Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Merry (late) Christmas & Happy (early!) New Year!

First of all, please forgive the picture heavy post and all my bragging. I'm going on another "yarn diet" in 2009 for sure! Yessiree.
(I probably won't have a choice, things will be tighter this next year for sure!)

I hope everybody had a very peaceful holiday. We were together on Christmas day and then went to my in-laws for the weekend. I almost didn't end up going, I've been having a MAJOR pain flare-up that just won't let up. I've been trying to get past it, but it's been a bad couple of weeks. Therefore, I haven't been able to knit much - but that's okay, Santa suprised me with one of these:

It's a pretty Pearly Pink Nintendo DS, and I didn't even know I wanted one until I had this baby in my hands. Everyone else in the house has had one for ages, but I never really got into it. I do have the "Brain Age" games but they never kept my attention for long (okay! I'm OLD, I don't need a game to remind me).

I've barely been able to put this down, the Crosswords game I got is just too addictive, and of course, it's PINK! It just tickles me to no end. I do feel a bit like I left my knitting in the dust to play with my new toy. Fickle Fickle Knitter, I know. Then I got to this "textile" wordsearch puzzle that had "kniting" and "knitted" etc. in it! Too funny! My Knitting will never go away.

Santa also brought me this:

I finally got a scale for my yarn (that's Dream in Color Smooshy in Gothic Rose - see how generous they are with their yardage?). I've been wanting one for a long, long time. I got Franklin's book (which the girls have taken and I've yet to enjoy). (What I didn't get a picture of was the cool Magnet Chart Keeper and Harmony DPN's in size 7 that I got also). This was from The Big Guy & The Girls.

He also got me some Black Bunny Fibers Superwash Sock Yarn (oh well, it says "approximately 4 oz" so they're covered - it's a LOT less dense than the DIC as the scale shows). It's a very pretty colorway though, it's called "Chocolate Covered Cherries". I may have to use that for my Mom, she just loves those candies! (this scale is so much fun, I can't stop weighing stuff!)

With the Christmas money from my Mom & In-Laws, I stopped by The Yarn Patch in Crossville and picked up some more sock yarn and a few other goodies.

I always seem to go for sock yarns for my Mom so there are two yarns to use for her next year. I got Berroco Comfort Sock in color 1813, and a new one I've never tried before "Pagewood Farms Yukon" handdyed sock yarn in "Bird of Paradise" colorway, and some black Universal wool to attempt to make my nephew (who is now serving in Afghanistan) a Helmet Liner. I couldn't pass up the tiny 4" size 5 DPN's, and I also got some DPN tubes and a pair of Bryspun size 4 straights. I don't knit with straights too often anymore, but I like the Bryspun because they're light.

My Darling Husband also took time off of work to take me across town to get this:

When I get in the mood for PINK, there's no help for me. I had seen this Blue Ridge Kaleidoscope Superwash Merino Sock yarn in Mossy Hollow before at my LYS and I couldn't get it out of my mind, it practically threw itself at me and begged me to take it home. The Noro Silk Garden (#205) was just for pure fun.

That's about it for now. The projects that I have lined up aren't even using these yarns so I hope my pain issues resolve soon so I can get busy. I'm halfway done with the first bed sock for my Mom, I promised my cousin some black fingerless mitts, and I have that helmet liner in my "mind's queue" too. THEN I'll play with my other yarns. And. Stop. Buying. More.

This year was rough, next year may hold even more challenges, but I'm grateful for all my friends and family and all I've been blessed with. I won't make any resolutions this year, my main issues will be family, better health, and to remember to be thankful no matter what.

Have a Safe and Happy New Year Everybody!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Another Big THANK YOU! :O)

After having a day that I'd rather forget (and how!) I got a doorbell ring that brought me this:

My BF in California sent me a Christmas package that I received today. Oh I just love everything! We got a kick out of Chloe (her puppy) all dressed up for the Holidays!! She's such a cutie!
There's a beautiful friendship bracelet, a Friendship votive candle holder and one of my favorite things - The Willow Tree "Heart and Soul" figurine. I adore the Willow Tree items. I've given and received quite a few. They're simple but convey so much feeling and meaning. This one reminds me of all the times Julie and I sat talking (and talking and talking). It's such a relief to know she's there for me when I need her. To have someone like that is such a blessing.
Thank You Julie!! I love and appreciate it so much.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Big Thank You!

I had a feeling and was really hoping some Persimmon cookies would make their way to Tennessee again this year since Dawn not only has them in California, but she's also quite Ms. Suzy Baker as well (and I am humbly THE Queen of Burning Things). I can't find Persimmons here in the south, maybe I'm not looking in the right places but so far it's a no-go, at least not the kind you need for cookies.

I grew up with my Grandpa's homemade persimmon cookies during the holidays so they bring back such wonderful memories for me. I can't even describe how the scent takes me back to lots of love and happy times.

But I also got this!

And This!

And I totally adore these!

Dawn has a memory like I can't believe! I got such a kick out of these little Green Olive stitch markers, and she sent me some wonderful stuffed Olives that are from California as well. Another "touch of home" that really makes me smile. I love the Misti Alpaca Chunky yarn too! I think that's my next project, I just have to go dig out my needles!

NOW I get what the homemade soaps and ALL THOSE Knitted squares she was making lately were for! Aha!! I thought she was on the way to making a huge afghan! What cool labels you made for your soaps Dawn! The packaging is great! Are you going to be an ETSY seller?
Well, you SHOULD! These are perfect gifts!

I've been very blessed this Christmas. Thank You so Much Dawn And A Blessed Merry Christmas to You and your family too!
PS. Thanks so much for the goodies for the girls too!! They eyed their stuff before I even had the box fully unloaded! LOL! Little Stinkers!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Done & Done

Whew! My knitting made it to it's destinations so I can post about these now.

The minute I saw this scarf made up in this particular colorway, I knew exactly who I just HAD to make this for. My Friend since elementary school, Rhonda.

She loved it! (I told her if she didn't to please send it back to me-no hard feelings-because I love it too!! LOL!)

Socks That Rock-Lightweight
Pond Scum
Size 4 needles
44 st cast on to extend less yardage

This next one was for my BF in CA, Julie. (Modeled by my oldest Miss J). Rhonda told me this is called a "Hollywood Knot". I had no idea! LOL!! But it's a great way to wear this.

This baby is BRIGHT!! Very BRIGHT! And it fits Julie to a "T". She's a rebel, loves RED and looks SO PRETTY in it as well. She can wear really red lipstick and look absolutely FAB-U-Lous in it. Not many women can you know!

Dream In Color Smooshy - Lipstick Lava
Kept 44 st cast on to make it long and skinny.
Size 4 needles.
ETA: I also used the K2tbl (knit 2 together through the back loop) instead of SSK (slip, slip, knit) on this one. Total "personal preference" thing, it just made it go a tiny bit faster for me.
At a couple of spots in the pattern it was a little tricky but it still looked good IMO.
BTW: I did the extra two rows of garter stitch at the beginning since the pattern ends that way. Just makes for a "matching ends" scarf.

I didn't really "over-do it" blocking these. I know some people really open up the lace pattern with pinning and severe blocking, but frankly I just layed it on the floor on towels and shaped it with my hands while they were still damp. I put a fan nearby and just let them air dry. I love how they came out. I think I'll make one for myself one day. Funny how scarves can drive me insane - it feels like the repeats will NEVER end - and then WHAM! You're done and they're GORGEOUS. So worth it.
Many prayers and good thoughts went into these as well.
Merry Christmas my good Friends.
Miss U both.

Friday, December 19, 2008

I love the lights...

This was shared with me recently:

And I can't stop watching.


I just ADORE Christmas lights, I wish they were up all year but I guess that would dampen the excitment and all. I love the simple ones that The BigGuy puts up every year, but I'd sit outside ALL the time watching if I had something like this set up! Some people make it an art form. This year we haven't gotten to drive around to see many due to all the rain we've had (w/ more on the way), and with our windy, hilly roads, it's just not very safe so this seems like the next best thing.
These make me smile. Over and over and over again.
(There are so many to look at. Beware, you could be occupied for a bit).

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It's sneaking up on us...

Christmas is right around the corner - Can you believe it? I have a few little things out in the mail so I can't post about them yet, but I did make a few little ornaments for my tree. Just for the heck of it.

I can't remember what pattern I used for this little sock but there are a whole bunch on Ravelry to choose from. (I'll edit if I find out someday!)

Caron Simply Soft Yarn
Just a smiget really

Mini Mitts Ornament
Caron Simply Soft
Just a smidget again.

More Mini Mitts.
Caron Simply Soft
Cute. Too cute.

I finally got motivated to wrap gifts yesterday when I realized I was hitting the single digits as far as "days until".... I did a terrible job but they just rip it open anyway. All I have left to do is fill stockings and put name tags on the presents. (As you can see from our chalkboard, we're not quite on schedule here).
We went very simple this year but I still probably spent more than I had intended. My girls are at an age "crossroads" so it's harder and harder to think of what to get them. Pretty soon we'll have teens and with that age comes WAY more costly items and them telling me "Mother, Plu-easseee!" This year there are still some toys in there and that makes me smile. They may say that, but you know they still want to play!

I've been having trouble with my sleep schedule again. A few hours one night, twelve the next. It's very hard to wake up enough to do things feeling like I have been. I saw my new Rheumy Dr on Monday and had to go back this morning to redo the blood work (the gal stuck me 4 times and couldn't get a good vein. OWWWW!).

I really like my new Doctor. I felt like I was in Mayberry, everyone there is SO incredibly NICE and polite! The absolute nicest southern people I've met here hands down. The ladies that work there are much older but they run a VERY BUSY office (it took me 6 mos to get into see him, he's totally booked). When I was checking out they thanked me for choosing him and asked if I was happy, they were just everything you WISH a doctor's office would be. I wanted to stay just to hang out, I've never been around such friendly people in that setting before (except my Mom's cancer nurses and Dr, they were awesome too). The nurse gal felt really bad about poking me so much! She said when I took a drink later it was going to squirt out like a sprinkler! At least we had a good laugh over it! Today I drank lots of water and they had no trouble at all. Whew!

My new Doctor was more than I had hoped for. He listened to me, validated how I felt and said "Yes" you do have fibro - but the main thing we're exploring right now is the positive ANA-antibody test. My Auto Immune system is attacking itself and we have to just explore and see how things progress to find out what it is (bloodwork galore). I told him I knew there wouldn't be an answer right off the bat, but I just wanted a good doctor who would put it like he did: "it's like we're in a dark room and we have to feel around for the light switch, just because we can't see it, doesn't mean we give up and that it's not there". What a complete turnaround from the last guy I saw who just shrugged his shoulders and told me I DID NOT have fibro, lupus, or RA. AND that my positive tests (I've been tested over and over again and it's still high) meant nothing. Hmmmm. There are doctors - and then there are DOCTORS. I just wanna hug my DOCTOR now! What a relief. Just a HUGE relief. That's all I wanted, someone to say "we're not going to give up".

I may take a little hiatus with the blogging, I probably won't be posting as much (like I do anyway! HA!) because I just haven't been knitting much of anything lately. I hurt, and noticed it helped to take a break from picking up the needles. I'll still be reading everybody's blogs I already do and plan to post IF I have something to show. Hopefully next year will hold some answers for me and things will improve. I have some new muscle relaxants (flexirill) that make me sleep like a dream as long as I don't have to wake up early the next day.

Happy Knitting & Merry Christmas

Monday, December 8, 2008

Some Christmas Knitting

I finished a few things that are holiday gifts for my family. Here's The Big Guy's Scarf.

Caron Simply Soft Heather in Charcol Heather (Dark Grey)
Pattern: Scrunchable Scarf (here's the Ravelry Link)
It's so soft and squishy and I made it a bit long so he can wrap if he needs to.
I just finished weaving in the ends today. I started a hat with the left over yarn, but it's a big question mark if that gets done.

Here are Miss J's fingerless mitts:

Dream In Color Classy Blue Lagoon
Pattern: Malabrigo Hand Thingies
(My pictures are SO terrible! I'll try to get some when they have them on after Christmas).
I used size 5 DPN's instead of 7's to size them down for my daughter.
I did make a mistake on one of them but that just gives them character, right?
The good thing is I have plenty of yarn left over to make another one. There's always a bright side.

These are Miss C's fingerless mitts.

French 75 - Sport Weight yarn -Color Angelina Jolie
Pattern: Mitt Envy
Size 1 DPN's - sized down to 40 sts for her tiny hands.

This yarn has almost no stretch, it's like knitting with cotton (although it says it's superwash merino wool) and was painful for my hands and arms. I tried making a sock out of it a couple of summers ago and couldn't get my foot into it. Using it this way at least makes me feel like it wasn't a total wasted purchase though.

The past few weeks have been stressful and painful but I'm glad I got these projects done. The holidays seems to creep up on me faster and faster for some reason. We managed to get the rest of our Christmas shopping done this weekend so that's a big load off of my mind. The Big Guy and I ditched the kids and even went to breakfast in between shopping! It was sure nice to not have to hear "are we DONE yet?" (They're not big shoppers, they take after their Dad). The crowds are definitely out there, which for once was kind of a relief when all we seem to hear is how terrible and downhill things are right now. But still, I don't want to be out there with them all if I can help it!

Of course, when I feel stressed - I hurt. I hurt BAD! Knitting is going to have to take a back seat for a bit until I get rested up and to where I'm not in so much pain. You gotta do what you gotta do. I see a new Rhuematologist next Monday so I'm hoping I can get some answers about what's causing it all. Keeping my fingers crossed for a decent doctor.

Now I have to go try to dig a hole into the closet to get things ready to wrap. At least this year I'll have help since the girls bought things for each other and us as well. There are always things to be thankful for, I'm tickled pink I won't be doing it all by myself on Christmas Eve!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas Tree Blues

After several years of no "problems" with putting up our tree, the last few have been pushing our sanity. We keep losing the lights. Our special "pick your own setting" twinkling lights. The "we can't go further with ANY decorating until we have these lights". I'm very sure we said last year that it wouldn't happen again. So, this year of course, we were in the same boat. We tore up the garage (a few times). We tore up the attic (a few more times). Finally they were found where they should've been in the first place: In the box that the tree was in. Silly Silly Big Guy.

We've also had a terrible time with the "Twister Sisters", Sasha & Sophie (our cats) attacking anything on, around, or near the tree. We hardly put any ornaments on it this time because they've been grabbing them and carrying them away. Last year they were sooooo good. This year we must be in the Terrible Two's of their cat lives because they're driving us absolutely nuts.

We start out all "nice and pretty" (with the CHEAP tree skirt for obvious reasons - there's no way I'd use one of my fancy ones with "kitty claws" on duty).

And shortly thereafter we find this:

Thank goodness we don't have to wait for Santa this year to deliver on Christmas Eve! We better put some gifts down there soon so they'll lose their playground. I should get that
"No Peeking" gift bag from Hallmark. That would put a stop to their sha-nanagans!

And, here's my new paperweight. My wireless printer is no more (I should stop being so dramatic, I can still use it to print, just not as a wireless). We switched back to the router that will let "online gaming" live on. What I do for love.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Early Thanksgiving!

Tomorrow is a busy day for most of us so I'm posting today to wish everyone a Blessed Thanksgiving. I wish I was able to be with the majority of my family in California, but I'm very thankful that they're doing well, and I know they miss us too. No matter how old I get, I still miss that closeness.

As for myself, I'll be terribly busy eating all the good food that The Big Guy whips up. He keeps with my Grandpa's tradition in taking the reins for holidays (but to be truthful, he cooks most of the time anyway). He loves making all the "Big Things" like the turkey, stuffing, and ham. I do the simple things like salads! (which I can still manage to mess up!) At least I get the Cranberry Sauce all to myself, no one else in this house will eat it? I know! I don't understand it either!

After stuffing myself I'll get back to these:
Some easy going reading and a Christmas Scarf for The Big Guy (which will be hard to do with him around for the next 4 days... I better find something else to knit). I just hope I can keep my eyes open after all that food! I may sleep until Monday!

To all my friends and blog readers (if you're in the states).

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mystery Beret KAL Update #2

My Meret is done and she's being blocked right now.
I finally finished it while watching Dancing With The Stars on Tuesday night and it was so easy to follow the instructions even while watching TV. Did I mention I love this pattern? I think I did in a prior post but it's so worth repeating. Easy but FUN! I'll be looking for more projects like it in the future.
Both of these pictures aren't quite accurate in the colorway department. It's actually darker and not quite as pink as my camera represents here. I'll post the specs on it when it's dry (and maybe I can get one of the girls to model it for me).
I don't know, it just feels good to get something done. Besides cleaning house for company that never shows up, I feel like I'm going in circles. Off to find a pattern to work up a scarf or hat for The Big Guy for Christmas. Happy Knitting.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Winter = Crazy Kids

I have to admit, it does give me warm fuzzies to see them actually USING what I've knit up and have around the house:

Do they match? No. Do they care? No.

They're using two scarves and one hat that I've made in the past. Makes a Mommy proud! (well, sort of!). It was around 32 degrees with a windchill of 26 and I caught them out there looking like this. Yes, it was cold, but I think they need something with "eye holes" for sure!

What must my neighbors think....

Monday, November 17, 2008

Where's the Beret?

Ah... well...it's in hibernation. Just waiting ever so patiently! I know, it should be DONE by now. The final clue was given on November 13th but I haven't picked it back up since around the 7th. I feel very fickle for being so gung-ho about it and then fizzling out on the home stretch. I do LOVE it, I just haven't gotten back to it - but I plan to. Soon.

I did get a couple of magazines to thumb through and drool over so that's always a good thing.

Of course, I forgot my 40% off coupon for Joann's at home on the kitchen counter after holding onto it ALL week for that savings. That's how things go for me sometimes. Forget about them cutting you some slack and just scanning an extra one there at the store. Oh Noooo, it ain't gonna happen no matter how pathetic you look or sound (and I tried really hard!). JC Penney's does that for me, so I guess I get spoiled by GOOD customer service. Come to think of it though, I don't think any of them will (Michael's, AC Moore, or Hobby Lobby). I was very disappointed in their selection of yarns and beads. They seem to be down-sizing more and more every time I visit there. That's a shame. I KNOW us knitters/crafters are STILL doing our thing, why does big business think we've disappeared???

I also felt about as big as an ant when I said I needed a bag for my purchase at one of my LYS's. Firstly, I hadn't planned on stopping in there, secondly, I can barely remember what I did yesterday much less that she mentioned something awhile back in an email newsletter about some bag policy she'd be working on (Do you remember every single thing you read?). Thirdly, I bought the yarn to possibly whip something up for Hubby for Christmas so of course I didn't want him to see it, hence the need for the bag since he was waiting in the car. The look on the owners face when I said I did need a bag (and I apologized profusely) about floored me. I was put in the "Customer Hall of Shame" I'm pretty sure. My picture is probably up on the wall with a big red circle/slash on it saying "Can you believe she took a bag?". Well, I won't be spending my yarn dollars there anymore. It's just another thing added to my list of reasons not to patronize her shop. As it is I barely go now because of things that have bugged me in the past so it's not any big loss. Luckily I have many other choices around here. Maybe I should mail the bag back to her...

I also ventured into "Router Hell" again this weekend. With our old router, I could use my wireless printer just fine, but the Xbox 360 would glitch. So we bought a different kind. Xbox worked fantastic for online gaming, but wireless printer is a no-go and I don't discover that until many hours later and after googleling info on my printer. This weekend we bought yet another router and Yay! My printer works again - but Xbox is still glitching. What would you do? Give up your wireless printing capabilites for his gaming pleasure? Or get two routers and switch them out? Or let him live with glitches??? Why can't things just be easy? Is this some big cosmic joke? Or maybe Bill Gates and others are sitting there laughing their booty's off while people go insane trying to get things to be compatible? I wonder....

The Big Guy knows how to cheer me up though. 2 more lbs of . All is better.

Gotta go, the chocolate fumes are overtaking me.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mystery Beret KAL Update

The first Mystery Beret I started in Lorna's Laces Black Purl (Worsted) ended up in the "Frog Pond". I made so many mistakes on it I just lost heart and yanked that sucker out! I may try again someday with this yarn because TODAY the last installment is up and the finished pattern is so pretty.
As usual, I just realized I'm behind!! I didn't catch the day the second installment came out (the 6th) and of course today I just came across it being the last day! I need a big giganti-normous calendar right in front of my face because I haven't got a clue most days!
This one is made of Dream In Color's Classy (Worsted). If you've never tried DIC yarns, you'll absolutely fall in love. I know I have. When you wash this up (It's superwash, I throw it in the washing machine) it turns out so soft and lovely, you wouldn't be disappointed. I guess I better go get busy and try to finish it today! BTW, this colorway is a lot darker than in the pic, my camera is still trying to tell me I'll never master it's supremacy.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Honoring Our Veterans

These are the planes that The Big Guy used to work on.

He served in the USAF as a jet engine mechanic at the 144th Fighter Wing. Everytime I go back to Fresno and see and hear those planes flying overhead (they are LOUD and they are FAST), my heart just skips a beat with pride. They fly side by side and what they represent is freedom to me. Protection. Patriotism. Man are they awesome.

We have quite a military family on both sides. We're very proud of all of them who have served and continue to serve. Even in peace time it's stressful for those who know they could be called away for tours anytime, but especially in times likes these and in years past when things are turmultuous, we especially have them in our prayers.

Thank You Veterans.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Miss C's Pretty Smile

Chel's braces were finally put on Friday afternoon! Whew! She has 4 on top and 4 on the bottom. (Pink because it's Mom's fav color, and UT Orange for Dad! Isn't she sweet?) Unfortunately, Saturday afternoon a bracket on the bottom came loose, which was a bummer since she was trying very hard to be extra careful. It really only bothered her at night so I had to try to get that darn WAX to STAY PUT. Finally it did, and she got some rest.

Tomorrow I have to take her in to get it fixed. Hopefully they can get us in early. Other than that, she's doing really well with the whole deal. I don't think she felt any pain because I felt it all!! Seriously. I was a wreck before, during, and after, and somehow I made sure I remembered to give her some motrin before her appointment. They had stressed that it would take about 3 hours and she was out in less than an hour. My baby is a great patient! And I'm a nervous wreck.

I finally used the crock pot we bought months ago. I have to say my stew was mighty tasty, I sure do love my veggies, but we agreed that the oven does just as good a job (if not better per The Big Guy) in less time. Oh well, we'll try chili next time I think. If all else fails I'll use it to dye yarn.

I'm now "tinking" back my first Mystery KAL Beret, I made some wacky mistakes and thought I could live with them until I took a closer look today and saw that I had dropped a stitch as well! I almost ripped the whole thing out but stayed patient and worked back to that stitch. The other boo-boo I made will stay since it's in the back and not as noticable, I just flubbed a row I think and I'm too tired to tink back probably 5 more rows. I couldn't get pictures today because it was a gloomy, cloudy day. Maybe tomorrow.....

I love this pattern!! If you haven't started it, it's not too late!!!