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Thursday, December 29, 2016

The "In Between" Days

Hello Everyone!

Here we are in what I like to call the "In Between" days.  These are the days between the hustle and bustle of preparing and celebrating Christmas and the hope and promise of a brand new year.  I find myself becoming a lot more introspective during these days as I grow older. 

It's quieter in the stores this week.  Oh my goodness is it quieter!  I went to Walmart yesterday to buy Dennis' some socks and mouthwash and a few other staples and I got the first parking spot next to the store.  At 10:00 in the morning!  There were about 20 people inside the store!  I loved it!  The older I get the less I like crowds and find myself feeling a bit claustrophobic.

It's been a quiet week here.  Lots more snow with even more forecast tonight and Saturday.  Brad requested a pair of socks so of course I wound some into a ball using my swift from Paradise Fibers that Dennis got me for Mother's Day last year.  I love this swift.  It collapses in about 10 seconds to put into a nice bag that it came in.
Pretty yarn!  This is Knit Picks, Tiger Eye Hand painted fingering weight sock yarn.
This is my progress as of about an hour ago.  One sock done and the other about 3/4 done.  The color in the above picture is what it looks like.  I don't know why the bottom one is so washed out.
We've had lots and lots of snow over the past few weeks.
See how nice and clean the driveway looks here on the far right in the picture below?  Please ignore the trash cans...it was garbage pickup day when I took this photo on Tuesday.  Well, that night, just as Dennis was climbing into bed about 9:30 the snow plows came through and put a 3 1/2 foot berm of snow and ice across the driveway.  We've  learned from past experience not to let it sit overnight because it freezes rock solid and you can't get out of the driveway or break the ice up.  So, we got dressed and outside we went to break through the  ice tower.  After we did ours, we also cleaned two single ladies driveways and two men that we know get off work around midnight and wouldn't be able to park their cars when they got home.  So, five 3 foot berms, double driveways worth of ice and snow later, we headed inside around 11:15 and went to bed.  Dennis wouldn't let me do much, but I shoveled just a little and cheered him on! :-)  And this my friends, is why I detest snow.  It's pretty to look at and play in, but NOT fun to shovel at bedtime just so you can get to work the next day.  Our entire neighborhood would rather they just didn't plow our streets because we're one of the last neighborhoods to be plowed since we're fairly level with no hills.  The snow is packed down very well by traffic by the time the plows come through, then they just leave a nasty layer of ice behind.  Okay.  Enough complaining.
Looky, looky, looky what Mandy got for me!!!!!  A skein of Muffin's yarn!  Muffin is an award winning sheep from last years Maryland Sheep and Wool festival and that is her picture on the card.  She bought the last skein they had available of the award winning yarn for me.  I'm trying to decide what to make with it.  There are 73 grams in the skein.  I also have two little 25 gram skeins of a lighter weight leichester wool that was sent to me last year by Helen in the UK.  I would love to make a pair of mittens for myself, but I'm not sure there is enough yarn.  Any ideas?
Gracie (One Saylor's Log), sent me this sweet knitted cloth and two wonderful bars of soap.  One is lavender and one is oatmeal.  How sweet and they smell yummy. :-)
This is how we spent much of Christmas Eve, Christmas and the days since then.  Dennis has rigged up several DVD players, a VHS player and our bedroom television to transfer our family movies from VHS to DVD.  It's taking forever because they have to tape in "real time".  I can't watch them right now because I start crying from missing my babies.  I catch a peek though once in a while.  Last night I walked in just as 5 year old Alex was saying, "I love you Mommy!" and I lost it.  Tears ran forth.  Why can't they stay small and at home?

After we, (and by we I mean Dennis), gets them all transferred to DVD, we're hoping he can duplicate them much quicker.  We want to give each of the kids a set and various friends who are on church videos.
Here is a photo I found of our beautiful city of Spokane at Christmas.  This is a photo of Riverfront Park in downtown Spokane.  It really is a beautiful place to live.
I have succumbed to the Gilmore Girls frenzy.  Debra (As I See It Now), sent me the first season which I am almost halfway through watching.  I have fallen in love with Stars Hollow, the fictional town it is set in.  Everyone knows everyone and watches over each other.  I grew up in a very small town in Iowa with just 2000 residents.  We all knew each other and if you misbehaved, your Mother knew before you got home!  So, with Dennis' permission, I just went to Amazon and purchased seasons 1-7 for my birthday present.  That will take me awhile to watch won't it?

Otherwise, I'm just staying inside and warm, knitting socks and mittens and watching podcasts.  I'm so enjoying them.  I just found a sweet lady who I think lives in Ohio.   It's called "Naturally Kim's Knitting" and I've been watching past episodes and catching up.  She is such a sweet, sweet soul and loves her family and her grandkids.  The episodes are usually around half an hour so don't take a huge time commitment.  If you like podcasts, I highly recommend hers.

And now I need to do some vacuuming.  Chloe is shedding something terrible right now.  It must be that she's growing a heavier coat for the cold weather.  I hope you all have a wonderful day and a safe and warm New Year.

My favorite verse was the verse on my devotion this morning so I thought I would share it with you.

"But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31

Blessings,
Betsy

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Cold! and Snow... rinse and repeat!

Merry Christmas Everyone!  It's looking a lot like Christmas here and has been for a few weeks.  Last night the forecast was for 5-8 more inches of snow on Friday and 2-5 more on Saturday.  Since we have about 10 inches on the ground right now, I don't think we're in any danger of not having a white Christmas.  (Just as I typed "White Christmas", the song came on the radio!)  A sign maybe?  **sigh**

Dennis snow-blowed about 5 inches from the driveway and walks before he went to work yesterday.  Then it actually warmed to above freezing for the first time in weeks.  Today we're back in the freezer for the foreseeable future.  Last weekend it was -14F on our back deck.  Way too cold!

Two more blankets were put together for the Crisis Nursery this week.
And another.
I finished my Project Peace cowl a little early.  You were only supposed to do one repeat a day but since I wanted to give it to it's new home on Sunday, I did more than I was supposed to.  I used Knit Picks Stroll fingering weight yarn and it's SO soft.  80% merino wool and 20% nylon.  After washing and blocking I really fell in love with it.  My friend also loves it and stopped by the house to see me yesterday and was wearing it.  That makes it worth it, when you see your hand knits being worn and loved.
All gift knitting complete, I returned my sock in progress that is living in my new project bag Kris made for me.  I love this bag.  These are the "Petty Harbour" socks which are a free pattern on Ravelry.  They are so soft and the pattern makes a stretchy fabric that seems to fit everyone well.
Saturday's mail brought this sweet little house from Brad's mom.  Since she has a house identical to it, she thought I needed one too so Piper would know  how to find us!  I love that we get along so well with Mandy's in-law's.  It sure does make life a lot easier for everyone.  Brad's entire family is flying to spend Christmas with them in D.C.  We were also invited to be there, but because of my health issues it wasn't possible this year.  We will miss them, but hope they all have lots, and lots of fun.
Another sweet package came from Becky L. (GrandmabeckyL) on my sidebar, in Portland.  She makes these beautiful calendars from photos she takes.  Thank you so much Becky!
Debra, (As I See It Now), over on my sidebar, sent me the first season of Gilmore Girls.  Yes ladies, I think I am the only woman in the world who has never seen the Gilmore Girls.  Wasn't that absolutely the sweetest thing of her to do and entirely unexpected.  I'm sure I'll be like the rest of you and well and truly hooked after the first season.  Thank you Debra!!!
I adore snowmen!  My sweet husband bought me Olaf on Sunday.  We were wandering around JoAnn's while I was trying to get a little exercise after church and saw this little guy.  And he was on sale!  Everytime I see an Olaf anywhere it makes me smile.  He's so sweet and innocent and happy.  Just how I would love the world to be.
And here's little Miss Piper vacumming up her mess.  As you can tell by the table, she had been busy crafting with paper.  She loves to help Mommy clean and the vacuum is her favorite.  I wonder if she'll be so eager when she's a teenager?  :-)
Our sweet Caleb's school picture.
And beautiful Kyleigh.
I can honestly say I have never, ever been around such well behaved and sweet kids.  I know they're my grandchildren, but they play so well together, are polite to everyone they meet and stick up for kids that aren't being treated well.  Their school is HUGE on anti-bullying and it shows in how they treat others.  Even when we took them shopping at Thanksgiving, a little girl fell down in the parking lot and both kids ran over to her and helped her up.  Kyleigh hugged her because she was crying and Caleb picked up her bag and put everything inside for her.  They both kept telling her it would be okay.  That sure did this Grandma's heart good. 

This hasn't been a great week for me.  I had a Retinal migraine last Thursday.  I have been having them more frequently.  I lose my sight entirely for a few hours and then the headache arrives.  It was bad until Saturday night and I've had a lingering headache ever since.  I've also been dealing with numbness in my legs and this week it's started in my arms. If it affects my hands I'll have a huge problem with it, since knitting and crocheting keeps me sane.  Yesterday Dennis drug me to the doctors office.  He even took off work to take me.  Long story made short, I have a referral to see a neurologist now.  I'm sure it will be after the first of the year before they even call to make an appointment, so who knows when I'll actually see a doctor.  It's always something and I'm really, really tired of all of this.

A bright spot in my day is reading all of your blogs and the comments that you all make here.  I appreciate it so.

I hope you all have a lovely and safe Christmas.  If you're driving anywhere in the cold and snow may you be granted travel mercies.

"Therefore the LORD Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call Him Immanuel."  Isaiah 7:14

Blessings Always And May God Bless Your Christmas!

Betsy






Tuesday, December 13, 2016

December This and That

Good Morning and Happy Tuesday my friends.  The sun is shining today and that is a welcome change.  I just got home from walking around the mall.  I'm forcing myself to get up, drive there and walk most mornings.  I found out today that they open the doors about 7:00 a.m. so I think I'm gong to try to go a little earlier from now on.  I do enjoy seeing the shoppers rush to and fro, but it's easier to walk when there aren't so many people around.  I don't enjoy the mall, but with the snow and ice on the ground and the cardiologist wanting me to walk, it's the best option right now.  I'd rather be at the lake walking!  :-)

This is one of the views from my knitting chair.  It looks quite festive and "winterish" doesn't it?  My kitchen isn't a big one, but it's the biggest one I've had in the four homes we've lived in since we were married.  And I like that my island is on wheels so I can move it around for potluck dinners and parties.
To the left of the photo above is my Hoosier cabinet with the nativity I made for our very first Christmas we were married.
A closer look.  I even painted faces on each figure although you can't see it here.  In all of these 38 years, this nativity has had pride of place and not one figure has ever been broken.
Little Sophie went home Saturday night and I really do miss her on my lap.  She's coming over to spend the day tomorrow because there are workmen coming to put a new tub/shower in Larry and Nita's house and Sophie will bark at them.  She doesn't like people she doesn't know invading her home.  She never barks at Dennis or I, just happy yips when she sees us.  :-)  She really is cute isn't she?  All 4 pounds of her!
I'm busy making the second batman hat and have one more to make.  This one seems to be turning out a bit better.  The fit on the twins was just right, so I'll need to make the third one a bit smaller.  I'm still trying to figure out if I should go down a needle size or just cut back on the number of stitches.  Any advice out there?
Here's little Trevor trying the first one on.  It's big for him so should fit the twins perfectly.  Although they are over a year younger than he is, they have HUGE heads.  Seriously.  Their heads are bigger than some adults.  I think they are going to be big boys when grown.  You can see how happy he is with the hat though.
It started snowing Thursday.  And it snowed Friday.  And Saturday.  And Sunday.  We went to dinner at Applebee's Saturday night and I took this photo from the window.  I  like how the lights inside reflect outside.  Although the snow is pretty, I'm done with it now.
Unfortunately the weather doesn't agree with my wanting it to stop. This was outside our window Sunday evening.
Here is Dennis shoveling again Sunday evening.  I shoveled again Monday morning after he went to work which earned me a talking to.  He's terrified of me shoveling...or anything, but I can't just sit on my rear end.  I think we ended up with about 12 inches in total from Thursday to Monday morning.  Not very much, but enough for me for the year!  I'm dreaming of Maui!  :-)
Yesterday I opened the mailbox to this sweet package from Araignee. (Her blog is on my sidebar.)  She very generously sent me all of these goodies.  I honestly don't know how she does everything she gets done in a day.  Wasn't this just so sweet of her?  Her lotion bars are amazing.  The one she sent me a few months ago is almost gone because I use it constantly.

My favorite is the knitting sheep on the box.  I love, love, love her.  I'm going to have to find a way to keep that box out to look at because it just makes me smile.
Another doily finished. I do want to make more, but I have to finish the batman hats and then I have three more blankets to join together for the Crisis nursery.  Busy, busy, busy.
And look what Dennis got for me on Sunday.  A Christmas camper!  Is that perfect for me or what?  It even has a little dog that looks like Chloe and a man and woman that look a bit like Dennis' and me.  I just love this and it sit's right where I can see it all of the time when I'm in my knitting chair.  We don't have a tree this year, so I've decided this makes a great substitute.  And it has a snowman!  I adore snowmen and collect them.  I leave them out all winter, not just at Christmas and I find them very cheerful.  Oh, Dennis also bought himself a chainsaw.  :-)  I prefer my little trailer as a gift, rather than a chainsaw.  Ha!
I hope you're all having a wonderful December.  It's a busy month for a lot of people.  Our life is pretty much the same since no one will be here for the holiday.  I'm trying to keep my focus on the reason we celebrate Christmas and remember just how much I have to be grateful for.  Jesus is at the very top of that list.

"Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name."  Psalm 100:4

Blessings,
Betsy

















Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Makes

Hello Everyone.  It's been a busy week around here.  I've been doing lots of knitting and crochet and since I'm feeling a little bit better every day, I've been trying to catch up on some of my cleaning although that's a never ending battle.

I finished the fourth "Antler Toque" but forgot to take a photo of the finished hat and gave it to a friend at church on Sunday.  She loves it.  I've made her lots of hats and she wears them everywhere.  She especially liked the double brim because she's prone to ear infections and this keeps her ears toasty warm.
One of the teens at church was selling poinsettias for his senior class at school so we purchased both a white one and a red one.  They are both gorgeous and help make up for the lack of a tree this year.

I also made this doily last week.
Here's another view.  It isn't lopsided, although it looks like it is here. :-)  It's 21 inches across.  My gift closet was getting to have slim pickings, so I thought I would make some up to have on hand.
One of the grandma's at church has three small grandsons.  A 3 year old and a set of twin 2 year olds.  She asked me Sunday if I could make them Batman hats for Christmas because the 3 year old is crazy over Batman.  This is what I came up with.  I'm taking this one on Sunday for one of the twins to try on for size before I make the others.  I don't think it's too bad do you although my color work isn't very good.  On moving boys no one will notice. Ha!
Another doily started last night.  It's much smaller and almost done, I think there are 3 rows left.
Sunday evening we had a ladies ornament/kitchen gadget exchange at church.  I forgot to take a picture of the goodies until several gifts had been chosen already. Lots of fun things and good food too.  We do this every year while the men have a tool exchange upstairs.  Fun!
Sitting by the toasty fire yesterday while knitting.  It has gotten cold here the past few days and we have a winter storm watch for tomorrow and Friday.  Ick.
Lot's of snow in the mountains but not here...yet.  Tomorrow it sounds like this view will change to white.  The clouds are obscuring the top of Mt. Spokane in this picture.
Some of my snowmen.  We didn't put a tree up this year, but I love snowmen and  have them scattered around.  On the far right is the Nativity that Teresa gave me last year.
This isn't a very good picture because I was taking a picture of my iPad with my phone while face-timng with Alex on his phone last night. Isn't technology something?  He had just picked Mutsuko up at the train station.  Yesterday was Alex's 28 birthday, (well, it's today here in the States, but it was today yesterday in Japan!)  Yes, our son who loves Japan was born on Pearl Harbor day.  Ironic isn't it?  Anyway, Mutsuko lived with us for over a year when she was going to school here for her Masters in Business.  She has always been very close to Alex and to our family, much like another big sister to Alex.  She's been back to visit us several times and we've visited her in Aomori City where she lives.   She was laughing at something I said here.  Dennis and I both just love Mutsuko and hope to see her in person again before too long passes.  Isn't she cute?  We sure miss her.
I need to get some laundry done today.  We have one of the Samsung washers that has been recalled because apparently they explode while you're washing clothes!  It's only a year old and we haven't had any problems but it needs to have the appropriate "fix" done to it for the recall.  They're supposed to be here tomorrow, so I want to have everything done in case they tear it apart and can't fix it right away for some reason.

Take care my friends and I hope you're all having a wonderful holiday season and remembering why we are celebrating.  Jesus came to earth for all of us as a tiny baby.  What a wonderful gift from God.

"The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.  We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14

Blessings,
Betsy









Monday, November 28, 2016

It's Been A Long Time

Hello all of my friends out there in blogland.  It's been almost a month since I've posted and I haven't been commenting on other blogs either.  The reason?  That ridiculous myleogram I had.  I ended up with a leak in my spinal cord which caused a spinal headache.  If you have never had one of those, I am SO happy for you.  As long as I lay flat on my back, the headache went away.  If I lifted my head at all, even 6 inches or so, it came back.  And it's not a normal headache.  It's awful.  I spent a day in the ER while they did all the prep work to do a spinal patch, but it ended up that I asked them NOT to do it.  I didn't want another hole poked in my spine when the first one wasn't healing.  I was told it would eventually repair on it's own and I just had to stay down until that happened.  So, for 2 1/2 weeks I laid flat before it began to go away.  That is gone now, but I'm weak from laying around doing nothing for so long.

Our son Jamie and grandkids, Kyleigh and Caleb came for Thanksgiving along with a friend and her little family.  The kids were all about the same age and had a great time playing together.  Everyone helped tremendously with dinner and cleanup and I did very little.  They made me sit in the recliner and give orders.

Saturday, Dennis and I took a drive up to the lake and that was really nice.  Just to get out but it wore me out completely.  Yesterday my handsome husband preached the sermon at church and so I went for the first time in a month.  I have NEVER, EVER missed 3 weeks of church in a row in my entire life.  Even when I was born I was at church when I was 4 days old!  I'm still wobbly and dizzy and know all of the issues aren't fixed but at least that horrible headache is gone.  Would you believe after all of that, the tests came back inconclusive?  That's it though.  They aren't poking on me again. I'll just deal with the back pain.

I thought I owed you all an explanation as to where I've been.  I wasn't able to write on my phone or Ipad to comment.  I couldn't read books or knit or crochet.  You talk about a boring few weeks! But now lets move on to the fun stuff.  We had a new little preemie baby born at church just before I was laid up.  I had knit her a newborn hat, sweater and blanket but she needed an extra small hat, so I whipped one up Saturday night and she wore it the next morning in the church nursery.  Meet little Rachel Grace.  Isn't she precious?  Those are her big brother Trevor's hands patting her.  He's in love with his sister.
We chose two boys from a children's ranch in Montana to grant Christmas wishes for.  They asked for such simple things. Cheetos, socks, silly putty, soap, etc.  I decided that since it's a working ranch they could definitely use a hat too, so we included an antler toque, (hat). 
Here they are finished.  The top photo is more representative of the true color.  Yesterday we found out they still had several children who hadn't been chosen so we took another teenage boy.  I'm starting another hat today for him.  They're delivering the gifts this weekend so I need to get it done.  He asked for bookmarks, skittles, guitar picks, body wash and shampoo.  When I compare that to things I hear a lot of kids asking for these days, their wishes are so small.  Dennis and I have tried very hard to get every single thing these boys have asked for and then a few extras too.
Two more blankets put together for the Crisis Nursery.
I have six squares made for my Sock Yarn blanket.
Two more are done but need the borders.  They are time consuming but don't take any thought and are easy to take with me.
I did start another gumdrop blanket before my time laying around and haven't gotten back to it yet.  I've been busy making hats for the boys since I've been upright.  :-)
I have received some very nice surprises in the mail since my last post.  Nancy from Wyoming sent me this wonderful packet of sock yarn ends, perfect for the blanket and some tea too.  I love tea as I'm not a coffee drinker.  These little balls of yarn are so welcome and give some variety to the few colors I had from sock leftovers.  Thank you again Nancy!
A closer look. 
Sherri in Las Vegas sent me five pair of mittens to add to the back for next year.  Even after being laid up from an accident, she thought of the children and made some mittens.  How sweet was that?  Thank you so much Sherri.  We now have 12 pairs in total for next winter.  A great start!
And Kris.  Oh my goodness, Kris sent me these amazing project bags!  I mentioned to her that I had been trying to get a quilted pastel patchwork bag from an Etsy shop but by the time I found out she had listed bags, they were always sold out.  That very day Kris made me that perfect bag on the right and even embroidered my initial on it.  It's even better and more perfect colors than the ones I was trying to buy.  It's the perfect sock project bag. 

And then.  She made me a vintage camper shawl size bag!  Just look at those campers.  Kris and I share a love of camping and I can't believe she did this for me.  I'm completely blown away by her generousity.
A closer look.  Perfection.
And the camper bag has a flamingo progress keeper/zipper pull!  Is that perfect for this bag or what?
I just cannot get over how sweet this was.
You ladies have blessed me this month and may I admit, I needed it?  I was feeling very, very down and then you three showed me that I'm not alone in this big world.  Thank you all from the bottom of my banged up heart!  :-)

On Friday, we gave Christmas gifts to Jamie and the kids since we won't see them at Christmastime.  Caleb was thrilled as you can see by his smile.
Kyleigh was pretty happy too.  We were still in our jammies and they had a wonderful time playing with their gifts.
Here they are all bundled up to go home.  Gosh, it's hard to say goodbye knowing it will be months before we see them again.  We have set up google chat though, so I'll be able to keep in touch with them on their kindles now.
I mentioned we drove up to the lake on Saturday.  The wildflowers are still in bloom...or they were before last night when we received a few inches of snow here in Spokane.  That means the lake probably got even more.
Snow on the mountains but none in the valleys on Saturday.
Well, I think I've made this post way too lon,g so I'll close.  I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving if you live in the U.S. and if not, your weekend was a lovely one.

Hopefully I'll be back before too long.

"Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name."  Psalm 100:4

Blessings,
Betsy