Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Dear Readers of Panhandle Portals,
If you weren't following Caring Bridge during my mother's health saga, things did not go well. In addition to the stage 4 metastatic colon cancer that was diagnosed, she developed a series of complications from surgery, followed by heart problems, followed by more complications, followed by another surgery, followed by more complications. She passed away on June 4 very peacefully in hospice, and for that peace, we are so grateful.
I've spent the last several months unpacking boxes (not finished yet by any means!), getting the old house on the market, and lately, porting this blog into a book as a keepsake for my dad, my brother and me, and the granddaughters.
What a blessing you readers were to her. Whether you commented or not, she viewed her blog as a form of therapy, much like her fiber crafts, and that is because of her readers. Thank you for the time you took reading her writing, and to those of you with whom she interacted on Ravelry, etc.
We feel that we lost her far too young, but we are so thankful that she is Home, and we look forward to seeing her again.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Dad's surgery and recovery went well.
Mom's surgery went well, but after going home, she had a complication. She is in ICU being treated for an intestinal infection/abscess, along with atrial fibrillation. She's had a really rough few weeks and could use your prayers!
Updates are here: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/terricox
Tuesday, April 09, 2013
I have hesitated about writing this post for a few days, but I need to write it. Sock knitting is in hiatus for me right now. The mental part of it is more than I can handle.
I usually regard knitting as therapy for practically anything, and I’ve certainly done, my share of it in hospital rooms and other high stress situations over the years.
My husband has had a couple of surgeries for basal cell skin cancer in the last two weeks. Both involved problem areas of the face and nose. He is in fine shape, and the fairly new surgical technique promises the hope that there won’t have to be further surgery, but some reconstruction was necessary. Right now he has a black eye, enormous nose bandage, and swollen right half of his face. But he’s ok.
A few weeks ago I had a rather nasty intestinal infection that necessitated some testing and a round of rather strong antibiotics. Recovery felt very slow. I also had a colonoscopy/upper GI last Friday. Results—upper GI—everything fine; colonoscopy—cancer. I am scheduled for surgery this coming Friday morning. Both the gastroenterologist and the surgeon agree on the procedure necessary. I should escape a colostomy, and the surgery should be able to be done through a scope, reducing recovery time and the risk of infection. However, the rest of “what to do” will have to wait on a check of the lymph nodes. Prayers and kind thoughts will be much appreciated. I am blessed to have such a wonderful husband and children and grandchildren at a time like this. And blessed by friends and family in the physical and internet worlds.
Just so you know that fiber therapy has not failed me, I got out the knitting loom, and I’ve been making hats from stash for this charity project on Craft Hope.
Monday, April 01, 2013
Here are comparison pictures of one of the socks I frogged and the new sock that I began today. I felt this first sock just did not show off the beauty of the yarn, or, for that matter, the knitting pattern:
I decided to switch to a modification of the Lacy Mock Cable Socks pattern. I have a solid gray pair that I’ve worn for a few years, and they are favorites because the elasticity of the pattern keeps them fitting well. I think this pattern will show off the yarn’s color changes and intensity much better, and the texture will add that little bit extra.
Miscellany—After two beautiful warm days, we have had a cold front come in, and we are in for a few chilly ones. It’s supposed to be warm again by Friday.
This afternoon, they poured the concrete footings for the house being built next door.
Extra knitting note--Another couple was in the waiting room this morning. The husband was also having surgery. The wife, who looked far more sophisticated than I, opened her large bag and took out a round knitting loom, hook, and yarn. My husband immediately asked her if she was making a hat. She said yes, that the hats were for charity, but she didn't know what charity or where they went. She referred to a convention that they attend each year. She and her husband, who also makes hats, take them to the convention and then they are sent somewhere. They have over 100 ready to go for the next convention. She asked what I was making, and I told her a sock. A little later, when both of our men were in surgery, I told her that some of the hats I've knitted for charity require hand-knitted hats done on needles, but that I also knit with a loom to make some hats for a local children's charity. She seemed to be rather offended that I referred to knitting on a loom, and told me that she did NOT knit--she used a hat maker. I shut up about knitting and we discussed what was on the tv news in the waiting room.
Sunday, March 31, 2013
With the celebration of the Resurrection comes the celebration of spring.
Here, on the newly green grass, is the first finished project of spring, the Tidal Wave Socks:
They are quite springy looking. I tried a picture using them as leaves in a tree, but the pattern didn’t show up well enough. The pattern is the Tidal Waves Socks, available through Ravelry. The yarn is Fleece Artist that I bought several years ago.
I have moved on to another UFO. This time, I found some really nice Claudia Handpainted yarn that I had begun twice. I had two partially finished first socks in different patterns. Looking at them, I didn’t like either pattern. The yarn and the patterns fought and neither showed to advantage. I frogged both just before lunch today, and I’m beginning again.
My hubby is having some surgery tomorrow—basal cell skin cancer. It’s not really serious, but it will involve time because they will be testing between steps to see what else they need to do. I decided I definitely need knitting for the waiting. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.
Friday, March 29, 2013
First of all, any day that includes turning a heel has a little bit of thrill in it. I keep promising myself I will learn the toe up technique for knitting socks, but I get such a thrill out of the heel turn that I hate to give it up. Isn’t that kind of silly?
Yesterday was also a mostly spring-like day. The early breeze was a little chilly, but compared to the day before, it was balmy. By afternoon, things were great.
The new trees, planted in the late fall, are showing their first blooms, proving that they made it through a rather hard winter. (My son pointed out that I also got a great shot of the construction workers privy.)
And, the porch rockers arrived. These are plastic, but they are like one my daughter has that is very comfortable and quite sturdy. I wanted a dark color because I thought white would be too much contrast for our house and porch. I do plan to make a couple of inexpensive throw pillows that can be replaced if they are damaged or become stolen. These were that sort of slide-together design that is used on much of the preschool play equipment. The first one went together easily, which is surprising because it did not include instructions. I slid it together myself. The second one, however, required both my husband and I pounding it up and down on the floor to get the bits to slide into place. They are, however, just as comfy as I hoped, and I think they will look fine even though they are a little more modern in design than I would have liked. My heart visualizes the kind of wicker my grandmother had when I was a very little girl, but I don’t want to deal with the maintenance or the expense. In the picture, you can see the flowerbeds that are ready for spring. We are still having hard freezes at night, so I’m determined not to plant until after April 15.
Our back patio has a nice set of table and chairs that we brought with us and a chiminea that our son gave us for Christmas. With shade on the east and west, we should be all set to follow the sun or shade to have some outdoor time.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
I failed to photograph the lovely yarn bowl my daughter’s family gave me last year. It works beautifully. When we moved, I carefully packed it in the middle of a tote of yarn, but I have not used it since moving because I had to go through stash to find the right tote. I realize the green yarn in the photo and the Grandma cup from the other granddaughter make this look like some weird seaweed meal.
Now for the other kind of “yarn.” In, I think, 2007 because it was after I learned to knit socks and before I got on Ravelry, I began a pair of socks. If I remember correctly, I was just learning magic loop and this was also one of my first projects using a chart. I struggled a little. I am not usually prone to second sock syndrome, but something interrupted progress, and I stuffed the yarn and the completed first sock, which is Fleece Artist, into a drawer and forgot about it. I found them again when I packed for the move and dumped them into a tote. Unfortunately, I had no record of what the pattern was. I am in need of new handknit socks because some of my others are getting really worn out. Yesterday I came across what could become a pair by only knitting one sock. I stared at the completed sock, decided the pattern reminded me of some of the socks by Sockbug, and searched on Ravelry and the internet. No luck. I finally gave up, printed up another pattern that I like, and decided to knit a second sock and then frog and reknit number one.
However, before settling in for a warm knit, I remembered that we had not gotten the mail in the last two days because all the construction vehicles were parked along the street. I was not even sure the mailman would have delivered if he had to get out of his vehicle to get to our curbside mailbox. It was cold and windy and dusty, and I was jumpy after all the heavy equipment vibration from the machine that was packing the earth for the construction next door, so I took the lazy way to checking the mail-- getting in the car in the nice warm garage and driving around the block and pulling up at the mailbox. With the gusty north wind, it was still a chore getting the mail without losing any of it. I then drove on around the block to turn in at the alley entrance. Just as I reached the corner, the word “wave” popped into my head. I immediately realized it had something to do with those socks. I ran back inside, searched for “wave socks” on Ravelry, and there it was—the pattern for the Tidal Wave Socks, originally designed for Tofutsie. The picture confirmed that the pattern was correct. Isn’t it funny how your brain can pull out the answer when you quit thinking about it?
And, yes, I realize that I could have studied the original sock and probably have deciphered such a basic pattern, but I am in the mood for some easy knitting right now. I did some television watching, and finished the ribbing and two repetitions of the pattern. My chart reading is much better than it was, so the pattern was memorized, and I was reading the knitting in nothing flat this time around.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Friday, March 22, 2013
Eleven cups of chicken, which will cool overnight in the refrigerator and then be frozen tomorrow, except for the red container, which will go into homemade chicken and dumplings. I am also cooling some very nice-looking chicken stock in order to skim off the fat before using it for the dumplings. I package the chicken in 1-cup containers because that makes it easier to use for recipe purposes. As a matter of fact, that’s enough to make chicken salad lunch for us or to use in other recipes for the two of us. (I also try to insist on buying my ground beef and stew meat in exact 1 lb. packages for the same reason. It bugs my husband, since I am not usually the picky type.)
Now for my evaluation of the cooking instructions--
- The flavor is really good—not so strong as to be unusable in anything I might want to make from it, but not totally bland and tasteless.
- The cooking time was vague—6-9 hours. Because I had such a full cooker, I decided to split the difference at 7.5. Then I turned off the cooker and let it cool down for awhile before spooning the chicken into a flat pyrex pan to debone it. It was still plenty hot to be safe. That was too long to cook it. This chicken is extremely fall-apart tender. If I use it in a casserole that bakes in the oven, I am afraid it will shred up completely. Next time, I’ll stop at 6 hours. I’m sure the time varies from cooker to cooker. This chicken was very cold when I put it in, but it was not frozen.
Yesterday I bought 12 lbs. of chicken thighs on sale for $10.10. While I eat white meat if I’m just eating plain chicken, I like to use the thigh meat in recipes, and I like to buy big packs when they are on sale, cook them up, and then portion and freeze the meat to use in recipes. The other bonus is that thighs are ridiculously easy to debone.
However, I was not in the mood to do this on the stovetop, so I thought of my Crockpot and did some online research. I found this site, which gives some recipes and, most importantly, information for doing exactly what I want to do, along with information on a general seasoning to make the chicken less bland but still usable in a variety of ways. I mixed up some of the seasoning, skinned the breasts, put my liquid in the bottom of the pot, and layered the meat, sprinkling with the seasoning mix between each layer. They should be ready about 4 or 4:30 this afternoon, and I won’t be having to keep an eye on simmering chicken to avoid a boil over. I used some Swanson’s vegetable broth for the liquid because I had a little bit in the fridge from another recipe.
I’ll let you know how this works out!
I was also feeling well enough last night to knit a little bit. That is a relief.
Thursday, March 21, 2013
because I’m always afraid of violating a Disney copyright, but I went to the theatre yesterday, at 9 in the morning. My daughter and granddaughters included me when they went to the school production of the new Amarillo Little Theatre Academy show, "Disney's The Little Mermaid, Jr." They went as homeschoolers, and I used one of the parent tickets because Dad couldn't go. The musical was very well done, particularly for a first performance involving 60 young people from 5 up. The singing was great, and the costuming was wonderful. This was one of the initial productions of the show that Disney recently released. I'm not sure how much of the creativity was specified in the show itself and how much was due to the local direction, but the show was a visual treat in set and costuming. I thought the use of 'heelies" to glide all the major sea creatures around the stage was a particularly nice touch. The scene changes, which were not totally dark, were choreographed as nicely as the dance numbers. In fact, most of them used the dancers silhouetted against a dimly lighted backdrop.
We happened to be sitting at the end of a group of schoolchildren from one of the more socioeconomically deprived areas of town. It was wonderful to see their reactions as well as those of my granddaughters. In addition, of course, the minor sea creatures—tiny children as jellyfish, using transparent umbrellas as costumes, little girl flamingoes, etc.—added “awwww” moments.
May I add that as a retired teacher, I would just as soon attend a play with this kind of audience as with dressed up more sophisticated adults. It also helps to attend a play with a student audience and not be responsible for any of them, of course!
Sunday, March 17, 2013
Since we moved into the new house, I had been looking for a shower caddy for the big shower. I looked on all the usual on-line places, compared a number of ones featured on the Apartment Therapy web site, and I still couldn’t find what I wanted. This time, I did not want one of the ones that stands in the corner with a tension pole. I think those are hard to clean. The ones that were shown hanging on the shower arm did not look as if they would accommodate the hanging hose on the personal shower head that we have. Then I accidentally stumbled across this:
The top two holders will hold the bottles either right side up or upside down. The lower two would hold shorter bottles right side up. The bottom shelves serve as soap dishes. There are hooks for hanging scrubbers on each side, and razors hang neatly through the bars on the soap dish. There is also a little rubber fitting that fits over the shower arm to keep it from sliding down. As you can see in the picture, the design allows room for the shower hose to hang down quite nicely. The holder is manufactured by Grayline. It appears to be coated steel, and I know from using some of Grayline’s kitchen products that the finish should be quite durable. I found it by accident from Miles Kimball. I’ve been using it for about 3 weeks, and I’m quite pleased with it.
Monday, March 11, 2013
Some unsorted items got moved to this house from the old house before I culled them. Yesterday and today, I found some treasures!
A Barbie swimsuit—I have one of the first year Barbies, with the box, stand, etc. However, I couldn’t find the original swimsuit, a knit black-and-white striped one-piece. It was tucked under the edge of the shelf paper in a drawer. Now, we can be original again.
Knitting Needles—My modest collection of straights, from my high school and college days.
A shawl—I knitted this in the early acrylic period. My mother, who taught me to sew and do other things, never encouraged my knitting. She was a crocheter, who knitted under the duress of World War II and quit as soon as she could. She really complained about this shawl when I made it. I’m surprised that it was tucked away in some of her things. It is still in perfect condition although the fringe is a little rumpled. I think I knitted it in the early ‘70s and never had the courage to wear it after she criticized it so much.
I need to take a lesson from this and remember that critical words can last a long, long time. . . .
Saturday, March 09, 2013
Yesterday, I received an email:
Grandma can you make a sweater
for lucy my baby doll and my
amaracin doll olivia?
This message came from my barely 6-year-old granddaughter, who is just now learning “official” keyboarding skills. Not bad for a kindergarten girl.
Who could resist this kind of request? I hunted up a top down cardigan pattern on Ravelry and grabbed some stash that I had not yet put away and cast on immediately. This morning, with the aid of a couple of episodes of The Rockford Files, I finished. There was no gauge listed for the pattern, so I guessed at altering the needles size in my usual way. It seems like the fabric came out rather firm, but if it is too small for Olivia, it should fit Lucy, so it should still work out.
One change I would make is to knit the sleeves in the round. I could have magic looped them. It would be better for doll dressing purposes not to have weak spots. Since I’m reasonably sure that I will be making a few more of these—there are the other two granddaughters as well—I will make that modification. I also want to experiment with different closures.
My big chore for this afternoon is installing Command hooks in the closet in the craft room to hold my knitting bags. Right now, it’s the best idea I can come up with, and they will be easy to change if I come up with something better.
Wednesday, March 06, 2013
I haven’t posted because I’ve been intermittently under the weather. Of course, this was complicated by the fact that I did not have a doctor here, at least not of the general type. That situation has been remedied, and not only is she exploring with the aid of some tests what is going on with me, she has also propelled me fully into a preventative “catchup” of immunizations, new specialists to replace retired ones, and some of those tests that those of “a certain age” are supposed to have. I’m going to have a busy few weeks.
Knitting—I have completed the unfinished square of the mitred crosses blanket and knitted two more. I know some people find this pattern absolutely fascinating. I don’t. I like the completed squares and will like the completed blanket, but the knitting just doesn’t do it for me. I’ve also knitted another hat. Actually, I knitted it, did the finishing, and then discovered that I had dropped two stitches in the shaping section. I ripped back and reknit. Here are a couple of pictures of the hat as it is blocking:
The first shows my blocking attempt over a bowl. The hat ribbing is under the bottom edge so that it won’t be stretched too much. The second is a detail shot of the pattern. The pattern is the Foliage Hat, free on Ravelry. This is the second hat that I have knitted recently by this same designer. Both patterns have been beautifully written and include both written instructions and charts. The yarn above is KnitPicks Swish DK; the color is actually more of a charcoal gray.
I still haven’t finished all of my craft room, but I’m getting there. Not feeling well has cramped my plans some.
We had quite a blizzard here. Although I looked outside a lot, we stayed in, warm and cozy. Since then, we’ve had a couple of near-60 days, and now we’re back to early spring wind.
Looking outside my dining room window, I can see the work going on on the house on the corner. Today, they are grading for the pad, using some sort of laser or electronic or GPS device.
Looking out this window right now, we can see for a mile or so. When the two remaining houses are built, we will have a view of a wall or fence. That will take some getting used to. However, I do have plans for a birdfeeder setup so that we will have activity to watch outside our window. This town is a good place for birds. I hope the lack of big trees in this neighborhood won’t hurt us too much in that regard, and it will certainly discourage the squirrels that cause mischief. Of course, being this close to open country means that we have to be snake-conscious. My son and a friend put down fabric and mulch in the front flower beds a couple of weeks ago. The granddaughters are going to pick the flowers, which will probably be planted mid-April, just to be safe from freezes.
I’m going to plug up to an audio book and try to do a little more work in my craft room today. Peace!
Saturday, February 02, 2013
Thanks to the help of my dear hubby, furniture has been moved from one room to another so that I can perhaps get my craft room sorted. Yea! I plan on an audiobook tomorrow afternoon. I’ve already watched the new Clydesdale ad on YouTube, so I don’t have to watch the ballgame. (I know it’s practically unAmerican to say that out loud, at least in Texas, but I can think of many other things I would rather do.) I do occasionally watch football, but I don’t care for the Super Bowl hype or the halftime shows.
I am working again on the Mitered Crosses Blanket that I began toward the end of 2011. It’s a rather large UFO, and using up the yarn for it will reduce my stash pile, which is a good thing. Besides, I think it will be lovely in the new living room.
We are having lovely weather here today. I’m not sure what the rest of the week will hold, but I can live with it. I have enough inside work to do to keep me busy. I need to finish this up so that we can continue fixing up our former home this spring so that we can sell it.
I hope all of you have a nice Super Bowl Sunday, and may your football knitting project go well!
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
After a few days of feeling somewhat blah, today was a really nice day.
(I should add that a break in the blahness was a leisurely visit with a friend and former colleague on Sunday afternoon. She was in town on family matters and came by to visit and to see the house. It was great to catch up on things and to visit with her. Friends from work are the thing I miss most about my profession.)
Last night, I unknitted. A few years ago, I knitted a blanket from Ecowool that was basically a big doily. I discovered that I didn’t like round blankets and that it did not stay blocked like a doily would have. It was ok. I learned about lace knitting from the process, but I stored the blanket and had never used it. I found it in the move, and last night I ripped it all out. That is nice wool to use on another project or two.
Knowing that “weather” was coming in this evening, I zipped out as soon as the stores opened this morning and did a little bit of garden shopping. As in indoor garden. I bought a snake plant, or as I always knew it, a mother-in-law’s tongue-to go by the front door. The side windows practically call for one of something on each side, but I know myself well enough to know that if I go for symmetry, I will be bugged to no end when God does not grow two plants identically. So for right now, I bought one. I am pleased to say that he rode home quite happily in the passenger floorboard:
I also bought a really nice windowsill plant tray that was a better fit for the décor than the one I know I have packed somewhere. I got a couple of philodendron to go in it for the time being. I would like to have something flowering, but even though this is an east window, it is on a porch that is several feet deep, and when the morning sun is low enough to get under the porch, it is going to be partially blocked by the houses across the street.
After the plant excursion, I met up with my daughter and her younger daughter at the Don Harrington Discovery Center for a little while admiring the exhibits I had not seen, but mostly admiring little M interacting with the exhibits. C and I had a nice but brief visit as well.
This afternoon, I read, cleaned the kitchen a little bit, took a comfy nap in the recliner, and, most importantly, waited impatiently while the shower enclosure was repaired. Now all the tempered glass has been replaced. I’ve vacuumed the carpet in the hallway and bedroom and the bare floor and shower stall, reinstalled the freshly washed bath mats, and I’m ready to go tomorrow with the rest of bathroom organization and some more work on the master closet. My dear husband’s taping job was good enough that they got the shattered window out without having it come apart all over the place. Tomorrow should be a good at home day because it’s snowing again right now.
Sunday, January 27, 2013
About 7 or 8 years ago, I bought a vintage stained glass window on eBay to hang in my kitchen. Other projects intervened, and I never got it done. In fact, the window remained tucked behind some shelving at our store, where UPS delivered everything in those days. When we sold the business, it took up residence in the back of my SUV for some months. Then it ended up in the back room of our house. Now it is proudly hanging in the kitchen window of the new house, thanks to the efforts of my son. I just finished remaking some panels that I had on hand but really, really like to hang in the gap on each side and draw across the window when needed. The sill is deep enough for some small plants. Inspired by something I saw on Pinterest, I used a tension rod between the cabinets to give more stack back room for the curtains to leave more of the glass exposed. However, I was unable to get a picture that really shows the colors in the glass, which are quite lovely as I sit and look at them—gold, blue, green, and a purply-red in the center of the heart. The wavy clear glass is attractive as well. I suspect I need a better fill-in flash to counter the effect of the bright outside light.
Having grown up in the “perfect pinched pleats” generation, it took a little bit of thinking to persuade myself that the more casual clip ring application was going to be ok, but I think it suits the kitchen. I tried some white lace panels, but they were too cottagey to suit the rest of the room. The tension rod came from Penney’s because I caught a sale—the small clips, which are harder to find than the big ones, came from JoAnn’s. The rod is oil-rubbed bronze to match the kitchen, but I had to settle for black ring clips. From the floor, you can’t tell. This installation has been so long in coming that I feel like throwing a party!
The tempered glass for the shower enclosure replacement is supposed to arrive tomorrow. They are going to replace all the remaining glass in the enclosure, not just the broken part, on the theory that there may have been something wrong with the original tempering process. I will be glad to have that done so that I can more or less finish up in the master bath and bedroom area.
Saturday, January 19, 2013
Sometimes days don’t work out as we planned—but they turn out ok, nevertheless.
My plans for today included unboxing the one remaining box in the master bedroom, putting those items in the closet, and then using the box for some items-to-be-donated that I have stacked in the bedroom corner. It was sort of a twofer. (May I add that I really appreciate the luxury of living where one can phone a number 24 hours ahead of time and request porch pickup of the donations instead of having to drive them 70 miles?). Alas, it was not to be.
Remember when we bought the house and the shower door shattered? Well, at 1 a.m. this morning, I was roused by a boom, followed by a sound that at first resembled dripping, splattering water. After groggily determining that the sound was coming from inside the house, I staggered to the bathroom and turned on the light, only to see this in progress:
That is tempered glass, shattered into thousands of tiny cubes. It was in the process of completing its fragmentation when I flipped the switch. The previously shattered door is at the left, intact. This is the stationary panel between the door and the wall. I assure you that we have treated that enclosure with extreme care since the previous incident. I can also assure you that I did not appreciate the attitude of the glass company, with the repetition of, “We’ve never had glass do that before.” This house is under warranty, so things will be fixed one way or another, but I’m rather disgusted. There is also one more stationary panel to the left of the door. I’m holding my breath.
I woke up my dear hubby, and we managed to use box tape to tape the window in place. I’m not sure how long it will hold, but it gave me time to get essentials from the bathroom. Unfortunately, the path to the master closet leads through the bathroom. We moved toiletries and items to the hallway bath, because whatever has to happen will take a couple of weeks since the tempered glass has to be ordered. I bought another bottle of shampoo rather than risk opening the door. I am also determined that this time, the repair will be accomplished without dragging a glass-shedding frame through the carpeted bath and hallway. They can wrap it in plastic or something, if necessary. I am also keeping the bath door closed so that if it does fall, the cubes will not explode out into the bedroom. They will be much easier to shopvac off the tile.
I also hustled out to Target this morning for a shower curtain and liner for the other bathroom. We had just been using it for a tub when we needed one, but fortunately our son had put up the rod and rings last week. I’m not too sure about the choice of curtains, but I was in a hurry. It’s all rather beige, but I also have no accessories in place yet, so the room can still be brightened up.
The highlight of the day, however, remained. This afternoon was the 6th birthday of my middle granddaughter, who was born on the afternoon of a blizzard. The party, at the tunnel room in the Family Life Center of the First Baptist Church here, was great fun for M and her friends and her big sister. The cupcakes were good, and the presents were quite satisfactory. And nothing broke!
Thursday, January 17, 2013
This is a very badly colored picture of a hat that I’m very proud of. The pattern is the Bend Hat, available on Ravelry. This hat is even more attractive on a head than it is flat because the contrast between the cabled/twisted section and the ribbing is even more pronounced. The pattern instructions are very clear and easy to follow, with both written directions and charts. I did rip back to ribbing once and start over because I was having trouble reading my knitting with black yarn at night. I started over in the daytime, got the hang of the pattern, and was able to continue successfully well past midnight!
The color in the above picture is not true. Dream in Color’s Black Parade is a beautiful blend of blacks. The weight is worsted—Classy. The yarn came from The Loopy Ewe. I have enough left over for something.
This hat is for my son. I have not yet found my wool wash, so I gave it to him unblocked with directions for a soak. I’m pleased with the pattern and with the yarn, and the fit was absolutely perfect.
The weather forecast looks reasonably fair for the next few days, but I’m sure we’re not through with hat weather yet, so I hope it will be useful for the rest of the winter.
Saturday, January 12, 2013
Today began with an early morning trip to Donut Stop, followed by a donut delivery to our son and granddaughter. This was an essential trip because I had not had a previous opportunity to admire her vastly increased Barbie collection. Or check on the progress of the loose tooth.
After we got home, I spent a little more time on kitchen organization. I had ordered one of these racks before moving into the house, only to discover that I needed two. Alas, the second was backordered and didn’t come until last night. Now I can get the flat things out of the tall cabinet without having them fall on my head!
Then, my husband’s brother came by for a visit, and we had a cheese-and-cracker lunch. I sat down to watch a show on HGTV, and this happened--
In the time it has taken me to write the first part of this post, all the brown spots have disappeared. We are very thankful for every drop of precipitation, so this snow is very welcome. I’m going to get my warm house socks back on my feet and enjoy the rest of the afternoon!
Hat knitting is progressing with another pattern. It is going rather slowly because this is a pattern that requires looking closely at the knitting in progress and the yarn is black.
Wednesday, January 09, 2013
The last 24 hours have been interesting, in a good way.
First of all, I made another run at organizing spices. Here’s what I started with:
A cabinet crammed dangerously full of all shapes and sizes of containers.
Here’s where I am right now:
Obviously, not everything from the top is in this drawer. That’s ok, because now I can find the items that I keep in large containers on the shelves. You will also notice that this drawer has lots of empty space. That’s because I need to restock some of my basic spices that had gotten too old. I will buy most of them in the smallest containers like the ones in the front so that they won’t go stale before I use them. I can move the taller jars to other parts of the rack. This may not be the perfect solution, but it is the best one I’ve found so far. It doesn’t show well in the picture, but there’s plenty of room on the left side of the drawer as well—more, in fact, than on the right.
Knitting—I spent this evening struggling to knit a hat for my son. He had found one on etsy that was a pattern to buy. I bought it, and the pattern is just not written right. I struggled all evening. The yarn, Dream in Color Classy in Black Parade, is too nice to waste on a crummy pattern. I’ll break the news tomorrow and try to come up with something else that will suit.
Drama—really. I went with my daughter and her 2 girls to the local Little Theater production, a youth production, of Charlotte’s Web this morning. It was extremely well done. I particularly liked the costuming choices and the versatility of the young actors, many of whom played several different roles. The script was well written, and the elementary age audience was enchanted. So was I. A nice Italian lunch afterward didn’t hurt either. (I had ham and navy beans ready to go at home, but somehow after trying so hard to help Charlotte save Wilbur, ham didn’t sound good!).
Saturday, January 05, 2013
It occurred to me that I had not posted a picture of our completed home. Here it is:
Here is a picture of the current state of my knitting/sewing/granddaughter room. It has become the dumping ground, at least temporarily, for the unboxed items. The pile is not as big as it looks because there is a bed under it at least. The color is not accurate—the walls are buff and blue. I should have opened the blinds.
Friday, January 04, 2013
I hesitate to use this word in a blog because there are entire blogs out there written by people who seem to do nothing but organize. For me, the only reasons to organize are so that it looks better, so that I can find something, and so that it is easy to clean. Period. I am really not interested, for example, in systems that require me to put all my grocery purchases in decorative containers with hand-printed calligraphy labels so that everything in my pantry matches. No thank you. Right now, part of my pantry is very disorganized because we had a much larger pantry where we lived before, so I’m in the process of using up extras of some items. Living where a good selection of groceries is easier to come by, we won’t. have to buy quite so much in bulk for just the two of us. On the other hand, I am working hard to organize my canned goods. As soon as I stock my organizers, I’ll post a picture..
I am finding that some things you just don’t know how you want until you have time to consider. I’m glad I didn’t buy too many organizers ahead of time. My goals for next week are to organize a spice drawer, a luxury I did not have in my former kitchen where drawers were in short supply. I also want to organize the storage for my baking sheets, muffin tins, etc. I am also working on the laundry room. It is built a little bit strangely, so it will be a challenge to make good use of the space. Today, however, I did hang a small wall “hamper” for our wool socks. A misplaced cotton sock is no biggie, but a misplaced handknit is something else. It is also a tragedy when a handknit gets into the hot cycle by mistake. I am hoping this system will help. This w/d set has pedestal drawers underneath. I am trying to decide what will go there. I am not going to use them for heavy bottles of detergent because the lifting will get to me after awhile. The top of one of the appliances—too tall for a folding area—will need to also serve as a “landing area” for the garage entrance. I want some kind of organizer for that. Then I also have cabinets above the washer. Unfortunately, I can only reach the bottom shelf, barely. I am thinking of using the upper shelves for bulk paper goods supplies, which I can reach with a “reacher,” and which won’t break if dropped.
I also need to get on with the unpacking. There has been something of a delay due to illness and the holidays, so I’m not quite as far along as I hoped. I really need a productive week.
Wednesday, January 02, 2013
It’s been months since I’ve finished a knitted project! Here are the cozy worsted house socks for ME! You will notice that they haven’t been blocked—in fact, they are practically smoking from the rush knitting job, and they will go directly on my feet in the morning. Notice also that they are posing on a box, one of the number that still make up a significant part of the décor. It is amazing, though, how therapeutic the repetitive nature of the knitting was to my moving nerves, and I definitely needed it!
These socks are bright purple, but I’m not too sure about the monitor I’m working with. They look more or less blue. They are also the same size—the apparent difference is due to the shooting angle.
Tuesday, January 01, 2013
Happy New Year to everyone!
Knitting Progress—One sock is finished except for the kitchener at the toe. The delay is because I have to locate a yarn needle. I put those on a stitch holder for the moment so that I can start the second sock. In this case, second sock syndrome is less likely than one cold foot syndrome
When we moved, I tried to be very organized about packing and labeling boxes; however, there were those boxes on the end with little dibs of this and that. When we arrived, I found that I had both my Nooks, my iPhone, and my tiny MP3 players, but no chargers. Missing was my Kindle2 and all the chargers. I borrowed an iPhone charger from my daughter, and I’ve been looking for the others because I was, in effect, ereaderless. With the dropping of the ball last night, my foggy memory cleared, and I remembered that I had packed the ereader bag with chargers in the laundry basket with the extra coathangers. I hadn’t come across them because I’m not through putting clothes in the closets. (That’s another story completely.) I got them out this morning. I found all the chargers except the one for the K2, but I know it is packed with the battery chargers because I hadn’t been using it right before the move. Now everything is plugged in and charging up! I can also return the phone charger to my daughter. I know that I could have bought another one fairly easily, but I did not want to replace the specialized chargers for the other devices.