Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The second Sisters Afghan

Janet's Plan for her Sisters' Afghan

After completing Jane's sisters' afghan, we moved onto Janets'.
It did not go as smoothly as the granny squares I chose for mine.

She loves to choose difficult, challenging unique things, so therefore she
came up with an idea to make circular pieces to create her special afghan.

The patterns she came up with from books were not exactly what she
wanted, so she created her own.  Below are the steps required to create
the circular pieces.

Step #1

Step #2
Step #3

Step 4
Step #5

Step #6

When Janet sent the beautiful yarn, I rolled it into manageable skeins and began. It was a very frustrating process, as the yarn is beautiful and soft, but snags and is very uneven in size.

As I began to make my portion of the pieces, the circular results I created were much smaller than the ones she had sent me as a pattern for comparison.  

When she came for a visit, she realized the samples she sent me were actually too large, and what I was creating were correct.  Frustration was running rampant in my creation of these pieces, so I have quit for quite a while.

This is Janet's vision for her sisters' afghan. 

I am about to begin to finish off my half of the pieces and send back to her for assembly into her afghan.

Every two get hooked together
first and then put into the afghan.

The yarn is variegated so the circles
change based on where we are in
the skein.

This is what it makes me want to do. But I will continue on and finish.

Stay tuned for updates on the current status of the afghan. It's going to be gorgeous when it's finished.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Post transferred from my other site

I just spent over 3 hours making a post that looked nice. I tried to use Header and Sub Header, etc. I just had to delete that post because things repeated in it a ton of times and I'm not sure why.

I am going to cut and paste from the email I received when I published it and hopefully it will work this time or I might have to just go hang myself by my toenails.

My sister and I are trying to update this blog with our creative inspirations and art (for her) crafts (for me). I am an avid scrapbooker and she is a working artist in clay.  My brother is a guest visitor here when the mood strikes him. He is very creative and sometimes comes up with questionable uses of his talents. I look very forward to the spring and summer when he will showcase his flowers. They are gorgeous.

Mike's peonies are legendary. He has a ton of them and 
I even have clippings that have grown here in
Texas but nothing like these.
Mine usually have bloomed and gone and
been cut to the ground by the time his look like this.
How pretty is this color?

Here is just one example of his beautiful flowers. When spring comes, I know he will have plenty to show off on this blog.

Both my sister and brother are retired and I am a SAHM, so theoretically we should have lots of time to do things during the day.  Both of my siblings tell me that when they retired the days got shorter, not longer.  As a SAHM, I can attest to the fact that 8-3 is just not a very long time.

Our problem with the blog is we can't figure out how to get the overall look of it to be what we want.  I am the one in charge and even with a Computer Science degree (from YEARS ago) I am unable to figure out how to make things appear more orderly on the screen. So, I'm trying to see if I can do better starting with this post.

I'm so very proud that my siblings and I posted for 1 entire year, each and every day a "picture of the day". I would encourage you to go back through older posts and see them. Some are simply hilarious, and others are beautiful, some are sentimental.  We really would like to get some feedback on what you like and what brought a smile to your face. So waste a little less time on Facebook today and spend sometime walking through 2012 with my siblings and I.

The Blog header picture is the three of us from my last visit to Indiana to see the folks. Mike is the eldest brother, Janet is in the middle and myself bringing up the rear.

Our parents had children from 1952 - 1987 in their home, and I graduated college and moved away in 1991. So for almost 40 years those two folks were really busy raising two families.  By the time I came along in 1969, they were close to finished with the older two. (They lost a child in infancy in 1957).

Karen, or as she was nicknamed, 'Clem', passed into Heaven when she was only 4 months old.  Sometimes I wonder what she would have been like.  

11 1/2 years after her death, I surprised everyone by popping into the world. My brother had just turned 17 and my sister was 14 1/2.  What a shocker that must have been for my parents.

This is Leatrice and Mike. As many folks have called them through the years ... Shorty and Big Mike.
My brother is Little Mike and my son was Teeny Mike. I find that very amusing.  I was Baby Jane.  Poor Janet never got a nickname.  Wonder what would be a good one for her?

Mom and Dad were married in 1950 and still live in the same house to this day. Dad's mind is failing and Mom struggles also, but they keep on keeping on.

This is the front of the house where we all grew up. There is a really good story about the porch being enclosed and how it happened. My brother and sister can tell it better than me, so I'll let them update this and put that story in there. It's interesting. This home is in South Bend, IN.

This is the back yard walking up to the house. In all the years I lived there, I never entered the house through the front door, we parked in the carport or garage in the back and walked up to the back and into the sun porch.

That picnic bench and table that is there on the patio has been there almost my entire life.  I have asked if I can have it when the house is no longer in the family.  My plan is truck all 1600+ pounds of it back to Texas and put it on my patio.  My dad made a lot of concrete things growing up, bird baths, chickens, lambs, tables, pots, Mary statues...you name it, he made it. 

One of my favorite memories is using dish soap and a hose and slicking up that patio and sliding on it. Dad smoothed that concrete so well it never hurt my feet. And I loved riding my skateboard on that sidewalk, because it made neat sounds going over those expansion joints.

The table, benches and two size of pots.
All made by my Dad.
Mike has the forms now and he continues
to make them.

When I was growing up we always had dogs, and when I came home from school one or two of them would always be laying on that table. I'd open the back gate and they would raise their heads and jump down to greet me.  Now that there are no dogs in the house, it is always a little sad for me to walk in and not hear the sound the table made when they pushed off to jump down.

Below is one of my dad's  bird baths, a small pot and a bench which have made their way down to Texas. This is my front flower garden.


Well, I guess that is the end to my first attempt to create a nicer looking page for the blog and to give folks a little background on who we are and what we are trying to do.  This is a lot of fun for the three of us to share with each other and even if no one else goes and looks, I know that we do and we enjoy it very much.

If you see something that interests you and you have more questions, please leave a comment for us. We would like this to be far more interactive with readers than it has been in the past.  If you have suggestions about how to improve things, let us know that also.

Until next time ... be a blessing to the world and never forget where you come from ...

Hey there granny!

 Granny Squares!
I love doing these.  You can just bring your yarn with you and while you're waiting for kids to take a test, a boy to pass his Eagle Scout review or a little girl to be done with speech therapy, you can have several finished.  I use a solid center and surround it with another color so when I put them together, it will look like a grid pattern. These are quick and easy to do and I think the result will be statisfying.

 This is quite the stack of granny squares, but I still have a long way to go. Over here to the right, you can see what I have done laid out.  I figure there are many more in my future. I'll just keep making them until I have enough for a good sized blanket.  It's fun.

What types of ongoing projects do you guys work on? How long do you keep it up? Are you successful in completing them?

Another project finished

Close up of the trim

It's a pretty nice looking bag. Love the colors

Added the handles on for the finish today

Now comes the decision ... what to use it for?

Lots of room

Another project

I'm very pleased with the outcome of this sun hat. I found the pattern online and was a little intimidated by all the counting that was involved.  I really like the colors my daughter, Kathryn, suggested for that. They are the favorite combo of the woman for whom the hat was made.

Somehow the brim doesn't seem as big and floppy on mine as in the picture from the website. I followed the pattern exactly, so I'm not sure why this happened. Anyone have ideas? Maybe my gauge was too tight ... I bet that was it, I needed to use a bigger hook. I'll do that with the next one and see how that affects it.  Special thanks to Tanna for humoring me and taking my gift with a smile.

Hat from the website:
Hat from Website

Hat I made

Crochet Update

When my friends told me about the yarn store over on Jennings Street near the hospital district, I knew I had to go and see it for myself.  To go visit their website, CLICK HERE.

I walked into the fabulous space, and my hands were just itching to feel the beautiful yarns they have and to make fantastic things with them.  Problem is, I had no project in mind, no thought of what I wanted to make with all the luxurious yarns they have there.

Excellent book
So ... I wandered around, talked with the owner, looked at a few things and then, I saw it. The cutest little book with the greatest ideas for me to use.  After all, I believe in making things that can be used and will be loved, so this was a match made in heaven. I purchased this book and the first thing I got started on was a purple and green hippo named Lourdes.

I purchased 100% cotton Supreme yarn in dark purple and lovely green and began to follow the pattern in the book.

When I started, I had no confidence that I would be able to follow a pattern like this, or be successful in the end and produce anything that resembled a stuffed toy.  Here is how it started:

Meet Lourdes
I opened up to the cute page and read about Lourdes and then began working my way through the pattern. I chose a dark purple because I love that color, but if I were to do this again, I would choose the same green, but the lavender color, I think it shows off the shape better.
Is it a rat?

 When I first started the head, I was following the directions and not really sure of where it would all end up.  By the time I had added the stuffing and the ears and eyes, I was unsure of whether I was making a hippo or a rat?  But I kept on ....

Armless and legless but very cute

 I continued with the body, making the pink and green shirt right as part of the body, which is a great feature of the pattern, no clothes fitting to worry about.  (Isn't Floyd cute in the background too?)


Happy Hippo Owner

Awake and ready to start the day
The original intention of making this toy was to give it to my niece, Kristina, for her new baby she has coming in May, however, at some point during the making of this animal, Charlotte (my baby) became convinced it was for her.  I seriously had just finished tying off the knot to hold on the little flower and she took it from me and hugged it.

I had to ask her to let me have it back to take a picture of it for my album.  Within the next 15 minutes, this is where Lourdes was.....
Well loved and happy.
I guess you can't ask for much more than that, right?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Pressure Cooking -- Gosh I love it!

The best of both worlds ... home cooked ... quickly!


The name of my blog is New Dog Learns Old Tricks. The reason I named it that is because I'm from a generation, for whom the older ways have been neglected.  We weren't taught to sew, crochet, cook, bake, paint, mend things, repair things, etc. If we were, we didn't pay enough attention, because why did we need to learn that stuff?  We lived in a disposable society.

I am exploring many different things which are the 'old tricks' to learn them, use them in a way which makes sense in today's world, and pass them on to my children.  I have learned to crochet, make scarves, prepare and freeze meals, use a crock pot in a different way and now I'm moving onto something I have always done, but am expanding upon. 

My mom made two things in her big, huge, heavy, old pressure cooker.  She made green beans and ham hocks, and she made Swiss Steak.  
Old Style Pressure Cooker
Both were very delicious, but were for special occasions. I had a small pressure cooker in which I made green beans and ham hocks, but my family got too large for that and we found a larger size at an estate sale and snapped it up.  

The new one I purchased is much safer, easier to use and works really well. There is no weight to worry about and it has safety features. Turns out it is a very expensive model, for which I only paid $25. I don't think it had been used more than a few times. 

The one my mom had and my first one had the old fashioned weight on the top of the steam release.

This new version has no weight on the top, a sensor red floating indicator that allows me to know when the correct pressure has been reached, and a quick release valve for the finishing so I don't have to worry about things blowing up in my face.
 Different pressure cookers use  different ways to inform you when the cooking pressure reached the maximum, my T-fal's "red sensor" button on the handle will rise to indicate that. The "knob" above the red button will also start to release a small amount of steam to maintain the pressure.I love my new pressure cooker. Tonight I was faced with what to make for dinner. Having been at the doctor's office all day with two of my girls, I didn't have anything ready.  Time to get out the pressure cooker to make it fast and yummy. First step ... 6 medium size potatoes, quartered, 2 onions, cut in eights, one can of chicken broth, 1 pork loin tip "roast" that I bought frozen from the grocery in one of their "Buy 1, Get 3 free" sales. Salt, pepper and some western seasoning. Second step ... Pressure cooker, put in all ingredients in the order they are listed above.  I also added an additional cup or so of water. Third step ... close it up, bring to pressure, lower temp and cook for 20 minutes. Fourth step ... smell the yummy goodness flowing through the house :) Fifth step ... turn off the heat, bleed the pressure and open for a yummy meal. I heated up a quick can of whole kernel corn and served this to the girls for a home cooked meal in about 40 minutes from start to feeding. The meat was fork tender, the potatoes were infused with flavor and had the texture of smooth butter. Fantastic meal.  The broth was very flavorful also.

Do you remember your parents or grandparents cooking in a pressure cooker? What did they make? Do you cook in one? Stovetop or Electric?  Share with us some of your thoughts on this old and effective way of cooking in a hurry!

Have a blessed day!