Friday, January 30, 2015

RSC15 - Connector blocks

Yay :D  Angela already posted the color planned for February, and I decided to spend a productive hour playing around with my pink and neutral 1.5" bins.
These have plans to become connector blocks when paired together with Bonnie's "Betty's Choice" scrappy blocks published in one of the Quiltmaker magazines.

And.... *forehead slap*!  After snapping the picture and posting to FB, I realized....... the inner 9-patch has the pinks/neutrals in the wrong places.

The neutrals should play nicely along the diagonals....

Ah well.  The pink blocks will be fixed up at a later time;  it's not even February 1st after all.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

RSC14 and yarn selection for Mystery CAL [Crochet]

Much of this Saturday morning was spent relaxing with a coffee cup in my hand... HOME!  

Eventually, I wandered downstairs and played around with some sashing ideas for my 2014 Rainbow Scrap Challenge blocks.  It was enjoyable to simply...... RELAX with no pressure of time.

I have a new iron on my board;  a Black-n-Decker Classic.  My last one simply peetered out and wasn't getting hot anymore.  So far, this one is.......'eh.'  The holes on the bottom catch the edges of the fabric when I'm pressing smaller units :\.  But I chose this one over the completely 'dry' one (which had NO holes) because this had an auto shut-off.  Although, I'm rethinking whether I really need that feature.  It'd be nice to have a nice, flat iron with NO holes.  Something to think about next time.

I purchased my yarn for the Crochet Crowd (via Yarnspirations) mystery crochet along.  The plum showed up quite bold with the flash;  it's a bit darker than what seems present in the picture.  I was sadly disappointed in the selection of Caron Simply Soft at our local Walmart.  It would seem that  they've dropped quite a few of their formerly stocked colors :(  My original color-palette hope....
And I found that Hancock Fabrics has a sale on Simply Soft right now, but.....  **shrug**.... I just can't bring myself to pushing that "Submit Order" button.  ;) ((even though I have a gift certificate from my Mommie for HF)).  Frugal much???

In the meantime, I'm making progress on the newest ripple afghan:  the 12 Interlocking Ripples (Attic24's Neat Ripple pattern).

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Mystery Crochet Along - I'm in! [Crochet]

Believe it or not, I actually have a couple of quilting projects under way, but nothing that is blog worthy OR blog allowed right now, but....

As previous posts show, I'm continuing to produce some crochet projects during my evenings in my rocker while upstairs with the family.

This just in!
Mikey over at the Crochet Crowd, is hosting a Mystery Crochet Along (sponsored by Yarnspirations) coming up in just a couple of weeks.  His 'teaser video' truly did a great job of amping up the excitement for what seems to be a FAB-ulous afghan for the making!

I'm in!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Scrappy Random Ripple [Crochet]

Scrappy Random Ripple ~(54" x 65")
I've had some extra time on my hands at home this week due to two of the girls not feeling well :( 

:(  There really isn't a greater helpless feeling than that feeling when you want to wave a magic wand to make them feel better.  But.... that magic wand simply doesn't exist.

Trying to keep my anxiety at bay, I kept busy by putting more rows onto the Random Scrappy Ripple (pattern:  Neat Ripple by Lucy at Attic24).    

Anxiety, you ask?  Gah.  Yup!
I really didn't mind staying home Wednesday with Cassie;  it was an easy day to write up sub plans for;  most classes were in need of a work/practice day after learning a new skill or two on Monday/Tuesday.
I was back at work Thursday..... until I received a phonecall from the school nurse that Candace was fading fast (with a 101 fever).  So, I scrambled some quick notes together for the rest of the afternoon;  scrounged up a sub to cover my afternoon classes, and was heading home.
It's a good thing I stopped in the highschool office before I left though to check out the substitute situation for Friday -- this was a 'just in case' move, per Nurse Kelly's request of keeping Candace at home if her fever didn't break.
Holy Moly!  All five of my 'go-to' substitutes were already scheduled for the day.  But... our secretary (with some input from our Principal) worked her magic and fanagled the substitute schedule.
Planning for a substitute isn't the easiest.  And my 6th period class is of my biggest concern right now.  I wasn't there on Wednesday.  I was at least able to finish up their class period on Thursday.  But....if I were to be gone Friday---what to do with them?  I actually allowed them to give me some input on the game plan.
BECAUSE---I also have an afternoon mtg on Monday; therefore, I won't be with them.  And then again next Wednesday, I'm out with an all-day meeting.  Blah!  Thursday marks the end of the semester, so... it just is escalating a little bit into...."ummm, well... what to do?  What to do?"

So, sure enough....Candace spiked 102 Friday morning.  It's a good thing I spent 3 hours on Thursday afternoon planning notes and videos for my classes.  I forwarded them along to the school secretary to be printed out for my sub.  I updated the websites for each class.  I wrote up a dozen or-so emails to students who were scheduling times with me to reassess some skills.  All but one responded back to me by lunch time;  everyone was able to be flexible and reschedule to Monday before or after school.  I'll tell ya, technology SURE has its advantages!!!

Anyway---so yeah.  I was feeling anxious Friday (yesterday).  It's kinda cumulative of Candace reallllly not feeling well... and me being out of my classroom... and the guilt that comes with being out of my classroom.

Just sharing a little insight into the mind of me as a teacher...

So, anyway.  Once I was able to focus on the crocheting, the anxiety slowly subsided.  Crazy enough, it never really went away.  BUT, I reached a point in the Scrappy Random Ripple where I felt...."It's done."
This afghan was started at the end of November after I attempted to tidy up my living room area of yarn mess.  I had leftovers from other projects scattered around, and I had also purchased some scraps from a local thrift shop.  They seemed like they would play nicely together.
I snipped a small piece from each ball and placed the snippets in a little container.  A die was also placed in the container.  The plan:  I would have one of the girls choose a piece of yarn blindly from the container, and then have her roll the die.  The afghan would grow by the number of rows shown on the die, using the color selected.    Completely random :)

And, of course, with yarn still scattered around (albeit, a bit more organized that in November), it's a perfect idea to start aNOTHER ripple!   ((I realllly do love this pattern!!!!!!!!)

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Another year in the stands underway

Cassie and Caitlyn, both, are here-there-n-everywhere already with their basketball gear in tow lately.  

**I** am here-there-everywhere with CHILDREN and basketball gear in tow. ;)

I needed to make a decision of exactly where and which child I would have in tow yesterday.  Cassie's tournament was 30 miles due north while Caitlyn's was about 70 miles northeast.  I was in single-parent mode since Paul is in the midst of his night shift.
Clearly, Cassie's closer tournament won the vote.  This time.

And afterwards, the girls ganged up on us parents teamed up for some bonding over soda and pizza.  All 8th graders.  Gettin' big... and sassy :D  Truly great girls all around.

The week ahead is full of basketball too.  I understand now when parents have told me in the past they feel like the taxi service before/after practices and games out-of-town.

Next week, Caitlyn's tournament will be winning in the "Which tournament will you choose to watch while in single-parent mode?" game.  Yuppers.  Paul will be in the midst of his day shift next Saturday, and both girls have tournaments in opposite directions.  *shrug*
It's what we do, right?

At least I have my Hello Kitty pajama pants to relax in once finally at home at the end of the day.

And ....

how 'bout those Packers, right?!?!?!!?!?!?!    Whaaaa-hoooooo!
Happy Sunday everyone.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Easy Peasy Scrubbie cloth [Crochet]

While browsing through a bin of yarn this past weekend, this Scrub It from Mary Maxim struck me as interesting.  A sample cloth was available on the display rack, and I found it right up my recent alley of creating wash cloths for the house.

After searching Ravelry for 30+ minutes, I was coming up empty handed on a simple washcloth/dishcloth pattern.  !!!  I know, right?!?!  There literally are hundreds of patterns out there, but I couldn't find a simple, easy peasy pattern.  **shrug**

So, I made up my own.  Super simple.  Easy Peasy!

This yarn calls for size 5mm knitting needles, so I used my H8 (5mm) hook.

The pattern established is a multiple of 2 (plus one).

I chained 32 +1 (33 chains), resulting in a cloth 9" wide.

Row 1:  Sc in 2nd ch from hook, dc in next ch.  Repeat *sc in next ch, dc in next ch* across the row, ending with a dc. Turn. (32 stitches)

Row 2:  Ch 1.  Sc in first dc, dc in next sc.  Repeat *sc in next dc, dc in next sc* across the row, ending with a dc.  Turn.  (32 stitches)

Repeat Row 2 until desired length achieved.

I quite literally ended my final row with 3 inches of yarn left!  (Just enough to tie off and weave the end in!)  Now, my toughest decision to make:  do I use the cloth for our dishes, or for our faces?!!?!?

Monday, January 5, 2015

A ninth birthday in winter

Out of all of the cakes this dear girl could choose from -- pinks, purples, frilly cupcakes -- ....
NOPE!  She chose the Packer cake.  I was pretty pleased :D  And all of those Packer helmets are rings, so that was an awesome bonus on top of the wonderful buttercream frosting!

Amongst her gifts, one of the most exciting for her was that she was able to get some fish.  It's kinda fun to think that three lil' $0.38 goldfish were the highlight of her day!
We stopped at the local Thrift Shop as well where she found a game and toy.    She truly was having a great simple lil' birthday shopping day!
While walking around, I couldn't help but feel a little bit emotionally mixed at this beautiful baby afghan on the shelf.

Priced at $1.65.  I understand it's a thrift shop.  I understand that whomever donated it possibly doesn't have the same passion and understanding for handmade afghans as those of us in the craft.  I understand that I can't judge nor know the whole story behind how it came to the donation pile.  It was beautifully crocheted.  It wasn't just a simple design;  it was quite lovely.  And as badly as I wanted to bring it home, I knew it had no rightful purpose at my house when it could end up being something affordable and special to someone else who may truly need it.  

The day was gorgeously sunny!  The drive home, with the sun beating down on my jeans was splendid!  The time at home with the sun overhead, glaring through the windows was wonderful.

BUT, folks... we can't let that sun deceive us...
This was the current info at 3:00 in the afternoon.

And this morning........this MONDAY first-day-back-to-school morning......
SEVENTEEN BELOW, with windchill of -32.  !!!!!!!!!!
Folks----- I know this is Wisconsin, but... we Wisconsinites are STILL HUMAN!  That's cold!   LOL

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Conscience - too often a burden

My day was going along marvelously.  I was crocheting the morning away.  Showered and fancied myself up after lounging around for the past 4 days.  I headed to town to pick up some ingredients for tonight's dinner of Rib Steaks w/garlic smashed potatoes.  I even picked up some ingredients to try out some homemade flavored waters, since I'm terrrrrrible at drinking water!

And even on the way home, I was chuckling when I saw a lady come out of her house in her slippers and bathrobe to get the mail that was just delivered.  At TWO in the afternoon!!!!

But 5 more miles down the road, the day took a turn.
As I was cresting over a hill on a backroad, I saw the mailcar approaching.  The road was icy; I slowed... and then I saw the Springer Spaniel running, following after the mailcar.  There simply wasn't anything I could do; the timing was simply wrong in so many ways.
The dog was in the middle of my lane; the mailcar and I passed each other, but the dog kept running instead of heading for the ditch.  I repeated "please get out of the way, please get out of the way" over and over... and hit the brakes to slow, worried about sliding and colliding with the mailcar or hitting the ditch, and of course, the Springer was a concern too.  There was nowhere to go.  The Springer collided with the front of my van and ended up in the snowbank on the other side of the road.

I was stunned.  The girls witnessed the last bit of the accident after hearing my repeated prayer of 'please get out of the way."  Poor Candace gasped,.... "Mom, is it okay?"

I turned around in the next driveway and headed back up the hill to see how badly she was.  A neighbor was just coming out to retrieve his mail just delivered;  I waved him down to see if the dog was his.  She wasn't his, but he headed over to the other neighbor's.    I knew the house;  it's the house of a former student of mine.  And yes, the Springer was a family pet of his parents.

I grabbed a flannel blanket out of the van to wrap the Springer up in while waiting.  She didn't care for me to touch her; she couldn't stand, but definitely was willing to lift her head to snip at me for attempting to check her over.

The family had been out on a snowmobile and sledding in the yard.  Mom came out, repeating "oh dear, oh dear..."  and some of the rest of the family came to check out the commotion.
I'm crushed!
Within minutes, a car was brought around, the Springer was bundled up and placed in the back seat, and they were going to head to the Vet.  My former student was having difficultly keeping the Springer settled in the back; she kept wanting to sit up.  I want to believe this is a good sign.

I asked him to please keep me posted.

I've tried crocheting to take my mind off.  But truly, with each stitch of the hook, I kept re-seeing the Springer running head-on to the van.  I couldn't do anything.  But still... what an emotional situation that isn't allowing me peace.

Heavy heart this afternoon.
I hope she's okay.

Just received a mssg from my former student:
"We just got back from the vet. Sounds like she is going to be okay. No broken bones or internal damage as far as the vet could tell. Normally she never goes on the road. But she circles vehicles when they come in the driveway to check them out so I'm sure she was doing that to the mailmans car after I ran up there with the snowmobile."

I may being able to cook dinner tonight after all now.
Still feeling anxious, but I know that'll go away with some time.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Running Log - 2014 wrap up; 2015 start up

2014 wasn't "all-that" when it came to logging tons of miles.  
With most New Year's, resolutions are set and people strive to meet them.  **shrug**
For 2015, I've signed up for a Challenge to start off the year:  2015 #100DayOfMiles on FB
Yup.  It's time to get back to running fitness! Off to an up-down start, and..... I just ordered some new shoes with my Discover Card Rewards points;  they should be arriving next week.  My current shoes have WELL over 433 miles (as shown here) ... they have become my "wear-everywhere" shoes, and not just for my runs.

For what it's worth......

2014 Running Log
Totals: 32.19 miles

3/17/14:  1.50 miles (11:18/mile)
3/31:14: 2.17 miles (11:15/mile)
4/20/14: 1.68 miles (11:46/mile)
5/6/14: 1.63 miles (12:31/mile)
5/20/14: 1.65 miles (14:21/mile)
5/23/14: 1.30 miles (16:41/mile)
5/24/14: 1.23 miles (20:15/mile)
5/24/14: 1.32 miles (10:25/mile)
5/25/14: 1.10 miles (18:32/mile)
5/26/14: 1.00 miles (12:19/mile)
5/28/14: 1.88 miles (10:42/mile)
5/30/14: 2.04 miles (11:02/mile)
5/31/14: 3.02 miles (12:51/mile)
*6/1/14: 3.31 miles (12:07/mile)
6/3/14: 3.32 miles (12:03/mile)
6/3/14: 1.20 miles (15:38/mile)
6/4/14: 1.82 miles (10:01/mile)
10/26/14: 1.02 miles (13:12/mile)

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Finishes for 2014

The list is quite a bit smaller this year than in year's past, with more crochet finishes than quilting...

Finished in 2014
Star Struck
Green Bay Packers - gifted to brother, Christmas 2014
Berquist Beauty - gifted to sister & brother-in-law, Christmas 2014
Lori's Comfort - gifted to friend, Lori
Baby Sage
Drop in the Pond
Spring has Sprung
Rainbow View
Red Rag Rug 
Mandala Rug (green)
Fall Ripple
Random Ripple

"Always Time" quilt top and Taming of the Scraps

Always Time (79 x 103)
Always Time has come together with some dedicated time over Thanksgiving vacation, a couple of weekends and some time during this Christmas vacation.  The blocks are larger, therefore it has been a decently quick quilt top to piece.

Many of the fabrics are from the "Twilight Frost" line that was discontinued to Connecting Threads a couple of years ago.  The pattern is the Rambling Aunt Sukey design from Marti Mitchell (published in the from Jan/Feb '08 Quiltmaker magazine).  

Like many, many others;  it has been folded and added to my ever-growing--never-shrinking pile of quilt tops ready for quilting.

The 2014 Rainbow Scrap Challenge was wrapped up with a final gray block in order to round out the year with twelve blocks :)    
Naturally, it would be right for me to pass up a year of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge, so.... I'm in for 2015 too!  I don't really have a solid plan in mind (yet), despite spending countless hours last night and this morning searching the net for that perfect idea.

Although, this morning, with my new rotary cutter in-hand, I started trimming up numerous bonus-HSTs in blue (January's color), trimming them to 2".

With a few hours of "Avengers" and "Avengers" in the DVD player, (yup...when it ended, I simply pushed 'Play' again),  I added four scrappy star blocks to four block I had pieced last year during Judy's Scrap Challenge for January.  (All pictured lower left).
Yesterday was a day well spent trying to tame all (some?  a few?) of the scraps I had scattered around the sewing room.  All the while, sew-skyping with buddy Nancy.  It was the first day in a LONG time that I felt my quilting mojo had come back.  It truly felt good using up SOME of the scraps, even through, TRULY, barely a dent was made!!!!
The OMIGOSH blocks (upper left) have been an on-n-off Leader-Ender project of mine for the past couple of years.  The scrappy Talkin' Turkey blocks (upper right) are a Bonnie-design, these done in scrappy though :)

Although I'd love to keep my quilting mojo flowing, I don't know if I want to head back downstairs since I've spent the past couple of hours upstairs, cleaning and decluttering the kitchen and laundry/entryway room.

Maybe some more Gibbs (NCIS marathon on USA) and my crochet hook ?? ;)

Happy New Years everyone!