Monday, April 24, 2017

Mandala Monday





I have discovered, rather than being upset I have a really tangled skein of yarn I want untangled NOW, to relax. Put on a show and slowly make my way through all the in's and out's of the tangles. Sort of like life. If I pull and push and rush, it only gets worse and takes longer to unravel. 

Life is like that. The more we push and pull at the 'tangles' in our lives, the harder it is to get past them. I'm taking the slow road.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Week(s) In Review - April 9 - 22

With Easter last Sunday, and plans all of a sudden for brunch with friends, I skipped last weeks review. So it's double duty today.


But to back up a week, Savvy and I ate an early lunch of pho with a friend who kindly made it for us. It is an involved process, but I love all the spices. But not in my soup. While it is good, and I can see why people go crazy for it, pho just isn't going to become one of my go-to recipes. But Savvy adored it. So yes, I'll probably make it in the future, just not for me alone.

Soccer started for Lady K and she is on the 'orange' team with her coach from the fall - Coach Diego. I would rather try to herd cats than be a coach, especially for such little ones. Bless those who do!

Savvy was on vacation for the first week I am playing catch-up with. However, she was a bride's maid and had a couple of days of wedding activities to attend. CJ was about over being social by the end. 

And speaking of CJ, he had a birthday this past week. He's not into all the hoopla, so Lady K delivered a card and gift certificate to him, played with his Hot Wheels Dragon he got for Easter, and we all departed, leaving him to his computer games.

For myself, another change to my work schedule. With all the meeting we are having with various doctors and therapists for Lady K's sensitivity issues, my last three Fridays at the library are now vacation days. And can I say wonderful!

This past Friday was my first one. With me being off, Texter was able to spend the day at the fairgrounds for Helena College Day, assisting the head of her department at their table. I got Lady K to her therapist appointment and back to 'school' for nap time and show and tell in the afternoon. I did manage to sneak in coffee (or rather hot chocolate) with a friend in the morning.

I did manage to get in a couple of walks over the past couple of weeks. Yesterday, I took Lady K out for a walk. 


As everyone knows, a walking stick is very important on a walk. However, if you are a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, you have to store it somewhere. Like Michelangelo.


It's hard to tell, but around her head is a hair band. Worn backwards. It's blue. Like Leonardo. 

But we have had some concerns recently about her ability to walk far. She has been getting a ways and then wanting to be carried because 'her legs hurt'. I mentioned last week she needs to walk more because we are going on a hike to a cave in a few weeks (it's two miles).

So yesterday, getting her out of Texter's hair so she can study, we walked around the lake, which is about a mile and up and back to the wildlife center. So probably about 1.5 miles.


This is how she 'walked'...running up ahead and taunting me to 'catch her'. Nothing wrong with those legs!

Another cooking related item - sourdough. It seems I can't create my own sourdough very well. But I can keep it alive just fine. The past couple of days has seen me making a Cinnamon-Raisin Bread, but with pecan strudel and raisins instead. 


And it makes great french toast!


And a recipe of Extra Tangy Sourdough loaves.  both recipes are from King Arthur Flour. However, in my zeal, no after-baking pictures occurred.  The Raisin bread is almost gone. One of the loaves went home with Texter's study buddy on Saturday. Not as 'tangy' a taste as I thought, but pretty good. Didn't brown like I expected either. More work is needed.

On the fiber front, I have been knitting daily, mainly because I am spurred on by the #100dayproject. I was doing a rotation of some of my projects and at the end of the week, just concentrated on 'To Eyre', a little shawl/capelet.


I want to make this one again, for me, in the larger size. But this one has gone to Savvy to throw over her shoulders at work. It has enough shaping to 'hang on'  without falling off.

As I was finishing up on this item, Mason-Dixon Knitting started a KAL for the Colorwash Scarf. I had a couple of skeins in my stash which I think will work nicely and decided to join in.


The first ball I was able to wind into a nice, neat ball easily. The second one...

Well, you can see my issue. I still have at least 200 yards left to untangle. I think a swift and ball winder are on my 'need' list now!

But it is suppose to be a cool, rainy Sunday, so some watching of TV and careful untangling is in my forecast.

So this coming week...

  • Starting the Colorwash Scarf
  • Starting pumpkin seeds indoors
  • Transplanting larger seedlings
  • More walking!
  • Another Friday off work!

Off to get more coffee and to think about the TON of laundry I need to get through today.




Friday, April 21, 2017

First Friday Off! And Some Knitting

This will be my first Friday off in ages! 

Due to scheduling issues (which is one reason I am 'retiring' officially), I have taken the last three Fridays off before I leave.

To give you and idea of my day...

Leave the house about 7:30 a.m. to take Lady K to 'school' and Savvy to work. Swing by and pick up some flours (all-purpose and wheat) for bread making later in the day. Stop for coffee with a friend. Pick up Lady K about 10:40 a.m. to take to therapy session and then an hour later, after feeding her a snack, back to daycare. Friday is show and tell day and she hates missing it. She starts asking on Monday if it's show-and-tell.

Then home for lunch for myself, mixing up a batch (or two) of sour dough bread and then sitting down to knit on the "To Eyre" shawl.


Actually, I have more done than this. I am on the 'downhill' side of this shawl and have been working on it rather than doing my rotation for the #100dayproject.  I should have it finished today!

But...



It's a Colorwash Scarf where you are blending two colors (or you can just use one) for the scarf. And I just happen to have two unclaimed skeins of yarn in the stash. They are 85% wool and %15 mulberry silk.

Can you say so soft and squishy!


And while they are so very different, there is a bit of pink through both skeins. And because you are alternating colors as you knit, I think it will make a nice combination of dark and light.

So...

I really need a ball winder!

My goal is to finish up "To Eyre" and start on this Colorwash Scarf today. All the while bread is rising and baking. Before I have to pick up Lady K from school.

I love Fridays!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Mandala Monday - A Blast from the Past


I was too busy cleaning, cooking, binge watching Dr. Who Season 9, and knitting to do either a weekly review or create a new mandala. 

So here is one from 3 years ago - Thistles!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

100 Day Challenge Wrap-Up


Has it really been 100 days?

Where did they go?



So my goals for the 100 days, were not physically tough (for the most part), but more mentally tough. Basically, it was going back into the Temple of Fire and seeing what could be salvaged.



  1. Get back into the house and pull out what fabrics and fibers I can.
  2. Check them and see what can be salvaged and throw away what can't be (too smokey).
  3. Reevaluate my 'stash' of fibers and fabrics to see exactly where I stand.






Last Tuesday Texter and I went back into the house and pulled out the last of the items which we felt were worth salvaging.  Fortunately, I had 'organized' prior to the fire and moved a lot of items down into the basement, which was relatively untouched. So I have several bins (probably way too many for CJ to understand) of fabric and fibers which survived.

I have also been knitting like crazy. I started the #100dayproject  and have been happily knitting along on a rotation which will (hopefully) get me through several projects I have started (and still more in the wings).

I haven't gotten into the fabric, but have plans for some project bags once May 5 rolls around and I am no longer working. I can't leave sewing out (no where to keep it out), so I have to set it up, sew, and put it all back up. So no big projects!

I think the major benefit of this 100 day challenge was allowing me to focus on 'pieces' or 'steps' rather than the overall, overwhelming, thought of walking back into the house. And we won't discuss my books which are a loss.

But it is nice to know quilt tops in the works are ok. My Judy Niemeyer stash of patterns and fabrics ready for massive paper piecing work are all ok. The art quilts I was in the process of designing and working on are ok. Lots of my stash are hunky-dory.

We are now settled in a rental until May, 2018 when I can put all these bins in a moving truck and head back to North Carolina. 


Monday, April 10, 2017

"Spicy" Mandala Monday


I'm too old to be a Spice Girl. But I would love to be considered a 'spicy' woman!

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Week In Review - April 2 - 8

It's been a busy week, but overall, a good one.


It started with an event at the library for National Letter Writing Month. The workshop went well with 6 people showing up, happily writing letters and spending the entire two hours there.  The 30th will be a 'closing' workshop for the month.

Monday had me meeting up with Miss Oklahoma and doing some planning on where I wanted to go once my time at the library was up. And drinking some great General Merc hot chocolate. I'll use any excuse!

Tuesday was a day trip to visit Freezeout Lake and Catarac Falls. Details of the wonderful day are here.

Tuesday was also the kick-off for the #100dayproject. And I am happy to say I am doing well, getting in a little bit of knitting daily. Saturday was a really good day and made some real progress on my "To Eyre" Shawl. I need to get it done because Savvy can use it at work. Today "Trout Creek" is up for some loving.


Hopefully I will be through the larger color eyelet stripes by the end of the day.

Thursday was the Queen City Writer's Roundtable. We talked about 'world creation' with regard to our novels and how important it is to figure out some of the tiny details to make your world believable. Not sure how the Roundtable is going to continue once I leave the library.

Saturday had Lady K up early, pulling items for her 'breakfast'.


So bologna and cheese might not be a typical breakfast, but it worked for her.

Then it was gather up a half a brisket (the other half had cooked in the crock pot on Friday for sandwiches over the next few days) and go over to Miss Oklahoma's house for her to show me how to make pho.


The spices alone were enough to make me long for a good Asian market nearby. That cinnamon looks like 'real' cinnamon should and not the 'pretty' sticks you get in a jar at the grocery store.


One of the two pots going to make the broth. And before we added the roasted ginger and onions and the brisket. It seems I just might have to get another large pot if it turns out we really like pho. 

Miss Oklahoma and I sat and plotted and planned, admiring fabric we each had. I am getting ready to work on some project bags for me (and maybe to sell some?) and she is working on the cutest "T" dresses for little girls and a square dance dress. Yes, there are still square dance gatherings!

Otherwise...

  • Finished 4 books
  • Wrote 4 posts
  • Walked 65% of my goal steps
  • Set my April goals
  • Attended the orchid society's repotting meeting and getting a couple of orchids repotted and one huge one divided and repotted, plus gaining 3 new baby orchids.

This week...

  • Continue plugging away on the #100dayproject and my knitting
  • Start Lady K's soccer for the spring
  • Eat pho for the first time with Savvy in tow
  • Get the last of the 'stuff' out of the Temple of Fire
  • Transplant some seedlings. Hopefully, I can remember what some of them are! (I failed at labeling this year.)

Now, onto more coffee and some knitting before 'pho' time.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

#100dayproject

jj

I stumbled across the #100dayproject via a couple of different blogs and decided to join in. After all, who can't use a little nudge in the right direction?

And while it started on the day I took the first of many day trips, I managed to bring along some knitting, which is what I am concentrating on for the 100 days. And since I have only 29 more days of work, I should be able to really crank out some knitting - sitting in the yard and watching Lady K play in the sandbox.


These are the first four knitting projects I am concentrating on. I have a rotation set up, with a project on different days to work on. So hopefully I will be knocking out some FO (finished objects) between now and July 12. As I finish an item, I'll pull out another knitting project. My goal is to knit at least a round on each item on it's 'day'. 

It's not too late to pick out something you want to work on for 100 days and join in, posting pictures on instagram with the #100dayproject and, in my case, #100daysofknitting.

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Upon which two zebras...

embarked upon a trip around Montana.

So what do you do when you are two, youthful-in-your-mind-but-actually-50-something, women and you decide exploring Montana is just the thing to do? And one of the places you want to visit right off warns about bears?

You buy bear spray and bear bells to fend them off. 

Or, in my case, you just plan on being the 'fastest zebra'.

As part of my final year in Montana, my goal is to see as much of the state as possible. Fun day trips on the back roads. And I have the perfect companion, one who doesn't mind driving while I take 300 plus pictures! (You can find them on my Facebook page under Albums.)

On Tuesday, we packed our picnic lunch (zebras need feeding!) and headed off into the sunny, but cool, Montana backroads. Our plan was to visit Freezeout Lake and see the tail end of the bird migration (my 3rd or 4th trip, Orange Zebra's 1st) and then Catarac Falls (easy hike, but possible bears).

By the way, I'm Purple Zebra.

Anyway, Orange Zebra knew most of the roads, having traveled them going between the branch libraries at one time. So, lunch packed and stowed, off we went!


This little guy greeted us as we entered Freezeout Lake. (We saw bluebirds later in the day, but they wouldn't hold still and I have pictures of blue blurs.)

It is the end of the spring migration and there were a few trumpet swans, a few ducks and a couple of large groups of snow geese still on the water.


A sight like this made the nippy breeze and few birds worth it. Trumpet swans flying in, with the mountains and blue sky framing them.

While we were walking down by the lake to observe the birds, we met up with a woman photographer who clued us in on a real treat. 

A nesting Great Horned Owl in a tree, just up the road a bit. And a convenient place it was too! So we  weren't tramping through brush and creating all kinds of commotion. We simply pulled up and got out of the car and there she was!


See her 'horns' sticking up over the edge of the nest? Orange Zebra did 'hoot' at her and she made a nasty 'hoot' back. Apparently, she wasn't impressed with Zebras.

But she isn't a single mom.


A few minutes later, driving by the other end of the lake, we found daddy out hunting for lunch nearby. (By the way, that line of white on the lake - snow geese.) We sat and watched him dip and soar, looking for little four legged critters to take home to munch on.

Having been given the 'bird', the two zebras headed on down the road to find a waterfall.


It was terrible, having to drive through scenery like this! 

We never made it all the way down the road to the falls. First off, we didn't go down far enough. Secondly, it was still a bit muddy and the creek which we would have to cross was running a bit high. So while we didn't see the falls, we will be back!


The Two Zebras have plans for many more day trips over the next year. Some will include dragging people along as tour guides (we found a friend who knows the falls and took note of her day off!) Lady K and Texter will ride along this summer on the Two Zebra adventures too.

And while we didn't see a bear...


it was a 'deer' trip!
SaveSave

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

April Goals Bring May 'Finals'

So one more month! 

May 5th is my last day at work at the library. While I will miss handling books and chatting with the patrons, I have a long list of patrons to actually do things with once I quit working! I can attend the Wednesday afternoon knitting group (who are warming my chair up already). I have a personal invitation for all the genealogy help I want or need. Exciting!

But as far as my March goals went:

  • Year of Techniques book and yarn for March  I love Mason-Dixon Knitting and have been wanting to give Zauberballs a try. So arm warmers are our first project to showcase helical stripes. - nope, didn't finish them and the April technique was just released. Sigh.
  • I haven't forgotten my Hadley sweater. I didn't 'bang-it-out' in February, but I did finish up to the stopping point to start the sleeves by the end of the month. So March will be finishing up Hadley. - Didn't touch it except to move it from the living room into the bedroom.
  • My Yarn Quest scarf for Texter and myself are on the 'mindful' knitting pile. In other words, I have to concentrate on the pattern, but hopefully will get hers done in March. - hahahaha.....Not happy with the contrast of the yarns. Will have to retrench and think about it and get busy on it.
  • Flesh out and clean up my first chapter to submit to MisCon for critique by the end of the month. - nope, hasn't happened.
  • Work up my Writer's Roundtable handouts for World Creation for April. - hahaha - so busy at work haven't gotten any off-desk time to work and it and at home...please!
Personally, I am just grateful I made it through March intact!

Lady K's tonsils out was an ordeal. She made it through fine, which is more than can be said for Texter and I. Work has been crazy with people out due to surgery and a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

Totally stressed in March until I sat down and talked with Savvy and Texter who were two thumbs up each for quitting my job at the library. Juggling schedules for work/school and housework were killing me. Not to mention the demands of a four year old on 'grandma'.

So for April...

Concentrate and finish a couple of knitting projects. My selection to choose from:


  • Hadley
  • Dangling Conversation (can't wait to use beads!)
  • Helix Stripes Armwarmers
  • Vanilla Socks
  • Trout Creek Shawl
  • To Eyre Shawl
  • Yarn Quest Scarf
Another goal - and this one a biggie -

NO SPENDING! 

Ok, I blew it already in April by going to the Craft Fair, but I'm supporting local crafters (are you buying that?)

No more big craft purchases! 

Fortunately, I have an ally in this endeavor who is currently unemployed and watching her bottom line. So we shall see. She's cut out sugar, so I'm not sure I really trust her judgement these days. 

Come on April. Bring warmer days so Lady K can play outside and her strawberries can grow. And Grandma can look forward to being home full-time!

Monday, April 03, 2017

Mandala Monday - Colors


The colors live a remarkable life of their own after they have been applied to the canvas.


- Edward Munch



Growing up, my mother steered me toward 'safe' colors to wear - navy being the predominant one. Now, is I get ready to turn 60, colors are flowing. My purple hair being the one most people notice. And you know what? I have only received compliments, not ridicule. Long live color!

Sunday, April 02, 2017

Week In Review - March 26 - April 1

It has been a 'wild' week to say the least. Big decision was made...

I am leaving my job at the library! I handed in my notice and it looks like May 5 will be my last day.

I had already let them know I would be leaving next year due to us moving back to North Carolina. However, recent events are proving that juggling my work schedule (part-time that it is) and Texter's school schedule (which will only get worse her last two semesters), not to mention the housework and cooking and all that 'other' stuff is...well, way too much.

I have to say I was a bit worried the girls would be 'no, you can't quit. you need the extra money and insurance'. When in fact they said, 'great idea. we'll get it figured out!'

So now I feel 100 pounds lighter and sleeping a bit better now I know part of what causes me stress is out of the way.

In the meantime...


We celebrated Lady K's fourth birthday with a trip to Billings, Montana and the zoo and the mall. Build-A-Bear is a little richer for it.

Texter's Spring Break was filled with homework. Not much of a break for her. However, I babysat on Saturday while she helped a friend at a local craft fair. Of which, Lady K and I attended.


Among my purchases was this little stone guy for Savvy (maybe). And a few other stones...


And a pair of earrings made by a local Native American artist...


Now I want my ears pierced with a second hole. I don't want to take out my sapphire studs to wear these. But I did take note when I was going through my pictures...


hmmm...do I see a trend in colors here?

And I'm not pulling out 2-3 pairs of Lularoe tights in similar colors!

But my prize purchase at the fair...


A wooden seam ripper and awl!

The ends are removable and flip to tuck into the wooden base. How cool!
The wood is maple and hopefully I can hang onto this seam ripper.

And while this past week has been up and down and back again, hopefully the coming week will mellow out some.

For the coming week...

  • Lead a National Card and Letter Writing Kick-off at the library (for which I am very unprepared for)
  • Lead another Writer's Roundtable (and will hopefully be more prepared)
  • Go to an Orchid Society meeting where we will be repotting plants 
  • A day trip to Freezeout Lake and Cataract Falls and hopefully, no bears!
  • Learn to cook pho from my day tripping buddy! (Only if we didn't have to prove who was fastest zebra from the bears.)
  • Continue work on several fiber projects
  • Write! It's Camp NaNoWriMo and I haven't even put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard)!

Off for more coffee and to stir the pot of spaghetti sauce!

Friday, March 31, 2017

And Then There's 35...

or rather on 22 actual work days left for me at the library.

We had a meeting with the group which is coordinating treatment for Lady K's sensitivity issues. And in the course of the discussion, our weekly occupational therapist session now has a couple more therapist appointments in the course of a week/bi-weekly time frame.

AND...

Adding to that, Texter will have a really heavy load her final two semesters at school.

Therefore, I moved up my 'departure' from the library by...

About a year!

After talking to Savvy and Texter (who are behind it 200%), I felt like a giant weight lifted off my shoulders. I don't have to worry about juggling schedules between my work and Texter's school. If Lady K gets sick and can't go to daycare, I can watch her - no problem. Housework and meals can be organized and accomplished. We can explore Montana this summer before we leave next year.

I can have ME time!

And speaking of me time...


No, I haven't been reduced to being a bag lady. However, these are four of the many projects I have in the works. And it made me realize...

I need project bags! Nicely made ones! I have scraps! I need to make project bags!

And so another 'to-do' added to my growing list.


From left to right, Trout Creek Shawl (my all-Montana shawl), Vanilla Socks, 'To Eyre' Shawl (which was a monthly kit from Kitterly.com and the Helix Stripe Handwarmers from A Year of Techniques on Mason-Dixon knitting.  This doesn't include the 1/2 finished sweater I set aside. Or the shawl (with beads) which starts a KAL tomorrow. Or the other dozen knitting projects I have in the closet.

Or sewing...

Most of my sewing/quilting made it out ok. I still can't locate the patterns I ordered from Australia, but will have to see if I can't locate them in my stuff one day.

And...

The serger I was given, but don't really know how to operate. As it turns out, a friend KNOWS sergers! And so I will be getting serger tutorials from her this next year. 

And I have my basic Singer sewing machine which will do ok for most of what I want to do. It's fine except for the bobbin. You have to take the machine apart and stand on your head to change the bobbin and it's a 'beginner' machine. Go figure.

So the summer will be filled with swim lessons and exploring Montana. Picnics and strolls. Playing in the yard. Then in the fall I will have tons of time for not only keeping up on housework and meals, but time for me! The spring will be tying up loose ends, packing and preparing for the 2200 miles back to North Carolina and a new house.

Did I mention I needed project bags?

Friday, March 24, 2017

Four Years Ago...


Four years ago Lady K arrived in our lives.

And in true Lady K style, couldn't wait until we actually arrived at our designation, but came the day before we would have arrived.


We were semi-prepared for a delivery on the way, but it took some luggage rearranging to find the diapers and clothes and bottles we had packed for the trip.


The blanket she is in...one I had made for Savvy which Texter claimed when she came along. There has been a bit of mending on it over the past 26 years, but it is still around. (And survived the fire.)

Now that head is covered in curly blonde hair. And the brain underneath it is going 24/7. We have singing and laughing and meltdowns. Sometimes all within minutes of each other.

There is a very definite personality at age 4 and she isn't afraid to let you know it.

But this weekend we are celebrating her birthday with a weekend trip to Billings and the zoo and the mall. And in true genetic breeding, she has asked to go to the bookstore! (Ok..so she gets a free cookie at Barnes and Noble, but it's still going to the bookstore!)

The past four years has been a wild ride on many fronts. A 2400 mile move away from the part of the country her mother was raised in. A divorce. Going to 'school' and learning. Some sensitivity and immune issues diagnosed and being worked on. A devastating fire.

But through it all, her mother has held on and protected her. Aunt Savvy and Uncle CJ there to lend a hand. Grandparents from the other side of the country ready to help out when and were they can.

And for her fifth birthday next year, her 'school' will be almost over with, as will her mother's. Then we will reverse directions and head back to North Carolina.

Yep, for her short life, it has been a wild ride!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Sometimes You Just Have to "Frog" It


This isn't my first foray into sock knitting. But I am wanting handmade socks! 

I have been watching several YouTube podcasters and so, so, so want to knit socks. (It's also an excuse to buy yummy yarns!)

The one pair I finished was a worseted weight yarn sock, more of a slipper than a sock. And the other pair...well, never made it past the single sock.

In neither pair do I remember heels being difficult.

This pattern calls for a German Short Row heel. Ok, a few videos later and I'm in. But the 'love' wasn't there. Holes in the 'seam' were, but not loving it. And I realized, while I could carry on and no one would be the wiser, I would know. And not be happy every time I put on the sock, knowing I didn't like the heel of at least one sock. 


So I ripped out the offending heel. 

Now I have to go back and pick up a few dropped stitches and 'clean up' my fit of ripping out. And give 'fish-lips' a try. (Yes, I could have done a more careful ripping out, but...well...I didn't.)

When the lighting is better, I'll go make sure I have all 64 stitches accounted for and resume my foray into sock knitting.

But life is like that. Sometimes you just have to rip out the offending part and start over again to make it better. Sometimes you can live with the mistakes and other times, it's a do-over. 

Luckily, this time it's just a sock.