Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Bora Bora

Hip Hip Hooray!  This shawl is finally done!
I started it last spring and I should have finished it long ago.
All of the other South Bay Shawlettes I've made have crocheted up very quickly.
But, not this one!  The fine, single ply lace Malabrigo yarn was a bit slippery
and I didn't enjoy crocheting this project with it.  I took a lot of breaks from it.  
But, I sure do love the colors and how it looks!

I crocheted it with a size "G" hook.

It's delicate and oh so soft.

The finished size is 66" across and about 36 inches long from the center top to the bottom point.
It's big enough to wrap around arms and shoulders or drapey enough to wrap loosely at the neck.
It's light enough to wear in warmer months on a slightly cool day or evening.
The beautiful colors, pattern and texture will be such a wonderful addition to an outfit.
It's like soft jewelry.  And, I noticed that it goes with a lot of things.

It will soon be on it's way to a very special person...Patti.
She's my cousin's wife and she's one of the sweetest people you could ever meet.
She loves the beach and vibrant colors.  I thought she'd love the colors in this yarn.
The blues and greens look like the gorgeous colors you see in photos of tropical islands like Bora Bora
...the lush green landscape and incredible blues in the water.  So pretty!

I hope she likes it!

I made it with two skeins of Malabrigo Lace.  
There was a total of 940 yards but I have a bit left over.
This was my first experience with Malabrigo and it definitely won't be my last.
Malabrigo comes in such gorgeous colors and it's SO soft.

Monday, February 25, 2013


My Gap-tastic Cowl is all done!  I finished it last week but have hesitated to post it because I haven't been able to get good pictures of it.  I'd like to show it being worn but can't seem to get a picture of myself with it on because the camera is always in the way.  I took photos of it laying on a table...

It looks pretty good but doesn't show how it looks when it's worn.  So, I tried taking some with it on my dress form. The dress form is purple and I couldn't find anything to put on it that would cover the purple (including the neck part at the top) and look good with the cowl.  This is the best I could find.  I don't think the color looks very good with the cowl.  But, here it is...my finished Gap-tastic...

I love it doubled up.  It's so squishy, cozy and warm...

The color in the bottom two photos is more accurate.

I knitted this with size 13, circular needles.  And, I used two skeins (248 total yards) of Loops and Threads Select Wool yarn in the color, Taupe.  I really like this yarn but it's almost impossible to find.  When my daughter initially bought some, she could only find it at one Michael's store.  At that time, we could view it on their website in lots of beautiful colors.  When she bought it for me, it was still only available at the one Michael's store.  But, we could no longer find it on line.  I can't even find it listed on Ravelry.  I hope it hasn't been discontinued all together because I'd like to use it again.  

This was such a fun project!  I loved knitting with big needles and chunky yarn for a change.  When I finished this and went back to working on my blanket project and size 8 needles, they seemed so small!

Saturday, February 23, 2013


Yesterday was my dreaded follow up test to a surgery I had last summer and months of hormones to correct the problem to prevent that dreaded "c" word.  I was so nervous!  Most everything I've read about an endometrial biopsy was not good.  Many women describe it as horrible and very painful.  It's done in the office with NO anesthesia or pain killers.  So, to say I dreaded the appointment is an understatement.  Luckily, I have a wonderful doctor.  We communicated a lot via email.  She answered my many questions and tried to ease my mind about it.  She prescribed a Valium to ease my nerves.  Unfortunately, it didn't seem to help.  But she and her nurse were wonderful.  They took all the time I needed to pull myself together to go through with it.  While I was on the table, I held my cell phone and tried to show the nurse pictures of my canyon adventure from last Sunday and describe what we saw and did.  The distraction helped a lot but at one point a sharp pain surprised me and hurt so bad that I screamed.  Yikes!  It was hard to focus on the pictures and stories after that.  Luckily, it was quickly over and I made it through.  Whew!  The only good parts of this test are that it's quick and that it should give us information we need to keep me safe and healthy.

Whenever I go in for a pap smear, mammogram or other scary or uncomfortable but necessary doctor appointment, I treat myself with a trip to a yarn shop.  After this appointment, I think I deserved it more than ever!  And, there was a great little yarn shop just blocks away in the little town of Fallbrook, Labors of Love.  I'm usually a very conservative yarn buyer because of budget and practicality...I can only use so much yarn and I have too much already.  But, after this, I was ready to spend like crazy!  Yarn makes me happy!  Luckily, for my budget, I didn't find any yarn that I couldn't live without (even though they have a lot of gorgeous yarns).  But, I did find a great little book.  It has lots of different types of needle felted items with step-by-step instructions and photos.  There are some techniques I've never tried and it will be a great resource.

I think I still deserve lots of pretty yarn after that appointment though.  So, I'll be stopping in at various yarn shops whenever I'm near one to see what I can find.  And, when the test results come back with good news, I think I should celebrate with even more yarn!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


What an awesome adventure we had last Sunday!
We drove out to the Borrego desert in northern San Diego County for a hike.
We set out to hike to a Calcite mine.  We parked in a turn out area on the side of the road
 and hiked down into a wash and up, up, up into the hills.

This mine has an interesting history.  It was active during World War II.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the government mined calcite for bomb sights and anti-warcraft weaponry.  The calcite mined here was high quality.  When someone would view through it, there would be a series of colored rings.  When the center ring was held on a target, the person's head could move from side to side but the center ring would remain on the target.  Interesting!

There were areas that were covered in leftover bits of calcite crystals.
Most were cloudy but some of them were clear like glass.

Here's a vein of it in a wall of rock...

It wasn't a typical type of mine with a hole in the ground leading deep into the earth.
This mine is slits in the rock.  They look like someone used a giant knife to carve out slices of earth. The slits we saw were usually about four feet wide and 20 feet long.

The terrain was fascinating and ever changing.  There were huge sandstone rocks with holes and interesting patterns.  This one is probably three stories tall or maybe even bigger...

This was on top of a big hill that we climbed.  It was much harder than most of the rock and ground we'd walked on that day.  What an interesting texture.  I'm curious as to how it was formed.

There were some interesting plants on the top.  
They had silvery, white stems and were just starting to sprout leaves for spring.

The view from the top was amazing.  We could see a lot of the Borrego area.  
And, to the east and southeast, we could see the great Salton Sea.
It's amazing to see so much water in the desert.  But, what we see now is only a small amount compared to the past.  The whole area used to be under the ocean.  And, just decades ago, this lake was huge.

Another interesting thing we saw that day were these odd formations in the sandstone...

Here's one that was loose from the sandstone walls.  They were sitting all around
 in one area we walked through.  They were hard like cement and very heavy.

We were lucky to see this colorful lizard along the way.  He was over a foot long.

The mines and views were interesting and fun to see.  But, the best part of our day was about to come.

As we headed back down the mountain, we took a turn toward a slot canyon we'd
read about in our hiking guide book.  This is how it looked as we started to hike in...

It got narrower...

When we came upon this part it was so exciting...

It was very narrow and so smooth from all the water that has rushed through to form it.
And, the walls became very tall.  There were obstacles to climb up...

Some of the obstacles took some creative thinking to figure out how to get up and over.

And, sometimes down...

This is by far the most awesome slot canyon we've found in this area.


Sometimes the bottom was too narrow to walk.
So, sometimes, one foot on each side wall of the canyon was the best way to go through.
The grippy sandstone was very helpful!

This one took the most thought and multiple tries to find a way down.
We first tried straddling it by sitting on one side, feet on the other, and alternating weight to move over and down.  The canyon floor just beyond where I was sitting was six to eight feet feet down.
We eventually figured out a way down.

Sometimes, one shoe barely fit in the bottom...

Going back down was different but just as tricky...

Wow!  That was SO much fun!

After the slot canyon, we still had a lot of hiking to do to get back to the car.
And, there were still amazing things to see.  Like this giant piece of sandstone that had fallen from the wall.  It may look small but it's larger than a car...

Here's another area with fallen sandstone.  It may look like a small jumble but
the larger pieces are probably close to the size of our living room...probably much larger.

This huge tour vehicle passed us on the way back. 
I can't help but think of all the wonderful things they miss by touring the area in a vehicle.
I know they saw some wonderful things but I think they missed the very best parts.
Not to mention, a great workout!

We hiked four hours and our GPS said we hiked over six miles.
That included a LOT of hills.  We were very tired when we were done.
And, we were quite sore the next day.  But, it was SO worth it.  What a blast!

We love being out in nature.  And, we love hiking.  Great finds and adventures like this
are such a bonus.  I joked with hubby about how slot canyons are the kind of slots I like to play
and that we hit the jackpot that day!  Woo hoo!

Be sure to click on one of the pictures to view them large
 and get a better idea of the scale and fun we had.  

Thursday, February 14, 2013


The fun continues with Vicki's "Grow Your Own Blog Party".
I received another prize this week that I won from one of the many give-aways.
This one is from Carol at "Art and Sand".  Thank you, Carol!

The timing for this prize to arrive this week is perfect!
It's fits right in with Valentine's Day.  
It's a sweet, handmade gift...

 When I opened up the package, there was a tin inside.
Inside the tin was a sweet little red heart sitting on top of a drawstring cotton bag.

When I opened up the bag, this was inside...

It's a little spool, tied up with a cord and pretty little hearts.
On the spool are words of wisdom about the heart.
It's all handcrafted by Carol.  Isn't it cute?!

There are hand drawn hearts on the other side.
I like the red gingham strip that attaches the paper to the spool too.

It warms my heart to receive this handmade gift.
Thank you, again, Carol.  I love it!  

If you get a chance, be sure to pop over to Carol's blog, "Art and Sand", for a visit.
She has a beautiful blog.  I can't help but smile and stay a while whenever I visit.
It's so colorful and happy.  She shares pictures of her lovely home and garden,
wonderful things she makes, and paintings done by her husband who is a talented artist.

Happy Valentine's Day! 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Fantastic Gaptastic

With baby gifts completed and another project finished up this weekend (just waiting to be blocked),
I was able to guiltlessly start a new project.  And, that's just what I did!...

My daughter knitted the GAP-tastic Cowl recently and I loved it.  She's such a sweetheart...
she gave me some of the same yarn but in a different color for Christmas to make one of my own.
I've been so excited to get started.  I cast on Saturday evening.
It's working up so fast that by Sunday evening I had knitted the first skein and it was half done.
I have a feeling I'll be wearing it this week!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Another Day, Another Plate

I found another transferware plate this week...

I love them all but the red ones are some of my favorites.  I have quite a few and this one just joined my collection.  It's botanical...the kind I like most.  And, I couldn't possibly pass it up...it was only $3!
I don't think it's old but that's ok because I like it.  :-)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Lucky Me!

The "Grow Your Own Blog Party" has been so much fun!
We're all making new friends, following new and wonderful blogs and prizes are
being delivered to lucky recipients.  I sent a prize yesterday to the lucky winner of my blog give-away.
And, I received the prize that I won on the "Knitalatte" blog.

The hat was cute on her blog but when I opened the packaged I gasped at how beautiful it is.
Just look at the pretty colors in this soft, squooshy yarn...

I tried to take a picture of myself wearing it but just couldn't get a good one.  
It's hard to hold the camera just right and hold my head at the right angle to get a good shot.
So, here's a picture of the hat laying on my buffet...

An added plus is that it's a little slouchy.  I've been wanting to make a slouchy hat.

Thank you so much, Karen!  I love it!  
I'm planning to wear it to knit night tonight.  :-)

Hop on over to her blog for a visit.  It's a beautiful blog with lots of wonderful hand knit projects.
You'll love it!  Be sure to say, "hi" when you're there.  

Dream House

I wish we could have chickens where we live right now.
They could have a house like this... 

It's so cute!  I love the added touch of the white picket fence.
The "yard" is much too small but the idea is great.
I saw this at a feed store in Escondido, California.

I'll just keep dreaming...someday...I hope...we'll have land again. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


I popped into a little antique shop this week and just couldn't resist this...

I don't think it's antique.  But, I don't care.  It's gorgeous!
I have a hard time resisting transferware and have a little collection going.
I've never seen this one and I love the picture, the border and the black and white of it.
So pretty!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Penelope Post

Time for a new post about our little Penelope.  We've had her for over two weeks now.
A lot has happened and she has learned so much.

She started sneezing a lot during her first week here.
That meant she got to take her first trip to the vet.  She was a brave girl...

It turned out to be a feline cold...very common for cats that come from shelters.
No problem though.  Her lungs were clear and she didn't seem to have developed any infections.
We took her home with a tube of L-Lysine gel to put on her food to help her immune system.

The vet trip was only the beginning of her travels that day.  Later that afternoon, she got to go on her first camping trip!  Other than screaming at ear-piercing levels on the way there and back home (sure hope that improves over time!), she did great.  She really liked being in the close quarters of the RV where she could see us and know where we were just about all the time.   She enjoyed the sun streaming through the windows.  She took lots of naps and did a lot of snuggling.

She tried to stay up late but just couldn't keep her eyes open.
She fell asleep one evening as she sat on hubby's lap...

She even snuck in a few naps on Salsa's bed!

The close quarters helped Penelope and Salsa get to know one another and start to become friends.

We figured that, because it's Salsa's bed, it was only fair to share.
So, we told Salsa it was okay to lay on the bed too.
They didn't lay there very long after that but it shows how far they've come in a short time.

When we took Penelope to the vet, she still only weighed 2 3/4 pounds.  She hadn't gained anything in the first week.  She wasn't eating much...probably because she wasn't feeling well.
But, a week of rest did her good.  She's eating like crazy now and feeling great.

So, I thought it was time to weigh her again.
She's checking the scale to make sure the setting is right...

And, checking it again while she was on it to see what she weighs.

Wow!  She has gained about half a pound.

She knows where her litter pan is and has been a very good girl with using it. 
As far as we know, she hasn't had any accidents.  She gets to roam the entire house, even at night. She's still learning about sleeping through the night though.  She wakes up every night around two or three a.m. and starts walking on us, purring loudly, and licking our faces.  After a while, we usually get her settled back down and she sleeps until six or seven. 

She learned a VERY SCARY lesson... We have a loft above our living room with a half wall.  
We tried to keep her downstairs as long as we could but she eventually snuck around the barriers.
I was sitting on the sofa in the living room below when I heard her bell jingling in the loft.  Next thing I knew...I saw her little body come flying over the wall with her legs flailing.  She tried to jump up and onto the wall but jumped a little too high and far.  Hubby raced over to stand below and try to catch her.  Luckily, I have a quilt draped over the wall and it saved her life as she was able to grab onto it with her claws.  As she hung on the side, I tried to calmly and quickly get to the loft to rescue her.  But, as I reached the top of the stairs she had already gotten back onto the top of the wall and walked over to meet me.  WHEW!  Since then, she still goes up there.  She even seems to think it's funny to race toward it and leap onto it when I'm looking...like she knows how it gets me.  Crazy girl!  And, she thinks it's a nice place to hang out.  I'm just glad she knows about it now and should, hopefully, be okay with it.  She is a lot more sure footed now than when we brought her home.  And, cats are usually pretty skilled at things like this.  Fingers crossed!