Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wednesday Yarn Along

Good morning and happy Wednesday, everyone! Today is another wonderful day full of sharing of knitting and reading. Joining up with Ginny...

Finished baby sweater.

Shades of blue and green.

I'll start with Mom first. Mom finished the baby sweater for her friend while here (and has trusted me to deliver it) and it is just adorable. I really do like wrap sweaters on infants. Not sure what pattern she used, but I'll ask her once she is safely back home.

Out of the leftover baby sweater yarn, Mom made herself a pair of wristers (both were finished last night) and a hat. The other hat/wrister set is a gift she made for her friend using Bernat's Mosaic yarn in Spectrum. The pattern for the hat is here. And yes, Mom's newest teddy bear needed a sweater and so he is now properly clothed.

On the reading front, Mom finished reading Skipped Parts (and thoroughly enjoyed it) along with The Liberation of Alice Love by Abby McDonald. Mom says she really enjoyed it and says it's full of twists and turns. We both took a read over a Christmas present I gave her The Mystic Cookfire which she is extremely tickled with.

For me, other than the cookbook, my reading was not happening at all. I had more knitting and other things on my list, but I do have two books ready to go for when Chase and I head out tonight.






Sadly, my Dad's sweater is not completed (I've got about 24 more rows to go), but isn't it pretty?? I'm going to keep working on it today and pack what's not done up and take it on the train. He'll get it while we're in Delaware!

That little pink semi-circle is a prosthesis I knitted up for Mom. I told Mom when she was going through the early stages of her diagnosis that I would knit her a boob if she needed me to. She has noticed in the past two weeks that there is a bit of a difference (I think that I glanced at her funny earlier this week and she said "I know! I'm lopsided now! I can't help it!"). So I knitted a simple circle and folded it in half and put poly fill inside it. I stitched one part with purple so if she needs to add or take out filling, or change it, she can. She is quite pleased with the results and has requested a couple more to have on hand.

I'll be clicking around later today, but most likely catching up later this week. Chase and I head out late tonight, and I am also fighting a broken S key on my keyboard (replacement key is on the way to my Dad's). I have lots to talk about and oodles of things to share.

Happy knitting!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wednesday Yarn Along

Good morning and Happy Hanukkah and Joyous Solstice! We are in the middle of a wonderful time of year. Today Mom and I are pleased to be linking up with Ginny in her weekly yarn along post.


Laying out all of the knitting projects this morning for a picture with two very nosy cats nearby was quite fun! Jessie tried to run off with a ball of yarn, and this picture was snapped seconds before Sage plopped his massive body onto the baby sweater.

We'll start with only contribution and those are the completed sleeves for my Dad's sweater. I still have to finish the body (I know, I know!), which I have been instructed to continue with once I am done with this post (I really do my best work when under pressure).

In the past week Mom has knitted a pair of purple wristers for Chase's teacher, started a teal colored teddy bear sweater for her newest teddy bear, and is working on a baby sweater for a friend of hers. The sweater is in process of being pieced together.

Reading wise, I sadly have to say that other than re-reading recipes for holiday baking and reading every one's blogs, I have not had a chance to crack into a new book. I finished up my exams and then focused on getting the house in order for Mom's return. Since Monday night we have been going non-stop.

Mom started reading Skipped Parts (I am dying to talk to someone about it!). She also re-read a favorite of hers: Christine Feehan's Shadow Game.

And now I am going to take a moment to share a wonderful gift I received this week.

I found a friend of my Mom's on Facebook over a year ago. This woman was a part of my childhood. Her two sons are the same age as my brother and myself. We used to spend countless summers together off the coast of Maine. She and Mom were serious knitters together. Jody moved to Florida a few years ago, and when I found her on Facebook, it was like picking up where everyone left off.

The crochet bracelet I made a few months ago that was not the right size, Jody insisted on wanting (sight unseen!). I ended up crocheting another one just for her. Jody mentioned the other day that she was doing some elfing of her own and I didn't really think much of it.

To my utter shock, I received a rather large box Monday afternoon full of yarn.

Gedifra yarn!
There is so much wonderfully soft and beautiful yarn! Reds, pinks, cream, black, purple tweed, and greens. I am in yarn Heaven. 

*love*

When I thanked Jody for her extreme generosity she told me that in Florida there is no need for snuggly yarn and that she knew it was going to a good home. Oh yes. I love it all and now can dream of new projects!

So now I would like to ask for suggestions from you, my friends, on what I could possibly knit for someone who lives down south? I'd love to add a lightweight sweater to my knitting queue for this coming year, but am at a loss to a good decent pattern. Suggestions?

And on that note, I am going to scrounge a few fresh cookies from the dining room, put on a little Road to Avonlea, and continue the sweater.

Happy Knitting!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wednesday Yarn Along

Joining in with Ginny's yarn along a bit later today, but here we go!


On the sweater front, I am pleased to report that the body of the sweater is at 13 inches as of this morning. I am ready to start a new skein on the body, so I put it up for now. I started working on the first sleeve when Steve and I were on a little adventure yesterday. I'm passed the three inch cuff and steadily increasing my way up! I had a perfect plan for this sweater and that would be to have the body and the sleeves done and ready for the yoke. I'd wait until I was alone (Steve at work and Chase at school means no distractions), pour a nice big cup of coffee and put on It's a Wonderful Life and focus on my knitting. Time is counting down and this plan still may play out, but Mom might be here (and she is a welcome and delightful distraction).

Since I didn't participate last week, I'll provide an update on my "green" projects. I realized that while red is my favorite color, I tend to gravitate to a lot of green, too. The cloche I knitted was green (which, by the way, I washed one too many times while felting and turned it into small child size -- it is on the way to my goddaughter now -- sorry no pictures of it finished!). The clogs in the picture above are "celery" green (these are a gift for my stepmom). Overall I am pleased with the outcome of the clogs. They fit Chase's massive feet, so I am sure they will fit my stepmom nicely. I ordered the suede bottoms for them and am patiently waiting on delivery. I really wanted to use Cascade 220 yarn because it does felt so nicely (it didn't disappoint when I felted my cloche), but I was running out of time so I opted for Brown Sheep Lanaloft Worsted instead per the suggestion of someone at the LYS. I think another go in the wash would felt it the way I want it, but I am not running the risk of shrinking these anymore.  They look a little misshapen in this picture, but the one is actually still stuffed with plastic bags while the other lost the stuffing earlier this week.

I also decided no elaborate cat toys this year, but am making simple little knit balls for them instead. I made two that I took over to my cat-sitting charge to cheer him up, so there are only two left to display. The green striped is made with leftover cloche and clog yarn, and the green/blue is out of leftover Optimistic yarn. Mom is bringing me more scrap yarn next week, so I will make a few more toys. I know they will be received since a certain feline *ahem Jessica* has taken off with in progress toys already.

On the reading front, last week I read A Plain and Simple Christmas by Amy Clipston. I really do enjoy the Kauffman Amish Bakery Series and this book certainly didn't disappoint. This week I read Skipped Parts by Tim Sandlin. I had a hard time putting this book down. I looked forward to a few minutes of reading time so I could finish this story. It's raw, emotional, shocking, and sad. I was so excited to see the video of it was available instantly on Netflix and watched it this afternoon while wrapping presents. I am so glad I read the book first, because in typical Hollywood fashion, the movie was an absolute flop when it come to the story. I really wanted to stop watching because they either changed important parts or just left them out all together. I felt I had to finish it through just to see how it ended.

Mom is not participating this week because she was having issues sending me her pictures last night. She did want me to mention that she was almost done with the front of the baby sweater she is working on, thought she made a mistake, and ripped down to the ribbing, only to realize she hadn't made a mistake. Have no fear, Mom will be here next Monday and will be participating again!

So now I am going to go see what everyone else is working on and catch up. Happy knitting!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

From this, to this.. Holiday edition!

Chase and I are getting on the ball (okay, we're a few days later than planned) getting the rest of the decorations up. I have little motivation to go outside and put lights up when it's 23 degrees out (Chase, however, was quite motivated to be outside doing "manly" things).

For now, I'll share our indoor pictures because I haven't plugged in the outdoor lights and am instead cowering inside where it is warm and toasty. ;-)

An empty corner in our living room went from this...

(I had to send all of my cookbooks to the office!)

To this..

(oops, I left my drill out!)
Chase made the paper chain garland when he was out on the farm last weekend.

Our fireplace went from this...





To this... 

(Sorry.. so much sunshine today!)

My Mom made every stocking up there, save for the teal one, which I knitted for her (it was the second item I ever knitted). My stocking is still my original stocking. :-) And yes, the pets each have their own stocking.

How about some close-ups? 




My Madonna and Child. I fell in love with this piece of art two years ago at the Ann Arbor Art Fair. The artist, Joel Zaretsky, is out of New York and this is "painted" using a paint with metallic pigments (copolymer) and is dripped on to canvas. This piece was originally commissioned for a church, but they didn't like it because the Holy Mother was showing too much breast. Their loss, my gain!




Our Nativity. Back in the day when Chase and I were our own family unit, we had the Fisher Price Nativity set (which he still has in his room). When Steve and I were married, I decided it was time for a "grown up" Nativity. We both fell in love with the simple, rustic feel to this set. 




Mom's stocking! I used wonderful Cascade 220 yarn for this and it felted so wonderfully. 

The human stockings.

Yep, here are the human stockings. And yes, you do see a Lego set on Chase's stocking holder. :-)

The fuzzies.
Mom cross-stitched the stockings. She was so funny this year because she had no new stockings to make (I did say I could use a larger one that was at least three feet long, but I don't think she took me seriously). 

Now that there is a bit more of the holiday cheer indoors, I suppose it's time to go finish the outdoors.

xx

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Playing catch-up

Time is flying and I am doing my best to keep up. Every day this week we have had some sort of activity going on outside of the home and I don't foresee a break coming before Sunday. Chase has a lot of Scout activities over the next couple of weeks, plus Steve has two concerts (one was Tuesday), and finally I have the rest of the semester coming to an end. I'm done with one class, a little behind in another, and at the finals part in the other two.

My knitting is coming along quite nicely. I will be posting my yarn-along post later today. Mom's knitting is coming along nicely, too. ;)

Oh, I should also mention a trip to the vet on Tuesday for a sick kitty. Jessica-4 has a UTI (and crystals in her urine) and is on medication for the next three weeks. Nothing says "morning fun" like holding down a cat and forcing medicine. She may be small, but she is extremely feisty (she is the only one I am afraid would bite me).

Tonight will be a late night with a Scout activity, and an extremely early morning tomorrow when Chase and I take a friend to the airport around five am. I hope things smooth out come Sunday.

For now, I leave you with Sage snoozing by the Christmas tree (because, really, why would the tree skirt actually stay on the tree for more than an hour?).


Monday, December 5, 2011

Things that go crash in the night







I suppose if you forget to tether the tree to a wall, and you happen to have a handful of extremely nosy cats, these things do happen. But why must it happen at 3am??

Sunday, December 4, 2011

I feel like I have been a bad friend this past week. I'm not quite sure why I haven't been as attentive as I usually have been, but I do apologize for it. I've been reading how everyone has been doing, and I've wanted to post and respond, but I just .. I don't know. Again, I am truly sorry.

First and foremost, the stitch markers were mailed off Thursday afternoon. I know I had planned on getting them out earlier than that, but I kept forgetting them at home when I took Chase to school.

I think part of the problem was that I was fighting a migraine all week. I felt it churning Tuesday morning, but it wasn't enough to take anything. It finally came to blows on Thursday. By the time I got home from a few quick errands, I took my migraine meds and put myself to bed. I really dislike laying down when I take those meds. When I wake up, yes I feel better, but it's so hard to feel normal. I struggled for the evening of Thursday and finally felt good Friday morning. The worst part is it bounced back at full force Saturday morning! That time I took the meds and I stayed up and knitted (which I hadn't touched since Wednesday). Migraine went away and I finished my cloche, not to mention the fact that I didn't have to deal with the groggy post-migraine side effects. I'm planning on seeing my doc in the next week or so and discussing this with her again. The meds work, but I really am not pleased with the side effects.

Sadly I know I've been busy this week, and yet I am not quite sure with what exactly. I know I've been working on school stuff (always), and I made bread and started to work on Chase's apron (which still needs to be finished), but other than that.. I am not sure what has been keeping me occupied (especially since my knitting was put on hold). There was also a scout pack meeting (goodness.. this is going to be a busy month!), and a visit with a good friend, and lunch out with Steve (we spent over two hours chatting!).

I do have some pictures I managed to snap during the week to show what has been going on.

  
Thursday while I waited for the antique store to open, I decided to nurse my migraine at the coffee house. Oh they had the most fabulous pumpkin muffins! So good. And, I guess I did get some knitting in on my Dad's sweater, too.
A week ago at the antique store down the street, I saw these little gems in a display case and immediately thought of my Gram. I remember she had a village on her mantle. I snapped a picture and sent it to my Dad who was so excited to see them. He says one of his earliest memories of Christmas involved a little village. So Steve and I decided we needed to pick these up for him. In case you haven't seen these before, they have a little hole in the back to go on a string of lights and they are made out of cardboard! They're so delicate and so precious. My Dad is thrilled.
Friday after Chase got home from school, we went to pick our Christmas tree out. Steve's family has been getting a tree from Flatsnoot's for over thirty years. It's a wonderful family tradition. Flatsnoot's comes down from Mesick, Michigan the week of Thanksgiving and sets up shop in Ann Arbor.  The day Chase and I saw the German flag painted air stream, we squealed with delight.

Duke, the father of the brood, remembers everyone and everything about them. I wish I had gotten pictures inside the air stream. There are all sorts of lights strung about. Chase said there was a new set of a wolf howling at the moon (I still think the flamingos are my favorite). Oh and while you're inside paying for your tree, you also get to have a small hot toddy *ahem*.
Chase disappeared into a forest of Christmas trees. It had to be a certain height, and a specific width. We wanted a nice big, full-figured tree. And we found it (if you couldn't tell by Chase's thrilled expression!).

Today was a family day. We went to the Potter's Guild sale in Ann Arbor today. Sadly my ceramics mentor was not at the sale (gosh I miss her so!), but I did pick up a replacement mug for the one that was broken in May. I am so thrilled beyond belief! After the pottery sale, we ran errands, and then attended the Country Christmas at Cobblestone Farm. Chase helped out with the crafts and made a massive paper chain for our tree.
And now that the tree is decorated, Chase is in bed, and things are quiet again in the house, I am going to sit down with a cup of coffee, a piece of tiger butter, and work on my knitting. I'll be catching up on how everyone has been tomorrow!

I love this mug. Love. Love. Love.

Hope everyone is doing well!

xx

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wednesday Yarn Along

Good morning and happy Wednesday to everyone! Today we join Ginny and all of the other great fiber artists in her weekly knitting and reading post. So what are you reading and what are you knitting? Stop by and join in the fun!

My Mom decided to practice using her phone camera yesterday (great job Mom!) and took pictures of her goodies from the last week.  I should mention the gingerbread pattern pieces in the background are a pair of jammies for me (gosh I am spoiled) and a pillow for Mom. She just happened to whip those up yesterday (two hours! she did them in two hours.. it's taking me two-plus days to make an apron).

Such a cute teddy bear!

(She forgot the socks in her first picture, then her book.)

Last time Mom and I spoke last night, those little pink wristers were completed and Mom is officially out of projects to work on! She said she has no idea what she is going to work on right now (hmm.. I could send her my projects, lol!). The small wristers are the last of the gifts for friends of ours. There is a larger pair for David at the coffeehouse. The teddy sweaters are all done and will be on their way to their recipients this weekend. And those socks? Those are the socks that Mom knitted for Dale for Christmas. I think Mom needs more sock projects!

Reading-wise, I'll have to ask her what she read this past week. I completely forgot to ask her last night! :)


My weekly contribution. :-)
I had a light reading week. I do have two more books out from the library so I really need to get started on those, but after Thanksgiving, I was working on a project for my weather class in my free time. I really love the Creative Knitting magazine because they cater more toward the plus-sized gal. I found the sweater I wish for my Mom to make me for next year (and she loves it herself..hmm), plus a ton of ideas for things out of the Interweave Knits magazine I'd like to start in the new year. I really need to work on using up my stash yarn first, though.

After finishing the Surya I didn't know what to work on. I was still on the desperate hunt for yarn for my stepmom's present, and I knew I should be working on the sleeves for my Dad's sweater (I'm just not in love with this part of the project). I decided I needed to make something for myself using the Cascade 220 Heather (9563) yarn I picked up at the not so local yarn shop when Mom was here in October. I decided I wanted a hat (to start) and finally decided on this pattern Monday. That was the fourth pattern I had attempted since Saturday afternoon. The other test patterns were find, but they weren't exactly what I wanted at the time. I hope to have this finished tonight! Then when this is done, I'll start on the sleeves. Promise!

Happy Wednesday and happy knitting!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Finished

(I had a very patient model this morning.)

I finished the Surya short of 11pm Friday night. Saturday morning I woke early to start the blocking process. I love it so much and it feels so good.

There is only one problem: Shortly after Chase and I got it pinned in place for blocking, a very excited dog came barreling up the stairs after a potty trip and jumped on it. Yep. Four muddy paw prints (but thankfully no poked toes). Help?? I sponged the mud off as best as I could, but I can still see a little dirt here and there. Can I hand wash with Woolite and block again? I knitted this using the Ella Rae bamboo silk.

Once I get it washed and re-blocked I promise to take better pictures when there is actual decent light.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Wednesday Yarn Along

Good evening and happy Wednesday to everyone! Today we join Ginny and all of the other great fiber artists in her weekly knitting and reading post. Stop by and join in the fun!

So I am a bit later with joining in today, but it's never too late, right??


I have been very busy putting in the effort to finish the Surya shawlette for my stepsister. I'm getting giddy because the yarn is getting low and I have only 16 more rows left to go. I've also been working on the sweater for my dad, but I think I may have put five more rows on there and didn't feel it was worthy to post it again this week (I'm waiting until you can really tell there is progress).

Over the weekend when my hands needed a knitting break, I read a copy of Hundred Dollar Holiday that I had picked up from the library. Tracey had mentioned this book previously and it sounded just like the type of read that I needed. I was correct! I've been so annoyed with the commercialism and the stress that I needed to re-focus (I had a Charlie Brown moment). This has put everything back on track. Whew.

No picture from Mom this week, but she says four pairs of wristers in various sizes are done along with the teddy bear sweaters. I think she is going to work on socks this coming weekend.

And if you haven't emailed me your address for the stitch markers it's not too late!

Happy knitting!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Weekending

weekending, my favorite part of the week. a time to relax, live, love, just to be. if you'd like to share your weekend either with words, photographs, or both, leave a link to a weekend post in the commentsJoining with Amanda for her weekending post.





This weekend I spent part of the time fighting a minor stomach bug, which was good for rest, knitting,
and helping a certain someone stitch together strips for a gift he's making.

It also consisted of writing a lesson plan (a school assignment for me) about Superheroes and having that certain someone complain that "Unless you're committed to the Superhero lesson plan, I would be more interested if you did one on the parts of the flower." (needless to say, I was committed to my lesson plan).

In the middle of all of this, there was a trip to check on our pet-sitting charge and dish out love and scritches.

Tonight will wrap up with more knitting, homemade spaetzle, and Percy Jackson.

Oh.. and where did my cold weather go? It's been in the 50's all weekend!

Thanks & Giving

We're at the cusp of my favorite time of year and I am happily swinging into the spirit of things. This has been quite the year for us (for many of us, I know), and I am just so thankful for my family and friends. I'm thankful I have this place on the web where I can write what is going on, ask for advice (and give advice). I am thankful for this community of knitters I have joined in with and the time we all spend together each week knitting, reading, baking, and being.  You all mean so much to me!


The last day Mom was here, we went to my local bead store so she could hunt down more beads for more stitch markers for me to make her. We were all too giddy to see that there were holiday themed charms in. I decided then that I wanted to make a set of holiday stitch markers for everyone who would like a pair.

A sample of two different charms.


So it's a give-away where everyone can receive a gift to kick off this hopefully joyous holiday season.

All you need to do is leave me a comment to let me know you're interested, then drop me an email (my email is listed on my profile) and provide your address. The catch (if you want to call it that) is you only have until midnight on Wednesday. Chase insists these stitch markers need to be on their way to their new homes by the Friday after Thanksgiving (geesh, he's pushy!), which is probably a good idea because I would like to ship sets to international friends (so please don't hesitate to contact me).

Well.. there you have it!


xx

(Again, I apologize for the grainy picture. Every time I go to use the digital camera, the batteries have been magically drained *ahem* and need charging)

Friday, November 18, 2011

{this moment} - Movember

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.



~*~ Steve shaved his head in October in support of Breast Cancer Awareness month. For November, he's participating in Movember (bringing awareness to male cancers) and growing out his mutton chops again (hooray!).

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Change is in the air.

Coffee and wristers: A good way to warm up in the morning.

They have been talking flurries all day today. A handful of friends about an hour north of me have been complaining about the flakes. Chase says he saw some on the way home. I have yet to see any (and therefore they must not exist!), but it certainly is chilly outside today.

My favorite barista has felt neglected as of late so I spent an hour at the coffeehouse this morning knitting and warming up for the day. Yes, in the corner of that image up there is my Dad's sweater. I dragged it out to work on while I was out and about today because my other projects involved too much attention and I was in need of mindless knitting. My mind needed time to relax, focus, and just be.

After another round of invasive testing yesterday morning, another cause for our infertility has been checked off from Steve's and my list. It's not bad news, it's not good news. It's just.. there. It does, however, leave us extremely optimistic. We're still praying. More testing is scheduled for December 14th. I think with those results, we'll ultimately know where we stand. Until then, it is business as usual in that department.

I've emailed my adviser on campus because she mentioned previously possibly switching to a criminal justice degree (which offers far more flexibility schedule wise) and would like to know more about it. I could then work on my Masters in their Family Life/Social Services program. I'm hoping that this will work out for me.

And to add more flavor to the stew, I have another job interview scheduled for Monday morning. It's working in the court system, just like the potential job, but the difference is that it would be at the courthouse a block away from our home (I can see the building from here!). I am extremely excited about this opportunity. I've already started dreaming about walking to work everyday and how this would be really good for us. It's also nice to know that I may, just may, have two possible options. I'm looking forward to the interview, and discussing with them up front about my education, etc. As much as I need to be working, I can't just give up going to school either. I hope I'm not putting too much into this job when the interview hasn't even happened.



Last night I was working on the socks for my Mom (which I had foolishly taken with me to the hospital during the day to work on) and realized I had made a mistake about seven rows down. I decided to frog the entire sock. It really is okay. I had made a couple of mistakes early on, but figured I would adjust the matching sock. This weekend I will be picking up another set of size 1s so I can knit them both at the same time. I really do love the idea of doing this! I'll also be picking up that replacement set of size 9s, too. Progress!

So last night and today I have been working on the Surya shawl for my stepsister. I haven't worked on this in what seems like ages and I am excited to be working on it again. I'm remaining optimistic that I just may have a finished project to show next week. *crosses fingers*

I also felted my Nook cover again, by hand, and it went extremely well. I have a handful of other items to felt and am looking forward to it. I don't know if I will do it at home again, or if I might meet Dale at the laundromat and use one of their top loading washing machines. I suppose it depends on how big the project is, right?

For now I am sitting by the fire, sipping cinnamon vanilla tea, and enjoying the warmth and the delicious smell of the chicken and dumplings that are doing their thing on the stove. Tonight is going to be a night of snuggling fireside, sipping tea, and more knitting. Sounds like heaven, yes?

Hope everyone is enjoying their Thursday.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wednesday Yarn Along

Good morning and happy Wednesday! Today we join Ginny and all of the other great fiber artists in her weekly knitting and reading post. Stop by and join in the fun!

It's getting harder to find decent lighting early in the morning here!


I have a lot of projects started. Finished, well, that’s a different story. I think the biggest problem is that the biggest project (the sweater for my Dad) is not at the interesting part yet. It’s boring to knit around and around and etc. so I try to alternate between it and something else. No, I haven’t finished my Mom’s socks (I’m past the heel, back to boring).

I made the decision to finish off the skein on the body of the sweater and put it up to work on the sleeves. Sleeves are portable whereas the body is on the verge of being not easily portable. It’ll be a good project to work on in the evening.

Unfortunately, I have misplaced the set of size 9 DPNs that I need for the sleeves of the sweater. I have spent two days going through the house trying to find the needles and I can't find them (or the bag they were in!). I think I will have to pick up a new set, again, this weekend, or this sweater isn't going anywhere.

Instead I decided to work on another gift (one that was quick and easy). Sarah is a good friend of mine (and also my professional photographer) and is the girl who recently moved to Florida. I wanted to knit her something to wear during the winter down there, but also knew she didn’t need something heavy. I saw this pattern weeks ago and thought it would be perfect for her. I used Bernat Satin in Sea Shell (Sarah loves pink), and it worked up quite nicely, I think. I really do love Bernat acrylic yarns. They just feel so good (and again, if they fool the cat into thinking they are lamb or alpaca, it’s gotta be good!). The buttons are just for display (those wooden buttons are actually for my Dad's sweater). I'm going to hunt for the perfect buttons for Sarah. So this is one gift completed, I think five more to go?

Reading wise, I was passed on this wonderful book How to Knit a Love Song. I absolutely loved it. Romance, suspense, humor, knitting.. everything you could want! I hope the next in the series is as good as this first one. Since this book as so generously shared with me, I would love to pass it on!

I also re-read Who Moved My Cheese? for one of my classes. I read this years ago, but re-read it for class and to focus again on who I am, who I should be, and where I want to be going in my life. 

One day she'll actually blog on her own! :-)



As an added bonus, Mom is joining in from afar! With the help of my brother (who took the picture on her phone and sent it to me), I have updates on her projects (Sorry about the picture blurriness). 

Those wristers are actually a beautiful shade of teal. Mom is knitting wristers for her three favorite baristas at my local coffeehouse as Christmas gifts currently. Mom has completed one red teddy sweater, started another cream color one, and she says she has the last one (another red one) on needles. She says she forgot to grab the pieces for the picture, but will include the completed sweater next week. 

On the reading front, Mom has Man Law by Adrienne Giordano and says she really enjoyed it. She won’t go into further details because I have yet to read it, but says it was a great read.



 Hope everyone has a wonderful week. Happy knitting!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Quiet

Right now Chase is off to a Scout meeting and Steve is off to barbershop rehearsal. I'm showered, jammied in flannel, and sipping on a warmed cup of coffee.

Other than a certain feline trying to find a new place to sleep since I pitched his beloved box last week (seriously, he's trying to squeeze on the bookcase), all is quiet here.

Quiet is good, though. The weekend was a whirlwind of activity and I am glad for a little down time.

Saturday morning Chase and I had breakfast with a friend of ours which was nice for a change. Then we all went to nose around Jo-Ann's (she's knitting a shawl on commission and I was along to advise on the right yarn to use), then we grabbed coffee and chatted a bit more. Shortly after Chase and I got home, Steve called to let us know he was heading home from work and if we wanted to check out the major craft show in Saline then to be ready to head out the door.

Chase and I went to the craft fair two years ago and were quite impressed. I enjoy going because it again just proves if someone makes it, someone will buy it. The prices on the knitting items was through the roof (forty bucks for mittens?! MITTENS!), but some were rather lovely. I fell in love with a pair of very funky, very me earrings that my wonderful son bought for me for Christmas. I picked up a little cat picture, one by an artist I fell in love with two years ago, that reminds me of my first cat, Chico (I'll be making a post about art within the next week). Overall, it was fun, but it was just so crowded. After the craft show, Steve treated us to lunch at a wonderful Italian place in Saline that has the best eggplant parmesan. Then home to rest.

Saturday night was Scouts night at a local hockey arena. So we all bundled up and headed out to watch minor league hockey. Quite fun! We sat right behind the visiting team (the Soo Greyhounds) and enjoyed the night with other scouts. I love minor league teams far more than professional teams. Their hearts are still in the game. It's hard to believe that a couple of players on the Greyhounds team are sixteen years old! My goodness!

Sunday was a much needed day of rest. I caught up on homework (that I happily ignored on Saturday to play), baked bread, and made pulled pork bbq for dinner. I also read, knitted, and just had 'me' time. Steve worked all day Sunday, and Chase was deep in building a new project of his in Lego.

Monday I started more homework for the week and worked on various projects. I find I am having a hard time focusing right now on one particular project. I hope this doesn't bite me in the end. I'll talk about that more tomorrow.

And confession time. We ordered eggnog a week ago from our local dairy and it is the most amazing eggnog I have ever had. It is so thick and delicious (and I am admittedly not a huge eggnog fan). My uncle teased me about having eggnog so early in the season after I complained about Christmas music on the radio before Halloween, but come now, this is eggnog. And the second confession is I have watched Holiday In Handcuffs three times since Sunday. It's available instantly on Netflix, and I have to say, I love it. What can I say, I grew up watching Melissa Joan Hart and Mario Lopez and they are so fantastic together. I really dislike a lot of the made for ABC Family movies out there, but this one, I enjoy. Maybe it's because it's a family movie, but it's not a sickening sweet one (and gosh, there are a couple of swear words in there!). Not sure what Steve would think if he knew I was partaking in this guilty pleasure of mine.. ;-) Actually, he would probably be relieved that I am not asking for it any longer for Christmas!

I have a lot on my mind right now and I have been spending my time in thought. The potential job is still in the works (two of my references were called today), and my heart is still torn. In the end, my heart won't win, and my brain will, I fear, but I will somehow fix it. Not going to worry about that now.

There are other things.. things we are praying for, hoping for, and will know more of where stand tomorrow. We're trying to remain optimistic.

So for now I am going to lose myself in one of my projects, sip my coffee, and enjoy the quietness for a bit longer.

Happy Tuesday evening.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Boring Cancer

After an early start out the door (2:30 am -- ugh!), a brief stop in Fort Wayne for a 15 minute cat nap and a coffee (thank you all night Starbucks!), Mom and I arrived in plenty of time for her "specialist treatment meeting". Neither of us knew what to expect from this meeting (like how many specialists would be involved) so we went with the flow.

First we met with her surgeon who confirmed that Mom is healing quite nicely. Dr. M is pleased with how things are going and even helped remove that pesky suture that was partially in the skin and partially out (Mom said she'd remove it herself, but didn't want to un-knit herself). She has been given the all clear to go back to work (no lifting over 10 pounds!) and plans to return on Saturday. She'll have a follow-up mammogram for Dr, M in six months and another appointment with her only at that time.

The area Dr. M removed was 18cm by 24cm (Mom says she's glad she had enough tissue to give). One tumor was 1A, the other was 1B. Each tumor was on opposite sides of her breast. A third growth was forming slightly behind her nipple, so Dr. M just took one large area of tissue instead of punching out individual areas. Mom still hasn't seen pictures from her surgery, but she plans to ask in six months.

Next we met with Dr. R, an oncologist who specializes in chemotherapy. At this time, we still don't know if Mom will need any chemotherapy. The oncotypedx test is still not back (much to the annoyance of Dr. R) which would determine if any chemotherapy would be needed. The lymph nodes that were biopsied during her surgery came back clean (hooray!). Dr. R said Mom has a very boring breast cancer for which we are grateful. He said that her tumors are showing "moderate" growth, meaning they aren't slow or fast growing, just somewhere in the middle. Because of this, it leaves question if there will need to be any chemo. If there is a need for it (come on genetic testing -- hurry and come in!), it will be in pill form. She'll need to start that before she starts radiation. She meets with Dr. R again next Friday. He'll be starting her on a hormone suppressant at that time which she will be on for the next five years (how exciting). On Monday she will be having blood drawn to see what her vitamin D level is at and also to have a bone density scan. Dr. R stresses the importance of healthy bones and healthy habits. He's a great guy.

Finally we met with Dr. G who is an oncologist that specializes in radiation therapy. He has determined Mom will need 6 and 1/2 weeks of daily radiation. Since Mom needs to be on the hormone therapy for four weeks before starting radiation (and because we still don't know if chemo is needed), Mom won't start radiation therapy until the third of January. She'll meet with Dr. G on 12/29 for 4-6 hours to go over the plan, scheduling, etc.

Mom will see Dr. R in a week, then again in a month, then every three months for a year, then every six months. She'll see Dr. G on a weekly basis during her radiation treatment.

Everyone checked out her surgical site and said it all looked really good. Dr. M reminded Mom that in six months she could have reconstructive surgery, but Mom declined. She also has declined a prosthesis (but she does want me to knit her a little falsie -- tee hee!)

Mom only had two questions. 1) Can I still go to Michigan for Christmas? (yep, because radiation won't start until January, and if chemo is needed, it is in pill form), and 2) Will I lose my hair? (only if you go through chemo treatment, you may lose your hair then).

Overall we are both very pleased with the appointment and how things are planned out. Mom received a call from the company that is conducting the tumor testing today and they are having to re-test the samples (which is causing the delay). Not sure why there is a need for re-testing, but the results should be available to Mom's doctors early next week.

So after the appointment, Mom and I swung by her work so she could let them know she was coming back, then we went to have lunch and hunt down a cannoli shop in town (which was within sight of the hospital!) before I had to finally take her back to my brother's home. She'll be back up in December to celebrate Christmas with us. I fought the wind (and my exhaustion all the way home). I was passed out in bed by 7pm.

It's so quiet here without Mom. This morning I lay in bed before getting up for the day fully expecting to hear her upstairs getting ready for the day. Chase is definitely missing Mom, too. He said he had become so used to her being there when he woke up and being here when he got home from school. It definitely is so strange with her not being here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Wednesday Yarn Along

Good morning and happy Wednesday! Today we join Ginny and all of the other great fiber artists in her weekly knitting and reading post. Stop by and join in the fun!

Okay.. so it's really Tuesday evening, but Mom wanted to make sure we both could participate this week and seeing as we're getting up at 2:30am on Wednesday morning to get back to Indianapolis... well, we're just going to be a smidge early.

Look! A book! 

Okay, so the book I read this past week was actually for one of my classes. My assignment was to read a self-help book and write a brief paper about it and how I could use it in my own life. I actually checked out four books by Meg Meeker, but I thought Boys Should Be Boys would be the best to start reading first. It's a pretty good read, and I have to say I am quite relieved that many of the suggestions in there I already am following when it comes to Chase. She stresses the importance to get outside, get playing, and leave the electronics alone. Done and done! What did I take away from it? Well, I am definitely going to put in more of an effort to spend time with Chase and make sure Steve does, too.

I was hoping to have sock #1 completed by today, but it's midterm week and I had three tests and another part of a research paper all due by Sunday night. Ah well! I'm past the heel turning, and the decrease shortly after so now it's just la la la knitting until the toes! Maybe this weekend it will be done?

And because I am in need of instant gratification right now when it comes to my projects, I thumbed through Mom's copy of Vampire Knits and fell in love with the Sangria bracelet. Unfortunately my pictures tonight aren't the greatest (bad lighting in every room of this house!) so you can't see just how lovely red this bracelet is. This is actually the second one I made today. This one is going to my Mom's friend while the first one makes quite a nice collar on Sage (he was sleeping at the time I was looking to take pictures or else he'd be my model). At first I tried crocheting it with the hook and thread that it suggested, but DMC floss split too easily and the hook was too large. I changed it to crochet thread and 1.5 mm sized hook and it has worked MUCH better.

(Again, I apologize for the not so great pictures this week!)

Dexter modeling his new sweater!


Since Mom finished her sweater last week, and having no huge projects to keep her busy, she started working on a fisherman's knit sweater for the teddy bears. She converted her baby sweater pattern down to bear size.  Dexter got to be the model and therefore received the first completed sweater (he's quite the happy bear now!). Those wristers next to him are just one pair of three she has also completed this week (the other two have been mailed off to their recipients). She had a lot of the Optimistic yarn leftover from her sweater, so she's using it up on wristers.
Another teddy bear sweater and one of Mom's reads this week.

This is actually a very nice shade of burgundy yarn that is being turned into a sweater for a teddy bear (there will be at least two made out of this color). I really wish I had been able to get a better picture! I received the traveling copy of How to Knit a Love Song from Karen over the weekend (thank you!) so Mom snagged it for her reading enjoyment while I was focusing on school work. She says that she loved the book and wants to make the sweater in the back. Hmm, guess when I get back from Indianapolis, I better catch up! :)

   
Socks! More socks!
Finally, here is a picture of the socks that I farmed out to my Mom to knit for me. After seeing that Tracey is knitting socks in pairs, Mom thought that was a great idea and decided to try it herself. Thanks so much for the tip, Tracey! Mom is pleased to say she has just turned the heels on both of the socks and is relieved that it is becoming easier and easier the more she knits them (she's trying to take the socks on my to-do list for Chase as a project for her, but I am not giving them up!).

So that is about it for us. I'll be linking this with Ginny when I get home tomorrow night, but as it is after 9, Mom is rushing me off the lap top and off to bed. Have a great Wednesday everyone!

Happy knitting!

Monday, November 7, 2011

So what do you do?

It's amazing when your prayers start to be answered all at once and you are left confused and even stressed about it. Good news shouldn't come with strings attached!

I was downsized from the company I worked for over three years with back in January. I handled it with stride and enjoyed my time off from working so I could focus on school (and all of the hiccups that occurred within my family). I've been applying to jobs, I've even been on a dozen or so interviews. Nothing has come from any of them.

When I applied to school for the spring semester, I loaded up my schedule with everything I needed and wanted, and happily went on my merry way. For about twenty-four hours. Then I received a call about a job I had applied, interviewed for, and was turned down for the previous week. They wanted me to come back in for what I thought was a second interview (this time with the big boss) and also for a background and reference check. After class Friday morning I dashed downtown only to find out that it was a conditional job offer(!).

Finally. My luck is changing. I worked it out in my mind that I could take one or two classes in the morning then go off to work, and possibly take the rest of my classes at night. That is, if they offered the classes at night. My school schedule is quite delightful, really. Five classes over five days with a class each day starting at 8am. I also had about three hours with of "study" time each day between two classes. It was a beautiful schedule. As much as I am not too keen about taking all of my classes in the evening, it is what needs to be done so that I can get back to work.

The hiccup in this plan, of course, is that not all of the classes I wish to take, and need to take for my major, are available in the evening or online. Drats.

This has left me in tears.

This job I have wanted for months. I have applied to it multiple times. It's with the courthouse and would tie in with what I am going to school for.

But what about school?

So far I've been told I could get a job on campus but it wouldn't be about twenty hours a week. It's not enough for me and my family, unfortunately. I think it stresses me out more because my academic adviser doesn't quite get that I am a non-traditional student: I have a family, a mortgage, responsibilities beyond going to school. I emailed her, letting her know that I do have adult responsibilities, and that I have been trying to find sustainable employment for over ten months. I have applied to everything that comes along that is not pennies in comparison to what I was making when I was downsized.

Sigh.

I don't know what to hope or pray for now. If I am offered the job I really can't turn it down. My family is depending on me. If, for whatever reason the background/reference check comes back negatively, I can certainly continue on with school and a possible job on campus and seek employment in the evenings/weekends. But is that what I want?

I just.. I'm confused.. I'm stressed. I want to cry. I want to believe that it will all work out, but I am afraid that the decision will be left to me and I don't know if I will be truly happy with either one.

Mom says not to stress myself out until that moment is here. I know she is right, but I have to figure out what I am doing come January. I also wish the decision wouldn't be left to me. :/

Weekending

weekending, my favorite part of the week. a time to relax, live, love, just to be. if you'd like to share your weekend either with words, photographs, or both, leave a link to a weekend post in the commentsJoining with Amanda for her weekending post.

~*~






 ~*~ knitting and coffee, lots of both
~*~ time with Mom, chatting
~*~ Touring the new college campus and registering for spring classes
~*~ sending a certain young man off to a birthday party 
~*~ spending time with a friend and catching up
~*~ DATE NIGHT
~*~ Dark-eyed Molly and lattes during DATE NIGHT
~*~ Impromptu road trips to neighboring towns
~*~ window shopping (and Christmas shopping!) 
~*~ Picking out cowboy boots with Mom (she has decided she deserves a pair -- she's right!)
~*~ A warm fireplace in the morning.
     

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wednesday Yarn Along

Good morning and happy Wednesday! Today we join Ginny and all of the other great fiber artists in her weekly knitting and reading post. Stop by and join in the fun!

Chase and I retrieved my Mom from Indianapolis on Sunday and she is here with us until the 9th to continue her rest and recovery. With Mom comes many projects and oodles of wonderful yarn!

Mom's collection of sweaters!


The green sweater is Steve's Christmas present. Mom can't recall at this moment the yarn she used (she ordered it from Annie's Attic) other than it is acrylic. She just needs to sew on the buttons (which are in my purse) and then it is complete.

The blue and red striped is Chase's Christmas present. After he found out that Mom and I had Christmas sweaters (and even though I made him a sweater this year), he wanted one for Christmas, too. Chase fell in love with Universal Yarns Wild Berries and thus a sweater was knitted!

Of course the multi-colored sweater is Mom's own sweater. She calls this her "cancer sweater". This is knit using Bernat's Mosaic in Optimistic yarn. She started this sweater at the beginning of October and finished putting it together yesterday afternoon.

And finally, because Mom feels that every teddy bear needs a sweater, the off-white yarn is a current sweater for another teddy bear. She's converting her favorite fisherman's knit baby sweater down to teddy bear size.

Mom would also like me to mention she did finish the toe of the socks from last week, and that she also has 2 1/2 pairs of wristers done. She didn't want them to be shown because she is so completely and utterly unhappy with the yarn they were knitted with (my friend who farmed out her commissioned work to my Mom chose the yarn).

 Reading wise, Mom is currently working on Blood Safari by Deon Meyer. She said so far it is an interesting read.

Moving on to my latest goodies:


See? That drive to take Mom back to Indianapolis last week (and me not being the only driver) paid off with my Dad's sweater! You probably can't tell because I didn't do a great job of laying out the sweater, but I have a total of 8 inches done so far! Woohoo! Slowly, but surely, it is coming together.

I also decided to start work on the socks for my Mom. Since she is here for another week, I'd really like to have one done so that I know it fits the recipient and can make its match accordingly. The downside to this sock pattern? Size ONE needles. Ugh! My hands are hating me right now. I knit and take a break and repeat with these. I just can't do more than three rows at a time without complaint.

I picked up that copy of Knitting Traditions when I was at the bookstore over the weekend. I am so in love with many of the patterns in there! I have sworn off any new projects for the rest of the year, but my 2012 knit list is starting to grow!

So that is what we have been up to over the past week. Oh yes, Chase and I attempted to spin yarn Friday night but I don't think we were too successful. I still have a lot of questions!

Happy Wednesday and happy knitting!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween



This is what happens when you don't buy quality, handcrafted weaponry. ;-) Happy Halloween to all!

Friday, October 28, 2011

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. - SouleMama





I had to include this snippet of conversation between Steve's brother and myself from when I posted this picture earlier this week. It had my Mom in stitches with laughter.

Mike:  I'll be more impressed when he spins yarn into gold.
Me: Give him a chance! ;)
Me: Nobody has said anything about the fact Chase is holding a nerf gun in his hand while he's working the spinning wheel.
Mike: He is ready to defend himself from Rumpelstiltskin and other villains that interrupt his spinning.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wednesday Yarn Along

Good morning and happy Wednesday! Today we join Ginny and all of the other great fiber artists in her weekly knitting and reading post. Stop by and join in the fun!



Look! I'm reading something not related to school! ;-)



I had big plans when I went to Indianapolis for Mom's surgery last week. I had imagined getting so much knitting done on my Dad's sweater. *ahem* Little did I know that my brother would be quite interested in playing the game of Life on my Nook. We ended up playing multiple games (with different personalities and strategies to winning). So all in all I added about 6 1/2 rows post ribbing. Ah well! Spending time with my brother was well worth the delay in progress.

You see that little pink sheep on my books? Tanna had posted on her blog about Susan's "Pinky" ewe kit for Breast Cancer. I couldn't resist little Pinky. The kit was delivered over the weekend and I set forth Tuesday to make a Pinky for my Mom. What a fun little project and it's nice to have something completed to show off!

The reading material I had on hold at the library and picked up on Monday. I had dreamed a week earlier of dyeing socks with sweet potatoes and decided to look into dyeing. I'm actually not really impressed with this book. I am interested in food dyeing and this is chemical dyeing at most. The spinning book I glanced at very briefly (because I couldn't figure out how to put the cords back on -- Chase figured it out, however!) so I will need to look at it more closely.


Since my wonderful Mom has blessed us with a few more days of visiting time, she is quite tickled to be able to join in once again. She finished the back to her sweater last week and has started the sleeves. She also decided while here to finish the match to the other sock. She had a rough spot at the heel again, but I walked her through it and had her do a few "drills" afterward to practice. She feels confident she'll be able to do this with no problem now.


My Mom is actually poaching knitting projects from other people! Okay, she'd like me to correct that and say she's taking on projects that have been farmed out to her. My friend Dale has passed on two wristlet orders to Mom, and Mom then took the sock yarn I have for Dale's socks (a Christmas present) to work on. Mom is looking for things to keep her busy since her surgeon refuses to let her go back to work until at least 4 weeks post-op (Mom was hoping to go back after 2 -- silly Mom!). So she's looking for things to keep her busy.

I should have pictures of the two sweaters she finished when she first got here (Steve and Chase's Christmas presents) posted next week.

Now on to the give-away! First let me say thank you to everyone who showed an interest. Chase has been quite excited about this (and disappointed that we're not doing a give-away weekly). I will respond to all posts from last Wednesday late tonight (I've just been busy this week, sorry!).

Everyone's name was written on a heart and put in a lovely pink ribbon hair cover.

Chase shook them, and pulled...

(he had gotten something in his eye while fixing a lock and was Pop-eyeish for this shot)

Congratulations to Julia on the stitch marker drawing! I'll be in contact with you in the next 24 hours so we can get this mailed!

Thanks again, everyone, and happy Wednesday!