Dreary January Day

I guess I shouldn’t complain about the day. So far this month it has been incredible. Hardly any snow . Right now there is a light dusting on the lawns. Now this I love love love. No shoveling and no wiping the dog down after she does her outside duties. This is actually one of the first days that the sun has been fully out, so I will take that. Sort of fits my gloomy, feel sorry for the state of the world, how the heck did all this happen kind of day. Ok enough about that. 

On a brighter note I found a great pattern for toe up socks (heavy). I actually only used the pattern as a reference. I wanted to know how many stitches I needed for a mans sock so I found this and away I went. I was trying to figure out how to put a flap and a gusset on a toe up sock instead of the afterthought or wedge heel. The afterthought heel I find can be too short for a mans foot and sometimes too wide for a ladies foot. I like a heel that hugs. Well I finally figured out how to do the flap and gusset and omgoodness it works great . I have it all written down now in my journal so I can refer to it when I need to. Yup you heard me, it has a heel flap and a gusset. I was worried that I would not be able to do it. but after about 4 attempts and 4 frogging I was determined to get this pattern to work. As you can see from the pictures below, the first sock is done and I will be working on the second one this weekend. 

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So now a little lunch is in order before I start my afternoon projects. A movie,,,hmmm Knitting…hot cup of tea…yeh… banana bread…and then to think about supper. I really should be in my room right now finishing up with the cleaning but,,, nah,, the door is closed and who the heck will see the mess in there right now anyway. On tonight’s menu will be marinated bacon wrapped chicken breasts cooked in the air fryer, sweet potatoes and some other kind of veggie TBD. I am having fun with this air fryer however some of the recipes are hit and miss right now but the taste of the food is much better when you have no *or very little* oil used in the cooking process.

And on that note!!!  Enjoy your weekend, be kind to one another, be well and most of all, be funny!  because laughter is the cure for all that ails you. Smile … and while you are out, say something nice to a stranger, you never know what they are going through and that nice thing you just said might be the only bright spot in their day. So go ahead , make their day!

 

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Last show of the season

Well I survived the last show of the season just this past weekend. I am totally knackered and have been out of commission for most of this week so far. It was a small show in a community centre from 10 until 2, with an open luncheon for the public. I got in, set up and the doors opened before 10 am because of the crowd waiting outside. OMGosh.. I never even had a chance to get a cup of coffee before the herd of shoppers filed into the room. I cannot believe how many people came through the doors for this show. The kitchen staff ran out of their famous Seafood Chowder well before the show was over. I am totally convinced that doing a smaller show instead of the larger school shows is the way to go. People were in the buying mood for sure and the time passed quickly. I was packed and home well before 2:30 which makes for a great day. Easy peasy lemon squeezy as they say. But on that note I am glad it is over.  I have had time to relax and do a bit of decorating around here and have had time to think about what to do next year. I finally decided that my decision to retire from all this is definitely the way to go. I am done!. It was a nice run for 10 years but I need to take time for me and the only way to do that is to step back and let go. I am good with that now with the exception of this small show. Honestly if I do any shows next year that will be the only one I would consider.  Right now I want to focus on what I like doing, trying new things and not have to worry about pumping out the product for a show. I plan on designing a couple more dog sweater patterns and get them listed on Etsy and then go on the hunt for more vintage hard to find patterns to add to my shop. I have also had a request to write up my sock monkey mitten pattern sock-monkey-mittensand put it for sale. I have it written in a book and I will dig it out after Christmas and write it up properly. I find that over the past years I have lost what I love doing most by trying to come up with what I consider fluff items to have plenty of products to display on my table. I have lost the quality in my product because of that, sooooooo… I will be making items and listing them in my shop as I do them, priced appropriately for the quality of workmanship that goes into it. People will surely pay for what I consider quality , right? I have tons of great yarn in my stash and I plan to keep making stuff until most of it is gone. That is my new year’s resolution. Grab some yarn, look at it and decide what to make with it.  I look forward to what 2017 will bring! I will be revamping my room a bit since I have totally made a mess in there with my latest project. Right now I am jumping over boxes of product left over from this years shows and I am sure it is not as much as it seems. I just need to get my ducks in a row and organise everything. That will be done in January I think. right now I do not want to even look at that mess, let me get through Christmas and then I will look at it with fresh eyes and a cleared head. I can do it!… hahahahaha

So on that note, have a Great Christmas everyone and be safe! fah lah lah lah lah ,,, lah lah lah YAWN

 

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Craft fair season burn out

Well here I am again, almost to the end of the craft show season and I am sitting and wondering and questioning myself as to why I put myself through this every year!. Every year I get exhausted and honestly for what? The expenses I have for my ideas and items far outweigh the revenue I take in at these shows. I suppose if I did a show every weekend I would recoup my costs but honestly and I say this very meekly (I am getting too old for this crud). My passion is knitting but we all know that unless you under price your knit wear you will never sell it in this area. Now the item I have for this year was a test item. I needed to find out if it was going to be a seller at the shows. Well it sorta was but people still looked at me like ‘What????  you want how much?” Now by the time I work out the cost of the bottle, lights, vinyl, paints (including the frosted spray paint which is freaking expensive). I am barely breaking even when I charge $20 for them. Here is an example of the bottles

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Now that is only one example.  I have christmas ones as well as the Lighted Glass Blocks which I charge $25 for. Don’t get me wrong I absolutely loved designing and working on this project, but unless you hit the bigger shows and do more shows during the season, or find a place to purchase the supplies at a cheaper price. (Michaels here is insanely pricey)  it certainly is not worth the effort. I have one more show the first week in December and then I will be done for this season.  And YES I mean done.

I have had a lot of time to reflect and think this through and I am done with doing shows. My health is getting in the way of being super productive and until that issue is addressed  I just want to knit and crochet, design some more dog sweater patterns, do up a pair of Sock Monkey mittens and actually write up the pattern so I can sell it. (I have had a number of requests for this pattern but haven’t had time to actually put it in a pattern format. I love to design and I found I have had more enjoyment out of designing the bottles than I actually had making them up. So there is another thought.. I can design some print and cut files for the cricut and list those as well.

So that is my life decision. No more trying to outwit and come up with new and spectacular ideas for craft shows. No more killing myself trying to get ready for shows. It honestly is not worth it at my age. If I was 20 years younger even I would still be trying new crafts but I am done.  I am going to take a little well deserved time for ME.. This winter, it will be purge and clean my studio of all the supplies I have and will NOT be using. Great way to wile away the snowy winter here.  I am sure there will be someone somewhere that will get use of my stuff. I will be listing and purging as I go along. OR>>>>  I just might have a sale here at home and advertise.  Lay the stuff out that I want to sell and have an in home sale.  There is a thought. Or.. just box it according to each type of craft and sell the boxes individually. I would love to see the back of my closet again.. LOL. I will not become totally craft free. I have some knitting projects I want to try , I still have my knitting machines and I cannot wait for the chance to get back to my passion.  As I finish a project I will be listing it on my site.. or Etsy, (that is if I don’t decided to gift it or keep it for myself)

Now that I have made that decision and actually see it in text format I think,, no.. I know! that I am doing the right thing for me at this time. I feel pretty good about it.. yup I do.

And on that note have a happy and peaceful Holiday Season!!!!

 

 

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Recycle Reuse is my motto

Well I have been working my fingers to the nubs getting ready for the upcoming craft show season. I am only doing 3 maybe 4 shows this year, 2 of them being smaller shows (Which is fine with me) For the past many years I have been knitting and crocheting. I had followed the trends, actually sometimes I was ahead of the trends which didn’t bode well for my sales. I have discovered what is trending in the states usually doesn’t hit here for at least a year sometimes 2. But that is neither here nor there today. I have pretty well backed off the knitting as the yarns have become so expensive that it is not worth my while making hats/scarves/mittens and scarves. People in my area are not into spending for anything quality hand made. I still take orders for items if anyone wishes something in particular but knitting and crocheting for shows is just not what I feel like doing any more.

I have changed up what I am doing and looking forward to my first show in sept. I will be taking pictures of my items over the next few weeks and will surely post them here. In the meantime I wanted to change up my banner for the shows. I had one that I could attach to the front of the tables but I realized that a lot of people were not seeing the actual banner if I had customers shopping at my table. So I decided to go with a smaller 30″x48″  vertical instead of the large horizontal one. Also changed up the colours and design a bit. I am really happy with the look of the banner now and I have my business cards that match. So my delimma was, **how was I going to display this vertical banner**? It is fine if I have a wall behind me but you can never be guaranteed to have a wall. So I got my thinking cap on.. hmmm ahhhh… I have a projector screen from when I used to have picture slides. I know I know, I am dating myself. but I still have that projector screen downstairs. I kept trying to figure out how to revamp it for the banner.. In the end it would be a heck of a lot of work to remove the screen and work up somthing for the banner (since the banner is vinyl)

Well this afternoon I had a lightbulb moment!!!!  Omgosh  I had the perfect solution. A couple of years ago I got a double clothes rack from Walmart to display my scarves.

This is what I had purchased and paid $19 at the time.

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Well it has been sitting in pieces in my closet in my studio.. So this is what I did.. The top rack is removable so I took my banner and taped it with black gorilla tape making sure the banner was completely around the pole and the black could only be seen from the back. That’s it!!! that is all you have to do. I did however put the plastic grommets on the bottom of the banner if I want to secure it so it doesn’t flutter around.. Easy peasy!!!!!  when the show is over, I will remove the top bar, wind the banner up on the bar, secure it with masking tape and put it back into the box the banner came in. Actually all the bars should fit into this box for easy access. Here are some pictures of the end result.

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So there you have it. I love it when I can recycle and reuse items from my closet.

 

 

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Cape Breton Oatcakes perfected!

Well I am happy to announce that I made it through the first half of the summer. We have had an unusually hot and dry summer here. Being from Cape Breton Island I am not accustomed to the extreme heat and this month just about did me in. I am hoping that August gives us some much needed cooler weather and rains as everything here is drying up pretty fast. And on that note I have had a craving for good old fashioned Cape Breton oatcakes. I have been searching online,,,pinterest,,, google  you name it and the recipes I have found just don’t match what I remembered eating. Now mind you I would assume our taste buds change with age and the ingredients available didn’t  quite cut it so I was looking for something that mimicked the oatcakes I loved. I found and tried three different ones but omgosh they just didn’t hit the mark, so I decided to play around the last little while changing things up  Today I made another experimental batch and VOILA!!!!!  these turned out great

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so I have decided to post my results and recipe for all to share

RECIPE  (these are great slathered in butter or strawberry jam)

2 C Flour

2 C oats (not the instant or quick kind)

1 C Brown (light) sugar

2 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp salt

1 C Golden Crisco ( or use 1/2 golden and 1/2 regular Crisco)

1/4 cup Warm water (add more if you need it)

I start by cutting the Crisco into smaller pieces and putting it in my mixer.. add the warm water and start slowly mixing, stopping often to scrape the mixing blade. I then added the salt..baking powder and brown sugar and mix and scrape often. I then added the flour, mix slightly and then the oats. At this point you may want to just mix it with your hands or a wooden spoon. You don’t want to mush up the oats.

Take half the mixture and put it on a  floured area mix it gently into a ball and then either press into 1/2 depth or take a floured rolling  and roll out to desired thickness. I then cut it with a large cookie cutter and place on a baking sheet. Now.. Lightbulb moment!!!!  I saw this on pinterest today… omg  why did I not know this years ago!!.. When you go to roll out the dough do it between a sheet of lightly floured parchment paper (on the bottom) and wax paper on the top.  Seriously.. this is awesome. You don’t need to flour the top.. just place the wax paper.. gently push down your dough and then finish off by using a rolling pin. You don’t need to flour the rolling pin,,, nadda,,, nothing.. roll it to desired thickness and the pull the wax paper off. cut out your oatcakes and then pull away the excess leaving the oatcakes.. Now they say to put the parchment paper directly on a cookie sheet but I didn’t do that. I put them directly on the cookie sheet. I got 22 good sized oatcakes on my super dooper large baking sheet. Keep mixing, patting , rolling and cutting until you have them all cut.. then… and this is the best part.. Roll up the parchment paper and toss it in the compost!!!.. I barely had any clean up at all and the rolling pin just needed to be rinsed off and dried.. again  WHY DID I NOT KNOW THIS YEARS AGO!!!!

Bake 375 degrees for about 10- 13 minutes. Baking depends on your oven and the thickness of your oatcakes.  When they start turning brown on the edges they are done!.. do not over cook unless you like them crunchy.

Now I have tried the ones with the baking soda.. nah.. didn’t like those

tried the ones with the butter…nah.. not up to par

tried the ones with the regular shortening ..(close but missing something)

tried mixing butter with the regular shortening.. (ah.. there you go.. almost)

Most of the recipes called for 1/2 tsp salt but opps.. today I grabbed the wrong spoon and put a full tsp of salt in the mix.. Happy accident!!!!!!.. I really liked the taste of these. They seemed to have what I was missing in the taste.. and face it.. 1 tsp for a batch of 22 good sized oatcakes is really not that devastating in the dietary world.

So in the end the above recipe is by far my favorite.. but that could be just my old taste buds kicking into action. Doesn’t matter.. I like them.. So give them a try and tell me what you think.. yay or nay?

FYI   one other way of cooking these oatcakes without the big mess of rolling them out.

place parchment paper in a cookie sheet.. add your mixture to the sheet.. (glop it on the paper and then press it to sort of fill in) place a sheet of wax paper over the mixture  and then take your  rolling pin and gently  roll it out to the 4 edges.. the handles fit quite nicely on the edge of the cookie sheet and roll your mixture out to about 1/2 inch on your sheet..(You will see how the handles roll nicely on your cookie sheet giving you a uniform thickness)  you might have to add some mixture or take it away as you are rolling it out.. Now here is the fun part.. score it into either squares or rectangles. After it has cooked your oatcakes will break apart quite nicely.  NO FUSS NO MESSY COUNTERTOP!.. the only problem with this is that they don’t brown up on the edges.  Play around with some cooking ideas and post your thoughts.

I am thinking next of doing this on a smaller cookie sheet.. lifting the parchment out after it is rolled,, then score and separate the oatcakes and put  the parchment into a bigger cookie sheet..or just lift and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet.  I like the way they crisp on the edges when they are separated.

Thanks for reading and any opinions are appreciated

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Trying out the new tarp idea

Well the other day I went out to put the windshield cover on my car and low and behold the elastic was not very stretchy any more. I was really not impressed by it anyway as it never covered my wipers and the ice and snow would build up on them. So in essence it was not doing everything I wanted it to do. SO! I decided to figure out an alternative method for keeping the snow and frost/ice build up off my windshield. I got to searching on Pinterest and Youtube and came across a video of an older gentleman explaining how he covered his windshield for only a few dollars. I watched it and said.. hey what could I lose.

here is his video

 

Now the tarp here at Walmart was $5.00 and it was 6×8 not 5×7 like he explained in the video. I guess things are bigger here in Canada eh..hahahaha

So we tried it. It was put on Maggie’s truck and my car. Now all week I had been letting it come down about 1/2 way on my hood on my car, but for some reason yesterday (lazy and in a hurry)  I folded it in half to put it on. It fit great, covered the wipers and I was happy with that. I walked away pretty proud of myself. Well. if you watch the tarp come off the truck this morning we were amazed it worked so well!.. YAY

So next is my car.. Like I said I decided to fold it in half, mostly for speed and convenience on my part. This didn’t go as well as the truck..hahahaha Note to self, cover the hood a little more than I did yesterday. The video fail is hilarious. but it taught me a lesson for the next snow storm.

 

So that has been our test. All in all it was a good test with good results.

 

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Addi Express help

True North Knitting

I know it has been a while but I have been super busy getting ready for the fall craft shows in my area. I did however do some searching online for help with my addi machine. I came across a video that tells us to grease your addi machine. Now I have put another post earlier about the silicone spray (jigaloo) for it but I was not happy with the performance of it so I took my machine apart again and washed every needle and casing. That was a royal pain in the butt but I figured.. hey why not try this next fix. She had a video saying what she used but not how to do it so as I was greasing my machine this morning I decided to take some pictures as I was going along. 

I went to the local hardware store and bouth some white lithium…

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