Thursday, December 31, 2009

It's in the Mail

The package is in the mail and on it's way to Mary. I don't think I've ever wrapped or sent a package that made me feel the way I did with this one. This could be the last thing I ever get to send to her because we just don't know how much time she has left. This makes it the most important package I've ever sent. I'm still working up the strength to call her. I don't want to regret that I didn't make one more call. But, I don't want to call her and not be able to speak because of tears and a huge knot in my throat. I'm hoping I can do it later today.

When I put the post up yesterday about Mary's hat and cowl set, and listed it on the side with all of my other 2009 finished projects, I noticed that the first project of the year was a hat for Mary and the very last one of this year is for Mary. I'm not sure what word or words to connect to that. Just that I find it interesting.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

More Hugs for Mary

Last year, just before Christmas, my friend Mary found out that she had a brain tumor and that it was cancer. It's been an up and down year for her, her family, and her friends. I got to see her when I was in Colorado this last October. I'm so glad I did. Since then, she has gone into hospice care. It's a wonderful place...I just wish she didn't have to go there.

I recently started knitting her another chemo hat with a matching cowl and, now that she's in hospice, I've been in a rush to get it done and in the mail. Here's a peek before I box it up and send it to her...

The set is made with Cotton Ease in the color "Lake 110". It was hard to get a picture that shows the true color but these are sort of close. I used size 7 needles. The hat pattern is one that I've used many times. But, I added this adorable rose that was inspired from "The Elusive Blue Rose Hat" pattern that I found on Ravelry. I made the rose separately by casting on 35 and knitting stockinette stitch for 13 rows, binding off, twirling it around, stitching it together, and then stitching it onto the hat. I really like how it turned out.

The cowl is made with the Knitpicks "Georgian Lace Cap" pattern, minus the crown shaping. I made one a few months ago and loved it so much that I decided to make another. I bet I'll make even more of them in the future.

Mary is the mom of my good friend, Tammi. We met in high school over 30 years ago. I instantly felt comfortable with them and have thought of them as family ever since. Mary is a wonderful person...strong, inspiring, positive, intelligent, fun and she has a big heart. I love her so much! I hope this small gift will help her to know that. It's a hug for you, Mary!

P.S. I just steam blocked the cowl and it looks even better. No time for pictures though. I need to get it packed up and in the mail.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Finishing Touches

We're making the finishing touches on our Christmas. It hasn't been easy because I haven't been into the holiday spirit the past few years. But, this year, I'm really trying to be jolly and my family has been a big help. I've grumbled from time to time but I'm working through the to-do list and even enjoying it a little. The list seemed like it was never ending but yesterday I started to see the light and now we only have a few things left to do. Whew!

The decorating is done. Last year we bought a live tree and placed it into a half wine barrel to hide the plastic pot. It looked really good! This year, we opted for the old faux fir tree and placed it on a platform inside the half wine barrel. It added height and it looks really cute. There's a little train that winds around the base and the packages.

Here's our entry area...

Our family room, aka the Texas Room, gets a little western holiday flair with cowboy boot stockings, wooden cranberry beads and candles set amongst our everyday decor of print blocks, a tooled leather clock, and our big metal Texas star (there's nothing on the floor by the fireplace because this is the room our doggy hangs out in, a lot of the "decor" in this room is doggy toys. lol)...

Here's a close-up...

It's a white Christmas in our little village on top of our 110 year old upright grand piano...

My daughter even added a little "water" for the boat house and a bridge...

These are our twin snow kids. I found them a couple of years ago at JoAnn. They were the only two left and both of them were damaged. Between them they were missing a hand, skis and needed some repairs. I was able to get both of them for almost nothing. I figured I'd take parts from one to fix the other. But, I was able to save them both. They're about 30" tall.

Hubby cut a snowboard for this one and I tucked one of his arms behind to (sort of) hide that he's a missing hand. A few stitches here and there and they're good as new.

We've been working on making our Christmas cards. My daughter finished hers and just needs to mail them. Aren't they cute?!...

I had planned a much more elaborate card than I'm ending up with but I was running out of time and had to change to something quick to make. I cut, stamped, hubby colored, and now I'm gluing. They're not done yet but getting close. I figure that late is better than not at all. The caption in these will say, "Hope Your Holidays are a Hoot!"...

I still have stuff to keep me busy today and, laundry, cooking, etc. But, the huge long list has been lifted off my shoulders and I feel like I can just relax now and enjoy working on these last few things. Ahhhh!

Best wishes to you and yours. I hope you enjoy this season, no matter how you celebrate it. :-)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Blossoming Ideas

The beginnings of my fiber art love started at a very young age with crochet. In fact, I remember crocheting in a tiny rocking chair that my grandmother had bought for me. I still have that little chair and I taught my daughter to crochet when she was small enough to sit in it. Even though most of my fiber art time now is taken up with knitting, spinning, weaving and other things, I enjoy crocheting projects from time to time.

I've been itching to do some crochet lately. So, I dabbled in a bit of Tunisian Crochet and this last week I pulled out one of my all time favorite crochet patterns, "Petal Place Mats" and a big, 14 ounce ball of one of my favorite yarns, Sugar N Cream, and started making some of these...

I got this pattern from my mom over 20 years ago. I've made a LOT of these over the years and have given them away as gifts. They're useful and so much fun to make. They're quick and easy but require enough attention to make them interesting. I love that they're made with worsted weight yarn. This way, I can make a doily-like project without using tiny thread (something I don't enjoy). I think I'm going to be able to make four placemats from this one ball of yarn. The reverse single crochet edge really finishes the edges off nicely.

I had made two of these so far this week and took them to an open house at the "Knit N Stitch" yarn shop yesterday. A bunch of the ladies there went crazy for them and the shop quickly scheduled a class. I'll be teaching the two session class this January. How exciting! I also took in my "Magic Ball Shawl" to show to Sue, the person who inspired me with this idea. That was a hit too! And, we'll be having a Magic Ball workshop/fun day on Superbowl Sunday.

My arm still hurts but it is improving and I'm so happy to be able to knit and crochet again. I had so much fun yesterday and with these classes scheduled, 2010 may be blossoming into a beautiful new year! :-)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Favorite Christmas Ornaments

Last Christmas I enjoyed seeing some of the ornaments that other bloggers shared on their blogs and shared a few of my own. I thought it would be fun to do that again this year and share a few more of my favorites. I love seeing the various ornaments that people collect. They can be so unique, beautiful, fun, and most of them have some kind of story.

This is one of the first ornaments my husband and I got as a couple. It's a tandem bike in the same red color we had on our first tandem. We rode that thing so much. We even rode it a lot when I was pregnant with our daughter...until I was too big to fit between the seat and the handlebars. I love this one! It's about five inches wide by about three inches tall.

Our daughter is a harpist and we're always on the look out for harp ornaments. They're very hard to find! Sometimes a few years go by that we don't find any. Once in a while we're lucky and find more than one in a year. This is one of my favorites...

I love crafting and find it hard to say "no" to trying just about any kind. That includes tole painting, something I did a lot of for a while. Here's a hiking Santa I painted years ago. He's about nine inches tall.

Here's one we bought a few years ago at "Downtown Disney" in the "Department 56" shop. It's an Airedale in PJ's and slippers. So cute!

I love the feathers and the little pom poms on the slippers.

Do you collect ornaments? What are some of your favorites?

Thursday, December 10, 2009


It's been a weird, wonderful and wacky week. How about a rambling post about some of the things going on...

1. The first acupuncture treatment made a big difference and I was finally able to sleep. Pain hasn't been keeping me awake at night. Ahhhh! That's nice. And, I haven't been getting up with bad pain in my arms. The pain isn't completely gone though and I've been taking it easy. I had a second treatment this week and noticed some more improvement but not as much as the first week. My medical doctor finally referred me for acupuncture and I'll get to go see the acupuncturist at my HMO (I had no idea they had one). That will be a lot cheaper. In the meantime, the high dollar treatments should get me by. I also asked for and got a referral to physical therapy in hopes of learning how to strengthen my arms without hurting myself again.

2. I went to the chiropractor today for an adjustment. Ahhhhh! I feel so much better. elbows may end up better too! Who knew a chiropractor could pop elbows?! He explained how the large bone on the bottom part of the arm can slightly separate out from the joint and cause pain. The adjustment didn't hurt. My not so bad elbow feels like it's been greased and bends so smoothly now. Ahhh! The other one feels about the same right now. But, I'm keeping my fingers crossed. You never know!

3. We've been having winter like weather! That's amazing! It usually doesn't get all that cold here until January or February and sometimes not then either. We've even been getting rain and lots of it! Yay! We need it so bad. We have another set of storms heading our way with a forecast of rain starting tonight and going through the weekend. Bring it on!

4. I learned an important lesson on Tuesday...even when the garage door sounds like it went all the way up and stopped, check to be sure! I was heading out to do a little Christmas shopping and ended up backing into the door. Ugh! The SUV is fine but the door seemed to be in pretty bad shape. It looks like the cable came off on one side and caused it to jam so it couldn't go up all the way. Luckily, my husband was able to fix it. He's amazing!

5. Yesterday my husband and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. We didn't make any big plans...although we kind of used our recent Colorado trip as a pre-celebration. We went to Encinitas (San Diego County) yesterday and had breakfast at the Potato Shack (Yum!), enjoyed looking at the big waves coming in this week (so pretty!), a little garden walk (that's where the Koi picture was taken), did a little shopping, and went out for a nice dinner. We both feel so lucky because being married to each other has been way better than we ever thought marriage could be. He's awesome!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

I Won!

I won some yarn...

A local yarn shop, Daily Fiber, has stitch nights every week. But, the first Friday of each month is a little special. They feature a new yarn or product, have a sale, drawings, and there is often food...there were a lot of baked goods last night...yum! I didn't take any knitting with me last night, as I'm still resting my arm to help it heal. But, I had so much fun visiting with all the nice ladies that came. And, it was a fun surprise to win some yarn. The colors in it are pretty. I'm thinking it might make a pretty little shawlette or something. I can't wait to get back into knitting!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Needles of a Different Kind

I've experienced a lot of different kinds of needles in my life. Some I like...sewing and knitting. shots, IV, blood...not so much. Today, I had a totally new needle experience...acupuncture!

The experience was very different than I had expected. I thought I'd go in and lay on a table and have needles placed in me at various spots on my body and just lay there for a while. It was nothing like that. And, I wasn't afraid of being poked...which is kind of weird...but good, since I was about to be poked a lot. The needles are very thin, about the size of a human hair. And, they don't really hurt going in.

The acupuncturist located the pain in my elbows and placed needles in those spots. Then, she had me move my arms around to help in circulation and releasing the pain. That was a surpise! Move my arms with needles in them?! Yikes! But, it was okay. She continued this process, taking needles out, putting others in, and having me move my arms until I had relief. I think I got a funny look on my face when I did feel the relief and she knew exactly what had happened and said that a lot of people say it's "crazy" how it works. I agree.

I can't say that it was a painless process because it wasn't. There were a couple of times that the needle was a little deeper than the pain spot and when I'd move it would hurt in a strange way that I can't describe. But, she'd pull it out a bit and sometimes that would do the trick. Other times she had to try another place. She also did some "cupping" (a little suction device) on my really bad elbow to help bring the pain spot up to a place she could access. That didn't hurt. But, I have a few little circles on my elbows. lol

My pain is significantly less but not completely gone. Since I injured my elbow a few months ago and the pain has been building, it may take a couple of treatments to get full relief. I'm feeling hopeful. It was hurting pretty bad earlier today. And, my right arm has had to compensate for the other one so much that it was hurting a lot more today too. I tried to do a little knitting this morning (before the treatment) but had to stop. Compared to this morning, my elbows are a lot better. My next treatment will be on Monday. I'll keep ya'll posted as to how it goes.

Thanks to JoMamma and Jennifer for the advice to try acupuncture. It's something I've been interested in for years. I'm not sure why I hadn't thought about trying it for this. I researched it online after both of you recommended it and couldn't believe all the great testimonials and info I found! Thank you! :-)