Thursday, July 31, 2014

A new use for a cowl......

A new use for a cowl...............wisdom tooth ice pack holder.

Happy Birthday to my Mom today, she would have been 87.

Hope you are all having a great day.
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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Quick Present

Little Buddy attends Physical Therapy two times a week.  We call his therapist PT Terri,  as his nanny is a Terri, too we need to differentiate who we are talking about.  PT Terri has had a student for the past few months and this is her last week.  She is a darling young woman, (we call her Almost PT Ashley) ready to start her career.  It is so fun to see her confidence rising.  I remember how terrifying internships were. So as a quick present to say good luck, I made her the famous Queen Anne's Lace Scarf.  You can never go wrong with this pattern, it always makes a beautiful scarf.

Made from Plymouth Yarn Company, Gina, yarn I have had in my stash for ages.  I used a size J hook and went at it the last few days so it could be delivered to her today.  My husband took Little Buddy to his therapy so I don't suppose I will know if she likes it or not.  Sometimes it is just nice to know someone is thinking about you and wishes you well.  

This yarn is 100% wool, and a tiny bit scratchy, not perfect for a scarf in Florida.  But who knows where she will end up living, the possibilities are endless for a new therapist. I used about 150 yards for this scarf, I just stopped when I thought it was long enough and the ends sort of matched up.

With the remainder of the yarn I whipped up this little coaster/ I don't know what it is, thing.  It looks a bit wonky in the photo, I think that green strip is rounder than this in real life.  I wanted to use every bit of my 220 yards of this yarn.  I am sort of anti-leftover yarn right now.  I have enough bits and bobs of yarn around, I don't need to add to my collection.

Right now this trivety/coastery/thingy is on my table with a lovely little vase I bought in Franklin, NC when I was visiting.  It is a sweet little glass pitcher I got for $10.  I love it.

So you all don't think I live in a world of crochet bliss and flowers everywhere, Mr. 20 year old is scheduled for his wisdom tooth removal tomorrow at 7in the morning, we went for his consultation today.  My Teenager has a consult with an ENT tomorrow afternoon for those pesky tonsils.  And Little Buddy, not to be outdone, has his 3 year check-up (a month late) on Thursday.  I am running to this appointment and that one to fit everyone in.  Max you had better not need a trip to the vet this week!

Mr. 20 year old got home yesterday evening.  Little Buddy and I picked him up at the airport, and you know that little one was so thrilled when he saw his oldest brother, he screamed with glee.  I think Little Buddy thinks Mr.20 year old lives at the airport, because that is where we always pick him up and drop him off.  It is a blessing to have my boys under one roof for a short bit of time.  I always breathe easier when we are all together.

Wish me luck tomorrow with my nursing skills.
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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Just call me nurse Meredith

Nursing is a career I have the utmost respect for.  When I was younger I wanted to be a nurse, a sales clerk or a secretary, my imagination was pretty limited in those early years.  When I got into high school I loved art and science.  After researching professions I realized that an Occupational Therapist melded medicine and art, this sounded perfect to me.  I also wanted to be able to do my own thing, not having to follow Doctors directions and such.  The joke is as an Occupational Therapist working with special needs children and babies, art is not really even factored in to what I do ( I think those books I read were all about the very early stages of Occupational Therapy).  Occasionally we do a craft or two with my older kids to help with their fine motor skills or attention span but that is about it.  However my admiration and respect for nurses continued to grow and it still does.  As I have spent countless hours in the ER, hospital and the nursing home with my parents I have witnessed how valuable, knowledgeable and compassionate nurses are. Let me just say I am not that compassionate when it comes to my own family or taking care of others, which might make a good reason that I never went into nursing as a career.  As an OT I can hand the patient back after an hour or two, nursing is 8-12 hours a day with the same patients whether you like them or not. 

This week as my Teenager started to recover Mr. 20 year old became very ill with vomiting, fever and weakness.  Of course you understand he was on the way to a big swim meet, and there is not a whole heck of a lot you can do for your son while he is 900 miles away.  It is hard to tell him what to buy at the pharmacy to help, you know he can't breathe and his head hurts but what he takes might keep him up all night.  Let me say the results of the swim meet were disastrous, but in his own words he said he just had to get through it.  Well he did and now he will be home in just two days, when I can give him a big Mom hug and hope to squeeze all that yuckiness out of him.

So as I started to worry slightly less about him, and once again start packing for a 24 hour Southern Florida college tour with my Teenager (we missed last weeks trip due to his illness) he informed me his throat was hurting again.  Really how can this be?  I looked in his mouth and sure enough those white spots were returning even though he was still taking his antibiotic.  I called our Doctor who was again out of town but was scheduled in with her partner.  So while we waited for the appointment I canceled hotel reservations, unpacked and waited.  After a good hour in the waiting room, and an hour in the evaluation room we saw this lovely man, who is just so wonderful.  He was amazed at the state of my Teenager's throat, really I thought it looked a million times better than last week.  He diagnosed  my son with acute tonsillitis, gave him a very heavy antibiotic, a steroid and a referral to get those babies out.  Yes I have a nice big surgery to nurse my 17 year old through in the future. And just to test my patience a bit more another wisdom tooth removal this week, now it is Mr 20 year old's turn.  My very limited, and not so compassionate nursing/mothering skills are going to be put to the test.  Wish me luck.

 And just to make you smile somebody got a hair cut this week.  Here is the before and after.

  Those spikey spikes lasted all of 15 minutes. 

 Hope you are all having a good weekend and a special thank you for your book and audiobook suggestions.  You have given me lots of books to look into, I just might need these when I am on recovery duty.

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Books, books and other things

 I have nothing to show you on the yarn front today.  Frankly all I have been doing is taking care of my sick teenager, cleaning and doing all of his laundry as he sweats through his clothes and sheets.  The poor soul has strep throat and apparently antibiotics do not work for him with this particular illness.  There is no relief for him after being on the meds for 24 hours like others have, in fact he gets much, much worse. Friday he had a fever of 105 degree's, that is smoking hot for a 17 year old.  I swear my leg muscles are hurting from running up and down the stairs a million-zillion times a day checking on him and bringing him whatever he needs.  He is better today, no fever and he is eating so things are looking up. As I have spent several hours at the doctors office this week reading, I have been thinking a lot about books

 I love to read and I always have.  I remember reading a lot as a child.  My sister Claudia  was always reading when I was little.  She found her love of reading from my Mom, I found mine from watching Claudia.  When I was little we had a bookmobile that came and parked at our elementary school parking lot.  My Mom always took us over so we could check out books.  But as I got a bit older, and the bookmobile stopped coming, it was my sister who drove us to the library or Little Professor's Book store.  Those were always special treats, riding with her to the big library.  We would walk in together and part ways as I went to my section and she went to hers.   In those days you could leave a young girl in the library in her own section of books and never worry about a thing.  I would always have 7 or 8 books in a big stack, I'd take them home and read each one.  Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys, Little Women and all the Little House on the Prairie books.  I read Gone with the Wind three times when I was younger. I would read them all and Claudia would take me back so we could start all over again.  My Mother used to say, " You are never bored if you have a book."  So true.

I have read some very good books lately.  These have been read over the past few months, mostly in the evening when I am ready to hop into bed.  So if you are looking for a good book here are a few suggestions.

Beautiful Day by Erin Hilderbrand

A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I have also listened to three books on CD while driving.  This is new for me, I started listening on my trip to North Carolina and continued after I got home.  I drive a lot for work and I have found if I am listening to a book I am much less tense in the car.  If there is heavy traffic I just listen, and sometimes I am almost sorry I have to get out of the car, I want to stay in and listen some more.

The books I listened to are  Beaches, and The Island both by Erin Hilderbrand, and Breakfast With Buddha by Roland Merullo.  This last book made me laugh out loud in some sections, I loved it.

So now I am wondering if any of you listen to books on your phone or iPad?  Do you have a particular app you like to use?  I have been researching a bit, but you all know I am technology challenged.  I am always a few years behind in all that stuff.  So if you have any suggestion I'd love to hear them. 

My sister Claudia has a new blog about reading, books and newsworthy items based on all of that.  You can still find her at Mockingbird Hill Cottage and now you can also find her at Just let me finish this page.....  She is an avid reader.  You'll love her new blog.

Just to be fair there have been a few books I was not so in love with.  Diane Keaton's new book Let's Just Say It Wasn't Pretty.  Parts of it I loved and made me laugh out loud.  I love that she is so real,  struggling like the rest of us to come to terms with aging.  Parts seemed to drag a big, but regardless I still love Diane Keaton.  And you might all shoot me but The Goldfinch was not a best seller to me.  I liked the beginning and end but the middle 300 pages made me want to quit reading, I didn't so I guess that says something!

Have you read or listened to any good books lately?

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Olive Twist Shawl in gray

I have been talking a lot about my love for the Olive Twist Shawl by my lovely friend Sue Perez, in the Summer 2014 addition of Love of Crochet magazine.  Remember I made the whole shawl incorrectly at first because I am a bit daft and did not read the instructions correctly.  Every odd row there is an  increase in the middle of the shawl.  Now mind you the directions are right there, plain and simple, but apparently my mind was not there.  It was well worth frogging and starting over.  This is one of the most beautiful shawls I have ever made, and believe me I have made a few.  Remember my Elise Shawl obsession.  I made five of them for friends and I loved every stitch, but this shawl, OH MY!!!!!!  Here take a peek for yourself.

Really I can not say enough about this brilliant pattern by Sue.  I think this is by far one of the loveliest things I have ever made.  And even though I am trying to be stern with myself about completing a pink sweater or two, I just want to grab my hook and some yarn and start this pattern again.  My mind keeps wandering to how it might look in another yarn, maybe a slightly variegated yarn, nothing with too much color change.  Okay Meredith, snap out of it and get one of those Berroco sweaters finished!

I used three hanks of Canyon Mountain Top yarn by Classic Elite Yarns (from stash, thank you very much).  It is made from 85% pima cotton and 15% alpaca, and it is GORGEOUS to work with.  Smooth and soft, the yarn just flows over your hook and hands.  This is all I have left of my 450 yards, this teeny, tiny amount.  I actually did an extra hdc border along the top of the shawl to use up as much of this lovely yarn as I could, and I made the shawl a wee bit bigger.  You hardly notice the difference and it used up almost every inch of yarn.  I also used a size I crochet hook to complete the project.  It blocked beautifully with a steam iron.  This one is for me to add to my incredibly increasing shawl collection.  You see I love to make shawls but rarely wear them.  What is up with that?  This beauty is a keeper.  I intend to break the lack of shawl wearing cycle, and wrap it around my neck just as soon as I can wrestle it off Caroline the Dress Form, she is quite enchanted with it.

I hope you run as fast as you can to the nearest store to buy a copy of this magazine so you too can get busy on this shawl.  Sue of Mr Micawber's Recipe for Happiness also has another pattern in that very same magazine, the Honeydew Scarf.  Can you even imagine being that talented?  I fully admit I am not a designer, a great design follower maybe, but a designer, no.  Well done Sue, you are amazing.  Okay, I will stop gushing now.

This lovely lady and I almost ran into each other on my walk early Sunday morning.  I rounded the corner and almost walked smack dab into her.  She was as startled to see me as I as to see her.  Maybe she was so engrossed in eating leaves and grass she did not hear my footsteps.  She looked at me, and I slowly backed away from her so she would not get spooked.  I took out my phone and took this picture of her.  Then I looked down and made a wide circle around her so she did not feel threatened. She was gone upon my return, isn't she just gorgeous?  The deer we have in Florida are smaller than what you would normally think of, but they still seem to eat a ton, especially all of my flowers.  Oh well, I am just glad that in this very busy area I live in, I get to see this.  Thank you lovely deer.

Hope you are having a great day.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The table runner is finished

This weekend I was bound and determined to finish the woven table runner for my SIL's.  I wanted to get that baby off my loom so it could have a nice soak, dry and be ready to ship today.  Hooray I accomplished my goal, finishing up at the very end of the last World Cup game, which was an exciting one especially if you are a Germany fan (which I am not, I was pulling for The Netherlands).

So here it is in all it's glory.

My table is 65 inches wide with the expander in so this table runner ended up being about 66 inches long including the fringe.  The woven area is 15 inches wide and 51 inches long.
My SIL's table is much less wide than mine so this should fit nicely with an inch or two of the woven area and the fringe lying off the table.

Made from 750 yards of Berroco Boboli Lace in the color 4352.   I was going for 16 inches wide, so I was a bit off there and I was actually going for a bit longer, but I ran out of yarn so this is the way it ended up and I really like it.  I think it will be perfect on their dark oak table.

Now it is all wrapped up and shipped out to Door Co. Wisconsin, where they live during the summer, in a beautiful home right on Lake Michigan. 

I have learned a few things with this project and my last project made with the same yarn.  Wool tends to catch on itself and you will have to watch your sides when you put the shuttle through, they wear down and split apart or make a wobbly edge.  Picking a beautiful multicolored yarn lets the yarn create its own unique pattern, let the yarn work for you, don't try and make the yarn work, if that makes any sense at all.  Your edges might look a bit shaky while you are weaving, but when the whole project is done you don't notice them if they are not perfect.  Putting a hemming stitch on both ends prevents a big disaster, like I had with the purple shawl I completely had to take apart when my ends pulled the whole shawl wonky.  And last but not least, there is going to be a lot of yarn waste, that just happens with weaving so I better not worry that I am not using every precious inch of beautiful yarn.

Now I am determined to finish my gray crochet shawl.  After that I am going to be very stern with myself and get those pink summer sweaters done, before summer turns to fall. 

Hope you are having a great day.
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Saturday, July 12, 2014

A nap, a walk, chocolate, tea and yarn therapy

Thank you all so much for your kind thoughts.  I swear I do not like to whine but sometimes I just have to.  I so appreciate all of your well wishes.  I think I am better today, not perfect but better.  Yesterday afternoon I went to the yarn store all by myself.  It will be the last time I go as it closes down at the end of the month.  When I went with Little Buddy a week ago, I bought a few things, but I was not able to maneuver his stroller in all the nooks and crannies.  Yesterday I took my time, I walked around and touched all the yarn.  I thought about this yarn and then that yarn, and then I finally made a decision.  Here is what I bought.

Sidar Snugly Baby Bamboo in Yummy Yellow, 80% bamboo and 20% wool, 832 yards of soft yumminess.  I bought 400 yards of four other colors when I went with Little Buddy, possibly to make scarves for his therapists for Christmas presents.  Who would not love a scarf made from this?  As a hard working therapist myself, I think this would be a great gift.   The color is actually a bit softer than this picture, it is not so mustardish.

This Ella Rae Lace Merino kept pulling me back to see it.  I looked at it when I went with Little Buddy,  the color is so intriguing, not something I would usually buy.  There is a subtle shift in the darkness of the color. Although it is called Mauve, I find that to be so 90's don't you?  I think it deserves a better name but for the life of me I can't think of one.  Made of extra fine merino, 920 yards for $28 is a bargain.

And last but certainly not least is good ole Cascade Heritage sock yarn in Purple Hyacinth.  Made of 75% superwash wool and 25% nylon, 874 yards of purple loveliness for $16.80.  I  am not even sure what I will make with these yarns, but they were too beautiful to pass up at 30% off.  

 This morning I took a nice long walk, I am trying to get close to 4 miles in each day on the weekends, and 3 miles in on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, with maybe a mile in with Max and Little Buddy on those evenings.  I am trying hard to get back into shape so I can be a strong and healthy Mom for all my kids. 

Right now I am eating these yummy chocolate chips sweetened with barley malt, drinking herbal tea and writing to all of you.  I took a really long nap this afternoon trying to prevent a massive headache, something I rarely do.  It was blissful, just snuggling under a blanket knowing I had some time because Little Buddy was a sleep too. 

The skies are dark as this wonderful thunderstorm rolls in.  You know my love of rain and storms.  I love to hear the rumbling of the clouds and see the subtle shift in the light as the storm moves through. 

This is what I see right outside my craft room window right this moment.  Aren't those dark clouds gorgeous? 

With my recent yarn additions my stash is very healthy.  I am now officially working from stash.  I have some things planned out that will help use up some of this beautiful yarn.  I love it that I can step right into my room and open these doors wide and feel like I have my own little yarn store.  Yarn calms me and is such a deep pleasure to me.  I am so sad to see my favorite yarn store closing.  There is another store much closer to me, but I have some issues with the owner, I just feel she isn't very nice.  I have not been there for years, so now I will have to decide if it is worth giving her my business or if I should just wait and buy yarn while I am away, or order online.  For now I don't have to worry, I have enough to keep me busy for months.

The rest of today is about watching the World Cup, weaving, and maybe watching a movie tonight if I can stay awake.  I love a blissful day that just unfolds at it's own pace.

How is your day going?

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