Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas 2006

I was SO blessed this year by our church musical. I had mentioned to the choir director that I really love "The Winter Rose" by Joseph Martin. He listened to me play some parts of it, and decided to do it! I was SO pleased. That work is absolutely gorgeous. The last time I performed it was in the year 2000 at Mallard Creek Presbyterian Church with Lisa Bremner as the director. It has such beautiful melodies and is very well written. It is so satisfying to play at the piano.

The choir loved it as soon as they heard it, and we practiced the work for 3 months. A string quartet was hired, as well as flute and oboe. Our director, Todd Henry also brought in a guest organist to help with quietly supporting choir parts. I gladly performed at the grand piano, and thoroughly enjoyed it. The choir did an excellent job. Our performance was superb, and the congregation was enthralled. I've never heard more comments from them before. It was perfect. :)

After all the church music was finished, I had a nice, relaxing Christmas at home. On Christmas Eve, my sweet hubby drove to visit his parents and kids without me, because I'm allergic to their cats. (His parents have four, and his kids have at least one.) I decided to visit my parents the same day.

So, since our family visits were over, we decided to stay home for Christmas Day. We slept until about 11:30, then I got a phone call from my son Noah. He wanted to come and bring our Christmas gifts. So, I hung up the phone, and rested for a few minutes. I was just about to get out of bed, when the doorbell rang. (3 rings in rapid succession. Then 3 MORE rings in rapid succession. Then repeated BANGING on the door.) What an impatient son I have! :P

I jumped out of bed, threw on a housecoat, and went to the door, while I heard Marvin groaning and throwing on some clothes behind me. (Merry Christmas!)

After letting Noah in, we sat in the living room, and opened our gifts. He gave me a Starbucks gift card, and Marvin got some baseball cards. While they opened the packs and looked through the cards, I went to throw on some clothes. We sat around talking for a while, and Marvin invited him to have breakfast with us. So, Noah went to pick up his girlfriend and their new puppy Oreo, and I got to work making breakfast.

I made country ham, eggs, biscuits, coffee, juice, and Pillsbury Grands cinnamon rolls. (The Cinnabon version - YUM!)

Marvin and I waited for a while, then decided to go ahead and eat without them. (They are still young, so they tend to be late everywhere they go.) When they finally arrived, we played with their dog while they had their breakfast. Then we all sat around talking in the living room again. We had a good time. :)

In the afternoon, they said that they would like to go see a movie, and asked if we could watch the puppy for them. We agreed, and they ended up staying out for quite a while! (They finally came back to get him after 10 PM. :P) It wasn't that bad, because their puppy is a real sweetie. "Oreo" is his name, because of his black and white coloring, and he is a mixed breed of Chihuahua, Toy Poodle, and something else. (can't remember) He is full of energy and so CUTE! He didn't have any toys with him, so I knit a little tug toy for him, and he LOVED it! :D

I took some videos of him.
He was fun, but I soon started wheezing and having trouble breathing. Bummer. :(

It sure would be nice if I could have a pet that didn't make me sick. Life just isn't fair.

On a happier note, I got lots of fun gifts this year. My church choir, and the men's quartet each gave me some very much needed Christmas money! :) We also had some really nice dinners. My piano students gave me gift cards, Sim City 4, chocolates, and some sweet trinkets. Friends at church gave me pretty ornaments, christmas treats, a kitchen gadget, and a candle. My parents gave me a Target gift card. My oldest son, Josh, did the same. Noah gave me the Starbucks gift card. And Marvin's kids gave me some candles.

My hubby Marvin gave me some sweet, fun gifts: The Sims 2 Holiday Edition, Animal Crossing for Nintendo DS (I'll get the system for my birthday), and Season 4 of Columbo.

So, now I'm home alone again. Whew! All that holiday socialization took it's toll on me. I'm pooped, and I've caught a cold. :( I guess I'd better stay inside and recuperate now.

Hey, I know! I'll KNIT! :D

Monday, November 27, 2006

I lost my glasses!

I had a bit of an adventure today. I was going to just stay home and knit, but I was putting things away, and couldn't find my glasses!!!!!

I mean, I REALLY need my glasses, especially when I'm playing organ or piano at church. So, I went berserk. I was frantically searching EVERYWHERE.

Then, I started thinking and thought that maybe I left them at Showmars Restaurant yesterday when Marvin and I had lunch. So, I decided to run some errands, grabbed my shopping list, my purse, and ran out the door. I also grabbed my knitting bag, just in case I had time to stop by my cousin's yarn shop.

I had to squint my eyes to see the road and signs clearly, and I was getting a headache from the strain. I stopped at the post office to mail a letter for Marvin, then stopped at Peace of Yarn to grab a couple skeins of yarn I HAD to have. (They were rude this time. I guess I was under-dressed by their standards.) They didn't even offer to help when I was straining to read the color numbers and lot numbers on the yarn I was looking for. I only bought ONE skein, just for spite.

I got back in my car, and carefully drove to the restaurant, then went inside to ask if anyone had turned in some glasses. The girl at the counter didn't want to look for them. I almost had to BEG her. Finally, she grudgingly looked around the register, and said, "There's nothing here." I stood my ground, and told her that they are valuable glasses, costing about 250 dollars, and I can't afford to replace them. She then went to ask someone in the kitchen if they had seen any glasses turned in. Then, she looked where they indicated for "lost and found" items. Not there.

So, I left my name and number on a slip of paper, describing the glasses. (Gold rims - NICE) Boy, was I pissed. There I was, with no glasses, and the choir's Christmas musical will be coming up in just a couple weeks.

So, I drove straight to my eye doctor's office to order a new pair. It took about 45 minutes for me to look at glasses, and for them to try to get verification of coverage from my insurance company. They were never able to reach my insurance, so I was left with having to pay out of pocket. So I asked for the "thrift box" of frames. I chose a pair, and the lady marked them for my prescription. Then, I told them that I would try to confirm the insurance coverage myself, because they were closing.

What a rotten day. Here I was going to have to pay over 100 dollars for glasses, when we really need the money for our kid's Christmas. So, I called the insurance company...finally got through after holding FOREVER. The lady at the insurance place said that my coverage is fine, and she faxed a copy of it to the eye doctor for me. Next, I called the doctor's office again, and said that I will try to come back in tomorrow morning, so I can choose the glasses I really want, and hopefully get an appointment with my doctor to confirm that the prescription is accurate.

Whew! What a day so far!

Next, I stopped at KFC to grab a chicken pot pie, then went to the grocery store to grab a few things we needed. (Dove Hairspray was on sale for 2 bucks!)

When I got home, I carried in all the groceries, then took my dinner down the hall to the computer. After a quick trip to the bathroom, and washing my hands, I put away all the groceries, then fixed a glass of orange juice and grabbed a paper towel. Finally, I was able to relax at the computer and have my dinner. I reached over to pick up my PDA sitting on the printer, then noticed......


Monday, November 13, 2006

Memories of the old Krispy Kreme in Charlotte

We used to have a very old Krispy Kreme in downtown Charlotte at Hawthorne Lane and Independence Boulevard. http://www.krispykreme.com/history.html#

My parents took me there when I was a little girl, and I continued to go through the years. It was hard to get to, because of the location, and it got worse when they took down the stoplight and closed the intersection because of freeway traffic. But I still went, even taking my own children there when they were very young.

I really liked that location, because it had that old 50's diner look to it. The stools and tables were always full, and there was a constant line going out the door...even if it was raining or freezing outside. Whenever the door opened, you would feel this RUSH of cold air from outside.

When I was little, I would stand and stare at all the different donuts in the display case, right at my level. I would place my hands on the display glass, and my eyes would be huge round circles. All the different donuts, with sprinkles, icing, or cinnamon just amazed me. And the smell of hot cocoa captured my mind. My mama would order a cup for me, and then only let me drink it by dipping it out with a plastic spoon and sipping it a little at a time. It was always SO HOT! But the chocolate tasted like heaven in my mouth.

We would always try to sit at one of the tables where you could look through a window to see the donuts being made. That was SO fascinating to me. The donuts would pop out of the bottom of a big stainless steel bowl, ride on a long conveyor belt, then take a bath in hot oil. When they finished cooking, they would ride other belts to different ports where they would either be coated with honey glaze, iced with chocolate or vanilla, or filled with cream. I could have sat there all day watching that.

When Mama said it was time to go, I would look around the store to see all the other customers, waiting for a table. The place was always packed with EVERY kind of person imaginable. I mean, EVERYONE could afford to buy a DONUT!

My childhood trips to Krispy Kreme were a highlight of my life. I was so sad the day they tore down that location. I felt like a part of Charlotte's character was being erased.

Now, we have other "newer" locations, but they just don't have the same "magic". Sometimes, you'll find a photo hanging inside that shows the old store, and I'll look at it with a wistful eye. Then, reality snaps me back when I hear someone saying, "I don't like the way that hot chocolate tastes. Yuck!" or "Excuse me, can I get a refund on this donut? It's not cooked evenly." I miss simpler times.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Christening Gown Completed!

I just realized that I never posted any photos of the completed Christening Gown. Silly me!

I finished it about a month ago, and my cousin was thrilled with the final product. I'm certainly proud of it!

Here's the gown being modeled by my full-size baby doll. After putting it on the doll, I realized that the skirt is so lacy that it is a bit too revealing.
Christening Gown

So, I sewed in a lining of white satin:
Sewing in Lining for Christening Gown

It looks MUCH better now!
Christening Gown with Lining

Here are the pretty buttons on the back:
Buttons added to Christening Gown
This was my first attempt at buttonholes, and I'm very pleased with the result!

My yarn purchases at SAFF

Rebecca asked what I bought at SAFF this year, so here's my answer!
All my purchases from SAFF 2006
The HUGE skein of blue/teal yarn is 8 ounces of RIATA (Wool/Mohair/Silk) from Brooks Farm Yarn.

The cream skein is 1750 yards of 100% Extrafine Merino Wool from Yarns Forever.

The roving is Merino Wool from Shepherd's Corner.
(8 ounces "Forest" and 8 ounces "English Garden". )

Last is a Lanaset Starter Set from Earth Guild, so I can learn to do acid dyeing with my yarn!
Yarn I bought at SAFF 2006

Beautiful Merino Roving from SAFF

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

My Spinning is Getting MUCH better!

Now, that I have taken the spinning class at SAFF, I feel much better about my spinning. There was plenty of information swimming through my head during the class, plus it really helped to see other spinners in action. Now, I am finally able to make a yarn worth using. Up til now, all my yarn has been too thin. Tonight, I was able to make a worsted weight yarn for the first time!
Thicker Ply

Spinning Class at SAFF

Beautiful Spun Yarn at SAFF

I had a WONDERFUL time at SAFF (Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair) this past weekend. There was gorgeous yarn EVERYWHERE, and I really enjoyed taking my spinning class. I bought some yarn, roving, and dye so I can REALLY get better at spinning.

Beautiful Spun Yarn at SAFF

More Spun Yarn at SAFF

Brooks Farm Yarn at SAFF

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Sandy and Angora

Today was my first spinning demonstration. I spun angora yarn from an angora rabbit named "Miss Priss" at the Mint Hill Historical Society Fall Festival. I had such a wonderful day. The weather was absolutely perfect, and the people were so nice!

Sandy and Angora

I never imagined that I would be doing this kind of thing so soon in my spinning experience. I really just started learning to spin about a year ago. I always tell people about how much I love knitting and spinning yarn.

My cousin called me this week, and asked if I could possibly take my spinning wheel and spin at the Mint Hill Historical Fall Festival. I said, "I'll be glad to help. Just make sure they know I'm still learning!" She said, "No problem at all. I just want our yarn shop's name to get mentioned at the event." (She owns Cottage Yarn in Mint Hill, NC.)

So, I said, "Sure thing." Then I asked who I would need to talk to about details of the event, and she gave me the number of Farmer Rhonda from Black Swan Farms. http://www.blackswanfarm.com/

When I spoke to Rhonda, she told me that I would be sitting with the angora rabbit, and spinning angora! I had never spun angora before, so I grabbed one of the bags I had gotten on eBay, and took it out to work with it. I studied what I could find on the internet, and finally figured out how to do it. (You have to set your wheel tension VERY loose!)

I've been spinning angora almost every night this week, just to get used to it. It's not perfect, but it's angora yarn!

Yesterday, I worked on getting everything ready for the event, including making a fiber display for my table. That was fun to do! I got a sheet of balsa wood and put some little bags of fiber and yarn on it. I used some alphabet stickers to put a title on the display, and stuck on some wood cutouts of a sheep, knitting basket, and rabbit. It looks pretty good!

Today, I got along just fine with the angora rabbit, whose name is "Miss Priss", even though he's a male! I held him on my lap, and got comfortable pulling out his fiber. It was hard to get just the right touch at first. (You have to pull the hair pretty hard!) Then I put him in his cage, and used the hair to start spinning on my wheel. I finally got it going good, and then the crowds of people started pouring in.

It was non-stop from 9:30 in the morning til 2:00 in the afternoon. It was fun and exhausting! At one point, about six children were watching me, and they all got into the act of pulling hair from the rabbit. I put the rabbit in the cage, and they would pull hair and bring it to me to spin. It sure did make my job easier!

During the day, several people asked for my card. (Thank God I made some last night.) They were also asking if I teach spinning or knitting lessons, so I referred them to my cousin's yarn store. I might start teaching spinning there. Who knows? In addition, several people said they would like for me to come and do a spinning demonstration at their event!

When the crowds died down, I took everything down, and spoke with Farmer Rhonda and her husband Farmer Will. I asked them if they needed the angora yarn I spun, and they said that I worked for it. I got to keep it! A whole bobbin full! Farmer Rhonda also gave me a free bar of homemade goat milk soap!!

All in all, it was one of the best days of my life. So much fun, and very interesting.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

BEST Fudge Bar!

BEST Fudge Bar!
Originally uploaded by Unkoine.
When I was a young girl, my mom used to buy the BEST fudge bars. I could sit and eat them forever, because they were so yummy and fudgy and chocolatey. When I got older, I bought some fudge bars myself, expecting them to taste just as good. NONE of them tasted right. They were all too light in color, and just melted away too fast. I think they were made with chocolate ice cream instead of fudge. I was SO mad.

I looked for years and years, trying every brand of fudge bar I could find. They were all so disappointing. The box usually ended up in the trash can before they ran out, because they just tasted WRONG.

Well, tonight I saw a different brand of fudge bar, and looked at the box long and hard. I was very tempted, but was thinking, "They'll probably taste awful, and it will be a waste of money."

I brought them home, stuck them in the freezer and started dinner. A few hours later, I went to the kitchen for a glass of water. I opened the freezer to get some ice, and saw the fudge bars sitting there. I decided to try one, expecting to be let down.

I opened the wrapper, and my eyes popped open. DARK fudgy chocolate was peeking out at me from the wrapper! THIS looked like what I had as a little girl. I smelled it, and it smelled rich and chocolatey. By now, I was almost jumping up and down. I took a bite, then threw my arms up in the air for joy!


Thank you, Mayfield Dairy Farms!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Chick-Fil-A Cow

My husband Marvin is a manager for Chick-Fil-A. He has just been relocated to manage a brand new store in Charlotte. During the grand opening festivities, there was a special visit from Dan Cathy, the President of Chick-Fil-A.
Chick-Fil-A Grand Opening with Dan Cathy
The Chick-Fil-A Cow was there too!! I got my picture taken, AND a hug! I just wanted to take that cow home with me. So cuddly!

Chick-Fil-A Cow

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Choir Retreat 2006

We had our annual choir retreat today at First Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was a nice day, with lovely music and fun fellowship. :)

Choir Retreat 2006

The mural on the wall behind us was just beautiful!

1st Presby Artwork

This Christmas, we plan on sharing "The Winter Rose" by Joseph Martin with our congregation. I really love that work of music!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Good Ol' Country Cookin'

Tonight, we had a meal to remember. My parents had given us lots of nice, fresh veggies from their garden. So, we decided to put them to good use.

Marvin bought some pork chops at the grocery store, and I put them in a ziploc bag to marinate. I used Old Bay Seasoning, Sea Salt, Thyme, Sage, Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, and Lime Juice. While it marinated in the refrigerator for an hour, I prepped the rest of our dinner.

After shucking the corn, I put a few of the tender green shucks in the water with the corn and added some salt, pepper, and butter. I turned the burner on low, and let it simmer with the cover on.

I washed the okra, then sliced it in big chunks, and seasoned it with salt, pepper, and Old Bay Seasoning. After dusting it with cornmeal mix, I stirred it up real good. I put about 1/4 cup oil in the baking dish, poured in the okra, and topped it with small chunks of butter. It was cooked in the oven at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. (I stirred it once after it cooked for 20 minutes)

When the okra was first put in the oven, Marvin fired up the grill, and I brought out the pork chops. We use the "indirect heating" method. You turn on one side of the gas grill, and cook your meat on the other side. This makes the meat so tender and juicy. We love it! I put the meat on the grill, closed the lid, then set the timer for 15 minutes. When the timer went off, I turned over the meat, and set the timer for 10 minutes. After that time was used up, I moved the chops to the heated side and fired the meat on both sides for a few minutes.

The meat turned out perfect, and the okra was superb! Marvin loved the corn, and the sliced tomatoes added just the right touch. Yum!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Me and Josh 1985 or 86

Me and Josh 1985 or 86
Originally uploaded by Unkoine.
Here's another shot of me in my "fantasy" years. Josh was just a few months old, and I still believed that his dad would love me forever. The dream ended in just a few years.

Thank God I found Marvin 7 years ago. He saved me from my life of loneliness.

Josh as a Baby

Josh as a Baby
Originally uploaded by Unkoine.
This was my son when he was a little baby boy. I can't believe he is turning 21 this week!

Christening Gown Lace Skirt

I've been working on this Christening Gown for the past few weeks, and it is turning out so nice. I am using a pattern I found online, but I've had to do so much tweaking and re-designing, that I really feel like I should claim the design as my own.
Christening Gown Lace Skirt
My cousin asked me to make this as a sample for her yarn shop. www.cottageyarninc.com/

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Great Deals on Books - And a GIFT!

The other day, I was playing piano for the men's quartet at a local church. When the concert was over, my hubby and I were walking out of the church, when we noticed a LOT of books in a little side room that were for sale. Needless to say, we couldn't walk past without taking a look. Good thing we did!

We found the COOLEST books in there, selling for a dollar each. The paperbacks and audiobooks were 50 cents! We were thrilled. We found the Better Homes and Gardens Sewing Book, the BH&G Handyman Book (never saw that one before), the Vogue Sewing Book, Erica Wilson's Embroidery Book, and Patricia Cornwell's "The Hornet's Nest" on cassette (Cool! A story based in Charlotte!). I can't believe we got all those books for less than 5 bucks. Unbelievable!

And the GIFT? See that nice tote bag? (Nautical KIP) The men's quartet gave it to me, just because they like me. How cool is that?!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Memorials in Concert

The Memorials in Concert
Tonight, I played keyboard for our church's gospel quartet, "The Memorials". It was fun!
The Memorials in Concert
They sang for the Hornet's Nest Chapter of the American Business Women's Association in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

"Gotta Touch It" Baby Blanket


I just finished making this super-soft baby blanket. I designed it using all chunky yarns that are machine washable and dryable. I just can't keep my hands off it! I'm sure the baby will enjoy touching it too.

Sandy's "Gotta Touch It" Baby Blanket
Gauge: About 2-3 stitches per inch. (Chunky yarns)
Finished Measurements of Blanket: About 36 inches square.

Yarns: (you can substitute any color combination you like)
Color A - 1 skein Red Heart Bright and Lofty – Beach
Color B - 1 skein Lion Brand Velvetspun - White
Color C - 1 skein Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick and Quick – Pine 182
Color D - 1 skein Lion Brand Velvetspun - Light Blue ("Bluebell")

U.S. Size 13 circular needles (21 inches long)

Start by casting on about 50 stitches.
Knit every row, with this color plan:
20 rows Color A
10 rows Color B
10 rows Color C
10 rows Color D
6 rows Color A
10 rows Color D
10 rows Color C
10 rows Color B
20 rows Color A

If you want, you can add a border of single or half-double crochet all around with one of the yarns. (I used the Wool-Ease Thick & Quick for my half-double crochet border.)

Beautiful, Fast and Fun to Touch!

Here is a view of the blanket, before weaving in the ends and adding a border:
Gotta Touch It Baby Blanket, No Border Yet

And here is a close-up of my half-double crochet border:
Gotta Touch It Baby Blanket - Border Edge

Friday, June 23, 2006

Listen to Me Play Piano!

FINALLY! I have been wanting to put sound files on my website for the LONGEST time. I worked and worked, and finally figured it out.


Last night, I stayed up all night recording pieces that I wanted to put on the website. It was hard, because I kept making mistakes and had to record them over and over again. I'm still not completely satisfied, but at least I have some music files completed.

I'm most happy with "Venetian Boat Song" by Mendelssohn. I just love that piece.

I've been playing piano since I was 11. I'm 42 now, so that's a pretty long time, I guess. Piano is my best talent, I think. I also play organ and I sing. I just thank God that I can make my living doing something that I love to do. It's a real blessing.

I've been a church musician for the past 27 years, and a piano teacher for the past 7 years. I also perform for wedding, funerals and special events. Life is good.

Monday, June 19, 2006

I won!

This past week, I entered a "contest" of sorts. A friend of mine from a knitting forum (www.knittinghelp.com/knitting/forum/) was giving away an extra copy of Interweave Knits.

I won! :)


You know, this makes me want to give away some things too. It sounds like fun!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Finished Handknit Saguaro Top!

Finally! I've been working on this sweater now for over a year. I put it away over the Fall and Winter, and pulled it back out this Spring. Now, it's finally done! My very first sweater. I'm proud.
Finished Handknit Saguaro Top!
The pattern was in last year's Knitter's Magazine (Spring 2005). It's called "Saguaro".

Handknit Sweater Close-Up

Here's a close-up of the detail on my first handknit sweater. There is a half double crochet border on the sleeves, collar and hem. I'm happy with the final result!
Handknit Sweater Close-Up
The pattern was in last year's Knitter's Magazine (Spring 2005). It's called "Saguaro".

Monday, June 05, 2006

Handknit Socks - Stripes

Here is the updated progress on my handknitted socks. I've finished the heel and gusset, so now I just have to get the length to match my foot before I do the toe shaping. It's going well! I love how the stripes are matching up color for color.
Handknit Socks - Stripes
I'm a happy knitter!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Easy Summer Grilling

I have found the EASIEST way in the world to cook on our gas grill. The method is called "indirect heating", and it always makes perfect meats. My husband and I have been cooking this way for the past month, and we can't get enough of it. I have made pork chops, steak, chicken and fish - and they have all turned out PERFECT. The finished meat tastes like it came from a restaurant. I'm not kidding.

Here's how you do it:

Choose the meat you want to grill (steak, pork chops, chicken or fish)
Marinate the meat for at least 15 minutes. (I usually marinate it for an hour for better flavor)

Make sure the grill is nice and clean. Then, turn on both burners, close the lid and let it preheat for about 5 minutes on high.

Now, turn off one burner, and put the meat on that side (YES - the side that is not lit. Trust me.) Turn the other burner down to medium, and Close the lid.

Walk away, and prepare whatever else you want to go with the meat, letting the meat cook with indirect heat for 10 minutes.

Now, turn over the meat, leaving it on the unlit side. You can brush on some sauce now if you want. (Don't use the marinade sauce, since it had the uncooked meat in it.) Close the lid, and cook the meat for 15 minutes more.

Continue preparing side dishes, beverages, bread or salad.

When you come back to the grill, check the meat for doneness, and put it over the flame for a little while if you want, just to get those black grill lines. You can also add more sauce now if you want. I usually "flame" it for about a minute or so. Now, the meat will be done - grilled, moist, and tender - PERFECT!

Here are my variations for marinating the meat. I use a gallon size plastic bag, mix all the ingredients, then add the meat and shake it all around. Then I put it in the refrigerator and turn it over a few times for the next hour or so. When I put the meat on the grill, I put a little of the sauce on top of the meat, then I discard the rest.

2 or 3 Cuts of Steak: 1/2 cup oil, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 2 Tablespoons Orange Juice, 1 teaspoon Minced Onion, 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder, and 1/4 teaspoon of each of the following: Sea Salt, Coarse Ground Black Pepper, Oregano, Sage.

2-4 Pork Chops: 1/2 cup oil, 1/4 cup white vinegar, 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice, 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning, and 1/4 teaspoon of each of the following: Sea Salt, Coarse Ground Black Pepper, Basil, Sage, Oregano, and Ginger.

2 -4 Pieces of Skinless Fish: 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 2 Tablespoons Lime Juice, 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning, and 1/4 teaspoon of each of the following: Sea Salt, Black (or White) Pepper, Basil, and Thyme.

2 -4 Pieces of Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast: 1/2 cup oil, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice, 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning, and 1/4 teaspoon of each of the following: Sea Salt, Black Pepper, Sage, Cumin, and Basil.

If you want, you could use your favorite salad dressing as a marinade. You could also use barbecue sauce on the pork chops or chicken while you're grilling.

Happy Grilling!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Noah and Danielle

Noah and Danielle
Originally uploaded by Unkoine.
Today is the senior prom, and my son Noah is taking his girlfriend, Danielle. I can't believe that Noah's senior prom is already here. He sure has changed over the years, but he's still just as full of himself as he was when he was just 2 years old!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Me at 5 years old - 1969

Me at 5 years old - 1969
Originally uploaded by Unkoine.
Memories, like the corners of my mind....

I just found this old photo in a chest of drawers in my house. I was 5 years old I think - in 1969.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Hand Knitted Lacy Summer Purse!

Hand Knitted Lacy Summer Purse!
Originally uploaded by Unkoine.
I just finished making this sweet little purse. I used Berroco Cotton Twist yarn and a free knitting pattern I found on the internet.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Baby Hailey in the Hospital

Baby Hailey in the Hospital
Originally uploaded by Unkoine.
Here is sweet little baby Hailey Nicole right after she was born. Isn't she precious?

Jessi at the Art Institute

Jessi at the Art Institute
Originally uploaded by Unkoine.
Here is my step-daughter, visiting the Art Institute of Charlotte. She is considering taking some classes there. We enjoyed visiting with her and her sister and little baby Hailey Nicole!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Irish Hiking Scarf

Irish Hiking Scarf
Originally uploaded by Unkoine.
I decided to learn to make cables, so I found this free pattern on the internet. The Irish Hiking Scarf. It's a very easy pattern, and looks so nice! Marvin was watching me knit some of it last night and said, "Cool -you're using a different needle now!" He's so cute - watches every thing I do. I just love him.

I got the yarn at Hancock Fabrics 50% off, because it's been discontinued. Lion Brand Chunky USA in Fisherman.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Furry, Fuzzy Steering Wheel Cover

Skill Level: Beginner
For ANY SIZE steering wheel!
(Real Car, Toy Car, Lawn Mower, or Grandpa's Tractor!)

· 1 skein Eyelash Yarn (I used leftover scraps of Lion Brand Fun Fur for a cool, funky look!)
· 1 skein Worsted Weight Yarn in a coordinating color (I used Red Heart Kids Yarn - Pink)
Both yarns will be held together throughout

U.S. Size 10 knitting needles, yarn needle for sewing

Before you start knitting, take a piece of string (one that WILL NOT STRETCH), and measure around the outside edge of your steering wheel. (Area to measure is shown in green in the schematic link.) Cut the string about one inch longer to allow room for a seam. This is the perimeter of your steering wheel. It’s not necessary to measure it, because you’ll just hold your knitting up to it later to see if it’s the right length. You should also cut a piece of string to measure around the thickness of your steering wheel. (You will NOT add an inch to that.)

Using one strand of each yarn held together, loosely cast on 10 to 15 stitches. (as many stitches as it takes for the thickness of your steering wheel.) Knit a few rows and check again to see if it’s the right width. (Use the short piece of string that you cut earlier as a guide.) If it’s not the right width, start over, because the cover has to be TIGHT around the wheel for safety!

Knit every row. Occasionally check to see if your knitting is long enough by stretching it out and measuring it against the longer string you cut earlier. (Don’t forget to STRETCH your knitting, since it needs to be tight around the steering wheel for safety.)

When it’s long enough, bind off loosely, and weave in the end of the eyelash yarn. Leave a long end of worsted weight free so you can use it for sewing. (The loose end of yarn should be at least 30 inches long.)

Connect the short ends of your knitting and sew a strong seam. Weave in any short ends. Remember to leave the long end of worsted weight yarn loose for sewing the cover to the wheel.

Put your creation around the steering wheel, making sure it’s arranged the way you like. (Be sure the seam you sewed earlier is not showing on the outside of the wheel!)

Using the long end of worsted weight yarn, sew the cover together along the inside edge of the steering wheel. I sewed a stitch at each ridge, and then pulled each stitch nice and tight (shown in red on schematic). When you get to the bars on your wheel, just weave the yarn through the back of the wheel cover (shown in blue on the schematic), then start sewing again at the next open section. When you go full circle to the beginning of your stitching, sew a couple stitches on top of each other to secure your yarn. Weave in the loose end and cut.

Put your hands around your furry steering wheel and smile!

April, 2005 - Designed by Sandy Davis

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Hailey asleep with blanket

Hailey asleep with blanket
Originally uploaded by Unkoine.
Here's my new grand-daughter, asleep in the blanket I knit for her! She's so sweet! We had a very nice visit yesterday. Marvin and I drove up and got a hotel room so his kids could visit with us and bring the baby. I couldn't go to their house because I'm allergic to the cats they have. We sat in the room for a while, then Marvin and the kids went to eat lunch, leaving me alone with the baby. She was so easy to take care of....she fell asleep almost as soon as they left. At first, she was a crying a little, so I started singing a lullaby. She stopped crying and really watched me as I sang. It was so sweet. The Sandman must have sprinkled dust in her eyes, because she soon fell asleep in my arms. So precious. I laid her down on the hotel bed, and she had a good nap.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Baby Bonnet and Blanket - Feather and Fan

Here's the finished Feather and Fan set for my new step-granddaughter. It took a long time to knit and I had to re-design the pattern for the bonnet, but it worked out in the end!

Here's the pattern for the bonnet:

"Feather & Fan" Baby Bonnet
Revised by Sandy Davis

Materials: Knitting worsted weight yarn. approx. 2 ozs.
US #6 straight needles
US #6, 16” circular needles
Gauge: 10-11 sts to 2"


Top of bonnet
Using straight needles, cast on 60 stitches. Knit 2 rows.

Feather and Fan pattern:
Row 1: Knit
Row 2: Purl
Row 3: K6 (garter st. border) K2tog 2 times, (YO, K1) 4 times,
*K2tog 4 times, (YO, K1) 4 times* - (repeat between * 2 times MORE)
K2tog 2 times, K6 (garter st border)
Row 4: Knit.Repeat these 4 rows 8 more times.

Row1: *K8 K2tog, repeat from *
Row 2: *K7 K2tog, repeat from *
Row 3:*K6 K2tog, repeat from *
Continue in this manner until you K2tog across the row. (6 sts remaining)
Break yarn, thread through stitches and tighten to close. Sew crown seam.

Neck band
Using small circular needle, pick up and knit 38 sts around bottom of bonnet – 19 stitches from each side of center seam. Do NOT join.
Knit 3 rows back and forth (garter stitch).
(Eyelet row) K1 *YO K2tog, repeat from * to last stitch, YO, K1
Knit 3 more rows and cast off very loosely. (I use a larger needle)
Run pretty ribbon through eyelet holes and tie to close. (Not too tight or you’ll choke the baby!)

4-5-08: Edited to add the word MORE (in red), to avoid confusion with the feather & fan portion of the pattern.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Finished Booga Bag!

Finished Booga Bag!
Originally uploaded by Unkoine.
Well, I have crossed the line and actually felted something. I swore I would never do it, but it was fun!

Noisy Neighbor

My neighbor is always very loud and annoying. His porch is just beside my bedroom window.

Well, as some of you know, I had a hysterectomy recently, and I'm still stuck at home recuperating. I can't do any lifting or housework because of the stitches all across my belly.

Yesterday morning, my hubby left for work, and left our bedroom window open so I could enjoy the nice spring breeze all day. It was wonderful....until my neighbor got home. The loud engine, the loud rap music on the radio....my blood beginning to boil.....and then some FRIENDS show up in his driveway.

They were all out there talking as loud as possible, using very course language, and telling really raunchy jokes. I was fed up, so I tried to close the window, but of course I didn't have the strength. After looking around the room and considering my options, I grabbed one of my Charlotte Church CDs. She can sing as high, clear and pure as a bird, you know. I put on the CD and turned up the volume as loud as I could stand.

It was hilarious! I think they all must have stood there with their eyes open wide, thinking, "What the...?" They decided to go inside to continue their "discussion". Smugly, I turned down the volume and got back in bed to continue my knitting, while enjoying the rest of the CD.

Charlotte Church is my GOOD friend now.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Handspun, Dyed, and Knit!

Handspun, Dyed, and Knit!
Originally uploaded by Unkoine.
This was my very first FULLY made project. I washed and carded the yarn, then spun it and dyed it with Kool-Aid, then knit it. I was so proud!

Here's the pattern:

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Yellow Knitted Easter Bunny

Yellow Knitted Easter Bunny
Originally uploaded by Unkoine.
It's almost time for Easter, so I've gotten out my pretty pastel yarns to make some Easter Bunnies. So cute! I'm using Unger Fluffy yarn. I have lots of that yarn, in several different colors, so there's no telling how many bunnies I'll have!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Pink Afghan Getting Longer Now!

Pink Afghan Getting Longer Now!
Originally uploaded by Unkoine.
I'm still working on that pink baby afghan. So far, it's 30 inches long, but the pattern calls for 44. Will it never end? I put my new baby doll with the afghan so you can see how big it has become.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Sandy's Wrist Warmers from Sock Yarn

Wrist Warmer #1 is complete!
Originally uploaded by Unkoine.

Sandy's Wrist-Warmers from Sock Yarn

Materials: 1 skein of Sock Yarn.
(I used Fortissima Colori Socka Color yarn, 50 gram ball.)
Size 2 double-point needles.
Size 2 straight needle for casting on.

Gauge: 30 stitches and 42 rows to 4 inches using a Stockinette Stitch on US Size 3 needles. (from the yarn wrapper)

With size 2 straight needle, cast on 64 stitches.
Divide stitches on 3 double point needles (20 sts on 2 needles, 24 sts on a third needle), join. Place a marker at the beginning of round.

Work in ribbing of k2, p2 for 3 inches.
Work in stockinette stitch (knit every round). Work 8 rounds even.
Next Round (Thumb Gusset) - Work to within 3 sts of marker at end of round, place another marker, inc in next st, k1, inc in last st.
Knit 2 rounds.
Next Round - Work to marker, inc in next st, knit to last st, inc in last st.
Knit 2 rounds.
Repeat last 3 rounds, working in same manner having 2 sts more between increases in thumb gusset until there are 21 sts in gusset (between markers).
Next Round - Work to marker, and place the remaining (gusset) stitches on a small holder or safety pin or thread.

Cast on 5 sts at the end of working needle, and join to beginning of round, skipping the thumb gusset.
Knit every row for 1 inch.
Bind off. Edge will roll.
(If you prefer, you can do ribbing instead for an even bind off edge.)

Place the 21 sts from holder on 2 needles.
Pick up and knit 5 or 6 sts from body of finished mitt.
Knit 1 round.
Next round - Knit even, knitting 2 sts together at the section where you picked up stitches earlier. This will help the thumb gusset lay nicely.
Knit every row for 1/2 inch. Bind off.
This edge will probably not roll since it's so small and fits nicely around the thumb.

You're done!

Wrist Warmer #2 on the needles

Wrist Warmer #2 on the needles
Originally uploaded by Unkoine.
Here is my finished wrist warmer, and the second one started on double points. I love the way the yarn sparkles! I also love the way the stripes make "piano keys".

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Marvin and Granddaughter Hailey Brooke

Here is my sweet husband, holding his even sweeter new grandbaby, Hailey Brooke! I couldn't go to see her because I just had my hysterectomy surgery this week. I'll be going there soon, though! Until then, I'll be knitting and sewing baby things.

Baby Hailey Brooke

Baby Hailey Brooke
Originally uploaded by Unkoine.
Baby Hailey Brooke is finally here! She is the daughter of Katie Davis, who is my step-daughter. So, that means, I'm a granny now. Neat! My husband Marvin is the proud grandfather. Hailey weighed 8 pounds, 15 ounces, and was 22 inches long. Way to go, Katie!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Blue Velour Pants - Finished!

Blue Velour Pants - Finished!
Originally uploaded by Unkoine.
I finished sewing these blue velour pants last night. They are so soft, and super comfortable! They were such a pain to sew, though. Golly, I didn't realize how hard velour would be to manage at a sewing machine. I had to push the fabric along to keep it going with the presser feet, and it caused so much static electicity with the thread! Whenever I finished a seam, I had to wet the thread to keep it from sticking to the body of the sewing machine.