Working Wednesday, October 30, 2019

I’ve been cleaning (I’ll be cleaning until I die) and finding old, unfinished crochet projects. Some of them I look at with “What was I thinking?” but some of them are great and should be finished, like the shawl I started in Gloss DK and this amazing Schoppel Wolle Edition 3 yarn called “English Garden,” which made me think of Jane. And then there are the new things I’ve started, one of which I managed to finish (a shrug in worsted, but still, I FINISHED it) so I’m feeling very productive.

How’s by you, person who makes things?

62 thoughts on “Working Wednesday, October 30, 2019


    I realise that I don’t do much crafting unless it’s out of necessity. And I think I’m ok with that. I do it for cooking, for events, for teaching, and enjoy applying my skill or learning something new.

    I do garden in that I basically plant and water. I think that while I’d like to be able to knit or crochet, I don’t mind not knowing. Maybe it’s because I know how to sew, even if I don’t use the skill much!

  2. That does look pretty, Jenny – and the sort of midtones I want to have in the main part of the garden, that’s now lawn. I’m adding plant names in pencil to the edges of my garden plan, which has coloured lines round the boundaries denoting whether each stretch is sunny, semi-shady or shady. Still not quite there, but getting closer.

    I’m pleased with my new curtains for the dining-room, made from a larger pair I made for the cottage. And I think this afternoon, while I’m decompressing from a (fun) visit from an old friend, I’ll get on with planting spring bulbs in pots. I’d worked out my colour combinations, but will have to rethink now I’ve decided to plant some in a window box. In fact, maybe I should do two window boxes, for the front and back windows of the living room. That’d be lovely to look at next year.

  3. I have probably made a cooking project mistake D:
    Started on a “pumpkin buns” recipe (pumpkin filling, but also some pumpkin content in the bun). The pumpkin part was supposed to be puree, as in steam your own pumpkin and then puree the flesh yourself. I did not have a piece of equipment strong enough to do the puree, so I bought canned pumpkin.

    Methinks that home-made puree has a much higher water count than canned pumpkin, because while I matched the mass of the recipe, my volume appears to be about twice as much (which also means that my honey-to-pumpkin ratio is likely half what it should be, so a rather less sweet filling than the recipe intended).

    So I’m trying to figure out how much more dough I need to make. And also, since the recipe got its water content for the dough just from the puree, I’ll have to play it by handfeel for adding water.

    (And also now I’ll have like half a can of pumpkin leftover. Maybe I’ll mix it into some hummus.)

    1. It wasn’t a disaster! I just bit the bullet on a slightly less chewy filling, by mixing in more honey and spices (experimented with varying amounts of nutmeg, black pepper, and yellow curry powder)
      But yes, definitely confirmed that pumpkin puree has way more water than canned 100% pumpkin. Needed to add lots of water to make the dough happen.

      Sampled one almost fresh out of the steamer, and it wasn’t bad!

  4. After a class in printmaking–only one of which felt like something I might be able to replicate at home–I ordered some supplies, which arrived yesterday. I have high hopes for some Christmas gifts, but then I usually do. I haven’t opened the package yet, but am going to try to commit to doing something on weekends.

    1. I, too, like the third one best, but it may be the description “upside down on brown velvet” which makes me think so. It’s reminding me of Ginger Rogers doing everything Fred Astaire did but backwards and in heels. I love all three and it’s making me want to go embroider things, which I do not have time to do right now!

  5. Had an appointment with house doc-connected psychologist yesterday because things have gone crazy downhill last months. House doc and I both agreed it’s better to try therapy again than going back to meds. So I’m working on turning things uphill. That includes trying to not delete my posts here before I post them, since that is apparently a part of my sudden social anxiety. Blegh. Coming two weeks I have to write down thrice per day how high my stress-levels are and what I felt and thought when they peaked, or didn’t peak. And then we’ll take things from there.

    So today I forced myself to put shoes on and walk to the crafting club. Haven’t been there for ages for various different reasons, but I figured that if I let my brain and body have their say, I’ll isolate myself even more and things will go even more downhill. So I’ll see that as a huge victory, because I didn’t die even once and even though I have trouble breathing now and post-social anxiety after having socialized for 2.5 hours, I think I won. Better yet is that I think(!) they were happy to see me, and I got hugs. Apparently they thought I didn’t show up anymore because I was busy, when the truth is I just…couldn’t, didn’t dare, didn’t have the energy and so on. So they’ll try to help me, they said. And they made me promise to come back next week, so I’ll try to do that.

    And, after newyear, three or four of us will join a choir here close by, to see if that’s something we want to do. I’ve sung in choirs before and it can be real fun, depending on what kind of people you get to hang out with and what kind of songs you’ll sing. So we’ll see. AT least it’s encouraging that there were three of us that wanted to do it, so we can kick each other’s butts.

    Now I’ll see if I can score some extra points for myself and cook. Speaking of which: I’d be very very grateful if you fantastic homecooks could give me your best easy-to-make, energy-saving recipes? What do you make the days when you feel like the last things you want to do is cook because there’s no energy for it, but still want to put something (reasonably, if not entirely) healthy on the table? Making too complicated stuff drains me right now and last week I had days that I wanted to throw myself flat on the floor and beat and kick it screaming “I DON’T WANNA I DON’T WANNA I DOOON’T WANNAA COOOOOOOK!”…which I didn’t, but the thought crossed my mind. So I’m trying to simplify the task of cooking without having to resort to junkfood or cook things that are so gross we won’t eat them anyway. Ideas/tips/recipes, anyone?

    One gazillion thanks in advance! <3

    1. Don’t delete! You never have to edit for me, and I bet that goes for the rest of the community!

      Salmon sprinkled with a bit of tamari, wrapped in parchment paper and foil, and baked at 350 for about 40 minutes (depending on thickness of fish). Add steamed broccoli and you have what has been our standard Monday dinner for more years than I want to admit. Healthy, easy, gets us back on track after the debauchery of the weekend.

      1. We’ve done a similar dish – perch or cod or whatever, sprinkled with seasoning of your choosing, maybe add a bit of butter, wrap in lettuce and bake in greased pan.

    2. I’m not a keen cook, so I don’t like to take more than half an hour to make my evening meal. A favourite would be salmon steaks cooked between two enamel pans/plates: I sprinkle the fish with black pepper and chives, cover with the second pan, and put the pans on top of a saucepan with some cold water in the bottom. Bring the water up to the boil and then turn it down to a simmer until the steaks are cooked through. I’ll do a baked potato or some new potatoes, depending on the time of year, plus either salad, frozen peas, or my favourite vegetable dish: French beans, carrots cut into matchsticks and sliced courgette or mushrooms sprinkled with black pepper, salt and dried (or finely chopped fresh) thyme, sweated in a pan with a little olive oil – it only takes about five minutes to cook.

    3. Scrambled eggs with sauteed veggies mixed in are my go-to for something healthy, fast and not too complicated: chop some cherry tomatoes in half, dice some mushrooms, add some chopped shallots if you are inclined towards onion flavors. If you have any left over frozen veggies, think about adding them too. Saute for a few minutes in a skillet with a little olive oil. Mean while scramble your egg in a bowl…throw in some dried herbs (thyme is my favorite) and a little salt and pepper. Pour egg over the veggies. Add some shredded cheese. Mix together and cook a few minutes until they are as done (dry or wet) as you want them. Takes maybe 10 minutes and can be very satisfying.

    4. Boil water and cook pasta, about 200 grams for 2 people.

      Grate a zucchini (about 200 g) and put it in a pan at medium temperature with a little olive oil, add salt, pepper, lemon zest and (if you like) some garlic in order to create a thick sauce. Add about 100 grams of crumbled feta cheese and, if necessary, a little cream so that the mix is still a little fluid, but not too watery.

      Strain the pasta and mix with the sauce, sprinkle with a little basil and/or parmesan cheese. Serve and enjoy.

    5. I generally keep some brown rice and quinoa cooked; then I can add some fresh veggies to saute (or nuke) and some protein–If I’m really tired, it can be just some cheese melted on it or an egg.

      And–choirs are SO good for us! I’m glad you’re going to sing!

    6. I don’t have any innovative recipes to recommend, but my favorite things are marinara sauce and crockpot chili. I make larger amounts of marinara sauce when the spirit moves and put meal sized portions in the freezer for those days when I’m lacking the will to cook. I’ve found some good ravioli and tortellini in the refrigerator section of my local grocery and have that on hand as well as spaghetti to cook.

      I’m a vegetarian so I make chili with a meat substitute and three different kinds of beans in my crockpot. This makes enough for about four meals for two people. Again, the extra goes in the freezer for later meals. I sometimes put the chili over spaghetti with cheese on top.

      Another quick meal is broccoli spaghetti. I cook frozen broccoli with canned tomatoes, olive oil, garlic salt, onion powder, oregano, basil, salt and pepper in a large bowl in the microwave. It only takes 6 or 7 minutes to cook. We serve this over spaghetti and top with cheese.

      The last quick meal I can think of is a butternut squash stuffed ravioli I buy at the local grocery. I make a sauce by cooking 1/2 cup coarsely broken up/chopped walnuts in about 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil for a few minutes, add one cup of heavy cream, cook over medium low heat for about 10 minutes. Add salt to taste. Then add about 1/3 to 1/2 cup parmesan cheese. Serve over cook butternut squash ravioli. We usually have fruit with this. You can do a similar sauce by omitting the walnuts and instead using a clove or two of minced garlic sauted in olive oil and a pinch of red pepper, one cup cream, cook for about 10 minutes, add 2/3 cup parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Add cooked broccoli to the sauce and serve over cooked ravioli.

      You can tell I rely on pasta I keep on hand, canned tomatoes, frozen broccoli, and canned beans. I hope my rambling recipes offer some suggestions that you can adapt to your situation and tastes. If anything strikes you as a possibility and you’d like a clarification, just let me know.

      Best of luck from an often reluctant cook.

    7. Steak sandwiches with tomato, cheese, spinach, mayo mixed with Dijon, and sometimes shallots. The idea is to put the salad on the bun with the protein. Or I make up tuna salad with pickles and shallots and and mayo-and-sour-cream and slap cheese and tomato on top of that and zap it in the microwave and then put spinach on it while it’s still hot to wilt it. Or if I’m jonesing for an actual meal, stir fry. Get the Uncle Ben’s rice in the pouches that you microwave for 90 seconds. Huge help if you don’t want to cook.

      Oh, almost forgot. Put tortillas on a baking sheet, put grated cheese all over them, add whatever filling you want (I go for steak or chicken, tomatoes, onions, peppers, and whatever else is lying around), top with more cheese, top with another tortilla. Bake until the cheese melts and the tortillas are browned a little bit. Take out of the oven wrap in foil, freeze, pull it out when you’re desperate and really don’t want to cook. They’re good cold, but better in the oven for a couple of minutes. The melted cheese kind of glues everything together, so a lot less messed. Also add sour cream.

      1. I stopped at the supermarket on the way home tonight. I couldn’t find my usual wraps, so I bought two buns and a four-pack of royal Hawaiian hamburger buns, a package each of Genoa salami, sandwich-size pepperoni, black forest ham, swiss cheese, provolone, a couple of tomatoes, and two packs of Uncle Ben’s 90 second Brown Rice. I ate ‘orrible bifs too on the other brown rice, the tiny kind… Minute (my newt) Rice. Well, the container is smaller than UB’s pouch.

        I’ll show myself out.

    8. I bought a slaw mix from the supermarket (chopped cabbage and carrot), and throw that in with some meatballs with instant ramen. If you reduce the amount of water, and use ground meat instead of meatballs, you can even do a kind of instant ramen chow mein.

    9. Also wanted to add: I just came through a big surgery, and what really saved my bacon in the cooking dept, so to speak, was not cooking at all. Ready-prepared frozen or refrigerated meals from Trader Joe’s were pretty good, relatively nutritious, and relatively inexpensive (in the $5.99 range). I liked the vegetables with pasta, and there was a vegetarian Indian dish that was good. And the refrigerated chicken enchilada dish was fantastic. I also got refrigerated meals from the local deli, protein and veg all together in a microwavable dish. Two effortless minutes later, you’re eating. The frozen meals will keep for a while (and the refrigerator meals up to a week), so if you come home and you haven’t been to the store or don’t have the oomph, you’re set. Just having one or two meals on hand can be a life saver.

    10. My food allergies mean I have always had to cook for myself. My food and other allergies mean that I don’t always feel up to cooking. I’m a proficient heater-upper. I have a lot of home-made meals in the freezer, but at this moment I have in the refrigerator the remains of a pot roast, the remains of a pot of vegetable soup, about half a pot of pea soup, about three more servings of spinach lasagna, and one serving of a ground beef dish my mother invented. I have some fresh broccoli, half a cooked sweet potato, and many frozen vegetables. In the summer there would be more fresh vegetables waiting to be cut up and stuck in the microwave for two and a half minutes.
      I live alone. I almost never cook only one meal’s worth of something. (The exception would be scrambled eggs.) A lot of people mentioned fish. I don’t get fish very often because it doesn’t come in packages of one serving (at least the kinds I’m not allergic to don’t) and unlike most food, I don’t like it reheated.
      Cook ahead. It saves time; it save energy, both human and fuel; and there’s nothing like knowing you can just put something on a plate and heat it up.

    11. I like sheet pan supper. Pick a protein, I usually use chicken thighs or sausage, and some veggies like potatoes (cut up depending on size) or carrots or chunks of squash or pieces of cauliflower or a combo. Glob on some olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and any other spices or herbs you like and mix it around with your hands. Usually I make a mix of cumin, coriander, and turmeric. Bake at 400 F for about twenty minutes, flip everything over, and bake for twenty more minutes or until everything is cooked through and browned.

      The best thing is, you don’t need anything else.

      1. Sheet pan suppers are great; I just did potato and onion tonight. Tomorrow the leftovers get cheese added.

      2. Chicken thighs take 45 minutes at 375 degrees. I always pull the skin off. Then, the possibilities:

        Slather with soy sauce. Bake. Or,

        Cover thoroughly (every nook and cranny) with any mustard you like. Bake. Or,

        Sprinkle herbs on top (oregano, basil, marjoram, tarragon, rosemary, dill, whatever). If you want, throw in mushrooms (whole or pieces) and/or other veggies. Drizzle olive oil over everything. Bake. Or,

        Dip the thighs in egg, then roll them in grated parmesan. Bake.

        I need to have ingredients in cupboards, fridge, or freezer. First, the basic ones so I can throw dinner together. Second, the experiments or extras so that I can vary salad ingredients or add something different somewhere in the meal.

        Overall, I suggest making it easy for yourself, Shass. Good luck!

        1. Easy breading: coat chicken with mayo (you won’t taste it) and roll in panko. Mayo is oil and eggs, so you get everything ready made.
          I’ve just read that coating steak with mayo gives you a better pan sear, too, but I haven’t tried it.

          1. Did you see NYT cooking section today? “Mayo Makes All Meat Better. Yes Mayo.” Love mayo-slathered grilled corn ear rolled in queso with squirt of fresh lime and a sprinkle of mild chili powder.

            Our favorite quick meal is half a package of Rancho Gordo fresh dried beans dumped in an Instapot with a small rough-chopped onion and a bay leave, MAYBE one whole garlic clove. Cook to your liking while you go about other business. For me that business is calling to my husband to mix a martini while steaming bits of broccoli. Drain, plop broccoli in a bowl, sprinkle with basalmic vinegar and black pepper. Place finished beans with its broth in a bowl, swirl in sour cream and top with small bit of diced fresh onion, fresh cilantro and and as much queso as you dare.

    12. I can outdo all the recipes so far in laziness (oops, I mean easiness).

      When I really don’t want to cook, I’ll take a big bowl of frozen veges, slice cheese on top, and microwave it for about 5 minutes, till the veges are cooked and the cheese is melted. Add salt and pepper to taste.

      I make sure there’s plenty of peas in my frozen veges so it’s got enough carbs and protein.

      It’s probably a good thing I don’t live alone. If I did, I reckon I’d eat this 3 nights a week and scrambled eggs 3 nights a week.

      1. Food is such a problem for me. I’m trying to cut out grains, potatoes and sugar. So far I’m pretty good on the first two. Only eat them a couple of times of week. Sugar. Ha! I’m addicted to chocolate. AND I don’t cook, so when I get home I have issues.

        Luckily I work in a school so I can get breakfast and lunch for a reasonable price. Eggs and meat for breakfast, salad, or sometimes salad and meat for lunch. Dinner is an issue. Diet Orange soda and chocolate.

    13. If you can love people you have never met just because they are wonderful, supporting and encouraging, always having a kind or wise or pepping word to spare and cyberhugs at that, I definitely do love all of you. Thank you so, so, so much for all the dinenr ideas, tips and tricks. I appreciate it loads. Thank you thank you thank you!

    14. Don’t delete. Post. I’ll read.

      Easy for me is a salad of chopped cucumber, sweet peppers, and tomatoes and mash. For physically small me, that’s 10cm of unpeeled English cucumber, half a medium sweet pepper, and one round tomato. Add salt and store bought salad dressinga or vegan mayo. Boil a potato in the microwave. Peel it. Mash it. Add butter and salt to taste. That’s it. That’s the meal. Half salad and half mash on plate. Balances carbs plus vitamins and minerals, is good on texture and temperature – crunchy and cool where needed, smooth and warm where needed. If that’s my 6pm supper I have no problem going to bed by 9pm without snacking.

  6. I finished patching the drywall. We put up a bookshelf a couple of weeks ago. A few days later water was noticed by a wall in the basement after a shower. Finally the time I spend reading DIY fails in magazines is useful. Yes we drilled through the sewer pipe. We pulled off the dry wall. Could not have centered the holes better if we tried. Look at many YouTube videos. Finally walk into Ace hardware with a picture on my cell phone and ask How to fix it. Done. Plumbing epoxy in the holes. Yippee, can use upstairs bathrooms again. Then onto drywall. Many YouTube videos later walked into Home Depot with a picture on my cellphone, find an orange apron and ask if he wants to save my marriage. He did. Now cleaning up drywall and paint. Only took 4 weeks. We will not be offered jobs in HGTV.

  7. I’ve been busy healing / resting. The injury turned out to be more severe than originally thought, so I’m scheduled for surgery on Friday to fix it. After that, six weeks of recovery and rehab.

    Other than that, I’m doing a little crochet on the side to keep from falling asleep. I think I’ll be catching up with my books and TV shows over the next several weeks.

  8. What I made (so far) this week was ‘Orrible Bif’s Too. See, I had a big package of stew beef, a container of possibly stir-fry veggies (peppers, onions, squash sort of thing), the waning container of minced garlic, red potatoes, French beans… I partially cooked the beef with the garlic, dumped the veggies and beef in the crock pot with a cup of water, set it on low, and went away for seven hours. Forgot to add seasonings, hence the ‘orrible in its name.

    I ate a serving at work last night over chow mein noodles. Only fair, and I added black pepper. The only seasoning I remembered adding was a tablespoon of tamari. I’ve plenty left – I’ll be enjoying it at work again tonight over brown rice, maybe.

    The plan was to have plenty of leftovers this week, and it worked. I’ll probably add green beans and corn to stretch it, a little MCT Oil Powder to thicken it, or corn starch, or panko. Maybe all three on different days. And every time I heat a bowl full, I’ll season it… differently. All in all, not my worst culinary disaster.

  9. My current M.O. seems to be “do anything EXCEPT what’s absolutely, positively necessary, and then panic of the critical stuff that’s not done.” Proof: Halloween quilt pieced this weekend, although it won’t be quilted in time for Halloween, and I have at least one major quilt project that needs to be done in the next six weeks or so.

    Picture here (but note that it looks much better in person — color is way off for some reason):

    1. On my monitor they don’t look pink, they look sort of cranberry. Closer to brown than pink, anyway.

  10. I re-knit the front edging around a cardigan FOUR times (K1P1 ribbing on US2 needles with well over 300 stitches on the needles) before finally getting it perfect! Only to discover that I knitted the buttonholes on the wrong side of the garment. (Blogged here: I am debating ripping it out once again. In better news, I went to the gym today for the first time since I sprained my ankle 8 weeks ago. I still can’t do much of anything, but I did some upper body strength exercises and then went for a short swim and sat in the steam room. Lovely!

  11. My Halloween costume is done, so there’s that!

    I have given up on trying to write the 10 minute play though. I just can’t make my idea work and I am really out of time about it since the deadline is in a few days, and I haven’t thought of any better ideas. I’m very disappointed in myself for that. However, it sounds like there is a lot of competition in that one and I suck at competition, so I probably wouldn’t have made it in anyway.

  12. I’m currently re-doing the chart layout for all the tables for our huge Holiday Crafts Fair (70+ vendors, plus kitchen, lobby, coffee café, gift store), coming up this weekend. Using Excel and OLD charting skills (hey, this is crafty for me, I was an engineer before retiring!) Just makes me feel good to see all the little tables lined up neatly, unlike the messy pencil-scribbled ideas I was given. Always an engineer, I guess.

  13. I’m still neatening, reorganizing, and generally kitten-proofing the downstairs (which is a lot of work, but I’m happy with the neater) and working at integrating the new kitten with the rest of the gang. It is going…okay.

    Also starting work on a new Llewellyn book, but it isn’t going very fast. See above.

  14. I carved my Halloween pumpkins Monday, today the squirrels added their own touch to them. Later today I will be making mini cheesecakes as my dish to pass at my workplace Halloween party. I was specifically asked to make them by a coworker when I was trying to decide what to bring!

  15. I’m going to finish up the crochet ‘lap-ghan’ I’m working on and then take off crafting for awhile in favor of taking care of Jazzy, the Sheltie I’m fostering. Potty training is progressing. Yay, Jazzy.
    And, of course, I can’t neglect my Tantaka.

  16. I’ve been trying to revise a manuscript with a heroine who’s quite cowed and meek, and wondering if I can make her develop into a strong woman.

    Also we’ve been going through all the books in the house and getting rid of as many as we can. There’s not enough space, and we’re done with clutter. I’ve reached the age where I know when I’ll never read something, but I still can’t get myself to give away books with beautiful photos or artwork in them. That day will no doubt come…

    Making saffron rice for supper!

  17. Jenny any pictures to show of your crochet projects? They sound lovely and it would be glorious to see them.

    I was at a quilting retreat this weekend and managed to finish two UFOs. Here is a link to one of them

    I also replaced the zipper in my long winter coat. It’s supposed to snow tomorrow so I’ll need that. I am not mentally ready for snow, but at least I am now physically ready.

  18. Much cooking going one here.
    I microwaved Birdseye riced cauliflower risotto. In in a frying pan sauteed ground turkey and sliced mushrooms. I combined the two and added a sauce which is supposed to be 4 tablespoons soy sauce and two tablespoons cooking sherry, but I changed the soy sauce to Bragg’s Amino acids. It’s healthy and delicious.
    Other than that still working on the website. I HATE SEO and WordPress.

  19. I finished the granddaughters Ewok costumes. Whew. Just as I suspected, the face mask is too big for both girls. And, fake fur is has come a long way since 1982 when I made our boys Ewok costumes. Have to tweak the masks today. I may redo the masks. Then…again, not. I have enough fur bits from cutting and sewing to make a carpet.

    Cooking – I got the reading gene. Have a whack of cookbooks and can cook. I second all of the above recipes.

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