Thursday, January 28, 2010

Lavender InVESTment

Last fall I spotted some yarn at a LYS that I just can't get out of my mind. The more I think about it, the more I like it. So, yesterday, I decided to go for it and I bought four skeins. It's Berroco Vintage in a beautiful lavender color...

I really want to learn how to knit sweaters. And, I'm thinking that a vest will be a good step toward doing that. So, last night I spent hours searching for the perfect pattern.

I'd really like to make one with texture and interest and I found several that I really like. However, when I started reading the patterns I got lost and confused. So, I think I've decided on THIS vest. I think I'd enjoy wearing it. It's plain and simple but I can learn about shaping, edging and seaming. Plus, the simpleness of it gives me a little more assurance of a successful finished product. That's something I'll need before taking the next step of knitting something with sleeves. I'm planning to cast on today. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Quirky Korknisse

I found a pattern on Ravelry that made me smile. The pattern is "Korknisse". It was originally written in Norweigen and has been translated into many languages and knitted around the world. The name means cork hobgobblins. I had everything I needed...leftover bits of yarn, wine corks, and knitting needles. I couldn't wait to get started. They're adorable, fun to make, and it's hard to make just you can see...

I had originally planned to make them simple, with little dots for eyes and a smile drawn onto the cork. But, most of the corks I have are stamped with big words. So, I got out some paint and covered the stamps. This was my first one...

My daughter instantly fell in love with the idea and started making them too. She felt that the faces needed a little more detail. Here's her first one...

It was fun to knit with yarns I love and had used on previous projects. Here's my second one...

I think my third one is ready for cold weather with her BIG fuzzy sweater and hat. My daughter gave her a pretty face and blue eyes that go perfectly with her outfit...

My daughter is having so much fun with these! This one is a "snowboarder" with an extra tall hat that she plans to glue on and make into a keychain...

I love the simple ones I've seen and I plan to make some. But, in the meantime, we're having fun making these...They're a little quirky, but cute!

Monday, January 25, 2010

10,000 Steps and Counting

Last year, in an attempt to try and get fit, I bought a new pedometer...

I'd tried other ones over the years and became frustrated with how they weren't consistent in working. Sometimes they worked. Sometimes they didn't. It seemed to matter how high or low my waistband was or something. I never quite figured it out. But, this Omron Pedometer is great! It works whether it's in my pocket, on my waist, even in my purse (I still can't figure out how that works!), upside down, right side up or backwards. I love it! It gives me lots of different many total steps in my day, total of moderate steps for the day (steps more worthy of true "exercise"), total steps since I changed the battery or reset it, calories burned, miles, time, etc. It even has a little leash with a clip to keep it from falling out onto the ground, taking a dive into the toilet, or getting lost. And, when I don't have a pocket, it has a handy clip to slide it into. :-)

My original goal with this pedometer was to get 10,000 steps each day. I did pretty well in the beginning but my numbers have been declining. However, I've been finding a lot of motivation lately at another blog, "Basically Benita". Benita is teaming up with other bloggers so we can reach our weight loss and fitness goals together. There's something about doing these kinds of things with other people that really helps a LOT.

Today, she posted a great idea..."The 10,000 Step Club". I think this is just the motivation I needed to get me excited and going again. It'll be so much more fun to do it with more people, be accountable to one another, and see our progress. Not to mention that Benita's enthusiasm is contagious! I've been waking up in the morning and thinking how Benita is probably on her treadmill and it's been getting me on mine or out the door for a walk. Thanks, Benita!

Would you be interested in joining in on the fun and walking a path to better health? Join us! And, don't be shy, let us know. There's a lot of motivation and power in just telling someone that you're going to start walking and being more healthy. If you need even more motivation, Benita's even going to have a contest! Check it out HERE!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Coaster Crazy

I've been in a crochet mood lately. I made some placemats recently. That was a lot of fun! I've been going through patterns I've collected and searching through Ravelry for other things that I think would be fun to make. My friend, Judy, recently mentioned the idea of making coasters. That sounded like a lot of fun! I found some on Ravelry that inspired me. These are what I've come up with so far...

They're super quick and so much fun to make. I think it'll be fun to have a set with various designs. They'll make perfect resting spots for hot cups of tea, coffee and toddys, and cold drinks too. Not to mention, providing little spots of color. Color makes me smile! And, I get to use some of my favorite yarn, Sugar N Cream.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Surprise Ingedients

Lacking in meal planning inspiration, I've turned to the Food Network for some help. I found just what I needed today. Giada De Laurentiis made a simple chicken soup with some surprising ingredients...lemon juice, Parmesan cheese rind, and spaghetti noodles.

This recipe was perfect because I had just cooked up some chicken and had a pot of chicken stock all ready to go. The only ingredients we didn't have were fresh parsley (I used dried), a bay leaf, and Romano cheese for a garnish. We gave it a try and...WOW! was really good! The flavor was very different and VERY delicious. If you'd like to give this recipe a try, you can find it HERE.

We have an abundance of lemons on our tree this year so anything with lemon right now is a good choice. We enjoyed this soup with a fresh, red leaf lettuce salad with garlic, lemon juice and olive oil dressing, and some fresh baked bread. Mmmmmm!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Random Thoughts...

I don't think I've written a blog post of random thoughts before. However, it feels like the right kind of post for the kind of week I've had...

1. I want to dedicate a post to my friend Mary who passed away on Wednesday after a strong and courageous fight against brain cancer. After all, I've done that for two other friends I've lost from cancer in the past couple of years. But, I just can't bring myself to do it. I think I'm not ready. It would mean that she's actually gone. But, I can tell you that I'm happy she got an extra year, she died peacefully, and in her last hours she wore the pink hat that I made for her at the beginning of her fight. Someone wove a little daisy into it's stitches and the sun was shining on her sweet face.

2. One of my knit friends was expecting a baby this July. Such exciting and fun news. I even bought her a pair of adorable knit baby booties a couple of weeks ago. But, this week, things took a turn and it didn't work out. She's in surgery today. :-( I can only begin to imagine how hard this must be for them. But, hopefully, this is just a bump in the road and things should work out great. I know people who have gone through this and within a year or so they have a healthy, happy baby. That's what's in my thoughts and prayers for her and her husband.

3. I try to be an up person and I really have been in spite of this week. Which, is quite amazing considering the top two things and that I've had a nausiating sinus headache most of the week too. Ugh! It seems to be gone this morning. Ahhhhh!

4. I was coloring my hair to cover the gray. More than a year ago, I decided to be "authentic" and let it grow out. I even read the book, "Going Gray" by Anne Kraemer. But, after some interesting comments about my "age", or what they thought was my age, and some thought, I colored it again. My husband's first reaction was that I looked 10 years younger. Well, that was it! I had to keep coloring it. It made me feel better too. I've been thinking about it though and wondering if I want to try the whole "authentic" thing again and let it be what it is...whatever it is. I don't like the idea of putting those chemicals on my head. And, I don't enjoy the process. So, I've been growing it out, again. It's much more gray than I expected. But, still not the beautiful white/gray that two of my knit friends have. I'm not liking it. I keep waffling back and forth...keep growing it out so I can really see what it's like...or...NO WAY! I'm too young for this! Run to the store NOW and get color to cover this up! It didn't help that I watched an episode of Oprah last night where they colored a woman's "authentic" gray hair. And, that's the show I heard about all this "authentic" stuff to begin with! lol What are your thoughts? Do you color your hair?

4. Continuing on the gray and age theme...I'll be turning 48 on Sunday. I think this number will be ok. Funny how that goes. I was ok turning 40 but 41 bothered me. 45 was a little weird. It'll be interesting to see how I feel when I turn the big 5 0. It sounds a little scary! In the meantime, I still have a couple more years in my 40's. Wooo Hooo! :-)

5. We've been enjoying some absolutely gorgeous, sun shiney weather the past few weeks. I've loved every day of it! But, we reallllllly do need rain. It's suppose to rain most of next week. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Even though it'll be gray and rainy, I'm hoping that next week will be happier and headache free!

The picture is "Hot Cocoa" roses from my yard, sitting next to my kitchen sink. I love those roses! The bush is so healthy and it blooms all year. :-)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Simple Gestures

There are some things I miss from "the old days". One is small and special...the simple thank you card. It seems that very few people take the time to send them out these days. I'm not sure why. They're something that takes very little time but can mean so much to the receiver. It's just a small note, with a few sentences, to show appreciation for a gift or something they've done.

I try to always take the time to send a thank you...even if it's sometimes online because of the lack of an address or something. I've even received phone calls thanking me for my thank you notes and the recipients telling me how much the cards meant to them (that always makes my day). It always means a lot to me to receive them too, even though, these days, it seems to be a rare occurance.

I just sent out a stack today, thanking everyone for the gifts we received at Christmas. Mine weren't handmade this time, but my daughter's were. Aren't they pretty?! I couldn't resist showing them to you. :-)

Thank you for stopping by. :-)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Loving Hand

Hands are amazing! I'm so thankful for my hands! They do so much! They can knit, crochet, weave, spin and create, write, draw and paint, garden and cook, play music, shower me and dress me, type, clean, pet my dog and my cat, drive, play games, talk with my deaf freinds, show love with an embrace, hold the hand of a loved one, feel, and soooo much more.

Because I love and appreciate them so much, I collect things that look like hands. I have several glove forms, cast iron hands, etc. I'm always on the lookout for them. A few years ago I spotted one at a little shop in Old Town Temecula. It was a little pricey so I didn't buy it. But, I haven't forgotten it. My daughter knew that when it came time to do Christmas shopping and bought it for me. I can't believe she spent so much on my gift but it shows me (in one more way) how much she loves me. What a sweetheart!

Here it is....

It's cast iron and heavy! And, as you can see, it's going to be a lot of fun to use when I do photo shoots of my projects...

It's holding some Hollyberry yarn that I've been spinning...

I love all the hands in my collection. But, this is one is special!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Magic Needles

About a month ago I posted about how I've been diagnosed with tendonitis in my elbows and how much pain I've been in. A couple of you suggested acupuncture. I researched it and quickly gave it a try.

It was amazing how much it helped with the very first treatment! I could finally sleep at night. However, I could only afford a couple of treatments. Luckily, I found out that my insurance provider has their own acupuncturist and I was able to get my doctor (with a little pressure) to give me a referral.

I had to wait a month to get in and my first treatment was this week. I found it interesting, yet again, that it was nothing like I had read in the countless stories online. And, that it was different than my first acupuncture treatment. I guess they're like chiropractors, they all do things a little differently.

This one came in and quickly started putting needles into my arms, around the elbows (three in each, I think), and putting them in VERRRY deeply, as far as they'd go, even indenting the skin!!! OUCH!!!! The pain was soooo intense that I thought I was going to pass out! He explained that the pain in my elbows is like a pressure cooker and the needles are like vents, letting it out. That could explain why the left side (the one that has been so bad) hurt wayyyyyy more! Thank goodness he didn't ask me to move my arms around like the first acupuncturist did!!! I think I would have blacked out right then and there!!!

I'm so glad my daughter went with me because she was able to get a wet cloth to wipe my face. Ahhh! She told me to think happy thoughts. Problem was, the pain was so intense that I couldn't come up with a single thing. She calmly started describing happy memories and it helped so much! What a great girl! :-)

I'm seeing improvement each day since. It's amazing! I woke up this morning and could move my arm without any discomfort. It still hurts when I move it in certain ways but that seems to be improving too. Strange magic!

I have more treatments scheduled in the coming months. I wish they could be like I've read...painless and relaxing! But, the improvement and increased ability to use my arms and get back to normal living is worth it.

I also pressured my doctor into giving me a referral for physical therapy. I want to learn how to strengthen my arm without hurting it again. That starts next week.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Sweet, Sour and Sunny

We've had some pretty cold temps over the past month. Well....cold for Southern California, that is. So, the sunny, warm temps we've had the past few days have been a treat. The temperature reached 81 on Saturday! Ahhhhh! I saw on the news that parts of the US have temps in the negative 30's. Ouch! That makes me appreciate where I live even more.

We took advantage of the nice weather this weekend and worked in our yard. It was so nice and we got a lot done. My half wine barrels are cleared out and ready for new herbs this spring, the roses are pruned, repairs have been made, the garden is clear and ready for a new planting, pruning is done, the fountain is scrubbed clean, lawns are mowed, sweeping is done, and the Christmas lights are down.

We enjoyed something else from our yard this weekend too, our lemon tree. It's weighed down with a bumper crop of Meyer lemons. Yum! When you've got lemons...make lemonade. And, that's just what we've been doing the past few days....

Yummm! Myer lemons are so tasty. And, lemonade is extra nice out on the patio, in the sun. Ahhhhh!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Seaside Start

My husband, daughter and I decided to start our new year off at one of our favorite places...the sea. We drove down to Cardiff (in San Diego County) for a walk along the beach. The temperature was wonderful and the sun peeked in and out from the clouds, constantly changing the colors and ocean scenes. Gorgeous!...

Salsa was diggin' it!...

And, enjoyed running on the wide open was a negative low tide that afternoon, giving us plenty of sand space to play...

The extra low tide provided new sights by uncovering these interesting formations and opening the tide pools...

The tide pools had fun things to discover. Check out this orange snail amongst sea anemones and various kinds of plants...

Mussels and Pollicipes (aka Goose Neck Barnacles)...

It was a wonderful way to start off the new year!

After our seaside stroll, we had dinner Los Olas in Carlsbad. It was delicious. We all had Mexican food with seafood in it. Yum! Hubby enjoyed an interesting and different kind of margarita...pineapple and chili. It tasted similar to a regular margarita but after swallowing you feel a slow and gentle burn. Fun!

During dinner we thought we had missed the sunset. It turned out that we only missed the beginning. I think we caught the very best part. We walked down the street and saw this...Wow!...

A great ending to a wonderful day! And, hopefully, a great beginning to a wonderful new year! :-)

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year!

I hope 2010 will be a happy, healthy, wonderful year for you!

Thank you for stopping by and reading my blog. And, a special thank you to all who leave comments. They always brighten my day and I appreciate every one of them.

I really enjoy blogging... taking the pictures, editing them, selecting the right ones, arranging them, and the writing. And, it makes a great journal to look back on and see what has happened in my life and to look up notes about projects I've done. But, your comments with thoughts, advice and kind words really make it all worthwhile. I feel like I have friends in "blogland" and I enjoy visits on your blogs and mine. It's a lot of fun! Who knows... to those of you who I don't already know...maybe we'll even meet in person someday.