Sunday, April 23, 2017

Missing all of you, a shawl and a Little B story........

I just have to say I am missing all of you.  I feel like I have left for an isolated vacation, (one I probably really need in real life) and I am missing our chats over the backyard fence or over a cup of tea.  How are you?  How is your family?  Any news?

I thought I would pop in for a quick hello.  Finding time to do my mindfulness course remains an issue.  I know, then why are you on your blog Meredith?  I can pop out a quick post while Little Buddy is up and about and must save the course for naptime.   I am on week four so hopefully I can take what I can use and store away the rest of the information for when I have a quieter time in my life.  As for this week I had a special appointment with Little B on Monday, a new baby to evaluate on Wednesday, writing up that evaluation and then a bout with the flu/ norovirus/ food poisoning or something like that.  My poor husband had to attend a meeting at school for Little B instead of me as I was flat on my back in bed Friday.  I told him to smile and nod at all the teachers and therapists, they know what they are doing, and have our little ones best interest at heart.

As for Little B, this is almost direct quote from his report.  When asked a question he does not want to answer ( Little Buddy ) will say, "my voice box is not working" and then place his hand over his mouth.  Made you smile didn't I?

My latest shawl is finished.  Do you remember when I recently purchased the yarn above?  Well it made a beautiful shawl.  I had the sudden urge to crochet another South Bay Shawlette with this yarn.  I had already started when I found out a dear friend has breast cancer.  I knew then that this was for her.  She is struggling as we all would be but there is great hope that it can be contained with another surgery and radiation treatments.  I have been through those so I know this is not and easy road.  I hope to be there for her as much as I can and wrap her in my love with this shawl.

Made with Queensland Collection, Sunshine Coast yarn, two skeins totaling 580 yards, and a size I hook.  I plan to give it to her very soon, I hope it helps.

Okay I am out of here.  As for Earth Day Yesterday, I hope you all at least thought about the Earth and what a precarious position it is in these days.  If you want to read the damage that has been done to our Earth and the environment already by our current president this article by the Huffington Post says it all much better than I could.  We are on a dangerous path in so many ways my friends. 

Take Care.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Happy Easter

Happy Easter for all who are celebrating.  Little Buddy and I wish you the very best day.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Popping in for a quick hello......


Saturday we went to a wildlife safari at the nature preserve close by.  It was a nice walk, one Little Buddy did very well. Two years ago when we had this very same adventure he cried the whole time.   This time he only got tired when the path was too sandy.  We took the Aunts with us which made it loads of fun.  We saw turtles, different kinds of birds and feathers, snakes, bats and wee little baby raccoons that have not even opened their eyes yet.  The last photo is just to show you that Little B can have quite the attitude!

I am on week two of my mindfulness course and am finding that making the time or actually finding the time to be mindfull is my biggest obstacle right now.  I hope to get better at recognizing that I can just do it whenever I can.  The meditation portions are the hardest for me to find the time to do but I am working on it.

Wishing you all a wonderful week, see you soon.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Bits and Bobs Baby Blanket and a wee break.....

The Bits and Bobs Baby Blanket is finished.  It took me just over two weeks to make this and frankly ordering that yarn and waiting for it was what took me so long.  I am in LOVE with this blanket.  It was such a joy to make.  First off I forget how wonderful a good cotton yarn can feel like in your hands, add in beautiful colors and it is a win.  My Plymouth Yarn Cleo, the sand color for the border finally arrived on Thursday, I was getting anxious that it was missing because it took so long.  Now remember ordering yarn online and having it delivered feels like you are waiting months for the arrival when it was actually just over a week.  Still other things have arrived here much faster so I was getting worried.  

I ordered six skeins but only used four for the borders and the edging.  I think the sand color works perfectly with the blanket.  I can't seem to get the colors of this blanket photographed the right way.  The darker squares are purple although they are showing up as blue in the photos.  

I was done with all the squares when I found out this new little one will be a girl.  I added a bit of pink to the border to make it a bit more girlish.  I was going for gender neutral up to that point.  I used leftover Berroco Pure Pimo for the squares from stash, Plymouth Yarn Cleo for the borders and edging and a size H hook.  I am estimating 1,300 yards for the blanket, as I can calculate many of the colors I used.   Not a bad stash busting project and a fun one to boot!  The blanket measures 38 x 38 inches, a fun size for a baby.  I had the best time making these squares and finding the perfect arrangement.  I love this blanket, hopefully the new little one will also.  As you know in my family if you are having a baby you are getting a new baby blanket from me whether you want one or not.

Dear Max had a nice bath today.  We aren't fussy here, he got it out by the pool with a hose.  It is hard to bath him these days as he loses his balance easily.  I have to be very careful and give him some support when I am drying him off.  Bless him he still has the kindest eyes in the world.  

I have had a busy week which included a workshop on Mindfulness.  Now friends this is a subject I need a lot more information on.  I am often racing through my life and not being the best I can be.  I have noticed this more and more lately as the news is so horrific.  Everyday there are horrible things happening in the government and the impact of these decisions will be felt for years and years.  My head is always spinning and is not focused and centered when I am at work, or when I am at home with Little Buddy.  There is just to much to do and to think about.  After the introductory course I looked further into the longer course and really think this is a necessity for me right now.  The problem is I have to carve out some space for the course in my already busy life.  I need to be a better Mom, therapist and friend.  I need to be focused on what I am doing right now and not worry about the next patient, car ride, paperwork, school activity, meal, laundry, trip to the store........the list goes on and on.  The online course I am taking is located here.  Other great courses, some of them free, can be found here.  So because of that I will be spending less time on this blog of mine for the next eight weeks.  I won't be gone forever and certainly not going anywhere for good.  I just have so much time in my day and it gets eaten up pretty quick.

When I think about how precious this space is to me I feel sad I won't be as present here.  Sort of like I am in middle school and can't keep up with all the cool kids.  You are all the cool kids by the way.  What will I miss out on?  So if you don't see me here know I am only a comment or email away.  I can always be reached if you have news to share or a question to ask.  Remember if I can't visit it isn't that I don't care, it is just that being mindful takes a lot of time!

No worries on missing this guy.  I will definitely keep you up on his news.  He was busy dusting for me today, you can imagine how well that went!

As for my lovely friend asking about the alpaca farm in North Carolina.  You can find them here at Skyvue Ranch Alpacas and Fiber Shop.  It is worth the visit, the owners are lovely and so caring about their alpacas. 

See you all soon.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

A shawl for a friend......

Last weekend I met a good friend for lunch and to see Beauty and the Beast.  Wonderful movie by the way but a bit scary for the littles I think.  Anyway as so often happens in life my friend is having a difficult time.  Marriage is not for the faint of heart is it?  It can be a very rough road for many.  Even after 30 years she is not in a safe spot.  I cried with her as she told me what is happening.  Not that all men are horrible but a pretty big percentage of them are, and sure think mainly of themselves and their own needs.  After 30 years of putting herself way down the list she finds that it may not have been worth it.  She cried, I cried and all I wanted to do was hug her forever and tell her she is not alone.  Now I know that is not practical so I did the next best thing, I came home and started a shawl for her.

I saw this pattern on Pinterest where you can find a photo of the shawl and a schematic of the motif.  I was unable to print out that portion of the pattern, so I drew it up for myself.   Keep in mind this is not my pattern, I am no designer, but I thought I would share it with you in case you wanted to make it yourself.

Each little motif is fast to make.  I am a bit of a nutter so I sewed in my ends after each row.  It helped me remember where I was if I put it down in the middle of a row.  Instead of a chain 8 for the start I did a chain 6, it worked better for me.  I also hdc into the first round instead of a sc, I am not sure why I just did.

At the top of the shawl I made these triangles to fill in the gaps so the top would be straight across.  This is my interpretation of what I thought the pattern would be.  Sorry if you follow this and I was wrong,  If you decide to make this pattern just let me know if I did not make sense with these pictures and I will help you out as much as I can.

Here is a good photo of how the motifs join together.  I did a hdc border around the entire shawl to give it a little stability.  I would have gone around again if I had enough yarn but had to settle for two rows of hdc at the top of the shawl and one row around the sides.  This really is a super easy pattern that requires little thought once you get going. 

I used Cascade Yarns Tangier yarn for the project from my stash.  A little over 2 skeins were used so approximately 550 yards of yarn.  I also used a size H hook, but any yarn and hook would work with this pattern.  The thinner the yarn the more motifs you have to make, thus the more yarn you will need.  It needs a good blocking to get those little motifs straight, so if you make it remember that you aren't doing it wrong, it just looks wonky until it is blocked.

I intend to drop this off on her porch tomorrow and she will have a surprise when she gets home.  I hope my friend likes it and knows that with each stitch I was sending her a little prayer for peace in her life no matter how things turn out.  Don't we all just want a bit of peace?

As for the politics of this week, well I am again stunned by the Russian involvement, all of the lies, and the bullying that went on to get the ACA overturned and Trumpcare installed.  I wrote to my representatives about the changes in Medicaid that would affect Little Buddy and got a pathetic response.  Just so you know the ACA has not been a disaster as it has been represented.  And further cuts to Medicaid and Medicare would be devastating to so many millions of people.  Little Buddy is at the top of that list.  I am not a wealthy woman, I cannot afford his therapies and specialists.  That was one of the reasons we could adopt him, the state is supposed to take care of his medically complex needs.  Read the facts about these issues before you listen to crazy news.  Thank goodness the Bill got pulled but make no mistake this is not over.  The ACA needs some fixing, that has been known for a long time.  Why not take something that is already working and change it for the better?  That makes more sense to me.  I am so puzzled why this party in charge is so against helping people.  And yes sometimes helping people by providing something for them backfires and people take advantage, but a lot more times it helps people get on their feet again or just plain survive.

As for those of you who do not live in the US, March Madness is the basketball tournament that the elite college programs play in to find the champion of them all.  The Badgers are the University of Wisconsin and that is where many of my in-laws went to school.  Little B has been provided many a Badger shirt by this part of my family.  It is fun to watch the tournament, well that is until the team you are rooting for loses.  I am talking to you Kansas Jayhawks!

Have a good week.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Lip Balm and someone is in trouble.......

My lovely friend Deborah at Araignee's Tangled Web makes the most wonderful soap and lotion bars.  I have a few here at my house and they are gorgeous.  Well a while back she wrote on her blog that she also makes lip balm.  Really?  I mean I LOVE lip balm.  I am actually a lip balm freak.  See these are the things you don't know about me.  She most graciously had a tutorial on her blog about how to make this wonderful lip balm, you can find the link here.  As soon as I saw her post I went to the online store that Deb orders her supplies from which you can find at Wholesale Supplies Plus.  I ordered Shea Butter, Candelilla Wax, Beeswax, mica for color and 12 little containers for the balm.  My supplies arrived really fast, actually getting to my house on Tuesday.  I was way too busy with paperwork on Tuesday, and working on Wednesday to make my balm, but I had time today.

I printed out the directions from Deb's post and got busy.  Can I tell you that this was just the easiest thing imaginable?  Now that is not to say I did things perfectly, I did not but it was still so much fun.  I used Shea Butter instead of the Almond Butter suggested by Debbie.  I was afraid the almond butter would have a flavor, silly I know.  I heated up my ingredients, melting it slowly in a jar that was in a pan of heated water.  I added a few drops of vanilla and a tiny bit of pink mica.  I poured it into my six little containers and watched it harden.  I tell you I was so excited.

It looks so pink here in its liquid stage but it really wasn't pink at all.  I pored a bit out of each container to fill up number six and make them all even.  Well that just left a rim of balm around the edges that I did not like at all.  

Above you can see the rim forming as the balm solidifies.   Besides my lip balm and toilet paper obsession I have to admit I am a bit obsessive to get things right.  I HATE to be wrong, just ask my sister.  And when I feel like I can do better I obsess until I do it again.  I went to pick up Little Buddy at school, more of that story in a bit, came home took the balm out of the containers and remelted it.  This time I added about 10 drops of  100%  pure peppermint essential oil, a few drops of pure vanilla, and about 1/2 teaspoon of agave to give it a sweeter flavor.  I put in more mica, this time red the other color I ordered, and heated it all back up again.

Look it is done!  I am loving the way it looks and the red gives your lips just the faintest, faintest hint of color.  I should have added more color but live and learn.  I am not going to make another batch until this is gone, I am making myself behave.  Yet all I want to do it make lip balm now.  Maybe if I give it all away I can make more tomorrow!  I need to order more containers, how about little metal tins next time, and some flavored oils.  I see a watermelon mint lip balm in my future.  Please visit Araignee's Tangled Web to see the tutorial on making lip balm, and to see her weaving, knitting, soap making, cross stitch, spinning, I know it sort of makes me crazy how good she is at everything.

As for Little Buddy, well he is in the dog house.  Never a good thing when you arrive at school and the teacher takes you aside and says she had trouble today.  Apparently my darling was ramming the boy ahead of him in line with his walker.  And after being told to stop, he did not.  He had to sit by himself at lunch as he was doing this on the way to the cafeteria and again on the way back to the class.  He missed 5 minutes of playground time, too.  When I asked him what happened he covered his mouth and told me he was not talking, and then growled at me because he was mad!  So he is napping and I think I have sprouted a few more gray hairs.  This boy makes me laugh and infuriates me all at the sametime.  Typical little boy.  And as the saying goes, Thank God He Is Cute!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Bits and Bobs Baby Blanket...............

Sorry I have not been visiting lately I have a severe case of granny square-itis.  I cannot stop making these squares.  Actually 25 were made in just 3 days.  I am in love with this blanket so far.  It reminds me of a quilt made with extra bits of fabric.  I am obsessed.  I talk to Little Buddy while making a square.  I watch TV or read the paper while making a square.  I even made a square while Little B was in the tub last night.

My original thought was to have a gray background.  When I looked at the Berroco Modern Cotton, bought for this purpose, it just was not right.  The yarn is twisted a different way.  My old, old Berroco Pure Pima has a distinct shape, it is crisp, not puffy.  I have almost run out of my old Berroco stash and the blanket is far from being done.  Of course I have had these bits of yarn forever so there is no way to track down more of this discontinued yarn.  I did my internet search this morning.  I used these bits and bobs to make this flower shawl, way back in 2011.

After some research I think my best bet as a substitute is Plymouth Yarn, Cleo.  It  is a nice yarn that will make a great background.  I ordered the color that looks like sand.  With the warmer tones of the orange and yellow I have to go in this direction, gray just won't cut it.  I am completely impatient for the new yarn to arrive.  I want this blanket done right this second.  

Someone is back to his old self again.  There are a few coughs here and there, but he is on the mend.  He is supporting his Badger aunts and cousins by wearing this shirt today,  The badgers beat #1 ranked Villanova yesterday.  March Madness continues full force in my house.