Friday, April 29, 2016

Five things to be grateful for........Five on Friday

Happy Friday!  Can you believe it is the end of the week and the end of April already?  This year is flying by so fast, I am often several days behind in my head and am surprised when I see the actual date.  It has been a tough week with lots of the kids I am working with not at their best, which means I was not either.  Little Buddy has had some success on the potty, but won't tell me when he needs to go.  He has not been eating and that is so frustrating as he loses weight so fast.  I know they  will eat when they are hungry, but with him I have to fight to get an ounce on him.  It will all work out in the end I am sure, but for now it is not fun.  Frustrations with my Dad's estate, and frustrations with my weight as I am taking medication for my headaches that makes me gain weight.  So now that it is Friday I am trying to think positive.  

Wednesday evening I looked on my porch to find a box addressed to me from the lovely Araingee of Araingee's Tangled Web.  I was one of the very, very proud winners of her latest giveaway.  I waited until yesterday to open it up, when I wasn't rushed and could take my time.

Look at all of these amazing treats.  Araingee makes her own soap and it is beautiful.  It smells beautiful, looks beautiful and was packaged in the perfect way.  She made the sheep card which is so adorable it should be framed.  And on top of the gorgeous soap there was yarn!  Yes, yarn!  

Elann Peruvian Baby Silk, it is so soft and yummy.  There is enough yarn here to make a beautiful scarf.  And you should smell it, it smells just like the soap Araingee made.  Perfect I'd say.

 Araingee is so gifted you have to pop in and visit her.  She weaves, spins, makes cards and of course soap.  She knits and even skates!!!  Really I can't imagine a thing she can't do.  Give her a visit and maybe you will be a winner in her next giveaway.

I know what you are thinking, there can't be more yarn coming into my house but there is.  I was gifted a very thoughtful gift card from a friend who I have helped over the years.  Her daughter suffered a bad concussion in high school and I worked with her relieving her intense headaches.  Funny I can help with others headaches but not my own!  I suggested some practitioners for her recently for her daughters health issues and they really helped.  She wanted to thank me with yarn but had no idea what to buy so she gave me a gift card.  If you know me I will lose that card in a second so I went off to the yarn store on my way home from work yesterday to buy something fun. 

I have been watching the beautiful Amber of Making A Home knit the wonderful Harvest by tincanknits.  It is a gorgeous sweater that would be so versatile to have in my limited wardrobe.  Amber's is the palest lilac, it is a beauty and she looks amazing with it on.  I decided that as I did not have enough worsted weight yarn in my stash to make this sweater that I would buy it with my gift.  Berroco Remix is a perfect yarn to work with, and it will be light enough to wear here in Florida.  Yarn is so expensive these days that I wanted to make a decent sweater with an affordable yarn, I think I found the perfect mix.  Gift yarn doesn't count against your stash does it?

It is gardenia season at my house.

The most perfect flower ever, enough said.

This boy is slowing down.  His hips and back are hurting him and he often stumbles.  I have him on pain meds frequently just to help him along.  He is still smiling, eating and loving his family so I am just going to enjoy every minute I have with him.  Isn't he beautiful?

Other things to mention, Mr. 22 got his 34 page paper in on time even though his computer crashed just 40 minutes before it was due, when he got it going again his paper was in Chinese.  Thankfully he listened to his Mother (me) who begged him to save it to a flash drive. 

I am home alone this morning drinking tea and blogging after a one hour walk.  See weight gain frustration above.  

Mr soon to be 19 is doing well on his finals and has decided to go away to school next year.  I have my wonderful friend Dee on high alert as she will be much closer to him than I will be.  I am already missing him and he hasn't even left yet.

The weather is getting warmer but it is still lovely during the evening or early mornings.  

Even a tough week can be made better by focusing on the positive for a few minutes.  A special thanks to the wonderful Amy of Love Made My Home for hosting Five on Friday.  If you want to join in the fun pop on over to Amy's blog.  You can see her wonderful blog and her new podcast.

Happy Friday!
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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Not every project works out and my Mom and Dad.........

Some projects are just not meant to be, it is just a simple fact of knitting/crocheting life.  So let me introduce you to my latest major flop, readers meet the poncho that was not to be made, at least not with this yarn.

The ridiculous mess above is supposed to be Helena's V-Stitch Poncho a project that I have started at least six times in the past.  I love this pattern, I can picture myself throwing this on, like a light weight sweater and dashing off to someplace fabulous.  Now in my real life I probably won't wear it at all but I can dream can't I?  Dreaming seems to be about all I can do with this pattern because I just can't seem to get it right.

I am using beautiful silk yarn from Oasis Yarn, Icelandic Silk Seduction, bought way back in October 2009, when I was last at Rhinebeck with my sister Claudia.  How can it be almost seven years since I was at that amazing festival?   Anyway getting back on track here, I have always thought this yarn would be perfect for this pattern, and I have tried my friends, I have tried.  The thing is that no matter how easy the pattern is I just can't get the right count for the first row.  I am either making it too tight, or in this instance way, way too big!

I think in my dreamworld I have a bigger chest instead of just really wide shoulders.  I made this neckline big anticipating it would be just fine.  I kept trying it on convincing myself it would all work out, I would just make a few smaller rounds around the neck to finish the piece.  What I did not take into account, or better yet what I seemed to ignore, was that fact that this gorgeous silk yarn is heavy and it pulls the fabric down with it making the neckline expand at a scary rate.  The piece above is UGLY, the pooling of the yarn looks horrible, the size is a disaster and well there was just nothing nice to say about it with the exception that it was soft.

So after 500 yards of crocheting I finally had to have a good talk with myself and acknowledge it was not meant to be..........again!  The poncho that was not to be and I spent several hours on Sunday, frogging and wrapping into balls while watching the Rays finally get a win.  Frogging silk is just about as bad as frogging mohair, the tiny little legs of the yarn attach to everything around it making you have to tug on it to get it loose.  This tugging of course compromises the yarn on the next row, so you have a harder time the more you frog.  It seems to get worse at a exponentially fast rate until you want to just throw it all into the bin while screaming and running away.  I kept myself in check until the last three rows when I just could not take it anymore, off into the garbage bin it went.

I really do love this yarn, you can't see the real beauty of it above, but  believe me it is soft as,!.  I am determined to make it into something else, maybe a new South Bay Shawlette?  If you know me by now you know I can't just make one of anything.  I might just get that started today.

Now that I am mentioning disasters I have to include my garden.  Yup, once again I am not happy.  When will I learn?  It starts off beautifully and then I get cutworms, or in this case a powdery fungus.  I have tried the oil/dish soap remedy with no luck at all.   I have to say the zucchini flowers are beautiful but there will be no produce happening here.  Out of my three tomato plants only one looks like it has a chance of producing anything at all.  My herbs are doing well, I am using my rosemary tonight making that yummy honey mustard chicken recipe I mentioned a few weeks ago.

Sunday was the second anniversary of my Mom passing away.  Not the easiest day, I am not sure why an anniversary day is harder but it just is.  I miss her, she was the best, always being there, telling you like she saw it but usually with a bit of humor.  Boy of boy could she make me sweat, I did not want to disappoint her.  She was proud of all of us, even if we weren't our best, and she loved us fiercely.  My Father's six month anniversary is on the 29th of this month.  I miss him, too.  I still think I am catching a glimpse of him at the grocery store.  Or when the phone rings early in the morning I think he is calling because he needs help.  I am still working on his estate (which sounds a whole lot bigger than it is).  I have spent the last month trying to get his homeowners insurance canceled, they have been ridiculous in all the documents they have requested.  Each person I talk to has something different to request or say. It has been much harder to cancel this policy than to sell his actual condo.   I have not been happy with them, and actually have lost my patience many times on the phone.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that after yet another 40 minutes on the phone today it has all gone through at last.

I have a busy week ahead of me, I will check in when I can.  Wishing you all the best week.

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Sunday, April 17, 2016

Chicken Caprese, South Bay ShawHoette and a Little Buddy fix........

How are all of you?  Hanging in there I hope and enjoying warmer weather if you are experiencing Spring and cooler temps if you are heading Autumn's way.  The weather here has been perfect, perfect enough that I sat outside today and finished my South Bay Shawlette.  Do you want to have a little  peek?

This is the simplest pattern, no wonder all of you have been making tons of them for years.  I am kicking myself for not making this sooner.

The finished measurements of this shawlette are 58 in x 29 in.  It expanded a good six inches in both directions after a good steam blocking.  You know me there is no way I am pinning this baby out, if I can't steam it I don't want to make it.

Made with Aspen Yarn, Baah, in the color Byzantine Gold.  I used about 1 and 2/3 hanks of this yarn, I am estimating about 550 yards to make this shawlette, I have a wee bit left over to add to something else.  I used a size H hook and whipped this out in nine days.  It was just so simple, it is a brilliant pattern.  This yarn was a dream to work with, a combination of merino, silk and cashmere, I am in love with it.   I would definitely play with this yarn again given the chance.

  My friend Lynne at Pieceful has joined me making another South Bay, she told me she was thinking of making another one so I asked her to join me.  Lynne's is being made with hand dyed ombre yarn from Two Black Sheep, I can't wait to see it finished.  Lynne is the kindest person, she makes spectacular quilts and knits gorgeous projects, go over and see her and see what gorgeous thing she is making now.

Next I have to give a shout out to Jo of Through the Keyhole.  She posted this yummy chicken recipe a few weeks ago and I thought I would try it.  It is from The Low Carb Diabetic.  You can find the link to the recipe on Jo's blog or The Low Carb Diabetic, above.  I really liked this yummy recipe, but just might add some garlic and other herbs before I make it again.  I know I overcooked mine, and it still tasted great.  I have a big fear of under cooked chicken, especially as I am not a cook so I am not all that confident in my abilities to cook things right.

Thank you Jo for you recipe inspiration.  Jo is just so lovely and so creative, pop in and give her a shout out for me.

Besides sitting on my behind listening to another Sue Grafton novel and crocheting this weekend, I warped my loom for my next project.  This is my Ashford 32 in. Knitter's Loom and I am thrilled to be using it again.  I am making another shawl for myself that I probably won't wear, but I will make it just the same.  The golden Baah yarn above and the yarn on my loom are both from the 50% off, going out of business sale I went to a few weeks back.  See I am putting my purchases to good use already and I am thrilled I got these yarns at bargain prices.

Thank you for all your well wishes for Little Buddy.  He went back to the doctor on Thursday, I was still thinking he had an ear infection, but nope just a cold.  His nose is still crummy and he has a bit of a cough.  He is also extra sensitive, crying during nap time, asking me repeatedly to, "stay awake at night in the dark."  I assure him he is okay, nice and safe.  I also put a nightlight outside his room and a dimmer night light in his room, but he does not seem to like that one at all.  He wakes up crying, and crying, it breaks my heart.  I think of this more as two year old behavior, not four and a half.  But he is delayed so maybe that part of his development is also delayed.

We went to the park yesterday and spent some time on the swings and went down the slide together.  You can give yourself a big laugh if you picture me with my long legs trying to maneuver both of us into the tiny space at the top of the twirly slide.  We did make it down and Little One giggled all the way, I felt like a bit of a contortionist to be honest.

We met a lovely young man named Matt who came over to show Little Buddy his leg brace.  He wanted Little Buddy to know that lots of different people wear leg braces.  He is 27 and when he was 15 had a big accident while playing soccer.  He ended up having a knee replacement and during the operation had complications to his nerves so his foot drops.  He said it was tough going when he was 15, but now he does not think a thing about it.  Maturity will do that to you, he was just darling and I thanked him profusely for sharing his story.

Little Buddy sat up on our, "picnic towel" as he likes to call it and ate his lunch outside today.  He sat up in this position for close to 30 minutes, eating, talking and maintaining his balance.  I have never seen him do this before, he usually topples over after a good five minutes.  He is growing up isn't he?  Forget lunch, I could just eat him up!

Hope you all have a good week, 
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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Last weekend and Little Buddy.......

This past weekend I ventured out with my good friend Cathy to the Tarpon Springs Annual Art Show on Spring Bayou in Tarpon Springs.  Cathy and I try to go every year, we usually take Little Buddy along but he had an adventure planned with his Dad so I got some much needed friend time.  The day was spectacular, sunny and cool with low humidity.  We enjoyed walking around and looking at all the talent that surrounded us.  The art show wraps around the bayou so there are beautiful water views to enjoy. too.  We sat and gazed at the water while grabbing a bit of lunch, chatting and enjoying the day.

I have to say that even with all the amazing artwork, this guy stole the show.  A big manatee out in the middle of the bayou just rolling around in the water, I got this picture of him waving to you!

We love walking around the show but we really go for one reason only to buy more crochet beaded jewelry from our lovely friend Kristi, who is the designer and creator of Le Grande Jewelry.  I have written about her before and I have to again.  Kristi is so lovely, inside and out.  Other than my wedding ring and some simple earrings this is the only jewelry I wear.  Nothing fancy,  just beautiful beads placed between tiny single crochets.  I purchase the two bracelets on the right this weekend, I had the one on the left already.  I tried to make one of these myself a few years ago and decided, I can't see those tiny stitches, mine kept coming apart, and I'd much rather buy them and spend my time making something with a much bigger hook or needles.

I also purchased the two on the right in the photo above.  I wanted to show you the fun buttons she uses as a closure for the bracelets.  I have several from the last few years that are long and can wrap around my wrist four or five times, or they can be used as a necklace.  I wear one of these as a  necklace every day with a charm on it and my late MIL's silver ring.  These are sturdy as many of may patients have teethed on them, learned how to pull to stand on them, and played with them non stop.  I shower in them and really only take them off if I am going in chlorine.  This, is my special treat to myself every year, this beaded jewelry and yarn of course!  I love to add more to my collection and  just love each and every piece so much.  Kristi's online prices are higher than her regular prices at the art show, I am not sure why.  So if you have questions about her prices I suggest you email her, she travels all over the country so maybe she will be at an art show near you!  If you meet up, tell I sent you and I said hello.  I am not receiving anything from Kristi for posting this, she does not even know my blog exists, I just wanted to share it with all of you.

Little one is not feeling well these last few days.  He has a big cough and a pretty gross nose.  He is a bit emotional and doesn't want to do much.  He stayed home from school today to go to the doctors just to make sure his ears weren't infected, nope just a cold.  I think we just have to wait this miserable one out.

Such a sad sight isn't it?  We have had lots of cuddles, read many books and watched a LOT of television, but what else is there to do?  Frankly it is the only way to get him to rest.  The doctor says he is okay for school tomorrow, but we will wait until tomorrow to make that decision.

Hope your week is going well.
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Saturday, April 9, 2016

Beginnings, middle and end.........

The title of this post sounds a lot more ominous than it should.  Let's just say I have had a busy week with work, extra appointments for Little Buddy and myself, and some more time consuming things to do with my Dad's estate.  It is frankly amazing anything has gotten done at all, but there is a finish, thus the, "end" in the title above.

Maybe we should start with the beginnings..........

As there was a finish this week I was able to start something new.  The South Bay Shawlette, which of course many of you have been making for years has finally found a place at the top of my project list.  I have been wanting to make this a very long time, and frankly can't explain my delay.  Such an easy pattern, with just a two row repeat once you get going.  I knew this recently purchased sale yarn would become this shawl as soon as I spotted it in the store.  It is sunny and warm, just the thing I need right now, a bit of splash in my life.  I started this last night an intend on getting a lot done on it this weekend.  The beginnings of a project is so much fun to experience.

Lovey Lamb number two was started way back when my sister was still visiting.  I am making slow progress on this one as I felt the need to get other things completed.  I keep this project in the car for when I have a spare few minutes between patients.  Made with Lion Brand Wool Ease, a perfect yarn for this type of project.  It is soft and washable, and made with only a wee bit of wool so won't cause irritation when hugged close to your face.  I am using an H hook, smaller than the yarn advises, but I wanted the stitches to be close and intact so the fluff on the inside won't poke through when it is all done.

If you can't handle another Hitchhiker then look away now.  I love this latest one.  Made for one of Little Buddy's therapists for next Christmas. Yup, I have two of the four presents completed for next Christmas and it is only April.  I am pushing myself now so I won't be any more crazy then I already am come next December. 

Want the specifics on this Hitchhiker?  This fun scarf was made with Cascade Yarns Tangier in color 09, with size 9 needles.  I made 25 of the teeth in the pattern before casting off.  The pattern calls for 42 teeth, as it was made with much finer yarn.  I used approximately 300 yards of yarn, so maybe a skein and a third to make this 72 inch long scarf.  Tangier is made from silk, acrylic, rayon and cotton, it is lovely and soft to work with.  Hope you are not completely bored with this pattern popping up on my blog, I just looked and 23,777 of them have been listed on Ravelry so apparently I am not the only one making one or two, or in my case six of them.

And speaking of ends, looks who's backside was quickly crawling away from me this morning as I tried to take his picture, I will give you one guess!

Hope you all had a great week and are enjoying your weekend.
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Sunday, April 3, 2016

A trip to the beach and the Winter Project Link Up Party......

Friday morning I dropped off Little Buddy at his Preschool and headed for a walk on the beach.  The last time I was there was in August when my sister was visiting, we spent about 30 minutes there walking in the surf and looking for shells.  I used to go regularly to the beach for walks, that is before Little Buddy came along to live with us.  Seems there was much more time to do things like that back then.  So it was a much needed hour that I walked along the northern edge of Honeymoon Island, in Dunedin FL.  The day was so clear and beautiful, the humidity not quite at the summer highs yet, and the gulf air was so salty and pure.  I felt so much stress just leave my body while walking and looking at the view.  Hearing the waves and the birds, feeling the sun on my face, it was pure Heaven.  I was so in need of that hour all to myself, no phone, no work and no one knowing where I was.  I need to go back again before school lets out for the summer, because then it will be Little Buddy time 24 hours a day when I am not at work.

Jennifer at Thistlebear is hosting the last installment of the Winter Project Link Up Party because frankly it isn't really Winter anymore.  I am starting with honesty here, this is my Flaum which has not made one stitch of progress in months.  I should feel a bit guilty about this, and I do, just not guilty enough to pick it up and work on it.

I keep it in the basket of shame, right out in my family room so I can see it all the time, it sits there screaming, look at me, look at me!   I have a new idea for this sweaters completion, I think this will be my Summer Olympic project.  So Jennifer I am asking you right now to have a Summer Olympic Project Link Up Party so I can be accountable for this projects completion. 

There has still been loads getting done, just not exactly what I thought would get done when the initial Winter party started.  I had dreams of two sweaters and a Zick Zack Shawl for me.  But alas none of that got completed, and actually two of the projects never even got started.  There has been never ending Hitchhiker's, baby blankets, a cowl or two and of course........

Totoro Bunny featured here dressed in his Easter finery.  So all has not been lost, just other projects gained.

Jennifer has been so lovely hosting this link up party, thank you so much for your time Jennifer.  By the way Jennifer, how about a Summer Olympic Project Link Up Party so I can try and save face!

Hope you all have a great day.

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Thursday, March 31, 2016

A few things are getting completed.....

My latest Hitchhiker is fresh off the needles.  I have been working on this one a few weeks as there has just not been much time to sit and knit.  I love how the colorway worked out in this pattern.

This is made with Online Trend-Collection Linie 346. a 100% cotton tape yarn.  It is very soft even if it doesn't look that way.  Made with size 10 needles, so it only has 22 out of the 42 teeth the pattern calls for.  This wild one is for me, as I am not sure who else would want it.  I used almost the entire 250 yards of this yarn to make this scarf.  A good way to use up one ball of sale yarn bought earlier in the year.  I will start another one for one of Little Buddy's therapists for Christmas soon.

Today is the closing on my parents condo, it is a bittersweet day.  I met the new owners last week when dropping off loads of paperwork the title company needed.  They are a lovely couple who want to be near their children in the winter months.  I can see they will get a lot of joy living in the condo and looking out at the great big pond with a weeping willow, an occasional alligator and loads of water fowl.  It is a peaceful place to be.  I hope they are happy there.

I popped outside today and look what I saw.  I have strawberries!  These have been placed higher than last years, do you remember my strawberry snatcher below?  So far so good on my tomatoes and my zucchini plants, but this is Florida we can get critters or fungus in a flash.  I am not going to get my hopes up there will be actual produce from my plants for a while.

The work week for me is finished.  Easter has been all packed away for another year and the house straightened.  Now hopefully there will be some time to play with yarn.

How has your week been?
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