Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My 100th Post - December 31, 2008

It's New Year's Eve, and we're having a snow squall right now. It's snow showers with a lot of heavy winds. We had a wonderful family get-together on Saturday at the home of my nephew and his wife. They were gracious hosts and everything was wonderful! Lots of good food and good company.
We missed the company of my sister and her children, who are all in Colorado. Hopefully, one day they will be able to move back to the east coast to be near the rest of us!
It was a short week at work - just 2 days and we are off for the remaining three days of this week. I won't know how to get through a full week once I go back.

It's a nice quiet day today, so I think I'll sift through some of my crochet patterns and look for a new project! So much yarn and so many projects! I love to crochet!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Day - 2008

First - remember the reason for the season!

The day started out with an early morning trip to the cemetery to leave markers on the graves of my parents and uncle. After visiting there for a while, DH and I took a trip to Wawa, where we stopped for coffee. I decided to pick up some bacon, as I knew I had some at home but wasn't sure if it was enough for breakfast. When I got home, I decided that the bacon I had on hand was plenty, so I threw it in a pan - and burned it! Good thing I bought more!

We opened our gifts. I did surprise my husband this year. He usually finds out one way or another what he is getting for Christmas. This year, he was with me when I purchased a gift certificate for the dive shop. Then he mentioned a Black and Decker level that he wanted to get. So I ordered it online, last minute, and hoped it would arrive on time. It did - in a box clearly marked "Black and Decker Level" - thanks, Ace Hardware! So no surprise there. However - he did not know that I purchased a gift certificate for him to a "Sharks Up Close" outing at the Adventure Aquarium in Camden. Why he wants to swim in a tank full of sharks is beyond me. But he's been talking about it since becoming a certified diver. To me, the best dive is one where you don't see any sharks! My son was excited to hear my husband would be doing this and wants to go along to see it.

Later we received a call from DS Dan and his girlfriend. They were going to stop off so that we could exchange Christmas gifts with them. Just as they arrived, I was finishing up with fringe on Nicole's scarf. Talk about last-minute crocheting! I set it down on the floor next to me, and went to throw away the scraps of yarn I had on my lap. As I entered the living room, and as Dan and Nicole came in through the front door - crash! The front of my aquarium shattered into a million pieces, and 20 gallons of water, fish and gravel poured out onto my coffee table, carpeting and Christmas gifts! I don't know what happened to the tank, but we took every towel in the house to try to soak up the water. It's still a mess, even though we've done the best we could with it. We'll have to rent a carpet cleaner tomorrow to finish the job. I did manage to save 4 fish, although two of them may not make it. Two of the survivors are gouramis, so they will do well in a betta tank.

I received the Annie's Attic Think Pink Crochet pattern book - it's wet, of course. Caught in the flood. I have it drying out in front of a fan. I also asked for an Ipod and got one, and a giraffe patterned purse (tote bag size). That's drying out too. At least the electronics escaped the deluge.

It's been an interesting day so far. We were invited to visit Nicole's mom and have dinner, or at least have dessert with them. So we will head over there. I have some Lindt chocolate truffles for her mom. I've been in touch via e-mail with my brothers and sisters, and most of us with be able to get together for a family gathering on Saturday. Looking forward to it!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve - Santa's Visit

I ran around early this morning, picking up some last minute bargains. I think I have everything I need! There is still more wrapping to do before the night is over!

DH Wayne made his "Santa" appearance at my friend's house, for her granddaughters. He won another one over. Last year, Gabrielle screamed when Santa came in and wouldn't go near him. This year, Santa got a hug, AND she sat on his lap and posed for photos. Wayne has been looking forward to being Santa and was hoping that his knee replacement wouldn't keep him from his Christmas Eve visit. He was fine. As you can see, the youngest isn't past her screaming-meemie stage yet! LOL! Next year will be better! "Santa", me and our son Tom in the photo...

Time to get back to work with last-minute wrapping!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Bone-Chilling Sunday

We started out this morning with freezing rain and it's cold and raw outside. Brrrr! The min-pins don't stay out long at all! When they come back in, they burrow their way under the afghans to warm up! LOL!

I finally have a nice place to show off my Nativity set. It's set up in my new bay window. I love the way the set looks there.

Every once in a while, I do have to straighten the camel up, because the cat still finds a way to climb onto the window sill. She doesn't stay long, just long enough to knock over the camel.

To think I nearly sold this set to someone about 14 years ago for $100 when I was still on unemployment and money was running out. But the man who was going to buy it for his wife decided he wanted Elton John tickets instead. Thank goodness! In the next week or so I was offered a full time position and I got to keep my set! It's one of the few things I have made that I have kept for myself. I wouldn't part with it now for $500 - it means so much to me. I made it the year after my mother passed away and I nearly went bonkers trying to find the right Nativity set for Christmas. I just had to have one! This turned out to be the perfect set for me.

I had hoped to get out to get a few last minute items this morning, but it's too nasty to go out. I don't want to be on the roads when they're so icy.

I was paging through a new book last night - Crochet Jackets, Wraps and More. I saw a few projects I'd like to try next year. Nothing like planning ahead, right?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Party at the Dive Shop

DH and I just got back from a Christmas party at the dive shop. The shop owner put out tables full of appetizers like cheese and crackers, and there were sandwiches, pizza, stromboli, and so many desserts! I made a pot of pulled pork barbecue at Wayne's request and took that along with some rolls. I do have to say that the barbecue was the first to run out. Not that I didn't make enough - well, maybe I didn't. LOL! I used a pork loin that must have been a good 15 inches long. We had to cut it into sections in order to make it fit in the crockpot. I then made homemade barbecue sauce - my mother-in-law's recipe with a little honey and mustard added to it. It was great, if I do say so myself.

The dive shop was decorated for Christmas, top to bottom. They have a great looking tree, with lots of diving and oceanic ornaments. I took a glittery purple angel fish along and gave it to the shop owner - she added it to the tree. They had a great slide show set up, with photos from all of their dive outings this year. We had a wonderful time.

I heard from my holiday exchange partner on Crochetville. She received her package on the deadline (glad it wasn't late) and she said she liked everything she received. I had sent a hat, scarf and mitten set, along with a sushi scarf and a couple of pretty red decorated chopsticks. She said she can use those as hair sticks to tie up her long hair. Along with those, I sent a pattern book, some yarn, a Christmas tree ornament from Lenox, some perfume, notepaper, and some other little goodies. I'm very glad she liked her gifts. It was a lot of fun to exchange with her!

I accomplished some Christmas projects this morning as well. I had two packages to mail out. One to my sister in Colorado, for her and her kids. The other was destined for Florida. I sent them priority mail, so I hope they will receive them before Christmas. I was surprised to only spent 5 minutes in line at the post office. I must say they were quite efficient behind the counter and kept things moving at a good pace! I was out in such a short time that I treated myself to a stop at the Wawa for a cup of coffee.

I brought some sandwiches home from the party for DS Tom. I don't think I'll be hungry anymore tonight, but I sure feel like I could take a nap! Wayne and I were invited out by a few of the other instructors and divemasters, but we declined. I think we're too old for them! I'd rather go home and grab some Z's. We're partypoopers! LOL!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Another Sick Day From Work

I hope this isn't a sign of things to come this winter. Again, I have serious head congestion and can't sleep at night. I went to the doctor today, who diagnosed a case of sinusitis. The left side of my face is actually puffy looking, from the congestion. Ugh! Back on medication.

I finally got my computer back on Sunday, and I can post a photo of the mittens I made. I added them to the hat and scarf set I sent to my holiday exchange partner.

The snow is coming down outside, but I don't think we'll get any accumulation other than a covering on the grass and trees. It sure looks pretty! I hope we have snow for Christmas, which is not that far away! I want to make another trip to the stores to see if I can pick up some other small items to add to the Christmas bags I'm making for my brothers and sisters. Candles or lotions - small odds and ends. Maybe Kohls will be open late.

Tonight is Tom's last class before the semester break. I hope he is careful walking from school to the train station. I really hate this late class because he's got to walk almost a mile to the station.

Hubby is wrapping Christmas gifts - I should see if he needs a hand.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Saturday December 13

This is a grand morning! It's lovely outside, with bright sunshine after several days of teeming rain. There was a huge moon in the sky last night. It was at perigee, with its closest approach to the earth in 20+ years. I drove out early this morning to the grocery store to pick up a few odds and ends and there was a huge gray cloudbank in the sky ahead of me. If I hadn't known where I was, I would have sworn there was a mountain range in the distance!

I received my Crochetville Holiday exchange package from my swap partner and she truly outdid herself. I received a lovely afghan in red, white and blue, some scarves, a very pretty feminine wrap, lots of yarn and other goodies.

I prepared Vicki's package for mailing and took it to the post office this morning, to go via priority mail. I hope she doesn't have to wait too long for it. I hope she likes the things I made for her, and other little goodies I added to the box.

Wayne is in so much pain. I'd like to ask his physical therapist why they are pushing him so hard. He doesn't have to work that hard and take pain medication around the clock. That's just wrong...

I heard from the Crochet Pattern-a-Day calendar representative. She e-mailed me to let me know that she received my submissions! I do hope they will publish at least one of my patterns! How exciting that would be!

Looking forward to a bright sunny weekend! Back to my coffee.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

When It Rains, It Pours

First, the important news. DH's surgery went well. His recovery so far is a little rough. They are having trouble controlling his blood pressure, and when they try to get him up out of bed, his blood pressure drops drastically. I'm hoping that will resolve itself today, and that tomorrow will be a better day.

Our heater quit working. It's quite cold today, and I have to take off from work to wait for a repairman to come out. I hope it's not going to be too expensive, as we just bought a car on Saturday. Who knew? Finally traded in the gas-guzzling Jeep Liberty (as much as I liked it, other than fuel efficiency) and purchased a Nissan Rogue. It's a four-cylinder engine and all the car I need. It's surprisingly peppy for a 4-cylinder, I must say. Glad it has cruise control, as on the test drive I was up to 70 mph in no time at all! I will miss my Jeep - it was fun to drive and the 4-wheel drive was a blessing in bad weather. But 28 mpg will payoff in the long run.

More bad news - the new laptop I purchased 2 months ago is in for repairs already. Possibly the hard drive or the motherboard. Nice, huh? So my photo of my mittens will have to wait until I take a new photo.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Wayne's Surgery Tomorrow

Wayne is a little nervous this evening. His total knee replacement will be done tomorrow. I feel for him, as I was very nervous this last time. But I am positive that all will go well. I made a nice dinner for him this evening, since he won't be able to eat anything after midnight tonight, and his surgery won't be until 11:00 am or later tomorrow. We had leftover turkey and duck, with fresh homemade mashed potatoes, homemade stuffing, gravy and brussels sprouts in tomato cheese sauce. The brussels sprouts are Wayne's favorite Thanksgiving dish. You simply take frozen brussels sprouts, cook them until they are tender, then transfer them to a microwave safe dish. Add a can of tomato soup and some grated cheddar cheese to make the sauce, and microwave them until the sauce is heated through. They are delicious!

My friend's daughter was married last night. We didn't make it in time for the service itself, but we went to the reception. It was beautiful, with a Marine Corps sword drill (the one where they cross swords for the bride and groom to walk under). She looked lovely in her wedding gown, and my friend and her husband were exceptional hosts. We had a lovely time, and I even danced a slow dance with DH Wayne. He was a good sport about it, because I know he was in serious pain last night. I love him dearly! I can't wait until he starts to have some relief from the painful knee.

I finished up the mittens I was working on, and I really like the way they turned out. Not bad for my first attempt at mittens, and using my own pattern to boot! I'll post photos another time - my computer is acting up again!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

It's been a nice day! I woke this morning and the house was filled with the aroma of turkey cooking in the crockpot. I put a turkey breast in last night before I went to sleep. It was cooking all night. Since our plans were to have dinner at my sister's house, I thought it would be nice to have some turkey on hand here for "leftovers" and sandwiches and even some soup. Just like in "The Christmas Story" - when the narrator talks about the turkey hash, turkey a la king and gallons of turkey soup!

We had a nice visit with DS Dan and his girlfriend. I can see that she is good to him, and good for him! Before they arrived, I put two ducks in the oven to roast. DH Wayne just loves duck for Thanksgiving. They weren't quite finished by the time Dan and Nicole left, so we packed up the roaster and took them with us to my sister's, where the ducks finished cooking in her oven.

My sister had a wonderful dinner for us, with mashed potatoes (or masha-tatoes, as her granddaughter calls them), gravy, corn, sweet potatoes, squash, delicious stuffing, turkey, the duck I brought over, and 4 kinds of pie. She sent us home with a little of everything. I am stuffed! We had a nice time together. Wayne and my sister's BF exchanged hunting stories - some of them were hilarious! We had lots of laughs and talked about our memories of growing up with my mom and dad. I miss them. But it wasn't the sad, bittersweet holiday I expected that it would be.

On a crochet note, I worked on the items I'm making for my holiday exchange partner. Then I decided to try some improvising and crocheted a mitten. It didn't come out too bad, considering it's the first I've ever made. I think they'll be good enough to leave in my car for emergencies. I was working on them while visiting with Dan and Nicole, and finished up mitten number one. Now to see if I can make the other one match, as I wasn't writing down what I was doing with the first one! This should be interesting. I'll post photos later, when I have both mittens finished.

It was a nice afternoon and evening with family and friends. I hope you all had the same!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday Evening - Thanksgiving Next Week

Thanksgiving is next week! I can't believe it! It will soon be Christmas. Where has the year gone? This will be the first holiday without my Dad or my Mom. Mom passed away 16 years ago, and Dad in January this year. It's going to be a bittersweet holiday. For the first time, my brothers and sisters and I are on our own. They say you aren't really an adult until your parents are gone. But I truly believe that Mom and Dad are once again together.

This week was fairly busy at work. It was the last of my physical therapy sessions. I'm supposed to hear from the therapist in 2 weeks to see whether or not I still have issues to resolve. The back of my knee had been giving me problems and I'll be back to wearing my casual dress shoes instead of sneakers to work. We'll see.

Wayne goes into the hospital on Monday 12/1 for his surgery - knee replacement. I keep telling him he'll be so glad he did it, once it's over.

I finished up a handful of face ornaments for Christmas. Attached is a photo.

There are snowmen, teddy bears and elves. Hope to get more done before our family Christmas get-together.

Dinner tonight was excellent! Stuffed peppers, one of my DH's favorites. We had dinner out the other night for DS Dan's 25th birthday. It was nice to get together with him and with his girlfriend. She is very sweet!

My min-pin buddy is curled up next to me on this recliner. He doesn't leave my side. What a good friend he is! Little scamp!

The scuba shop is planning a trip to the Florida Keys again in February. I can't wait to go, even though I'm not a diver. My sister-in-law will be going with us, so I'll have another non-diver to spend time with. I think that this time, I'd like to take a ride to Key West to see it. Hope we can have dinner again at Sundowners' too.

Earlier in another post, I mentioned working on a round ripple afghan for my friend's daughter, as a shower gift. I had second thoughts on this afghan, and didn't know if the yellow, beige and brown afghan would go with her decor. I decided instead to give her a 2-strand round ripple I did in blended rainbow colors that I entered in the grange fair in August. I had it in storage and thought about using it myself, but hated to put it out where the dogs would want to curl up in it! LOL! She loved this one! I'm glad, as it took a lot of yarn and a long time to finish it.

I popped a DVD into the player today and watched "Elf" - twice! I wanted to also get a head start on the Christmas season with a viewing of "The Christmas Story", which is my favorite holiday movie. But I can't find it! I'll have to put it on my Blockbuster queue.

Well, back to crocheting. I'm working on my gift for my Holiday exchange partner on Crochetville. I hope she likes it.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

It's Been a Busy Week

Last Saturday, I went to my friend's house. She said her daughter-in-law wanted to learn to crochet. So I took a hook and a book with some basic crochet instructions with me, and spent about 3 hours there teaching crochet. I had some reservations, as the DIL had plans to make mittens and hats! I told her it would take more than one lesson to be able to produce mittens! Anyway, she did settle on a scarf for a project, and with her K hook and blue yarn, she was off to a good start by the time I left.

While there, I started 3 (yes, 3!) double-strand afghans for my friend's daughters to work on. I taught them crochet about 6-7 years ago. Neither of the girls can start an afghan off, but once I work the first row in half-double crochet for them, they are good to go. I have to admit - I was a taken aback when they handed me blue and orange yarn to make a "Mets" blanket - while I sat there wearing my Phillies world champs colors! But I was a good friend and started the blanket anyway! LOL!

Sunday was a quiet day, and the workweek was very busy! Coming to the end of the year - we are getting very busy with payroll issues, vacation and sick time off and all kinds of other employee issues. It's also going to be benefits reenrollment time,too. So lots of questions to field. Three days last week I had physical therapy, and managed to bike 3 miles on Thursday afternoon.

Today is Saturday, and I am visiting my sister in NJ. We made a trip today to the T-Fal outlet and I purchased a new set of pots and pans. Mine are in pretty rough shape. I got a nice buy on baking sheets too. After shopping there, we went to Kohls and did some Christmas shopping. I got 3 gifts there. That will make a little dent in my "to-do" list. I think my brothers and sisters and I are leaning toward not doing the traditional pollyanna this year. Things are tight for some of us, so to make it easier on all, we'll just buy for the children in the family. With the exception of my "baby" brother. He is unmarried and has no kids, so we will get a little something for him so that his Christmas is bright. We will probably exchange packages with homemade baked or crafted items with the rest of the siblings.

I have a total of 9 face ornaments finished. I've started on some Santa hats and mittens. Pictures to follow when I get home. No camera here.

It's a nice rainy day today, and we are sitting here looking at paint samples with Mike. He is in the process of purchasing his own home, and I'm so excited for him. He's been renting for the longest time.

Looking forward to relaxing this evening, putting my feet up and doing some crocheting!

Friday, November 7, 2008

MHO and Some New Crochet Projects in Mind!

First - My Humble Opinion
A sad thought crossed my mind this morning, as I was listening to the news regarding the financial losses in the automobile industry. The automobile and its manufacturing process, introduced to the world by Americans, is now teetering on the brink of extinction while the rest of the world is excelling. What is wrong with this picture?

It seems that Americans are willing to settle for "good enough" and "status quo". Instead of producing cars in the same way for the last 30 years, why hasn't the auto industry been looking for ways to make more efficient cars? I can understand the production methods for the first 70 years. Cars were designed to be faster, more powerful and more attractive. No one had been concerned about economy, emissions or conservation. But certainly since the 70's, lots of folks were aware of the need for more efficient and cleaner vehicles. Instead the US has sat on it fat haunches and watched as Japan and Korea have taken the forefront in producing cars with better mileage.

Car company and oil company honchos have been collecting fat bonuses and retirements forever. It's time to set them straight! We need better mileage vehicles and we need them now! Take some of that money from the top echelon, put it into the research so badly needed and crank out cars that get 50 miles to the gallon. They'll sell cars again, believe me. And the person on the assembly line won't be the one who has to pay the price by losing his or her job.

On a crochet note: I am so excited! I received a package in the mail with some patterns I ordered from Annie's Attic. I cannot wait to get started! Plenty of holiday patterns. I am going to make some ornaments and definitely want to make the candy-striped afghan to enter in the grange fair next year. I think it would make an eye catching entry. The autumn potholders are calling me, too.
And I ordered Annie's Attic "Big Book of Animals" in order to make something for my expected grandchild. On the cover is a crocheted tiger, which I took to be a pillow-type of stuffed animal. Imagine my shock when I opened the booklet to find it's actually a cat bed! I wonder if anyone would know??? I really love the look of it and it would fit right in with the jungle theme in the baby's room. I think I'll make it anyway. As long as I don't give it to a cat first, no one would know what it was intended to be. I look at it and I see a sweet little boy lying down on top of it with his arms wrapped around it.

What's your opinion?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Congratulations to the President-Elect!

Congratulations to Barack Obama on his historic win this evening! He was my candidate of choice, and I'm watching Sen. McCain's gracious concession speech. I give him points for that.

Here's to hoping that all Americans will work, live and succeed together. And that our soldiers in foreign lands will be able to come home soon.

God bless America!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Comparing Face Ornaments

Well, I've taken photos of the face ornaments again. The elf has had his eyes moved closer together. I think I like the look better.

The snowman has bigger eyes. A little too big, compared to the "too small" before. I think I'm going to order the 9mm size, in between, to see how they work out.

So my vote is elf eyes closer, and snowman eyes in a size in between the smaller and larger sizes.

I hope to have quite a few of these made up for Christmas gift giving this year.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Oh, how I wish my Dad were here to see this! He was such a devoted fan - or should I say "Phan". He followed them through high and low and I'm sure he's been whispering in the manager's ear! Game 5 was certain a strange one, with a 46-hour rain delay. I can't express how happy I am that they were able to win this one at home. Kudos to Jamie Moyer for helping to lift the team to a world championship at the age of 46. Very happy for Pat Burrell, who has had his ups and downs and deserves to feel like a champ! A few firecrackers going off here in the neighborhood - the dogs are going crazy! I couldn't help but cheer myself to see the team members rushing onto the field and jumping into a huge pile of jubilant players. I think Lidge and Ruiz were on the bottom of the pile - I hope they're okay! I'm getting a kick out of the kids they are interviewing - they are so ecstatic! Gotta get a championship shirt!

I was hoping to be able to make a trip to the shore to visit with my sister, but still not feeling up to it yet. That lousy bug has still got a stranglehold on us. Wayne broke down and went to the doctor today for medication. I went to physical therapy again, and really took it easy today, doing just a few stretching exercises and some light bike riding. I'm going to try to get another doctor's appointment for myself. DS Tom is doing okay - no relapses for him so far.

Tom may be taking off from school on Tuesday. This will be his first chance to vote in an election and I think he's very anxious!

The 2009 holiday schedule came out at work - time to start planning next year's time off. We get another bonus day because of the fact that New Year's Day is a Thursday. We get Friday off as well. Next year, I think we'll plan some long weekends, instead of a straight 7 day stretch. With 22 vacation days I'll get more "bang for the buck".

I finished a couple of ornaments while the game was on. Just need to tack down the elf's mouth with a bit of hot glue. I think I might also use larger eyes on the snowman.
I may have to order the eyes online. My favorite stores don't seem to carry any doll eyes except wiggle eyes now. I hate wiggle eyes! Good thing there are places online like for the supplies I need.

Again - WAY TO GO, PHILS!!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

At Home in "The Infirmary"

DH Wayne is sick today. Same bug that's made the rounds through the household. He was supposed to work today, but woke up feeling so awful that he said he felt like he'd been run over by a truck. I know how he feels - in fact, I think I used the same phrase myself. This is a wicked malady and I can't wait to see the back of it!

I'm feeling much better myself, even though the fatigue and the cough are hanging on still. I managed to accomplish a few things today. I've made a trip to the grocery store, done a load of dishes, two loads of laundry and made a huge pot of chicken pot pie. This is the soup-type pot pie, similar to that made by the Amish in Lancaster County. It turned out great! I don't know about you, but when I'm under the weather, nothing is as good as homemade chicken soup of any kind! Chicken noodle, chicken rice, chicken pot pie - Yumm! There is plenty of research to show that chicken soup does have some medicinal qualities . How do you like my square bowls? I purchased this set of Corelle and love the square dishes and bowls! They fit so nicely in the cabinet and in the dishwasher.

DS Dan dropped in today, and I didn't invite him to stay too long (bad mom!), but did send him home with some sausage and spaghetti sauce (good mom?). I wish we could have visited with him a while, but I really don't want to take the chance that he would be exposed to this illness and take it home with him. His girlfriend is pregnant and due in January. I'll have to call him later to apologize for not asking him to sit down and talk a while.

The weather is a little funky today. It doesn't seem to know whether it wants to rain or not. We get light mist, light rain, light wind, some sun and start the cycle again. I mentioned to DS Tom as we were driving home from his piano lesson that we won't have the beautiful fall colors this year. The leaves are dropping off before they even have a chance to change completely. I wonder if they'll get game 3 of the Series in tonight in Philly? It's 1-1 so far, but the Phils play on their home field for the next three games. Wouldn't it be great to win the Series on home turf? What a celebration that would be!

DH is watching college football right now, so I think I'll treat myself to some crochet time! I hope to finish the round ripple today, and then get back to making Christmas ornaments. Off to find my "G" hook!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Update on Round Ripple

I've been home from work for the last 3 days - nasty germ bug going around! I'm wondering if it's the flu. It's aggravated my asthma. Medication is helping, so I hope that I can return to work tomorrow. When I'm not sleeping, I'm working on the round ripple I started last week. I love the way it's turning out. I've added several more rounds to it, and want to keep going a bit more until it will fit across the back of a couch. In the photo, it's folded in half and you can see our beagle and a min pin in the photo as well. They love blankets. And yes, I will wash it before gifting the afghan! LOL!

It's been chilly out in the mornings, and it won't be long until we have a good frost, I guess. They are calling for rain this Saturday, which may interfere with the third game of the World Series (Yay Phillies!!). I wanted to see the game on Wednesday, but kept falling asleep. I did wake in time to see the last out and the win for Philadelphia. I hope that this is their year!

DS Tom was inducted into the International English Honor Society (Sigma Tau Delta) yesterday. I wish I could have been there to see it.

On Tuesday, I took the Pink Ribbon Afghan to work in order to arrange it nicely and photograph it. However, I was so sick that I left after about a half-hour at my desk and left the afghan on the chair in my cubicle. I will try to get a better photo of it next week.

Well, time for medicine and a little more crochet. I hope to be able to watch the game tonight. Go Phils!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

New Round Ripple Started

I got started on a new round ripple afghan. I'm thinking of making it large enough to present to my friend's daughter for a wedding gift. I personally like the color combination. I hope she does. It's made with Bernat Super Value in Natural, Caron One Pounder in Jonquil, and TLC Essentials in Taupe. I may make another just like it for myself once I finish this one.

This afternoon my brother Mike stopped by. He wanted me to go with him to a couple of open houses in the area. He's been renting an apartment for ages, and has decided to take the plunge and purchase a home. He's looking at condos, as he works a 12 hour shift for the county and hasn't got a lot of spare time to mow the lawn, etc. It was a nice afternoon out and I got to spend some time with my baby brother! It's been a while since he stopped by, as he's been working a lot of overtime at his job. I was finally able to send the baby sweater home with him. He had wanted it to give to a friend at work who had a baby boy in September. I washed it the other night, and it was so nice and soft!
After viewing the first open house, we stopped at Wegmans to shop. It's the first time I've been in a Wegmans - WOW! Everything looked so good in their bakery and their cafe area! I couldn't stay too long as I'm still trying to get over the flu bug, but I picked up the essentials for crockpot lasagna and threw that together when I got home. It turned out great! I used the no-boil lasagna noodles, broken up into pieces and they got very tender when cooked on the high setting for 4 hours.

Time to get back to work on the round ripple. They are fun to do!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Me and My Big Mouth!

I was just bragging last week about not having a cold for about 5 years now. Unfortunately, I have the same bug my DS Tom was suffering from last week. I tried to be careful, washing my hands as much as possible, but I caught it anyway. I'm still congested and have a headache this morning. Missed two days from work with it.

We are definitely having fall weather! It's chilly out this morning. The min pins don't stay out too long! It's only 4 am and I've been up for a little while now. I just saw Wayne off - he's heading upstate to his sister's place to do some hunting. I don't know how he does it. He sits for hours in the cold and dark. I was never a winter-time sports fan. My idea of a cold-weather sport is the 3 yard dash to the closet for another comforter for the bed! You can keep your ice-skating and skiing. Brrrrrr!

I finished up the Pink Ribbon afghan I was working on. I washed and dried it and will take it to work on Monday for storage until we are ready for the fundraising auction. Photo attached

I am working on more Christmas ornaments but the animal noses I ordered haven't come in yet. The next project will be another round ripple afghan. I have one here to send to the NICU unit.

Found the cutest little onesie for the anxiously-awaited grandson! I think I'll wrap it up as a gift from his granddad. Wayne's eyes lit up when he saw it! It says "Take me diving or I start wailing!"

I think I'll go warm up my coffee again and watch "Independence Day". I think I've seen it 50 times already, but I can't resist a movie with a happy ending!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Environment

I am fascinated with trains in general, freight trains in particular. My son rides the local passenger line back and forth to school every day. I know that freight trains are the bane of drivers everywhere, especially when you are stuck sitting at a railroad crossing when you wish you were home already. But I savored the time it took this afternoon for a HUGE freight train to cross in front of us, as I was headed home with my son. It's been a long time since I've seen such a long train - easily 160 railroad cars. I was wondering how much more economical, if at all, it is to transport goods via the railways instead of the highways. I'm sure there are varying opinions, but it seems to me that there must be benefits such as less congestion on the highways and savings in fuel and emissions.
According to this article trains carrying double-stacked containers would result in impressive savings in fuel and reduction in carbon emissions.

At this point, I am worried about whether or not our great-grandchildren will have much of an environment when we get through with it. The ice caps are disappearing so fast that polar bears will soon be an endangered species, if they aren't already. Can you honestly watch the Polar Bear SOS commercial and not be moved?

I'm guilty as can be - I drive a gas-guzzling SUV. We purchased it in 2002 when gas prices weren't as frightening. Although I can't afford a new vehicle yet, my plan is to purchase a gas-efficient hybrid vehicle as soon as I am able. In the meantime, I am trying to make a few improvements in my habits, such as running multiple errands when I'm out in the car. If I only need one thing from the store, my son is always willing to walk to the store for me. (Did I tell you what a good kid he is???) I am also choosing reusable shopping bags over paper or plastic. Any plastic bags I do come home with are turned in for recycling at the store. The company I work for is sponsoring a plastic cap recycling program. We all turn in our plastic lids from soda bottles, milk jugs, pill bottles, etc for recycling, and the company uses that recycled plastic to make new bottles for hair care products. The siding we just had installed on the house should help this winter to keep heat in and cold out, allowing us to keep the thermostat lowered. We installed new energy-efficient windows as well.

I am 100% in favor of putting more money into alternative fuels, and less into the pockets of the oil moguls. You can drill all you want - there is probably only enough oil to last us 50 years! And that's at the rate we use it today. Continue putting more trucks and cars on the highways, and building more homes that need to be heated, and see how many years we can shave off that estimate. What will our descendents do?

Isn't it funny how, 1 month before the elections, gas prices are dropping like the proverbial lead balloon! Take advantage now, because no matter who makes it into office, prices will skyrocket again once the results are in. Time to stop giving these moneygrubbing oil pigs those ridiculous bonuses and retirement packages, and give the little guy a break!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Wakey, Wakey, Eggs and Bakey!

The house was permeated with the aroma of bacon this morning. Yum! I took out the last of the Amish farm market bacon and threw it in the pan for breakfast. It was delicious. At the first hint of bacon, my DS Tom rolled out of bed and wandered in to the kitchen. Better than an alarm clock!

Wayne called me last night - his class is going well. The siding guy was here yesterday and he's back today. I'm happy to say that the front of the house is sided (still need the front door framed out) and he's working on the carport area, and putting in a window. I am so pleased with his work so far. Although it's taken quite a while to finish up, I can't fault him for that. We were aware when we hired him that he would be working in his spare time. It's okay. It was a very slow start, but it is so worth it. I told him yesterday that I would recommend him to others. The house looks great!

My DS Dan stopped by today. He seems so much happier now! He put in a mailbox for us, and worked on my husband's truck. I gave him two packages of venison hamburger to take home with him. My "good" hamburger! I was so happy to hear that Wayne had bagged a deer last week. I've been out of good hamburger for so long. Store-bought hamburger is the pits. So much fat! Venison burger is so extremely lean. You need to use Pam or add some sort of fat to the pan to fry it. And tasty!

Well, I accomplished the project I was working on. I wrote down my pattern for the mouse (figurine, ornament, cat toy) that I've been making for years now. I sold a couple of the mice on Etsy and had people ask me for the pattern. It was probably the hardest thing I've done in a while. I've been making them for years, and each one was a little different from the one before. I just crocheted it to look like a mouse. One might have been a little taller than the one before - one a little chunkier than the next... To come up with a pattern for one standard mouse wasn't easy. The pattern is finished and I submitted it to the Crochet Pattern a Day Calendar to consider for publication. I would like to see it accepted. I chose that venue in order to retain the rights to the pattern myself. Submitting it to a crochet magazine or leaflet would mean giving up the rights. I didn't want to do that. I have to mail the actual mouse to the calendar people so that they can photograph it if they choose it for publication. I sent a photo but it may not be good enough. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Early Saturday Morning

It's an early post today - I just got back from dropping Wayne off at the dive shop this morning. The crew is on their way to Dutch Springs again this morning, where Wayne should be finishing up his assistant instructor course. The dive shop is anxious for him to become certified as an AI so that he can help teach diving to a "seal" class - a group of 8-10 year olds kids who want to scuba dive.

I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again - I am so proud of my husband! At 53, he has found a hobby that brings him as much joy in his life as crochet does to mine! He is fascinated by the underwater world and truly enjoys working with students to show them what the scuba experience is like. If you check out the MASC website, that is my DH looking at you in the section labeled Scuba Classes! Isn't he handsome? LOL!

But at last, DH can relate to my everlasting fascination with yarns of different textures and colors, and the desire to take that yarn and fashion it into works of art. Please don't think I'm bragging - I'm not really. I believe it is why they call crochet one of the "needle arts". For anyone to be able to take a skein of yarn and make a hat, a scarf, an afghan or a toy is very much like an artist taking a bit of paint and canvas and producing a masterpiece. Take a look on the internet and see some of the fantastic knitted and crocheted items out there. Here's one: a knitted Ferrari with crocheted trim. Or another:crocheted meerkats! These are truly artistic! Be sure to explore the Roman Sock website extensively. Pure genius! I am but a novice...

I will be working on a project this weekend. If I finish, I will post a photo a little later on.

Time for a little coffee and "Cash in the Attic". Love to see what kind of treasures people find in their houses.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Ornament Photos

I finally have photos of the ornaments I sent to my swap partner Cyndi. I love making these little bears. They are lightweight and perfect for hanging on the tree. They are from a pattern leaflet called "The Faces of Christmas". In addition to the teddy bear ornaments, you can make an angel, Santa, Mrs. Claus, an elf, Rudolph, and more. I hope to be able to make enough of these ornaments to give to family members for Christmas. I'd especially like to have some for Dan and Nicole, since this will be their first Christmas together.

I've been thinking about how it will be with a new baby in the family. I can't believe how excited I am that we will have a grandchild. I can't picture my oldest as a dad. I don't think he's even held a baby since his younger brother was born. And to think he'll be changing diapers, too! Will wonders never cease? LOL!

Speaking of the expected baby - it's time to think about baby-proofing the house. I have a confession to make. I am a bona fide packrat. I save everything, thinking I may need it some day. It's finally dawned on me that I need to mend my ways and start weeding out my "stuff". So it's my end-of-the-year resolution to start throwing away at least 3 things each day. It should help me get my clutter under control!

It's Thursday and in one more day, I'll have 2 weeks back at work. Things are going okay, but I will need to wear my sneakers to work for a while yet. It's been hard to make the transition to dressier shoes (we have a dress code at the office) and the last couple days of physical therapy for my knee were difficult. The therapist suggested that wearing sneakers would offer more shock absorbency and cause less pain for me. My boss gave me the okay to wear the sneaks, so I'll give it a try. I pedaled the stationary bike at PT for 15 minutes and did 2.5 miles! I'm proud of myself! It's only been 11 weeks since surgery!

I have a big project in mind - and I may be biting off more than I can chew! I want to paint the kitchen walls and cabinets. It's been quite a while since we put in the cabinets and paneling, and my kitchen really needs a makeover! After putting three paint samples on the wall, I still haven't made up my mind!

I hear the laundry calling me - I'd better get busy...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Nice Sunday Afternoon at Babies R Us

It's Sunday and I can't believe that it's already time to go back to work. I have physical therapy 3 times this week again. I'm trying to get around without my cane as much as possible this weekend, in order to try to strengthen my right leg.

This was a very busy day for us. Wayne and I took a trip to Lowe's early this morning and bought some mums. They had a cartful of them for 69 cents a piece, so I got 10 of them and Wayne planted them for me on the side of the house where the siding is finished. The siding guy was here again today and started on the front. Yay! He really is doing a great job on the siding - it's just taking so long as he's working on the house in his off hours. I can't wait until it's finished.

Wayne also got some lawn work done at my dad's house, and put up a new ceiling fan. He planted my mums while I met DS Dan and Nicole at Babies R Us so that they can register there. I had hoped Nicole's mother would be able to go as well, but she wasn't. I would have liked to have met her. The kids picked out a lot of very nice items for the new baby and put them on their wish list. I also talked Nicole into putting a glider rocker onto her wish list too! I remember how much I enjoyed rocking the boys on the one I had when I was younger. I can't believe how expensive everything is! Holy moley! I told my DH that he and I will have to take on second jobs in order to afford the shower gifts! LOL!

The baby's room will have a jungle theme, and I already know what I want to make for them. I found a pattern on to make a giraffe pillow. I also purchased a pattern on another website for a stuffed leopard and a stuffed lion.

Saturday was a busy day too. I was able to mail out my ornaments to my swap partner yesterday. I want to post a photo, but I will update the blog with a photo once I know she has received them. I hope she likes the package I put together for her. She sent me some nice handmade items, and I wish I had sent her more handmade items in return.

My doctor's appointment on Friday went well, and with some changes to my medication schedule, I actually had a good night last night! Thank you, Lord!

Time to finish up some chores for the evening. I'm working on more ornaments so that I have some to give as Christmas gifts this year.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Husband's in a Quandary This Evening

Poor Wayne. He is taking a course to become an assistant instructor for the dive shop. He is working on a presentation this evening, and is stumped on one of the segments of his lesson plan form. I wish I could help him, but I'm totally lost by this stuff. He's put a call out for help to his instructor, but hasn't heard anything back yet. It's not helping matters that the three mutts are vying for his attention and won't leave him alone.

On a lighter note, the Phillies have won game one of the best of five series against the Brewers. They are playing game two this evening, and the Phils are ahead 5-2 at the seventh inning. I hope they win.

It's Thursday and I've got most of my first week back at work under my belt. It hasn't been too bad. I've gotten back into the normal "rut" and I've taken back some of my tasks that were reassigned during my absence. The HR person who took over from Brandi said she is happy to see me back. I think she was overwhelmed. In my absence, someone accidentally deleted 8 months worth of attendance entries for 20% of our employees. Another employee tried to help fix the error, but the fact of the matter is that about 180 of the employees' entries are still missing, and I've got to clean things up.

I wish I could sleep. My GERD is wreaking havoc at the moment. I see a doctor about that tomorrow morning. I hope they have a solution.

Eighth inning - the Phils are still ahead and they're bringing in a relief pitcher.

My sister and her husband are vacationing in Florida. I envy her. I had a great time when Wayne and I were in the Keys in March. They are in New Smyrna Beach and the condo they're staying in is on a beach where the baby sea turtles are hatching. So they can't go on the beach at night, and have to keep their curtains closed and lights off on the side of the condo facing the beach. It's to keep the baby turtles from becoming confused and heading toward the road instead of the water. She is having a great time, going to yard sales and looking for craft items. She does a lot of crafting for her church. She is part of a group of ladies making items for their Christmas bazaar. Barb makes the loveliest plastic canvas items. It is always a pleasure to receive her handmade ornaments for the Christmas tree.

Speaking of ornaments, I've finished my swap ornaments and I'll mail them out on Saturday. I also picked up a few extra little items to include in the box as well. I hope my swap partner likes them, as they are my absolute favorite ornaments to make. No pictures yet, until I hear that she has received her items. I don't want to ruin the surprise.


Well, I've got some chores to do here. Laundry, and then some crocheting. Guess I'd better get busy!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Computer Malfunction and Back To Work Monday

Two bad news items! My computer bit the dust on Friday. I'm back on line after purchasing a replacement. I'm ticked that all the programs I bought and paid for on the old 'puter couldn't be moved over to the new one. I took the old laptop to the Geek Squad. They moved my files, so I was able to save a boatload of patterns that I paid for and downloaded. They saved my photos too. I'm glad about that. But why couldn't they move Microsoft Office over, when I paid for that, too? Well, I'm not paying for it again. I downloaded Open Office for free from the internet. It opens Office documents, spreadsheets and powerpoint presentations. Check here if you're interested in downloading:

I'm back to work tomorrow - wish me luck. I haven't been in touch with them very much, except to keep them apprised of my expected return to work date. I guess it wasn't very nice, but I specifically asked my boss not to call me at home. Last time I was out, I kept getting phone calls - "Where do I find..." "How do I..." Sorry, but I'm not on call 24/7! Physical therapy tomorrow as well. It will indeed be a busy day.

I've been busy, too, working on another Pink Ribbon Breast Cancer Awareness afghan. I bought some Caron one-pounders in a pretty rose shade, and I have a little more than 4 out of the 5 panels finished. I will post photos when it's done.

Crochetville announced an ornament exchange, and I signed up. My swap partner sent me a lovely pair of cat ornaments, along with a hand-crocheted gift bag, a little doll-sized round ripple, a great coffee cozy with the Pink Ribbon on it, a pen shaped like a lipstick and a crocheted gift bag to hold it all. Here's a photo:

Didn't she do a great job on everything? I can't wait for Christmas! I love handmade ornaments! I'll post photos of my ornaments for my partner, once I hear she has received them. I should be able to mail this week. In the photo you can see the Pink Ribbon afghan, serving as a background to my new ornaments!

I guess that's all I have for now. Have a good night, all.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Surprise Trip to Amish Country

We took a surprise overnight trip to the Lancaster area. DH and I started out Monday morning for a day trip to the Rockvale Outlet stores in Lancaster. I went in search of new dinnerware. I had a Corelle pattern in mind, and there is an outlet store there. I had hoped to get a good deal. I did pick out a nice pattern called Cherry Blossom, but it wasn't a deal. It was pretty much the same price in the outlet store as you can find it online at Amazon. We went to a few other stores in the center - one of those was the Carter baby outlet. I picked up a handful of items for our yet-to-be-born grandson. I couldn't resist it. We visited the Vanity Fair store and a couple of other little stores. Let me tell you, I was quite achy after all that shopping. My knee was swollen and my back hurt! Wayne suggested that we find a place to stay and go home the following day. It sounded like a good idea to me. We stopped in a meat market on Tuesday morning and I bought homemade vegetable sausage, some ham hocks for soup, homemade bacon, smoked kielbasa, baked beans and one or two other items.

DS Tom's birthday was yesterday. He's 22. My baby is 22...where is the time going? He's such a good kid!

Well, it's a little early in the morning for posting, but the 4-legged "boys" woke me up this morning. They ate their breakfast and now they are all curled up again, going back to sleep. Maybe I will try to catch a little shut-eye again before having to head out for physical therapy. Sounds like a plan.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Update on Funky Round Ripple

Updated photo:

As you can see, that little blanket is lying much flatter since it's been washed. The problem is definitely in the combination of yarns I'm using. I think I'll finish this off and give it to my friend to give to her granddaughter as a doll blanket. I don't know why I didn't pick up on the differences earlier. But the blanket tends to pull in wherever the yellow and multicolored yarns are coming in. They are thinner yarns and therefore the stitches must be smaller. I might be able to use these yarns, with a larger hook for the colored yarns than the size G hook I'm using for the white.

It's a nice day out. My little min-pin buddy is curled up alongside me right now. What a good friend he is!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Wedding Anniversary

Today is the 28th anniversary for DH and me. I got a surprise text message from him this morning saying "Happy Anniversary". For my husband to go to the trouble of texting (he's somewhat technologically challenged), it's as good as if he'd spent hours in the store picking out a Hallmark card!

It's a beautiful sunny day out, but very warm. DS Tom and I had Chinese food for lunch. No special plans for the day, except some laundry and other household chores. Fun, fun, fun!

I've taken a second crack at a round ripple afghan for the NICU unit. I was so upset with the first attempt that I tossed the 12 completed rows in the garbage! I know it's wasteful, but I was really upset with it. I've made a number of these round ripples as you can see in my album slideshows, but for some reason this one is giving me a handful of problems! It doesn't seem to want to lie flat at all. Attached is a photo of the current attempt. Again, the same problem. I'm wondering if the yarns aren't compatible - one thicker than the other. They are both worsted weight, but I can feel a difference when crocheting with them. Perhaps the thinner-feeling yarn is working up too tightly and making the outer rows too tight. I've stopped working on this second attempt, and I'm going to wash it to see what happens to it. Perhaps if it softens up, it will lie flatter.

I'll update when it's washed. Maybe if it doesn't fix the problem, I'll just keep going with it and use it as a cozy for my coffee maker! LOL! Sorry it's not a very good photo.

UPDATE: Hubby returned from work and brought me a very pretty flower arrangement - pretty orange lilies, daisy mums and baby's breath. Gorgeous!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Musings on a Rainy Friday

This is the kind of weather I like - it's a nice steady light rain out right now. My windows are open (at least on the side of the house where the rain won't come in!) and it's such a lovely cool breeze blowing through. This is perfect. I enjoy days like this, as well as those lovely summer days when it's not too hot, the sun is bright, the sky is blue and scattered with clouds. Fall days, with the rich colors of the changing leaves, are also quite enjoyable.

My son brought home some ultrasound photos of his baby. I'm amazed at the clarity of the pictures they take now. You can almost see his little face as if it were an actual photograph. I remember looking at ultrasounds of my son and not knowing which direction to hold it in ("This is a baby? Are we looking at it right?") LOL! I can't help but think that my son and his girlfriend will have a difficult road ahead of them - child-rearing isn't easy. But I'm looking forward to a new little angel in the family. It wasn't easy for me or my husband when we started out, but we had 3 years as a married couple to get ready for a family. You always want things to be better for your kids than they were for you. I just want them to know that we will be there for them.

I watched the movie "The Bucket List" yesterday. I thought it was very good, and found the ending to be sad and happy at the same time. I'm not a Jack Nicholson fan, but I do enjoy the work of Morgan Freeman. However, I even liked Jack in this film. No spoilers, but I recommend renting this movie. Also saw another of my favorites yesterday - "Defending Your Life". I love movies with happy endings - the kind that bring tears to your eyes.

I have about two more weeks before I have to return to work. Enough time for a few more crochet projects. I ordered a quilt kit - the kind you embroider following a stamped pattern - for the new baby. I'll take it to work with me and leave it there, to work on daily at lunch time.

I was awake most of the night with severe acid reflux (ugh!). Long about 3 a.m., there were sirens going off very close by, so I looked out the window to see if I could see anything. There were flashing lights at the bottom of the hill - the small strip mall down the road from us was burning down. I didn't find out until 6 this morning exactly what all the commotion was about. I think the news report said that 7 stores suffered extensive damage. Our favorite pizza shop, Amato's, is completely gutted. I'll miss it. I hope that everyone was insured.

Well, I think I'll get back to crochet and have a cup of coffee. Enjoy your evening, everyone!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sunday Evening and a New Round Ripple Project

Yaaaaaayy! We have some siding on our house. The guy didn't make it here yesterday, with the heavy rain and wind we had. But he did get here today and has some of the siding on the back of the house. It looks very good. The house had pale yellow aluminum siding before. We are having a light green vinyl siding put on this time. We've owned the house for 27 years. It was time for a change! It was hard to pick a new color. We just kind of took a look up and down our street. Most homes are gray or white, so we decided to go with either pale blue or green. There were more blue homes than green, so we chose green. I guess that's a silly way to choose siding! But it looks good.

Wayne didn't have a very productive day yesterday in Dutch Springs - they were all rained out around 3:00 pm. He was working with a couple of novice divers today. One of them was the daughter of an experienced diver, and Wayne said it was obvious that the girl really didn't want to be there. It's a shame. I know how she feels though. I would not be a happy camper if I was expected to take the same interest in scuba diving as DH does. It's just not my thing. I like to stay above water, thanks! Snorkeling is about as adventurous as I get. Although...on one cruise we did, I did try the BOB excursion in St. Thomas. They don't call it the BOB anymore (Breathing Observation Bubble). It's now call Boss - Breathing Observation Submersible Scooter. It's basically riding a motorized scooter underwater with a helmet filled with air over your head. I did enjoy that excursion. The worst part was that you needed to go completely underwater in order to put your head inside the helmet. Once inside, you could breathe unrestricted, and you could talk if you wanted to. I still can't believe I did that one! But scuba - Uh-uh! I don't think so.

I started a new pink and white round ripple baby afghan which will go to the NICU unit. Photo to follow when I get a little farther into it.

Here's a photo of hubby underwater:

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Finished Baby Sweater

Today was a rainy and windy day! Hurricane Hanna's kiss for the Delaware Valley. The rain started about 1:00 and steadily increased throughout the afternoon, along with the winds. It seems to have stopped now. I do hope that the rain will bring back the grass and the trees - everything's been looking a little brown.

The baby sweater is finished. It turned out really well. I think my brother will be pleased with it, as he would like to give it to a co-worker later this month.

Anyway, here is a photo of the baby sweater:

I'm happy with the way it turned out and it was a fairly easy pattern to work. I might make another to put away for the Grange Fair next year.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Good News

We had a scare - DH went for his annual physical recently, and they ordered a stress test. The results of that stress test said that his heart was not functioning at full strength. We were very worried due to the fact that his family has a history of heart disease. The doctor ordered an echocardiogram and called yesterday with the results. Upon reviewing both test results, they feel that the original stress test was inaccurate. His heart is indeed functioning as it should. Thank God!

The guy we hired to put siding on the house was finally here to work on it today. He made good progress in the back of the house. He promises to return on Saturday, rain or shine. It will probably be rain, as the weatherman says that Hurricane Hannah will be working its way up the east coast this weekend. If that's the case, the siding guy will be working in the carport where it's dry. It may put a damper on Wayne's scuba diving this weekend. They are calling for thunderstorms in the Bethlehem PA area on Saturday.

I did not make the progress I anticipated on the baby sweater. It's okay, though. It isn't a priority project. My brother would like it to present to a coworker who will be having a baby boy later this month. So I've got plenty of time to finish it up.

I received an order I placed with Elann for yarn. I was reading a post on crochetville wherein someone mentioned looking for a cover - sort of a sock - for someone who has lost a limb. Another poster answered that an item like that would probably have to be customized for size. It made me wonder if there is an elastic yarn on the market that would work, and from there my mind wandered to the possibility of a good stretchy yarn which would be suitable for wearables. I found a nice elastic yarn on Elann called Esprit. It came in a decent selection of colors. I ordered some to see if it would be suitable for a baby sweater or other wearable. It arrived today and I'm anxious to try out a pattern to see how it works. I must finish up the baby sweater in progress though. Discipline, discipline, discipline. No UFO's!

(Don't tell anyone but I worked up a little swatch with the new yarn - it was very easy to work with!) I must restrain myself...

Monday, September 1, 2008

Happy Holiday - Labor Day 2008

I can't believe the summer has reached its end. The kids are going back to school, the weather will be turning cool and crisp and the leaves will be falling soon.

Early autumn is one of my favorite seasons (spring is my very favorite season). I love the rich reds, greens, golds and browns in the trees and the cool mornings and evenings. Now that my knee has been replaced I hope to be able to get out and take advantage of the nicer weather to get some walking in. It will take some time yet, as I'm not able to stay on my feet for too long, and need more therapy to strengthen the muscles supporting the knee.

I'm visiting with my sister at her home in South Jersey and it was a looooooong ride down! I did bring my project with me to work on. My youngest brother was good enough to drive. We always have a good time when we get together. My brother is very clever and funny and a lot of laughs!

We took a short ride to Cape May Wicker today and I picked up a few holiday items. They have some nice things at reasonable prices there. I got a cute wall hanging for my cubicle for October. They had some nice little standing geese decorated for Christmas as well - I got one of those to add to my Christmas decorations. I found some small wooden Santa and snowman face ornaments at 39 cents each! They're just what I need for my tree this year.

Updating this post with a photo of my work in process - the baby sweater now has one sleeve completed. I should be able to complete it by Tuesday night.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Saturday and a New Crochet Project

It still fairly early on Saturday morning, and I've been awake for hours. The dogs woke me early looking for breakfast. Greedy boys! Anyway, once their bowls were filled (not too much - they're all on diets!), they were content again. I could hear the rain coming down very early this morning. It sounds like it was a pretty good steady rain. We really needed it. The leaves have been turning on some of the trees in the area due to the lack of rain. Not pretty colors, just brown. Lawns are turning brown, too. I hope this rain will help.

I started a baby's sweater yesterday. Dan brought me some of my pattern books from my stash and I found an old favorite with patterns for baby sweaters from worsted weight yarn. Worsted weight will always be my favorite yarn to work with. I've been using either Red Heart or Caron One Pound skeins. I've discovered that the Red Heart washes, dries and softens beautifully. Kathryn in California received the hats and blankets I sent for the NICU and she commented on the softness of the items. I sure hope that some little children in need, and their parents, will find comfort in these items.

The baby's sweater will be done with Caron's One Pound in green and white. Here's a photo:

I'm 10 rows into it. I'll post some photos when it's finished.

Tom and I are on our own most of the day as DH Wayne is on a scuba trip this weekend. DS Dan is working most of the day. I'm feeling a little better now that my lower back is easing up on me. No real plans for the day, except to work on the sweater a bit more.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Hexagon Afghan Pattern, on a Tuesday Afternoon

This morning was a physical therapy appointment. Unfortunately, the sore back is keeping me from doing all of the exercises required to strengthen my knee.

I have had a prescription filled for muscle relaxers and I hope that clears up the back problem.

Tom started back to school yesterday. I'm concerned about how he's going to be getting back and forth to the train station for school, as I'm still not driving.

Brandi's afghan is finished. It turned out nicely, I think. I tried an idea for a different border on it, and I really like the way it looks. I hope she likes it. Now I have time to start a new project. Not sure what I'll make yet - lots of possibilities.

Below are the directions for making the basic hexagon afghan. If you have any questions, please leave a comment.

Hexagon Afghan

I used a J hook and worsted weight yarn.

Chain 6, join with slip stitch to make a circle

Round 1 – chain 5 (this will be first dc and chain 2 space), dc in ring, dc again in ring, *dc, ch 2, dc in ring, dc again in ring, repeat from * 4 more times to make 18 dc and 6 ch-2 spaces, slip stitch in 3rd chain of ch 5 at the beginning to join
Round 2 - slip stitch into chain 2 space, chain 5, dc in same space, dc in each of next 3 dc, *(dc, ch 2, dc) in next chain 2 space, dc in each dc to next chain 2 space, repeat from * around to beginning chain 5, sl st in 3rd ch to join – there will be 5 dc on each of the 6 sides
Round 3 - slip stitch into chain 2 space, chain 5, dc in same space, dc in each dc to next ch 2 space, *(dc, ch 2, dc) in next chain 2 space, dc in each dc to next chain 2 space, repeat from * around to beginning chain 5, sl st in 3rd ch to join – there will be 7 dc on each of the 6 sides

Continue this pattern by repeating round 3 to the size needed for your afghan. You will be adding 2 stitches to each of the six sides with every row.

When you have enough rounds to make your afghan of sufficient size, your next to the last round will be the first part of your border. Slip stitch into the first chain 2 space, (ch 4, dc, ch 1, dc) in the ch 2 space, *ch1, skip first dc, dc in next dc, ch1, skip next dc, dc in next dc across to next ch 2 space (you will be skipping the last dc before the ch 2 space. (Dc, ch 1, dc, ch 1, dc) into ch 2 space, and repeat from * around to the beginning, joining in 3rd chain of beginning ch 4. Finish off.

With contrasting color, you will join with sc in first ch 1 space in the corner, sc in dc, sc in next ch 1 space, sc in next dc, *dc in skipped dc in the previous round, keeping the stitch BEHIND the ch 1, then sc in next dc, and repeat from * to next corner. You will sc in each ch 1 space and each dc in the corners. On the sides you will have sc in the dc stitches and dc stitches in skipped dc, keeping the stitches behind the ch 1 stitch. Follow the pattern of sc and dc around to the beginning sc, join and finish off. Weave in the ends.

I hope this makes sense. Please let me know if you have any questions. Feel free to make afghans using this pattern, but do not sell the pattern. You may not sell the finished items from the pattern using any online venue, or in any other large-scale selling venue. Thanks!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Quiet Saturday Afternoon

It's a beautiful day outside. I wish I could get out to take advantage of it. As it is, I'm cursing my lower back again. I'm doing okay so far with my knee replacement, progressing as expected. My back went out on me the other day and I'm finding myself in spasms occasionally. Oh, getting older is a pain! LOL! The dogs especially love jumping up on my lap, which doesn't help the situation, especially when the overweight beagle makes his landing. He pounces directly on my midsection, causing me to bend in half like a foldaway cot. Ouch!

I just received my latest issue of Crochet World magazine, and I'm anxious to check out what is new. I've abandoned my plans to complete a gingerbread house at this time, which I had selected as the Crochetville Greek Games project. I was seriously sidetracked when I found out I will be a grandmother and I've been making afghans and looking at baby patterns. I need to pack a box of preemie hats and afghans and mail them to Kathryn from Crochetville to send to the NICU for Christmas. I've sorted out some of my stash and sent yarn to my sister, who crafts for her church. I've also passed some of the overflow yarns to my friend, who lost all of her homemade afghans in a fire. Luckily, it was only material possessions that they lost in the fire. I was happy to share my bounty with her. Needless to say, my husband was happy to see some of the yarn leaving the attic!

I've added a couple of goodies to the blog. See the right hand column for some fun crosswords. They will change daily, so visit often!

Well, back to work on my little lapghan for Brandi at work. I'll post a photo when it's finished.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Thursday Evening News

My son and his girlfriend had their baby's ultrasound appointment today. It is a boy! The blue and white afghan I made was the right choice. I asked if they are discussing names yet, and Dan said they are, but didn't fill me in on any of their ideas. I remember how excited I was when we were expecting Dan. I leafed through baby name books, trying out all sorts of first and middle name combinations. I almost named him Chad. I am very happy for Dan and Nicole, and excited to have a new little one in the family. We can't wait!

I got a call from someone at work today. She was calling to let me know that she is resigning, and her last day will be in two weeks. I'm saddened to hear that she is leaving. She has been kind and supportive to me since she started working for the company, and I felt as though she understood some of what I went through while working for the previous boss - a waking nightmare. I feel like I'm going to be back on a shaky foundation again when I return to work, and my only ally will be gone. I must remember to send her a thank you note for her kindness, and wish her the best of luck in her new position.

My younger son Tom helped me out quite a bit today, walking all the way to the drugstore and back for me and helping to make dinner. He's a good kid - I'm lucky to have two good sons. My lower back is giving me a lot of problems in the last two days and I needed 30 minutes to figure out a way to roll out of bed this morning. Yikes! I'm a little more comfortable right now, and have been applying heat occasionally to my back and it seems to be helping.

The three dogs are anxiously awaiting Wayne's arrival home. They sure love him!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

2008 Grange Fair Results

My son brought home my projects from the grange fair. I'm happy to say I won two blue ribbons this year, out of the three projects entered. The ribbon winners were both projects of my own design, too! The child's poncho and the blue keyhole scarf - photos included here. I was pleased that, even though the afghan didn't win a ribbon, there was a very nice comment on the back of the entry card attached to it, saying that the afghan was well made and uniform, with nice even stitches. I am very proud of the afghan, currently listed on Etsy.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Monday, August 11

Today, Wayne and Tom dropped off my grange fair entries for me. I had an afghan, a scarf and a child's poncho and hat set. I also had several baby afghans in the storage container with these, along with some preemie hats. I think I'll contact someone on Crochetville who donates these items to a neonatal unit and send what I have to her to donate on my behalf.

I'm about two-thirds of the way through the girl's afghan I'd started for my son and his girlfriend. They should be finding out next week through an ultrasound whether they are expecting a boy or girl.

My sister sent me some home-grown tomatoes. Yum! I miss my garden this year. We usually have a few tomato plants and some peppers and things in a small plot at the top of the hill behind the house, but didn't get one together this year. Maybe next year.

Friday, August 8, 2008


A nice quiet Friday evening, just the way I like them. We had a little rain. I love the sound of a nice even rainfall - so soothing. I am looking forward to the weekend, as I hope to have a visit from some of my brothers and sisters. I'm getting cabin fever. No driving for me for the next month yet.

I'm working on a baby afghan, another round ripple, in shades of pink. I hope it turns out nicely.

It's almost grange fair time again - where does the time go? I have some projects ready for it, and need to have someone go into the attic to bring them down. I worked on some items this past winter just for the fair. I'll have to ask someone to drop my entries off for me, I guess. This will be the 16th year for fair entries for me. I really enjoy looking for new projects each year.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Afghan Update

I've finished the baby afghan I started the other day - with the exception of weaving in a few ends. It turned out nicely. My son and his girlfriend will find out at her ultrasound visit whether they are expecting a boy or a girl. I'm thinking boy. But I'll make a pink afghan as well, so that we're prepared! Whichever one I don't need, I'll donate to a hospital.

Wayne is at the dive shop for a class tonight. He will be studying to become an assistant instructor. He really enjoys working with the students as a divemaster and would like to be more involved in teaching. I'm glad he found his passion for diving. I'm hoping to get the chance to follow my dream, which is to learn to fly a plane some day.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

An Addition to the Family!

My son and his girlfriend are expecting a baby in January! He and his girl are very happy, and I'm already making a baby afghan! How exciting! This will be the first grandchild for my husband and me.

I think I'm still a little in shock. It's hard to believe that my firstborn will be a father soon.

I'm thinking a boy already. I picked out the yarn for the baby afghan, white and variegated shades of blue. I'll make a pink one as well, just in case...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

New Windows!

Our new windows are going in today - the workers have been here since 7:40 this morning. I'm impressed with the speed at which they managed to remove the old windows. I can't wait for the living room to be finished. I'm going from two smaller windows to a bay window. I've always wanted a bay window in the living room and now we'll finally have one. The hardest part of the day so far has been moving 3 dogs and 2 cats from place to place, to keep them out of the way!

I'm home from work until the end of August, at least. My knee replacement this time hasn't been as easy as the last one - at least it doesn't seem to be. But I'm keeping up with the exercises.

It's a hot, hot day out and I can't wait until the windows are in, so I can close them all up and turn the air conditioner on! How ironic is that? I was going to crochet some this morning, but it's a bit too sticky in here. So I'll work on my shawl this afternoon.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

5 Days Post Surgery

I have a new metal knee - it's five days after surgery and I'm learning to walk on it again. The surgery went well, and I was surprised to learn my surgeon no longer orders use of the machine that keeps your knee in motion after surgery. I was out of the hospital by Wednesday evening. I'm glad I followed through. Just need to get through the physical therapy portion now.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Tomorrow's the Big Day

I am headed to the hospital for knee replacement surgery tomorrow. I am extremely nervous this time, even though I've already had one knee replacement. Not sure why so upset. I can't put my finger on the cause, but I'm hoping I feel better in the morning. Yesterday, I was so bad that I seriously considered cancelling. I am feeling slightly better today - ever so slightly.

I've got a few things to pack up tonight. I started a crochet project, hoping it calms me down somewhat. It's going to be a Seraphina shawl, in green and white Sensations Boucle yarn. I've never worked with this before, so it's taking some getting used to.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Crochet Project

I'm currently on crutches, awaiting a knee replacement. I'm still working and having difficulty getting around with two crutches and trying to carry things at the same time. So I worked up a little caddy that attaches to my crutch, so that I can tote mail, or carry my breakfast yogurt back to my desk, or my water bottle that I fill at the water fountain. It turns out to be a handy little gadget, and everyone at work thinks it's a pretty clever item. I sure know it's helped me - I hate asking people to help me carry things, etc.

We're expecting some thunderstorms tonight. Hope they aren't too bad.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Wayne came home from work yesterday with a paper outlining a trip that some of the folks he works with are planning. A 12-night cruise to the Caribbean in January 2010! What a temptation! I LOVE cruises! My favorite form of vacation - it's a hotel that takes you to different exotic locations! I'm not sure if we'll do it, though. That would take just about all the vacation days Wayne has available. 12 nights on a cruise sure sounds great!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

We're Having a Heat Wave - A Tropical Heat Wave!

Temperatures are in the 90s through this coming Wednesday. We went from early spring to late summer! Whew! The 3 amigos (dogs) don't spend too much time outside. They do their thing and they're right back in the house. I don't blame them. Dog's best friend is central air conditioning!

My cortisone shot in the knee gave me some pain relief. 3 days worth, to be exact. When I called the doctor to let him know I was having more problems, he said he expected it. Replacement surgery is imminent. I should call this week to schedule it, I guess. I won't be dreading it like the first one, seeing as how I know what to expect now.

Watching the Phillies game is finally fun. They seem to be on track this year. Too bad my Dad didn't get to see another good year of Phillies baseball.

I came across a really cute pattern I want to try on Ana Paula's blogspot. I'm not an Amigurumi fan, but this little jellyfish is adorable. Scroll down to see the jellyfish - makes me want to make a dozen of them!

Stay cool, everyone!

Friday, May 30, 2008

May 30th - Home from Vacation

We arrived home from North Carolina on Wednesday. I've been having trouble with my knee all week. When I returned to work on Thursday, I was limping badly. My knee was swollen immensely! I went to the doctor today and got an injection in my knee and the news that it's ready for replacement. Not a surprise, as I already had one knee replacement and won't mind having this one done. However, I think I will wait until next year. The doctor said there is no rush, unless I have these flareups often during the year. He feels it was too much walking on the sand, which is hard on your knees anyway. I thought it was just too much walking, period!

While on vacation, I finished my round ripple afghan intended as a baby gift to be presented by my brother to a friend he works with.

It turned out really nicely, with a reverse single crochet border.

Back to vacation - I truly enjoyed visiting the Outer Banks - a lovely place! More photos...

Looking forward to a comfortable weekend at home, crocheting!