Sunday, March 30, 2014

Knitting Rebel

I'm such a rebel.

When it comes to knitting that is. Or I am just so clueless on how it is all done that I decide to figure it out myself and do things my way. Whether it is right or whether it is wrong!

So far I like the results.

I just started knitting and recently learned to crochet. You can read my post here about how I caught the knitting bug if you missed it.

Once I was comfortable enough to be on my own and know how to cast on and cast off stitches, I went crazy and bought yarn in all the colors I love. I kinda knew how many yards I needed on each skein to make a prayer shawl, but that's where my knowledge stopped!

I had size 15, size 13 and size 10 1/2 needles. My rebellion? I decided not to follow the recommended needle size on the yarn label.

My first ever knitting project was with homespun yarn on the size 15 needles, straight knitting. I finished that and half of another one my daughter had started. I was ready for something different to do than just knitting.

I wanted to make something chunky and spongy and cozy and soft. I bought regular worsted yarn, one in purple, one in red.

I decided to use the size 15 needles with the purple and do it all knit 1, purl 1. It definitely came out chunky, spongy and soft but what a pain it became changing the yarn back and forth every stitch!

I did a little research on for a different pattern that I could manage. I found one that is so pretty that I tried it on size 10 1/2 needles with the red yarn. It was knit 2, back knit 1, purl 1 repeat.
It was so hard to capture the true color and pattern. This is the best I can get!
While those two were going I found a one pound skein of the prettiest sage green yarn. Again I decided to go with a different pattern and a chunky look. I decided to do knit 2 purl 2 and repeat this on every row. It gave the shawl a thick, chunky, springy texture and is so pretty. I used a size 13 needle to achieve the look.

At this point I had 3 shawls going at once. I could whip through the purple and sage one but that red one was getting to me. You see, you have to really pay attention to what you are doing. And after having several inches done I realized that it was going to be too narrow for a prayer shawl. I hadn't accounted for the tighter knitting pattern on the smaller needles. After ripping rows and rows out many times to fix my not paying 100% attention mistakes, I put it away for now to finish it when my life is quieter and my mind is not going in a hundred different directions all the time......maybe when I am 85 in my rocking chair!

I finished the purple and sage shawls and now I am ready to put borders on them. They turned out so springy and spongy that they looked too narrow. They really aren't, as they are just supposed to go around your shoulders, and they stretch perfectly to do just that.  I decided they needed fancy borders to look finished, and wider!

My dear friend Katherine showed me how to crochet a shell stitch today at our Prayer Shawl knitting get together. First I single crocheted 6 rows in a multicolored pastel yarn and am now working on a ruffle with the shell stitch.

Meanwhile, while shopping in JoAnn Fabrics I found such pretty yarn on sale that I had to get it for another prayer shawl. I was ready for just plain, mindless knitting again and so on the size 13 needles I was able to knit through this one in a week. Gotta go back now to get some complimentary yarn for the border. I went through all 647 yards of yarn, again because of the larger size needles that I insist on using! It came out so pretty....

At this point you might think I am crazy with all these knitting projects going at once. Maybe I should just stay out of JoAnn's because the last time I was in there I had to get this gorgeous yarn and start another prayer shawl. Bonnie is going to be so proud!! (You will have to read my previous post to understand!)

I sit and knit every evening while watching the news and Wheel of Fortune (do I sound 85 already?) I switch off from the crocheted shell border to the straight knitting of the shawl. Both things hurt my arthritic hands after awhile so it is less painful to switch back and forth.

No, I am not giving it up because of the pain! I am having to much fun experimenting with yarn and different size needles.

I am a rebel like that, ya know.

AnnMarie xo

I am linking up with these great blog parties this week:

Sweet & Savoury Sundays
A Bouquet of Talent Linky Party
Snickerdoodle Sunday
diy Sunday Showcase
Amaze Me Monday
Make It Pretty Monday
Treasure Box Tuesday
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday
You're Gonna Love It Tuesday
Wednesday's Adorned From Above Blog Hop
What's It Wednesday
Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop
Showcase Your Talent Thursday
Treasure Hunt Thursday
Share Your Cup Thursday
What to Do Weekends

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Dumpster Diving (it's the little things that count!) a clean dumpster, that is. Filled with boxes and bubble wrap.

I just have to give a huge shout out and thank you to my wonderful husband Frank. He makes a trip to the dumpsters at work several times a week looking for boxes and bubble wrap for me to use for my Etsy shop.
sorry about the picture quality...I had to copy and paste and this is what I got!
That stuff is expensive to buy! But it is an essential because when you sell something you have to wrap it and pack it in a box. I probably couldn't do my small business without the huge help this is.

I have quite a collection going. I should be ashamed to show you the pile of mess it is, but I do straighten it about once a week!

Aside from all this at home he has a stash at work, waiting for me to give him the go ahead to bring it home.

He gets the good, large bubble wrap (which my son and granddaughters always wants to pop) and those plastic pillow thingys that come in handy to cushion fragile items.

Yeah, this is overflowing too....

I can't seem to contain it all. 

But I am not complaining. It is a wonderful thing when you have this kind of support from the one you love.

Like I said, it's the little things that count!

AnnMarie xo

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring Cookie Bark

Happy First Day of Spring!

Does this look like Spring or what?!

The date on the calendar, not the weather, has inspired me to make something fun and colorful and Spring-y.

I found this fabulous looking bark on the blog Deliciously Sprinkled....a place to find all kinds of fun desserts.

It is a chocolate cookie dough base, covered with melted white chocolate chips and then sprinkled with iced animal cookies,  M & M's and rainbow sprinkles - or jimmies, as they call them at the ice cream parlor in town.

It is easy to make and you get to go out and buy lots of yummy ingredients....the kind I like to shop for!

The ingredient that drew me in were the PINK iced animal cookies! Here's the recipe:

M & M Chocolate Chip Cookie Bark

2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 bag white chocolate chips
1 cup frosted animal cookies, broken
1/2 cup M & M's

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 13 x 9 pan with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

In a small bowl whisk together the flour and baking soda; set aside.

Using an electric mixer or stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine the butter with both sugars; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Reduce speed to low; add the salt, vanilla and eggs. Beat until well mixed, about 1 minute. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Press dough gently with floured fingertips to evenly cover the bottom of prepared pan.

Bake for 11 - 13 minutes (mine took 24 minutes!) or until golden brown. Sprinkle with white chocolate chips and bake for an additional 1-2 minutes to melt the chocolate. Immediately spread the melted white chocolate evenly over the top of the cookie base. Sprinkle the animal crackers, M & M's and sprinkles evenly over the top and press down lightly.

Refrigerate for 1-2 hours until chocolate has hardened. Remove from foil pan and break into pieces.

This plate of yummy looking Spring Cookie Bark will be presented to the guests at Impact Theatre ( a community theater that my husband and I on it if you want to read about it!) tomorrow night with all the other homemade desserts the faithful bakers make for each event.

Have a wonderful Spring weekend!

AnnMarie xoxo

I am linking up with these great blog parties:

Showcase Your Talent Thursday
Share Your Cup Thursday
Be Inspired
Feathered Nest Friday
Anything Blue Friday
Freedom Fridays with all My Bloggy Friends
The Pin Junkie Friday Link Party
No Rules Weekend Blog
diy Sunday Showcase
Bouquet of Talent Party Time
Sweet &Savoury Sunday
Amaze Me Monday
Make It Pretty Monday
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday
Treasure Box Tuesday
You're Gonna Love It Tuesday
What's It Wednesday
Wednesday's Adorned From Above

Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday Thrift Finds

Friday always seems to be the best day for thrifting.

My local VOA (Volunteers of America) is having a 50% off sale today and I took full advantage! The sale was supposed to be on Wednesday but that is when our northeast snowstorm hit. So happy they decided to offer a "rain check" for today. The temps here today are supposed to reach 48 degrees. But wait 5 minutes and that could change too!

I scan all the houseware shelves several times and I usually find the best things on the second or third time through. The red box is a recipe box and the little tray has strawberries and flowers on it. The nesting hen covered dish is from Japan and I can't find another one exactly like it online anywhere. The Avon mint green milk glass pitcher is from the 1970's and held bubble bath.

The basket in the background tugged at my heart when I first found it. It is very similar to my Easter basket growing up but is much larger without the handle. I am temporarily using my Easter basket in my bunny vignette until Easter. Then my husband will take it and fill it with lots of candy and goodies (hopefully some of those Cadbury mini eggs!).

I am tempted to keep this larger one for my knitting. Isn't it perfect? Those are two of the three prayer shawls I have going right now.

I thought this chalkboard sign was cute and reminiscent of what I would have had at my house for my babysitters. Mine hung on the fridge. This is a heavy metal piece with green chalk paint on the front. It struck me funny that the first line is "Our name is....."! Shouldn't you know the names of the people you are babysitting for before you get there??!! I guess I probably hired a babysitter like that once too!

Just  can't get enough of colored Pyrex baking dishes. With Spring on the mind daily, I thought these shades of yellow and lime green were perfect for cooking and baking on a dreary, still winter, day.

I also couldn't resist the yellow Tupperware coffee canister, found with coffee still in it! It needs to be cleaned up and it will be in perfect condition!

The coffee canister is sitting on a wooden lazy susan, which also brings back memories of my Uncle Sam and Aunt Jenny's cottage at the Thousand Islands. I always remember the lazy susan in the middle of the kitchen table with lots of kitchen stuff and goodies on it. Those are porcelain liquor bottle tags and one metal one. They are made in Japan.

I just loved this cobalt blue laquerware paper and pen holder. It has a ship on the front and is from the 1970's. A nice manly gift.

These are just really cool wooden knife holders. One has a folk art Scandinavian look couple on it and the other has a great rooster. They date from the 1930's - 1960's. 

I couldn't pass up the kitty with the milk bottle. So cute! And the three coasters are made from a stone like material with vintage pictures of dogs.

I regret that I don't have a picture of one of the most fabulous items I found today. My SD card decided NOT to go back in the camera no matter how I try. The picture of the tray is on my camera's memory and I have no way of transferring it to my computer...ugh! Anyways it is a huge, vintage, red metal tray with a rooster in the middle. Very 1950's/1960's looking. It hurts not to be able to post it but I decided I must go on with my post anyways so that I could link up with all the great Friday blog hop parties (and a Thursday one)!

All of these items will make it to my Etsy shop soon, or when I get my camera to work so I can take pictures of each one for the listings! 

Minus the ones I can't part with.....

AnnMarie xo

I am linking up with these great blog hop parties:

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

What to Do on A Snow Day

Measure donuts.

Yup, I did say measure donuts. Feeling a little under the weather today, I really don't feel like doing what I feel I should be doing on a day like this (ie. cleaning out all the closets in the whole house!).

We (my son, husband and I) are having a snow day at home because of a huge snowstorm supposed to be happening here with up to 12" of snow by later this the rate of 1-3" per hour.

Not too bad....yet
There was not much snow when we finally got up around 9 a.m. so my husband decided to make a run to Breen's Market right down the road in the village of Palmyra for some donuts. He's been doing that a lot lately, especially on Saturday mornings. But never on a Wednesday morning!

Not many fit in the box....two have been consumed!
These are not your typical donuts. They are HUGE!

And delicious! My favorite is the Apple Fritter. There is not one bit of apple it it. I must ask them about that one day.

This is the size after I ate about a third of it. Can you see that it is 6" wide?! They all are. I eat mine a little at a time because it is just too big and I would be too naughty to eat it all at once!

A brand new Dunkin' Donuts just went up within walking distance of Breen's. Sometimes those big chains ruin it for the little Mom and Pop stores in small towns. Breens has been there since 1908. But, no worry, the donut business is booming at Breen's. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that they are more than twice the size of Dunkin's and they taste fabulous!

I'm not trashing Dunkin'......we drink their coffee every morning, I drink a medium decaf French Vanilla Iced Coffee with four creams on the side all summer, and I even have a Dunkin' gift card with me at all times. But when I went in last Friday at 9 a.m. for their two donuts for 99 cents special, I couldn't find any that I wanted! Shoulda gone to Breens!

It is getting snowier here as the day goes on. It's also almost time to brew up some decaf Dunkin' and have a little more of my apple fritter.....

What do you do on a snow day?

AnnMarie  xo

I am linking up with these great blog parties this week:

Thursday Favorite Things
Share Your Cup Thursday

Friday, March 7, 2014

Bunny Musings

My love of bunnies goes back to the 1980's when I started decorating my farmhouse. I love vintage or new....whichever one tugs at my heart when I see it. 

I treat myself when I see one I just have to have. I never purposely started a collection, it just kinda happened.

Some have a special spot in my home year round and others come out to play in the Spring. These floppy eared stuffed bunnies have been sitting on my oak wash stand since the 80's, first in my farmhouse bathroom and now in my spare bedroom of my Victorian home. They are faded and probably a little dusty but they bring back memories that I want to savor for a while.

This resin bunny nibbling on his carrots finds a place somewhere in the house every Spring. This year he will be nibbling at the foot of my just acquired chippy rocker.

This is a pipe cleaner rabbit with a vintage paper face. He likes hanging around my corner cabinet.

I just found this great mini wooden sideboard/dresser today and thought that Mrs. Bunny with her 2 boy bunnies and 4 girl bunnies would look great on top. Her children all fit neatly inside her when they are done playing.

Now, I am not complaining, but the bright sun today made it kinda hard to get the pictures I wanted in my window seat! The hydrangeas are dried from my yard, the pink pumpkin is still in great shape from last Fall and the shiny pink vintage bunny is one I found at a thrift store last year. 

This is one of my most favorite places in my house to create a seasonal vignette. The vintage rose doily stays year round, the lamp is a vintage find I just had to keep for myself and the bunny on a pedestal is one of my favorite in my collection.

Down at their feet is my Victorian bunny that comes out every Spring. I have had her forever. When she appears it means there are brighter days ahead.

This cute Lefton bunny planter is listed in my Etsy shop. I can't resist sometimes decorating with some of the great items I find to sell. They are usually the ones that go the quickest!

Peter Rabbit has a backpack full of dried flowers, "fur" and the cutest face. He hangs out in different places every year. This year he likes the paint splattered, chippy chair I found at a garage sale for $2 with a basket full of veggies from Mr. McGregor's garden! My bunny rabbit rug is out from hiding near my bed for a Spring debut.

This bunny is not vintage but is made to look it using paper mache and a great paint technique.

I am not sure where I got this large, cardboard two piece egg. It is quite old and beat up. It has a new baby and bunny family on both sides.

I found this great ceramic Easter basket dated 1986 at a thrift store and it brought back memories of my 20's when I would go to a nice lady's home to make different things for myself. I have a small basket like this of my own. The bunny is also from the 80's and glazed to look like the chocolate ones.

Here is the same basket with my collection of Jim Shore carved eggs. Love his quilted look items.

A local artist made chalkware bunnies for a limited time so I grabbed two of them.

The ceramic basket bowl is another thrift store find that I filled with Jim Shore eggs. Great to fill with jelly beans or those Cadbury mini eggs I am afraid to buy....I would eat the whole bag! I found the nest in my yard. There are always abandoned nests laying on the ground. I have one that the birds made from the pinata pieces left after my son's birthday party.

The two Peter Rabbit's are collectibles I originally bought to sell. May not happen now! The small one is a salt shaker and the large one is a trinket box.

These three bunnies are off to deliver their eggs. They are paper mache, painted to look vintage and then dusted with clear sparkles.

They have a special place on the parlor table every year with my granddaughters and a very old picture of my daughter and son.

These next set of bunnies are from my farmhouse in the apple orchard and now sit on my dining room windowsill year round in my Victorian house. I couldn't get a good picture with all the bright sunshine so I had them sit in the vintage high chair while I took their picture. The wooden bunny is an actual puzzle. I took it apart once and then never again!

The chocolate mold is a real treasure. The small bunny with the cute smile is a shelf-sitter, or in my case a windowsill sitter.

Some of these treasures are listed in my Etsy shop and some probably will never be! I am not ready to part with them yet.

Another reason to keep thrifting and picking new ones to sell.

Spring is almost here and for me, the official start of picking, garage saleing and antiquing season.

Pickers, get your eagle eyes and dollar bills ready! See you out there!

AnnMarie xo

I am linking up with these fun blog hop parties this week:

The Scoop Mega Spring Linky Party
Be Inspired
Feathered Nest Friday
Freedom Fridays with All My Bloggy Friends
Lets Connect Social Media Round Up Blog Hop
Thrifty Life Thursday
Anything Blue Friday
Pink Saturday
Sincerely Paula's No Rules Weekend Blog Party
Make it Pretty Monday
Amaze Me Monday
Nifty Thrifty Tuesday
You're Gonna Love It Tuesday
What's It Wednesday
Thursday Favorite Things
Share Your Cup Thursday
Cottage Style Party
It's a Spring Thing
Strut Your Stuff Saturday Link Party
Sundays at Home