Monday, January 31, 2011

POM January - How did I do?

Well, not too bad actually. I finished 3 of my 7 knitting WIPs and Del's sweater is almost finished. I worked on the more important ones first. I will not need the summer sweater for a while yet and the sofa cushion cover is not that urgent either. My blue shawl is coming along, a few rows here and there are being added.

Now on to the project of the month for February.

The Butterfly Project

On my wanderings through blogland this weekend I came across this post and decided I want to be a part of this project. I made my butterfly today. It is made from fabric and felt and thread, my favorite things to work with.

If you would like to be a part of this project, you can click on either image in my sidebar, one will take you to the two dresses studio blog where you can join the group project, the other one will take you directly to the project website. Spread the word.

Saturday, January 29, 2011


Coffee and Shoo-Fly Pie for breakfast.
3 loads of laundry to take advantage of the beautiful weather.
A visit to the High Point Museum with a tour of one of the 18th century homes.

A trip to the library. I plan on lots of reading in the coming weeks.

Spiced cider in the crockpot and a cake in the oven.
Reading, or a movie and popcorn tonight.
I love weekends.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Another Finish

The purple lace scarf from the Ravelry Knitalong is done. That checks another item off my POM list for January.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Little Gift

One of my online quilter friends recently moved to Florida. She mentioned - jokingly - that maybe she should start collecting pink flaminos now. So, for a little birthday/housewarming gift I made her this small soft embroidery picture. I hope she likes it.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Life without Television ...

... is great!
We suspended our satellite TV service last Summer for 6 months because we needed the money to pay off medical bills. Now it was time to decide whether to re-connect or not. And since we do not miss it one bit we did not re-connect, much to the amazement and disbelief of the company we cancelled. I really cannot see why I should pay so much money to watch endless commercials interrupted by bad shows. They kept asking us why we cancelled, we told them repeatedly that it had nothing to do with their service, just that we did not like the quality of programming anymore. There are a few shows we still like, like all three CSIs and NCIS and we watch these online on the station's website. Very little commercials and the sound and picture quality is good enough.

Kitchen Experiment

Every now and then I try to cook an Austrian dish, not always easy because some of the ingredients can not be found here. This time I tried something called "Topfenpalatschinken", Austrian style pancakes filled with a mixture of curd, sugar, egg and raisins, covered with egg-milk and baked in the oven. Since curd (topfen, quark) is not available here I tried fat reduced cream cheese and a bit of sour cream. It works but it makes the dish heavier. We had some of it for lunch yesterday and the rest for breakfast this morning.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


I hate shopping. I see it as a necessity that needs to be done as quickly as possible. We go grocery shopping once a week, usually Friday evening or Saturday morning. We stop at two stores, sometimes three. I am the 'go in, grab what you need, and get out quickly' kind of shopper.

The key to keeping within the budget for me is to know how much everything costs. I use a price book that I compiled over a couple a weeks a while ago. The prices for most items I buy on a regular basis do not change dramatically. I make up my menu for the week, then write the shopping list and figure out how much money I will need. My household budget includes food, cat food and litter, toilettries and cleaning supplies and sometimes I sneak in a ball of yarn for my charity knitting or some other small items we need. I buy most of my groceries at Aldi which helps a lot because their prices are way below any other store's around here and we like the quality of their products. We still go to the big W store for things Aldi does not carry, mostly for cat food, flour and yeast and we use their pharmacy for Del's prescriptions. I usually buy shampoo, shower gel and soap at the dollar store, making sure the stuff is not made in China. I have nothing against the Chinese, but it seems the only things not made in China these days are the babies around here. Occasionally I order some things online because I can absolutely not find them anywhere around here, the soap I use for making laundry detergent for example and brewer's yeast for Miss K. We do not buy processed or prepared food or baked goods, I make those, including bread, myself. And we bring our own bags. All that helps to cut down on the garbage output.
The only kind of shopping I do enjoy from time to time is browsing the local thrift stores.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Carrot soup with homemade garlic bread and orange shortbread with a little chocolate for dessert.

Cleaning, Wasting and Garbage

I must admit that this is a rather strange title for a blog post but I have recently come across some interesting posts on my daily trip through my favorite blogs. Rhonda talks about not wasting food and Leila had a very interesting article about cleaning (actually two, since she posted a follow-up to her first one). This got me to thinking about how we do things around here (while I was washing dishes).
I am pleased to say that we do not waste food. Except for the occasional forgotten slice of bread or carrot we use up what we buy and make. I cook dinner every day and if there are leftovers I have them for lunch the next day, Del is brown-bagging, or rather reusable-plastic-boxing for lunch. I have a few pantry staples but I usually buy what I need for the week every Friday. I make a menu for each week and a shopping list and I am surprisingly good at sticking to it. I am also very good at keeping within the weekly budget. If anybody would have told me 10 years ago that I would ever be doing that and be good at it as well, I would have laughed at them. But alas, here I am.
Cleaning, oh, one of my favorite things to do. I keep my cleaning supplies (baking soda, vinegar and a bottle of Windex that just don't want to get empty) under the sink, unless I am having a bad day and attempt to put them into the refrigerator (like I did on Tuesday). My tea towels and kitchen hand towels are in the bottom part of the little cabinet in the pantry. Thanks to a tendency to hoarding in my younger years (it runs in the family) I have an enormous amount of them. The top part holds some cookbooks, my tea collection, our everyday teapot and some cups.

I use knitted dishcloths for washing dished. I knitted a whole bunch of Deb's Aunt May dishcloths last year. I gave some of them away as Christmas gifts and kept the rest for myself.

I recently demoted all my old dishcloths to cleaning rags and they are now in a basket in the pantry together with the terry cloth washcloths and bar towels I also use for cleaning. Paper towels are used to drain bacon and soak up the bacon grease from the pan for disposal, usually the same two sheets are used for both. I also use paper towels to clean up cat barf  Miss K.'s hairballs.

I usually wash the white cloths with the whites and a dash of bleach, the dishcloths go in with the tea towels. I use home made laundry detergent.

We do not produce an awful lot of garbage. Usually one bag from the kitchen and a small one from the bathroom per week, which contains mainly the used cat litter after the weekly cat box emptying and bleaching. I confess to using trash bags after having had to clean maggots from the big trash can once, which was an experience I am not too keen to repeat (bleach works wonders on the little buggers, yuck!). We recycle plastic, cans and paper and maybe one day I can afford a composter.

And now that I got that off my chest it is back to finishing the rest of the dishes - I swear the multiply everytime I turn my back on them.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pay it Forward 2011

I promise to give something  handmade to the first 5 people who leave a comment on this post, to be delivered sometime this year. If you leave a comment, please offer the same thing to 5 other people. 
Note: Only comments made directly on the blog will count. This post will appear on my Facebook page but comments made on it there do not count.

Couldn't Resist

A mystery wash cloth knitalong on Down Cloverlaine.
This is what it looks like after Day 3.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Cranberry Salsa

Just before Christmas I came across this recipe via another blogger. I love trying recipes from fellow bloggers as they carry the guarantee that real people have tried them. This one turned out delicious. A bit sweet for our taste but after adjusting the amount of sugar it was perfect. And it is healthy too (we used reduced fat cream cheese).

Saturday, January 15, 2011


I finished the second mitten (which takes care of another item on my POM-January list) which completed another hat-scarf-mittens set for the homeless shelter.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

POM January - Update

I finished one of my knitting UFOs, the two hats I got paid for. The scarves I already finished last year.

Website Makover

I had my own website ever since I worked for the university in Vienna and over time it had become a bit stale and boring. I did not really take the time to update it and I felt bad about it just sitting there gathering dust. So with the beginning of the new year I decided to clean it up a bit, reduce the stuff that was on it and give it a new look. I also plan to add a few more things over time and to update it regularly. If you'd like, take a look at it and tell me what you think (also, please tell me if any links don't work or photos don't come up, it has been a while since I worked with HTML and I had to shake off the rust and dust ;-) ). Here is the link:

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Project of the Month

In 2011 I will pick one major project to work on each month. That does not mean that I will not be doing other stuff as well, I am always open for new projects. And I WILL NOT produce any more new UFOs or WIPs, whenever I start a new project I WILL finish it. ;-)

So, my project for January is: Finishing all my knitting WIPs. These are:
  • Re-knit the yoke on Del's sweater because I don't like the way it fits.
  • A pair of mittens for the homeless shelter.
  • A dark blue Sunday Morning Shawl for myself.
  • My Hermia Cardigan.
  • A white cotton sweater that just needs to be assembled.
  • Two hats I get paid for.
  • A purple scarf from a Ravelry knitalong.
  • The second dark brown pillow cover for the sofa.

New Year's Eve and Day

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year!

May 2011 be kind to us all.