Monday, June 29, 2009

Completed Giraffe-ghan!


It's finished! I had such a good day and was able to get so much work done on the afghan. I think I am quite happy with it, and the only other change that I might consider making to it would be to add a couple more leaves to the tree on the side with the large giraffe. I bought the pattern here.

I fashioned the clouds without a pattern, working them from the top down instead of from the bottom up as the pattern called for. I also worked the larger cloud with a larger hook. The original pattern called for 2 clouds of the same size.

I added one more character to the mix as well. I hope you can tell what it is (clue - it's not the beagle!). Worked without a pattern as well. I hope it doesn't spoil the look of the afghan.

I can't believe it's finally finished.

I know that I will enter it in the Grange fair, but to be honest, it won't matter to me if it doesn't win a prize. Do you know what will mean the most to me? I will give this afghan to my grandson for Christmas. I hope that little Justin will make this his "blankie", dragging it around behind him from place to place, and curling up with it at nap time. That would make me so proud!




I have to say that, for all the work involved in making this afghan - crocheting individual pieces and sewing each to the afghan separately - this was worth it! Definitely one of my most memorable pieces. I believe I will add it to my slideshow!

Time to move on to another project.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

My Progress On The Giraffe-ghan? Sew-Sew...


I had plans to have the giraffe-ghan finished this weekend. It didn't happen. I did finish the two giraffes and sewed their spots on. All that was left was to sew them to the blanket and crochet two clouds to be sewn on as well. But it was a busy weekend, nonetheless.

On Saturday, I met a couple of my sisters at my Dad's house and we did some more clearing out. I was late arriving, and my sisters had made a lot of headway before I got there. My job was shredding. My dad kept every document he ever received, I think. We found papers dating back 45 years. I even found papers older than that - "cheat sheets" from the US Army for their soldiers with various phrases in English and their Japanese translations. Those I kept. But I resolved to turn over a new leaf and not let my paperwork pile up for my kids to shred one day, and the first thing I did when I got home was to go through my junk mail and shred it!

Sunday - again, I didn't pick up the afghan until late in the evening. But I had a good excuse. My little grandson Justin came to play! I babysat with him this afternoon while my DS Dan was good enough to mow the lawn for me. The baby is soooooo cute! I just love him to pieces.

This evening, however, I did sew the smaller giraffe to the blanket and crocheted one cloud and attached that as well. I improvised my own cloud design. I like the way it turned out and will work another one using the same method. I sewed it on in a way meant to make it look rather puffy. There will be an adult giraffe on the other side of the tree and a larger cloud in the sky above the baby giraffe. I will pick up the crochet hook once more before I turn in and start the second cloud. This will be finished in a couple of days. After the remaining pieces are crocheted and attached, I will just need to add the single crochet border around the green section of the blanket and add fringe to top and bottom.

Back to crocheting and the movie "Hancock".

Friday, June 26, 2009

Transitions

On June 25, 2009, two celebrities passed away – Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. Ms. Fawcett’s death was not a surprise, as she suffered for 3 years from anal cancer. Mr. Jackson’s passing at the age of 50 was a shock to all.

After viewing the special aired in May detailing her fight against cancer, I admired Farrah Fawcett’s bravery and hoped that she would beat her illness, but it wasn’t to be. I am glad that she was surrounded at the end by those she loved. I can’t think of any better way to go than in the loving arms of family and friends.

What can I say about Michael Jackson? He was an immensely talented person – I still stop whatever I’m doing to watch his Thriller video. His achievements in music and dance have inspired so many people. There is no one today that I can think of with the talents he possessed. I must admit, though, that I have not been a fan of his for a while. His obsession with plastic surgery and his downward spiral in the last 10 years saddened me greatly. I think he was a deeply troubled man. I am sorry he passed away, but I can only imagine that he is in a better place now, freed from the memories of a troubled childhood, pressures of life and the scrutiny of the media. Those must have been difficult things to deal with.

The transition from this life to the next is most difficult on those left behind. We grieve deeply for those we love and it’s hard to imagine life without them. I pray that their families find comfort in their memories.

May they rest in peace.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Things You See When You Don’t Have a Camera…

At work, I fill in for the receptionist when she goes to lunch. I went downstairs on Tuesday to man the phones and looked out the floor-to-ceiling picture windows to admire the view, which wasn’t gray and overcast for a change. There were huge white billowy clouds and patches of bright color showing through. One of these patches of blue was football shaped and directly in the center of it was a perfectly round white cloud! It looked like an eye in the sky! All I had was my cell phone and would never have been able to capture a clear photo of it. I wish I had – it was a sight to see. It was only there a matter of a minute or two before the wind blew the clouds on their way.

Made me think back to another occasion when a camera would have come in handy. I was a kid, living out in the “sticks”, when I noticed the skies had turned an odd color. We were in for bad weather, and everything outside had assumed a green tint. It seemed that even the very air around me was green. I looked off to the storm clouds assembling in the distance, and watched as one cloud seemed to be sprouting roots. As I stood there, mesmerized, a funnel started to reach toward the ground! That would have been a good time to run, huh? Well, it was as if I was glued to that spot – I continued to stare as the funnel reached closer and closer to the ground. Just when I was sure that it would have touched down, the funnel began to pull upward again, and it was gone! A close call, for sure. But I still to this day can’t believe I watched a tornado form! To be honest, a camera probably wouldn’t have done me any good. I think I was so caught up in the sight I wouldn’t have thought to take photos.

Speaking of photos, here is a cute one of my grandson Justin:


I've made a little more progress on the giraffe-ghan. I have one and three-quarters giraffes crocheted. I need to sew spots on them and sew them to the afghan. Did I tell you how much I hate sewing? LOL! After that, two clouds (easy), a few more grass patches, a border on the green part of the afghan, and some fringe.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Sun Was Out!

At least, I think that’s what the big yellow circle in the sky was yesterday morning! It’s been so long since I saw it! On the drive to work, I saw dark threatening rain clouds ahead of me, and there was bright warm sunshine behind me. Oh, how I wished I was driving in the opposite direction! I do love a rainy day, but so many of them in a row? At this point, I have been keeping an eye out for animals lining up two by two!

The weekend seemed to fly by, even though I wasn’t busy at all. I must confess that I was glued to the computer this weekend. I was a bad girl and didn’t work on my afghan as I had planned to do. I did a few things resembling chores, but that was it. I made a huge mistake and downloaded Chuzzle onto my computer. That game is addicting, like popping bubble wrap!

I got to see little Justin over the weekend. He is five months old now and he “talks’ a blue streak! The coos and gurgles are just so sweet! DS Dan stopped in on Saturday with him, and then the kids both came by on Sunday to bring a Father’s Day gift and cards for my DH. The baby gives both of his parents the biggest smiles when he sees them! What a wonderful family they make! My heart just swells when I see them all together.




Yesterday I took advantage of the fact that I could stay in at lunch time and did crochet leaves and sew them to the afghan. I’m getting anxious to finish this afghan, because I’d love to get back to the sweetheart ripple afghan I was working on. It would be great if I could finish that soon too! I think that after the Grange Fair in August I will go back to making charity items for the church bazaar. Somewhere in there too, I need to make some baby afghans for the NICU as well. I have two afghans ready, but want to send a few more. Gotta love those round ripples and hexagons – they are fun to do and work up so quickly. Lord knows I have a ton of yarn here to use up!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

An Award-Winning Day!


I have been blessed by two of my readers with awards! My first awards! If I weren't so old and chunky, I'd be doing cartwheels! LOL! ;-)

Beansieleigh bestowed a Super Comments Award upon me. I will pass this on to 5 posters who leave comments for me. I truly appreciate it when folks take the time to post a comment. During difficult times, you lend support. When things are good, you share my joy. Thank you, all! I highly recommend you check out the blogs listed below!
I pass this award to:
Stephanie J at http://bikebookandbread.blogspot.com/
Debbi-a1 at http://debbia1.blogspot.com/
Sweet Mama Jones at http://sweetmamajones.blogspot.com/
Mrs. D at http://mrsdcrochetsetc.blogspot.com/
and I must pass this same award back to Beansieleigh at http://beansiebabbles.blogspot.com/

Thank you all for your continuing support.



Sweet Mama Jones has also passed on an award to me - thank you, Sweet Mama!
The rules accompanying this award ask that you link back to the person who gave you the award, list 7 things you love and pass the award on to 7 other bloggers.

Here goes:
7 things I love:

My family, of course! Husband, sons, grandson, daughter-in-law, brothers, sisters (in no particular order - I love 'em all!)
My furbabies - all of them!
The Caribbean
Crocheting, of course
Life in general, even the occasional bumps in the road
Cruising
And the giver of all of the above, my God!

I pass this award on to the following bloggers - I love checking in with them on a regular basis!
http://beansiebabbles.blogspot.com/
http://www.crochetspot.com/
http://debbia1.blogspot.com/
http://mrsdcrochetsetc.blogspot.com/
http://macrochet.blogspot.com/
http://craftedfromtheheart.blogspot.com/search/label/dishcloth
http://mainelycreative.blogspot.com/

I thank you all for your support!

It's another rainy day. I believe that out of 21 days in June, we've had rain 20 of them! It's good for the flowers, but I think the garden has had enough rain and is in desperate need of some sunshine! My potatoes are growing like crazy, and I have a couple of tomatoes ripening. I have to take a walk up the hill when it stops raining (if it stops) to take a look at the garden. My husband says we have potato bugs! Where are they coming from and how do they know I am growing potatoes! It's not like we have a farm nearby and the bugs just happened to be flying over and spotted my little potato patch!

My white marigolds out front have really taken off too! I'm glad I planted them in the front yard around the stump. It really looks nice from the front of the house. I am pulling the dead heads off and saving the seeds. My sister and a couple of my friends have already asked for some.

It's a lazy day today. I have things to do and no ambition to do them! I do plan on getting back to work on the afghan. I hope to have the tree finished with all leaves attached this afternoon. I think it's time for a coffee, though.

Happy Father's Day to all! Hope that you give your Dad a call if you are lucky enough to still have him with you. If not, say a prayer for him. I will say a prayer for mine - I miss him.

Thanks for reading my little piece of cyberspace!

Friday, June 19, 2009

A (Crocheted) Tree Stands on the Savannah...

We have a tree! The last couple of days, on my lunch break at work, I’ve been sewing the tree to the giraffe-ghan! Today at lunch, I crocheted some of the leaves for the tree. I hope I didn’t mess it up with the limb and branch placement. I adjusted them to my liking as I sewed, and then referred back to the photo. The photo shows the branches closer together and more upright. The branches, as I arranged them, are more spread out. I guess I can always make adjustments to the placement of the animals and clouds, and add more leaves if necessary.

The back of the afghan:








The front of the afghan – the tree before leaves:








The front of the afghan with a few leaves added:











I still have to finish a border around the green portion of the body of the afghan, and attach fringe. I’ll fringe when everything else is finished.

So far I’m happy with how it’s turning out. I tried to be as careful as possible not to sew completely through the afghan so that it wouldn’t make an outline on the back. I’d like to keep it plain.

I'll probably be removing the link to the Eagle Cam on the sidebar soon. I checked in on the eaglets and all three have fledged (made their first flights). They will be visiting the nest occasionally for the next 4-10 weeks, but will soon be moving on. It's been such a joy to watch them, from hatchling to fledgling. What majestic birds they are! I'm looking forward to next year's eaglets!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

What Was I Thinking?

I love to crochet, but I’ve always avoided granny square afghans like the plague. When my niece was born I made an afghan that was a combination of small granny squares (saltines, I guess you’d call them) and ripple crochet. I remember weaving in all those little ends, but for the most part you connected squares as you went along. I also completed a lovely floral granny square afghan – again, join as you go.

Your conventional granny square afghan, however, usually starts out with the directions “Make 96”, or 782, or a million. There is nothing I dislike more than crocheting all those squares, and ending up with a big pile of squares! I want an afghan! My sewing skills leave a lot to be desired, too. A whipstitch is the best I can manage.

So what do I pick for my grange fair entry but an afghan where all parts are crocheted separately and then have to be sewn to the body of the afghan, like appliqu├ęs! What was I thinking? I know what I was thinking – “It has giraffes on it – I have to make it!” I haven’t worked with it in a couple of days, but I’ll keep moving along and will finish this. I’m sure that when all is said and done, it will be well-worth the trouble. I will post a photo once I get the tree finished and sewn on the afghan. That will be the biggest part of it. All those branches to be whipstitched in place…

I wish I had inherited my mother’s talent for sewing. She was a whiz with a sewing machine. I remember the beautiful Barbie doll clothes she used to make. They ranged from bathing suits to coats to the most intricate, lace-embellished wedding gowns with veils. I can’t even sew a straight line! LOL! I believe a couple of my sisters did get that talent, and they are handy with a sewing machine. I’m just thankful for the ability to crochet. It’s turned out to be one of the true passions of my life, after my family. I love being able to take a skein of yarn and turning it into a doll or a dinosaur!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Animal Antics - My Bad Dogs and Why I Love Them!



It started off this morning when our beagle drank my coffee. He loves coffee, especially iced coffee. I guess I shouldn't have set it on the floor next to the chair as I worked on my blanket, but next thing I knew he had nosed the cup over on its side and he was happily lapping up my latte! He's got a thing for money too. More than once I've traipsed to the bank with chewed up currency to swap for nice crisp bills. Goofy dog!

The Scamp, my min pin, scooted out the door on me this afternoon. Normally, he makes his escape out the back door which isn't so much of a problem. There is a large open field behind us. He might make his way into a neighbor's back yard where he chases the birdies from the feeder. But it's not usually a problem to round him up. However, this afternoon he slipped out the side door and raced across our front lawn. He slowed down enough to allow me to get within 5 feet of him and then he hauled hiney into the next yard...and the next...and the next. Then across the street - and into someone's backyard. ("Honestly, officer, I'm not a peeper - just chasin' my dog!") He made a U-turn and headed back up the street. In the meantime, my plaintive calls for the dog to return brought the neighbors out to their front porches to enjoy the show - and they must have, as I spotted a few grins and heard a few giggles on my travels. Me in my bare feet chasing a laughing little dog. He was laughing at me. One neighbor came to my rescue with a leash but we weren't able to catch The Little Scamp. My son took over tracking duties while I ducked into my house to get The Scamp's feeding dish. That did the trick - he made another quick U-turn, sped across the street and was at my feet doing what I call the "Din-Din Dance". Jump and spin, jump and spin!

I can't get mad at either one of them - but they sure can catch me off guard from time to time.

My Finished Items


I was able to deliver the finished dishcloths, coasters, pincushions and scubbies to my sister yesterday. I hope that they help to make money for the church.

We had another estate sale yesterday at my dad's house. It is hard to watch people walk away with pieces of your parents' life. I think this was difficult for all of us, but at least we were together. And we were all together, even those of us who are still physically far away. My mind drifted off several times back to when we were kids. I will be happy when this is all finished, though. My thanks to my brothers and sisters who worked so hard to prepare for the sale!

I did get to see my little grandson yesterday! Dan and Nicole stopped by the sale with the baby and he was a big hit with all of his great-aunts and great-uncles! What a pleasant baby he is! He goes to everyone with a big smile. And he's getting so big!

I've been checking in with the eagle cam recently. Those eaglets are getting big too! In fact, two of them have left the nest. The last eaglet is "branching" - he (or she - can't remember which) is practicing flying from branch to branch in the tree and should also be taking flight as soon as it's ready.

Not much on the agenda for today - I will be catching up on my crocheting. Back to the baby afghan I'm making - it's this one

Friday, June 12, 2009

More Donuts In The Works

I stopped on the way to work this morning, and bought an iced coffee at Dunkin Donuts. The clerk asked me if there was anything else I wanted. Something possessed me at that point and I heard myself blurt out “A dozen donuts!” Yikes! I took the dozen donuts to work with me and put them out for my office companions to help themselves. I called it a Friday celebration. This inspired me to make a trip at lunch time to AC Moore, where I went shopping for donut ingredients. Actually, yarns the color of donuts…I can make some pumpkin donuts with cream cheese frosting.

I bought a print yarn and tried to make a blueberry donut. It didn't turn out quite the way I pictured. There was a great nutmeg color yarn at the store that I will pick up next time I have a coupon with me. I’m addicted to donuts – thankfully, they are the fiber arts kind and not the eating kind! Also in the photo is a chocolate donut with chocolate icing.



I also acquired another pattern magazine. Just what I needed – NOT! But there is the cutest pattern for baby bibs in it, and I’m really anxious to make one. It’s the Spring issue of Interweave Crochet.

I tested a scrubbie I made using Beadies yarn. I bought the yarn on sale from Herrschners - never tried it before, but I like it. I used it to make a couple of these scrubbies, as well as the skirt for Barbie's Easter outfit. The scrubbie was great! Perfect for the non-stick cookware, and it machine-washes and dries nicely.

Back to work on my grange fair project - a baby afghan. I'll update with more photos of that when I have a little more finished.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Points to Ponder

Just a few fun questions:

1. Why do they say one eats like a bird? Only if you eat an amount equal to one-half your body weight every day…
2. Why do we park on driveways and drive on parkways?
3. Why do drive-up ATMs have Braille keys? Seems like if a driver needs Braille keys, they shouldn't be driving. (This one I actually do know the answer to…)
4. Why are some hot dogs sold in packs of 10, when hot dog buns come in packs of 8 or 12?
5. Why is it called "sleeping like a baby" when a baby wakes up every two hours?
6. Why do dogs like to stick their heads out the window when you're driving, but they don't like it if you blow in their faces?
7. What happened to the B batteries? Why go from A to C?
8. Why do they sterilize the prisoner's arm for a lethal injection?
9. Who was the first person to decide that it might be good to eat the thing that just came out of that chicken's butt?
10. Who decides that dog food has a new, improved flavor?

To add a crochet note, I have made some progress on the afghan I'll enter in the grange fair. Just had to decide on the right shade of fun fur yarn to add to it. I took it to work to get some other opinions, and finally decided on the lime green fun fur, as it went the best with the shade of kelly green I used on the afghan. I'll post some photos when I have a chance. I just want to get a little farther along on it.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Crocheted Donuts! Guaranteed Calorie-Free!

 
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As promised, these are the little items I worked on today. I'll send my sister a sample and see if she'd be interested in some for the church bazaar. I used the pattern found here

They were easy to make, and don't use much yarn at all, so they'd be great little projects for scraps of yarn.

Beautiful Sunday Morning!

What a beautiful day it is!

In a discussion with another of my sisters recently, she told me that within the next two years she may be making a big change in her life. She said that the thought of making such a change was scary.

My advice to my sister was to not let her fears hold her back. In my opinion, the planned change would be a great decision on her part and would make her happy. When all is said and done and our time is at an end, our biggest regrets are not the things we did, but the things we didn’t do.

I've always felt that my life has been a series of missed opportunities. Even something so simple as attending a wedding and wanting to join the fun on the dance floor but being too shy to do so – I sat back and watched everyone else have fun. When I graduated from high school, I wanted to go to college. Didn’t do it. I wanted to join the Air Force. Again, I didn’t do it. I settled for mediocre jobs instead of choosing a career that I could be happy with.

It's always nagged at me, but I've given things a once-over in my mind. Had I joined the Air Force and gone on to college, my life would have taken such a different direction. Had I not "settled" for a job at the printing factory, I wouldn't have met the wonderful man I married. I would not have learned to crochet from his sweet mother! I wouldn't have the boys I love so dearly. I wouldn't know my wonderful sweet soon-to-be DIL, and wouldn't have the grandson that I am over the moon about!

Now, at this point in my life, I still have dreams and aspirations and am hoping that I can accomplish some of them. I am in the process of working toward a college degree by taking one class at a time. And there is still my dream to one day take flying lessons.

I think things all worked out the way they should...Life is good!

I will be posting later today with pictures of my latest crochet projects!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Teach Your Children

My former boss is currently residing in the Montgomery County Prison. I don’t think of myself as a mean vindictive person, wishing another ill will. But I do have to admit I was happy to hear the above-mentioned news. The man has got to pay for his transgressions, and when I heard that he had skipped bail, I thought that would be the last we'd hear of him. In a previous post, Just Desserts, I detailed my miserable employment situation. I’m still trying to recover from the blows that snake delivered to my self-esteem.

Self-confidence has never been a strong point for me. In fact, one of my sisters told me recently that it bothers her when I put myself down all the time. I developed that little trait many years ago as a self-defense mechanism. If someone made fun of me, it hurt. But if I beat them to the punch and made fun of myself before they did, they would laugh and I would feel like they were laughing with me, not at me.

Growing up in that situation made me super-conscious of the way my boys were raised. I wouldn’t allow them to call each other names or to make fun of other kids. That was absolutely forbidden in my home. I think that kids who are teased and bullied either grow up to be adults who don’t want to see others treated that way, or they want to dish it out the same way they got it. To this day, I sincerely wish parents would take a good look at their kids’ interaction with their peers. Too many parents shrug off their child’s bullying behavior, saying all kids are like that and the victim needs to develop a thicker skin. Shame on them! This is why our country’s children are dying in school massacres or at their own hand. Wake up, folks! They don’t call it the Golden Rule for nothing. Teach your children to treat others with respect, just as they would like to be treated.

But back to my former boss and his situation – I hope they prosecute to the fullest so that he cannot victimize anyone else.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Bit of Excitement - Not Really...

We had to evacuate the building at work for a short time today. Someone smelled gas, and they called the gas company to come check it out. We were outside about 45 minutes or so. Everything was okay and they let us come back in. It just seemed to make a long day even longer. It’s funny – I would have thought the unexpected break would have the opposite effect.

Today’s pattern in the 2009 Crochet Pattern A Day calendar is extremely cute! It’s called Doughnut Shop and the pattern was submitted courtesy of Pretty Posies. There is a large ring donut, a smaller donut, a half-donut (cute) and a donut hole, all with icing. These would be really nice pincushions. Crochetville also has a great donut pattern. I have lots of brown yarn on hand (cotton) and I want to make a couple of these and see if my sister can use them for her church fundraiser. Yikes! Another WIM to add to the list…

This afternoon we had a vet visit for the young min pin. He's a bit under the weather. I'm worried about him, especially having just lost our other min pin. He's my little buddy! He was running a fever and was dehydrated. I have medication to give him and hope that he will be his usual bouncy self again soon. He's on a rice and boiled chicken diet for a few days.

Hubby made a pot of chicken pot pie for dinner tonight. Very good, as usual.

Back to crocheting a bit before turning in for the night.