Sunday, March 26, 2017

A shawl for a friend......

Last weekend I met a good friend for lunch and to see Beauty and the Beast.  Wonderful movie by the way but a bit scary for the littles I think.  Anyway as so often happens in life my friend is having a difficult time.  Marriage is not for the faint of heart is it?  It can be a very rough road for many.  Even after 30 years she is not in a safe spot.  I cried with her as she told me what is happening.  Not that all men are horrible but a pretty big percentage of them are, and sure think mainly of themselves and their own needs.  After 30 years of putting herself way down the list she finds that it may not have been worth it.  She cried, I cried and all I wanted to do was hug her forever and tell her she is not alone.  Now I know that is not practical so I did the next best thing, I came home and started a shawl for her.

I saw this pattern on Pinterest where you can find a photo of the shawl and a schematic of the motif.  I was unable to print out that portion of the pattern, so I drew it up for myself.   Keep in mind this is not my pattern, I am no designer, but I thought I would share it with you in case you wanted to make it yourself.

Each little motif is fast to make.  I am a bit of a nutter so I sewed in my ends after each row.  It helped me remember where I was if I put it down in the middle of a row.  Instead of a chain 8 for the start I did a chain 6, it worked better for me.  I also hdc into the first round instead of a sc, I am not sure why I just did.

At the top of the shawl I made these triangles to fill in the gaps so the top would be straight across.  This is my interpretation of what I thought the pattern would be.  Sorry if you follow this and I was wrong,  If you decide to make this pattern just let me know if I did not make sense with these pictures and I will help you out as much as I can.

Here is a good photo of how the motifs join together.  I did a hdc border around the entire shawl to give it a little stability.  I would have gone around again if I had enough yarn but had to settle for two rows of hdc at the top of the shawl and one row around the sides.  This really is a super easy pattern that requires little thought once you get going. 

I used Cascade Yarns Tangier yarn for the project from my stash.  A little over 2 skeins were used so approximately 550 yards of yarn.  I also used a size H hook, but any yarn and hook would work with this pattern.  The thinner the yarn the more motifs you have to make, thus the more yarn you will need.  It needs a good blocking to get those little motifs straight, so if you make it remember that you aren't doing it wrong, it just looks wonky until it is blocked.

I intend to drop this off on her porch tomorrow and she will have a surprise when she gets home.  I hope my friend likes it and knows that with each stitch I was sending her a little prayer for peace in her life no matter how things turn out.  Don't we all just want a bit of peace?

As for the politics of this week, well I am again stunned by the Russian involvement, all of the lies, and the bullying that went on to get the ACA overturned and Trumpcare installed.  I wrote to my representatives about the changes in Medicaid that would affect Little Buddy and got a pathetic response.  Just so you know the ACA has not been a disaster as it has been represented.  And further cuts to Medicaid and Medicare would be devastating to so many millions of people.  Little Buddy is at the top of that list.  I am not a wealthy woman, I cannot afford his therapies and specialists.  That was one of the reasons we could adopt him, the state is supposed to take care of his medically complex needs.  Read the facts about these issues before you listen to crazy news.  Thank goodness the Bill got pulled but make no mistake this is not over.  The ACA needs some fixing, that has been known for a long time.  Why not take something that is already working and change it for the better?  That makes more sense to me.  I am so puzzled why this party in charge is so against helping people.  And yes sometimes helping people by providing something for them backfires and people take advantage, but a lot more times it helps people get on their feet again or just plain survive.

As for those of you who do not live in the US, March Madness is the basketball tournament that the elite college programs play in to find the champion of them all.  The Badgers are the University of Wisconsin and that is where many of my in-laws went to school.  Little B has been provided many a Badger shirt by this part of my family.  It is fun to watch the tournament, well that is until the team you are rooting for loses.  I am talking to you Kansas Jayhawks!

Have a good week.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Lip Balm and someone is in trouble.......

My lovely friend Deborah at Araignee's Tangled Web makes the most wonderful soap and lotion bars.  I have a few here at my house and they are gorgeous.  Well a while back she wrote on her blog that she also makes lip balm.  Really?  I mean I LOVE lip balm.  I am actually a lip balm freak.  See these are the things you don't know about me.  She most graciously had a tutorial on her blog about how to make this wonderful lip balm, you can find the link here.  As soon as I saw her post I went to the online store that Deb orders her supplies from which you can find at Wholesale Supplies Plus.  I ordered Shea Butter, Candelilla Wax, Beeswax, mica for color and 12 little containers for the balm.  My supplies arrived really fast, actually getting to my house on Tuesday.  I was way too busy with paperwork on Tuesday, and working on Wednesday to make my balm, but I had time today.

I printed out the directions from Deb's post and got busy.  Can I tell you that this was just the easiest thing imaginable?  Now that is not to say I did things perfectly, I did not but it was still so much fun.  I used Shea Butter instead of the Almond Butter suggested by Debbie.  I was afraid the almond butter would have a flavor, silly I know.  I heated up my ingredients, melting it slowly in a jar that was in a pan of heated water.  I added a few drops of vanilla and a tiny bit of pink mica.  I poured it into my six little containers and watched it harden.  I tell you I was so excited.

It looks so pink here in its liquid stage but it really wasn't pink at all.  I pored a bit out of each container to fill up number six and make them all even.  Well that just left a rim of balm around the edges that I did not like at all.  

Above you can see the rim forming as the balm solidifies.   Besides my lip balm and toilet paper obsession I have to admit I am a bit obsessive to get things right.  I HATE to be wrong, just ask my sister.  And when I feel like I can do better I obsess until I do it again.  I went to pick up Little Buddy at school, more of that story in a bit, came home took the balm out of the containers and remelted it.  This time I added about 10 drops of  100%  pure peppermint essential oil, a few drops of pure vanilla, and about 1/2 teaspoon of agave to give it a sweeter flavor.  I put in more mica, this time red the other color I ordered, and heated it all back up again.

Look it is done!  I am loving the way it looks and the red gives your lips just the faintest, faintest hint of color.  I should have added more color but live and learn.  I am not going to make another batch until this is gone, I am making myself behave.  Yet all I want to do it make lip balm now.  Maybe if I give it all away I can make more tomorrow!  I need to order more containers, how about little metal tins next time, and some flavored oils.  I see a watermelon mint lip balm in my future.  Please visit Araignee's Tangled Web to see the tutorial on making lip balm, and to see her weaving, knitting, soap making, cross stitch, spinning, I know it sort of makes me crazy how good she is at everything.

As for Little Buddy, well he is in the dog house.  Never a good thing when you arrive at school and the teacher takes you aside and says she had trouble today.  Apparently my darling was ramming the boy ahead of him in line with his walker.  And after being told to stop, he did not.  He had to sit by himself at lunch as he was doing this on the way to the cafeteria and again on the way back to the class.  He missed 5 minutes of playground time, too.  When I asked him what happened he covered his mouth and told me he was not talking, and then growled at me because he was mad!  So he is napping and I think I have sprouted a few more gray hairs.  This boy makes me laugh and infuriates me all at the sametime.  Typical little boy.  And as the saying goes, Thank God He Is Cute!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Bits and Bobs Baby Blanket...............

Sorry I have not been visiting lately I have a severe case of granny square-itis.  I cannot stop making these squares.  Actually 25 were made in just 3 days.  I am in love with this blanket so far.  It reminds me of a quilt made with extra bits of fabric.  I am obsessed.  I talk to Little Buddy while making a square.  I watch TV or read the paper while making a square.  I even made a square while Little B was in the tub last night.

My original thought was to have a gray background.  When I looked at the Berroco Modern Cotton, bought for this purpose, it just was not right.  The yarn is twisted a different way.  My old, old Berroco Pure Pima has a distinct shape, it is crisp, not puffy.  I have almost run out of my old Berroco stash and the blanket is far from being done.  Of course I have had these bits of yarn forever so there is no way to track down more of this discontinued yarn.  I did my internet search this morning.  I used these bits and bobs to make this flower shawl, way back in 2011.

After some research I think my best bet as a substitute is Plymouth Yarn, Cleo.  It  is a nice yarn that will make a great background.  I ordered the color that looks like sand.  With the warmer tones of the orange and yellow I have to go in this direction, gray just won't cut it.  I am completely impatient for the new yarn to arrive.  I want this blanket done right this second.  

Someone is back to his old self again.  There are a few coughs here and there, but he is on the mend.  He is supporting his Badger aunts and cousins by wearing this shirt today,  The badgers beat #1 ranked Villanova yesterday.  March Madness continues full force in my house.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Planning a baby blanket......

I have yet another baby entering this family in July.  I am not sure if it is a boy or girl, and won't know for a week or two but I just want to get started on the blanket I will be making for it.   Do you get that way?  A project that looms over you and you just need to get moving on it?  I did not want to do another ripple, I like them as they are fast but I just could not do another one.  I have been thinking about all of these yarn bits and thought that maybe I could incorporate them into a granny square themed blanket.  A win-win, a new baby gets a blanket and I use up bits and bobs of yarn.  None of this yarn is counted in my stash but I would still like to get rid of it in a useful way.  Today I purchased three skeins of the grey Berroco Modern Cotton on the right of the photo to use as the border for all squares.  I might need a bit more blue in the blanket if it is a boy, and maybe a bit more pink if it is a girl.  I can get those colors when I find out the gender, but for now I can get started on the squares.  Some might be solid and others have two colors, at least that is what I am thinking right now.  This might be a total bust, who knows!

 Now friends I have not bought yarn in quite some time, actually December I think.  And I vowed not to buy anything that wasn't a necessity.  Well this gorgeous yarn above is not a necessity like the yarn for the baby blanket, but can you blame me for bringing it home.  In my defense it is soft and the colors are gorgeous.  It reminds me of all my blogging friends down under so it is really a tribute to them!  I know I am really stretching things thin here, ah well I just had to have it so I bought it home with me.  I am thinking about making another shawl, one that I will rarely wear but will love to make.  

My ginormous banana palm is flowering, aren't these flowers interesting?

Little B is still coughing like a maniac.  He went back to the doctors on Tuesday and he is on even more meds.  He is still a pistol so he must not be feeling all that bad.  

Hope you are having a good week.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Sunday Snippets............

Lots and lots going on this weekend in my life, how about yours?  Now don't panic but this boy made a trip to the children's hospital ER on Friday evening.  He has been sick as you know but woke from his nap and could not stop coughing.  Those coughs were just wracking up his little body.  He was not that bad Thursday or Friday, he even went to school.  None of the after hours clinics in my area take his particular Medicaid so it was off to the ER at the children's hospital 45 minutes away from us.  He tested positive for the flu which was interesting as he did not have a fever or anything other than a cough and poor appetite.  He is now on Tamiflu and is starting to smile and more importantly EAT again.  He has lost 2 pounds which is huge for his little body.  This week is spring break so he will have the whole week to regroup before school starts again.

More and more organizing is happening here.  I listened to The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up this past week in my car and frankly could not stop myself from tidying even more than I have already.  Maybe 2017 is the year of decluttering and organizing for me.  Now I already think I am pretty organized but the author has a few points I need to remember.  First of all, all things should have a place.  All yarn should be in one place, so now it is.  If it can't fit in this cupboard it can't come into my house.

No more yarn on other shelves, or project bags in other areas of my house.  All knitting and crochet patterns that are not on my computer are in binders.  I got almost all my photos together in one cabinet in my bedroom.  That includes my grandmother's photo albums and old family photos.  I made a pile of items for each of my kids so they will not have to go through a large bin of photos that were kept by me, like my sister and I had to after my father died.  Those old photos are not doing anyone any good in a huge bin.   I got rid of two bags of garbage and loaded my trunk up twice for deliveries to the Goodwill store.  My closet does not have a single thing on the floor but my laundry basket.  This is a first as it is often used as an extra storage space for me.  All craft supplies have been combed through and organized or passed onto someone who will like them.  That includes all of my beads and 1,000 yards more of yarn.  I went through my knitting needles and old metal needles are out the door.  Funny I should be feeling lighter but really all I want to do is get rid of more things.  I have vowed to not buy another candle until I burn the ones I have.  Now about that toilet paper that I tend to hoard, I will still be hoarding it, I mean I am not perfect!

I am hoping three times is the charm for this yarn.  Juniper Moon Farm, Moonshine has almost been a Flaum and an Easy Two Way Wrap.  I have frogged both projects and am now starting on Harebell.  Now as monogamous as I am going to try to be in the future I have another baby blanket to make as soon as I find out the sex of the baby, so this sweater will eventually go into hiding and that is exactly when I have a problem.  Once out of eyesight I tend to lose interest.  So maybe if I knit like a maniac on this for a few more weeks I will not lose my knitting mojo when I take a break for the blanket.

The two sheep on the left were a recent gift to me by an old friend.  Aren't they sweet?  Pier 1 if you are interested.  I bought a new diffuser and placed it on a dishcloth from Gracie.  I have Head Relief oil in there right now because I feel a headache coming on.  Might be from all that cleaning and gardening I have been doing.

I had a surprise when I went out to water my plants yesterday.  Look my Mom and Dad's little cactus is blooming twice this year.  I am thrilled.  Hi Mom and Dad, thanks for the little hello!

One of the mums I planted last Fall has survived and is blooming, too.  Lucky me!

Hope you are having a good weekend. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Little B and an unexpected project.......

First off a special thanks to all of you for your wonderful comments about my surprise weekend.  It was so wonderful, I am still basking in the fun memories.  Let me tell about my surprise project yesterday.  I was sitting at my computer on Monday evening when I saw a wee moth flying around my light.  I killed it as fast as I could and not long after I saw another one.  Of course like most yarn lovers I panicked big time.  Could it be they are reproducing in my yarn stash?  Or is it possible they flew in the door when I went out to walk Max. Hmmm......  Like any great detective I got a flash light out and searched every crevice of my big yarn cabinet.  I did not see any sign of a moth reproductive party so I thought things were done.  

Yesterday I checked again in the day light.  I really went over every inch of this cupboard but could not find a thing.  But I was creeped out, I mean really creeped out so I decided to take action.  Now don't judge me my friends but I microwaved my wool yarn.  I know there are all sorts of ways to treat these potential yarn killers but I decided on the fastest, most efficient way for me.  I tried to look at each skein to see if I saw anything, which I didn't, but microwaved it anyway.  I let the yarn cool, and believe me when I say I aired it out because microwaved wool smells like wet wool. I put all wool and over 50% wool blends into plastic bags and resorted my yarn cupboard.  

Cotton and silk yarns were off the hook with the cooking process, they are able to breath freely on my shelves.  I am really not sure any moth larvae was alive in my stash but I could not take a chance.  So I now have packaged up yarn, which does not make me happy at all.  I like it sitting on my shelves looking inviting not like it can't breath.  I also decided to donate even more yarn, 1,500 yards left my stash so I am finally under 30,000 total yards of yarn in my stash.  I am trying to get a handle on my stash, my closet and my house.

As for this one he has been miserable.  I thought we were getting off easy on Sunday because after two naps he really perked up.  But by Monday afternoon he was miserable with a fever, runny nose and cough.  He stayed home from school Monday due to a previously scheduled follow up appointment, and missed yesterday and today due to this crummy illness.   The sad faces were plentiful these past few days!

Now I think we have finally turned a corner.  He is eating a bit, still coughing and starting to smile again.  This house is very quiet when this little one is under the weather.  I missed his singing and constant chatter.  He is making a comeback that is for sure.

Hope you are having a great week.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

A surprise weekend...................

I just have to tell you all about my surprise weekend.  Two weeks ago my husband and I celebrated our 25 wedding anniversary.  We are not ones to have a whole lot of hoopla about anniversaries and birthdays, so we exchanged cards and he promised to take me out to dinner this past Friday.  Now why it was two weeks after our day did not even factor in.  We have to arrange baby sitters and such and plus we are just so busy at work during the week we have very little time to think.  My middle son texted me on Thursday that he was coming home for the weekend, not odd for him but odd in the fact it was just a week before his spring break.  I was thrilled to see him regardless.  The Aunts were scheduled to pick up Little Buddy at 5:30 Friday night for an adventure so we could go out to dinner.  Well the surprise was on me.  When we got to the restaurant I saw my three SIL's a dear friend, all of my sons including my oldest straight from Ohio, and my eldest sons two best friends that I feel are part mine.  I cried my eyes out.   Here we are, and no my sons are not 7 feet tall they are standing on a step.  My husband really pulled this huge surprise off!

Here I am with all my boys, which is exactly what I call them all, my boys.  I am so blessed that my husband thought to surprise me this way.  Bringing those I care about so much together to celebrate with us.  My sister Claudia and Don were also invited but could not attend due to her work schedule on the broadway show Anastasia.  We had such a lovely time, the food was delicious and being with those I love was such a great gift to me.  My oldest was here for less than 48 hours.  He is still job hunting and now is thinking of returning to Florida to job search.  We will see what happens in that department as his serious girlfriend is in Columbus.

Little Buddy was so happy to have both of his brothers at home.  He pointed to them several times saying, "You are my brother and you are my brother."  Here he is with Mr. 19.

He got to play with them and just be near them, that is a real treat these days when we are all so far apart.  Even Max had a wonderful time with all of us home even for just over a day.

Here I am friends, wrinkles and all squeezing my precious boy.

He had Dr. Seuss Day this week at school to celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday.  Little Buddy loves a good hat and he has worn this one all over the place.

 But as they say all good things must come to an end.  This one woke up this morning feeling ill.  He was complaining about, "A frog in my froat."  And then he got the, "Frow ups."  Now that is serious!!!  Mr.  23 is already back in Ohio, and Mr. 19 is heading back to Orlando tomorrow.  Still I am blessed to have these amazing memories of my surprise weekend.