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Monday, July 20, 2020

Trinket Earrings On Hold

I accidentally stumbled across a FANTASTIC blog that has tons of free beading patterns. I was so thrilled with what I found, that I had to start reading her blog from the beginner. If you're interested in beading or just seeing gorgeous jewelry, you really need to visit Linda's Crafty Inspirations! She has posted so many lovely projects - and not just beading. It really is worth the visit. 

While on Linda's blog, she had shared a project she had made using a free pattern from another website called Deb Roberti's Around the Beading Table. Oh my! This is another source for free as well as paid beading patterns and another place that has a wealth of information. I spent another few hours on Deb's site and found many patterns I want to make. Unfortunately, with just starting out, I don't have a lot of beads yet, so I combed through the site looking for something I could make.

Trinket Earrings progress
I came across a lovely pair of earrings called Trinket Earrings that I wanted to try and had beads I thought would be appropriate to substitute since I didn't have any 4mm pearls. I thought I had everything as I had jump rings, the fish hooks, thread and needle as well as beads I picked out to test to see if I could truly substitute different colors and beads and make them look good together. I was beading along when I went to put the jump ring on and found that I didn't have any 4mm jump rings! UGH!!! So I had to set the earrings aside and order some from Michael's. We have to run to town tomorrow, so we'll do a curbside pick-up then. 

I'm using:
  • Black Wildfire .006 thread
  • Size 12 needle
  • 11/0 Miyuki Seed Beads - Gold
  • 4mm Cryistal bicone beads - Marine Blue Iris
  • 4mm Faceted Glass beads - Aqua

This is a very simple pattern and I was really enjoying it. Sadly, I had to stop. I really can't wait to finish these. I think they will turn out nicely - even with my own color choices!!


Saturday, July 18, 2020

Life Got In the Way!

Look! All my ducks are in a row!!!
Look! All my ducks are in a row!

Wow! It's been forever since I sat down to write. This year has been crazy busy and full of unforeseen events. If you had told me what had been in store for us, I would have laughed at you and said you were nuts! 

January brought a serious back problem for my husband. He was hospitalized for 10 days, home health care and therapy for a few weeks then physical therapy for a few months. In fact, he just wrapped up his physical therapy a couple of weeks ago. He was off work for a couple of months, started working part-time from home, then just got the OK to go back to work at the University when the Covid-19 shutdown happened. He has not been physically to work since
January 17th! He's been telecommuting every since and he loves it! 

I've had a bunch of adjusting to do. Not only is hubby working from home, but so is our son. Our son was looking for an apartment when this all hit. That came to a halt when the shutdown happened and now, with working from home with his job from the University, he's putting more time in than he'd be doing physically at work, which seriously limits his time to look for any housing - besides the issues with social distancing and the instability of the future. 

My daughter lives on the other coast and was supposed to fly out and stay out here for 2 weeks. I was hearing rumors of a shutdown and quarantine for those that travel, so gave her a heads up. We were watching things closely, and just before she was scheduled to leave, shutdown happened. She had to cancel so many things that was planned for here, including her wedding. She was coming out here to finishing arranging things for the wedding that was to take place this year, when everything went haywire. She and her fiance decided it was best to cancel and wait this mess all out and then do a wedding out there, close to home. 

Another heartbreaking thing happened was my best friend, Val, died. She was one of the most amazing people I had ever encountered in life. She always made me laugh and was there for me when I needed someone. She would drag me around to places that I would have never have know about. She introduced me to so many things and added so much to my life. She was not only my friend, but a friend of the family and was like another family member - especially to my son. Val didn't have children, so she "adopted" him. She died during lockdown, so there was no public funeral for her. I never got to say goodbye. Goodbye, Val. I miss you so much...

It's been a huge adjustment for all of us. With a wedding cancelled and a best friend gone, lockdown with freedom taken away and having to get used to having two very independent males underfoot all the time, it has been an emotional challenge. Mostly emotional because there was no one to grieve with. There were a few days I just shut down, but I guess I needed to.

However, even after all that,  I can honestly say I'm enjoying the forced proximal closeness of family. I hear all the negatives about the shutdown/lockdown and not really any positives. For me, there are a few negatives, but overall I'm enjoying home life.  I'm shopping more because most is being done online. I have large, heavy things like kitty litter delivered now, but I started that in January when hubby had his back issue. It is so nice not having to put a 35 pound bucket of litter in my cart, take it out and put it in the car, then take it out of the car and lug it in. Now, I just have to lug it in, and that's really wonderful for an older woman like me! LOL Yes, I still have to get fresh, frozen and refrigerated items at a physical store, but that's about it. I have some physical issues with wearing a mask, so I limit my time out in one.

I've also found our family has grown closer. There aren't really any arguments - maybe an occasional tiff, but even they aren't really happening. In fact, I can't tell you when the last time was that we had a disagreement of any sort. Hmmmm....  And out house is small - only a tiny bit over 1000 square feet, so it's not like we can really run away from each other! 

We've all been looking into hobbies - my son has started concentrating on woodworking more. Hubby putters around more but is still physically limited and not able to do what he used to. He's had to refocus and give up some things. His has been more of a mental challenge - having to give up things he loves to do and finding new things.

Me - well, I'm always learning and trying new things. This year, I've been wanting to make my own things. I've been focusing on handmade items to see how many things I can make or repurpose and not have to depend on trying to find the "right" fit of clothes, style, etc. I've taken a few online classes, made my first cardigan, designed my first crocheted top, dehydrating new foods, experimenting with growning unusual (to me) plants, solar cooking and making my own jewelry. I'm sure there's more that I'm not mentioning.

So that's 2020 up to July in a nutshell for me. Life is different - and I'm enjoying it. I'll be sad to see the guys go back to work when this is all over. I'll miss them.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

One Second After - Preparedness

I love preserving food and am always looking for interesting ways to put up our bounty or new ways to cut out processed/packaged foods from the grocery store. I am always watching something on YouTube or combing through the groups I'm a part of on Facebook. One of the things that I've been hearing about throughout these communities is a book called "One Second After" by William R. Forstchen. 

I was curious, so I borrowed it from the library. Talk about a captivating read!! The premise of the book is what happens after an electromatic pulse (EMP) has gone off. There is a foward by Newt Gingrich and an afterword by Captain Bill Sanders of the U.S. Navy, both stating this scenario could truly happen. The story was fast paced and well written. It was very thought provoking and made me think of what could happen and how we would or would not handle the situation. 

I'm not a prepper, but one who puts away a little food because I don't care for the taste of most processed/prepackaged items that I've tried at the grocery store. I do a small batch of soups, etc. and my pantry looks like everyone else's except that my food is in jars instead of cans. Not a lot, and certainly not enough to get me through something like this disaster. 

This book should be added to everyone's reading list. If nothing else, it's an entertaining and informative read.  "One Second After" is my first finish of 2020.

Another first for 2020 - actually for the first time ever... we didn't have pork and sauerkraut for New Year's Day, yesterday. Pork was quite high at the store, so I purchased a ham instead. I figured I could use some of the left over ham for ham and bean soup. Well, that certainly didn't turn out well. I sliced open the packaging around the ham and my knife came out with a long string of slime hanging from it! It was horribly gross. I pulled the plastic back some from the ham and it was covered in a thick slimy mucous that was certainly not appealing nor should it be there. It appears we had purchased a spoiled ham! That goes back to Walmart today. We ended up having hamburger soup instead. I guess we'll find out if eating pork and sauerkraut on New Year's truly brings luck and good fortune!

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

2020: New Year - New Decade


The new year arrived quietly under a bed of white for us. Our son's plans changed, and instead of chancing the weather, he spent the evening with us. I treasure the time we can spend with our children, because they will soon have families of their own and lives of their own.

I am looking forward to this year. Our daughter will be getting married in the fall and our son has started a new job that is much more suited to him compared to his last job. Hubby and I are planning on planting a larger garden which will be nice. We have many ideas we are tossing around between us. It will soon be time to start planting seeds and seeing the miracle of those tiny embryos turn into plants and food for our family.

I have a few personal goals set:

1. Lose 10% of my body weight
2. Read through Paul's books of the Bible 12x
3. Complete at least one online course
4. Remove processed foods and most sugars from my diet
5. Try making cheese
6. Read 33 books including:

  • 10 classics
  • 10 of the 1001 Books You Should Read Before You Die
7. Complete a few knit and crochet projects off my list
8. Turn the basement into a nice usable area
9. Make a craft area in the basement
10. Weed out unused/unnecessary things

I'm sure the list will grow longer as time goes on. I have so many things I want to complete or try.

That's my year's plan in a nutshell.


Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Goodbye 2019


I can't believe it's really the last day of 2019. Where did the year go? I had so many plans and ideas, but because of weather or other circumstances, they didn't all get done. There's always next year and I am really looking forward to it!

Although many things weren't done, there were accomplishments and new things tried. We dehydrated more, canned new things and explored new places. I cannot complain, even with all that we didn't do. Every year is a time to try to better one's self and every year that seems to be accomplished, maybe not to what I'd originally set out for, but still there's improvement.

Tonight will be quiet for us. We will settle down with a good book or movie and probably go to bed before midnight. Us old folks here don't stay up late like the young'uns do. We will just enjoy the day and evening and reflect on the last year and think about all the things we would like to do next year.

Now on to a new and clean slate!

Have a safe and happy New Years Eve!!!

Monday, December 30, 2019

Last Finishes of the Year

Bluprint had a nice sale last week where they had all knit and crochet scarf and cowl kits at 50% off, plus I had a 25% off coupon that I could use on top of the discount as well. I purchased 4 kits - 1 crochet and 3 knit - each costing less than what the cost of the yarn would have been for them!

My first finish was the Start Up Library Crochet Cowl Kit by Salena Baca and it really was a surprise to me. When I purchased the kit, I had originally gotten it to try out the yarn included in the kit: Sprightly Yarns Spectrum in Worsted Weight #4. I found a lovely color, Cresting Waves that would go with a few things in my wardrobe. Well, when it arrived, I thought I'd just work a few rounds of the cowl and see how it behaved and find another pattern. That cowl had such a lovely drape, that I decided to finish it. It's such a simple pattern - chains and double crochets, however, when put on, it looks so nice. Who would have imagined that I'd have fallen in love with it!?! Even more strange, is that I'm considering making another one from some yarn I have stashed. I think I'll make it a bit longer next time.

My next almost finish was the Fisherman's Wife cowl by Kalurah Hudson of whiletheyplaydesigns.com. I can not find the link to the kit, so I'm assuming it has been sold out since it was on clearance. The pattern is very well written and even has a link to a tutorial for making the picot edging. I'm really quite impressed and if her patterns are anything like this one, they are definitely worth the money! Now, back to the kit... This pattern uses Sprightly Acrylic Wool Super Bulky #6. I chose the color "suede" for my scarf. I so enjoy doing cables, however have never done any cabled projects in super bulky weight before. I'm still on the fence when it comes to bulky yarn, but it does look quite neat when finished, plus, it was a quick knit. I still have to block it and put on the buttons. Unfortunately, when laying my scarf out to take the photo, I found, not one, but two mistakes! (can you find them?) I haven't decided if I'm going to fix them or just say, hey - it's for me and just leave them as is. That's what I end up with when I'm counting and talking to hubby at the same time! I really should have checked my work before binding off. I have 2 more skeins of the super bulky in a Blue Heather colorway, so I could just make another one (or 2). I still haven't decided what I'm going to use it for.

This appears to be my last finishes of the year. I've had hats and other finishes I never recorded and will just have to do better next year. I made many gifts this year as well as some hats, scarves and mittens to donate. Hopefully, next year will be even more productive than this one was!

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Dishcloths

What can I say? I'm an old fashioned type of gal that loves handmade things. One of those things is handmade dishcloths that are either knitted or crocheted from cotton yarn or thread. I was running low hand have been in the need for some new cloths for some time now. I  was looking for something just a bit different than my old standby, Grandmother's Favorite Dishcloth. It's such an easy pattern, but since it's all knit except for one YO at the beginning of the row, it gets boring and it relies heavily on the color of the yarn. It's great fir mindless knitting in front of a TV or knitting in public, but a girl just needs something new now and then. (In the photo, you can see the lovely set of handmade Peppermint soap and Peppermint lip balm that my husband got for me. He knows how to spoil me!)

Speaking of the old standby, I found some Bernat Handicrafter Holidays in Holly Jolly Print colorway that I thought would be perfect for Grandmother's Favorite. I love the jogs of color throughout the white and loved how crisp and clean it looked after it was finished. Certainly a color that was perfect for gift giving, so I made a few to give away as well. I really wished I had tested the colorfastness before giving them away, as it really ran and the white became a pink. Now, mind you, I still like the color. The pink is light and pretty, but I lost the crisp look that I fell in love with. I've never had a yarn run like this one from Bernat. This is my first time using Handicrafter and I certainly will never buy another skein of it unless it's on sale or it's a solid color. I'm really bummed because I gave all the cloths away except one.

While browsing my Facebook Feed,  I came across a posted a link to the Flower Power Dishcloth.  It's a quick and easy to follow crochet pattern that created a bright and cheery flower dishcloth. As soon as I saw it, it screamed "MAKE ME!!!"  The directions call for a solid cotton cloth, but I had some scrubby yarn in my stash that I thought would be perfect for the center. The purple cloth was made using Premier Yarns Washi (Purple)and Lily Sugar 'n Cream Scents (Lavender). For me, the Washi was a bit difficult to crochet with. It could be my old eyes, but with all the texture and nubbies, I found it hard to find the loops of the stitches. It was only 3 rounds, so it wasn't too frustrating and I liked how the center turned out - nicely textured.

The blue flower was made using Red Hear's Scrubby Sparkle (Lemon) and Premier Yarn's Premier Home Cotton (Delft Blue). The Scrubby Sparkle was easier to work with, but made a tiny bit smaller flower center. It was much easier to work with and adds a sparkle to the center. The Premier Home wasn't as easy to work with as the Sugar 'n Cream. It kept splitting. I'm going to have to get used to it, as I bought a case of it from the Dollar Tree.