Friday, December 31, 2010

Is It Too Late For Another Ornament Pattern?




Hope it's not too late for another ornament pattern. I've been making these and having a lot of fun with them - different color combinations, etc. I'm getting a jump on next year - I love handmade ornaments.

This one is easy. You can use worsted weight yarn, and it doesn't take much at all to make one. The finished ornament will be 4-5 inches tall, depending on the number of starting chains and the size hook that you use. I used a G hook and chained 31. You will work into the chain on the opposite side, instead of inserting your hook under the top two strands of the chain. Work into the third strand on the back. Sc into the second chain from the hook and in each chain across, for a total of 30 sc. Finish off, leaving a loose end (you'll work this into the fringe). This is the right side of the work, and you'll keep the right side facing you. Attach your second color with a sc in the first sc, leaving an end that you'll work into the fringe. Sc in each sc across, and finish off, again leaving a loose end. Use your first color again, or you can use a third color if you wish, and attach with a sc in the first sc, right side facing. Sc in each stitch across. Finish off at the end of the third row. You can attach fringe in any way you wish, picking up your loose ends and adding them into the fringe. I used two strands and added them to the end of each row, pulling the loose ends through with the strands, on the yellow and white scarf. On the blue and white scarf, I used 5 strands, tied them in the center, and using a yarn needle, pulled the long strand used to tie the other strands through the end of the scarf from side to side and scrunching it up a bit. Tie the strands to the end of the scarf, pull the long strands down into the fringe, tie another short strand around the fringe to make a puffy "ball", and trim all ends to the same size. I hope this makes sense. You can cross the scarf in the center and tie it with a small bow, or you may wish to attach a flower or some other decorative item to hold the scarf together in the center. Add a hanger at the top of the scarf.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

It's Tuesday, Isn't It?

Today is Tuesday, according to the calendar. However, it's my Monday and my Thursday. HUH? I didn't go in to work yesterday because of the snow. And it's a short week because of the holiday, so having worked today as the first day of my week, it's my Monday. And because tomorrow is the last day of the work week because of the upcoming holidays, it's also my Thursday today. So it's Montuethursday. Have I confused you? Welcome to the club!

This past weekend, because of the snow, my brothers and sisters weren't able to get together for our Christmas celebration. We have to set another date. In the meantime, I'm still making ornaments! I'm having so much fun crocheting ornaments that I want to be sure I have enough for myself. They are really cute and I wish that I could show you, but my family hasn't received theirs yet and I want them to be a surprise. So I will definitely post photos after we exchange gifts with each other.

Now that we've had our snow, I would like to see it go away now.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas To All

 












Hoping that everyone has a wonderful Christmas with many blessings. Here is a photo of our blessing, grandson Justin, on Christmas morning.
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Thursday, December 23, 2010

It's a "Red Coat" Day

Let me explain the title. Last year at Kohls, I went coat shopping. Searched the racks until I came across a certain coat. It fit well, it was very warm and comfy and I had my choice of colors. Could have purchased a blue one, might have selected a green one, even had the option of choosing a tan one. But nooooooooo - my hand was drawn to the red one. I had second and third thoughts as I made my way to the counter with it. Too late - whipped out the charge card and this red beauty was mine!

The red coat has been on standby ever since the winter cold arrived. Instead I duck out the door in a homemade sweater coat, or a quilted lightweight jacket and head to work or the store. I tell myself that it isn't that far from the door to the car and I can stand the shivering and shaking until the car warms up to make the trip. Then it's just a little fast shuffle to the store, or work, or wherever.

But today it is blustery. The winds are whipping and I can hear garbage cans rolling down the road. Empty garbage cans, which is sad because the trash hasn't been collected yet. I'm not sure where the contents of the cans are at this moment. Not on my lawn, I hope. It's so cold out that the min pin pretty much did his business as he ran out, turned and ran back in again. My business, however, is to head to the post office with a box of gifts for my sister and her children. So I will don my warmest and most unflattering coat - makes me look like Santa (OK - I said it).

It reminds me of the episode years ago when a coworker offered me a lovely sweatsuit her daughter purchased. It was never worn and her daughter decided she didn't want it. It was purchased from Roamans and I had seen it in the catalog. It was very pretty. Not a sweatsuit meant for jogging or lifting weights. This one was ivory with gold embroidery trim, and perfect for a day at the mall or a trip about town. It looked beautiful in the catalog. I accepted it, took it home and couldn't wait to try it on. Once on, I couldn't wait to take it off! I looked like Elvis - the fat Elvis! Yikes! This was one outfit never meant to be made in anything over a size 4. No wonder Roaman's uses skinny models to show off their clothes. If they used plus size women to sell their plus size clothes, that outfit never would have left the warehouse - I'm sure of it. Anyway, the outfit was sent to a charity. I hope it's found a home somewhere. If Elvis is still around - tell him to search the thrift stores. If he finds it, he'll love it!

My goal today is to pack up the gift bags for my brothers and sisters. I'd better get started.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Still Working On Christmas Gifts


I have been busy - I came up with an idea in my dreams last night. I dreamed I was making more Christmas ornaments. I guess that means I've been making too many, huh?
Anyway, this morning I sat down with red, yellow and white worsted weight yarn, and based on the sushi roll design, I fashioned a Christmas drum ornament. Here is the pattern:

You will need worsted weight yarn, as I mentioned earlier, and a size G crochet hook. You can use any three colors you wish. Gauge isn't really that important, because you can make adjustments to the number of rows as needed.

Start with white yarn and make 6 chains, single crochet into the second chain from the hook and in each chain across to make 5 stitches, ch 1 and turn. SC into each ch across, ch 1 and turn - make a total of 22 rows, changing to red yarn in the last st, ch 1 and turn. Repeat with the red yarn to make a total of 14 rows of red. Weave in the loose ends of yarn as you go along. (Please be aware that you may need to adjust your row counts - you will be forming the drum by rolling up the piece fairly tightly, starting with row 1. You may need to make more or fewer rows of red, based on how tightly you roll the drum.) Finish off the red, leaving a long end for sewing and for part of the cord for hanging the ornament. Sew together so that the ends blend smoothly, once you roll the piece and see that your red section touches but doesn't overlap. If the end is long enough, you can run a stitch or two loosely in one side of the drum and out the other side, and back again. Make sure that these stitches are not tight enough to cause a "dimple" in either side of the drum.) This will help to hold the drum together. I rolled the drum fairly tight, so I personally did not run stitches in and out.

Starting at the place where you finished off sewing and leaving a long starting end, join with a single crochet, and sc around the top of the drum, evenly spaced. On my example piece, I had used 16 stitches. You may have more or less, again based on how tightly you've rolled the drum. Do the same on the other end of the drum. Tie a knot in the two loose ends at the top of the drum, and you have your loop for hanging the drum on the tree. Weave in the remaining loose ends.

Using a long piece of yellow yarn and starting at the top of the drum directly across from the loop you made to hang the ornament, weave the yellow through the front bar in your sc at the top of the drum and then through the front bar of a sc at the bottom of the drum, staggering the weaving as shown in the photo. End the weaving where you started and tie the two ends into a bow, trimming to size needed.
Your ornament is now finished and ready for hanging on the tree! Enjoy!

You may make these ornaments for your own use, make as gifts or sell at Christmas bazaars or craft shows. I just ask that you not sell these ornaments on any online venue. Please do not post the pattern anywhere else, or sell this pattern in any way, shape or form.

Copyright Jeanne Stewart 2010

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sunday - 20 Days 'Til Christmas


I have 6 gifts completed and one nearly finished. I have lots of time (???) to keep going. Here is the latest finished project - for my boss. She is very sweet and introduced me to sushi for lunch by sharing her lunch with me one day. So I made these for her. I hope she doesn't mind hanging sushi on the tree. If she thinks they are too weird for the Christmas tree, she can set them on a knick-knack shelf, if she has one. I'm the kind of person who likes all kinds of handmade ornaments, so I would like these. I hope she does too. I think I will also make one of my personal designs - a Christmas mouse - just in case she doesn't want sushi on her tree. What do you think? A back-up gift just in case?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Wool Shawl No One Wants


I made a shawl intending to give it as a Christmas gift, but no one seems to be able to use it. I've asked everyone and everyone I've asked said that wool is too itchy.

I'm going to try to soften it with hair conditioner following the instructions here and if it works, I'll give it to my sister-in-law. She doesn't read my blog, so it's safe to post a photo.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Crocheting Christmas Gifts

I am waiting for our Christmas bonus at work to be paid - I wish they would give it to us in time for the big sales after Thanksgiving, but beggars can't be choosers. I'm just appreciative of the fact that the company I work for gives us a Christmas bonus. So while I'm waiting for the funds to do some Christmas shopping, I am spending the time crocheting Christmas gifts. I made a pair of fingerless gloves for a friend who types but says her hands are cold at work. I used the pattern found here at the Crochet Spot. It's a beginner pattern, but it looked like the best choice for making this item for someone when you're not sure what size to make. These are stretchy, so they should be okay.

I'm not sure if that friend reads my blog, so I'm not sure if I'll post a photo of them yet. But if you are looking for a simple pattern for these gloves, check out the link.

Now on to look for another pattern for a Christmas gift.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Long Time, No Blog

I've been away from blogging for a while, but the good news is that I've been crocheting.

I've finished a shawl for a sister-in-law who is ill. I've started another one, too. I also finished a sushi scarf, but I'm not real thrilled with it. It has a giant center, and not much white surrounding it. I wish I could unravel it from the starting end, to make the pink center smaller. Does anyone know if this is possible?



I am starting a hat for my grandson too. It's wool, so it should be warm. I found some lovely autumn colors at Joann's, and if you purchased 5 skeins of yarn, you got a free Paton's tote bag. It's a real cool bag, canvas with pockets.

Thanksgiving is coming up. I still don't know for sure what my plans are. Do I stay home and cook for 3 people, because my husband has to work that day, or do I travel to my sister's house, where she is hosting Thanksgiving dinner for most of my family? It's cheesy to leave my husband home with a Thanksgiving platter from Boston Market, I guess. But my son, future daughter-in-law and my grandson want to go to my sister's house for dinner.

This is going to be a busy weekend. I'm gathering up some unused yarn (got to clean up the stash) and I want to donate it to a nursing home for the residents to use. I think I have some hooks, pattern books and magazines to send as well.

Here is a photo of the completed shawl:



By the way, does anyone know how to use whole nutmeg? Is the nutmeg in a protective shell that you need to crack open? I've never bought it before, but I brought some home from vacation and I'm not sure how to use it. I've checked the internet, and I find some people say you need to crack it open and the nutmeg is inside, and some people say you don't need to do that - the whole thing is the nutmeg and you just grate it to use it. HELP! I have relatives asking me how to use what I gave them, and I don't know what to tell them. Anyone who has ever used fresh nutmeg before - your advice would be greatly appreciated. Here is a photo:



These are packaged in a cellophane bag, so it's not a great photo. But to me, they look like they have a hard shell and that they should be cracked open to use them. Is the shell to be discarded?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Week to Get Back Into the Rat Race

Well, it was back to work this week. A lot of e-mails to catch up on. I think that our trip was truly the best vacation we've had. I would book that trip again in a heartbeat! Time to start saving my pennies again!

I did pick up a hook and some yarn and I'm making another half-granny shawl in autumn colors. I'll post photos as I go along.

Little Justin stopped by in his "mall" Halloween costume last night. He was a tiger, and cute as a button. Here is a video of Justin dancing to the music of a toy I brought home for him:

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Day 10, Day 11 and Home Again

Day 10 was a lovely port in Aruba - Orangestad. What a colorful and peaceful looking harbor. There are lots of shops visible from the ship. Wayne went scuba diving on this island, but wasn't at all happy with his excursion. He went with a shop called Mermaid Diving. They did everything that he was taught not to do! They were very careless with their divers' safety (one of the divemasters would not do a safety stop on the way to the surface). Wayne did a safety stop in spite of the divemaster. The excursion leaders also touched and broke off pieces of coral! You never touch living coral in the sea - a touch can kill it! One of the divemasters also reached into a hole in the coral and pulled an octopus from its lair. You should never bother the animals you find either, especially not for the entertainment of your tour group! Wayne was so angry when he returned.

Day 11 was another quiet day at sea - sobering to think it was our last full day on the cruise. We sunned, attended some shows and said our goodbyes to our stateroom attendants and our dinner companions.

Day 12 - we left the ship at approximately 10:00 am and headed for the airport. We didn't arrive home until 8:30 at night, due to a delay in our flight out of San Juan.

I don't want to call this a trip of a lifetime, because that implies that we won't make a trip like that again. I would certainly love to make another trip like this, but I was glad to arrive at home to see my kids and grandson again. I missed them all.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Days 8 and 9

Day 8 is a quiet day at sea. Time to rest and relax after visiting 6 islands. I’ll take a few minutes to tell you about our dinner companions. We were fortunate with our seating assignment this time. We have 2 ladies traveling independently – Susan from Alabama and Mel from Alberta, Canada. Mel has been having fun participating in a lot of the ship activities, especially scrapbooking. Susan takes the adventurous excursions, like zip-lining.
Chris and Peter are a married couple from the UK, together for 46 years. They are a delightful pair and have been trading grandchildren stories with Wayne and me.
The food on the cruise has been great. I think Wayne has had escargots for appetizers every night. The few times we’ve eaten at the buffet for lunch or breakfast has been fine as well.
Day 9
Curacao is just beautiful! Bright colored houses everywhere. Wayne had a diving excursion planned here with the Dive Bus. I went along for the ride, and intended to hang out on the public beach across the street from the dive shop. It really wasn’t much of a beach. I’m wishing now that I had taken an excursion with the ship instead. I thought it was going to be a relaxing beach, but the ground was so hard and rocky, you couldn’t lie down on it on a towel to get some sun. I sat for a while reading my Kindle until a local kid stopped and asked me what the Kindle was. I explained about e-readers and then he asked me to find Jesus on the Kindle. He went on to tell me that he had Jesus inside him, and I agreed that we all have Jesus inside us. He gave me a blessing and then showed me the “national plant” tattooed on his chest. Marijuana. OOOOOooo-kay…
Headed across the road to await Wayne’s return there.
Curacao is certainly a place I would like to visit again, and Wayne said the diving there was spectacular.

I'll be back with photos as soon as I can.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Days 5,6 and 7

Day 5
St. Lucia is a lovely island. We did the beach excursion here. I was a little disappointed. I thought we should have gotten more beach time here. I did a little snorkeling here and saw a few fish and some spiny urchins. The water was calm and clear. Lots of residents wandering the beach trying to sell jewelry and fresh fruit to the tourists. Wayne had to ask one man to move on when he sat down on my beach chair! All told, I think we were less than 2 hours on the beach. There were a few complaints from some of the group of passengers on this trip. The water was very refreshing and I’m glad we got to see the beach.
Day 6
Our day at Barbados was good and bad. They have a real set up here. The cruise ship passengers don’t get to the tour buses until they pass entirely through the terminal with all their shops. On the way back after your tour – same thing. They have doors blocked off so that you have to walk all the way through the shopping area, past every single store. At least it was fixed up some since we were here last. They don’t have the open-air vendors anymore.
Our excursion was the turtle snorkel, shipwreck and beach tour. What a frightening day! I headed into the water with my snorkel gear and started viewing fish and a couple of turtles that were drawn by the chum the crew members were tossing into the water. When I looked up to see where I was, I was so far from our boat that it shocked me. We were caught in 3-4 knot currents there and just swept away from the boat. In the meantime, as I’m trying to make my way back to the boat against the current, the crew members were calling us back to the boat (I’m trying! I’m trying!). There were two other boats there getting ready to leave and I was afraid of getting run over. My husband had to tow me back to the boat, also swimming against the current. The last 75 feet or so, one of the crew members towed my sorry behind back to the boat. I am not a good swimmer to begin with, but my husband said that we never should have been put into the water at all. I did see 3 sea turtles, but I’m not sure it was worth it. At the second stop over the shipwreck and reef, I decided not to get into the water again. My husband snorkeled but said the current was just as bad there, and he was glad I didn’t join him in the water. It would have been too much for me. It wasn’t just me having problems – the crew actually had to launch the dinghy to bring some of the swimmers back to the boat. They were also caught up in the current and tired themselves out trying to swim out of it. At the third stop, a beach stop, we weren’t allowed to swim to the beach, again because of the current. I think the captain decided against it because of all the trouble they had earlier. I decided to enter the water, intending to hang around the back of the boat and the ladder. It was an effort to hold onto the ladder, as the water kept trying to sweep me away around the port side of the boat. All in all I do think it was a mistake to drop all of those passengers into a current like that, but I’m thankful that there weren’t any mishaps.
Tomorrow is Grenada and I’m looking forward to that stop.
Day 7
Grenada was fantastic! I love the island – what I saw of it anyway. The people were fantastic. We took another catamaran tour here and loved every minute of it. There was snorkeling at one stop over some underwater sculptures and a reef. Wayne said the reef was a dead reef. It’s sad – the locals told us the reef was destroyed by a hurricane some time back. I wonder why they don’t take their passengers to view another reef instead. Anyway, after the snorkeling there (which I chose not to do again – I was afraid I’d having trouble getting back onto the boat), we traveled to Grand Anse beach. It was nice there and we did a little snorkeling there. Not many fish to view, but we did travel over one area with sea life, and spotted some sort of eel. I’ll have to remember to look it up to see what kind it was.
The hosts on the boat couldn’t have been nicer. I have heard of swim-up bars, but this was the first time I saw the bartender swim out to the customers. Okay – he waded out, carrying a tray of water, a various selection of sodas, and “holiday juice” (rum punch). They made us all feel so welcome, and it made the day a lot of fun.
After returning our snorkeling equipment to the ship, we ventured out into the shopping area. I was intent on purchasing some spices, since Grenada is known as the Spice Island. I am sitting here now, next to my purchases, and the cabin smells heavenly. Nutmeg, cinnamon, mace, curry, ginger, bay leaves, lemon pepper, red pepper and cocoa all combined into a sensory delight. I’ll be sharing some of these goodies with family members.This has been a wonderful trip so far, and I’m enjoying it immensely. No photos today - they are still on my canera.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Days 2,3 and 4 in the Southern Caribbean

Day 2 - St. Croix DH has gone scuba diving this morning, leaving me to get into trouble on my own! I attended the Cruise Critic meet and greet at 10:00 am and I was impressed that the ship’s officers went out of their way to attend. There was coffee, tea, orange juice and pastries set out for the meeting and the officers took the time to speak to us about their duties. One of the gentlemen was in charge of food services, and I was impressed. Over half of the ship’s crew was under his direction. There are about 500 employees working in the food sector. Each of the officers then spent time talking to all of us individually or in groups, answering any questions we might have had. After the get-together I headed for the Aqua Spa for a facial and massage. Heaven! When Wayne returned from his excursion, we took a walk around the small vendor tents along the end of the pier and found a T-shirt for Justin. Not much else going on there, so we returned to the ship. I wish I was braver and felt comfortable taking trips by myself. I’m sorry to say that the highlight of visiting St Croix for me was seeing a dolphin swimming in the harbor. If I’m ever here again, I will sign up for one of the ship’s excursions to tour the island and not be such a big baby.

Day 3 - St. Kitts St. Kitts was wonderful. Such a beautiful island. I accompanied Wayne on his scuba tour, and was a passenger on the boat. It was perfect just relaxing with the waves rocking you gently and the breezes keeping you cool. A welcome breeze, I might add, as it was very hot when we left the ship to meet the tour operators.

Day 4 - Dominica My favorite stop so far! I absolutely loved it! I took a whale-watching trip while Wayne was diving. We spotted sperm whales about 30 minutes after leaving the pier. Captain Jerry stopped and dropped the hydrophone into the water, listened for a few minutes and announced that there were whales in the vicinity. He gave a courtesy call to the whale-watch operator of the ship's tour (this one was booked independently), so that they could ensure that the ship's passengers on that boat also were able to see the whales. Soon enough, we spotted 2 whales in the distance, moving toward us. We worked our way closer and I have to tell you that I was awed by the sight. Eventually, they were joined by three more, and then they moved themselves toward 3 or 4 more animals and formed a small group where they socialized for a while. There were 6 adults and 2 calves! I took some video, and apologize for the shakiness. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. The whales were so close to the boat, they actually swam up underneath us and surfaced behind us. Then they swam along side the boat, no farther than 15 feet away. One whale gave us the eye as he (or she) swam by. One of them had to be at least 30 feet long. This day has been my highlight so far. I can't believe the wonders of our earth and sea.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Day 1 and 2 - Southern Caribbean





Hi from the ocean blue!
The first and second day of vacation are over – but there’s still plenty to look forward to!
We decided to fly to San Juan a day early, so that there would be a mad rush to the cruise ship pier on Monday afternoon. At the airport we were able to upgrade to first class seats for DH and I – what luxury! I was always one of those folks who said “First class – what’s the point? Economy class gets there at the same time.” Well, let me tell you that there is quite a difference. You aren’t squashed next to your neighbors like sardines, no one climbing over you every time they need to use the restroom, no one jostling you on their travels up and down the aisle. The seats reclined until you could lie flat and sleep as though you were home in your own bed! Well, you probably have a much better mattress, but you get the idea. Flight attendants really do bring you hot towels in first class – I thought that was a movie thing! Snacks and meals you don’t see in economy (I had 3 cheese quiche with turkey sausage for breakfast) were a very pleasant surprise. My husband is really spoiling me! Upon landing and claiming our baggage we were taken by taxi to the Caribe Hilton hotel in Old San Juan. What a beautiful place! The grounds are fantastic, there is a beach and at least 3 pools that I saw. Our room had the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in and a comforter type blanket to die for! There was a wedding reception held there during our stay on Sunday, and the bride and groom have to have the loveliest photos ever. I can’t imagine a wedding held in a tropical setting like this. One caveat – food is expensive (VERY EXPENSIVE!). I did leave there with the idea that I might like to visit again. The room did have a refrigerator, and staying for a week might involve doing your own shopping and eating sandwiches! LOL!
On Monday, after checking out, we were taxied to the pier. The Celebrity Millenium is beautiful! Luck was with us when we made our reservations. We have become spoiled cruisers and prefer to book a balcony cabin now. A month or so before the cruise, we were notified that we had been upgraded to what Celebrity calls their concierge class. It’s still a balcony cabin and has extra perks like fresh fruit every day, robes to use on your vacation and priority check-in. About a week before the cruise our travel agent called us to say that we were asked if we wanted to upgrade again, at no cost, to a sky suite! That made check-in a breeze. With our documentation in hand, we were sent to the representative at the desk who took a few minutes to process the paperwork and then escorted us to a gentleman who welcomed us personally and offered us a free dinner in the specialty restaurant, the Olympic. We booked our dinner reservation and then boarded the ship. While waiting for access to the stateroom, we wandered the ship from top to bottom, and had lunch at the buffet. There were mimosas offered to the boarding passengers, and everywhere we went, employees welcomed us aboard with a smile.
Our stateroom is marvelous. When we were offered the suite the cruise line advised us that the suite was handicapped accessible. It had remained unsold, which was the reason it was available for upgrade. The stateroom is huge, compared to previous staterooms we’ve had. We settled in, and our butler appeared to introduce himself and see if we needed any assistance unpacking! Yes, our butler! In addition to the stateroom attendant, we have a butler!

Our dinner was fantastic. We had a waiter named Made (Mar-day) from Bali and he was so helpful to us, a couple of hicks from Pennsylvania. I’m afraid I had to ask him which forks to use at dinner (I’m not too proud to ask for help). We really liked him a lot. DH had the duck for dinner and raved about it. I chose seafood risotto. It was delicious, but whereas I was expecting jumbo shrimp and scallops, the dish also included oysters – EWWWWWW! I shoved them to the side of the plate and ate the rest, Overall each and every course of the meal was great, and I would eat there again.
The ship departed San Juan at approximately 8:45 and I have to tell you that it is as smooth as can be. It is now 6:55 am on Tuesday and I was up early to watch the sunrise from my veranda. The ocean is so calm – you can hardly tell the ship is moving. I’m looking forward to a good day in St. Croix.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Getting Ready for Vacation


On Sunday morning, we head for the airport. I've been looking forward to this cruise. I don't know if I'll want to come home. 11 nights - 8 ports. We will be visiting Aruba, Barbados, Curacao, Dominica, Grenada, St. Croix, St. Kitts and St. Lucia. Tomorrow will be a "last minute, running around, repacking" kind of day.

I have finished a shawl in autumn colors. I am making shawls - one for a SIL fighting Non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and I will make one for my son's fiancee's aunt, valiantly fighting breast cancer. The shawl I finished is a half-granny shawl. I've only ever made these in solid colors, but I alternated rows of light tan, light sage green, carrot and a lighter shade of green (I don't remember what it's called). I do like the way it turned out - what do you think?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Countdown - 7 Days...

We're already packing for our trip! Are we anxious and excited? YES!
Gathering items as we think of them and adding them to a single bag. Watch us forget and leave the whole bag at home! LOL!
I still need to pick up some yarn. I intend to work on a shawl for my sister-in-law. I thought the half-granny shawl is a nice warm one. I made one for myself and one for a friend already.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

All The Animals In the Zoo...









Yesterday I accompanied my son, his fiancee and my grandson on a trip to the Philadelphia Zoo. What a great day! My grandson was thrilled with the animals there. My personal favorite are the giraffes. I took a lot of photos, including a few (ha-ha!) of my favorite grandson. Okay, more than a few.

It's only 13 more days until our vacation. I really can't wait, but I'm going to miss the kids so much.

I'm attaching some of the photos I took at the zoo.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

17 Days and Counting...

Vacation! I am so looking forward to doing NOTHING! DH and I are going on a cruise to celebrate our 30th anniversary (a late celebration) and I'm planning on some quality time by the pool. Breakfast from room service, coffee on the balcony and checking out the islands we haven't been to yet. I'll be posting photos and notes about our trip whenever I can.

I will miss my kids and my sweet little grandson, who is such a source of joy in my life!

DH took me to the pool this evening and I had a refresher course in snorkeling in preparation for our trip. I'm not comfortable in the water so teaching me to swim or snorkel is a difficult proposition. I did okay though, but definitely need a few more lessons. We got chased out of the pool early though - lightning storm.

I will keep this short - I'm tired and will be turning in early. Tomorrow I'll have to visit a yarn store or two in search of a suitable yarn for a shawl. I'd like to take one with me on the cruise.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sweaters on a Roll...


Having finished a sweater for myself, I whipped up a sweater for my grandson Justin. I hope his mom will send me a photo of my little guy wearing it. I figured that since the weather is cooling off, a nice toasty sweater would come in handy.

I didn't intend it to look so much like mine, but I love the look of Red Heart Fleck yarns. Mine is Buff and the baby's is Aran fleck. And here is my little ray of sunshine!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Sweater/Coat Made Without a Pattern!


I crocheted myself a present! I don't often make things for myself, but it gets cold at work sometimes. I thought it would be nice to have a something handy. I started one day to crochet a rectangular wrap using Red Heart Buff Fleck yarn, but then wondered if I could make a sweater instead. So I crocheted until I had a back piece, measuring it on myself as I went. Then made two front pieces, again measuring as I went along. Once I thought it would work, I sewed (crocheted) all the pieces together. Next, starting from the armhole, I crocheted the sleeves from top to bottom. The border is gray and brown, to accent the flecks in the yarn. I am debating making pockets for it. I tried it on and I like it! It's a keeper!

Maybe someday soon I can sit down and write the pattern. It was all made in half-double crochet and single crochet. I think that I should be able to determine the number of stitches and write down the directions, just in case I want to make another one.

Monday, August 23, 2010

L'il Buster and the Grange Fair


The grange fair has come and gone again, and I'm glad to say that I was able to submit 3 items for judging in the needlework competition. My favorite was the L'il Buster doll, a Kathleen Early design. I won a blue ribbon with him, and was thrilled to find out at the end of the fair that the doll was also selected by the judges to compete for Best of Show! The Best of Show award went to a lovely quilt, but I'm happy nonetheless that my work was chosen as one of 5 items considered in the BOS contest.

I also submitted a baby afghan. It was a simple round ripple blanket, in a combination of melon and a creamy buttery color. It was awarded a fourth place ribbon. I'm very happy with placing fourth, because I honestly did not expect it to place for a ribbon at all.

The third item was a dishcloth which I thought had a very interesting pooling pattern. It didn't finish with a ribbon, but I did see some very lovely dishcloths in competition with it and totally agreed with the ribbon awards in that category.

I'm looking forward to next year's fair and I'm already searching my pattern stash for new items to crochet.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Yaaaaaayyyy! Spam Filters on Blogger!

I see that Blogger has initiated spam filters! It's about time! Is it a coincidence that my last post was a rant about spammers on my blog? I think not! Just kidding - I know that I haven't single-handedly saved Blogger-land from spammers. I'm sure glad to see spam filters, though!

I finished my doll and delivered him to the Grange Fair yesterday for judging in the needlework competition. I am hoping he wins a ribbon. I don't have a nice photo of him right now, but will take a picture when I get him back on Sunday and post it. I like the way it turned out. Thank you, Kathleen Early, for your design and your help with the problem I had with the instructions. It was a minor setback, but once I passed the bottleneck, the project finished up nicely.

I also entered a small round ripple baby afghan and an unusually patterned dishcloth. The afghan I don't expect to win a ribbon, as it's just a simple little blanket. I am hoping to place with the dishcloth, since it was worked with a variegated yarn, and the design turned out to be so attractive.

DH and I also got some good news about our upcoming cruise. The travel agent was able to get us a free upgrade to a concierge class cabin with a few more amenities for us. It's less than 2 months until we leave. I am looking forward to going!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Rant!

My husband, my sister-in-law and I spent a pleasant 4 days/3 nights in Nags Head in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I returned with the thoughts of BLTs and plain tomato sandwiches in my mind, and went to pick some tomatoes from my garden. There were 4 just starting to ripen when we left. Imagine my surprise to find them gone. Not just the ripe ones, but someone stripped the entire plant of tomatoes, even the green ones! A friend suggested that it might have been an animal, but I believe it was a 2-legged tomato thief. The plant was picked clean – nothing broken and no half-eaten fruit in the area.

As if that’s not bad enough – I have another rant! What’s with all the spam comments on my blog lately? They come through in foreign Asian characters, a new comment every day. Thankfully, I had the foresight to set up my comments to be pre-approved before publishing, so I don’t have to go in to delete comments all the time, and my readers aren't subjected to this trash. I welcome comments on my blog, but not like this. Junk mail, spam in our e-mail boxes, and now this! Don’t these people have lives? I wish there was a way to direct this garbage right back into their mailboxes!

To turn this to a crochet-related discussion – the doll I’m working on is coming along nicely. I started a second doll, because I made a mistake attaching the arm on the first doll. He’s lopsided. I’ve learned from the first attempt that there is a better way to attach the legs and hopefully, when it’s time to attach the arms, that will work out better too. I’m running short of time, so I’ve got to get down to business and finish this doll. The Grange Fair is in 9 days - can I finish in time?

Work is going so much better for me. I can't believe that I worried so much about making the change (it helps that my overall outlook on life has greatly improved as well) but I'm so much happier in the new environment. My bosses seem to really appreciate my efforts and I enjoy helping them out. My last boss - let's face it. He was a jerk. Not a bad guy - just a jerk. I never pictured him as an HR manager. I thought his element was a cruise ship, and envisioned him trying to get overweight men to sign up poolside to take part in the bellyflop contest! Yes, cruise director would have been his ideal career choice. He was too casual and nonchalant about everything, even referring to his teammates as "Dude". I wish him luck in his new position (he's left the company).

Monday, July 26, 2010

Curse You, Mickey D! Damn You, Dunkin Donuts!

My eyes were opened in a shocking way last week. I was looking forward to a new haircut and color and made an appointment with my favorite stylist. She has her own shop and recently moved to a new location. As part of the change, she now styles hair in front of a full-length mirror. OMG! I discovered (well, I acknowledged…) that I have enough middle-age spread for 2 middle-aged women! What a buzz-kill.

I’m blaming the above-named parties for their Mocha Frappes and Coffee Coolattas and Iced Lattes. I finally wised up to the fact that I’m not really drinking coffee, but actually an ice-cream mixture with maybe a drop of coffee thrown in the mix. I became addicted to these since the Frappes were introduced (that being my drug of choice). The large size has well over 600 calories.

I will be going through frappe-withdrawal, as I’ve made up my mind that I’ve got to stop before it’s too late. My pants are getting tighter and Dunlap’s disease is evident – as in my tummy dun-lapped over my waistband. I’ve got less than 80 days before my husband and I go on our celebration cruise. Time to get back in shape. Mickey D, you won’t be seeing me. Dunkin Donuts – your stock prices will be dipping, not your donuts. My morning coffee will now be a cup of the office brew. And my drink during the day will be a wonderful tea blend I bought this weekend – it’s called Trade Winds and has a wonderful coconut and mango flavor.

Speaking of this weekend – what a wonderful weekend it was. We visited my dear sister and her husband. My son and (future) DIL were also able to join us, with our grandson. We spent Saturday afternoon with my younger sister and her family. We swam in the pool and sat in the shade and shared some wonderful food. It was a great time and I was sorry to see the weekend come to an end.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Tomato Daze

My first home-grown tomato sandwich of the season was fantastic! It was worth the wait. There are about 4 more just on the edge of ripening. My Swiss chard has improved immensely. I was throwing away every stalk when it first came in. It looks nice now and I should have enough for a sidedish soon.

The kids are home this weekend, so I want to stop by to see them today. I sure miss little Justin. He's a cutie and a sweetheart.

I didn't get any crocheting done yesterday, but I'm back to work on it again today. Yesterday was a tough day for me. I had a very hard time getting up and moving around, and wasted half the day away.

I'll be starting dinner soon. I'm making stuffed cabbage. Well, not really stuffed. I couldn't find a head of cabbage large enough for me to find leaves that could wrap around the meat mixture. So I'll put full leaves on the bottom of the pan along with shredded cabbage, form the meat mixture into meatballs, and then cover with more full leaves and then bake. I was so disappointed. Even took a ride out to the local farm to check their produce and found it lacking. I saw nicer heads of cabbage in the grocery store.

Well, I am going to pick up the yarn for a bit before I get started with dinner.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Raining and Chaining

Rain! Just in time, as the landscape around here has really turned brown. Our gardens and flower beds need watering every night. We got a good soaking downpour last night, with two more thunderstorms earlier in the day.

My garden is looking good again. My tomato plants must be 5 feet tall, with at least a dozen green tomatoes on it so far. I can’t wait for them to ripen. I really look forward to the first tomato/mayonnaise sandwich of the year! And BLTs – yummmmmm.

The doll I’m crocheting is coming along nicely. After having some trouble crocheting the first hand and arm, the second one went easily after receiving the detailed instructions from the designer. At this point, I’ve finished as much as I can and I’m waiting for an order to come in from Joann’s. I decided to order plastic doll joints to connect the arms to the body. There are instructions to attach the arms using a homemade assembly with wire and plastic lids, or a professional assembly using a stove bolt. I’m going to give these plastic pieces a try to see how it works. In the meantime, I’ve started a second doll! It’s really a fun pattern to work and I’m really enjoying my crochet time. I’m looking forward to my lunch breaks and my return home so that I can spend time with my hook and yarn again.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

My Hook Has Been Busy!

I've finally gotten into the groove - picked up the pattern for a doll I've been wanting to make for a long time now. I love the Kathleen Early dolls, with lifelike features. I'm making "Lil Buster" to enter into the Grange Fair in August.

The legs and body were a breeze, but I've been hung up on crafting the right arm. I must have been out of touch with crochet for too long, because I frogged this arm so many times, I could have pulled my hair out! But then I would have had to crochet myself a wig! Anyway, try as I might, I just couldn't get the stitch count to come out right. I've been reading patterns for years now, and this pattern is well-written but I was just so confused. I finally e-mailed the designer and asked her for help. She was kind enough to reply with a more detailed set of instructions, and this was just what I needed. I now have the arm completed to the point where it is almost ready to be attached to the body. I'll start the left arm tomorrow, leaving the right unfinished until both are ready to attach. I'm really thrilled with the way it's turning out so far. Pictures will definitely be posted when Buster is finished.

Tomorrow my DH is going river diving, so the kids, the grandson and I will be joining him. Not in the river, but we'll have a little picnic and enjoy a little sun while the divers are doing their thing. It should be a nice day.

I brought my first potatoes in from "my second garden". Actually, these are potatoes that grew from some that must have been left underground last year. We didn't plant any potatoes at the side of the house this year, but a few came up anyway. They are pretty nice.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Hot, Hot, Hot!

Well, this is going to be one hot summer! We must have hit 100 degrees today. I went out to the grocery store this afternoon, and couldn't wait to get home. The AC in the car just couldn't kick in fast enough for me.

I started a new crochet project. My sweetheart ripple afghan is going on the back burner again for a while. I took a close look at it, and it's not going to be suitable for the grange fair. In all the time I haven't been working on it, it's been sitting on the back of my loveseat. My min pin has been pulling it down, mushing it into a comfortable bed and the afghan looks beat up already. It's okay. I will finish it and it's going to be a "keeper" afghan. My new project will be for the grange fair. I'm starting a Kathleen Early doll - L'il Buster. It's a fine project to carry back and forth to work with me - I can work on it at lunch time. So much easier to pack than a full size afghan. I'll post photos when I'm finished with it. I always have loved making dolls and animals. It's good to get back to crocheting something close to my heart again.

Stopped to see the kids this evening too. They are thinking of setting their wedding date for August or September next year. Grandson Justin, as always, was cute as a button tonight.

The nice thing about a long holiday weekend is the short workweek that follows.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

It's The Little Things That Count


Today I saw something that touched my heart. It was the sight of my husband, standing on a ladder, putting a baby bird back in its nest. My son discovered the bird under the tree and came inside to tell us that it was injured and the dogs were barking at it. I went out to see it, and realized it was a baby who, although unhurt, wasn’t able to fly yet. It had fallen out of the nest. I moved the baby away from the dogs’ line of vision, but worried about leaving it on the ground where a neighborhood cat might get it. The poor thing must have been hungry because he opened his beak wide as could be when I picked him up. My DH was getting ready for a trip to NY, but took the time to ease my fears by putting the baby back where it belonged, with Mama Bird harassing him to no end in the process! What a guy! I count my blessings.

The heat wave has broken for a few days anyway. It’s not so humid and “melty” outside. I hate days when the humidity makes the air as thick as soup, and I feel like a wax candle left out in the sun. Yes, I know I said I like the tropics...

To finally bring some crochet into my blog, here is a photo of some items I've worked on. They are round ripple baby afghans going to California as soon as I can get a box together.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Welcoming a Daughter

I got a call from my DS's girlfriend on Saturday. She was so excited! My son proposed to her on Saturday. I'm so happy for them both! She is a sweet and loving girl and a wonderful mother to my grandson. My husband and I are proud to welcome her into our family - she is the daughter we've always wanted. No wedding date has been set yet, but the kids are talking about sometime next summer.

I spent the weekend with my nose buried in a Kindle, reading a book called "Tender Graces". I loved this book and recommend it highly. The author is Kathryn Magendie. It struck a chord with me, being a child of the 60's - candy cigarettes, plaid pedal pushers, bikes with cards in the spokes or streamers on the handlebars.

Looking forward to finishing the week, and enjoying the upcoming 3-day weekend. I hope we have nice weather. We came out of one heatwave only to be caught up in another, with only 2 days in between to cool off. It's going to be a hot hot summer!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

WOW!!!!




At the controls





Justin in the pilot's seat - boy, I need a haircut!










I did it! I can't believe I did it! I actually flew a plane today!

What a trip~ I was on the controls once the instructor taxied into position and took us down the runway. He told me when to pull back on the yoke to gain altitude - I did and - AMAZINGLY! - we were in the air. He let me make the turns and bring the plane lower or take it higher. I kept finding myself with a death grip on the controls until about 2/3 of the way through the lesson, when I became a little more relaxed and the flying seemed easier. We encountered a bit of turbulence when we approached the clouds (it was an overcast day today) but the turbulence didn't bother me at all. The instructor took over once we made the approach to the airport at the end of the lesson. I had a wonderful time, and the instructor assured me that I didn't frighten him into changing professions, so I guess everything went okay. That's little Justin sitting in the pilot's seat.

Wow! I have to do this again!

To make the day absolutely perfect, DS Dan dropped Justin off to stay with me this afternoon while "Daddy" went fishing. We had a wonderful time together.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Dedicated to Husband, Sons, Brothers and Sisters...

Certain aspects of my life handed me a lot of lemons over the past 5 years and I lost my recipe for lemonade. I sank to depths I don’t want to see again. But this is going to be a big year for me – I’m feeling so much better.

Tomorrow I will be taking my first flying lesson. It’s an introductory lesson, and if I like it, I hope to pursue a private pilot certificate. I am looking forward to it and hope to have some pictures, or even video footage of my adventure. Check back on Sunday to see how it all went! Wish me luck!

This is also my 30th wedding anniversary year – the actual anniversary doesn’t come until later this year. My husband and I are splurging and celebrating with an 11-night cruise in the Caribbean. I love cruising and we’ve done a 4 night (our first cruise) and some 7-night trips since then. This will be our longest cruise to date and the acid test of our relationship. Will we still be able to stand one another after 11 nights at sea? LOL! I don’t see why not – DH will be scuba diving some days and I’ll be free to go to the spa or spend time on a beach. Will a 7-night cruise ever be long enough for us again? Seriously, I have to say that my DH is the most wonderful person and has stuck with me through thick and thin. I thank God for him.

I have also decided to go back to school. I am a high school graduate who decided at the ripe old age of – well, you don’t really need the gory details, do you? Anyway, 5 years or so ago I made up my mind to pursue at least an associates degree, and to see where I could go from there. I attended 1 class per semester for exactly 4 semesters. Then bad times set in and everything good in my life seemed to disappear from view. It’s been a long haul, but with family and friends supporting me, and excellent medical treatment, I feel I’m back on track. So it’s off to school we go. The last class I took was an online class, which I really enjoyed. No running back and forth to the campus – the ease of studying in my own home and at my own pace really worked for me. So I’m picking up where I left off, and taking advantage of tuition reimbursement through my job to try to finish this degree with as many online sessions as I can manage. I know I’ve only got 4 classes in so far, but my GPA is a 3.875! Wish me luck again!

Life is good!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Sunday - It's a Beautiful Morning!

No special plans today except to catch up on laundry and to catch up on crochet as well. I have been making progress with the sweetheart ripple afghan. It's slow going for me as most of it is in single crochet. I went up to check the garden this morning. We've had a lot of rain and the tomato plants have grown quite tall. My pepper plants are still quite small, but they have peppers on them the size of large gumballs! My swiss chard didn't do well this year. Most of the leaves are turning brown. My potatoes have taken off this year and I hope to have a crop like last year's.

We've had such hot muggy weather - feels more like late July and August than it does June.

This will be an exciting week for me. This coming Saturday will be my flying lesson! I am really looking forward to it! I'll have to ask the pilot to take photos for me so that I can post them here!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Back To Work Today

It's early and I'm about to get ready to return to work this morning, after a very enjoyable 3 day weekend. I did crochet a bit - worked on the ripple afghan. And I got to spend most of the day with my favorite (and only) grandson. What a pleasure he is! My husband and I had such fun with him - he is so full of joy and is such a good little boy. He spent some time taking piano lessons from his Uncle Tom yesterday - check out the video! We had a cookout yesterday, interrupted by a serious storm, with thunderclaps and hail! Of course, that's when my dinner needed to come off the grill. After retrieving the meal, I looked like a drowned rat! It gave me an excuse to climb into my jammies early and relax until the kids came by to fetch Justin. What a great weekend!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend

Take time to remember those who died in service of their country, and the veterans who were fortunate enough to return to us. Bless them all!

We are in the middle of a 3 day weekend. It's been lovely so far - hamburgers on the grill, baked potatoes and macaroni salad! Yum! This evening, it will be shrimp and scallop kabobs. Staying home this holiday weekend was a good choice. I have family at the Jersey shore, and would love to have spent time with them, but I haven't had much time with DH lately, and it's nice to have him home for a change.

I have plans to take DS to fill out a job application today. I sure hope he gets full time work soon! I also want to take time to crochet - I have that sweetheart ripple afghan to finish. It would really make a great grange fair entry. And I just received 3 new patterns in the mail. I've been wanting to make some Kathleen Early dolls for a long time now. I ordered the patterns and will be digging through my stash soon, looking for the yarn I need. I'm sure I have some stockpiled, left over from my doll-making days.

Time to get going here. Hope that you all have a great holiday weekend!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Sunny Saturday - Sunnier Disposition

Good morning!

I just retrieved the lavender and white round ripple from the washing machine and the coffee stains are gone! It's in the dryer now and will come out soft and clean and will be able to find a new home with a patient in a NICU in California. I'm so happy!

I've started a new baby blanket, a blanket that is just one big granny square. That will also travel with its lavender buddy to CA when it's finished.

It's a sunny morning and I'm feeling so good today! Anyone who follows this blog knows that things haven't always been sunny for me, and at times seemed downright dark. But things are so much better now - seeking medical treatment was definitely the thing to do. Depression doesn't have to beat us.

I'm searching my stash of projects for something to make for the upcoming Grange Fair in August. I haven't missed a year since I first entered a project in 1993. I wasn't a winner that year, even though I was so very proud of the doll in a ballerina tutu that I made (entirely crocheted). As it turned out, someone else made the exact same doll that year - hers had black hair and mine had reddish gold hair. What are the chances? LOL! Neither of us won, but it was the start of a tradition.

I have some household chores here to do today, and some painting that I hope to finish this weekend. But more crochet is definitely on my list.

I'm enjoying the bright sunshine this morning, the windows are all open, and I can hear the birds singing. My family is healthy, my garden is growing, and my doggies are at my side. All is right with the world...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Finished Baby Afghan


I'm happy to say that I finished the little lavender and white round ripple I started a while back. I've picked it up here and there and only accomplished a few stitches before putting it down. But I stayed with it and here it is - in all its coffee-stained glory. You may remember an earlier post in which I described a miserable day involving spilled coffee and my little blanket. I decided to finish it and wash it afterward - I'm hoping the stains come out. I think they will. Once it's cleaned up and nice and soft, I'm going to find a good home for it.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Good Morning! It's the Weekend!


Hi, everyone. I've been away from blogging for a while - my apologies. I've been working through some issues since moving from one job site to another. I'm starting to feel better about things, feeling a little more comfortable each day. I work for 2 bosses now, and both say they are glad to have me there. My poor self-esteem at this time keeps me from believing that fully. But I hope to work through that issue as well.

My son, his girlfriend (hereafter referred to as DIL)and my beautiful grandson will be leaving on a cruise vacation tomorrow! They are going to Bermuda. Dear DIL"s family will be sailing as well. I'm not sure how big the group is, but I'm guessing at least 15 people. I hope they have a fantastic time. I wish I could have gone as well - my DH and I were invited. But my heart was set on a special 30th anniversary cruise later this year.

I'm going to be missing them all for the week they will be gone. I hope they send lots and lots of photos!

Last night I had dinner with dear DIL and baby Justin. He was so cute! He put his sunglasses on and ate dinner with them on. Every waitress came by and oohed and aahed at him - he sure is a handsome little man. The kids are lucky - he is a very good little baby and has been from the time he was born. I told DIL that the baby just lights up my heart and he has since the day I first held him in my arms.

My garden has been planted. We put in more potatoes this year, along with two tomato plants, some corn, string beans, peppers and swiss chard. I need to take a walk up to see if there are more potatoes showing yet. I only saw one the other day.

My two SILs are coming down today. I hope to have a nice visit, some lunch and then a chance to stop by to visit the kids one more time before they leave tomorrow.

It's a beautiful day outside, so I think I'll take a walk to the garden. I find my mind turns more and more to wanting to pick up yarn and hook again. I hope that means my recovery is right around the corner.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I've Been Absent - Sorry...

I have to say - what a beautiful weekend I had on the 24th and 25th. On Saturday I started out the morning just sleeping it away. I don't like to do that. I used to like to get up early and enjoy the day. At lunch time, DS came out to ask if I would get something for him for lunch - we decided on Taco Bell. I got my shoes on and headed out the door, only to encounter the most beautiful sunny day I've seen in a while. I ran my errand and decided to stop by my dear friend's home to visit. She has been a rock during my recent difficult times, just as I supported her during her times of trial. We had a very nice visit and I suggested heading to Shadybrook Farm to see if they had any seed potatoes available. We both planted potatoes last year and got bumper crops of the best potatoes I've ever had.

We took a ride, and I ended up buying some more flowers for the front flower beds, along with some vegetable plants. We did buy the seed potatoes - just need hubby to till the garden. We had some homemade ice cream and really enjoyed the afternoon sun and conversation.

On Sunday, DH and I stopped by to visit with our other DS and his family. Little Justin was a little cranky - his mom Nicole said she thinks he's teething. We spent about an hour there, and before I left Justin came to me and put his arms up for me to pick him up. What an adorable little boy.

A very nice weekend, indeed.

Monday, April 12, 2010

My Day Off

What a busy day - a dentist appointment, an eye doctor appointment and I decided to paint my kitchen. I'm painting if for the second time in six months or so. I don't know what I was thinking last time, as in my mind's eye it would have been beautiful. On the walls - UGH! This time, I think I'll be happy with it. I've made good progress with the painting too. I promised my husband he didn't have to paint this time, as it's his least favorite chore. I've got almost half the kitchen done, and will have my son here to help me move the fridge and other pieces of furniture.

Here is a cute video of my grandson called "The Binky Game". No explanation needed, I think.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Misadventures in Breadmaking


Taste = good; Presentation = abominable.

In turning over the container the bread baked in, the handle flopped down into the middle of the opening and the bread slid loose, with the handle breaking the loaf in half. It does taste good with a bit of cream cheese on it! I'll wrap it to keep it fresh, as it would make a good breakfast. It's cranberry walnut.

I made it through my first week in my new assignment. It's lonely there so I sit out in the sun or read. I'll be sure to take my yarn and hook with me. I would have crocheted last week, but forgot my crochet hook.

To those of you who bake bread, please don't weep for this loaf. It will certainly not go to waste!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

First Day in New Assignment

It was a "fish out of water" day at work today. I didn't sleep well on Sunday night and spent 10 minutes running around the house looking for my keys, cursing under my breath. They were in my hand all along. I don't know what to say. The day consisted of doing attendance and getting my workspace in order. I know it will take time to get used to all the new names and faces and I'll be missing the familiar faces. We'll see how it goes..

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Have a Blessed Easter!

It's a little after midnight, official Easter Sunday. Have a wonderful holiday!

Yesterday I received a gift in the mail that I bought myself with the last of the balance on an Amazon gift card. It was a bread machine. I haven't had one for a long time. I tried out one of those boxed bread mixes this morning...a little flat and the top looked like hills and valleys. Disappointing. The second loaf of bread I made this evening hoping it would turn out better. It's a gift for my friend for Easter.
This one was made from "scratch" using a recipe from the booklet that came with the machine. Ahhhh - much better.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Day With Justin

I got a call from the kids to watch dear little Justin today. They have moved into a new home and needed to take the day cleaning out their old apartment. Would I mind watching Justin? Of course not! I watch him learning more and more each day. At one point, he picked up my car keys and tried to stick them in the keyhole in the front door! If he had been a bit taller, he might have reached it (not that they would have fit). He took his first couple of steps on March 5. He walked about 10 feet in the living room today, and I see him stepping more and more on his own without holding onto anything.



I picked up yarn and hook again today while Justin was napping. I'm back to the lavender and white and coffee-stained round ripple. I'll work on that more tomorrow.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Nice Weekend!

My brother and I had a very nice springtime weekend visiting with my sister and her husband in South Jersey. The weather was great. She is the most gracious hostess ever! She makes me feel welcome all the time. Her husband is a fantastic cook too! I am thankful for a family that cares about me and supports me through thick and thin.

My brother, sister and I walked the beach to look for shells on Saturday morning. There was still a bit of a chill in the air an some hearty souls taking in the sun – not many. After walking the beach and the boardwalk, we went shopping for a while. I undid a lot of my “decluttering” at home by buying new little do-dads. Oh, well.

Things at work have been keeping me tense and overwrought. I feel like something cast off to drift in the sea. I have no control – no, I guess I do. I can adjust to the change and go with it. It’s just so difficult when my head tells me something and every other particle of my being doesn’t want to cooperate. I just don’t like the way this was done. I know the last time they moved us all around was a disaster for me and I don’t want it to happen again. I have to trust in God that all will work out.

I keep a betta fish who was staring at me from his fishbowl. I fed him this morning and he is always begging for more. He will definitely make the move to the new building with me. He is a handsome little guy – yellow with brown spots. He likes to flare at my finger against the glass. But it’s all for show. He comes right to the surface when he sees me pick up the fish food container. He’s got a nice little bubble nest going already in the bowl.

Summer’s coming and I still have my introductory flying lesson gift certificate. I haven’t decided on a date for that yet, but thankfully, there is no expiration date on it. They even give you a refund if you show up there and are too scared to do it. But I won’t be. I’ve been looking forward to this for quite a while.

How would you like to come out to your car and find this?


A beekeeper was called in. Evidently a queen bee stopped to rest on the woman's car and soon a swarm formed. Once the queen was captured and removed, the rest of the bees flew away! Wow~

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Springtime?

After 3 huge snowstorms and another nor'easter bringing almost 4 inches of rain to our area, the sun is out, it's over 60 degrees out and the flowers are peeking above ground.

I am working on a small piece of crochet work to get me back into the spirit of it. I decided a small dishcloth in spring colors would work. I'll post a photo (I know - I always promise that). It's just been so difficult lately.

Changes in my life - ups and downs - I have to keep plugging away. I pray that those days will return. Days when I crochet for hours on end, browse through my pattern booklets to search for the next project - I'm trying, folks!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Price of Beauty - Pain...

I woke this morning feeling a little lighter. It's sunny and warm and the birds are singing. I decided on a day of "beauty" - had my nails done and some waxing - in the G-rated way.

At some point in every woman's life, she looks in the mirror and says "I've turned into my mother". The cruel joke that nature plays on us is that even farther down the road, that same woman will look into her mirror and say "When did I turn into my father?" The slightly hairy chin, the downy upper lip, the brows going astray - a little waxing will be needed now and then to counteract the werewolf look. Okay, it wasn't that bad. The nice smooth warm wax applied to the brow, the application of the linen and then that first shocking RIIIIIIPPPPPPP! My eyes must have nearly popped out of their sockets. It wasn't so bad after that.

The nails look nice though. I got a full set, done in pink and white.

My review at work went through, just as I was afraid. I was dropped down another notch to a meets requirements rating with a smaller raise. I was also informed that I am being moved to another building beginning April 5. I am sad that I was rated on such a bad year, when I really feel that I did as well as I was physically and emotionally capable of, but I guess I can't fault the company for that. It's a new year and I have to be strong. And as far as the move goes - well, the building I'm in hasn't felt right from the beginning. A move to a new building might be what I need.

And may I just say that I wish the snow would go away now - no more until Christmas Even 2010, please. It is a nice day out, but every where you go there are mounds and mountains of piled-up snow that looks like gravel - it's so gray! I'm done with it.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Am I Reading Too Much Into Dreams?

There are people out there who dream a lot and those who dream a little, those who remember their dreams the next day and those who never remember any of their dreams. The experts will tell us that those who remember their dreams are probably only remembering one or two of many dreams they may have experienced during the course of the night (or day).

I remember dreams – usually one upon awakening. I’ve had frightening ones that made me wake up screaming, and recurring dreams that I apparently share with a lot of other folks. But lately my dreams seem to disturb me – not in a frightening or gory way. My dreams involve my work life and how I do not fit in. It may not be my current line of work that I’m dreaming about but I’ve dreamt of working other places and I’m not only unsatisfactory but I am a downright disappointment to all around me. And to me as well. I know I carry those feelings over to my current job. I’m about to get judged on the worst year I’ve had in the last 5 years and I’m dreading it. The entire year I’ve done the absolute best I’ve been physically and emotionally capable of and I know it won’t matter a whit.



And there are other kinds of dreams. I have dreams – goals – that I wish to fulfill. I wonder if I will ever accomplish them? Or if I’m even meant to do so. Will I be able to take that introductory flying lesson I asked for? Not unless I take off some excess weight…I’ve visions in my mind’s eye of two or more flying instructors doing their best to stuff my oversized backside into a tiny cockpit. Will I someday be able to retire to a nice warm sunny clime? Will I be able to leave my children and grandchild(ren) to do so? I’m watching a friend go through that difficult decision right now.



I have dreams of a nice home – one that isn’t filled with bric-a-brac and doodads and general junk. I am a “keeper” and my husband is a “thrower”. We need to sit down together and compromise. With his dive instruction schedule it hasn’t be possible so far. When we are together, I lack all desire to go through this crap…I mean stuff…



I am watching my son and his family move into their first home. I so wish I was there – I want to throw out everything in my house and start over.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

SNOW-VERDOSE!

Another huge storm heading our way starting tonight. They are expecting 12-18 inches of snow again in our area, with the snow starting tonight and last from 24 to 36 hours. I'll be heading in to work tomorrow, but bailing early if it looks really bad.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Bad Day In Crochet-land

Tuesday was Donut Day – the day before Ash Wednesday. I know that it’s actually Fasnacht Day and that there are very special donuts made for the occasion by bakeries, but I went the cheap route and bought a dozen Dunkin Donuts for the office. I also splurged on a large white chocolate latte.

I had my little round ripple with me to work on at lunch, and when I got out of the car at work – disaster! Trying to juggle my purse, my crochet bag, my coffee and the donuts and trying to lock the car, I managed to nearly drop the donuts, spill my coffee all over the crochet bag and drop my car keys. When I got inside to my cubicle, I saw that my little afghan had coffee stains on it. The coffee also found its way inside the bagged white and lavender yarns. I am heartsick. I crocheted with it a bit at lunch time anyway, even though the yarn was getting stiff to work with where it was coffee-soaked. If I finish this little afghan, does anyone think the coffee will wash out? If not, I guess I’ll continue to add rounds to it and use it on a bed or something. Any recommendations on what may remove the coffee when I’m ready to wash it? I can probably finish off what I have done so far, wash, and start adding rounds again to it. I’d appreciate your input.

In the meantime, I’ve gone back to my Sweetheart Ripple afghan – this has been a long time in the works. I want desperately to finish it because this is a keeper. I usually give away my afghans, but not this one. It’s a single crochet afghan, so I don’t get too many rows worked in a single hour at work.

Please say a prayer for me now and then. I look back at all the items I’ve had so much fun making over the years and I feel like a big part of me is missing right now. The giraffe blanket for my little punkin, the crocheted chimp, endless afghans, Christmas ornaments, dinosaurs for my boys – I felt proud to start out with a skein of yarn and end up with these finished items. My heart just isn’t in it lately. The more I dwell on it, the worse I feel. I should be working some crochet now while watching TV, but I can hardly keep my eyes open.

By the way – for Lent I’m giving up exercise and healthy eating – anyone with me?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Too Cute For Words!



Justin watching the snow during the blizzard - isn't he sweet in his little jammies?

I've spent the morning printing out free patterns. My yarn is at the ready and I'll be picking up where I left off with my round ripple afghan today, as long as I have enough flexibility in my fingers to hold the hook. We'll give it a try. I'll update later with a photo if this works. Looking forward to getting back to crocheting again.

Check in with Beansieleigh on Beansie Babbles - she is celebrating her "blogaversary" and is holding a giveaway on her website.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

More Snow and We Have Nowhere To Put It!


It's another whopper of a storm! Not all the snow from the last blast left us, before this one added another 18 inches or so to the heap. AND I hear there may be another on Monday. If we get more snow, I'm not sure where it will go - we'll have to eat it!

Yes, it's true. Paula Deen actually has a recipe for snow ice cream. It's here. And to be sure that your snow is safe to eat - put some in a coffee filter and let it melt. If there are no particles left in the coffee filter after the water runs through, your snow is good for eating. Needless to say, stay away from the yellow stuff - LOL!

DH just saw a big green flash in the sky - someone might have hit an electric pole and blew a transformer. I hope that, if that's the case, no one was hurt. DH took a walk around the block a while ago and said the roads are really bad. He's about to go out to clear the driveway and sidewalk for the third time today.

The photo above was taken not long after the second cleanup session on the car and driveway.

And I heard that Captain Phil of the Cornelia Marie, from the TV show "The Deadliest Catch" passed away. The Deadliest Catch was one of my favorite shows. Those fishermen worked so hard for a living - they are rough and foul-mouthed at times, but they are an interesting bunch. Captain Phil was one of my favorites. My condolences to his family and friends.

My 'puter has been really slow the last couple of days, and I got the "blue screen of death" this afternoon. Hoping it doesn't quit on me.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Another Snowy Weekend With More To Come!

We have survived another snowy weekend, with an official total of 26.7 inches of snow at the Philadelphia airport. Being north of the city, our totals were ONLY 16 inches... According to our local meteorologist, since 1888, 78% of the snowstorms in the Philadelphia area have hit on weekends. For those who occasionally enjoy a snow day from work, that’s a bummer. For those of us living in this area who have been in the habit of praying for a white Christmas and being constantly disappointed, we have been socked with nor’easters a-plenty this year. Same goes for those along the coast. I’m sure that those of you living in the Carolinas, Washington DC and other coastal states can attest to that fact.

And guess what? News reports say that we can expect anywhere from 12 – 18 ADDITIONAL inches of snow starting sometimes on Tuesday night and possibly ending Thursday morning. We had 16 inches in our little backyard on Saturday. The sun came out on Sunday and by this morning, it looked to be only 4-5 inches of snow on our lawn. Thankfully, that means we won’t be living with 3 feet of snow all at one time.

Let’s throw a crochet note in here this morning. I haven’t kept at it regularly for a while and I brought my lavender and white round ripple to work on at lunch time. I will give it a try. Not sure how it’s going to work. I suffered a kitchen injury on Sunday. I really have to stay out of there! I’m dangerous! I was cooking a pot of split pea soup and ended up with a second-degree burn to my finger in the process. Last night I had a dime-sized blister on my finger, but when I woke up this morning I found it had tripled in size. It’s huge! I’m trying to protect it as they say that is the best way for it to heal. Why am I such a klutz in the kitchen? Anyway, I’m not sure how holding the hook is going to work out, or if the blister will prevent me from being able to work stitches. I’ll try it. If not, I have my Kindle to read. I’m currently reading “Dear John”. It’s wonderful so far. Nicholas Sparks writes a great love story. I read “Nights at Rodanthe” and I’ve since downloaded some of his other novels.

Back from a trip to the doctor's office for my burned finger. After "de-roofing" the blister and wrapping it, the doctor also game me a tetanus shot.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road

Stinkin’ to high heaven! (Louden Wainwright III)



For a residential area, I'm surprised at how much wildlife we see. (Not the human, champagne-poppin’, livin’ it up kind of wild life), but the “Aw, isn’t that cute!” kind. More rabbits, squirrels, groundhogs and skunks than I’ve seen even on my in-laws farm. I looked out my door one evening when the motion detector turned the light on in my carport to see a skunk there checking things out. I was going to open the inside door, leaving the outside door as a barrier between us just to get a better look, when I realized he wasn’t alone. He had a date! I decided not to interrupt.


Well, I’m not sure if it’s mating season now for them or not, but if it is, they’ve been lookin’ for love in all the wrong places. The middle of a well-traveled highway isn’t it. My son and I passed 3 of the deceased just on our travels to work. I see the little remains on the side of the road and think “Someone lost their poor loved pet kitty-cat” until I get close and that telltale odor tells you “Uh-uh – not a kitty-cat”.

I'm sure skunks have their place in the food chain and are beneficial in their own way, Needless to say, I’m all for people slowing down on the highways and giving nature a fair chance.

Strange post today, I know. I’m in a loopy mood, I think.

We’re in for some more snow on the weekend again. If it must snow, I wish they’d get the timing right. I want a snowstorm that keeps me out of work! We got about an inch of light fluffy snow last night – just enough to make the drive to work sort of Christmas-y, with an occasional scent of eau-du-skunk instead of bayberry and gingerbread. It's gone already...

Speaking of gingerbread, I had to trash a lot of my Christmas cookies this year – no one ate them. I figured the afore-mentioned wildlife would enjoy them, even though my family did not. I should have known not to bake the store-bought slice and bake kind of cookies. My internet friend Tina is always baking and her creations look wonderful. Check out Beansieleigh’s blog. My oven sees dessert action once in a while at Christmas time, and I buy birthday cakes {GASP}! Shame on me. I’ve never been much of a baker though.

Well, I think I’ll make plans to do my grocery shopping on Thursday. Saturday the stores will be crowded with people looking for bread, milk and eggs. Why does everyone want to make French toast when it snows?????

Monday, February 1, 2010

Baby, It's C-O-L-D Outside!!!

Forgive me for not posting anything in a while. It’s been so cold my fingers don’t want to work! Did I tell you how much I hate the cold weather? To our neighbors up north in Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, or even upstate New York - please don’t send me any e-mails or responses telling me “You think you have it bad!”. My blessings to you if you can survive in the cold and the snow. It’s just not for me. Here where I live you might find it balmy, but I’m a warm-weather girl at heart, I guess, and wind chill factors of 6 degrees doesn’t do it for me. I can’t imagine anyone finding enjoyment in getting out in the snow and cold to ski or snowboard or even spend a little time ice-skating. My idea of a winter sport is the 2 yard dash to the closet for another comforter! Saturday was so bitterly cold when the wind cut right through you. I am praying for the spring’s arrival soon. I spend my days off huddled under a blanket and my days during the week wearing jackets at work.



For some dessert to go with that whine: My husband and I are celebrating our 30th year of marriage this year. For something special we’ve booked a cruise to the Southern Caribbean for 11 nights! 11 nights at sea! Now that’s for me – turquoise waters, sunny days, watching sunsets from the deck, watching sunrise on the balcony of your cabin while sipping your breakfast coffee…I’m there already. Now to turn in my vacation request here at work.