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Thursday, October 31, 2013

One Week To Go!

Oh my Goodness! We leave for Japan a week from today and I have just realized that I have nothing ready! The suitcases came up to the bedroom from the garage this morning. It's always an interesting challenge as Hubby allows only carry-on, no checked luggage. This comes from his years and years of traveling the world for work. His luggage was lost one too many time and he learned to pack light. If need be, he would wash underwear in the bathroom sink and hang it overnight to dry. When he, Mandy and I visited Alex 4 years ago for 16 days I didn't think I could do it. But we all took only our wheeled carry on and a personal bag. I was SO GLAD. We were on so many trains, planes and boats during that trip. Dragging our bags along everywhere with us. I can't imagine dragging a big suitcase all over and up and down the escalators in the subway system. All over the streets of Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima to name a few.

Anyway, he has taught me the value of packing light. The main thing is enough underwear to get by!!!! Then a few mix and match pieces and you're done. The challenge right now is the changing seasons. It should be around 60F during the day there so I think we can get by with no winter wear. I am taking Alex's Christmas gifts along with a few of his childhood possessions that I think he would like to have with him. I always think it's an impossible task to pack everything into one bag, but it always manages to fit!

The weather here is decidedly cooler this week and it's been sprinkling off and on all morning. So the pictures of the knitting that I wanted to take are kind of shadowy and dark but I guess you'll get the idea.

Here is the last batch of mittens!!!! Hurray! Yippee Skippy! There are officially 101 pair! I still have some yarn left so later when I can stand the thought of another mitten, I'll make more for the children's shelter here in town or wherever there is a need.


Thank you to all who prayed for this project and who generously donated for the yarn. It is much appreciated and I know will go a long way towards keeping some children warm this winter.

I've been working on socks the past couple of weeks as my "purse project". The mittens have just too many parts to carry along without losing something. (Needles, scissors, stitch markers, stitch holders, etc.) I lost too many things at first so I switched to dishcloths in my purse and then socks. Now that the mittens are on done, I've been able to knit last night on socks exclusively. I'm also taking yarn with me to make a pair for myself while traveling. Socks are a nice small, portable project and I like to make them when I'm flying. My favorite pattern for adults is in Stephanie Pearl-McFee aka the Yarn Harlots book, "Knitting Rules". It's such an easy, easy pattern. I didn't use it on any of these until the pair that I'm actually working on right now, (the green ones). I don't know why. They fit better. The pattern is much easier to follow. Now I know why I always go back to it.

These first two pair look like baby socks but they will actually fit a 4-7 year old, or so the patterns say. The brown pair knitted up in about 2 hours with size 6 needles using worsted weight yarn. The multi-colored ones use the usual size 1 double points that I use for socks and sock yarn. Can you believe how well the stripes match on these? nice!

Don't mind the white, white legs of the model on these. The strips didn't match up for some reason but I still like the color.


These are my current pair. I finished one sock last night and started the second a few minutes ago.


I don't remember if I told you last time who all of these socks are for. I recently found out about a family who live in the mountains about 2 hours from here in a log cabin they built themselves. The Dad is a preacher and Mom is a homemaker who also homeschools all 9 of their children, (well 7 now, two recently married and moved out!) I am so inspired by this family and their work and life ethics. I found out that they love wool hand knit socks to keep warm in the log house, but she doesn't knit, (yet!) I offered to make them some socks so here I am. Knitting lots of socks. I'm not sure of the sizes since I've never met them but I'm making a variety of sizes so something should fit don't you think?

I went to the grocery store this morning to stock up on things for Ellen who stays at our house with Chloe when we travel. She is a dear friend and we can always count on her willing spirit to take care of things for us and love on Chloe too. :-)

I have a roast in the crockpot for dinner so I should be able to sneak a few hours of knitting in today along with a start on packing.
Lots and lots of onions. Just the way we like it. Mmmmm. Sourdough bread to go along with it. Just the thing for a chilly autumn dinner.

Have a lovely day my friends and smile.

Blessings,

Betsy

Monday, October 28, 2013

Blustery!

My goodness! The wind is howling out there today. It's still blowing now at about 45-60 mph gusts. Lots of power outages along with it. The beautiful leaves are falling off of the trees in amazing numbers although ours are still hanging on tight. I know it's not anything like our friends in the U.K. are experiencing though and my prayers are with all of you.

Here is what the trees looked like yesterday.

Such beautiful colors aren't they? Apparently our area also had it's first dusting of snow within a short distance of our home although we didn't have any here. More than a dusting had fallen on on Mt. Spokane when I ventured outside this morning and snapped this picture.
Just a bit of snow, but I'm sure there will be more soon. Our middle son lives in Helena, MT and they are in the middle of a winter snow warning right now. Ick. Ick. Ick! It's coming, no matter how much I would like to stop it. Becaue I know this, I went to the tire shop this morning and had my snow tires mounted. Did I say Ick?

Hubby and I went to the trailer on Saturday just for a few minutes to check the charge on the battery. The battery is fine but the pump still doesn't work. Not good. That means next spring we'll be springing for a new pump or at least a repair on the one we have. While we were there I snapped this picture of Canadian geese on the lake.

Not much else is happening here. It was cold and blustery yesterday too, so we hibernated in the family room with a cozy fire in the gas fireplace and my knitting all around me. I finished a pair of worsted weight childrens socks and several more pair of mittens. Yeah! I'll have finished object pictures later in the week.

Chloe and I spent the morning at the church emptying, scrubbing out and refilling the baptistry. It's a big job and one I do about every three months. In between these big cleanings I put spa/hot tub chemicals in it to keep the water clean. Before anyone asks-Yes. I took my dog to the church. Yes she came inside with me. Everyone there loves Chloe and she's a very well-behaved dog so it doesn't seem to be a problem. She stays right with me and just lays on the floor watching me scrub away.  People seems surprised by that when I say she goes with me. I think God loves animals too or he wouldn't have created so many different ones.  :-)

I think this afternoon I'm going to make another Pumpkin Cake. It's funny. I had never seen this recipe before Mandy gave it to me a few weeks ago and now it's all over the internet! I think it tastes even better after being refrigerated a day or two. Even if Hubby and I have a bit tomorrow evening, there will be plenty for Bible Study on Wednesday night.

The countdown has begun. Nine days until we leave for Japan. We face-timed with Alex on Friday evening after my blogging friend Taci texted me about a 7.3 earthquake just off the coast of Japan. I hadn't heard about it before her text and I'm grateful that she thought of Alex. He said it did wake him out of a sound sleep at 2:10 his local time Friday night. All was well though. No damage and nothing broken in his apartment. The buildings there are built very well to withstand earthquakes. I was amazed when I went over there two years ago after the big earthquake to see that very little damage had been done by the 9.+ quake. Most of the damage was from the tsunami. We're very grateful that he's okay after this latest earthquake.

A congratulations to my lovely blogging friend Gracie who has a new Granddaughter, Rose. I can imagine your happiness to have a new baby in the house.

Have a wonderful week my friends.

Blessings,

Betsy

"Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples." Psalm 96:3

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Another gorgeous day!

Happy Thursday afternoon to everyone!

It seems fall is here for a few more days...Sunday we're due to have a change in the weather and the low is supposed to hit 15F. Ick! I want to absorb all of this beautiful weather before then.

Everyone is busy with fall activities. Teresa is having fun playing at the Oregon coast and Gracie is waiting for a new grandbaby. Taci is occupied with her new house being built. I know the rest of you are busy too!

I took a few more pictures today of Alex's scarf outside. The scarf is green. The tree is green. Not good thinking on my part. Ha!


I also made him two dishcloths since he seems to like using them and who doesn't like getting new ones? Look at my rhubarb trying to re-emerge in this gorgeous fall weather! I hope the frost next week doesn't kill it off completely.


I have just a few brave little flowers still blooming. I'll probably pull everything up on Saturday in the final winter yard preparations.


Everything else is pretty much died back in the cold nighttime temperatures we've been having. The sky is such an amazing blue during the day and the temperatures have been in the 60's consistently. I have honestly never seen an October like this since we moved to the Pacific Northwest. It's making me almost like fall. If only winter and snow didn't follow it.

And now a few more completed mittens.


I'm almost there. Another week and I think I'll reach the goal of 100 pairs! Thank you all who have been encouraging me onward. I must admit. I'm getting tired of mittens and have welcomed the other projects I've fit in here and there. I have just a bit of the yarn left that was donated by a few of you. If it's okay with you, I'll use it up in making hats and mittens for the homeless children here. That can be done anytime though and I think I'll take a little break from mittens!

Two weeks from today Hubby and I will be winging our way across the ocean to see Alex in Japan. He's reserved a hotel in Kyoto for three nights to see the autumn leaves. Harumi is meeting us one day. Yoshie on another. (Girls who have stayed with us in the past.) I think every day is officially filled up now. Please pray for good health for us. I seem to get sick before any big trips. I don't know if it's nerves or anticipation or what it is, but I DO NOT want to get sick.

Speaking of sick. Little Miss Piper had four immunizations last week and is having a rather nasty reaction to them. She's been home all week with a fever of over 101. Mandy and Brad have been alternating staying home with her. Please pray that she's better soon. She does seem a bit better this afternoon. Grandma has been having fun face-timing with her. :-)

Have a lovely day and a great fall weekend my friends.

Blessings,

Betsy

"Praise the Lord, Oh my soul; all my inmost being, praise His Holy Name." Psalm 103:1

Monday, October 21, 2013

Alex's Scarf Ta-dah!

Happy Monday morning to you all. It's been a busy but good weekend here in the sunny Northwest. We just did "stuff" around the house and yard for the most part. Saturday afternoon we took Chloe out to the lake so she could run and Hubby could check the battery on the trailer. He had forgotten to do that while we were closing things up. I also had a few other "favorite" kitchen things, (spoons, garlic press), that I hadn't brought home. So off we went. It was a beautiful day in the middle 60's and we had a great walk around the shoreline. Chloe had only been down there once before. In the season, dogs aren't allowed in the main part of the resort. She loved running along the shoreline and watching the birds. We watched two bald eagles soar back and forth over the lake for almost 45 minutes. Would you believe I didn't have either the camera or my iphone to get pictures? How silly of me.

Sunday after church, Hubby wanted to go back to the lake to see if the battery was re-charging after filling it with water on Saturday. So we had lunch with several friends went home to get Chloe and off we went to the lake again! Surely I wouldn't forget the camera again! Oh yes I did. Silly me. The maintenance staff always pulls all of the boat and swimming docks into the bay for the winter. Hubby and Chloe had a grand time walking around all of the docks that are tied together. Chloe couldn't figure out why the "ground" was moving! She is terrified of water and if she had known she was way out in the lake on the docks she never would have gone out there. Several other friends were also at the campsites closing up for the winter. I think we're all about done. If I had known we were in for such a beautiful stretch of 60+ days, we wouldn't have closed up two weeks ago. Oh well. Next year will come soon enough.

After we got home we cleaned out the garage a little and I cut Hubby's hair. We spent the evening watching T.V. while I knitted and Hubby snoozed! :-) We lead such an exciting life don't we?

I finished Alex's scarf what with all of the driving to and fro from Loon Lake! Please excuse the towels and pins. I washed it this morning and it's busy blocking and drying. Just look at the gorgeous colors in this yarn!

The Misti Alpaca yarn was an absolute joy to work with. It is 83% Peruvian Pima Cotton and 17% Silk. Oh my! I highly recommend you treat yourself sometime and make something with this yarn. I used all but 8 inches of it. I guess I finished the last pattern repeat just in time!

This morning I went and got my flu shot and did some Christmas shopping for Kyleigh and Caleb. Since we'll only be home from Japan about a week and a half before Thanksgiving I thought I better get busy and start thinking ahead. We'll do Christmas with them at Thanksgiving since we won't see them on Christmas itself. We could mail their gifts, but it's fun to watch them open them.

Now I have two loads of laundry drying on the clothesline, (did I mention the weather is gorgeous here?) I've blocked the scarf and I'm going to go out and trim the last of my roses. I think the bush is done for the year. After that, hmmmmm. Maybe I'll knit on some mittens! I'm making steady progress on them and I'm sure I'll have another batch done by the end of the week.

Have a lovely Monday my friends.

Blessings,
Betsy

"The whole earth is full of His glory!" Isaiah 6:3

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Apples Everywhere

Happy Thursday Everyone!
It's a foggy morning outside right now and I'm having a fairly lazy morning catching up on my friends blogs. I've spent huge amounts of time reading blogs the past couple of nights when I couldn't sleep. I drained my ipad battery to 5% on three different occasions if that tells you how much I've read. The problem is that there are so many interesting people and blogs out there and I keep finding more. Some of them read like stories and I find myself going all the way back to the beginning of the blog. I did that with two of them yesterday and last night, reading 3-5 years worth of posts! Oh my! Now I need to get more productive. I can read a book and knit at the same time due to a nifty book holder I picked up at a craft fair a couple of years ago. But I can't read blogs because you have to constantly scroll down and I get frustrated only knitting a stitch or two before it's time to scroll again. :-)

Now I told you on Tuesday that I was off to the orchard to buy some apples. I had planned to take a leisurely walk around and get some pictures because, after all it was Tuesday and who would be at the orchard besides me? Oh. My. Goodness. There were at least a dozen school buses, plus daycare vans, mommy vans and miscellaneous other vehicles when I arrived. I tried three different orchards and it was the same thing there. Now, you know I love kids but the quiet photos I had planned were out. Kids everywhere. Climbing on things not meant to be climbed on. Hilarious. Really. I felt for those teachers and moms. I've been there, oh yes I have. So I settled for a few photos that I took as I stopped along the roadside.

This first one is as I was driving into the very first orchard and the other two are of the beautiful hills and fall colors.

This is a log home that I absolutely drool over every time I drive by. Unfortunately there wasn't a good place to pull over and get a picture on the two lane highway.

An alpaca and llama farm not far from our house. Aren't they adorable?


Signs pointing the way to the myriad of orchards. These are all within about 15-20 minutes of our home and are located at the base of Mt. Spokane.


The little shop at one place had lots of jams and jellies to purchase.

Of course apples were purchased and made into applesauce and pie filling.


Sometime since last fall I have loaned my apple peeler/corer/slicer out and it didn't return to me. I didn't discover this fact until I got home and began peeling the box full of apples. Oh my aching hands! I've gotten spoiled with my Pampered Chef slicer. But, I persevered and now have about a dozen freezer bags full of apples.

This flaming bush belongs down the street from us. A sure sign of fall.

My English roses are still hanging in there, although we have had some very heavy frosts this past week and I expect it to stop blooming very soon.


And last, but not least, I cut some of my lavender and have it hanging in bunches to dry. Any ideas on what to do with it? I didn't cut much because I've never dried it before and want to see how it turns out. Maybe I'll do more next year.


And now I'm going to take a box of books to the post office for my dear mom-in-law. After that, an afternoon of knitting on Alex's scarf maybe?

Have a lovely Thursday my friends.

Blessings,
Betsy

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A little of this, A little of that...

Good Morning friends!

It's a beautiful Tuesday here in sunny Spokane, WA. Fall is definitely in the air. Coats are worn, at least in the mornings and evenings and a layer of frost is on everything when I wake up in the mornings. Hubby and I officially winterized the trailer last weekend, so that's done for another year. So sad. The weekend was absolutely stunning as far as weather goes. Sunday after church, we had lunch with our "best friends forever", *smile*, Neal & Jenny. Then we took what was going to be a short drive to an area I hadn't been to before. We ended up driving 85 miles around two lane highways and byways, enjoying the fall colors and just talking. A nice relaxing way to spend a Sunday afternoon. I didn't take any pictures though and can't believe that I let that opportunity pass by.

Monday I ran lots and lots of errands and got much accomplished. I even made a big pot of chicken and homemade noodles for dinner. Here's a peek for you. The first one shows the noodles rolled out. Then the noodles are cut and drying on a tea towel. Finally, bubbling away in the pot with the chicken. A perfect fall dinner. I also had a green salad and cranberry sauce with it. Yum! Yum!
I think I'm finally even beginning to figure out how to make smaller batches for just Hubby and me. I usually end up freezing a big bag of leftovers, (which isn't a bad thing!)

Miss Piper also had her one year checkup yesterday and all is well. Still some dietary issues,(no dairy,) but she's growing very well and is a happy girl. She did get four immunization shots and that was agonizing for both her AND Mommy. I think Grandma should have been there, don't you? :-)

On the knitting front, I managed to make quite a few pairs of mittens this week, bringing me up close to 70 pair!
Barbara, a blog reader also sent some hats to add to the school children's box. Thank you Barbara! She sent several others too, but I already gave them to Lindsay on Sunday. They are going to be nice and warm for some little kids.

As a carry along in my purse I've been knitting on this scarf for Alex for Christmas. I think I'm safe to say that, since I'm fairly certain he doesn't read this blog!!! I finished the dishcloths that I had the order for, so now this is my easy to carry project.

The pictures don't do this yarn or pattern justice. I hope after it's finished and blocked it will photograph better. This is the beautiful yarn I bought in Gresham at Little Lamb and Ewe, after my lunch with the girls. Yes, it does have patches of pink in it, but that won't bother Alex a bit. He's secure enough in himself to wear a little pink! :-)

I'm not sure if I mentioned it before, but in just a little over 3 weeks, Hubby and I will be heading to Tokyo to spend some time with Alex. I want to finish this scarf for him by then so I can see him open his early Christmas gifts. He's busy planning activities for us. The fall leaves in Kyoto and he mentioned the Japanese Alps in Nagano where the Winter Olympics were held. I would be happy just to spend time with him in Tokyo. We've already traveled around Japan quite a bit and would like to just sit and visit with him. But...he wants to show us places we haven't been yet so off we'll go!

And now, I'm off to Greenbluff where all of our lovely orchards are. I want to buy a box of apples to make applesauce and pie filling. Hubby has a client in from France and won't be home for dinner, so I have lots of time to get those apples done...if I just get a move on and go. I'll take some pictures to show you our beautiful countryside.

Have a lovely day. "This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it."

Blessings,

Betsy

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Sunshine! Beautiful Sunshine!

A warning for you right up front. This is a rather picture laden post. I'm over the nasty little flu bug that hit me for about 48 hours. Thank goodness. Yesterday Chloe and I went out and packed up the camper. Food, clothes, some kitchen things that I use year round. Six hours later it was unpacked and put away at home and I was exhausted. But it was a most beautiful day at the lake. Only Chloe and I and the guys that work there were around. So, so quiet. Barry is cleaning out the garden and he was doing the last strawberry harvest for the year. I was the happy recipient of a huge bag full of strawberries. Yum! Saturday, Hubby and I will go back and to the actual winterization of the trailer. Antifreeze, clean the roof off and put the slides in, etc. Such a bittersweet time of year.

The trees were absolutely beautiful there. I think I was lucky enough to be there during the height of the color yesterday.
This last picture is at a friends spot. Sally researched and painted it herself. Isn't it cute? They are all places she's either been to or wanting to travel to.

On the crafting front, during my time in Portland I was able to finish all 21 of the dishcloths that were ordered. While sick on Monday and Tuesday, even with aching hands I made three more pair of mittens to add to the pair I finished in Portland.
Mandy gave me this yummy Pumpkin Butter a few months ago. I opened it when Gracie visited and I'm enjoying it on a piece of toast in the mornings. It just feels "right" to have pumpkin butter in the fall doesn't it?
And no post would be complete without the obligatory Piper pictures when I've just been to see her.
This first one is a drawing from a picture that was taken in April at Brad's brothers wedding in Nebraska. Isn't it amazing? I think it looks very much like she did 6 months ago and I know this will be a cherished treasure.

And then of course, a couple of birthday pictures. Our little princess! She is such a sweetie.

Yesterday when Mandy, Piper and I were face-timing, it was so sweet the way she kept trying to touch my face through the ipad. She really does seem to love me! That makes this Grandma very, very happy. They will be coming here for Thanksgiving and then we're planning to head back to Portland for Christmas. I would be wonderful if they could spend as much time with Brad's family too, but they have very little vacation time only the actual day off for both holidays. It would be impossible for them to make it to and from Nebraska for the holidays. Even though we're over 350 miles away, I can still drive there in about 6 hours so I feel very blessed.

And now, I need to get busy and finish house-cleaning and start making more mittens! I want to hurry and finish them so I can start working on a couple of Christmas gifts. And then, of course, I still have that yummy yarn Gracie gave me to make a scarf of my own. Why oh why can't these fingers knit faster?

Have a lovely weekend my friends. And remember to smile at someone. It could make a HUGE difference in their day.

Blessings,

Betsy