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Monday, January 26, 2015

Monday Warmup

Happy Monday everyone!  I know that the eastern part of the U.S. is having cold and snow, but a January thaw has hit us here.  it is forecast to be 53 today!  Yippee!  Almost all of the snow is gone, gone, gone.  I went and washed my car this morning.  My light blue CRV was almost black.  No exageration.  It is pretty blue again.  I also took advantage of the warm up to clean up Chloe's doggie "gifts" in the backyard if you get my drift.  NOT one of my favorite jobs but when you have a dog it does need to be done.

This is what I found in my rhubarb bed.  Do you see the three little red shoots trying to break through along with one little piece of ice in the upper left side.  It gives me hope that spring will actually arrive eventually.  I know it's only January but in a couple of months it will be LAKE TIME!!!!!  :-)
Some of you asked where I got the book covers that I use for hands free reading.  Here's the label from inside.  It is a retired husband and wife who go to craft shows and sell them, but you can call or email and order that way too.  They had lots of pretty patterns to choose from.
One of the ladies at church asked me yesterday if I could crochet quart size jar covers for her.  She's a teacher and wants to fill the jars with candy and put a lid with a straw on it for her parent volunteers.  I told her sure I could!  I came home yesterday and before I went to bed I had whipped up all ten of them with scraps of dishcloth cotton that I had in a basket.  I have enough cotton to make a hundred of them easily!  Here's a pretty yellow one....
And a multicolored one....
All ten in a row.   :-)
Another project I've been researching is a group called 'KnittedKnockers.org'.  If you are interested in doing any charity knitting projects I highly recommend this group.  They knit, (and crochet), breast prosthesis for cancer patients that have had mastectomies.  They are SO MUCH more comfortable than the silicone ones that are available to the ladies.  They are soft against the scar tissue and lightweight.  I highly recommend watchig the videos on the above website.

I made these two on Saturday for a friend who just had a mastectomy.  I made two different sizes for her to try out to determine which one she likes better.  Then, I'll make her another one in the size she likes, so one can be in the laundry and she'll still have one to wear.  Aren't they cool?  I actually cried when I read some of the testimonial letters on the website.  I don't think I have ever made anything that made me feel so good to give away as these.  I've made about 10 in different sizes for donation .  They are super easy to make.
The back of Dennis' sweater is done.  Lots of rows in plain stockinette.  Good TV or book reading knitting.  :-)
The front has begun....
Little Sophie went home last night.  We picked her Mom & Dad up at the airport about 9 last night.  It was SO foggy we couldn't see to the end of our driveway and we had to drive way up on the plateau to the airport.  I was very happy Dennis was driving and that his truck has fog lights.  It was a slow drive for sure.

I'm missing this little girl on my lap already.  She is a cutie.
I need to take the last load of laundry out of the washer and finish a few other projects before I sit down to knit.  I hope you all have a wonderful Monday and stay warm and dry.

"Give, and it will be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.  For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."  Luke 6:38

Blessings,
Betsy

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Starts and Finishes...some of both.

Hello!  I can't believe it's been a week since I last posted.  I've been busy, busy, busy.  I've put five blankets together for charity with mostly donated squares.  Some of the squares were made by me but not many.

The first two were taken to the Veteran's Home this morning along with two other crocheted afghans donated by Barbara in Oregon.
The last three were made with squares that Nita crochete and I took those to the local children's emergency shelter.
I haven't worked much on this because the blankets took awhile, but I did mange to get a few rows put onto it.  I don't know why it keeps photographing as brown as it is actually shades of gray.
Last night I began a sweater for Hubby at his request.  It's also gray at his request.  I'm not using expensive yarn for it as it's kind of an experiment with the pattern.  Once I know he likes the shape, I may splurge on something nicer than Hobby Lobby yarn although he would have an absolute fit if he knew how much yarn can cost in the nicer yarn stores and wouldn't let me make anything for him with it.  :-)
I think I've shown you my book holders before.  I have one for larger paperbacks or hardback books and a smaller one for paperbacks.  As you can see there is a clear band that holds the book open and you can read through it.  The back has a spring that folds up to turn the page and then flat so you can read it hands free.
This is the cover closed.  There is a built in ribbon bookmark.
With these covers I've read these books this week while putting the blankets together.  The TV hasn't been on at all this week.  Actually, Dennis read the book about Dallas and I read the murder mysteries by Maggie Sefton based around a yarn shop, Lambspun in Ft. Collins, CO.  I've read six books by her this week and have one more to go.  They're pretty good.
We've had more of this over the weekend but it is finally beginning to melt.
I made a pot full of beef barley stew on Friday.  And, as usual, I forgot to take pictures of the finished product.  Oh. My. Goodness.  It was really, really good.  I am not a huge fan of vegetable soups normally but this was amazing.  Yum.  We ate it for dinner three days in a row and I didn't get tired of it at all.  Highly unusual.  It must have been good.
I am planning to sit and knit on Hubby's sweater this afternoon while reading my next book.  I'm telling you, those book holders were the best things I've ever found at a craft show.  I just lay them on my lap and crochet or knit away.

I have to tell you a cute story from Piper before I say goodbye.  It's snowing in Maryland this morning and Piper doesn't like it.  She says the snow is NOT pretty.  She wants rain!  Mandy says, "you can take the girl out of Oregon but you can't take Oregon out of the girl!"  She has always liked rain, even as a little baby.   She is a Portland girl for sure.  :-)

I hope you all have a lovely afternoon!

"I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength."  Philippians 4:13

Blessings,

Betsy

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Busywork

Hello Everyone!
I just had to show you this cute card that Miss Piper sent to her Papa for his birthday.  Isn't it cute?
I'm buried under a pile of squares!  I have spent the past few days crocheting around squares and putting them together into blankets for the Veteran's home and also for the children's emergency shelter.  These squares were mostly made by Nita and then I crochet around them.  I''m joining this pile right now....
This box of squares came from Barbara in Oregon.  She also sent two beautiful completed afghans for the Veteran's Home.  Wasn't that sweet of her?
More squares from Nita!  I have completed two childrens size blankets but they're in the washing machine right now and I forgot to take a picture.
This is what I did over the weekend.
Aren't these little hearts sweet?
I also started a new poncho in three different shades of grey.  I think this will be much better for me.
Thank you for all of the wonderful suggestions as to what I could do with the other poncho.  I kept my eyes and ears open at church for someone who might like/need it.  I have found my victim....er recipient.  I will take it to her next week.  I so appreciate each one of you and the ideas you had for me.

I've had a busy morning with a doctor's visit, stop at the post office and library and then to the church to defrost the freezer and empty and scrub out the baptistry.  Both time consuming but not difficult.

I was officially released from Physical Therapy after only five visits.  I can turn my neck both directions and the hope is that will take care of my back also.

We're having many grey and cloudy days with freezing rain each morning so far this week.  That's even worse than snow in my mind so I don't go anywhere until it warms up a little bit.  Yesterday on my way home from taking Chloe to have her nails trimmed I saw three different accidents happen where the cars just couldn't stop because of black ice.  No one was going fast at all and I think they were true accidents.  I decided that all of the things I did this morning (that were planned for yesterday), could wait one more day and I would come home where it was safe.

Take care my friends and stay warm and safe, (or cool), wherever you may be.

"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."  Jeremiah 29:13

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Finished!

Hello Everyone!  Guess what?  It's snowing!  Big news huh?  Not much is expected today and tonight, just a couple of inches but our street is still covered from the last one.  I guess winter is truly here and settling in for awhile.

Meanwhile, I finished my poncho....Tah dah!
Even though I think it turned out well, The colors just aren't "me".  I didn't realize it before it was finished.  Now I don't know what to do with it.  I will probably never wear it.  Even my best friend agreed with me last night.  Any ideas?  I have invested yarn and time in this and don't want it languishing away in my closet.

I bought some gray yarn today.  Three different shades of gray and I'm going to try again.  We'll see how that one turns out.

Hubby moved a couple of ladies from church this morning.  Two sisters who were sharing an apartment are moving into separate apartments.  One is going into an adult living building.  Dennis says it's really nice and has an indoor pool.  Her apt. has a kitchen and laundry and there is a big dining room where she can eat too.  Her sister's new apartment is just a few blocks away.  Both are very close to our house.  It was a cold day for a move and he was gone about 6 hours.  He came home and picked me up and then we went to Arby's for a sandwich on our way to exchange our library books.  We've been enjoying some quiet evenings reading together in front of the fire.  We do our daily Bible reading and then read our library books.  I have this handy-dandy holder that allows me to read while doing my needlework.

Last night Neal and Jenny took Dennis and I out to dinner for our birthdays.  Dennis' was yesterday and mine is February 1.  Then we all came back to our house for a rousing game of dominoes.  :-)  It was lots of fun and we always enjoy ourselves when we're together.  Alex face-timed from Japan while they were here so we all got to visit with him.  Jamie called from San Francisco where he's on a business trip and Mandy and Piper called and left messages and sang Happy Birthday to Grandpa.  He heard from all three kids on his birthday which makes it a VERY good day.

That's about it for us.  Let me know if anyone has a good idea for the poncho.  I really don't want to rip it out and have lots of litle balls of yarn.

Have a lovely evening and stay warm my friends.

""You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden."  Matthew 5:14

Blessings,
Betsy

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A Few Finishes and a Start.

Happy Wednesday my friends.  The sun is trying to break through the fog here and the snow is melting.  Life is good!

We have a baby shower at church on Sunday for a sweet little girl that is due February 7.  I made this sweater set to go with the blanket I showed you last post.
Remember I told you that Harumi is having a girl too.  well I made her a set just like the one above with this yarn....
But as soon as I finished it yesterday I popped all of the blankets and sweater sets in the washer and dryer and then I packed up Harumi's and took the box to the post office this morning before I even thought about taking a picture.  Imagine that little sweater, hat and sockies in the above yarn.  It was really cute.  Sorry about the no picture thing.  :-)  I bought a few little girl outfits and some toys for Harutaro.  I know he'll be a great big brother to the baby.

And then I started something for myself last night.  Lucy at Attic 24 made one of these ponchos in the Lucy colors and then sweet Pammy Sue at Scotty Place on my sidebar sent me the pattern after she made her beautiful poncho.  You should check hers out.  I changed the colors a bit, but here's the start.  I've never made a crochet ribbing out of front and back post stitches before.  I've used those stitches as design elements but not as ribbing.  It works amazingly well but let me tell you, it sucks up the yarn.  What you see there is an entire skein of Red Heart Soft in wheat color.  256 yards.  Just for the cowl part.  Wow!  I bought another skein this morning on my way home from physical therapy.  I'm trying to decide if I want to put a row of the darker wheat (like the cowl part), in the body of the poncho.   I'm liking it so far.  What do you think?
Speaking of physical therapy, I've been twice now and go back again on Friday.  It turns out that they don't believe it's my back at all but my neck!  Oh. My. Goodness.  The pain I was in Monday night after the exercises they did to my neck.  I also get a machine with electrical impulses up and down my neck and ultrasound when they are all done to relax the muscles.  I have exercises to do here at home too.  The thought is that I injured my neck at some point in the past and may not have even realized it.  When it wasn't fixed, the pain just traveled down my spine to a weak point.  Pretty interesting.  My back hasn't hurt since they started the therapy though!  Who woulda thunk it?  :-)  I won't complain if this fixes the problem.  Everyone is really nice there too and I really like the phyical therapist.  We've had a couple of good conversations while he's been working on my neck.

I'm going to relax for awhile and then work in the kitchen a bit on some pre-prep for our Christmas party tomorrow night.  We always wait until the first part of January to have our Bible study potluck and gift exchange.  It gives us all something to look forward to after the rush of the holidays and the inevitable let down.  We've done this for many years now and we love it.

I hope you are all settling into the new year well and happily.  I am so glad to call you my friends and for you stopping by to visit.

"In the same way, let your light shine before others, that thye may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."  Matthew  5:16

Blessings,

Betsy

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Walking in a Winter Wonderland.

Welcome to my world.  The roads in these pictures don't look too bad because the plows have been doing a great job on the main roads here in Spokane.  We're in a Winter Storm Warning today.  So far we have about 7 inches and I just heard another 6-10 possible.  NE Washington is supposed to get 24 inches.  Yuck!

We came out of church and Larry and Nita had a flat tire.  I mean FLAT.  It was resting on the rim.  First we tried to inflate it with the portable air compressor in the emergency kit in my car but that didn't work at all.  It must have a hole in it to go so flat in 3 hours.  So  we went to lunch!  HA!  The guys took Nita and I to their house after we ate and then went back to change the tire. Laying in the snow.  In a blizzard.  After that Dennis and I took home communion to some of the older ladies that couldn't get out today.  It was interesting.  We saw several accidents but they all looked like minor fender benders.  Driving too fast and following too close.  The cardinal no, no's in this kind of weather.

A few snapshots as we drove along....
We'll be heading outside in a few minutes for round one of snow removal. Dennis keep telling me that I'm forbidden to lift the shovel because of my back, but I think I can sweep the steps off.  He's itching to get his snow blower out again.  :-)  We'll have to do it all again before bedtime but it's easier to keep up with if you do it as it's falling.

The three baby blankets are done.  Ta-dah!

The first with no border until I know if the baby is a boy or a girl.
For a little girl due February 7.
For Harumi's baby girl in Japan due February 1.
I'm working on a sweater, hat and sock set for Harumi right now.

Im so used to calling her our adopted daughter I think I may have misled you in my last post.  She's not legally our adopted daughter.  She lived with us while going to college here in Spokane.  Her Dad passed away when she was a young girl but she does have her Mom and a sister.  She has always called us Mom and Dad and turns to Dennis for advice like a father quite often.  She is so sweet and we love her like a daughter.

And now, I've procrastinated long enough.  I need to put on my snow clothes and go outside.

"Jesus replied: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind."  This is the first and greatest commandment."  Matthew 22:37-38

******UPDATE- At 8:00 pm we have had 9 inches and still snowing! The above pictures were taken at 2:00 pm******
Blessings my friends and stay warm.

Betsy

Friday, January 2, 2015

Happy New Year a Day Late

Happy New Year to you all.  We had a very quiet day here at home yesterday  We didn't even go to our party at church for New Year's Eve.  I have had back issues off and on for a couple of years.  This past month has not been good and the past week the worst yet.  I ended up going to the doctor on the 31.  He gave me medication, sent me to the hospital for some xrays and I start physical therapy on Monday.  Goody, goody.   The pain has eased with the medication.  Yesteday we watched HGTV all day and I crocheted lots of little squares you'll see later in the post.  

This morning we met friends for breakfast and then came home so Dennis could clean off the driveway and sidewalks again.  Yep.  We got more snow last night and this morning with more predicted for Sunday.  He won't let me lift a shovel so far this year.  He takes such good care of me.  :-)

I posted this photo below on facebook and the general opinion is that I'm cheap!  That could be true.  We have used this exact same tinsel on all of our trees since the first Christmas we married, 36 years ago. The two unopened packages say $.66 on them!  I don't know if you can even buy it anymore.   The first few years it was a money saving thing.  We were poor!  But then it became tradition to just reuse the tinsel over and over.  The paper bag is even old!
A better picture.
Mt. Spokane on Friday from our back deck.  It looks like someone sprinkled powder all over it.
On Wednesday I stopped in at Paradise Fibers.  Oh my!  I just wandered around for an hour or two and visited with a couple of ladies I used to be in a knitting group with.
This store is amazing and just goes on and on.  I wander around petting the yarn.  :-)  You would be proud of me.  I didn't buy any yarn, just a set of stitch markers for a gift.  The vast majority of their business is one online.  If you haven't checked it out, you should.  They have everything from accessories to yarn to spinning wheels, looms and fiber.
When I got home I was determined to start organizing my patterns.  I used to have them under control but lately it seems like I print out a pattern, use it and then just add it to the pile on my sewing machine.  Here are a few pattern books for cross stitch and crochet.
Just SOME of the hundreds of patterns I have.  I always put the printed patterns in a sheet protector. See the pile of three ring binders on the floor.  My plan was to put shawls in one, socks in another, baby items in another, etc.  Then I want to subdivide them in the actual binder as to items, i.e. baby socks, hats, sweaters etc.  Well, I did get them all into the binders but not subdivided.  By then I was in so much pain with my back from bending, and sitting in these straight chairs that I gave up.  But...they are all into the binders now.  Next week I will tackle the rest, so there is progress being made.
As I mentioned before, yesterday I sat and watched HGTV all day and crocheted 72 of these little squares for the baby blanket corners.  All of these became......
......these. 
This afternoon I'll attach them to the blankets and hopefully finish them.  I was asked about this pattern by a blog reader and it's one I've made hundreds of blankets with.  It's called the "Rainbow Set" which includes a blanket, jacket and booties.  I just make the blankets.  I believe it was put out by Leisure Arts but I don't know if it's still in print or not.  I think I've been making them for over 30 years.  When they're done I'll post a picture.  Two of them are already accounted for and I'll have one in reserve.

One of our adopted daughters in Japan is due with a baby girl on my birthday, February 1!  I'm so excited.  One of these blankets will be going to her and I need to make a sweater set too.  I plan to do some shopping very soon and sending a box of goodies to our newest granddaughter to be.  She has a big brother, Harutaro who is 4 and a little doll.  Harumi, (the Mommy), wants me to come over for the due date but I don't think that will happen.  I managed to arrive in Tokyo the day after Harutaro was born and was the first of the grandparents to get to hold him.  That was very, very special.

We got more of this last night and this morning and a big snow is predicted for Sunday.  You can see where our tracks are after we came home from breakfast.  Dennis had shoveled before we left and it sowed just a bit after we left home.  Okay.  I'm ready for spring.  I'm tired of this stuff.
I hope you are all having a nice quiet and restful weekend.  May the new year be full of happiness and joy and lots of wonderful crafty goodness in your life.  I consider myself very fortunate to have each of you as a part of my life.  Thank you for your wonderful comments.

"Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."
Hebrews 4:16

Blessings always my sweet friends,
Betsy