Tuesday, February 24, 2015

It is time for the big meet.....................

Ten years ago this guy started swimming year round.  Before that he swam in the summer, played baseball and soccer and even did a stint with roller hockey.  When he turned 11 he dropped the rest of those sports and concentrated on triathlons and swimming.  Soon his coach told him he had to pick one, he was good at both, but to be really good he had to pick one and concentrate on that sport.  He choose to swim, and although the path he chose has not been an easy one, he is still at it.  Tomorrow we fly out to Iowa City to watch Mr. 21 in the Big Ten Swim Meet.  I am so excited and nervous I can't even tell you.  This is the biggest meet of his life so far.  Hopefully there will be more.  Can you keep your fingers crossed that all goes well?  And if you have a spare prayer or positive thought can you send it his way?   I know all the young men participating deserve the best, but I know what swimming has done to, and done for, this really great young man of mine.  He deserves the best.  And if you have another spare prayer could you send it my way so that I don't make myself sick with nerves and anxiety about his swims?

  This is my favorite swim picture of my son.  He was a senior in high school in this picture.  His face has matured as has his body, but you get an idea of how amazing swimming can be.  Go Mr 21!  I am rooting for you!

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Crazy Granny Square Big Green Blanket.........

It is done, finished, complete!  I am so excited to be done with this blanket.  Be prepared for a wee bit of picture overload, I am just tickled pink this baby is done.  No seriously I will try and pull myself together and only post a few pictures.

This baby is big for a lap blanket.  It measure 78 in x 54 in.  Each square is roughly 12 x 12.

There are 24 Crazy Granny Squares made with just two colors of green.

I made this blanket with Knit Picks, Wool of the Andes superwash yarn, and a size I hook.  The darker green is Noble Heather (16 balls) and the lighter Pampas Heather (11 balls).  While not in love with this yarn because it is kind of splitty, it was more cost effective to use to make a big blanket with.  It is decent yarn you can wash, and is durable and won't fall apart. 

I decided on a five row granny border with the darker green as that color was my favorite, I added a single crochet with the lighter green, and finished with a simple picot in the dark color.  I might not add the lighter green if I had to do it again because up close it looks a little uneven, but will anyone notice but me, I don't think so.

This is where it will stay, right here in the corner of my sofa in my family room.  The alpaca bear was my teenagers, I bought it years ago when visiting Rhinebeck with my sister Claudia.  He has now been given to Little Buddy who is not to sure about the texture of the bear.  Do you see any one's little feet in the picture above?

Oh no someone is getting in on the photo shoot!

27 balls of yarn in total were used to make this blanket, adding up to 2,970 yards of yarn used.  I started this blanket in the very beginning of January after a false start last year using another pattern.  This pattern is so easy,  I mean really, really, simple.  But I don't think that is a bad thing, sometimes simple is better.  I made 12 centers, six of each color, then the outside, joining as I went.  When half of the blanket was done I made the next 12 centers and so on.  

I wish I was more of a colorful person.  I love everything so bright and beautiful I see made out there in blogland or on Pinterest, but for my home I need more muted colors.  Colors that are calming and don't scream at me.  I love all the white walls and white furniture I see out there draped in colorful crochet, but my home is not like that, so I have to blend in with what I have.

The next blanket will be done with the same pattern.  I will be making white centers and the green will be used on the outside portion of the square..  We will not know the sex of this baby until it is born, I am so excited my nephew and his wife are doing it that way.  If it is a girl I might put a little pink on the border, who knows.  This is all stash yarn, the white left over from an African Flower Baby Blanket I made a few years ago, the green for a sweater I was going to make for myself.  Perfect way to use yarn, for a sweet new little one.

Little Buddy thanks you all for the well wishes.  He just has a cold.  No ear infection, no fever just a simple stuffed up nose.  I kept him out of school the rest of the week just so he could take it easy, and I admit it was a bit easier for me, too.  He will be back on Monday, hopefully with a boosted immune system from all the rest he has had.

Hope you are having a nice weekend.
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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Mid week Little Buddy fix......

Here we are mid week already, sometimes I can't believe how time flies by so fast.  I thought you might need a bit of a Little Buddy fix as today is all about Little Buddy.  He has a bit of a cold, as does everyone in his classroom.  Just after I dropped him off at school, and made it to my first patient, I got a call from the school saying he had a fever and was ill.  He wasn't that ill when I dropped him off so how how much more ill he could have gotten in the 15 minutes I was gone remains in question.  So I packed up and returned to the school to pick him up.  I think they might be alarmists as he had a sweatshirt on with his hood up, when I arrived, no wonder they thought he had a slight fever.  Regardless I packed him up, called the doctor, and now we are home for the morning.  He is acting pretty happy but I will take him into the doctor just to be sure he does not have an ear infection.  I had to cancel my entire day of work to get him to the doctor for the only appointment they had available at 1:30.  Ah, you forget about these things when you have older kids.

Little Buddy can often be found sitting on his potty fully dressed reading books.  He loves that potty, but not for the reasons it is designed for.

He also has some big news.  He is starting to walk with these super cool and colorful quad canes.  He makes it quite far in physical therapy with them, at home he tires of them easily.  But he can do it all by himself.  These are too tall and heavy for him, yet he manages them pretty well.  We are deciding whether to order him his own set or go right to forearm crutches, the kind that wrap around your forearm and have a handle for you hand.  The crutches are more advanced and harder so we are still weighing out all of the options.  

He can even get down from them all by himself.

After the doctor appointment, medication pick up and after Little Buddy goes down for his nap I plan to work on this.  I am on the border now and I can't wait to see it all finished.  This weekend I was on a mission to get every square done.  I crocheted so much I gave myself a sore where the yarn wrapped around my left index finger.  I crocheted every minute of nap time, and all evening long.  Every time Little Buddy was dawdling at mealtime I picked this up and worked on it.  When his Aunt came over to play with him on Sunday, this was in my hands.  I finished the last square on Monday and started the border last night.  This baby has to get done as I have a baby blanket to start for my husband's nephew and his wife, who are expecting their first baby. 

Hope you are having a great week and enjoyed your Little Buddy fix.
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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Valentine's Day at the alpaca farm.....

Yesterday my friends Holly and Cathy, agreed to go on a little field trip with me to the local alpaca farm.  You have to understand that up until this past Fall I did not even know we had a local alpaca farm.  I happened to drive by it and I was stunned.  Yesterday was open house day at the Golden Spirit Alpaca Ranch and we had to see for ourselves these sweet fiber producers.   The ranch has three properties with over 75 acres and 250 alpacas living there.  The farm was beautiful, large, clean and so well kept.  You can actually buy an alpaca and have it bordered there.........tempting I know.

This is Vera, she was my absolute favorite.  She was so friendly and social, or maybe she was just hungry, I am not sure.  She is just a beauty, look at those eyes!  

Each alpaca had a name tag, here is Vera's.  There was Blueberry and Joy, and of course Merlot.  So many fun names, they made us laugh.

Here is Cathy with Vera.

And Holly is with Vera, too.  Apparently in the 85 pictures I took of the farm, Vera was in about 40 of them.

 Not the best picture of me here, but who could ever look good with Vera right next to them, she steals the show.

I just can't tell you how sweet they all were.  It was such a beautiful day, cool and sunny which certainly helped making living on an Alpaca farm seem like the ideal way to live.  Can you imagine walking out your door to the barn or fenced in area to have a little snuggle with a bundle of soft fleece?  Yes I know it would be a lot of work, but in my fantasy it is always sunny, cool and dry, and I get to snuggle anytime I want to with a willing participant.

Some were inside the barn in clean fenced in areas.

Others were in outside big penned in areas or left to roam in big open spaces.  Really if I was an alpaca I would love this to be my home.  

Look at this hairdo!

Alpaca's are herd animals so if you want one you had better buy a couple of them.  Oh darn that would be such a tragedy owning several of them. You could buy one of these and I promise I would go visit it for you!

It was just the best little field trip.  I plan to take Little Buddy when he is a bit older.  They sponsor these events several times a year.  There was also a little shop, lots of expensive things to wear and cute hats for little ones.  I restrained myself.  As soon as I got home all I wanted to do was work with alpaca yarn not my green, crummy, knit picks crochet blanket.  Ah well I will have to discipline myself to get that blanket done so I can have fun with yarn I love to work with.  And after yesterday that just might be some alpaca. 

Funny, well sort of a sad fact about me, my missing sister, the one who has nothing to do with my family or my sister Claudia, has an alpaca farm in Minnesota.   We have never seen it or actually heard about it from her.  She also knits, which we have never talked about.  Crazy isn't it?

Hope you had a great Valentine's Day and a nice weekend.
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Friday, February 13, 2015

Valentine thoughts.....

Although I am not a super huge fan of Valentine's Day, I do love hearts.  I mean, really what is not to like about them?  They are such a fantastic shape.  Finding them in nature is even more fun.  This is my only heart shaped rock.  I know many of you have hundreds of them, but for me, only this one.  I have it on display year round.

I know Valentine's Day is a nice day to tell those you love that you do in fact love them.  I think it is a great day to tell your friends you love them, too.  I think we often tell our spouses, children, and other family members we love them, but seriously how often do you come right out and say the words to a friend?

So here is my message to you.......  Happy Valentine's Day.  You are loved!!!!!!

I love our friendship.  I love the interaction we have.  I love that you join me here on this blog of mine from all over the world.  I love learning about you and your life.  And I love that you take time out of your very busy days to visit and cheer me up, inspire me and confide in me.  I thank you for your friendship from the bottom of my heart.

While I am in the thanking mood I have to shout out a special thanks to Robin for the very special parcel that arrived in my mailbox today.  She sent a Valentine card to Little Buddy.  He loves it!  It was opened and closed about a thousand times by him before he went down for his nap today.

Inside was a treat for me!!!!  Look this great note pad where I can write list, after list, after list.  You know of my list obsession already, this will be perfect.  Robin is the very sweetest person alive.  I feel a bit like she is my twin as we are often using the same yarn, have the same flowers on our table or are reading the same book, without even realizing it.  I have to say she is the much cuter twin!  Please pop in and visit her and see all the fun things she is up to.   Thank you so, so much Robin, you made my day!

My azaleas are blooming just in time for Valentine's Day.  One of the lovely things about living in Florida is the early blooming season.  Now I know you will all have the last laugh come summer time as I am sweltering in the heat and humidity, and you are enjoying summer breezes, but this time of year is generally pretty nice  here.  Today is chilly, a high of 50 degrees, tomorrow is in the 60's and I have plans for a fun field trip with a friend.  

Hope you have a wonderful weekend.  If you are with family, or enjoying quiet time alone (count me jealous on this one) enjoy your Valentine's Day.
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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Cousin fun....

What is more fun than cousins just about your own age?  Well if you are Little Buddy there isn't anything better.  He had the very best weekend with his cousins visiting from Michigan, and his Aunt  Heidi from Wisconsin.  There were lots, and lots of giggles, and so much fun.  Getting the three of them to sit still long enough for some photos was a huge challenge.  

Actually the girls Mother is Little Buddy's actual cousin, these two are second cousins or something like that, but who really cares?  Family is family, and when family visits it is always a great time.  

I always think Little Buddy is progressing at such a rapid rate, then I see him with a peer near his age and it brings to my attention how much work we still need to do.  His speech is coming along so nicely, but pretend play and his motor skills are still way behind.  We are getting there, slowly but surely, but there is more to be done.  Oh and look how tiny he is, we need to get this little one to grow!

Aunt Heidi will be returning to our home in two weeks to watch Little Buddy for us as we travel to Iowa City to watch Mr. 21 in the Big Ten Swim Meet.  Yes he is going to the big one this year!!!  So start sending your positive thoughts his way if you have any to spare.  He has three events to swim so he is getting ready physically and mentally for this big meet. Little Buddy will be in the best of hands because Aunt Heidi is wonderful and is frankly in love with him.  She is so gracious to give her time to come back down to Florida for a week, really just after she gets back home.  She will also be here for the one year anniversary of her husband's death, I think being in Florida, away from home, and with Little Buddy and our other family members might just help her, too.

Look what popped up in my mailbox yesterday.  A beautiful Valentine from the wonderful Teresa.  I was just so thrilled, and so very touched when I opened it up.  It has been a fun weekend with family, but a long weekend if you know what I mean.  And after a long day at work, and a long drive home in the rain, this was the very best thing to find.

Look what was inside, a beautiful heart made by Teresa.  The pattern for this heart is located on her blog.  The heart is just so lovely, and check out the polka dotted tape, even that is cute.  Thank you Teresa from the bottom of my heart!

This evening will be filled with Valentine preparations for Little Buddy's class.  I haven't filled out Valentine's in a long while as my kids are grown.  Little Buddy's teacher sent a note that she wanted all the kids to sign their own name to the cards, really?????  We are just trying to get Little Buddy to make a vertical or horizontal line, we are no where near the name signing stage, plus he is just three.  She will just have to be happy with me signing them.

And my very lovely friend Valentina, found the right link to this heart pattern, you can find it here.  Thank you so much Valentina for doing the research and finding the right link for this fun heart.  You are the best!

Sorry about missing your weekends in blogland, I have had my hands full with family and now I have it full with work.  I hope to catch up with you all soon.
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Saturday, February 7, 2015

Hearts, hats and more

I have been busy making hearts.  I saw this pattern on Pinterest, which took me to Craftsy, and frankly I am not sure how I found it on that site.  It was designed by Luba Davies.  You can find her on Ravelry here, but this link takes you to her etsy shop and I am not sure where the pattern is on that site.  Lots of help aren't I?

You can whip one of these out in minutes, they are very fun.  I learned the magic loop thingy with this little project.  I have to say I am not that found of that loop at all, but it does make a nice, small center.

I thought I would make little heart pins for teachers and therapists for Valentine's Day.  Make a quick heart, sew on the pin back and there you have it.  A great way to use up stash yarn that is for sure.  I made 15 red hearts and 3 variegated with some old washcloth yarn I had on hand.  

I had all the yarn, I had the pin backs, and I had these three key chain holders, so I was out absolutely nothing for this little project, that makes it even better.  I will pin these to a little card with a Valentine's message on it and Little Buddy can take them into school next week.

Speaking of working out of my stash, two more hats were made this week for Taci.  I am going to get these out in the mail today or Monday.  She has already received a few which is so much fun to see.  I think it will be great to see how many people contribute to her project to take hats to Brazil for little ones in need.  Of course it will also be fun to see all the varieties of hats she receives. 

Here are my five before they have been packed up.  Hope your heads stay warm little ones.

Look the lettuce is growing in my EarthBox!!  I am so excited things are growing.

My tomato plants are growing, too.  It is so fun to watch.  

The strawberries are growing, but not as fast as the others.  I hit the very end of strawberry growing season so we will see how they work out.

Here is my gorgeous Max, deep in thought looking out at the pool.  He is a beauty inside and out.

We have family arriving from Wisconsin today for a few days.  I will pop in when I can to visit.  Now I had better get cleaning!
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