Tuesday, November 30, 2010

today's post is brought to you by the letter "F"

"F" is for.... Finishes!!
 I have been working along on projects lately large and small, and have some finishes to share.  First off are some amigurumi I have made from the book I bought.
I love tigers.  I think they are some of the most beautiful, powerful and graceful creatures on the planet. So I couldn't pass up making these little ones.  One is mine, and the other is for my son who ,bless his heart, is incredibly patient when it comes to getting some of mom's projects (little sister usually swoops in and tries to claim all of them).

Next is something for my daughter who has a birthday next month.  When I picked up the book she saw this cake and told me "Mom, you have to make me one of these for my birthday!!"  I just looked at her and said "We'll see."  She still doesn't know I've made it for her, I am planning to present it to her along with her edible birthday cake :cD

This is a simple scarf I made from Lion Brand Homespun yarn.  I LOVE this yarn...OK the way it feels anyway.  My first intention was to make a ripple afghan (still on my to do list) but had one heck of a time seeing the "v"s to determine where the stitches were.  So after some frustration I decided that my first ripple afghan will be made with smoother yarn.  This yarn was, however, perfect for a scarf that will be donated by by son's boy scout troop...and I may make more with this yarn as well, we'll see.

Finally, I got my sweater done.  It is from the pattern Stay Cool which was published in Simply Knitting issue 68.  I used Caron simply soft in country blue, and since it is a slightly heavier yarn than the pattern calls for by following the medium size directions I ended up with the perfect size for me.  I'm pretty happy with it.  I wish the lace section was a little more flat, it is curling up a bit yet.  I wore it to Thanksgiving dinner and got compliments from friends and family :cD

"F" is also for...my feet...

I would love to know what is going on with the body part beyond my ankles, but alas, I'm still rather clueless.  The good news is that after a couple weeks away from running (I have still been trying to get out there and walk) they are feeling much better.  I am hoping that in another week or so I can try to run a little again.  The bad news is that I feel as big as a house since I haven't been running.

"F" number three...  false starts
I started my next project about a week ago.  It is a knitted stole called Blue Topaz published in Simply Knitting issue 71.  I got going and was all excited about a "simple" project...some easy-ish lace, no shaping.  Then about 20-something rows into it I noticed an error in my knitting.  Thinking I could just frog a couple rows I pulled the needles out and yanked away.  Then realized I couldn't tell yarn overs from other stitches or dropped stitches. I got frustrated, frogged the WHOLE thing, cried for a minute then restarted.  I will try to get a couple pictures to share next post.

"F" number four...  fun stuff!!
The weekend before Thanksgiving the local garden center has an event called Holly-Pine Lane which is free to the public.  There are lots of themed decorated Christmas trees there as well as demonstrations, refreshments and Santa.  Since that Sunday the kiddos were here we decided to check it out.
This is the tree that was at the entrance.  It was covered in beautiful ornaments like this cut paper ornament, below, as well as others.

One of my daughter's favorites...covered in teddy bears.

One of my son's favories with lots of country style ornaments.
One of my favorites.  One decorated with beautiful red work ornaments done by the local quilter's society.

Finally, one that was a favorite of all of us kids and kids at heart... one covered in candy and candy shaped ornaments :cD
This is just a few of the many themed trees there.  It is such a nice event and free to the public each year.  I just love to go when I am able.  (Oh, and don't ask me why my dd looks like she isn't having fun in the photos, I can't really tell you.  She had a great time, I think my picture taking timing was just off :cS)

Well, I am off to enjoy one more "F".... free time!  I have a little today between the chores and picking the kids up from school, so I am off to try to get a walk and some crafting time in today.  Hope you all have a wonderful day!!  Warmest wishes!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Life...the good, the bad and the interesting

Hi all, its the beginning of another week and things are crazy as ever.  Let me start off and get the "bad" part of  my title out of the way.  Even after getting new shoes, both running and work, my left foot is still bugging me.  Long story short, as much as I hate the thought of it, I am going to HAVE TO take some time off from running.  I'm still going to try to get out there and walk since its lower impact, and try to do some yoga just in case it is muscular and/or due to inflexibility, but boy does that just suck!!  I was really starting to make progress again, and now I'm just hoping to maintain and recover.  Weird part is, the pain is worse after I've been sitting for a while. When I'm on my feet and moving around (like doing housework and such) its pretty much OK...odd.  Hopefully I'll be able to get back out there again soon.

The good is that I've been crafting away and coming up with new ideas that will get me digging into my fabrics again :cD  I've been making progress on my sweater, and am hoping to have it done in time to wear to the family get together on Thanksgiving...wish me luck!  I've also been playing around with the amigurumi.  I recently bought Amigurumi Two and have made a couple little cuties from it.
 Then I got brave and modified and combined a couple patterns to come up with this little octo-cutie :cD

Finally, on to the interesting.  First off we had school conferences which went well, and interestingly enough the conversation with my daughter's teacher turned toward crafting.  I had mentioned that I sew as well as knit and recently started crocheting.  It turns out her teacher is a knitter as well, and  raises sheep and spins the wool into yarn herself. How cool is that.  She even has pictures of her sheep in her classroom :)  Then it was time for my son's teacher.  About a year ago my son was diagnosed with PDD.  It is a condition just outside the autism spectrum.  Academically, he is very bright, but he can have problems on the social side.  Well, we came to find out his homeroom teacher (his grade has 2 teachers they work with) has a child with the same condition so he totally "gets" my son.  I can't tell you how nice it is to know he has such an understanding teacher.  I am so thankful for that!!

Speaking of being thankful, I just have to share this.  Believe it or not, we have a radio station that is playing all Christmas music already!  Now not that I don't like Christmas music, I love it in fact, but I can't help but want to scream "Hey, there IS a holiday between Halloween and Christmas, you know?!?!"  I sometimes think its kind of sad how Thanksgiving gets overlooked.  Its one of my favorite holidays.  I have lots to be thankful for, and love the time to reflect on that with friends and family.  And as one of my friends likes to say, it may just be the best holiday of the year...all the friends, family, togetherness and food of other holidays without the financial burden.  Just a time to be together, and I love that.

Well, I am off again.  Hope you all have a great week!!
Country Mouse

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Oh dear, I think I did it again...

Sometimes I think I have crafter's ADD.   I just can't help floating from craft to craft and project to project, sometimes at the expense of not finishing one that I've started.  I have always loved art and crafting. When I was growing up my mom did a lot of knitting, crocheting and sewing.  She was involved with a company called Creative Circle years and years ago, and taught me how to cross stitch, embroider, and do other needle work.  I loved making "friendship bracelets" back in the day with embroidery floss.  I think I had committed at least 15 different knotted designs to memory, and could probably still create a lot of them. I remember making a hand sewn dinosaur for my sister for Christmas one year. I took art class all through high school.  I loved fabric and collected fat quarters with no particular project in mind. Then when my son was born I started quilting, and even though I would dabble with other crafts here and there after that, quilting dominated most of my crafting.  Now several years later, I can't seem to see another type of craft and not give it a try.  First it was jewelry making, then knitting, now its crochet.  I joined ravelry shortly after starting knitting, and while browsing through the patters, I kept coming across the cutest little softies.  Unfortunately (or so I thought) many of them were crocheted.  I'm sure most of you are familiar with them, they are called amigurumi.  Well, the last time my parents came to visit I had my mom show me the simple single, double and treble crochet, and  true to form, I took that information and ran with it.  I was bound and determined to learn to crochet because I was going to make some of those amigurumi. Well.... I am thrilled to show off my first little cutie!
This little puppy was made from a free pattern from my local Jo-Anns store and scrap yarn. He's about 4 inches tall and has already been claimed by my dd.  Now my son wants me to find and make him a cat :cD   I also think I may have found my next project, maybe, I picked up another free patten flyer at Jo-Anns (I love free patterns) and made this for an afghan from it.  I don't know about the colors yet, but I would love to have a beautiful, retro style granny square afghan.
I also remembered how to use my sewing machine!! OK, I've never really forgot, of course, but it has been a looong time since I've sewn anything.  My daughter was thrilled when she came over and saw this..

I actually have lots of fleece left over, so I am thinking I will probably make the arm warmers that came with this pattern and maybe a hat and/or scarf too.  Being with my sewing machine also made me want to get one of those quilts there in my sidebar done too.  Actually, I have to change that up a bit because after some thought, I think I will get those quilts done (rather than purge the tops) and donate or gift a lot of them out.
I've been trying to get out there and run, but a sore ankle has kind of kept me down (but not out) for a while.  I know some of it is due to the extra weight I carry, and I really think its mostly due to really tight muscles...I really need to stretch more consistently.  Another big factor were my shoes.  They were way past their prime, so I invested in a new pair of running shoes.
I ran in them for the first time yesterday, and there has always been something about new shoes that makes me feel so much lighter and faster.  They also make a huge difference.  Today is the first day that I have not woken up with a sore ankle after running in almost 2 weeks so I am thrilled!!

Other than that life has been pretty quiet, which is nice.  Especially after so much drama for the last couple years, so I can't complain.  Nothing too exciting, not too boring, just enough to keep life interesting which is always good.  Well, I am off to enjoy the day, and try to fit in all that needs to be done.  Hope you all have great one!!  Warmest country wishes!!
Country Mouse

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My favorite time of the year

I love fall. Everything about it.  The changing leaves, the colors, the cooler weather, the feeling of coming in from the cold to a nice warm house, fires in the fireplace....oh, I could go on and on.  My favorite thing?  How about a couple pictures clues...

Yup, pumpkins!  To me they are the ultimate symbol of fall.  They are everywhere right now, and I just love the color, and smell, and yumminess of them.  With Halloween just past we made sure we made some jack-o-lanterns, roasted pumpkin seeds and made some yummy pumpkin muffins to enjoy along with my coffee with (what else) pumpkin spice creamer in it.  We did go trick-or-treating this last weekend, and the kids had a blast.  We came home with enough candy that we shouldn't have to buy any for the rest of the year, lol!! We just made a single loop around the neighborhood.  Right before we were back to our house we were greeted by a familiar face handing out candy right across the street.  OK, not really anyone we knew but I think most everyone will recognize this fellow...
On the crafting front, I have made some progress on my sweater.  I need to go out and get a couple more skeins of yarn to get the rest done.  Thankfully this yarn is no dye lot.  I know that doesn't guarantee an exact color match, and I should buy enough for the whole project at once, but so far I have been very fortunate that usually Caron's yarn has been very consistent color wise.

I have also been playing around with crochet.  I would love to learn crochet so after watching an episode of  Knit and Crochet Today I fiddled around and made some of these to use up some scraps...

Finally I have been making myself a pair of  simple fingerless mitts.  These are really fast to make up, and I love the cables :cD

(Oh, and I am totally embarrassed to say I haven't gotten that poncho done yet :(   )

On the running front I finally reached the 30 minute goal I had set for myself.  Saturday I ran for 30 minutes non stop. Yeah!!  Its not anywhere near my old distance, but its that's OK, its the furthest I've run since my divorce and all that other stuff so I am totally thrilled!!  Its another step toward my ultimate goal of running a half or even a full marathon next fall.

Speaking of running, I am about to head out to get a run in before I pick up the kiddos from school, then get some crafting in too.  Hope you all have a great day!!  Warmest country wishes!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Unexpected surprises and keeping busy

Hi everyone!  The last week plus has just flown by, and its been quite full of surprises.  It started Saturday (Sweetest's Day) when my fiancee brought these into work for me...
Then I ended up with an unexpected day off all to myself on Sunday...can't remember when I had one of those!  I took my time in the stores I wanted to look around, treated myself to lunch out, and spent some time working on finishing up some knitting projects and took a nice run.  Then we had some good fortune come our way via the mail which meant our monthly expenses being lowered a bit. Unfortunately all surprises can't be good and right now I am trying to figure out how I'm going to handle a scheduling problem at work, but I'll get it figured out one way or another :cD  Life is all about give and take, ups and downs, and without fail it always works out in the end so I am trying to learn not to let myself get too overstressed.

Now I had mentioned running?  I am sooo glad to be back to running consistently again.  I may not be running far (right now I am running about 1 1/2 to 3 miles at a time), but I am losing some weight and feeling so much better.  So far I am down about 7 lbs, and just love getting out in the fall air.  How can you not like seeing this?

We even took the kids out to hike at the park.  Our goal is to hike all the trails on our county park's "healthy hikes" list by next spring.  The kids have been doing so good, I am so proud of them!!

I have been making time for projects too.  I recently finished, well almost I still need to sew the eyes on, another teddy.  The pattern has a sweater for him too which I may make yet, but for now I think he turned out pretty well.  My seaming sure has come a long way :cD

I have been making progress on my sweater.  It brings up another surprise this week.  When I made this the first time I ended up with a few errors in the lace section.  I just didn't get it.  This time, after getting into the pattern, the lace part just "clicked".  I finally got it, and it came out really well.  Yea!!  I am using Caron Simply Soft in Country Blue.  I would love to use some of the fancier yarns out there, but I just can't afford them at this point. I do like the way this yarn feels, and the color, so if all continues to go well, I'm sure I'll love the sweater.
Finally, my daughter has been asking for a fleece poncho.  She knows what fleece she wants and everything.  Well, when I was at our local Jo-Ann's the fleece she has been asking for for weeks was on sale, as well as the pattern.  So I went ahead and picked them up and hope to have it done over the weekend if I can squeeze the time in.  I think is going to be super cute ;cD

Well,  I'm off to get a run in and start my work week. Hope you all have a great day.  Warmest country wishes!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

A little perspective

Hi all, sorry I've been gone so long.  I wanted to give you all a heads up and let you know that the first paragraph is a bit of an explanation of where I've been.  Its a little rambling and borders on a bit of a rant so if you want to skip it, feel free.  I won't be upset, its just stuff I felt I had to get off my chest.  Just skip down to the first picture and check out what I've been working on over the summer.  Thanks :cD

    Have you seen the movie Ratatouille?  There is a scene when Anton Ego comes into Gusteau's and when asked what he wants (he is going to write a review about the restaurant) he tells the waiter something along the lines of '...some perspective...do you have a wine that would be a good accompaniment to that?'  And he gets it.  He not only gets a meal that reminds him of simpler, happier times, he finds out that cooking genius can take unexpected forms.  What does this have to do with me?  Well, over my hiatus I have taken a step back and given myself the chance to gain a little perspective.  I have to admit to almost giving up the blogging thing and just disappearing into obscurity.  Why?  Because, for whatever reason, I found myself falling into the trap (if you will) of thinking my joy in blogging was based on number of visitors or comments.  I was getting absolutely discouraged and thinking I was doing something wrong or was just plain boring (either of which may be true...those can be subjective terms of course) because I wasn't getting lots of visitors, or lots of commenters.  I mean hey, I do wonder how come some bloggers out there are capable of having 40 comments within the first 30 minutes after a post and I'm lucky to get 40 comments over the course of a couple months.  I also have to admit to becoming a bit disenchanted with the world of quilting.  I don't care to elaborate more because I really don't want to hurt any feelings or get any feathers ruffled, but let me just say I am not too very excited to get all involved with some of the online quilting stuff anymore (OK maybe there are a couple of exceptions).  I am still totally enamored with knitting and that has been the bulk of my crafting for the last 6 months or so, as well as Ravelry and learning how to crochet too.  Anyhoo....after taking that step back I have come to some conclusions.  First,  I've gotten back to the mindset that blogging (for me at least) is about having fun and sharing my passion for my craft of choice at the moment as well as life in general,  not numbers and visitors and comments.  If I even have one person come and visit and leave a comment that brings me joy.  To know I've made a connection with at least one person out there....that's pretty darn cool!  Second is not to get so easily discouraged.  Life can be tough, mine has had its share of ups and downs, and just cause something isn't going how I think it should doesn't mean I should give it up. Finally, I've learned to quit comparing myself to everyone else.  I have a competitive streak in me, and in my younger days I constantly compared myself to everyone, and made grand plans of how I could be better.  Even just a short time ago I would be running and be passed by younger, faster runners and think "what wrong with me?'  The honest answer...nothing.  I just had to reach the point in my life where I realize that a lot of those runners are probably 10 years younger than me, haven't been through what I have, and may not have all the responsibilities I do...and besides that, I'm doing the best I can do and no matter what that is in comparison to them, its MY best and I should be proud.  I am finally at the point in my life where I can look at the things I do and be happy with them for their own merit, not compared to everyone else.  There is truth in the saying about there will always be someone prettier, smarter, faster yada yada yada.  And so, I would like to thank any of you that took the time to listen to me ramble and am happy to say that I am ready to get back to doing what makes me happy....knitting, sewing, running, creating, and blogging :cD

                                                              On to the fun stuff!!

I've been doing lots of knitting. These are two little cuties I whipped up.  The bumblebee was for a co-worker.  They are so cute and quick I've though about knitting some up for unexpected surprises.  My first thought (being someone in the service industry) is a little something cute to leave for a good server along with a tip.  It's always fun getting something unexpected...my favorite story was I waited on a gentleman who had brought in a beautiful vase of flowers.  I thought it was for the couple he was dining with, but when the meal was over he looked at me and said "Here, these are for you.  You did a wonderful job."  It ended up he was a gardener who liked to make bouquets of the flowers he grew to leave as part of the tip he left for service staff.  How cool is that?!?!
I have continued to make toys.  LOVE them, so fun and so (relatively) fast.  The pig is going to be a gift, the zebra may end up as one well, and the teddies are going to be added to my growing collection of knitted teddies.  I am working on another teddy now and hope to have pics soon..

Also got a hat done for the cooler weather coming up.
Also I finally got brave and gave making sweaters a try.  My first attempt is the blue cardigan, which ended up not fitting me :(   ...but was perfect for my mom!  Then I found the pattern for the pink sweater and had to give it a try and I am thrilled with it.  I've actually worn it several times already.  My next sweater project?  One like the blue one in my size.  Both sweater patters were published in Simply Knitting magazine.

So as you can see I've been keeping myself busy.  Now we are finally getting back into a routine with school, and I am getting better at finding time for all the household chores and stuff as well as running and hobby stuff and enjoying the evenings with the kiddos.  I think I am finally coming into my own in a lot of ways so I am one happy mouse!!
Well, I am going to get on my way.  Life is so busy, even on my days off.  Hope you all have a wonderful day!!  Warmest country wishes!!

Country Mouse