Friday, October 3, 2014

Holy Crap - into October already!

I have so much to blog about! Where to start...

All the new TV shows, and new seasons of old favourites.  How things are going on the craft front.  The strange things the dogs do.  Other little life things happening....

Well, I think I'll start with "How I got dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st Century again".

I consider myself a "walking anachronism".  I mean, I love doing things the "old fashioned way".  I sometimes think I would have done well if I'd lived at the turn of last century.  Honestly, I do appreciate some modern conveniences, like medicines and washing machines.  But I am equally at home with baking my own bread, growing my own food, and sewing my own clothes.  I also must confess to enjoying things like my laptop.  And I do love my kitchen gadgets, which run on electricity.  But, for some things, I tend to resist change.

For example, my cell phone.  I originally got one for safety type reasons.  At the time, I was doing a lot of highway travel.  So having the phone in case of emergency seemed like a good idea at the time.  I opted for a pre-pay plan, rather than getting a bill every month.  The way this plan works, you buy a "top up" card when you need one; good for X number of minutes or Y number of days.  If you use it up, you buy another, and "top-up" the account.  If you don't use it all up by the Y number of days, you can still top-up and the leftovers get carried over -- so, let's say you go with the $15 or 30 days.  You have $5 left on day 30, so you add another $15.  Now you have $20 in the account, to use in 30 days.... So, if you don't use the cell phone much, you can actually accumulate quite a balance.  Only thing that may not make everyone happy - this covers phone/voice and text only service.  Of course, I recently found out that texting is free.  Despite being shown a couple times how to text, I really only got the hang of doing so this past spring and summer. Anyway, to continue:

I got the service originally - a long time ago!  The first phone I had was pretty basic - looked like #3 on this page:  (Found via google image search - I have no affiliation with or knowledge of that particular blog or blogger) When the battery started acting up, not holding a charge for long, I figured, instead of buying a new battery, I'd upgrade the phone.  Now, since I couldn't surf the net with the service anyway, I didn't need a phone that did.  The second phone I got did have some web surfing capabilities, but I never used them.  So, I'm not sure what they were like.  I got that phone in July of 2007.  7 years ago.  The battery still holds a charge very well.  Extremely well.  I love that little phone.  It just happens to be pink.  :)

BUT - the service provider notified me that come October 1st, that style of phone would no longer be supported.  I could still use it, but they wouldn't guarantee that I would get good reception, or that I wouldn't lose calls, or that I could connect with anyone I wanted to.... I don't totally understand all the lingo but essentially, the phone ran on radio waves, and they were replacing all the radio towers with "sim" cards/towers/service or some such.  So, this would take time, which is why I still might get some service, but not quality service as they removed towers over the next few months or so.  They were recommending people upgrade.

So, reminiscent of the time I went from a Windows 95 computer to a Windows XP computer, I have made the jump from what I believe is called a "Flip Phone" to an Android phone.

Kicking and screaming at first.  Because there was nothing wrong with my pretty pink phone.  And it was PINK!!  And the battery holds a charge like new.  And why do I need a fancy schmancy phone that does internet things, when the type of service I get just covers voice and texting?  So, I reluctantly found myself getting this silly new phone.

That I've decided I have fallen in love with.

First, for the phoning -- I didn't have any complaints with the pink phone.  It worked fine.  But, I can tell a difference in the new one - much clearer.  Not that the old wasn't clear, but you knew you were talking on a phone.  Now it feels like I'm in the same room with the other person.

Second, for the texting -- if you wanted a letter "c" on the pink phone, you needed to press the 2 button three times.... Now, I have a "keyboard".  It is on screen, but still, it is a keyboard.  A qwerty keyboard, so I know exactly where the letters are.  I'm still only using one finger, but the speed at which I can type in a message is way faster than trying to hit a button the right number of times for a letter, before it jumped to the next space...

Third, I found out, rather quickly, that even though the prepaid cellular service I use doesn't include web browsing, the phone can tie in to my home wifi, and I can surf using the phone all I want.  As long as I'm at home, or in my yard.

I figure, even though I resisted getting it, (and it isn't pink) and there is still nothing wrong with the old phone and its battery, I might as well learn to use it anyway, and enjoy the new "toy".  I mean, I have to have it, so why not use it?  I've already learned some advantages -- when DH (dear husband) and I are outside hanging out when he gets home from work, playing with the dogs and unwinding, sometimes we talk about things that need to be googled (or otherwise looked up on the computer/internet).  Before, that meant either me going inside to look it up on the computer, or trying to remember to do so later after we came in, or since we got the wifi, it meant dragging the laptop outside to look stuff up. Not that it is that hard to take the laptop out, but it can be cumbersome at times.  Now, though, I just slip that little phone in my pocket, and not only can I look stuff up, but I was playing with different things, and there is a voice activated google search!! So, instead of typing, I can just speak into the phone, and it searches!  :)

So, yeah, I got dragged kicking and screaming into this fancy new phone, but now that I have it, I'm having fun learning all the little games I can play with it!  (I've only had it for 3 weeks!)

Here are a couple of pictures of the old and the new phone:

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


The craft kind, not the babble kind!! Though, that would be a good topic one day....

Anyway, the craft kind.  I've been trying to get myself properly organized.  The ongoing battle.  I guess, while I was working at the yarn store, I was very tempted to stock up on yarn -- Didn't just buy yarn for no reason, I at least tried to only buy for patterns I wanted to make.

Still, though - I did get a lot of yarn in that time, and I did start a lot of projects.  And, of course, there were the projects from before I started working, and the ones since...  and the UFO's.  Which, in this case, stands for UnFinished Objects.  I have rather a lot...

I am trying now to curb the new projects, and to get the old ones going. Exceptions, of course, for baby gifts that come up.

I was going through some of the boxes of stash last year, and came across a hat I was knitting for myself. It was one of those easy things, that was a portable project.  So, I figured, let's see where this is up to, and finish it. Well, imagine my surprise to discover that the only thing still to do was to weave in the ends!!  I did, and wore it all last winter.

Yesterday, I was putting away what was left of a big ball of cotton after making a couple of dishcloths, and noticed a part finished crochet dishcloth.  I wondered why I didn't finish it - pulled it out of the box (and may have undone a stitch or two) and looked -- It was pretty much finished, maybe needed another row or two.  I couldn't understand why I abandoned that one!  I mean, it was even closer to being done than the hat!  So, last night, I did another two rows, then decided to give it a reverse single crochet edging.  Normally, I don't edge dishcloths. But, this one was a bit smaller than I usually would have made, and it turned out that I had constructed it a little different than usual.  Usually, for the pattern, I make a base chain about as wide as I feel like with an odd number of chains.  Then, I do a row of single crochet into the chain, then go into a pattern, then finish with a row of single crochet. This creates a "frame".  So, I don't recall if the cloth I found was an early effort with this pattern, or if it was an experiment, or what was going on!

That is Ashleigh's butt, by the way.  

The pattern is quite simple, really.  Here it is for you!

Simple Crochet Dishcloth

1 50g ball Dishcloth Cotton (Bernat Handicrafter Cotton used in sample)
G-6/ 4.25 mm Crochet Hook
Darning needle.

Finished size: 7" X 7" (gauge and size not crucial)

Base chain: 35 sts + 1 turning chain.

Row 1. Single crochet (sc) in second chain from hook, *skip next chain (ch), ch 1,  sc in next ch.  Repeat from * to end of beginning ch.  Ch 1, turn.

Row 2. Sc in first sc, sc in ch space from previous row, *ch 1, skip next sc, sc in next space. Repeat from * to last sc, make sc in last sc. Ch 1, turn.

Row 3. Sc in first sc, *ch 1, skip next sc, sc in next space. Repeat from * to  last sc, make sc in last sc.  Ch 1, turn.

Repeat rows 2 and 3 until there are 33 rows in total, or until the cloth is square.  Make a turning chain, but do not turn. Working reverse single crochet (rsc), make one rsc in each stitch or space across the row.  Working down the side, make one rsc in the end stitch of each row. Working across the starting chain, make one rsc in each stitch or space.  Working along the side, make one rsc in the end stitch of each row.   Cut yarn, leaving a 6 or 8 inch tail.  Thread the tail through a darning needle, then weave through the first reverse single crochet stitch, then through the loop of the last reverse single crochet stitch.  Pull tight.  Weave in ends.

Alternate method:   Single crochet in each base chain, then proceed with rows 2 and 3 until desired size is reached, make one row single crochet in each stitch and chain, finish off, cut yarn and weave in ends.

Note: Picture in pattern is turned sideways.

Hope you enjoy the pattern!  Make as many as you want, keep them, gift them, sell them - but please, don't copy and paste my written instructions or picture anywhere else! If you want to share the pattern, share the link to this blog post please.  If you want to share it with someone who doesn't have internet access/computer, please do me the courtesy of popping me a quick message - copyright applies to sharing the pattern WITHOUT PERMISSION.  I'm usually pretty easy to get along with!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Art Imitating Life, or Life Imitating Art?

Didn't realize I'd let it go so long since I last posted!!

So, I enjoy several TV shows.  They are listed (though maybe not in their entirety at this moment) on the side bar.  One of the more recent TV shows that I've been watching is the one called "The Last Ship".

I don't know if that is going to become a regular series, or if it will just be a summer thing. I hope it becomes regular.  I started watching it  in part because of one of the main stars.  Eric Dane.  Definitely easy on the eyes!!  He used to be a regular on Grey's Anatomy. My opinion of a great actor is one who not only makes you believe in the character, but one who, when playing different roles, can make each character come to life as an individual.  As in, I could easily enough recognize Eric Dane by looks, but I could see none of the Grey's character, Dr. Mark Sloan, in The Last Ship's captain Tom Chandler.

The show, "The Last Ship" is good enough to keep my attention.  The characters are interesting.  The actors and actresses are talented.  And the story line isn't repetitive or boring.... The story moves forward at a comfortable pace. They don't rush through it, so that it is too unrealistic to be believed, but it also doesn't drag so that you get bored or lose total interest.  The latter is what killed it for me to watch the summer only showings of "Under the Dome".  Bored before the first several episodes were aired... and hard to keep track of who was who - the characters were very much interchangeable, and the actors/actresses seemed equally similar...

The thing that struck me the most, though:  In order to put together a TV show, I know that there is some pressure to churn out ideas and scripts and so on, for a weekly offering.  BUT, it still takes time to come up with the original idea, get a cast together, get the effects in order, plan out the sets, find a producer, write scripts, etc. etc. etc.  That isn't done overnight.

So the interesting part is, that around the time this show starts airing - a show about a strange virus that is making everyone ill, then killing them, and spreading around the world like wildfire - that we start hearing in the news about a new virus that is making people ill, then killing them, and is spreading quickly....  Ok, maybe E-bola virus isn't quite decimating the planet, and I'm pretty sure it isn't the only virus to cause widespread illness and near panic (legionaire's disease and SARS are two that come to mind from recent years), but it sure is interesting that there are so many similarities between a fictional television show, and a real life situation!

Now, don't go getting all in a panic, I'm just making an observation.... It's just my opinion.

And I look forward to seeing how the writers/producers and Tom Chandler and his crew handle the situation they are faced with!  Even if I have to wait until next summer to find out!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Mmm, Mmm, Good!!

I have several favourite foods.  I especially like to make things from scratch.  And I love kitchen gadgets and small appliances.  I also enjoy collecting and using "compilation cook books".  You know the kind - a group needs to do a fund raising thing, so they collect recipes from their members, and then compile them into a cookbook that sells for anywhere from $5.00 to $20.00.  Usually the group raises the money for a good cause of some sort - even if it is just to sustain their group.  But you know that the recipes are great, because they are tried and true recipes made by real people and loved by families and friends.  Not that professional cookbooks are bad, just that they tend to use fancy ingredients that aren't everyday things, that not everyone stocks in their kitchen, or they are prepared in professional kitchens, and have a certain - unattainable - quality to them.  I still use those cookbooks, they aren't all bad.  But, they are seldom my first choice, and the recipes that become repeaters in my home hardly ever come from them!

Anyway - recently, I purchased a cool toy.  I like those breakfast sandwiches, but am not fond of standing in a line-up and paying $$ for someone else to make them, or buying frozen ones from the store that have whatever unpleasant preservatives and additives.  I did once find some little silicone rings to make the eggs in your fry pan so they would come out perfectly round.  The problem - I use extra large eggs, and the rings aren't quite big enough.... Also, I can only really use one at a time, since two don't fit across the bottom of my large fry pan.  And the clean-up! :P

Anyway, the new toy - a "Breakfast Sandwich Maker" from Hamilton Beach.  Small, easy to clean up, works great -- still can only make one at a time, but instead of having to clean up a fry pan, as well as getting out the toaster, and having the cheese not really melt well (unless I put it on the egg in the pan, and then half of the cheese melts off the egg and burns in the pan....)  What I'm trying to say is, the new little sandwich maker is a winner!!!  And it wasn't really expensive, either!  :)  I might even buy a second one, so I can do two sandwiches at once, so there is no waiting if I'm cooking for two!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Recent projects

Well, I have been busy, over on Ravelry, doing all sorts of big and small projects.  I'd found a group, which has gone through a few changes in the year or so I've been there, called "Nerd Wars".  They wanted to make some changes, and changed to Nerd Wars: Geek Noosphere. Now, they are back to using Nerd Wars group, but with many changes.  And there is an off-shoot group called Nerdopolis.

In a nutshell - teams were formed for various "fandoms" or Nerd-based interests, and then challenges were posted - you could do any or all of the challenges.  The challenges basically were based around themes, and ran for one month intervals, along with a major project that could take you three months.  At the end of each month, you were awarded points based on completed projects that you could fit into the themes, as well as cross referencing them to your team's "nerdery".  At the end of three months, all points were added up, and you were awarded badges for completing projects, etc.  In other words, it was a more or less friendly competition, with little pressure to compete.  In other words, if life happened and you didn't happen to get points for your team, well, they never made you feel bad.

I enjoyed the camaraderie, finding people who shared some of my interests/obsessions, the mental challenge to match project to themes, and some incentive to finish projects.

I got a shawl and sweater done for the big projects, and I got lots of little things made.  I also managed, as always, to start a lot more projects that I didn't manage to finish on time!  So, my UFO pile grew as much as my finished piles did!!

Among the items finished - my most recent dishcloths.  I have a cloth that was from a swap many many many years ago - could have been back around '98 or so even!  It has lasted, and lasted, and lasted.  When my dishcloths develop holes, I tend to move them to the rag bag, until they are ready to fall apart, then they go to the compost.  This one, though - it just never died!!  It did fade over time, and get where it wasn't coming clean clean after laundering.  Like, yes, it was washed, and it wasn't greasy, and it didn't smell, but it looked dingy. Dark even.  So, I finally put it into the rag bag.  But, I missed it.... So, I decided to make one of my own using the same pattern.

I made (this picture is after I used it for a week, and laundered it yesterday)

The pattern I used is and it mentioned making a tighter fabric by slipping stitches knitwise instead of purlwise.  The first cloth was also made on a slightly larger than I should have needle, as well.  So, I made a second, on a smaller needle and with the tighter, twisted stitches

It will be used next week, after the current cloth hits the laundry :)

I'll post more projects, ongoing and completed, in the coming days.  

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Didn't make it

I wanted to get into the habit of posting daily, and that is part of the reason for the fresh start with a blog.

Well, just about everything gets off to a slow start.  That, or I could get obsessive and put all my time and energy into a new venture...

Anyway, a recurring theme in my old blog was my efforts to try to get my house clean.  It seemed that I was always complaining about it, but never seemed to make progress.  Well, I'm actually making progress.  Still complaining, ;), but at least getting somewhere.  I'm finding it fairly easy to keep several areas/rooms clean.  And the others are being slowly pulled up to par.

So, my back entry, my kitchen (75%), my bathroom, and my bedroom are all clean enough that a "cleaning" of these areas/rooms takes only a few minutes to half an hour to bring up to "company ready".  The kitchen does take a bit longer, what with dishes and all, and the 75% mention above refers to the "hidden" mess - inside cupboards, the fridge, the non-existent counter top. But, seriously, it doesn't take me that long to clear the counter or whip through the dishes if I have to...

Yesterday, I (again!) cleaned out the "catch all" closet.  I am determined to keep it tidy enough that it takes no time to clean it.  I have before pictures, and I have after pictures, but the after pics are still on the camera, and I should figure out a way to edit all the pics to make them smaller.  More on that later...

So, that is what I would have posted about yesterday, had I any time left after sorting the closet!!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Welcome to my new home on the 'net

My old blog is still around. BUT, I will likely delete it one of these days.  All it generates are spam comments.  I know, I haven't been posting to it, and that probably isn't helping. I want to get back into it.  I've been spending a lot of time and effort over on Facebook, and I think it is about time I get off that and back to basics.  Good Old Fashioned Blogging!! (lol, hard to think of "blog" as old fashioned!!)

Anyway, hopefully, I'll be able to keep up.  I'll certainly try....

Oh, and I'll be going through the old blog, and deleting old posts - might do a recap here of some of the more memorable posts.

One of the reasons I wasn't blogging much - I didn't always have something to write about crafts or cats, which was the main theme of my old blog (catsrmecrafter).  Hopefully, this one will be better -- Animals - cats or dogs, or other critters worth posting about.  Babbles - well, this is the catch-all of the yapping I will do about various opinions, experiences, hopes, dreams, and venting frustrations!!  Crafts - yes, they are still a major part of my life, and will be featured in the blog.

Blogger has changed a lot since I first started playing.  It was always fairly user friendly, but I still needed to learn some basics about html and codes and how the "guts" worked.  Now, I don't have to do that much.  Also, I started my old blog as much to get to have blog pets as anything else - but I'm not sure how to move them over.  I also see that my old blog - I had a "Yahoo Avatar" but that seems to be no longer available.  And I had some weather information... not there.  Probably a few more things that are gone forever, others I'll have to find again - I know there is a bunch of "gadgets" available...

Anyway - so, there it is, my first post.  If all goes well, I'll make another tomorrow, and let you all know what I've been up to for the last year or so....