Sunday, May 31, 2009

No Turning Chain Double Crochet

I started my Grange Fair project this afternoon. Here it is so far:

I ended up frogging 10 rows of the blue. I decided to try a no-turning-chain double crochet method, found in this tutorial. As you can see in the photo, the edges look great - no big gaping holes the way you get with a turning chain!

I picked up the yarns I needed at Michaels. I haven't shopped there in a while and stopped in because I heard they are introducting their own line of yarns. I chose some Vanna's Choice in the green color I need, some light blue Red Heart Super Saver, and some white and some brown in the new Michael's line called Impeccable. The only thing I couldn't find there was the green fun fur yarn I need. Luckily, right next door to Michael's is AC Moore. Literally, right next door! I did find the fun fur yarn there.

Of course, I couldn't get out of Michael's with just the yarn I needed. I also bought a booklet called "I Can't Believe I'm Knitting Socks". Someday, when my crochet WIPs are finished, I may sit down and try my hand at knitting again.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Early Morning - Love It!

I'm an early riser - even on weekends. I hate the feeling that I slept the day away, so at 7:00 am, here I am blogging!

Plans for the day include more crocheting, taking Tom to a dr. appointment, then to his piano lesson, and attending a graduation party.

I had a great time with my grandson last night. I love him dearly. Poor little thing was so tired last night, and yet he fought off sleep valiantly. By the time his dad got here to pick him up, I think he had had enough of the dogs sniffing him and the tickles from Granpap and Grammy's off-key lullaby and just wanted to get the heck out of here! He probably fell asleep the moment their truck started for home. Sweet little angel. Weren't the pictures great! He has so many different expressions.

My project for the day is still undecided. Do I work on an afghan for the grange fair, or put together more of those coasters and dishcloths I promised to my sister? The grange fair deadline is closer than the dishcloths, so maybe I'll begin there. That will mean a trip to AC Moore or maybe Michael's. I hear they have a new line of yarn out. Gotta check it out.

Time for some coffee...

Friday, May 29, 2009

Justin's Many Faces

Justin is here this evening with his Grammy. The min pin can't

get enough of him! He curled up on my lap as I rocked Justin to sleep. Got a few photos of the baby! He's just too cute for words!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Bittersweet Surprise


I came home from work today to find a surprise at my door - a bud vase with a single red rose and some baby's breath in it. I couldn't imagine who might have sent it, since it's not my birthday or anniversary.

I brought it into the house and opened the card. It was from my vet's office and it was sent with condolences on the loss of our Brutus. How sweet of them to do that! I was so touched.

Today was a so-so day at work. We had a training session to attend and after lunch, a meeting in another building. I was out of the office most of the afternoon, but had to make my way back to my desk with just 30 minutes until the end of the shift.

Evening is here, it's nice and cool out and I've got my feet up, with a min pin at my side. That's all I need!

Here's an addition to the blog - I added the photo through Picasa 3 and it worked great! Picasa leaves the little symbol at the bottom of the post. Sweet!
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tuesday - A Short Work Week

Feels like Monday, after a long weekend! Back to work – ugh!

The weather got chilly after the nice warm weekend. I’m actually looking forward to a little rain today. We just planted more marigolds out front and cucumbers in the garden, and they need to be watered. My potato plants are growing like weeds – I hope to have a bumper crop in September and October.

I have 2 items ready for the Grange Fair in August. I will enter the sweater, hat and pants set I made for Justin. I finished it just in time for the weather to get warm, so he hasn’t ever worn them. I am hoping the sweater will still fit him when the seasons change again! I don’t think the pants will fit him. He is in 9-12 month sizes now. If he keeps growing at this rate, all that he will be able to use from that set will be the hat! It kills me that he won’t be able to wear the pants, seeing as how long it took to finish them! I should have thought ahead and made them in the biggest size available. I know from experience babies start out big and grow fast in our family.

I’m going to enter the dishcloth, too - the one with the crazy pooling in it. I need to sit down with my pattern books and see what else looks interesting. I’d like to have a few more projects to enter.

I brought a skein of Beadies yarn with me today and worked up a spiral scrubbie at lunch time to see how it would turn out. I have to give it a whirl at home to see how it holds up. I made one in cotton, but I’m not sure how useful it would be in cotton. Not for pots and pans, anyway. Maybe it would good for cleaning the cooktop?

Wayne is diving at the pool this evening, so it’s just Tom and I having dinner tonight. I think Wayne has some dives planned this coming weekend at Dutch Springs. I wonder if he would mind if I tagged along. I wouldn’t want to sit alone and wait for them to get finished with their dives, but it might be nice to hang out at the hotel, especially if they’ve got a pool. Of course, what I should do is stay home and de-clutter the place. I should have another yard sale. We’ll see.

To top off the evening, I got to babysit for Nicole, who went to her sister's soccer game. Justin is such a joy! I am amazed to see how he develops a new skill each time I see him. Tonight, he grasped his binky with his fingers and tried to put it back in his mouth. He hasn't quite got it yet, but he will soon!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend and Some Good News!

We had some excellent news - my SIL has been contacted by the National Bone Marrow Donor Registry that they have located 2 donors for her! We are ecstatic! To those anonymous donors - thank you from the bottom of our hearts! We hope to hear soon that they are the right match for her and she will soon be scheduled for a marrow transplant! We are still praying and ask you, dear reader, to pray for my SIL and the donors as well! If you aren't signed up with the donor registry, please use the tool on the sidebar to locate a sign-up location or go online to do so. Make someone else as happy as we are today!

It's a beautiful day outside. DH is working today, but he is off tomorrow. No outdoor grilling today, but tomorrow I think we will have a nice barbecue. The kids took sweet little Justin to Nicole's aunt's house. They are going swimming.

I have been doing more crocheting this weekend, to keep my mind occupied. I am trying out a nice little pattern for scrubbies. I've worked up a few in cotton yarn, but I think I'll get out the nylon cord and see how they look.

I also purchased some round scrubbies and put this together. I like the way it turned out with the pink and blue variegated yarn.

I'll give the kids a call later to see if they are home. I'd like to stop by to visit with them for a while. I miss Justin! He's just too cute!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Brutus and Dad

They are together again. Brutus passed away on Friday 5/22. The vet was in agreement that his was a fast-growing, nasty tumor. I decided to let Brutus go - one of the hardest decisions there is to make. I petted him, held him and told him I loved him, then let him go to look for my dad at the Rainbow Bridge. I'm sure my dad had a big grin on his face when he saw Brutus coming.

I am missing them both.

My younger min pin is curled up at my side. What a sweetie he is. I wonder if he knows how much I need him right now?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Another Thousand Words Thursday

I lost my dad in January 2008. I’ve been thinking about him a lot lately.

He could be a hard man to live with sometimes. Whether he was wrong or right, Dad was always right! Maybe you know how dads can be. There was only one way to do things, and that was his way. My dad had a rough childhood, growing up in the 20s and 30s, when times were so difficult. My grandfather, from what I’ve been told by other relatives, was a very stern, overbearing man. But then again, who is to judge? My father was one of 10 children himself, so it couldn’t have been very easy for his father to support all those kids.

My dad’s youth was spent fighting in World War II. He didn’t talk much about it, at least not until he was hospitalized before he died. He saw a lot in the war that must have affected him deeply. My dad was a hero, awarded the silver star for bravery in combat.

Of course, when you are a kid, you think your parents are too strict and set too many rules and are out of touch with reality. Things weren’t like you see on the Brady Bunch. Now I can look back and see that they knew what they were doing. My brothers and sisters and I have all turned out okay – they must have done something right! Now that I’m grown with children of my own, I think I can understand that my dad tried very hard to raise his 7 children in the best possible way. He worked 2 and sometimes 3 jobs to keep a roof over our heads, food on the table and clothes on our backs. My mom never worked outside the home until I was in high school. She worked hard as a homemaker and mother. We lived in the country, in a small rented home on a large lot. We had ponies, ducks, chickens, rabbits, dogs, cats, mice – you name it and we adopted it! My mom and dad were strict and did their best to keep us on the straight and narrow.

When my mom passed 16 years ago, my dad continued to live on in the only house he and mom had finally been able to purchase 14 years earlier. His companion was Holly, a Lhasa Apso – a Christmas gift to my mom a year or two before. In 2005, my husband and I were given a miniature pinscher pup by my brother-in-law. I thought it would be a great dog for my dad, who had once owned a Doberman by the name of Duchess. I thought, with Holly getting up in years, perhaps another dog would be a good idea. Let me tell you – that idea went out the window when the min pin came to stay with us so that I could evaluate him. What a firecracker! Even though my dad was taken with him, he was way too much for a man in his 80s to handle. He was like greased lightning – you opened the door and the dog would scoot out the door in a flash! My poor dad would never be able to catch up with him if he escaped. My husband and I kept the min pin, and I decided to keep searching for another suitable dog for my dad. Holly and my dad were constant companions until the day she died in October 2006. Life without Holly was difficult for my dad. It was like the last remnant of my mom was gone now - he missed her terribly.

I turned to Petfinders one day to see if there were any other, perhaps older, min pins for adoption. That’s when we found Brutus. He was 9 years old and described by his foster mother as “a gentle giant”. He was taller than usual for a min pin and weighed 25 pounds. We made arrangements to meet him at my dad’s house. Brutus was a perfect gentleman and he took to my dad immediately. We adopted him – we had to. They seemed perfect together. Their friendship had a positive influence on my dad. He mellowed in his last year, and his gruff demeanor was gone. Dad was so proud of Brutus. He wanted to share him with others and thought about taking him to visit patients at the local nursing home. Brutus followed Dad everywhere. If my dad left the room for any reason, Brutus was at his heels. If my Dad went anywhere in the car, Brutus was in the passenger seat. My dad even took him to the cemetary to visit my mom's grave. I think Brutus filled that place in his heart that once held Holly so close. I will never forget our last Christmas with Dad. He seemed so changed, and we were all heartbroken when he passed shortly after the New Year. One of the last things he asked me in the hospital was to take care of Brutus for him. Of course, there would be no question that we would.

I feel lucky to have been able to take in his beloved Brutus. It hasn’t been easy for Brutus, moving into a household where there were already two dogs in residence, but I have a special place in my heart for this doe-eyed senior citizen. I looked into those eyes today and see that he is suffering terribly from this affliction. His foot is swollen and ulcerated and the tumor is growing rapidly. How can I keep him going by keeping him heavily medicated for pain? What kind of a life is it if he is drugged all the time? I’m afraid that it is his time to leave us and join his soul mate, my dad.

Our canine friends give us their hearts so freely, but they take a piece of ours with them when they go...

Cheaper Than Therapy

Sunday, May 17, 2009

I'm Feeling Blue...

This will be a difficult week. Brutus is scheduled for a vet appointment on Friday and I'm relying on the vet to let us know whether it's his time or not. I believe the tumor on his foot has grown so large that it's broken through the skin. There is a large raw fleshy area that looks like a red cauliflower where only 3 short weeks ago, it was just a swelling in his toe. It's grown so fast that I'm sure it was the right decision not to amputate, as it's probably way past too late for him. At his last appointment the vet detected lymph nodes in his chest that were probably already affected by the cancer. I will let the vet tell me whether or not it's time for him to go. In my heart, I'm afraid it is. I write this with tears in my eyes. I hope to be strong enough to be there for him in his last moments. I do hope there is a Rainbow Bridge. If there is, my dad is already there, calling for Brutus.

We took Tom to dinner last night, but my husband was late getting home from diving, pulling into the driveway 5 minutes before our dinner reservations time (that's another story...), my sisters couldn't make it and my brother ended up going to the wrong restaurant to wait for us, and then didn't want to keep us waiting for him at the right restaurant and went home instead. I feel like I let Tom down - I had hoped to have a nice family celebration. Instead, I was so upset inside that I had tears running down my face at the dinner table. Shame on me for not controlling my emotions! Way to ruin his graduation celebration! I'm so mad at myself right now. I should have just smiled and been a gracious hostess to my son Dan and Nicole, instead of being upset because no one else was able to come.

Other than graduation on Friday, the only other bright spot to my weekend was time with my grandson Justin. He is 4 months old and the light of my life! He came to stay with me last evening when his parents went to visit friends. After a long nap, he woke at 11:30 for a bottle. I fed him and thought he would go back to sleep but he wanted to stay awake and chat. He coos and makes little baby screeching noises and I'm head over heels! Justin "talked" a blue streak with me yesterday, and I felt so honored! That is, until one of the cats walked by, and he had a chat with her too! Oh, was just too cute. Our younger min pin is absolutely fascinated by the baby. He wanted to sniff him and kiss him and it was difficult to keep him away from the baby. He just had to be as close to him as he could. I finally put the sleeping baby in the pack-n-play playpen that was given to me, and that frustrated the dog to no end. He could see him but couldn't reach him! I guess it will take some time for the dogs to get used to him being here. It's really only the third time the baby has been here. Mostly I visit him at his house. I'm going to ask the kids to bring him by more often so the dogs get used to seeing the baby here. Thanks to Susan for the pack-n-play. It really came in handy.

Since I have time to myself this afternoon, I think I'll finish my blackberry creme latte and catch up on the end-weaving on all of those dishcloths and coasters I have nearly finished. My sister Barb was happy to get the finished dishcloths I had done so far. She brought me some crochet nylon this weekend. I'll see what kind of scrubbie patterns I can find for it. I wish I could find crochet nylon in colors other than white, black and tan. Readers, if you know of any place I can find it in colors, please comment and let me know. Thanks!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Graduation Day!

Tom is officially a graduate! They had a very nice commencement ceremony at Penn State's Abington campus. Afterwards, we went to Applebee's for lunch. Tomorrow we will be doing a nice dinner celebration with both of my boys, Nicole, and possibly my brother as guests. I should see if my sisters will be available as well. The more, the merrier! The picture is deceiving. My "baby" is now 6'4". I think he was stooping over to get closer to his folks when the photo was taken.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sunflower Dishcloth And Coasters

I am playing with brown and yellow cotton yarns. I made a simple round dishcloth in these colors and it looks like a cheery sunflower. I got the idea after starting out a round ripple in green and yellow and thinking that the design would be cute in brown and yellow. I did work up some matching coasters. These will go to my sister’s church bazaar.

My younger son Tom gave me a late Mother’s Day gift yesterday. He said he forgot he had it in his room to give to me. He fooled me. I thought he was getting me a crochet book, but instead I received a gift box with body lotion, cuticle oil, and some other manicure items! The lotion is lightly scented and is very nice to use. What a good boy he is! He’s still my baby at 22! He was a big help to me on Sunday, planting my flowers for me and doing the dishes!

One of my sisters is returning home from vacation today. She spent the last week in the Florida Keys, at the Ocean Pointe Suites Resort. She really enjoyed her time there, calling it a “home away from home”. I really like that place too. Our brothers and sisters are discussing a family vacation next year, and I suggested OPS as the place to stay. I’ve been there twice and both times, we have enjoyed our stay.

DS Tom graduates on Friday morning with a 4-year degree! (After 5 years of school – LOL!) During his second year of school, he took a music course during the first semester and enjoyed it so much that he filled his schedule with more music classes. Unfortunately, they were counted as electives, or did not count toward his credits total at all. Thus, the 5-year degree! It’s okay though. I’m glad that he had a good experience in school and learned to love music so much. We will take him to lunch or an early dinner after his graduation ceremony on Friday, and then take him to dinner with family on Saturday. We didn’t plan a party, as it’s just too costly these days. I think it’s okay with him, though. He’s not a party-person. I hope my older son and his girlfriend will take him out on Saturday night. I like to see the boys spend time together.

I had planned to go out at lunch time to get Tom’s announcements made, but that changed. I took advantage of the time instead to crochet some more dishcloths.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Wishing all a Happy Mother's Day!

If you are fortunate enough to still have your mom, give her a call and tell her you love her! If you have lost your mom, say a prayer on her behalf and tell her how much you still love her!

I had a wonderful lunch with my two boys, with Nicole and with baby Justin. We had lunch at the Great American Diner. I held Justin while the kids ate their soup, and then he started rubbing his eyes. I knew he was getting sleepy, so we gave him his binky, and I held him in my arms as he fell asleep. Once asleep, we put him into his carrier, set him on the seat next to Tom, and then we had lunch. I received some very nice gifts from Dan and Nicole. Nicole bought a picture frame that she decorated. I'm very touched! She put little Justin's hands in fingerpaints and put his handprints on the frame! The picture album she gave me has photos from his birth through his christening and lots of room for new photos! Dan gave me a lovely card. I enjoyed the time with them! I gave Nicole a Lenox Lily bowl. She can use it to put her jewelry in.

I think Tom is getting me a crochet book, or a knitting book.

Both of my boys are great - I love them very much!

After lunch, I came home, put up my feet and enjoyed a blackberry cream iced coffee from Borders! What a treat and what a wonderful day!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Dishcloth Day

I'm getting some crocheting done today. Here are photos of the dishcloths I've finished (well, almost finished). I have to weave in the loose ends. I've only got three or four colors to work with so far. I need to take another 50% off coupon to AC Moore or Joann's and see what other colors they have. I actually want to find a brown, because as I was working on the green/yellow round ripple, I was struck by what a cute looking coaster it would make in brown and yellow - like a sunflower! And look at the cool pattern in the variegated one - like a big O with a letter I in the middle! Or a candlestick in a circle.

I'm going to be searching the internet for simple crochet market bags, preferrably ones that can be worked in crochet nylon. My sister requested some of these for her church bazaar. I'm also looking for scrubbie patterns. I like the ones that can be worked over a sponge.

It's turning out to be a nice day, weatherwise. We were supposed to be getting more rain today, but so far it's bright, sunny and warm. I took a packet of Swiss chard seeds out to the garden and planted them along the perimeter. I still have another packet, and will plant those a little later. Tomorrow, I will be planting the marigolds my brother picked up for me. Plans for tomorrow include a barbecue - well, hamburgers on the grill.

I did pick up pain medication for Brutus yesterday, and started him on it. I am so sad. I think we will be making a difficult decision at his next vet appointment in two weeks. It brings tears to my eyes just to think about it. The vet believes that the lack of improvement in his foot - rather, the fact that his foot has gotten worse - means that we aren't dealing with an infection, but with cancer. The next two weeks are going to be hard, and I'm spoiling the old man until then. I bought ice cream for him last night, and didn't share any of it with the other two dogs. Poor Brutus...

Friday, May 8, 2009

Friday Blues

I don’t know what’s wrong with me today. I feel so melancholy.

Yesterday, I could really see just how much pain Brutus must be in. When I brought him in from outside, the tie-out cable touched his foot and he started to cry. My heart breaks for him. Our pets are so stoic and don’t show us how much they hurt. He is such a sweetie – I wish I could take the pain away from him. I will call the vet to see if they will give him a pain medication to take in the next two weeks, so that at least it will give him some relief to hold him over until his next visit.

I’ve got something of a headache today too – one at the base of my skull that feels like someone is twisting a band around it tighter and tighter. Probably a tension headache.

I’m looking forward to some quiet time this weekend and I want to spend some time working on charity crochet. I promised Kathryn some baby hats as well as blankets and I have some odds and ends to use up. I’m happy to say that I was able to get two of my packages mailed off – the comfortghan squares and the RAOK knitting needles. I hope the wish-list recipient likes them. I sent 3 pairs of light-up knitting needles, along with the spare batteries to go with them. I got a really good price on them, hoping to hone my knitting skills. That will never happen. I have two left feet when it comes to knitting – seriously, I might as well be knitting with two left feet! My stitches are uneven and never slide smoothly from one needle to the other. And God forbid if I drop a stitch! I never did develop the talent to pick up dropped stitches. I’m sure that, with practice, my skills would improve greatly, but I just don’t have the time to knit. It seems to take forever. And I’ve got so many crochet projects in mind. My next big project will be a Barbie bedroom set for Madelyn for Christmas. Maybe in a nice orchid and white combination?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Joining in "Thousand Words Thursday"

Cheaper Than Therapy

A Thousand Words Thursday - check out the link above. The Mom Jen encourages everyone to post a photo that is worth a thousand words every Thursday.

This is mine today: My firstborn son with his firstborn son.

It's been a rainy week - right now we are enjoying a bit of late afternoon sunshine. The ground is saturated and there are puddles everywhere! I went up to check the garden. The tomatoes and peppers seem to be pretty good so far. My husband will be spreading lawn cuttings in between the rows to mulch the plants. I've never grown potatoes before in a home garden, so I'm not sure if this is what the potato should look like when it starts to grow, or if this one needs to be covered up a bit.

I have a flat of white (rather, cream-colored) marigolds coming tomorrow. They'll be nice to plant between the petunias in front of the house, or I'll plant them in a circle around the stump left behind when we took the crabapple tree down.

Rain again tomorrow and Saturday, and Sunday will be a lovely day! I hope to see my son Dan, his girlfriend Nicole, and the baby. Looking forward to spending time with all of my family. I don't even need to go out to dinner.

I stopped at AC Moore, and with my 50% off coupon, purchased a large skein of cotton yarn to make more kitchen items.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Monday Morning and Still On Cloud Nine!

I babysat for Justin yesterday. He's almost 4 months old. I stopped in at Dan and Nicole's when they called and said they wanted to go out househunting. Dear little Justin was strapped in his carseat and was ready to go with me to my house. But since it was pouring rain, I offered to sit with him there at their house. I bent over to unstrap Justin from the carseat and started to talk to him. All of a sudden he got the biggest grin on his face - so big, he lost his binky out of his mouth! My heart just melted! I don't know if he's old enough yet to recognize faces or voices, or if he just reacts to someone else smiling at him (I know I was smiling at him for sure), and I don't care what made him smile. It was just a beautiful thing to see! God knew what He was doing when He made babies!

It's going to be a rainy week. I know I like rain, and it's good for the garden, but this just might test my limits this week! It's been rainy since Saturday, and looks like it's calling for rain every day this week. We'll see. My joints have been so achy since last Friday. I've been chalking it up to the weather.

I guess I'd better finish this post and get ready for the work day. I need to leave here by 7:00 am and it's getting close!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Quality Time

I was asked to babysit my sister's granddaughter while her mother, grandmother, and one of my brothers and another of my sisters went to a warehouse sale. I must admit that I was nervous. I raised two boys, and I was wondering what to do to entertain a little girl. We ended up going to a flea market. She had 3 dollars to spend. It was so cute - she spotted a glass paperweight shaped like a diamond. It was a light shade of pink, and she decided she wanted to buy the diamond for her mom. She also found a framed poster with 4 puppies on it, and instantly she fell in love with it. I bought that for her.

After the flea market, we went to Lowes where I bought some more flowers for the house. Snapdragons, this time. I showed Maddie how to make them talk! She got a kick out of that.

When we left Lowes, we stopped at Mickey D's for a bit so she could play in the playroom, and waited for a phone call from the shoppers to tell us they were finished. We met up with them then at the Old Country Buffet and had a nice lunch.

Here is a photo of Maddie with her doll's blanket. I think she liked it! She said she has "tons" of Barbies so I'll be making her a doll bedroom set for Christmas - like the one in my slideshow in the sidebar. My niece told me that she slept with the doll clothes that I made her earlier this year! I'm so happy that she liked them.

It's turning out to be a nice afternoon. I had plans to go out for dinner with my husband. I didn't realize I'd be going out for lunch too!