Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Contest And A LITTLE Catch-Up!

Grace is having a contest and is giving away one of her most beautiful shawls. So, if you haven't already done so, go over and check it out, and tell her I sent you.

Where does the time go? When I see I haven't posted in a month I can hardly believe it. And, it makes me feel guilty. I'm not sure why, but it does. I know how disappointing it is to keep checking someones blog only to find no new posts, and there's probably no one left that even bothers to check mine. I've always had a very small readership, but the ones that do stop by have become good friends, and I don't want to lose them.
I've been overwhelmed with "stuff", it seems, and right now I'm working like crazy just to feel like I'm not going to drown in the sea of all the things I need to get done. School started August 18, and for some reason I'm busier than I was last year. I do have about 50% more students, so maybe that's why. Even though I work at it constantly, I never seem to get to the bottom of that pile of papers that need correcting.
Then there's my mom, who is still struggling to adjust to being in an assisted living facility. They've called the ambulance for her twice in the last 11 days, which is not so fun. They haven't found anything "wrong" with her, so now they're treating her for panic attacks and we're really hoping that will help. She's always been a high anxiety type, so my brother and I have thought for a long time she should be taking something, and now she finally is.
Finally, what's been taking up the most of my time lately is this little 4-month old sweetie:
Her daddy is the young man we adopted when he was almost 19 years old because he wanted a new start and a new family. He'd come from a very troubled past and had been our foster son. Anyway, after doing very well for several years, he made an about face and went back to the "streets", shall we say. Even though he was living here in town, we only heard from him every few weeks, and he hadn't been home in 19 months.
A few weeks ago he needed some court papers to prove his adoption and name change in order to get a new SS card. So, the poor baby HAD to come home. I chewed him out for never coming around, and after that he started calling me every day. One time he was talking about the baby and said, "You're a grandma", to which I answered, "No, I'm not". I told him that I wasn't a grandma until I got to hold, love, and spoil that baby. And to my evil delight, Social Security would only mail his new card to our address, in care of me, so I told him he wasn't getting it until I met his wife (he's been marrried over a year!) and got to see the baby.
Well, he didn't make me wait until the card came. He brought them over and has been bringing them almost every day since. Needless to say, I've fallen head over heels in love with my precious grand-daughter, am enjoying getting to know my daughter-in-law, and am thrilled to be spending time with James again. He and our youngest birth son are two weeks apart in age, so they've always been VERY close. Nathan had missed him terribly, and they love spending time together again.
The odd thing is, we've never had a falling out with this boy. Our relationship with him has always been good, and in many ways he was easier to get along with than the other two. So this whole separation thing was really weird. He said his pride kept him away, and told me I made him cry when I scolded him for not coming home for so long. We're just thankful he's back, and has brought others with him for us to love!
Tomorrow I'm picking her up after school, and Ashlynn and Grandma are going shopping together! I can hardly wait!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

It Ain't Easy Bein' Green.....

No it's not easy, but green I am, and not nearly as cute as the googly-eyed little guy in the picture!! I'm sure you've already guessed as much, but ya, I've been hangin' out at the frog pond again. I finally finished one of the two table mats I was working on, and was trying to convince myself it was okay to knit that much only to come up with what seemed to me to be a bunch of holes. Then I started my routine anal inspection of my work, and realized that one end (the top in the picture) was "wider" than the other.Right away I knew why. My gauge was so far off on this pattern that I tried needles all the way from size 4 to size 11. Finally went with a 6, deciding it wasn't so fussy (this is a table mat, after all!!), and I would knit a little loose. Big mistake, that. The project got set aside for several weeks, and of course when I picked it up again, I knit in my "normal" tension. I could have easily blocked the piece into submission, but "I knew", and that would forever drive me crazy. So, a froggin' I did go, and I now have a nicely wound ball of Euroflax linen awaiting some other project. I didn't like the mat well enough to knit it again, or I would.

But wait, there's more. The other table mat I was working on had been left untouched for weeks, so I got that back out and started knitting on it again. Things were going well, and I'd added about six to eight inches of work when I noticed a piece of yarn that wasn't quite where I thought it should be. I had to study it for a while to even determine if it was a mistake or just a piece of yarn that was a bit too loose, but eventually my anality (Yes, that's a word, and if it isn't, it should be) won, and I ripped out everything I'd done. Shoot! Well, I am going to get back to that project because I love the pattern, but for right now, I'm working on something else.

SOCKS!! Yes, socks! Me... trying my hand at socks again. I left town quickly (no time to grab the knitting!) last Wednesday to take my uncle to the doctor, only to find out I would be waiting around while he had surgery on his retina. I was going to hang out at my LYS, but the surgery center likes to have someone there for the patient during the surgery. When they told us that my uncle said, "If I die what difference will it make if she's here or a few blocks down the street?" He cracks me up. Anyway, I couldn't enjoy shopping knowing they wanted me there, so instead I grabbed a hotdog at a gas station and went to the yarn shop just long enough to buy something to work on while I waited. For some reason, socks seemed like the quick, easy answer. I grabbed a hank of Jitterbug yarn I'd been admiring, a pattern for beginner socks, and some size 1 needles. I was set!

And I'm having a blast with them! I've turned the heel, and am well on my way to having a nicely shaped gusset with NO HOLE!! Oh, yeah!!! I think the third time will be the charm for me! My first attempt at socks failed because the yarn I used was limp and droopy, resulting in a sock that was baggy and ill-fitting. Frogged it before I was done and used the yarn for a child's cap. Second attempt was with yarn I'd been given, and it was so ugly I wasn't about to work that hard on socks I wouldn't want to wear anyway, so I dropped the partially knit sock and the rest of the skein right into the garbage! *GASP* I know... somewhere in the world someone could have used that yarn!

Something else I've been playing around with lately is Locker Hooking, which I'd tried out at the fiber festival. It's fun to do, and I've made three pieces and given them all as gifts. The ones in the picture are nine inches square, a nice size for a hot pad or just a little mat to set a candle, lamp, or whatever on. They were a big hit, and now two of my friends want to "get in on the fun" and learn how to Locker Hook.
Today my baby turns 22, so a big "Happy Birthday" to Nathan! He told me only two days ago that he'd love to have a hammock, of all things. Well, I never gave that (goofy) idea a moments thought, and then yesterday I walked into Penneys only to see two big boxes (hammocks, natch!!) with a sign that read 70% off. Well, they'd been $300, and were now $75. But, once the additional 40% off AND my 20% off coupon were factored in, I ended up paying $36 for a $300 hammock. That's 88% off, math fans! So, Mom did okay! Now he tells me he's going to clean up the downstairs so he has a place to set up his super deluxe, brand spankin' new, mammoth birthday hammock. We'll see...

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Fiber Festival Fun~~

Where does the time go? It's already a week ago that my friend Kathy and I were at the Fiber Festival in Fargo. We had the best time ever! This was a "first time" event, and I know it was very small compared to great yarn shows you all have out east, but we had perfect weather, and positively the best day I've had all summer!

We were there before it opened and stayed until it closed. There were demonstrations and hands-on activities. I could have dropped a bundle on the supplies to try several new crafts, but I managed to restrain myself. I made a rag doll and tried my hand at fabric painting using templates and Locker Hooking. I've never actually watched anyone spin before, so was mesmerized by the gals who were spinning yarn. Someday....

The Fiber Festival took place at Bonanzaville, which is a frontier setting recreated by actual buildings from the days when North Dakota was settled. You can walk through the community and in and out of the various houses and other buildings. Kathy and I felt like we'd been "transported" to a different era, and were none to anxious to return to the 21st century!

This cute little cabin was the first house build in Fargo, ND back in 1869. Hard to imagine raising a family in such a small, simple home. Inside was a loft, and two rickety old beds. What you see on the front stoop is an array of hand-woven baskets and an area to sit and work. Very quaint and charming.
We also visited the General Store, which was stocked to the brim with goods from a bygone era. We learned from the "storekeeper" that the items in the store were the actual inventory that was there when the store closed. I felt like I was in Little House on the Prairie!! Check out the Linament in the lower right corner. Everyone needs some quality Linament now and then don'tcha know!!!For those of you who love to bake and putts about in your kitchen, here are the baking goods! Don't you just love that enormous can of baking powder, and look at the boxes of Morton's Salt! The Hershey's Cocoa can hasn't changed much, has it? Both Kathy and I were just tickled as we went through this store.
And for all my knitting friends, here's the "handwork" department!! This was it... just a box of cotton.
Of course I have lots more pictures, but I'll save them for later! The school, court house, and bank were adorable, and there's an old Lutheran church where they still hold weddings!

I did buy a couple of skeins of yarn from one of the vendors, but forgot to take pics of it. I'll get those taken for next time. Last summer I bought some (WAY too much) yarn when my LYS in Fargo was going out of business. Well, happily for me it's back! It has a new name and new owners, and it's better than ever. They had a booth at the festival and then I got to see the store on Tuesday when I gave my uncle a ride to Fargo to have lasar surgery on his eye. I only had an hour to spend there (I NEEDED at least four!!) but I know that the owners are friendly and helpful, and they carry some great yarn. I would love to get back one time before school starts, but we'll see.
With all the yuck I had going on, my knitting mojo up and left me this summer. The only things I seemed to be able to work on were a couple of dishcloths, mostly while waiting to get in for doctor appointments. But, I guess that's better than nothing, and it does allow me to say I have some FO's!!
The first one is My Favorite Dishcloth from Harvest Moon Designs. I really like this pattern... it's fun, easy, and quick to work up.

Then I made two more DW cloths. I always get a kick out of watching the colors come together on this pattern. The yarn is Peaches & Cream in the Fiesta color. Really bright and summery. The one on the bottom is Sugar 'n Cream Early American Ombre. I made another one that was a great color, but sent it away for a swap before snapping a picture.
I've also gotten back to a table mat I was working on before school was out, and it's starting to grow. Funny how that happens when you actually knit on
something! I'm at least half done, and anxious to get it finished. There are a
couple other projects I'm itching to start, but I want to make some serious progress on the table mat first.
Last evening was "girls night out" with my three best friends in the whole wide world. We usually go to a restaurant, but instead met at a home. We grilled steak and chicken, and each brought something to share. There were cheesy potatoes, scalloped corn, a beauteous leafy salad, and yummy fruit. We met around 6:30, and guess who got home at 4am? Yup, it was me. And the others, too! Hubby couldn't believe I was getting home so late. Or early. Men just don't get it. We had so much catching up to do that we didn't even get tired. When we noticed that it was 3:00, we couldn't imagine where the time had gone. However, there is the price to pay. I'm certainly not a bundle of energy today, and don't suppose I'll be accomplishing great things! Frankly, I don't care. If I have some computer time, knit some, and maybe read some, I'm okay with that! And to top it off, I had left-over scalloped corn for breakfast!

Friday, July 25, 2008

A Stormy Contest~~

Just ran across an interesting question over on Grace's blog, and she's turned it into a contest! Go check it out!! Here's what she asks:

"When you are knitting and using metal needles like Addi's or Options and it starts to thunder and lightening, do you put your knitting down? I do, and pick up something on wooden needles and Tom thinks I am crazy. "

Hmmm... since I've never thought of that before, I would just keep on knitting. However, now that Grace brought it up, it will be the first thing that crosses my mind next time a storm pops up while I'm knitting!! Maybe it helps if I have rubber soles on my shoes!!

I'm hoping for a nice day tomorrow, as I'm going to a fiber festival at Bonanzaville with a friend. First time I've had the opportunity to attend anything like that, and I'm hoping it will be fun. Bonanzaville is part of a county historical society where they've set up original buildings from the late 18 and early 1900's. A bit of a restored frontier town, I guess. There will be demonstrations, hands-on activities, and vendors. First outing I've had this summer, and I'm really looking forward to it. If it's a good time, I'll have pictures to share when I get back! Do you 'spose they'll have yarn???

Monday, July 21, 2008

Crawling Out Of A Time Warp~~

Ever feel like you're walking around in someone else's body, or living out some movie or soap opera that isn't your life at all? That's how this summer has been for me. I was walking around in Target a couple of weeks ago and realized that the whole world was going on around me, but I somehow wasn't a part of it. I could see other shoppers, and browse the aisles, but it was as if I wasn't really there. In a bubble I was, so wrapped up in things that weren't 'normal' for me that I felt totally alien with the rest of the world.

Like a kid, I counted the days until school would be out so I could get on with my summer plans, and they were many. Well, you know what's said about "the best laid plans....". The day after school let out my brother came to town to help me pack up my mom's apartment, as she'd moved into assisted living. (Lots of Mom stress over the past 9 months--both physical and moving issues-- had already contributed much to making me crazy.) Somehow I'd convinced myself that it wouldn't be all that hard, but OH MY, how we do accumulate stuff. We worked our tails off.... we threw, we donated, we moved, we put into storage, and we also put into our garage. Of course, all this brought great angst to my mom, which trickled down to me. My feet got so swollen that I had to loosen the straps on my Birks by two holes, which has never happened before. I guess it was stress, as it went away and hasn't come back, but at the time I was wondering if I was gearing up for the Big One.

Next up, my oldest son had surgery on his knee to repair a torn ACL and whatever else he damaged. This was planned, but it's a painful surgery and slow recovery, and it's always tough to see someone you care about so miserable. These ordeals are never easy for a mom.

Now it's my turn to visit the doctor. Thinking I haven't had a check-up for two years (and having not been sick haven't even seen a doctor in as long) I thought it was about time. Once I got there I found out it's actually been three years. Bad girl, me. Anyway, as much as I hate the whole process, things are going along quite swimmingly until the Doc asks me one of those "girly" questions, and she isn't fond of the answer. (Shoulda kept my big mouth shut!!) Next thing I know, she's scheduled me for a pelvic ultrasound. Ever had one of those? If not, you should... just for the sheer fun of it. Let me give you a little hint: it's both external AND internal. Are ya with me here?? And it lasts quite a while... very thorough, let me tell you. Let's just say he left no stone unturned.
Other results that I'd already gotten back were all good, and I wasn't all that concerned about the untrasound until after I'd had it, and then panic set in. Fear of the unknown grabbed me and twisted me into knots. I'm usually not like that, and I still can't explain it, except that maybe it was the straw that broke the camels back. I'd reached my limit of stress and anxiety, and this last thing just knocked me off my feet. So, four days later when I went in for the results, having her refer me to an OB/GYN for a biopsy really sent me into a tailspin.
And it's the waiting that's the worst. Eight days until the next appointment. And now, lets insert company. My sweet dad, who hasn't been to visit in a few years because he was caring for his wife who had Alzheimers, is coming to spend time with my brother and his family, and with us. He was with us for ten days, and I'd been so excited to have him come, but having this medical stuff weighing on me made me less that a good hostess. I felt bad, and I tried so hard, but I just couldn't be me. First, I hadn't been sleeping. Would wake up between three and four EVERY morning, and that was it. No more sleepy-bye for me. So I was exhausted. Next, I lost my appetite (which never happens!!), so cooking was torture, and forcing myself to eat was worse. Bleck. Luckily, Dad is very understanding.
Fast forward eight days, and OB Dr. had no interest in doing a biopsy, but instead thought a D&C might be fun for me. Okay, so now I would wait nine more days for that. I had no idea what a big deal they are... actually considered "surgery". Most have general anesthesia when having one done, which is my WORST FEAR IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD. "If I have to rip my hair out by the roots and bite on a silver bullet, there is no way they are putting me to sleep for this. No way, no how!!!" So, the very kind and gentle anesthesiologist and my Dr. decide to try it with just sedation, and if that doesn't work, then a spinal. I've never had anything that even resembled high blood pressure, but at the hospital before this little event it was right up there! Scared, me was. And for the life of me I don't know why. It wasn't all that bad, and quite honestly, I didn't expect it to be. After the procedure, the Dr. told me I was tougher than she was. **Pat self on back** However, I did "come to" a little a couple of times during the whole process, and when I did I felt some pretty red-hot pain. Doc said I "squirmed" a little bit a few times.
(This cutie dragonfly spent the afternoon dangling from the overhang of my house.)

Well, I was hoping to get to wait at least another four days for the pathology results, but oddly enough they came back in two, and I'm thankful to say everything is good. No bad cells at all, and I've had my post-op appointment and am done with that for the summer. I thought I'd feel better instantly, but it didn't work that way. (This whole time all of the things that are usually fun for me were not. I did nothing that I usually do: no knitting, no blogging, no on-the-patio sitting. The only thing I did for entertainment was Sudoku puzzles, and I did dozens of them.) Five days later I realized I was starting to feel like myself again, and was enjoying doing things around the house and had plans for some fun computer and knitting stuff later in the day.

And then the phone rang.........

That morning my younger son had left with a group of friends and the leader of a youth center here in town to attend Sonshine, a Christian music festival. On the way home, he would be dropped off near Minneapolis and wait to be picked up by one of the youth leaders from our church on the way to a short-term mission trip to the inner city. It was a trip for middle schoolers, and Nathan was going to be one of the leaders. He's such an exhuberant kid, and was so excited about these two simultaneous trips.

Anyway, the phone told me it was Nathan calling, but another voice asked for me (heart starting to beat faster now) and told me that Nath seemed to be having some kind of a seizure, and asked if he'd ever had one before. (NO!!) He told me Nath was coming around, but was unable to tell him his moms name (WHAT!!!) and didn't know where he was or where he was going. And he seemed to have stopped breathing for a while. (Now I'm feeling like my heart may just stop completely.) He's over 100 miles from home, and will be taken by ambulance back to Fargo, which is 75 miles from where we live.

I couldn't even string a sentence together when I called my husband, but managed to say, "Something's happened to Nathan, you have to come home." Minutes later he's home, and we hit the road for Fargo. I felt so bad that Nath would be there all alone, but when we arrived there were six of his friends waiting for us. Nathan had been riding with the leader, and that vehicle came back, along with another one with several of his best friends.

Again we feel very blessed, as this turned out to be not nearly as bad as it seemed to be, or could have been. What happened was he "passed out with seizure-like symptoms". There's a medical name for it, but that's what it means. And here's why it happened: First, Nathan had only gotten about two hours of sleep the night before. He gets too excited and just can't sleep when he's looking forward to something special. Second, he had donated plasma that morning, which depleted his blood volume. And third, when they stopped for lunch in Fargo he sprinted about six blocks in the heat right after eating to get a magazine at Barnes & Noble. When they picked him up, he "went right to sleep", or more than likely passed out. About 30 miles out of town the seizure-like symptoms started. The doctor said it's not all that uncommon, but I've never heard of such a thing. They did do a CAT scan and run all the other tests to be sure. The tests confirmed that the Dr. was right, and it had not been a seizure. Nathan came home with us and missed the music festival, but he's gone again now! He left with the group from church yesterday on the mission trip!
(Jayda thought this little "triangle" of shade was just right for an afternoon nap!!)

So, the beautiful summer days have passed, but in a way that didn't seem real, and now I'm less than a month away from going back to school. But that's okay. I'm just thankful that things are starting to settle down, and I'm looking forward to enjoying the rest of my break. One of my favorite things to do is sit out on my patio, which is where I am right now. It's a perfect evening, and I think I shall go in and get my knitting....

Saturday, July 5, 2008

A Fun Package From The Mailman~~

I received the most wonderful package from my Keepin' Cool In Summer Dishcloth Swap Pal! Wendy sent a box full of fantastic goodies, all wrapped beautifully in bright, summery colors. There were even fun little messages attached to the gifts! Here's what I found when I opened the box...
And here's a group shot of the goodies after I unwrapped them...

She sent some Crystal Light for me to add to my water bottles. Believe it or not, I haven't had that before, so am anxious to try it. And, there were fruit snacks to munch on. Then, in the pampering department she sent some almond hand soap that smells just delish... almond is my absolute fave, so this one goes in MY bathroom so I don't have to share it with the boys! There's also a very nice hand cream, a cute little notebook with a pen attached, and some just-for-fun flamingo socks!!Next up is a pattern book for some adorable knitted snowflakes that look like great fun to knit. The yarn Wendy sent is GORGEOUS! It's Brown Sheep Cotton, which I've not had before, and it's soft and luverly. The colors are rich, and I just love that! The WonderVase is a piece of heavy plastic that you fill with warm water and shape to your liking. Then you change to cool water and add flowers! Inside that green "disc" with the flower on it is a sun hat! You take it out and give it a flip and it turns into a hat with a big brim. Then you twist it just right and it fits back into the little zippered pouch. The sun does unsightly things to my face, so it will come in handy! I'm hoping to attend a 'first' Yarn and Fiber Festival in a nearby city later this month, and this hat will go with me!!Wendy sent not one, but two, knitted dishcloths. The pattern is a very pretty one that I haven't seen before. She chose colors that are perfect for my kitchen!

Thank you Wendy for everything!!

You've been such a great pal, and I've enjoyed getting to know you!

Keepin' Cool in Summer Topic #4

Here's this week's topic: Go check out one other person's blog who's answered some of the weekly topics. Find someone you have something in common with, who posted a really cool cloth pattern, or who 'calls' to you for some other reason, and post about them on your blog sharing why!

This was fun, because it got me reading some blogs that are new to me, and I enjoy that! I seem to find something interesting no matter whose blog I'm reading, Even though this blog isn't new to me, I have to say that one that I really relate to is Alaina's. She's been a regular read for me for quite some time, and we do have a few things in common.

We're both teachers, we both have sons who are within the same age range, and we live in the same area of the country. Our names are even similar (and unusual), and we both KNIT!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Keepin' Cool in Summer Topic #3

Now that Summer has OFFICIALLY begun.. what do you do to beat the heat? A nice tall glass of lemonade? Frozen Coffee? A dip in the pool? What's your favorite way to keep cool this summer as things heat up?

Definately a tall glass of something cold. Iced tea or coffee will do very nicely, and I'm even good with a big glass of ice water. Ya, I know that's boring, but it is refreshing!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Keepin' Cool in Summer Topic #2

This week I'm asked to share what makes me feel like summer has really arrived. Well, just like the kids, since I'm in school nine months of the year, I do feel like summer is here when school lets out. However, we do get out quite early in these parts (May 23 this year), so sometimes the weather is summery then, but often times it's not. This year we had a few nice days sprinkled here and there, but mostly we've had a long, cold, and lately very rainy, spring. Last week I actually ran the heater in my car a couple of times because my toes were so cold!

Another thing that makes me have that summer kind of feeling is when I've got my planters filled and looking purdy out on my patio. I try to wait until most danger of frost is passed, which they "say" is the end of May. Who knows??

Even when it's cold out, if the sun pounds through my south sunroom window, my doggies think it's got to be warm and inviting outside. I tell them it's cold, but they're not satisfied until I let them out to discover for themselves that they indeed cannot lay on the cold, frozen brick. After about thirty seconds, they're woofing to come back in. However. . . .

When I see THIS. . . .
. . . I KNOW it's summer, cause this is no cold-weather doggie I have here. When my hounds lay down on the warm patio brick and bask, I know it's time to grab my knitting and a cup of coffee and join them.

And this big guy may LOOK tough and vicious (yeah, right!!), but he's a big baby that cries to be in the sun. (And to sit on his mommy's lap--all 78 pounds of him.) He finds even the smallest sunbeam shining through a window unto the carpet and lays himself down in it.
As you can see, it's a tough job being the family dogs, but it's gotta be done!!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Keepin' Cool in Summer Topic #1

This week I'm asked to share a favorite dishcloth. Well, it's hard to choose just one, but I do love so many of the designs by Sue over at Harvest Moon. I have a number of them, and those that I've tried have all turned out just fantastic. Fun designs and great directions--you can't do any better than that!! The one pictured below is one of Sue's designs, titled My Favorite Dishcloth. I've made several and really like the pattern. The yarn is Bernat Handicrafters in the color Jewels, and I used my size 7 Lantern Moon needles. I'm actually working on another one of these right now in a different colorway.
Here's another dishcloth I finished recently. It's the Lacy Round Cloth by Rhonda K. White, and you can find it here. I've made a couple of these as well, and they're fun and easy. The yarn on this one is hand dyed that I purchased on ebay last summer. Sorry, but I don't know where it came from. (I know, *sigh*) It's a little finer yarn, and I used my Clover Bamboo size 6 needles. Very cute, if I do say so myself!!
In other knitting news, I spent some serious time at the frog pond tonight. I'll blog about that later. My grandma used to have a saying, "As you sew, so you rip". Well, I guess we knitters have our own version of that same saying: "As you knit, so you frog.!"

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Keepin' Cool in Summer Questionnaire~~

It's been a little while since I've been in a swap, so I'm looking forward to being a part of the Keepin' Cool in Summer Dishcloth Exchange. Here is my questionnaire:

1. Do you Knit or Crochet? Both, but lately it's been all about knitting. For how long? My grandma taught me both when I was just a little girl, so for a L O N G time!!

2. Do you enjoy using metal, wooden, or some other kind of needle\hook? I have a variety of wood straights and dpns, and I really like them. I have both wood and metal (addi) circs.

3. What are your favorite types of yarn? There are so many wonderful yarns, how's a girl to choose? I like nice wool, cotton, and whatever looks "fun" or catches my eye. Any you just can't stand? Don't care for novelty yarns much. Eyelash and other similar types are out for me!

4. When it comes to cotton, are there any brands you'd love to try and haven't? I'm curious about the new skinny cotton from Blue Sky.

5. When you make Dishcloths, do you use them yourself, or tend to give them as gifts? Both.

6. Do you have a favorite color? I love rich, saturated shades and jewel tones. Teal, navy, berry shades. Any that you dislike? I'm not a big fan of pure shades of yellow, orange, kelly green.

7. What color(s) (if any!) are your kitchen and bath decorated in? My kitchen is pale shades of teal with some beige. One bathroom is teal and taupe, and mine is white and soft rose with the occassional shot of beige and soft blue.

8. What are your favorite scents around the house? Vanilla, almond, and clean "water" and "air" scents.

9. What is your very favorite thing about summer? Being able to sit outside on my patio. I'll take pretty much anything I need to get done out there to work on: bills and paperwork, computer stuff, and of course, knitting!

10. What is your least favorite thing about summer? Humidity.

11. Do you use soap or body wash in the shower? Body wash.

12. What scents do you enjoy in the bath? Vanilla, almond, and fresh outdoor scents.

13. What is your favorite dishcloth pattern? How do I choose just one? The last two I've made have been "My Favorite Dishcloth" from Harvest Moon Designs, so I guess that's my current fave.

14. What sort of treats do you enjoy? When it comes to treats, I am most easy to please. I like chocolate (duh!), and I really enjoy Lindt white chocolate truffles. Sweet or Salty? Either/Or/Both!!

15. Imagine today is one of the hottest days of the year - what do you do to keep cool? Or are you one of those folks who loves the hot weather? I stay inside and appreciate my air conditioning. I might french press some coffee to sip with a biscotti, or maybe a glass of iced tea. Then I'll sit in my favorite chair and enjoy my beverage while I knit and look out the window into my backyard. I can enjoy some of the beauty of nature without the heat.

16. What sort of hobbies do you enjoy besides knitting or crocheting? I haven't been doing much other than knitting lately, but I do also enjoy beading and working with polymer clay.

17. Do you collect anything (besides yarn!) Not really. I have a couple of Willow Tree Angels, as well as a couple of this or that, but no big collections.

18. Are you on Ravelry? I am, but I have done absolutely nothing with it. If so, share your ID! alanaR

19. Do you have any allergies? No.

20. Do you have any pets? Two dogs (Boxers) that I love way too much and spoil shamelessly.

Monday, May 19, 2008

And The Winners Are...

Congratulations to Holly and smariek, the winners of my blogoversary contest! I used the highly scientific method of putting all the names (and there were a lot of them--some of you did all the extra credit!!)) into a bowl and drawing two. Thanks to everyone who entered... it's been great fun reading all your comments and suggestions.

I've already checked out a number of the ideas for my Sea Silk and I'm going to look at all of them. I recognized many of your names from swaps I've been in and from comments on other people's blogs and it was fun to have you stop by mine!

Thanks to all of you for making my
Blogoversary Contest
so much fun!!
I really enjoyed myself, and
I hope you did, too!!!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Just Enjoying the Evening~~

Finally an evening where I can just sit outside and enjoy! Some of the first summery days we've had have been accompanied by winds that just about knock you off your feet. Matter of fact I believe I was quite the spectacle leaving the grocery store yesterday.I was doing my Saturday morning "box" run in my continuing effort to have enough boxes to move my mom out of her apartment next weekend when my brother and sister-in-law are here to help. Well, I spent considerable time fitting boxes one inside the other, getting as many as possible in one trip. This way I could fill my shopping cart once and be on my merry way. Did quite well... had them fit together in a creative puzzle-like fashion and tucked and balanced on my shopping cart. Piled high enough I had to peek around them to see where I was going. What I failed to factor in was the gale force wind blowing outside.

Ya, I know... you're already a step ahead of me. Once I exited the store the wind hit the broad flat surfaces of my boxes and off they went, sliding across the parking lot with me hot on their trail trying to bring them into submission with my foot, while at the same time trying to control the cart (also not an easy task). A pretty sight, I'm sure... especially from behind. Oh well, if onlookers were adequately entertained, then I'm good. Anyhoo, I managed to wedge the runaway boxes into a bike rack, rush to my car with the cart and prop it against the side of my car while I went back for the naughty boxes. I thought I heard them laughing... do boxes laugh???

Well, one might think I would have learned from this experience, but one would be wrong. I managed to repeat a different version of my stupidity at the second grocery store. Not the SAME mistakes... new and different ones! That's gotta be a good thing, right?
Then I got to my mom's apartment, only to find myself struggling again, this time with my butt in the air and my shirt blown clear up to who-knows-where! An elderly gentleman sitting in a car parked next to mine must have had his chuckle for the day. Strong winds and a bunch of empty boxes just do not mix!

On a different note, my blogoversary contest ends tonight at midnight, and I'm anxious to draw the winners. Since I work in the morning, I won't be up that late, but will draw them tomorrow, and notify the winners as soon as possible. Yea... it's been a fun party!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

This Is Really Fun!

I'm getting the biggest kick out of this blogoversary contest! I can't believe how many comments I've received as well as great suggestions for using my Sea Silk. It's fun checking out new blogs, and I've peeked at a few of the suggested patterns, too.

While nosing around I came across this gorgeous piece, named "Iris", designed by Susan of A Few Stitches Short. I would love to make something this glorious, but honestly don't know if I have it in me. Would I die of old age before I got it done?

Anyway, I don't think this pattern/kit is available yet, but I believe it will be soon. I was there checking out Crocus Pocus, a smaller piece that I could possibly make with my Sea Silk! Susan certainly is a gifted designer of beautiful lace.

I've been working on my South Seas Table Mat, so it's grown a little. It's an easy knit, but doesn't knit itself-- I have to actually pick up the needles and go at it. I can hardly wait til school's out and mom's moved so I have more knitting time. If it EVER WARMS UP, I'll fill my planters with happy flowers and sit out on the patio with my coffee, my dogs, and my knitting. That's one of my all time favorite things to do....

Sunday, May 11, 2008

I'm Having A Blogoversary Contest!!

It was one year ago that the daughter of one of my friends helped me set up a blog for the sole purpose of being eligible to participate in a swap. I've swapped a few times since then, blogged more than I ever thought I would, and have made some really fun friends!

Well it's time to celebrate, so I'm having my first ever contest! I'm not a big time blogger, so if you're one of my three or four regular readers, your chances of winning should be pretty good!!

There will be two winners.
The first person whose name I draw
will get to choose one of these two books...
... and one of these hanks of yarn.
The second person drawn will get the other book
and the other yarn!
Easy as Pie!!
And, there will be some other goodies for both of the
winners as well.
Not sure yet what they will be, but I'm
thinkin' on it!
Here are the rules:
1. Leave me a comment and your name will be entered one time.
2. Mention my contest and link me on your blog and your name will be entered a second time.
3. Make a suggestion as to how I might use the Hand Maiden Sea Silk that is pictured in my previous post and you'll get another entry.
4. I'm going to try to be a good little blogger and post a couple of times this week. Come back and comment on those posts, and you're name will go into the hat yet another time.
The contest will end at midnight, one week from today. That's Sunday, May 18.
Good Luck, and Thanks for Entering!!!

Friday, May 9, 2008

And The Week Goes On... and on... and on...

How long can these last several weeks of school be? There are always a couple of kids that finish school "early" and just check out, which makes it so lovely for the rest of us. Oh, well... there are only two weeks left. Nine days with students. Not that I'm counting... I'm not. (Mmm Hmm)

Yesterday the secretary came to my room bearing these lovely flowers from my oldest son and his girlfriend. It was such a bright, cheery spot on my desk. For the rest of the day I just kept staring at them. Right before school was out I turned them around to find that one of my adorable students had pinched every petal on one of the big lilies. All six, so hard that they were transparent and wilty. I was so upset that when they returned from PE I made them all sit and listen before I dismissesd them. Revisited the lecture on personal space and told them I expected a confession. One of my co-workers shared a portion of her mind, as well.

Would you believe I got my "I'm sorry" within just a few minutes? And that it came from a new student on his very first day? Whoda thunk? I've gotta say, though, that I was glad it wasn't one of the kids I've been working with all year. It would have been hard not to take that pretty personal. This little guy doesn't know me yet, and I don't know him, so somehow that makes it easier for me to swallow.

I went straight to the florist after school to get the lily replaced, and the sweet girl at the shop didn't even charge me! Needless to say, the flowers didn't go back to school with me!! They are now gracing my coffee table at home!

I got a great yarny treat from Loopy Ewe! And believe it or not, it's the first time I've ordered from them. Probably because I've not been all that successful with knitting socks. I won a Loopy Ewe gift certificate from Amanda, so I went shopping and splurged on something special. It's Hand Maiden Sea Silk in the colorway Paris. I just thought those shades were too purdy to resist! Don't ask me what I'm going to make with it, because I have no clue. Just thought it was something I should have!! (Ya I know, that's hard for you to believe!)
Even though life has been totally hectic lately, I have tried to knit a couple of stitches now and then. I've finished a couple of dishcloths, which I haven't taken pics of yet. I'm also working on a couple of lacy pieces, which are great fun. This is a simple pattern, but seems like quite a bit of knitting just to end up with a bunch of holes! It's the South Seas Table Mat from Knit Two Together. I'm using the Euroflax that it calls for, but I did have jump up a couple of needle sizes. That's unusual for me, too, as I knit a bit loose and often find myself having to use a smaller needle. I had to start this one a few times before I found a needle that would work. It's probably about three times this long, now.
This next pattern I is totally dreamy. I absolutely lurve it!! And watching the design "come together" is SO fun! It's sized to be a fairly large table runner, but my lifestyle isn't quite that grand, so I've scaled it down some and am making it both narrower and shorter. It's from Berroco, the NaturLin leaflet, #273. And I'm actually knitting it with NaturLin. Two projects using the yarn that's suggested. Look at the great detail in the design. It lays so nice, even without being blocked that I can hardly wait to see it finished and all blocked into shape. This one will probably take me a little while to finish, and it's not something I can do while watching TV or chatting with someone. If I find mistakes, I HAVE to rip down and fix them, so it's better just to be careful in the first place.My mom has moved into assisted living, so I'm working on the enjoyable task of packing up and vacating her apartment. I only have one brother, who is 300 miles away, so he's not able to help as much as he'd like. (He does do all the telephone junk, though, and I really appreciate that because I hate doing that kind of stuff.) He and his wife are coming over Memorial Day weekend, and we'll finish it all then. Meantime, I'm trying to do a little each weekend so our task won't be so monumental. Last weekend I got her china, crystal, and other fancy dishes all wrapped and boxed. It's nice to have that task out of the way. I'm thinking tomorrow may be a den kind of day.

This has been quite the reminder of how we tend to accumulate "stuff". Makes me want to come home and get rid of almost everything I own! Just on general principle!! Can't help but think of how the Bible tells us not to store up treasures on this earth where moths and rust corrupt and theives break in to steal and destroy.

We're having a lousy spring. Two weeks ago my hubby took some cool looking snow pics (if there is such a thing at the end of April!) for me to put on my blog, but I just didn't get around to it. Of course it melted right away, but it's still been cooler than normal, and also gloomy. The up side of this less than great weather is that warm, sun-shiney days make the kids at school even more restless.

I actually did some beading recently. I haven't done any for ages, but wanted to finish a piece I'd started, as I needed a special gift for a friend. I found out just how much I've missed working with beads. Most of my things are organized, but there are a couple of drawers that are quite a mess and I want to get everything all sorted and put away. I'm going to do that when school's out, and then I'm going to take some time to make some things. Found some beads I'd forgotten I'd bought, and they were really cool! Need to use them!

But... gotta finish packing Mom up first :o)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Found Us A Contest~~~

Sue is having a contest, so stop by her blog, say hello, and get yourself entered!
I see I'm coming up on my bloggiversary in a few days, too, so perhaps it's time for me to start thinking about a contest!!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ive Got Some Catchin' Up To Do...

Well, it was awhile ago now, but Dorothy surprised me with the "You Make My Day Award", and I will admit that getting it really did help to make MY day! I'm a very "small scale" blogger, and to be called out by someone who enjoys reading my blog was very cool! There are also some great bloggers who make my day everytime I read their posts, but unless I'm mistaken, they've all received this award already, so just check out the "Where I Go" list on my sidebar, and you'll see who they are! If you're on that list, you are definately a "Day Maker" for me! ~~~Big, fat hugs to all of you~~~

This was a super fun surprise: I won a contest over at modest purls -- a $25 gift certificate to The Loopy Ewe! I'm so excited... I've never ordered from Loopy Ewe, but have done lots of window shopping! Well, now I shall order, and I can hardly wait. I've been drooling over an especially gorgeous skein of Sea Silk, and there's also some Cherry Tree Hill yarn calling out to me. Hmmm. Decisions, decisions.

I finished the wrap I was working on a while back, but haven't posted pics because I was waiting to get it blocked. Well, I'm still waiting, but decided at least to steam it somewhat into shape with my iron so I could take some pictures and get them up. I know at least one person was anxious to see them--Yes, Chan, I'm talking about YOU!!
I'm not all that pleased with the way it photographed. I tried it both indoors and out, and couldn't get quite what I wanted, but you know how that goes. Here are the finished specs:
Size: 84 x 21
Yarn: Noro Aurora (ten balls)
Needles: Straights, size 8 (wood)
Pattern: Saw something similar in a book or
magazine, scribbled a few notes on a scrap
of paper, and put it together as best I could.
(Ya, I know.)
I do expect it will get a little bigger once it's properly blocked, especially in the width, which will open up the lacy "stripes" a bit more, as well. The little light/shiny spots are where the yarn is wrapped with an irridescent fiber. It's randomly here and there, but looks kind of nice.
Then, Chan tagged me for Book Tag.
Here are the rules:
Pick a book at least 123 pages long.
Open that book to page 123.
Find the fifth sentence and post the next three.
Then tag five other people to do the same.
* * * * * * * * * *
Since I'm not reading anything at the moment, I chose one of the last books I read, One Holy Fire, by Nicky Cruz.
"Raymond, I have to be honest with you. I don't know what to tell you. I'm not equipped to help you deal with your pain."
* * * * * * * * * *
This thought that makes me smile... I only have five more weeks of school. Whadaya think about that?? I can hardly wait to be able to sit out on the patio in the mornings with my hounds and sip coffee while the sun rises and the birds chirp.
Speaking of my dogbabies, they love the warm spring sun. Here they are lovin' and snoozin' on their couch in the sunroom as the sun pours through the window. They'd be sad to know that their mommy has plans to set that couch out on the berm during spring clean-up week.
Guess Flex is wondering why I'm snapping pictures. Or maybe he can read my mind and that crabby face means he doesn't even want me thinking about getting read of their old, torn, hairy, dusty (wonderful, perfect, sweet-smelling) couch.

This summer I'm going to try NOT to take on a huge project that disrupts my whole household for weeks. The painting of my livingroom, foyer, stairwell, and halls last summer was a royal pain in the neck. There are STILL a few things in a far bedroom that haven't been put away. However, I am thrilled with the results, and enjoy them each and every day.

I've still got lots of yarn, and other stuff, that I want to put on ebay, so I'm going to do that. I'd also like to have a garage sale, but that means DH must first clean the garage to my specifications, and I'm not holding my breath on that one. And, I do want to get my basement in order. It's a finished basement, but it needs some serious (VERY serious) de-cluttering, getting-rid-of, and cleaning. Get those things done, and it would really be a great place to hang out.

I've started working on two more lace projects. Even took some pics of my (not all that much) progress, but I'll wait to post them till next time. They're both fun, but one of them is REALLY cool! At least I think so!

I'll leave you with a picture of a little bag that I crocheted to hold a gift for a swap I was in a while ago. No pattern... just made it to fit a little something I wanted to tuck into the box.
.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A Colorful Contest~~

There's a fun contest over at modestpurls! Check it out to share your favorite colors and get some fun color ideas from others!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Kids... Don'tcha Just Love 'Em??

I didn't give much thought to the fact that today was April Fools Day. No big deal, right? Well, leave it to my students not to come to school ill-prepared. Only a few minutes into class I walked from the front of the room toward my desk, and just as I took the last step, I heard a rather suspicious sound? Looking puzzled (I know I did because of the raucaus laughter in the room) I asked, "What was that?" Silly, stupid me. That only added to their glee! Then another "sound", this one suspiciously "fart-like" in nature erupted from, well, me it sounded like, but it wasn't.

Those little darlins had strategically planted an electronic "Fart Machine" under my chair when I was out of the room before school. Geniuses, I tell you... I'm working with young geniuses, here! Gotta give 'em credit; that was good! Many chuckles were had those first two periods of school.

Almost funnier was third period, which is my prep. I was sitting alone in my room, working, and every once in a while another "pfhhht" would erupt. Even when they were across the hall, thoroughly absorbed in their history class, my little sweet potatoes were thinking of me! Kinda warms the cockels of your heart, don't it?!?

Since I'm here I might as well post pics of a couple more FO's. I'd made and felted this bag quite some time ago, but recently needed it for a gift so I knit up some flowers to brighten it up a bit.
Started out like this...
Ended up like this...
The flowers were a royal pain in the tush, as I had to cut away large chunks and sew through many tough layers of felted wool to get them into shape. Took me three hours to get the flowers put together and attached to the bag. The good news is, she loved it! I now have three friends walking around town with these bags sporting unseemingly large flowers, but they love them. They say lots of others do to, and if I would "make up a bunch" for them to carry around they could sell them for me, easy peasy! Who knew.
A few swaps ago I received the BEST tape measure from Chan, and knew I just had to figure out how to make them. At the time I didn't know where to get them. Anyhow, these are the little guys I came up with, and they were fun to make. Quick and easy!
There are now indications that spring may come to North Dakota this year after all. Not too much snow left any more, and it was warm today... upper 30's. (Stop it.... that's not funny!!) Well, my doggies wanted to be out in the yard a bit, so I let them. I told them not to go where it's wet, but apparently they didn't 'hear' me. Came in with all eight of their snow-white feel drenched in mud, with tufts of last years dried grass sticking out from between their toes. Their punishment: Can't be in the livingroom with Mommy (and VERY light carpet) until the piggies are clean. Must stay in the family room. Life's tough when you're the family dogs!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Some Contest Fun~~

It's not to late to enter Chan's Bloggiversary Contest! Go check it out for a chance at some great prizes!

And then hurry on over to Anne's Contest, where she's looking to find out about some new blogs that will interest her. And remember to tell her I sent you!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Who Am I, And Where Did Me Go??

My mojo is gone, I'm in a deep purple funk, and stress levels are at the 'red alert' level. I can't believe how long it's been since I blogged, but the inertia just hasn't been there. I took three huge emotional hits, two days apart for six days, that really sent me reeling. So many serious matters on my plate right now that not much seems like fun.

The third hit came when my oldest son called me late one night to tell me he'd blown his good knee. Now he has two that are a mess, and both more than likely needing surgery. He's had an ACL repair once before, but now probably needs two more. If only he'd give up all the sports and hijinks and take up knitting. It's so much safer, don'cha think?

However, I did have a day brightener over the weekend when I opened my mailbox to find this great yarn from Amanda. I was one of the winners in her PMS contest and she sent some of her own hand dyed yarn. It's soft and mooshy and will be great fun to knit up. A big "Thank You" to Amanda for her generous gift!!
Since I'm here, I might as well share a couple of FO's. I must confess I knit them up a while back, but getting around to doing the felting was the hard part. In fact, I only got it done when I was forced into it by the impending birthday gathering for a friend, and her gift needed felting. I made her a bag adorned with felted flowers, but I'll show pics of that next time. Meanwhile, here's a coster pre-felting....
And here's how they turned out. They're okay, but I'm not sure they're worth the work. I've made round ones before, and they were not only more fun to knit, but I liked the end product better, too. These aren't as thick, and the hexagonal shape isn't quite as "hexy" as I'd like it to be. I'm tempted to trim the corners to make the edges straighter, but that might be a bit risky. Probably ruin the striping, too. The yarn is Berocco Jasper, a self-striping wool. I got the six coasters out of two skeins.
Next up, a pair of gargantuan slippers, which felted down to a perfect size for my foot. I came close to felting them too long. Wouldn't that have been a blunder....
Pattern: House Slippers from Knit 2 Together
Yarn: KnitPicks Shamrock, 3 strands
I've also finished the wrap I started a few weeks back, but need to block it before I take pics. It's nice... I like the way it turned out. What to start next... Hmmm... I wonder...