Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Sweet P

How about a sweet Penelope post for today?!

She's just so darn cute that I can't stop taking photos of her!

Here she is testing out the throw I'm (still) working on.  I think she likes it!

Peek-a-boo!  It's warm in under the comforter!

In spite of all the cattitude she has....she does loves us!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Loaded with Lemons!

Our Meyer Lemon tree is loaded this year and they're almost all ripe now.  With the exception of a few late blossoms and tiny baby lemons.  Aren't they beautiful?!

I'm so happy to have them again!  We used them all up last year and have been missing them like crazy!  We love using them for lemonade, toddies, mixed drinks, salad dressings, fish, squeezing into soup and over rice, and so much more.  Meyer lemons are sooo delicious!

Friday, December 26, 2014

FO Friday - The Secrets Revealed!

I can now post about some projects that were a secret until yesterday!

I made a Sockhead Hat for me about a year or so ago (it has a fun story...you can read about that HERE and HERE).  My hubby loved it so much that I made one for him earlier this year.  And, my daughter loved it so much that I made one for her and gave it to her for Christmas yesterday.  

I need to get some pics of her wearing it but here are some I took before I wrapped it up...

My friend at Inner Yarn Zen dyed this yarn and it was love at first sight.  It turned out that it was love at first sight for my daughter too.  I quickly decided to use it to knit a hat for her.

It's interesting how the color spiraled up the hat.  Then, when I started to decrease for the top, the spiral reversed.  Pretty cool!

This is a free pattern on Ravelry and we all love how it fits and feels.  It calls for sock yarn which turns out to be perfect for a hat.  It's warm but not thick.  The wide band at the bottom allows to double it up for extra warmth and style or to wear it as a single layer if it's not quite so cold.  We also love that it fits nice without being too snug.  That makes it extra comfy and nice to wear.  The slouchy part is cute too.  For my hubby, I gave his hat just a touch of slouch.

I love the creamy white and the little bits of Fall color in the stripes.

I made a dream catcher for my daughter too.  I used a metal ring that I had and some left over yarn.  I think it could use a little something extra but haven't figured out exactly what or how I want to go about it though.  Probably some beads and feathers.  But, it's kind of cute the way it is too.

It's leftover Pagewood Farm yarn in the "Army Girl" colorway.  I absolutely love the colors in this yarn.  I originally used it to crochet a lace shawl.

I used a doily pattern and just crocheted part of the center.  I like the little picots.  They're kind of like little flower buds.

My daughter hung it up right away and it matches her room!

I'm happy to announce that she loved both gifts!  And, I did a little de-stashing too! ;-)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Holiday Cheer

I can't believe Christmas is here already!  It seems to have gotten here so much sooner or faster this year!  I'm doing better than the last few years though in that I've had a little bit of Christmas spirit...not a lot...but some and that's an improvement.  lol 

We started putting our decorations up just after Thanksgiving.  Here's one of my little themed trees.  It's my "Cheers" tree with drink decorations on it....a little glass of brandy, a drink shaker, Starbucks cups, a glass of wine, etc.  It could use a few more but I've got a good start.  I filled in with some tiny baskets and glass balls.  It's sitting on the desk in my kitchen.  It's kind of a funky tree with all those sticks but it's pre-lit.  I like that!

I have my burnt orange granny square table topper on the kitchen table right now.  The color is perfect with the window treatments in the room and I made it festive with a galvanized Christmas tray that has snowflakes embossed on it and putting a floral napkin that has the orange and red.  The red on the little Santa cup is more of an orange-red and bridges the gap with the orange of the kitchen and the red of Christmas.  I set my antique hurricane lamp and my Christmas cactus in the tray too.

I pulled out my sock monkey wine sock this week and posted a pic on InstaGram with my little cheers tree.  Cheers!  :-)

We have a "Bumble" that comes out with the decorations every year.  And, every year we have fun posing him for silly photos.  I went upstairs to the craft studio about a week ago and this is what was sitting on the table.  My daughter had him "helping" her with card making.  It made me laugh!

Here's some proof that I've had a bit of Christmas spirit this year...I'm not only sending out cards but I made them too.  I didn't even send cards last year and it's been a few years since I made any.  I got this idea on Pinterest.  I bought some festive papers and a punch to make them.  It was fun!

We love popcorn!  We make it on the stove...the old fashioned way.  And, we like to try different ways to flavor it.  We had a movie night recently and made some garlic butter popcorn.  It was super yummy!  It was easy too!  We just melted some butter and dropped in some finely chopped garlic near the end.  Then, we drizzled it over freshly popped corn and tossed it around with salt and pepper.  We'll definitely be doing that again!  Yum!

We enjoyed a movie with our new, cozy, warm blankets, garlic popcorn, and our little Christmas village that sits in an alcove above the TV.

I have a few gifts to wrap and I'll be done!  Then, tonight we're planning to cook up a fun meal and watch a program on TV that my daughter will be in...a Christmas program that was filmed at her University.  That'll be fun!  Here's a photo from the night we went to see her perform...

That's her standing next to the harp.  She also performed with the orchestra.  She had to get an extra harp that night so she could have one on stage and one in the orchestra pit.  The orchestra played music from the "Nutcracker" and even did "Waltz of the Flowers" that has a small harp solo in it.  I love that music!  And, I'm so proud of her!

We had a lot of fun watching the camera that night.  You can see it hanging over the stage, above her head.  It was on a huge boom (?) that constantly moved and it was very graceful.  There were lots of other cameras in the theatre too and they filmed both nights.  It'll be fun to see how they put it all together.

It'll be broadcast nationally tonight (Christmas Eve) and tomorrow (Christmas night).  If you're interested in watching...check your local PBS listings for the "51st Annual Holiday Wassail" or "Chapman University Special" (they weren't very clear on the name of it).

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Salsa's Miracle

Our Airedale, Salsa, injured her ACL/knee last year.  The vet thought it was bad enough that she might need surgery.  Before sending us to a specialist, he gave her some prescription meds to see if it would help.  Luckily, it did!  She got better and stayed that way for a long time.  However, she injured it again in September and it was worse than before.  She couldn't even use that leg and held it up when she hobbled around.  That put pressure on her good back leg to the point that she started just laying around and we had to help her up.  This time, the meds didn't help and they even made her feel bad.  We could tell that she was in a lot of pain and a little depressed.

We really didn't want to go down the surgery path as it's about $1,500, takes a year for recovery, and the ACL/knee often gets re-injured.  Salsa is such an active girl and still very much like a puppy...even at nine years old!  So, the odds of re-injuring it would be big!

We had done a bunch of research on other options the first time she was injured and had found a brace that sounded like something worth trying.  It's a bit expensive but MUCH less than surgery and the results for the dogs that use it are great!  So, we did all the required measurements (each one is custom made), placed an order, and kept our fingers crossed.  It almost seemed too good to be true but we wanted to believe it would work!  Luckily and amazingly it did!  It's called the MuttKnee Brace.

We put it on her right after it arrived and she immediately put some weight on her injured leg and danced around a bit.  She still limped a little but we started taking very short walks with her.  We were careful not to over-do it and the moment we noticed that her leg was starting to bother her, we'd turn around and come home.  At first, the walks were only past the neighbor's house and back.  But, within a week or so, she could walk all the way down the street and back and could soon go all the way around the block!  She continues to improve.

It's incredible that something so simple can work so well and can even prevent the need for surgery.  I'm shocked that vets aren't prescribing these instead of medications and surgery!  The custom made brace includes a sleeve for the injured knee and a cuff for the other one.  Or, you can get a sleeve for both.  That's what we did because we were concerned about any injury that had been caused while the her good leg compensated for the bad one.  They also sent a cuff, in case we decided to switch to that.  The two sleeves have straps that go up over her back and connect to one another and then to a harness that they provide.  This keeps the braces in place and prevents them from coming off.

At first, we had her wear it during the day time and took it off at night.  Now, she's doing so well that we only use it for walks.  She's even able to go upstairs again!  She's back to being our happy girl....active and able to move around...a LOT!

We held off from any trips to the groomer while she was injured and while we waited for the brace. Then, we waited for her to get strong enough.  She had gotten to be quite shaggy!  She was finally able to go to the groomer a couple of weeks ago and came back smaller (without all that fur) and extra happy!  Here she is after we her grooming visit...

She's smiling!

She felt extra good after getting groomed and ran around like crazy...with her brace on!  She finally settled down enough to get a photo to show what her brace looks like...

She's extra cute when she's groomed and I've been taking photos like crazy!
She's such a cutie!  We love her so much!  Look!...She's smiling again!

Without all that extra fur and with the drop in temperatures, she's been getting a little chilly with all that extra fur shaved off!  She was happy to have her red jacket on to keep her warm!

If you or someone you know is interested in this amazing brace.  You can find the MuttKnee Brace website HERE.  You can also find them on Facebook HERE.  We're so happy with how much it helped our Salsa!  In fact, it's helped hundreds of dogs!  So, I'm excited to share about it in the hopes of helping other dogs and saving their owners lots of money over surgery.  What an incredible invention!

Friday, December 19, 2014

FO Friday

Since I didn't blog for a while, I didn't do any FO (finished object) posts.  So, I've been trying to figure out what all I may have finished during my blogging break.  I'm not sure I'm remembering everything and there are some things that were made for Christmas gifts that I can't show just yet.  But, here are some things I've created over the past month or so...

If you've been following my blog for a while you might remember a sugar skull painting I did in a class with my daughter in July.  Shortly after finishing that, I got the idea to do a kitty version.  It turned out a little goofy and a little cute.  I'm trying not to focus on what I wish I'd done differently and just enjoy it.  I'm not really sure what I'll do with it but I do like the happy colors.

I had an idea early this year to make a tiny, lace shawl for a blog friend's puppet.  She took her puppet on trips and posted pictures of it on cruise ships and exotic places.  It just seemed like a fun idea.  I finally finished it up and made a matching pair of earrings and sent it off.  Sadly, the puppet got lost on one of her trips.  The last time she saw it was sticking out of her bag at an airport.  Oh well.  She liked the earrings and said she'll enjoy wearing them.  She might even make a new puppet that can someday enjoy this cute little set.

I hope I'm safe in sharing these next two projects.  I know that one of the recipients never goes online.  I don't think the other one will visit my blog.  Fingers crossed!

So many people have what they need and gifting is a challenge.  I figure I can't go wrong with nice kitchen towels and a little something handmade to personalize it and make it special.  That's just what these two gifts are.  We all use kitchen towels and I'd love to get a gift like one of these.  

As I was searching on Ravelry for ideas, I saw that someone had used the center flower of a pot holder pattern to make a little scrubby.  It was so cute and seemed like the perfect idea for this gift and the person it's going to.  I even had the yarn I needed in my stash.  How cool is that?!

I used Sugar N Cream yarn, a size G hook, and the "Rose Ripple Potholder" pattern.  You can find it on Ravelry by clicking HERE.  I used THIS free leaf pattern to finish it off.

For this set of kitchen towels, I made a couple of dish cloths.  I've made lots of these over the years and I love them.  They work great!  And, they're simple and fun to make and I can make two with a two ounce ball of Sugar N Cream.  I made this pattern up and you can find details on how to make it on my Ravelry project page by clicking HERE.

I'll post other projects when I can, after Christmas.  Other than that, the only things I can think of that I've finished lately are some Kumihimo cords.  They're fun to make and a great use of scraps.  I'll round them up and take some pictures for a future post.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Throwback Thursday - 25 Years!

Since it's Thursday, I thought it would be fun to do a Throwback post...

Hubby and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary last week!  That number seems amazing in several ways.  On one hand, it doesn't seem possible that it could be that long.  On the other hand, 25 seems like a long time and we've experienced and done so many things over those years.  And, these days, it seems like a pretty big deal with so many marriages not making it these days.

When I got married, I felt great about who I was marrying but you never truly know how it will go.  Luckily, for us, it's been better than we ever could have imagined or dreamed.  I remember the pastor that met with us before saying okay to marrying us saying that he noticed we had respect for one another and that it was the secret to a successful marriage.  I think of that often and I really think he's right.  We respect and support one another for our differences.  It also helps that we both love many of the same things and enjoy making life a fun adventure and trying new things.

We're more in love today than we were 25 years ago.  We've had a ton of fun!  I love having him in my life everyday.  And, I'm excited to be partners in adventure for 25 and 25 and 25 more years!

I pulled out our wedding photo album last week to post a few pics on Facebook.  I hadn't looked at in a while and the pictures seemed so different this time.  The hair, the clothes, the differences in how we and others looked then compared to know.  It was funny, sad, weird, and wonderful.  And, oh so 80's with big hair and big puffy sleeves!  lol

I've always loved this photo!  Everything we had to do that day was done and we were dancing and laughing.  And, we're still laughing and having a ton of fun together 25 years later!  I love that!

My dad looked so handsome!  The photographer asked us to look at one another and it put tears in our eyes.  We were trying hard not to cry!  I love my daddy!

The photographer asked my mom and I to look at each other for a photo too.  To keep from crying, we just started laughing.

My brother was in the Navy and didn't come to my wedding.  I'm not sure why because he had about a year of notice.  That just left my parents for a family photo on my side as all of my grandparents passed away when I was little.  My husband's family was pretty large though with his parents, two sisters and their husbands and he still had both sets of grandparents.  It's interesting that so much has changed since then.  His grandparents on his dad's side passed away years ago.  His other grandparents are in their 90's!  And, his sister's husbands in this photo are both no longer in the family.  Both sisters have re-married.  Then, of course, we all look different now.

Two of my best friends were in our wedding and we're all still good friends today.  Our adorable little flower girl is all grown up with a wonderful hubby of her own.

A friend of mine gave me some great advice before the wedding.  She said that something always goes a little wrong or not as planned and that you should just expect it, go with it, and laugh about it.  I kept that in mind and when the flowers arrived that day with some boutonnieres missing and the bouquets looking VERY different than I'd expected.  They were so sparse, with so few flowers.  And, the red in the flowers with the blue ribbons made them look patriotic.  Oh well!  I just figured that's what my friend was talking about, we chuckled about it and moved on.  What else could we have done anyway?  Great advice!

The photographer took photos of hubby and the guys out on the church playground.  They were silly and had fun, as always.  His friend on the left passed away years ago.  He's still great friends with Dave, on the right, and we see him whenever we can.  He's a great guy and always makes us laugh.  Our little ring bearer is not only all grown up but he's in his 30's!  How weird is that?! 

For this milestone, we celebrated with a two week vacation to some awesome places in Utah and Arizona in September.  For the actual day, we exchanged some simple gifts and went out for happy hour and a fun dinner.  My hubby's parents really wanted us to have a party but all of our friends are so spread out geographically and many of them don't even know one another.  So, they surprised us with a gift certificate saying that they want to pay for the hotel for a ski weekend at a place of our choice.  Wow!  So sweet!  Another celebration!  How fun!  :-D

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Chilly Surprise

My daughter was able to come home from college for the entire week of Thanksgiving.  She loved that and so did we.  Even though she had lots of school work and music to work on, we made sure to get out and have some family fun.  One of the things we did was to go for a hike up in the San Jacinto Mountains above Idyllwild.

We started out early and stopped for a delicious and hearty breakfast at the Mountain Center Cafe.  Then, we were off to the ranger station for a trail permit and parking pass.  While we were there we looked at all the fun stuff in their little shopping corner.  We ended up buying some little trail buddies.  I got a little Smokey Bear that I clipped onto my pack.  Isn't he cute?  I love his little hat and jeans!

My daughter got an adorable little owl that got to peek out of her pack for the day.

Hubby got a cute little raccoon but somehow I missed on getting a photo of it.  It was perfect for him as he's always had a 'coon tail on the back of his bike helmet.  In fact, that's how he's recognized at mountain bike races and by other riders because he's had that for so long.  He likes raccoons.

We were amazed at how many cones there are on the Sugar Pines this year!  They're loaded!  There were thousands of them on the ground too.  They're such pretty cones!

It was a beautiful day!  A little chilly but sunny and the trails weren't crowded.

Then...we came along something we didn't expect to see...snow!  We hadn't had much precipitation before that and what we did have was from a warm storm.  So, we didn't think they'd gotten any snow up there.  Hmmm?!

The higher we got, the more there was.  Some sections were a little slick but we could still hike through with caution.  

However, the trail at the top had a lot more snow and lots of ice that made it just too slick and dangerous.  There were tracks from people who'd hiked when it was slushy but it had frozen over into solid ice.  That's just not fun or safe....especially when the trail runs along a drop off!

It sure was pretty!  It was also very cold!  The temperature dropped from about 50 when we started to just above freezing with cold wind.

We were really looking forward to the views up on Tahquitz Peak.  Since we weren't able to get that far, we took advantage of a big flat area with a view and hiked out to see it.  We thought we might be able to warm up a bit in the sun but that wind was just so icy!  

Our daughter hasn't hiked to Tahquitz Peak yet and was so excited to get there.  But, she was impressed with the view from this spot.  On a clear day the Pacific ocean can be seen in the distance.

Looks like we won't be hiking this trail again until next spring.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014


I bought a new throw/blanket lately that we've all fallen in love with!  It's super soft, very warm, and oh so cozy!  Our little Penelope is enjoying it too!  She's so cute!

We like the striped one so much that I went to TJ Maxx and bought another one.
And, you guessed it, she likes that one too!  :-)

All of these photos were taken with my cell phone and I used PhotoGrid to size them for Instagram.  "PhotoGrid" recently started showing up on the corner and I can't figure out how to get rid of it.  My daughter uses PhotoGrid and is able to keep it off her photos by clicking it off at a certain point.  I do that every time but it doesn't work for me.  I even took it off my phone and re-installed it to see if that might work.  Nope.  Sigh.  Oh well.  Does anyone know of another editor/re-sizing app that works great but doesn't do that?  Recommendations would be greatly appreciated.  :-)