Friday, March 30, 2012

Green Clutch of Inspiration Tutorial

As I mentioned in my Yarn Along post this week, I have been casually (you know.. a paragraph here and there) reading A Knitter's Home Companion over the past week. With most magazines and pattern books I pick up, I always flip through and look at the "goodies" (patterns/recipes) first then go back and read the stories. I love the recipes and patterns in this book!

Being in the need for an easily portable project, and something I could quickly work up while I also work on my shawl, I drooled when I saw the pattern for the Clutch of Inspiration.

After I made the first one, I thought it was missing something. I decided that the clutch needed lining, just in case something was put in it and might slip out (like a darning needle). Off to Jo-Ann's I went (with Steve tow) to find a neat print that worked well with the green I was using (Quince & Co. in Snap Pea). With a fat quarter in hand, matching thread, and cute buttons, home I went.

I started another clutch to take with me to knitting group last night and finished it there (including the lining). The only change I made to the original pattern was that I made the button holes a smidge bigger and only put three buttons on it instead of the original five. I decided I would post a little tutorial on my addition.

With the second clutch, I decided not to block like the instructions said. I wasn't happy that the triangle pattern disappeared a bit with the blocking so I decided to throw caution to the wind and skip that step. 

I really love the funky pattern on this material. I love hand stitching little projects. I'll drag out my sewing machine if I absolutely must, but even the sewing for this project is portable.

Once the lining is in, just stitch up the sides. It was a toss up on buttons, but I liked the contrast of these little flowers. A few little little tucks and trims here and there, and it's done!

So both clutches are in the mail and on their way to their new homes. :)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Happy Anniversary

March 29th, 2008

It's been four years since we said 'I do', and over ten years since we first met. I wouldn't change a moment we've had. I love you so much. 

September 2011
I want to be silly with you for the rest of my days!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wednesday Yarn Along

From Ginny: Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs.  I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading?

Linking up with Small Things...

I first need to thank Lori Ann for sending me her copy of Knitwits to read. What a cute story! Thank you, Lori Ann, for sharing with me! The day Ginny mentioned A Knitter's Home Companion I went out and picked up my own copy. I flipped through it quickly (marking patterns and recipes I was interested in), then put it on my nightstand for later. I have officially put it in my bag so that if I am going to the coffee house or waiting on Chase's bus, I can easily pick it up and read a couple of pages.

Yes, I did go ahead and cast on my shawl again and it is going well once again. I also started a little green project, something quick and offers instant gratification. I am always on the look out for a project I can throw into my bag and go and this one pleases me (I'll talk more about it later this week!).

So what is everyone working on or reading?

Happy knitting!

Friday, March 23, 2012

{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.

Joining with Amanda... 

Hope everyone has a beautiful weekend!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Someday Baby

I have started this post so many times in the past three months and each time as quick as it was started, I scrapped it and moved on. And now I am sitting here, determined to get this posted, and surprised that it has already been three months. 

I posted briefly last summer that Steve and I were finally going to get to the bottom of our fertility issues once and for all. Having gotten the run around for over three years from different doctors, we finally found a doctor up here willing to listen to us. We had facts: Steve was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma when he was almost twenty. He was put on an experimental drug during his treatment. That we knew from seeing the first doctor (and the second doctor) in the Carolinas that his sperm count was 

Last summer and fall there was a lot of testing on Steve (he said he finally knew what a lab animal must feel like). Blood draws. Invasive ultrasounds. Biopsies. Many, many semen counts. Each one was a goose egg, but each test couldn’t explain why. The last test, the biopsy, the doctor said all the tissue looked great but that we would have to wait for the test results. This was the last test they would run. We were cautiously optimistic. 

As everyone knows, last year was a rough year around here. I lost my job, I lost two grandparents in eight weeks, my Dad had heart surgery, and Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was desperate for good news. Something to cling to, something to hope for. 

It didn’t happen. Two days before Christmas the biopsy results were in, and there was no semen present. The final diagnosis from our doctor was that the experimental drug Steve was on during his cancer treatment fried his reproductive system. My heart was crushed. Steve blamed himself (I assured him it wasn’t his fault – no 20 year old boy thinks about if they’ll be able to have kids in the future). I withdrew further. 

It is so hard to be happy on the outside for those that are having babies, and with what seems like ease, when on the inside my heart was on life support. Every baby shower, birth announcement, adorable little knitted item was one more painful pill of reality that had to be swallowed.

One of my cousins whose husband has an inoperable brain tumor (and they were told all of the chemo had destroyed his reproductive system), found out she was having a baby (she’s due in July). I think this was the hardest pill to swallow. 

Slowly I began to shake myself out of the baby blues. Steve and I started to look into our other options. Adoption, IVF with donor sperm, foster parenting. There is a price tag attached to each option, and right now each one is out of our reach financially.

We are determined to have more children in our home. It will happen, and it will happen on its own time. One thing that I have decided to do is not to just file away cute knitting patterns for that “someday”. Instead, if there is a pattern I want to knit, I’m going to do it. The item will be packed away for that “Someday Baby”. It may be our baby. I may be a grandchild down the road. We’re not going to stop planning and dreaming. It will happen. 


Wednesday Yarn Along

From Ginny: Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs.  I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading?

Linking up with Small Things... 

I was so excited when I got on the train to come home two weeks ago and get cracking on my purple project. Then I realized that somewhere I had miscounted (okay, I didn't count my stitches when it said I should) and I had apparently not increased in quite a while. So somewhere between New York City and Albany, I ripped out what I had and cast on again. This time around I was even more careful with my knitting, counted stitches every row, and am pleased to say I have finished my project!

Frogging the purple project wasn't the only project this week. I took out my Sassafras shawl over the weekend to see where I was and realized I'd have to start over. The day before I left to come home, a certain playful little dog was still wanting to play fetch when I was ready for a break. She had seized the opportunity to grab my yarn ball (well, it was the size of one of her tennis balls, was fuzzy, and green!) when I was distracted on the phone and took off with it through the living room. Of course my knitting went with her, and a handful of stitches was dropped.

It was painful to have to pull all of what I had done apart. I was about ready to work on the trim, but there was no way with this lace pattern that I could pick up stitches and fix it. So I pulled it all out. I'm going to cast on again tonight and focus on it (this has to be done in a month!).

I also finished up Hal Spacejock, but I haven't started anything else yet. In the evenings when I'm knitting, we're streaming Netflix. I am so giddy they have Amazing Stories (does anyone else remember this show from the 80's?) available instantly. I can remember only a couple of those shows, but Chase is loving them now.

Okay.. enough babble and on with the knitting picture, right? Well, here you go:

Sage likes the green yarn, but feels the purple is not his color.

After I had purchased the Purple Mustang yarn (oh I love this yarn), I wanted to find a pattern that only needed one skein. I decided a little baby sweater would be nice to work on. There are buttons at the yarn shop in Lansing that will look really cute on it. For now, I'll hold off on blocking until then and put it away. My Ravelry notes are here.

Hope everyone is having a good week. Happy Knitting!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Me? Busy?

I knew this week was going to be busy, and boy I certainly wasn't kidding myself! I've tried to stop by and visit everyone because I have missed you all. I'm hoping now that I have been home for a full week (and a handful of days) that things might quiet down at least a smidge.

Why is it that kids don't let you know they need something until they really need it? Like.. sneakers. When I took Chase to the bus stop Monday morning I saw that he had holes in the tops of his sneakers and along the side. I felt so bad sending him off to school in need of new sneakers. I asked him later that afternoon (when he was trying on his new shoes) why he hadn't told me and he said "Well, I had, but I thought I could make them last a bit longer!". He's still in a 9.5 in men's so whew! I wonder if this means this year he'll grow in his feet again?

Along with the shoe shopping, Steve and I ran around and did a list of errands I had made out for myself the night before. I love settling in after a trip.

Tuesday was busy with Scouts and barbershop. Steve had his spring concert this week and Chase is prepping for Pinewood Derby.

Thursday, with a slight hint of a break (and extreme determination on my part), I packed up my knitting and headed off to join Karen (my mom-in-law) for knitting at the library. Sure there was a tornado watch in the county north of us. And yes, as I was pulling out of the driveway the tornado siren in our county went off, but I still went into the township. As I crossed the bridge into the township, state troopers were on the bridge looking west where it was dark and moving slowly our way. The library had closed due to severe weather (the library in the township is one massive pyramid of glass), so Karen and I (on the advice of our husband's) made our way back to our homes. Little did we know that there was a tornado touchdown in Dexter (Dexter is less than 20 miles from us). When I got home, I sat on the porch with Steve for a few minutes and watched the storm. We live across the street from the police and fire departments. It's quite fascinating to watch as the first responders come in, suit up, and are dispatched. When the hail hit (only penny sized), I decided to head inside. I am so thankful that there were no lives lost out there in Dexter. This was an extremely slow moving storm system and that tornado was bigger and on the ground longer than everyone had expected.

Friday was a teacher workday for Chase. I had big plans for us. It's no secret to anyone around here that I am obsessed with watching the web cameras at the Toledo Zoo. Every morning when I log on to check my mail, I check on the animals. Specifically, I look for Lucas. Baby animals are adorable, but baby elephants? They melt my heart. Chase and I headed south to the zoo for the day. It was a perfect day.

Lucas lived up to his hype. After a few minutes of play time, he happily went to his momma and nursed. By then I was goo. I just loved his big, floppy ears and his cute little tail.

Saturday I was up early baking a cake (chocolate stout cake for Barbershop) and then it was off to test run Chase's derby car. Chase has a couple of adjustments he wants to make before the big race in a week. This is his first derby and he is loving the excitement that goes with it.

The Barbershoppers supplied the desserts for their spring concert.

Chase with his derby tank!

And of course today was Chords and Cuisine: a pasta dinner with homemade desserts and lots of singing. I am so impressed with the Harmonizers. I'm loving everything they are singing these days.

Singing their hearts out!

I'm predicting a quiet week. There are no big Scout or Barbershop events. I have no major events of my own. I am looking forward to more porch time, and maybe a bit more knitting.

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend.

Friday, March 16, 2012

{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.

Joining with Amanda...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Back into the swing of things

Let me tell you.. if given the chance, I would prefer not to travel home via New York City and Penn Station. I love Union Station (D.C.) and I feel rather spoiled by the ease of moving through there. My friend, Chris, warned me via text message as I headed from Wilmington to New York City not to talk to anyone, to keep my eye on my bags the entire time, and to get an attitude with anyone who got one with me (he grew up in Queens).

All was well when I got off the train in the extremely crowded, hot station. I picked up more water (and a souvenir for Chase), then grabbed a quick bite to eat while I waited for my next train to come up on the board so I could figure out where my gate was. I patiently waited to enter a holding pen seating area while a fellow passenger yelled at an Amtrak employee for not knowing where his train was going to depart from (it was still too early for it be up on the magical big board). As the line grew of passengers waiting to enter the seating area, I gave up and tried to squeeze past him at the same time he decided to step back from the counter in a flurry or cursing. He bellowed at me and the woman who was behind me for intentionally trying to trip him (that's me.. out to trip complete strangers in the train station) and then called me a name as he turned his ranting and raving back to the Amtrak employee. At this point I had been polite and courteous through all of this and this guy hit the wrong nerve. I fired back at him (and I didn't swear once!) letting him know that he was impatient, ungrateful, and that next time he thought I was trying to intentionally hurt him, I would stomp on his overpriced knock off shoes. *clears her throat* Okay, not my proudest moment, but I really don't like to be insulted. Of course I texted Chris to let him know that NYC was rubbing off on me in a bad way (he told me I had done a good job).

My faith in humanity had returned, thankfully, by the time I got on the train and a young man helped me get my bag in the compartment above my seat. The rest of the trip was pretty tame. We stopped in Albany to pick up the front half of our train. A young lady spent a good portion of the first five hours of the trip either screaming in a different language on her cell phone or singing. I slept, I read, I knitted. And when the train pulled in to the Toledo station, I couldn't get off fast enough and rush to Steve who was patiently waiting for me.

On our way home, we stopped at his parents so I could squeeze Chase (gosh I missed my little guy) who had been staying with Steve's parents for a couple of nights. Chase went off to school, and Steve and I went for Bomber food before going home to sleep (I love my bed!).

Friday began my list making (I love making lists almost as much as I love being home). The boys managed to keep the house pretty clean, eat most of the food I had stocked up before I left, and kept the pets alive. Menus were planned. Errands were run.

Steve had this weekend off from work so we treated Chase to a showing of The Lorax (a cute movie) between loads of laundry and cooking/baking. Today, Chase and I have been busy working Scout stuff.

I'm looking forward to Monday. A fresh start to a new week. I've had my days to recover from my traveling and am now ready to meet the new week head on.

I do miss my playmate, though!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wednesday Yarn Along

(I'm getting this post ready to go Tuesday night since I will be heading home come Wednesday morning.)

From Ginny: Two of my favorite things are knitting and reading, and the evidence of this often shows up in my photographs.  I love seeing what other people are knitting and reading as well. So, what are you knitting or crocheting right now? What are you reading?

Linking up with Small Things... 

(blasted low lighting!)
I am finally getting somewhere on the Atlantis socks! After visiting the yarn shop and getting help with the instructions, I also received the written instructions from the pattern designer (and yarn shop owner!). I looked over the written instructions and the chart, knitted, and still had a problem. A quick (and helpful!) phone call to the yarn and shop, and a little bit of discussion turned up the fact that a couple of stitches were reversed. So I ripped 25 rows out and started over again. I worked on the sock a bit while on the train and mostly while with Dad at infusion.  I am happily done with the first chart and now ready for the heel area. It's a good stopping point for now.

The purple is the yarn I picked up a few weeks ago. I found a pattern that was perfect for this yarn and did cast on before leaving for Delaware. I'm going to work on it while on the train home. I love this yarn -- so soft.

I'm also working on my shawl still, but admittedly my focus has been on that sock. I worked one round today and have packed it away until I get home. I think this will become my big focus when I get back home. I want to be able to wear it in April to barbershop competition.

And yes, I am reading! Last month Steve downloaded Hal Spacejock (it's still available for free for Nook owners!) and really enjoyed it, so he lent it to Chase to read, who loved it so much that he used a gift card and bought the rest of the series. Since both of my boys enjoyed it so much, and I didn't want to be left out, I also picked up a copy of it and am loving it. I've been giggling and having a good time reading it. I'm about halfway through and hope to pick it up (if I put my knitting down) on the way home.

I hope everyone has a great Wednesday. I'll be checking in again once I am settled back at home!

Happy knitting!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Happy Birthday, Dad.

Yay for cake!

Today is Dad's sixty-eighth birthday. Last night we went out for dinner to celebrate early. Fara and I both said that we didn't think Dad would have been home this soon and were planning on it being later in March. Amazing what the willpower and determination of an individual can do, hmm? Dad says he's just happy he made it thus far.

Today was kind of a low key day. Fara is having to work late (hence the early birthday celebrating last night) and will be home to have cake later on. Dad and I went out for coffee before we headed to the hospital for his antibiotic infusion. He had decided mid-morning that a really good day out would involve meatballs, but seeing as Fara was jetting home for an hour between work and her evening meeting, and the infusion appointment (which ran an hour later than usual), it just was not in the cards for today. However, Dad is determined that we go tomorrow, and that we bring sufficient leftovers home. Works for me!

Tomorrow is my last full day here. I'll be writing up the adventures Dad and I have had together this past week. As Dad said on our first day out "We have a full tank of gas, an EZ pass, and I have a driver -- we can go anywhere."

Happy birthday, Dad.


Friday, March 2, 2012

Here in Delaware!

I've been in Delaware since Wednesday afternoon. Dad and Fara called Friday night to see when I could hop a train and head east. Tuesday night Steve dropped me off at the train station and I made my way here.

I haven't really updated on how Dad has been doing, so here we go.

It was bad. As Fara has said, those first three days it was a minute by minute status update with his health. She said he had a nurse in his room the entire time. Then when they removed him from the medical induced  coma and he was slow to wake up, that led to concern of a possible stroke. They did a CT Scan and saw no sign of stroke. Dad did finally wake up on his own (they say that renal patients seem to take longer to wake up, but Dad was taking longer than they had hoped). He developed a rash to one of the antibiotics that formed a spotty red rash on his feet and ankles that looked just likes socks, but that went away rather quickly.

The respirator also cut his cheek, so he has a little scar that looks like the Joker (and we have been making Joker references since I arrived!).

Of course after being bed ridden for nine days, Dad's body was not wanting to work with him getting up and moving. However, he was able to shuffle a few steps, and was released to inpatient rehab. Dad hated rehab. He said that it would be great if you were a recovering stroke patient, etc. but for him, it was miserable. He needed to be supervised in the bathroom, if he took a shower he had to sit down for it, and when he wasn't in physical therapy, they assumed he'd be content staying in bed. Hence the reason why he checked himself out.

Now at home he is using a walker and steadily building up strength. While I am here, I am driving him to his infusion appointments (he's on IV antibiotics for the next few weeks) and anyplace else he'd like to go. He's planning on getting back to driving next week. He's doing better walking. Yesterday he walked into a store and back out without the walker, but realized that was pushing it. At the hospital I wheeled him around, then we went back home because he was tired. Today we ran more errands (and he used his walker) and no wheel chair at the hospital.

I'll be here in Delaware until Wednesday, then I'll be hopping the train back home.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!