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Thursday, October 27, 2011

It's Cold!

Hello Everyone!  It's cold here in the northwest!  Tuesday and Wednesday mornings were in the upper teens and today was 22 on our back deck.  The weatherman said it was warmer than that, but we always seem to get colder temps and more snow in our area.

A friend dropped off 2 boxes and a bag full of old, old, old knitting magazines.  I picked through and chose about 8 to keep.  She has someone else that wants to look at them too.  It was so much fun to look at the patterns from the 70's and 80's.  And the hair!!!  Oh my!  What were we thinking?  I imagine that will be what people say in 20 years when they look at pictures we're taking now.

This is what I did this morning.


We have Bible Study at our house tonight and although we usually don't have snacks, just coffee and tea, I decided that the cold weather dictated some yummy muffins.  Then I realized that it's Cheryl's birthday today, so it is very appropriate to have baked goodies.  Right?  These are chocolate/peanut butter chip muffins.  The filling is chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, cream cheese and sugar. In other words, no calories at all! :-)

I finished this set on Tuesday evening.  I think I've made 6 or so of these sets this year.  I like the flower on the hat.  Every flower I put on the girls hats are different because I can't remember what I did before!  It is chocolate brown and pink, made from Caron's Simply Soft yarn.

And this, this is my dear friend "V".  I visit her a couple of times a week and I love her to pieces.  I used to help care for her and her husband who has now passed away.  She calls me her "knitting angel" because she has Alzheimers and can't remember names.  She knows who I am though and I love her like a mother.  My Mom died when I was 29 years old. "V" is within 2 weeks of the age my own Mom would have been had she lived.  Maybe that's why I care so much for her.  One of the aides took this picture for me on Tuesday.

Now I'm working on a hat and scarf for myself.  Now that's a shocker.  I hardly every keep anything for myself but decided to make some cold weather things for myself.  I'll post pictures when I can.

Alex has recieved yet another box of hats, baby items and mittens for the people in Japan.  Thank you all for the support you have shown this project.  He apologizes for not distributing the last 3 boxes he's recieved.  He's been very ill with a flu-like illness and has not been able to get out. He's much better now and will get the items to their new owners as soon as possible.

Here's a verse from a song that's been repeating itself over and over in my head all week long.  It's from the song "Hosanna" by Hillsong. I hope it means something to you too.

Heal my heart and make it clean.
Open up my eyes to the things unseen.
Show me how to love like You have loved  me.
Break my heart for what breaks Yours,
Everthing I am for Your Kingdoms cause,
As I walk from earth into eternity.

I do want my heart to break for what breaks my Lords' heart and I want to be His hands and feet while I walk on this earth.  Let me know your thoughts on this if you would like to share.

Have a wonderful day everyone.

Blesssings,

Betsy

Monday, October 24, 2011

Busy Monday

It's been a busy day today.  I got up bright and early this morning and painted the bathroom off of our bedroom.  I painted the bedrooom itself about a year ago and just kept putting off the bathroom.  I have no idea why.  It only took about 3 1/2 hours for the entire job and looks pretty good if I do say so myself! :-)


I had painted the sink area and closet when I did the bedroom, but just never did the shower/toilet area.  I have no excuse, I just didn't do it.  But I sure like it now.  The color is a dark vanilla but looks pretty light in the pictures.

This sweater/hat/sockie set was my weekend project.  I need to get my gift closet stocked back up.  So far I've got three rainbow blankets done, this sweater set and I have the booties done on a girly set, with the matching hat on the needles.


I thought I should take some pictures of my geraniums today since the next 3 days are supposed to be below 20 degrees outside.  I'm sure that will be the kiss of death to them and they're looking so beautiful these days.  I really detest winter and I just keep thanking God for every day without snow.  We've had snow for Halloween many times and I just hope that doesn't happen this year.

I worked for about three hours today on my "talk" for the ladies retreat next month in Helena, MT.  It's supposed to be about the difference even one person can make and they want me to focus a lot on the Japan trip and the charity groups I'm involved with online.  Everyone has something they can do and it just takes some figuring out what you can do to help someone else.

It was a busy weekend here at the Queen household.  Saturday morning was "craft day".  A group of ladies come over and knit, crochet, latchhook and cross-stitch.  We visit and eat goodies and just have a great time.  Kind of like the "sewing circles" of the olden days.

Saturday afternoon was yard work and my wonderful husband let me go yarn shopping!  Michaels was having a wonderful sale on a lot of yarns I use and I also had a coupon for 25% off regular and sale priced items.  I ended up getting $156.00 worth of yarn for $85.00!!!!  What a deal.  I shouldn't have to buy yarn for a long time.

Yesterday was church in the morning and evening and lunch at Olive Garden with friends.  We also attended a memorial service in the afternoon for a wonderful lady from church.  She'll be missed by many but to know she's at peace with no pain now is a wonderful thing.

Now I need to think about dinner.  What sounds good to all of you?  Any of you have some good fall recipes to share?   See you soon!

Blessings,

Betsy

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A bit of this and that!

Good Morning!  It's Thursday and a sunny sometimes and cloudy sometimes sort of day here in Washington.  Beginning the Oct. 31 my wonderful husband has volunteered me to babysit a newborn!  That wasn't said sarcastically at all, really and truly!  He saw a need and knows how I love babies and the logical conclusion was that I would love to babysit the dear baby.  And I am looking forward to it...however, I didn't realize how busy I have become until I started trying to figure out how to adjust that life for a baby.  I think the ladies at the nursing home will love to see a wee one but my Weight Watcher meetings will be probably be out of the question.  I'll keep you all posted!

I'm finishing up the third rainbow blanket today, (hopefully).  That will give me an extra for my gift closet.  I always like to have one on hand for a quick gift.  I also found a new scarf pattern on one my Ravelry charity groups this morning that I'm anxious to begin.

Tonight is Bible study here at our house, (every Thursday night is Bible study).  Right now we're watching the "Are you a Fan or a Follower" DVD series at church on Sunday nights and the various studies are discussing the videos during the week.  We're on video 4 this week and I'm learning a lot about myself and my goals in life.  Very illuminating and I highly recommend watching them if you get the opportunity.

Here are a few pictures for you.  The first is a box of knitted  items bound for the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.  I forgot to take pictures of the completed items, so here's the box!!!!  Inside are 12 hats, 3 cowls and 2 scarves.  There are also two large ziplock bags of trial size shampoos, soaps, lotions etc. and 10 toothbrushes.  Everything is appreciated on Pine Ridge Reservation.


This is a picture of my "craft closet".  My yarn stock is running very low.  Usually those shelves are completely full. The shelves below the yarn on the right are greeting cards.  I send a lot of card to people for various reasons.  Sickness, loneliness, babies, encouragement, etc. On the very bottom right shelf you can see a completed rainbow blanket, a shawl bound for Pine Ridge Reservation Elder program and dishcloths.  I always keep dishcloths on hand as quick gifts for almost everyone.  I'm sorry the picture is a little dark.  It looked fine on the camera.

These are the geranuims on my back deck.  Considering that we've dipped below freezing twice this week, they still look fairly good don't you think?
 This is the backyard as of 15 minutes ago.  Look at the trees!  Absolutely no fall color on ours, but on the tree behind the fence, just peeking over are beautiful golden leaves.  The yard is still looking really nice for the end of October thanks to my dear husband who takes such good care of it.
And that's it.  A peek into my Thursday world.  I've cleaned the bathrooms and kitchen and now I believe I'm going to sit down with my crochet hook and try to finish that blanket.  I'm going to meet my dear little new baby friend for the first time today.  I'll have to think of a name for her to use online.

See you all again soon.

Blessings,

Betsy

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Happy Tuesday!

Hello my friends.  Even though I don't know most of you, I find I'm enjoying picturing you in my mind.  A lot of you with knitting needles or crochet hooks in hand as you surf the web!

Still no sign of my missing yarn or jeans but I'm hopeful that the jeans will be too big for the gremlins and the yarn will be too much of a tangle for them to use and so they'll return all of it to me.

The retreat was wonderful.  Unfortunately I was so busy having fun laughing and listening to the speakers that I only took a few pictures of the lodge and the dining tables.




The theme was of cruising on the high seas and a lot of fun.  There was a hilarious fashion show and wonderful food.  One woman cooked for all of us and I don't know how she did it.  I never sleep much at these retreats but come home feeling wonderfully refreshed and spiritually revived.

I also took a picture of the tree in our front yard for you.  Unfortunately the wind blew yesterday and a lot of the leaves are now gone. You can still see the beautiful color though.


You can imagine how beautiful it was yesterday before I procrastinated one day too long to take a picture.  But just look at the sky.  We've had a string of lovely fall days that are forecast to continue for awhile.  I need to get out and enjoy them before the snow flies.

My current project is the rainbow baby blanket.  I'm on the third one this week and hopefully the last for awhile.  Today I was just told of another baby on the way in a few months so I know I'll have to make another soon but I do need a break.  I want to make a few scarves for a homeless shelter in Switzerland that I read about on Ravelry and also some warm things for the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota.  So much need and I can only knit at one speed.

Now it's off to bed for me.  Eleven o'clock is way too late for me to be awake.  See you all again soon.

Blessings,

Betsy

Friday, October 14, 2011

Knitting Disappearance?

I'm taking a few mintues to post today even though I'm frantically running around trying to make a salad for a baby shower, pack for the retreat tonight and finish the laundry before I go.  The baby blanket definitely WILL NOT be finished today!  Oh well.  There will be another day.

I have a question for you knitters/crocheters out there.  Is there a yarn gremlin in your house?  This is why I'm asking.  I have a plastic bag that I keep the yarn and crochet hook in for the blanket in yesterdays post.  I make this blanket for all the new babies at our church so I seem to always have one in progress and it's easier to keep all the supplies for it together so I can "grab and go".  Yesterday when I tried to "grab and go" I couldn't find it. Anywhere.  I tore the house apart.  I looked in the china cabinet for goodness sake.  I've NEVER kept yarn in the china cabinet.  I never did find that bag and I spent hours looking.  Luckily I keep the yarn in my stash so I just pulled more out.  I had another crochet hook that size so I was able to begin the blanket anywy.

A few months ago the same thing happened with brand new sock needles and the yarn I had just purchased.  They were in the sack from the yarn store right by my knitting chair.  When I went to start the socks a day or two later, the sack and all was gone, gone, gone!  Now I ask you, am I losing my mind or are there yarn gremlins running amuk in my house?

I'm starting to believe they are trying to drive me nuts because they've moved on to my jeans.  That's right, my jeans.  When I went to Japan I had originally packed two pairs of jeans, (that's all that currently fit me, but that's another subject for another time).  Due to space restrictions I had to leave one pair at home.  I was going to wear that pair of jeans today to the retreat but lo and behold, I can't find them.

I have no children at home to blame for moving my things.  Only a husband and a dog.  No one who would bother my yarn or my jeans.  There HAVE GOT TO BE gremlins here.  Either that or I'm losing my mind.

Please tell me there are more of you out there like me.  Please? 
See you all back here soon.

Blessings,

Betsy

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thursday!

Ever have one of those days where you do lots of stuff but it doesn't look like it?  I was very industrious today, sweeping floors, dusting, cleaning the bathrooms.  I even trimmed the bushes outside on this very beautiful fall day.  But the thing of it is, nothing looks any different!  I guess now that it's just Dennis and myself, the house doesn't get very cluttered or dirty.  It was much more rewarding when I could see the difference it made when I cleaned.

I also started another Rainbow Baby Blanket.


Not too bad of progress for day one.  Hopefully I'll finish it tomorrow.  I actually sold one of these for to a friend today for a baby gift.  I wish I could find an outlet to sell more of my things to help pay for my fiber habit.

I just took this picture of my baby Chloe.  You can see how disturbed she is by having her picture taken!  She is just the sweetest dog I've ever known.  She loves her coca-cola blanket.  It's one of those really soft fleece blankets and she loves to snuggle on it in front of the fire.

Tomorrow night and Saturday I'm going to a ladies retreat up in the mountains north of here.  It's about 50 miles south of the Canadian border and a beautiful place in the fall.  Of course, when you get a bunch of women together there isn't much sleeping going on.  I've heard rumors that there is going to be a chocolate buffet tomorrow night.  Oh, I'll definitely be in Heaven!!!!  So much for Weight Watchers this week.

I've been asked to speak at a "ladies day" in Montana next month.  They want me to talk about the Hats for Japan project and how it started as an idea and with the help of many, progressed to almost 1500 items to help keep people warm this winter.  I think the theme is something about how we can all do something, even if it's small, to help others.  I am NOT a speaker.  This is definitely NOT in my comfort zone.  Don't get me wrong, I love to talk. To one or two people.  Not in front of a group.  Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I prepare my "talk".

Have a wonderful Friday everyone and enjoy your weekend.  I plan to eat lots of chocolate!

Blessings,

Betsy

Monday, October 10, 2011

Home Again!

This has been a busy summer for traveling and this past weekend was no different.  Since rain/possible snow was forecast for the area we planned to camp in, DH and I changed our plans and set off for the Seattle area instead.  Rain was also forecast for Seattle but it was a BeAuTiFuL day once we crossed Snoqualamie Pass to the west side.  I have some pictures of the trip for your enjoyment.  We were able to visit friends in Marysville, WA and I saw my first ferry that carries both people and cars.  Yesterday, we ventured back to Spokane via Stevens Pass.  We've never driven that route before but the autumn leaves made the longer trip very worthwhile.  We ate lunch in Leavenworth, a quaint bavarian town tucked into the Cascade mountains.  They're celebrating Octoberfest there and I've never seen it so busy.  We managed some Christmas shopping and were still home in Spokane in time for my wonderful husband and I to go to Red Robin for dinner!  Here are the promised pictures:


Windmills near Ellensburg,  WA


These cows were right outside our hotel window on Saturday morning!  We stayed in Ellensburg,  WA.


Snowqualamie Pass summit


Dennis looking over Puget Sound toward Whidby Island




The love of my life since I was 15 years old!


Light House and Ferry to Whidby Island in Mukliteo,  WA.



Heading up Stevens Pass, WA.  I wish the camera had captured the brightness of the leaves.  It was breathtaking.



The top of Stevens Pass.  So glad it wasn't snow!  We were actually IN the clouds!



Heading back down the other side of the pass into Leavenworth,  WA.


I can't belive I didn't take any pictures of Leavenworth to show you.  It's a beautiful little town.  We try to visit once every year.  It's about 3 1/2 hours from home though so it's a long day.  We usually leave early in the morning and come back the same day.

This weekend is a ladies retreat for our church.  Another night away from home!  I can't remember ever having a year like this when I'm gone so much.

On the knitting front I have one sock done and the other began for Alex's girlfriend in Tokyo.  I also finished two hats on the drive this weekend.  One for Alex and another for Junko, a friend of his that saw all the hats we sent to Japan.  She didn't want to take any hats that were going to the victims of the tsunami but really liked one of them so I tried to duplicate it for her.

Neither of them know that a box is on it's way tomorrow for them!  Alex also requested Sour Patch candy, (Yuck!) and had never heard of the pretzel M&M's when I told him about them.  Of course I bought him some and also Ibuprofen for his headaches.  Another request was Lowry's season salt.  It's always fun to send a box of things I know he needs and wants.

I hope you enjoyed the pictures and I'll be back soon!

Blessings,

Betsy

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Rainy Day

We're having another typical fall day. It's raining, raining, raining.  But then, rain is much better than snow so I'm not going to complain. 

I went to my Weight Watcher meeting this morning.  It was my first day weighing in with jeans on and not a sundress and it showed on the scale.  I've been maintaining the same weight all summer and it's time for me to 'fess up and get serious.  So, I'm publicing telling you all that I'm a Weight Watchers member and I'm beginning anew today!  Whew!  I did it.  Now you all need to hold me accountable.  The only good thing is that I didn't gain over the past few months.  But, I'm paying for these meetings and I don't want to keep on paying with no results.  I need your help!

Now, back to Japan.  I hope you're enjoying the pictures.  Here are a few more to help you "go with me" and experience the trip with me.  These pictures were all in a town called Tono.  It's not too far inland from Kamaishi and Alex had always wanted to visit so we had lunch and went to the museum on our way home.  Lots of fokelore in the area and he loves that kind of history.  There is a mythical creature that lives in the creek that Alex is standing my.  People fish for this creature called a "Kappa" with cucumbers.  Really.  Cucumbers!





Spider web at the museum in Tono.  Isn't it a work of art?


My favorite colors!  There was a huge meadow of these flowers.
The next three pictures are of silkworms and a spinning wheel.  If you look closely in the top picure you can see the silk threads running from the bowl to the wheel.  The third picture is of the silkworms in the trees hanging from the ceiling.  I actually got to spin some silk!  For those of you that know me, I'm an beginning spinner and have my own wheel at home.  This was a wonderful experience for me.



Thanks for visiting me today.  My dear husband and I are planning a trip to the Seattle area this weekend to visit an older couple that I met a few years ago.  They had to move last summer to an assisted living center to be closer to their children.  We're going now to avoid the snow and road closures on Snoqualimie Pass that happen every year.  We're hoping to visit Leavenworth, WA a quaint Bavarian village nestled in the Cascade mountains on our way home.  If the rain stops, I'll try to get some pictures for you all.

Blessings and happy Wednesday to you all,

Betsy

Monday, October 3, 2011

It's Monday!

What a beautiful day we're experiencing today in Spokane.  I think I need to get out and enjoy it this afternoon since the next three days are supposed to be rain.  Boooo! I am not one of those people who like fall.  I think it's because I know that winter comes right behind fall and I absolutely detest snow.  We had such a long cold spring this year that it doesn't seem possible that summer is over.  It seems like it just got warm and now it's getting chilly at night.  No furnace yet but it did get to 44 a few nights ago and that's pushing it for open windows!

For those of you that think all of Washington State is like Seattle and rainy all the time, Spokane is on the other side of the state, right on the Idaho border.  We're considered high desert and don't get much rain here.  Usually we have at least 3 months every summer with NO rain at all!  Every time I tell someone I'm from Spokane they ask me if I get tired of the rain.  :-)  When I tell them we're in the desert and hardly get any rain they are always surprised and ask me if I'm sure!  Well I've lived here 18 years and it's been like this most years!  So yeah, I'm sure.

I thought I would show you some miscellaneous pictures from my trip the next few posts.  Not much to do with the Hat Project, but interesting, (to me anyway!)  I hope you enjoy them too.


This is Alex an I on the train to Tokyo right after I landed at Narita.  At this point I had been up about 22 hours.  Don't you just love all of my chins?
 
This is me with Anri, Alex's girlfriend and most likely my future daughter-in-law!  Add a few more hours onto the awake time from above.  At a certain point you're just not tired anymore but in a fog.  We were at a very nice restaurant in Tokyo but for the life of me, I can't remember the name of it.



This is Harumi, our "adopted" daughter.  She stayed with us while completing her bachelors degree in the states.  I told her she had to have the baby by Saturday because that was the only day I would be able to see her in Tokyo.  Always accomodating, Harumi delivered Harutaro by an unplanned c-section on Friday.  She plans to bring him to visit us before she returns to work.  I'm looking forward to her visit very much.
 

  


Harutaro
Isn't he beautiful?

These are ladies in Alex's english conversation class that he teaches in the evening.  They made me some wonderful food on Tuesday evening.  It's kind of like a Japanese pancake with lots of goodies inside.


Alex and I took a walk near his apartment.  These water lillies??? were all over a pond in the park.  They were so beautiful.  It was raining lightly and it made all the colors even more vibrant.
I hope you enjoyed these pictures.  I'll try to return tomorrow with more to show you.  Tonight we're having friends over for dinner.  I'm making homemade chicken and noodles, baking powder biscuits, pretzel strawberry salad and green beans from the garden.  I made a rubarb pie yesterday for dessert.  I had frozen the rubarb last month from the garden.  I better get busy if I plan to get it all done in time.  See you all soon.
Blessings,

Betsy