Wednesday, July 16, 2014

TaDah Moment for Marinke Slump Bag

I've finished a project.  I know, right?  Yes, I seem to start a lot of things but not finish them.  But not this time.  I participated in a Crochet-A-Long with Wink over at her blog, A Creative Being.  Seeing the other people who were participating actual finish their projects really helped.  I added my bag photos after the competition date, but I am not a competitor so I would not have entered anyway.  I do really love the bag design that won tho.  If you missed my introductory post about this bag, you can read it here: 

Here is a link to my bag project on ravelry.

So here is my Marinke Slump Bag.

Yes - I made this.  Can you believe it?  To me, it looks so real.

I love the stitch that looks like knitting - a new stitch for me, easy and will be used again.

I love the cord I made to weave through as a drawstring.  It's made of six strands of bulky acrylic yarn braided together.

I love that my bag has a lining AND that I created the lining pattern and sewed it up myself.

I love that the bag has awesome sturdy handles that are the perfect length and that I made them up and sewed them myself as well.

This was a lot of fun to create.  Now I cannot WAIT to use it out in the world.

Hope you enjoy my creation.  Sher

One more photo before the drawstring was added so you can see the weaving holes.  I created those by crocheting around some metal key ring circles.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Binge Watching, Running is Back and Mini Mandala Wall

Hey There.  I have three things to talk to you about today.

1.  Binge Watching.  Do you do it?  I do - and it's my favorite way to watch.  I've always hated being married to a TV show - having to run home and watch when a weekly show is broadcast.  Now, if you have all the modern TV equipment, you no longer have to do this - you can DVR or TIVO (is that still around?) your show, watch it online, on demand or even on Hulu or Netflix.  There are so many ways to watch TV series these days and I'm certainly happy about it.

I used to almost avoid TV because I didn't want to have to wait a week between episodes, watch ads and be ready to view at one certain time - I'm too impatient.

But, when I discovered binge watching it was a whole new way for me - and my husband too.  It's something we could do together, or on our own, or switch that up even and watch separately when we had the time and together when we were caught up to the same place.  It's a way we can enjoy shows we want to watch usually without advertisements and at whatever hour it suits us.  A night by the fire with episode after episode going while I sit and crochet - what a nice night in!

So I have learned to binge watch and I love it.  Here are some of the things I've recently watched - let me know if you binge watch any of these and if you have other recommendations:

Downton Abbey (first 2 seasons were binged watched by hubby and me in only a few nights - after that we were all caught up and had to wait weekly for the next two seasons like everyone else!) - I think I watched this on by hooking up my computer to our TV.

Call the Midwife - watched this on on my computer - LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE - and if you do watch it - can you get enough of Chummy? - she is AWESOME!

Orphan Black (watched this on recommendation from my MOM no less) - really talented main character as she plays like 8 different roles!  Watched this on demand with Verizon Fios through BBC-America

House of Cards (just made it to season 2) - This one is a Netflix original.  Really well done.  Doesn't say much good about the American government.  Wait, is that a surprise? (no comment, I don't like to get political).

Orange is the New Black - This one is also a Netflix original.  Really gripping - had to watch and watch and watch and got through all of season 1 and 2 in no time!

The Paradise - from the BBC.  Season 1 came to BBC-America, couldn't get season 2 though I heard that a second season did air in the UK.  I loved this series too!  I think I heard that a 3rd season would not happen.

Land Girls - I've watched 3 of these and haven't managed to really love it.  It's from BBC. I'm still watching.

Vikings - this show came thru from the History Channel.  I started it one season behind so I got to watch season 1 and 2 almost back to back.

Restoration Home (just starting to watch these on YouTube from this recommendation) - it comes from the BBC.  There are a ton of them to keep me occupied.

Masters of Sex - watched this week by week on demand.  Now waiting for the second season set to air on Showtime Channel in a few weeks.

When all else fails to entertain me, I just put on Sense and Sensibility which I have watched hundreds of times and never tire of!  I love the 1995 version directed by Ang Lee.  It's a movie not a series and I can almost repeat it line for line.  You should hear the groans and comments by my family when they see I am enjoying it ONCE AGAIN.

So there you have it - and oh, can you tell I love British shows? And my fave actors? Liam Neeson, Maggie Smith, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman (did you see him in CBGBs? such an awesome movie about the Punk Rock music scene), Colin Firth - others..., they all seem to be Brits. I'm very predictable.

2.  Running Back - I am back to running.  I haven't run since Feb 11th.  After 2 years of menopause complications which resulted in a very low blood iron level despite the pound of kale and batch of eggs I eat each week, I finally had to stop running for a while - I just couldn't keep up with my running group and felt I was always on the verge of fainting.  I've continued to do strength classes with my running coach 2 times per week for an hour each - I'm pretty strong so I'm better at the weights than the running.

Me and July (my dog) at the end of a very hot run!
But today - I started back up and will run/walk my way to a solid 3 mile run by September.  My hope is four runs per week.  Week 1 is: Walk 3 mins, Run 3 mins - intervals.  Today I complete DAY 1 of WEEK 1.  It was hot even at 7am this morning and it is a VERY humid day (I hate humidity) but nonetheless, it felt good. The dog was thrilled to tag along, at least I have willing company on all my runs and she doesn't comment on my speed or my heavy breathing or my technique.  A perfect running partner!

3.  I've decided to make myself a mini mandala wall - in Yarndale fashion.  I've been loving all the mandala inspiration which is ALL OVER the crochet blog world thanks to Lucy at Attic24.  My own mandala has made it across the Atlantic and I found it posted on the pinterst board so I know it arrived.  I'm excited to have my little piece of crochet lovely hanging there with all the others from around the world.  You can find my mandala here in this blog post and also here on this pinterest board.

Last night I needed to make a mandala - yes NEEDED.  So I made this one.  I found these wicker plate holders at the thrift store a few months ago for literally pennies, so I bought a few and plan to install a mandala in each of them and hang them on my sewing room wall.

Do you like it?  I used a pattern from the lovely blog: Color N Cream - one of my favorite and probably my hands down fave for color inspiration.  Do you follow it - AHHH it's so lovely.

So that LONG post is all for today - tomorrow I want to share with you the two books I have just recently read.  Stay Tuned, TaTa - Sher

Monday, June 30, 2014

CAL with Wink - Marinke Slump Bag

As if I needed another project to start.  But I did.


I decided to join in with the Marinke Slump Beach Bag CAL with Wink from A Creative Being Blog.  We are using THIS PATTERN.  It's free!  And, tho. I LOVE the yarn used in the pattern picture, I wasn't able to get that yarn as it was on backorder, so I settled for using some stuff from my stash - good idea, right?

The pattern is easy, repeated rounds using a stitch that looks like crocheted knitting.

I guess it's a good thing I took this to my neighbor's knitting group on Sunday afternoon as I was the only Happy Hooker, aka crochet gal, in the group and at least it LOOKED like I was knitting.

After the knit group, the weather was still lovely out, so I decided to sit in the front yard and continue stitching.  Inside the house was the loud shouting and cheering of World Cup Soccer fans.  My hubby had moved our TV to the back screened porch and the kids and friends and hubby were all cheering along with the games.

I have to admit that I did set down my project every time they got really loud and ran in to see what action I had missed.  We have all been soccer players in this house, so we can appreciate a sport that is less popular in the USA than it is basically everywhere else in the world.  Tho. it seems that during World Cup, even soccer has a lot of fans around here.  All good.

I used a combo of yarn, all dk weight and a 4.0mm hook.  Some of the yarn was knitpicks CotLin and the other was Cotton-ish by Bernat which is a cotton/acrylic blend.  I somewhat followed the color scheme in the photo, but I am using one additional color (orange) and each of my color stripes is 7 rounds.  The color stripes in the pattern use 9 rounds.

I do plan to line the bag and put pockets on the liner.  I'm not sure how I will like the drawstring closure and I love handles, so I may have to make two handles for the bag.  We'll see how it goes.

I planned out the yarn for this project in hopes that I would sit and crochet while my son attended the freshman summer orientation day at his college:  Shippensburg University of PA.  However, I read a book instead - it was a quickie and cute, I'll be sharing that soon.

So while my son and a high school friend who will attending the same university got introduced to their college and registered for their fall classes, I read in an Adirondack chair under a tree on a lovely breezy day - not bad.

TATA for now, Sher

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Square Sizes and Simple Snacks

Since the new year (that being 2014), I challenged myself to make one 6-inch crochet square each week by following the book: 200 Crochet Squares by Jan Eaton.  I am not up to date but I'm not that far behind either.  I haven't posted about the squares recently but doing so is on my to do list.

You can read about my squares here in THIS POST and also THIS POST and even THIS POST.

This past weekend, we had such lovely weather and I finally had a day that wasn't packed with things that had to be done ALL DAY LONG at certain times, so I sat myself down on the breezy back screened porch and got about making a few more squares.

Top two squares are done in the round and fit pretty well atop one another, bottom square is NOT at all the same size.
Up to this point, all of the squares I've chosen have been "in the round."  I decided to add a few "done in rows" squares to the mix.  The way the book works is that as long as you are using the same yarn or yarn weight and the same hook size thorughout, all the examples in the book will be perfect squares and they will all be the same size.  Now, I have a complaint.  I haven't found this to be the case.  The squares vary in size tho. I can always add a row around the outside and help to make the sizes closer.  BUT... when I finished the square in rows TWICE (because I pulled it out and did it all again), I was annoyed that the sizes were nowhere close.  I pulled out my final product and decided to stick to squares in rounds for now.

After pulling out the granny stripe square TWICE, I decided to get a quick snack to encourage me to keep going with the squares so I made this yummy little eat:

Fresh, multi-grain loaf from the farmer's market and a schmear of cream cheese topped with thinly sliced radish circles and fresh, crispy pea shoots... YUM.. refreshing, satisfying, delish.

I'll have more square adventures to share with you soon.  TA TA Sher

Friday, June 20, 2014

Honored with a Liebster Award

I'm so honored to have been nominated by Amanda of Amjaylou Blog for a Liebster Award.  As part of the award, I will answer some questions that Amanda posed to her blog nominees.  You can read Amanda's nomination post and her own Liebster answers over at THIS POST.

Here are my answers to Amanda's questions:

1. How many WIP's do you have at the moment?

At least 9, though I'm sure I'm forgetting a few things!

2. What are they?


Doll quilts and bedding for my niece
Africa (Ghana) fabric quilt
Hand-quilting my curved piecing table runner


Square a week crocheted squares from Jan Eaton's book
Rip out a crocheted blanket I don't like and re-use the acrylic yarns
Playing around with Sun and Stars and Summer motifs (created some new patterns to post) to make some summer decor for my house
Crocheting some curtains for the kitchen
Crocheting a multi-colored blanket with Cotton-ish dk yarn (my own pattern)


Teaching myself to knit (again) as I think I've forgotten all I learnt a few years back and a friend invited me to a knitting afternoon together (of course I could just always crochet!)

3. Regarding days out what would be your idea of heaven?

Beautiful weather (high 70s on the fareinheit scale, low-humidity, gentle breeze, sitting near a body of water - lake, ocean, whatever - with lovely friends and enjoying some great food and drinks).

4. What would be your idea of hell?

ALS - aka Lou Gehrig's disease - awful, horrible, terrible, no cure and I saw both my grandmother and aunt die of this dreadful disease - trapped inside bodies that don't work with a mind that is completely lucid.

5. What book are you reading at the moment?

I'm in between books, waiting to hear the title for my next book club read but just finished a book called I Dare Me by LuAnn Cahn (I will blog about this book as the author herself visited our book club!)

6. What is your favourite tipple? ( can include non-alcoholic!)

Hands down I'd have to say very dry champagne.  But, I do really enjoy my tipples and other faves are: margaritas, mojitos, and good Belgian beers among other things...

7. What's been the best holiday you've been on so far?

When I graduated from college - I took myself on a trip around the Northeast USA and Northeast Canada. I paid my own way thru college so I figured I might as well by myself a trip in celebration.  I bought a cargo van with only two seats upfront.  I loaded the back with whatever camping equipment I had and I set off with a handful of maps (no cell phone, no internet, not really any plan).  I camped (by myself for 2 weeks and then was joined by bofriend/now husband for another 3 weeks) in a different location every night - I hiked, swam in lakes, read books by firelight, lazed around in tents, drove around the country, met lots of people, cooked whatever I had time for over a fire or charcoal, listened to music and enjoyed the out of doors.  I only planned where I was going next one or two days at a time.  It was the most idyllic experience.  I'd do it again! (I went as far west as Kentucky (starting from Maryland) and Ontairo and as far north as Prince Edward Island and across the entire state of New York, went thru the Green Mtns of Vermont, White Mtns of New Hampshire, all over Michigan and Maine, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and down the entire northeast coast of the USA.  I ended my trip with a week at the beach outside of Wilmington, North Carolina)

8. What is your dream destination?

For my 25th Anniversary (this year) I had hoped to take a 2 week trip to Croatia and the surrounding countries that border the east side of the Adriatic Sea.  I have been saving for this trip for 10 years (to go with my husband by the way).  I haven't managed to save enough so I had to decide not to go.  I am very sad as I had looked forward to this for many years.  Instead we were going to go to the Northwest of the USA (Oregon and Washington State) since the plane flights make it much less expensive but my husband scheduled an event smack in the middle of the time we were due to go - so now I have no 25th anniversary trip and I am very sad and disappointed.  I'm hoping maybe we can make a go of one trip or the other soon, or maybe next year.  More than anything, my entire life, I have wanted to travel - EVERYWHERE - all over the world.  My life took other paths and instead I have done very little travel and have left the USA only once to go to West Africa.  I hope I still get to travel more.

9. What would you put into Room 101?

Okay - here's my USA coming out... I had to look up what is Room 101.  But I think I've got the gist.  I'm not familiar with the TV show which is apparently a British thing?  But if I am to choose something I really really don't like to go into Room 101 - I'd choose MONSANTO - the chemical and genetic modification company in St. Louis, Missouri who is out to ruin everything about food and seeds and in this world.  I believe they are a HUGE EVIL and they are poisoning our food for financial gain and our hands are tied - they are in the process of taking over the entire food chain and are the scariest threat to us all...fortunately the European Union has managed to keep Monsanto at bay - but here in the US, they seem to own most of the government and it's very very hard to stay clear of them and their poisoned food.  My sister has nicknamed them MONSATAN.

10. Do you have a favourite TV chef?

I watch TV cooking shows in small doses.  I have been known to watch a bit of everyone: Ina Garten, Rachel Ray, Bobby Flay, but I really don't pay a lot of attention to TV cooking shows.

11. What is your all-time favourite cake?

The limoncello cake I just ate last weekend with my husband at a little restaurant in Manayunk.  I would go back JUST for this cake - tho. all the food was really good too.

Amanda also asked that I answer the following things:

Name 11 random facts about ME:

I DO NOT like country music - at all - even for a second!
I LOVE really fresh and organic, non-GMO food
I have dance parties in my living room with my husband (REALLY)
I am left-handed but do most crafts including crochet with my right hand (some with both hands)
I am a very fast reader
I love to body surf and snow shoe
I HATE shopping (except for the thrift store where I buy most of my clothes - Salvation Army)
I have hosted year-long exchange students twice (from France and Germany) here with my family
I absolutely despise radio ads (I usually only listen to listener-supported, ad-free radio)
I am on the board of our local Historical Society - which is like a part-time job!
My "real" job, aka paying job is as a self-employed personal photo organizer - a perfect job for me

Nominate 11 blogs/bloggers for a Liebster Award:
(I love to find new blogs but many I follow have way more than 200 followers - or the ones with fewer followers have already received this award - therefore I have selected nine blogs from my blog reading regimen to receive the award and they are listed below)

A Conversation with Moo
by Petra
Diaper Mum
A Stitched Pattern
Crochet Missy
Simply Penny
There Where is Soleil

Those of you who have received the award from me can do the following:

Type a post on your own blog explaining that you have been awarded a Liebster and then answer the 11 questions I have posed below.  Nominate up to 11 other blogs with under 200 followers (tho... I think you can fudge a bit here) who have not been previously awarded.  Let those other bloggers know that you have nominated them.  You can also opt to search google and find a liebster award button to pin on your site and to indicate that you have received the award.  I hope you enjoy discovering a few new blogs and supporting a few new blogger friends!

11 questions I'd like to ask my nominees:

1. How long have you been blogging and how does it make you feel?
2. As a blogger, have you made true friendships with other bloggers?
3. Who lives in your house besides you (pets included)
4.  If you had to move to another country besides your own - where would you go?
5.  If someone handed you $100 to spend RIGHT AWAY - what would you buy?
6.  What 5 shows have you recently watched that you liked (TV, Series, Movies, Netflix, etc)?
7.  If you could have only 3 hobbies, what would they be?
8.  Who are the people who make you feel the best about yourself?
9.  What habit do you wish you could discard?
10.  Name your favorite: fruit and vegetable and dessert.
11. If you had $5000 to give away to a favorite charity or organization, where would you give?

Following Amanda's lead - also give us 11 random facts about you!

TATA - Enjoy and happy Liebster!

If you were nominated by me, please feel free to put a link to your post in the comments section of this blogpost below.  Thanks!
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