Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween

Yesterday at work we had a bake sale and contest for scariest decoration. Sadly only three people brought cakes in.  I didn't plan on participating in the contest but I did bring some macarons for the sale. My cookies weren't decorated too much but what the people eating them didn't know was they had a little trick to them.  I colored them with black food coloring so the end result was actually out dark purple with green and orange frosting in between. The trick was when you ate one your tongue and teeth turned purple! No worries though, the effect didn't last long (and the cookies were good!).

Here is our table.  On the right is a cake that looks like a pumpkin with bones around the bottom. In the middle is some punch and in another bowl has dry ice with the smoke flowing out.

Another view. You can't see it but on the left are the other cakes. You can kind of see my bag of cookies on the left.

Here's a cake with a "heart"on it being eaten by rats.

I saved the best/scariest cake for last.  This is a cake made to look like a dirty kitty litter box. It even had the green "chlorophyll" dots.  Several people said they couldn't even look at it without getting urpy.

I don't know which cake actually won but that was the winner in my book.

Have a safe Halloween!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Baby Blankies And A New Stitch (For Me)

One of the girls at work is expecting her second baby.  That's the perfect excuse for me to make a couple of new crocheted blankets. I decided to make one for the baby enroute and one for her toddler daughter.

This first one is the one I made for the toddler. Obviously it's a simple granny square pattern.

I made it five squares across and seven squares up and down. The white is the sparkly white, though the pictures don't really show it. I tried out a new edging technique that I had tried before but never quite understood, until now.  It's called a "piquot" stitch.  I like how it gives a sweet little ruffley look to the edge.

For the new baby's blanket I used a brand new (to me) stitch. It goes by several names; Bavarian stitch, Catherine's Wheel, Wool Eater, and Yarn Eater. I saw several pictures of blankets in this stitch and loved it but when I tried it out I just couldn't "get" it from the printed instructions. I watched a couple videos on You Tube and finally one of them worked for me and I was finally able to duplicate the pattern properly.

For the border on this blankie I used the sparkly black in a single crochet. 

I apologize for the poor pictures.  When I finished the blankets I was so excited to get them to my coworker I totally forgot to take pictures at home.  After I got to work I realized I had forgotten to photograph them and ended up taking some rather poor quality photos at work with my phone.  Adding to my predicament was that I had to take the pictures on the sly.  We aren't really supposed to use our phones at work.  Fortunately it was near closing time and the head cashier was closing some registers in another area.  I draped the blankets across the counter at my register to take the pictures.

The best thing of all was they didn't really cost me anything to make. I was able to make both blankets using yarn I already had!

So now I'm working on another of the yarn eater patterned afghans using the beautiful (and pricey) variegated yarn I like (the Red Heart Boutique Treasure in Abstract). So far I have six double rows and have used up two balls at $6.99/ea.  For comparisons sake the above baby blankie is 10 double rows. I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

"Cashier Olympics"

On October 6 we had the first part of the "cashier olympics" at the Home Depot store I work at. I unexpectedly got third place. The first three place contestants then were to go to the District competition on October 20.

The District competition was held in Eugene. I wasn't too sure about going but decided to give it a whirl since the store competition was not as bad as I had thought it would be. There were ten stores in all that showed up, so 30 competitors, along with their respective store managers and assistant store managers, and a few extra people who came to root their teams on. It was a bigger deal than I had imagined.

Each store had a table so they could set up their food offerings. They were supposed to be decorated with their "theme".  This is the aisle with all the tables set up. (Sorry about the poor quality photos. These were taken with my phone.)

One team's theme was cowboy related. I don't know if they were the ones who showed up dressed in Denver Broncos jerseys but this one team actually brought in miniature horses.

They were very cute!

This was our table. Our theme was "harvest time". I know, kind of lame. At our team introduction the announcer called us the "Harvesters" and wanted to know what we harvest. So I told him Souls! Our team was the quietest of the bunch and I think that took him aback just a bit!! LOL!

One of our cashiers who was not competing showed up for support and made this cake. Pretty cool!

I didn't realize they had a contest for the best table and costume. Like I said, ours was kind of lame (we wore matching work shirts, black pants, and straw hats decorated with fall leaves and miniature scarecrows). The table that had the mini-horses won the best table/costumes.

We had three "tests", the speed and accuracy cashiering (accuracy being most important), the "cover your assets" where we observed a "customer" and "cashier" engaged in a sale and we had to list all the things that were done wrong, and the third test was a "department knowledge" test where we had to take a basket of items and put them in the proper department basket (gray pvc pipe to electrical, paint brushes to paint, etc).  The last test was something we had not done at our store and the only thing that saved me on that one was having worked in Returns for so long. Otherwise I would have been totally lost. I feel like my cashiering test was compromised because after I started I realized the scanner gun was not working and that really threw me off.

In any case our team didn't place so none of us are headed to the Regionals. 

There's always next year!!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Green Shades

I recently finished another one of the crocheted "shades" afghans, this time in shades of green.

I really like this pattern because it's unusual from the average patterns of plain colors or stripes. I gave this one to a friend.

I have plans to make three more of these. One will be for us and I'm thinking that it will be in shades of black, white, and grey. I'll have to do some surreptitious questioning to find out what colors to make the other two for my other "victims".

A girl at work is expecting a baby and now I'm looking for a pattern to make for a baby blanket for her and one for her toddler daughter. I still haven't decided if I want to make one that I've already made or find a new pattern. 

Those are the kind of dilemmas I prefer!

Saturday, October 12, 2013


Yesterday we (meaning Hubby) pulled up the last of the beets and we (both of us) canned them.  The hardest part of it was finding some empty jars, rings, and lids.

We did two jars of small whole beets and two jars of sliced beets for a total of four quarts. One jar each were regular and the other jar each were pickled. I'm not sure about the pickling recipe I used. It seems a bit sweet to me, which is an unusual thing for me to say. But I suppose we can drain and make a new pickling sauce when we open the jars.  

When I found the canning jars I also found many jars of the last things we canned, some hot pepper jelly and our olives. I think we are going to have to throw those out because they were canned in 2009, the year before we left California! The National Center For Home Foods Preservation says properly canned foods should retain optimum eating quality for at least one year. I'm not so sure about four years...

My kids aren't beet fans but Hubby and I are, so I don't think we need to worry about these being in storage for too long!