show me which buttons to push. Do any of you have a Zavor brand multi-cooker? Or, regardless of what brand you own, do you have a recipe or technique I should try? 

Friday, January 04, 2019

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {1/4/19}


Let's Make Baby Quilts Linky Party Rules: 
Link directly to your post or specific Flickr photo. Your post can be about a baby quilt that's finished, or in progress, or you can be writing about what you have planned,  as long as it's about baby quilts. You're welcome to link to baby quilt posts that aren't brand new, but please don't submit the same post or picture more than once. I'd love it if you linked back to my site, either with a text link or the Let's Make Baby Quilts! button.

Inlinkz Link Party

Thursday, January 03, 2019

{I've Been Reading} The New Maizie Albright Book



NC-17 by Larissa Reinhart

I waited what felt like forever for this book to come out, then life got busy and it took me almost a month to find time to read it and I loved every page...and now I'm back to waiting impatiently for the next book to come out.  I can't tell you what I loved most about the book without spoiling the plot. It has almost all of the things I loved about the previous books (and the one that's missing is missing for a good reason) and it's also got teenage Youtubers hunting for Bigfoot and their missing friend and a slightly sinister wellness retreat with way too much barbed wire around the garden. Poor Mazie is not doing well at all, but she's trying her absolute best to solve two different cases and deal with her difficult mother and not violate the terms of her probation.




How to Knit a Murder by Sally Goldenbaum

All the Seaside Knitters really know about Rose Chopra is that she entered the yarn shop at the right time to save the inventory from a broken pipe. She's silent about her past, but she's a competent handy woman  and they all like her. Even when a member's husband turns up dead at a house Rose was doing repairs to, they want to trust their new friend.

I didn't realize when I picked this one to read that it's the thirteenth book in the series, but I wasn't left wondering what was going on between the characters. Even though there's obviously backstory involving the relationships and details I didn't know, I was able to thoroughly enjoy the mystery without wondering about what I'd missed in the previous books. There isn't a whole lot of knitting on the pages, but the details of the coastal town made reading it a vicarious beach trip. I'll be looking for the earlier books in this series once I've pared down my to-be-read list a bit.

Disclosure -- I was provided with an advance review  copy of How to Knit a Murder. I bought NC-17. 

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Safely in My Comfort Zone

Looking back, it turns out that I spent 2018 hiding out in my comfort zone.

I didn't get the sewing machine fixed, mainly out of fear that I could spend the money and still be stuck right where I am right now. I didn't pull out one of the vintage machines and figure it out. There was barely any sewing.

My socks were all stockinette and k2p2 rib, except for one pair which barely counts and Finding the Yellow Brick Road, which I've been avoiding as much as humanly possible. Those closed cables aren't even hard, they're just fiddly.


I got more adventurous with the shawls and I successfully cross-stitched a couple of things without gridding my fabric first, but basically I spent 2018 doing lots of things I'd done before. Without realizing that I wasn't trying anything new or different.

So there's my goal  for 2019! And I've already started in on something very new and different and maybe a little bit intimidating. I'll tell you about that soon.

What are you working on in 2019?

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

{Thrift Shop Temptations} The Organ

I want it. There are probably dozens of legitimate reasons why I can't have it (including the great big red SOLD tag) but I can still want it. My husband was with me and I think he wanted it, too. 


I didn't want this little stitched piece, but that doesn't stop me from thinking that it's absolutely perfect. The stitching couldn't be more simple, but it works so well with that frame.


I like Holly Hobby, too, but I've got one just like her that my mother stitched when I was little. Someone else can love this one.


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