Monday, December 31, 2012

High Fiber--Happy New Year

Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year!
Christmas was good, but my birthday, which started at a few minutes after 10:00 PM, which was a few minutes after midnight in Florida, where I was born many, many years ago, sucked! Well, this was supposed to be the "Big 70." It was, actually 70, but it was by far the worst birthday of my life, if you don't count the ones when I was too young to remember and therefore can't judge. Just after 10:00 PM, Christmas night, the stomach flu hit. It had hit DH a couple of hours earlier. This was the worst stomach flu either of us has ever had. After I gave away my Christmas dinner, which I hadn't finished enjoying, I had chills and dizziness lasting well through the rest of my birthday and for several days thereafter. Loren, our niece's DH, preceded us in the ailment by about 24 hrs. Everyone else in the house had had the same thing before coming to visit. I really hope none of my readers have to suffer through this experience this winter! 
Fortunately, the kids had all had it already, but Soren came down with a cold, which spread to his dad and the other two kids. We managed to have a good time, though. (I'm still waiting for the cold to hit DH and me, though.)
Daphne and Zachary played "together" (that is, in the vicinity of each other with some of the same stuff) with some of my Tupperware. They got some wonderful toys, which they enjoyed, but Tupperware is fun to play with for a change.
Daphne really enjoyed her new dolls, and our niece gave her a set of 'baby" stuff to go with them, which was a hit. DDIL1 gave her a purse with a "cell phone," keys, lipstick, debit card and other pretend goodies, like what women usually carry in their purses. Still, the Tupperware was worth playing with.
Grandma got to play with Soren, some, too. He's not as mobile as the other two, but he's pretty active (and interactive).

Zachary surprised us by taking his first steps at our house! Here is a photo of his actual first steps. He's taken many since this photo was taken. He can even make U-turns now.
Daphne had a good time, too. She enjoyed watching Squeekers, our resident squirrel, from the couch. She also enjoyed playing in the snow, going for walks with the family and showing off her stylish snow gear. (I see lift ticket purchases for grandchildren in our future.)
Our niece, Amanda, had a good time in the snow, especially with Daphne.
My birthday breakfast out, usually done on Dec. 26th, happened on the 31st instead.
Here's Grandma with Zach, one of my little men.
On the knitting front, I gave myself enough Swish DK in Lava Heather to make DH a sweater, which was his present, too, including labor. Here's the pattern I plan on using, but the gauge won't work, so there will be some math involved. Two of my kids gave me quilting fabric for either Christmas or birthday, so my stash is even better than before. I'll try to take photos of the yarn and fabric. I've up.
What's on my needles: Soren's BSJ, some progress made. Will have to ship, as Soren has gone home.
What's my app of the week: Zoo Train. Wonderful for preschoolers! (Recommended to me by a schoolteacher.
What's on my iPad: Finishing up Dean Koontz's Odd Interlude. Coming to the end.
What's in my wine glass: Chateau Ste Michelle Cabernet Sauvignon 2010. Very nice!
Note: This blog post was produced entirely on the MacBook, using the iPad for photo processing. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for or cleaned.

Monday, December 17, 2012

High Fiber--Prelude to Christmas.

I can't believe that a week from today will be Christmas Eve!
The realization is sinking in, though. We had Sundance volunteer sign-up on Monday, in preparation for the festival in January. Another reminder was holiday parties have been taking place with greater frequency. It's great to see old friends and relatively new but very special friends as well. The scene above greeted me and some friends when we arrived at Liana's home on Tuesday.
Friday, DH and I made the long trip to Trudi and Fred's home for our annual Christmas party and the reunion of all the National Olympic Committee Assistants who were assigned to Germany during the 2002 Winter Olympics. Trudi always makes us a great dinner.
We had a great time reminiscing, and after dinner we Skyped with Georg, who was our "boss" during the Olympics. He worked for the National Olympic Committee. To Skype with us, he had to get up very early in the morning, because he lives in Germany. It was great to talk with him again. We wore our uniforms and took a group photo. I'll post it if I can get a copy.
The tree was beautiful, as it is every year:
It had real candles on it. We lit the candles and sang Christmas carols, in German, of course!
Trudi knows I like to knit, too, so she showed me her latest project:
This cardigan is for her, but now Fred needs one. It appeared to be DK-weight, and is 100% wool. She didn't steek it, so she had to do half of the knitting while dealing with the pattern on the back side, which can be a challenge.
Vintage Stitchers also had their annual potluck at Rebecca's. Carol brought this great 9-patch quilt top for show-and-tell.
She had the same thing to deal with that I had with my Glorified Nine-patch quilt, which was my first quilt: you have to have five squares of one fabric and four squares of another fabric for each block. I love how she added the cornerstones.
The backing is just as lovely! This quilt will definitely be reversible!
Rebecca showed us her latest cross-stitch projects. She does the framing herself.
I love this snowman!
Getting to all the parties has been challenging, as well as getting to church and the grocery store! We have had a series of storms come through, even though it has been warmer than usual. We have had lots of snow, but not as much as usual has remained on the ground. Here's what our street looked like yesterday afternoon:
The grandkids have been enjoying the Christmas season. Here is Soren with Santa in Oregon.
Santa also made time to visit with Daphne and Zachary in Wisconsin.
Santa even made it to Washington to visit with my niece and her DH:
I don't know how Santa finds the time to listen to the Christmas wish lists of so many children (and adults) in so many different locations when he must be very busy getting ready for his great trip Christmas Eve! You will definitely want to track Santa on his trip, which is just next week. You can do that with the NORAD app for smart phones and devices, such as the iPhone and iPad. No tracking number needed, though!
We have made some progress on the renovation. Several of the doors have been stained and sealed. If DH doesn't finish them in time, he will reinstall them and put the door handles on, so they can be used while we have family here for Christmas. Our contractor came back to put the door on the laundry chute. It isn't his fault it's so late. DH had to stain and seal the door, so it was part of the big job he had to do. We're still waiting on the sheet-metal chute, which will direct the clothes past the shelves in the laundry room and into the laundry basket (or maybe the floor).
The good news is, we have been able to put all our clothes away in the closets, including many of the off-season clothes we had stored in the guest bedroom downstairs. We have also put away all the usual bathroom items (toiletries, medicines, first-aid supplies, etc.) and there is still room left.
In this season of joy, citizens of the US and the world are mourning the loss of innocent life. We hear of slaughter of innocent people around the world, even today, but the sheer magnitude of the loss of young lives here on our doorstep is impossible to comprehend, especially after a series of other similar events. I was reminded by someone on Sunday that next week we not only commemorate on Christmas Day the birth of Jesus (to me and other Christians, our great teacher) but also on December 28th, the feast day of the Holy Innocents, the children massacred by King Herod because of his irrational fear that one of them might someday be the "King of the Jews" referred to by the Magi. I'm saddened to think that in 2,000 years, we have not figured out a way to prevent the loss of innocent life, even in a country that has been responsible for great accomplishments. I pray that we find a way to keep as many children and others here and around the world safe from future violence and premature death. I will hug my grandchildren very close when they come the end of this week!
What's on my needles: Dogwood Blossoms and BSJ. Not much progress on either this week. There is about 1" more done than last week.
What's my app of the week: NORAD Tracks Santa for iPad. We use it to track Santa's progress every year on Christmas Eve.
What's on my iPad: Mostly Christmas Carols, either using the iPod app on my iPad or The Christmas RADIO app for iPad, which has a number of radio stations from various countries.
What's in my wine glass: Charles Shaw (Two-buck Chuck) Shiraz 2010. My absolute favorite!

Note: This blog post was produced entirely on the MacBook, using the iPad for photo processing. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for or cleaned.

Monday, December 10, 2012

High Fiber--Happy Hanukkah!

Happy Hanukkah, everyone! Zachary and Daphne got to celebrate with "Bubbye" and "Zayde" by way of Skype. What would we do without Skype? 

When they come here, we will celebrate Christmas. Lucky kids, get to have Hanukkah and Christmas both!
Speaking of Christmas, I have been busy working on the clothes for Daphne's Bitty Twins. I made two cardigan sweaters and some other clothes for the dolls. (See last week's post for the pajamas.)
They look pretty good in their new clothes:
The pattern for the cardigan is on my Ravelry page for the project here.
Here's the outfit for the girl, overalls trimmed with the same fabric as the shirt.

The mock Crocs I bought for the girl had straps I thought Zachary might eat, so I took them off. The boy's outfit was purchased during the spectacular Cyber Monday sale. ( I also dumped a bunch of $$$ on some yarn to make DH a new cardigan to replace the one he was painting the new bathroom in. That one, the old one, was purchased for him
Common Threads met at Georgette's house this week. Lynda has taken a class in weaving and has made this great scarf.
She also wove this great table runner using Noro yarn.
She says it was fun to learn, but she wouldn't buy a loom. She didn't enjoy the process as much as knitting and spinning. If she wants to weave, she can rent a loom. Several members of the group have their own looms, though. It's nice to be able to take a class, rent the loom during the class, and find out whether you really like the process enough to own your own loom.
Margareth has made some hats for Christmas presents. The pattern is the Wooly Bear Hand Knits Maple Leaves Hat.
It has what looks like a couple of rows of braid horizontally around the hat. The pattern explains how this is made. It looks pretty interesting.
She also is almost finished with this great sweater:

She was finishing the collar at our meeting.
I started a new BSJ for Soren. (You will have to scroll down if using the link.)
The yarn is KP's Comfy in "Serrano" and "Maize." No rush to finish. Soren is still too small for it.
One sleeve of the Dogwood Blossoms Cardigan is ready to sew on. I dropped it so I could finish the doll sweaters and get a good start on the new BSJ.
In other news, winter snows have arrived to Park City. If you're planning a ski vacation in our area, the ski areas are open and we are getting new snow now. The bathroom renovation hit a snag with the arrival of the snow. DH had planned on doing the sanding and staining of the doors and door trim outside. While it's possible to sand the doors in 16-degree weather, staining wouldn't be advisable, and blowing snow makes it impossible. So...we did a little furniture moving instead. Here's a look at the new hallway that leads to the master bath:
And the patung we got during the time we lived in Indonesia looks more at home in the shower than he did on our dresser. (He likes heat and humidity!)
It's looking pretty good, even though the lack of trim around the doors looks a little...unfinished. With any luck, we will have more to show next week.
What's on my needles: Besides the Dogwood Blossoms Cardigan, now the BSJ for Soren.
What's on my iPad: The Knit Wits Podcast is back! Still reading Dean Koontz's Odd Apocalypse.
What's in my wine glass: Amberhill Secret Blend Red, Vintage 2010. This rivals "Two-buck Chuck" for a great inexpensive wine!
Note: This blog post was produced entirely on the MacBook, using the iPad for photo processing. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for or cleaned.

Monday, December 3, 2012

High Fiber--Jumping the Rails

I had to take time out from the Dogwood Blossoms Cardigan this week to make pajamas for a pair of dolls:

The dolls are the Bitty Twins from American Girl. You can buy them a variety of races, hair/eye color and either or both genders. I decided on one each, boy and girl, Caucasian with brown hair and eyes. A book on sharing is included. They come with matching casual outfits, but I thought they needed pajamas so our granddaughter Daphne could put them to bed. The pattern is Simplicity 4268, which includes, besides the pajamas, a couple of play outfits and a dressy outfit for boy and girl. I haven't made doll clothes since our older granddaughter was little, and she will be 20 next month!
The dolls needed sweaters, too, because they will meet Daphne in the winter, so I have been making these:

The pink sweater is finished. It's for the girl, of course. I used Swish Worsted in "Lotus" and matching grosgrain ribbon to keep the edges from rolling. The boy's sweater is in progress, as you can see. The yarn for his is Swish Worsted in "Serrano." I improvised the pattern. I have decided not to put buttons on the sweaters, as Daphne's baby brother might bite them off!
I'm planning to make one more outfit for the girl. The boy has another play outfit I bought during Cyber Monday.
The remodel is coming along. The newly-enlarged hatch to the attic was finished just in time for our new insulation, which we hope will keep down our utility bills this winter. It was fun watching the insulation go through the tube and through the hatch!
I painted the ceiling in the hallway leading to the bathroom and into the bedroom. If the sun ever comes out, I will be able to see whether I have to paint the entire bedroom ceiling. One more coat, and I can take off the painters' tape.
I still have the ceiling and wall in the main hallway (the hallway pictured in the insulation photo) to paint.

DH has been busy putting the knobs and pulls on the vanity in the master bath. These match the ones we used when we remodeled our kitchen.
The linen cabinet has knobs only on the bins and the big cabinet with shelves. We should be able to unpack those boxes and move stuff into the bathroom now. (It was hard to open the doors and drawers before without breaking a fingernail.)
Another big event this week was the opening of our very own Trader Joe's in Salt Lake City. DH, my friend Ellen and I went on opening day, which was Friday. They don't carry wine or full-strength beer or wine because of state liquor laws (are beer and wine really liquor?), but they have all our favorite grocery items. The place was mobbed, but the checkout was very efficient, so we didn't have to wait in line long. We spent less than $100 because we still have a few things we picked up in Beaverton last summer, and now we can go whenever we want instead of stocking up.

Saturday, Sunny and I attended in Therapy Animals of Utah's annual holiday event. Each year we go to a different nursing home. As many teams as possible participate. This year's location was a nursing home in Draper. Besides the human/dog teams, we had several human/cat teams. They met in a different room with the residents who preferred cats. Sunny gave kisses to people who wanted them. She got lots of petting and scratching, which she loves!
In family news, Zachary can walk holding on. He likes to walk around the house holding on to a car that has a handle made for the purpose. It will be fun to see what kind of mischief he can get into at our house when they come to visit for Christmas!

What's on my needles: Doll Sweater, Dogwood Blossoms, which has the first sleeve pinned in. The second sleeve needs finishing, about 2 1/2 inches.
What's on my wheel: My spinning fingers are getting itchy, but I have to finish Christmas and house things first.
What's on my iPad: Still House of the Deer by D. E. Stevenson from Audible and Odd Interlude by Dean Koontz on iBooks.
What's in my wine glass: Charles Shaw (Two-buck Chuck) Shiraz. Still my favorite.

Note: This blog post was produced entirely on the MacBook, using the iPad for photo processing. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for or cleaned.

Monday, November 26, 2012

High Fiber--Coming Down the Home Stretch

The big news on the fiber front this week is my Dogwood Blossoms. The steeks are done.
In the photo, you can just see the front is cut open. The armscye steeks are also cut. I used my sewing machine to sew on each side of the cutting line before I took the scissors to it. I'm getting pretty relaxed about cutting steeks now. My first one was the Classic Lines Cardigan. I "watched" a number of other people cut theirs before I dared do mine. Now I've done five sweaters that required steeks. I'll be picking up stitches all along the fronts and around the neck to make a button/button-hole band and sewing the sleeves in.
As I expected, the sleeves aren't long enough, which is why I put them on waste yarn. I'm adding to the top of the sleeves. Afterthought pockets are also planned. I'm hoping to wear this sweater this winter.
I'm just recovering from a bad cold, which kept me from knitting or quilting for a couple of weeks. Yes, I was so sick I couldn't enjoy my usual fiber fun, but I'm almost back to normal. We had planned to have friends in for Thanksgiving, but didn't invite anyone after I got sick, so we had a quiet dinner alone together, which was nice. I felt good enough to cook by then. I had no plans to shop on Black Friday, so I just took it easy, and we had leftovers.
Saturday I participated in the Shop Small movement by visiting a small yarn shop and a quilt shop in Salt Lake City. At the yarn shop, I bought some buttons for my Dogwood Blossoms sweater. I can't talk about my other purchases, because they are intended as gifts, and the recipients might read my blog. However, I was aiming for 50% or my purchases to be Made in the USA. I was able to hit 67%, which is good, because it will balance off some items I had already bought.
The bathroom remodel is making progress. The powder room is finished enough to use. All that's left to do is put on the trim around the doors, stain and finish the doors and add the towel ring, a toilet-paper holder and a small shelf over the toilet to hold items. The broom closet still needs shelves and hooks to hold the brooms, mops, brushes, etc.
The master bath is coming along, too. The vanity is done except for the knobs and pulls. Just to remind you of what we had before, here's the old master vanity:
Here's the new one from almost the same spot. As you can see, we moved a wall to add all this room for a two-sink vanity, a bigger shower and a new closet.
This was the old shower, barely as big as a phone booth:
Here's the new shower stall, nice and roomy!
We still have some things to do in the master bath, too. Just as with the powder room, we need to add the trim to the doorways, and stain and finish the doors. Then the hardware needs to be installed on all the doors, as well as the cabinet doors and drawers. The toilet-paper holder and towel racks need to be installed. We have rods for the closets, and those have to go in before we can put clothes away. My job will be to paint the ceiling and the walls where the changes were made, including the enlarged attic access.
Today we get new insulation in our attic. I'm looking forward to being toasty this winter for a change! Well, I'm off to check out the Cyber Monday sales....
What's on my needles: Dogwood Blossoms
What's on my wheel: Full Circle Roving in "Pigeon."
What's on my iPad: The House of the Deer by D. E. Stevenson from Audible and Odd Interlude by Dean Koontz from the iBookstore.
What's in my wine glass: Copper Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon. Nice choice!

Note: This blog post was produced entirely on the MacBook, using the iPad for photo processing. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for or cleaned.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Helping Others at Thanksgiving and Christmas

It's Thanksgiving time, and I'm feeling grateful for the roof over my head and food on my table. Not everyone is so lucky. When I drive to Salt Lake City, I often run into people with signs that say, "Homeless. Please help."
Friends have told me that they are reluctant to give money to these people, because they are concerned that it won't be used for food. Even if they use it to buy food at a fast food restaurant or convenience store, they won't get much for their money.
Here's what I do instead: I keep a bag of nonperishable food in my car, just in case I run into someone who is homeless.
I include a can opener, canned food, packaged food (like granola bars), napkins, plastic cutlery, etc. Nice to add are antibacterial wipes, toothbrush and toothpaste, "Space Blanket" (to keep warm, available at Walmart), a list of soup kitchens and anything else you would want if you were living on the streets.
I try to make the food more or less a balanced diet; including vegetables, fruit, a starch and a source of protein (beans or tuna). A small piece of candy is nice to include. I save samples of cereal or other packaged food to put in the bag.
I gave one of these packets away in Wisconsin during a visit there. The man who received it saw my license plate and said, "Thank you, Utah!" Other responses have been amazed expressions, looks of wonder and effusive thanks.
I've never had a homeless person seem disappointed to get one of these, and if your car breaks down in a deserted area, at least you won't starve while waiting for help.
While we're talking about Thanksgiving, I found this hat on Facebook. I wonder how to make it in Tofurky? Use Soy Silk?
The bathroom remodel continues. The shower enclosure is supposed to go in today. DH is finishing the doors himself. Just the doors and a few touches, and it will be done...for now. Here's the broom closet, which is in the powder room:
Besides the door, it needs shelves at the back to hold cleaning supplies and to store other items. The brooms, mops, etc., will go on the wall, and the vacuum cleaner in front of the shelves.
Here's the new closet in the master bath, with the doors up and ready to be stained and finished:
There's a laundry chute in the floor of the closet. It will deliver dirty clothes directly to the laundry room on the floor below. We're still waiting for the end panel on the vanity and the trim on the medicine cabinets, which are hinged to open from the outside edges, so they can be used together to see the back of your head.
For the baby fans, here's a shot of Miss Daphne, showing off her smile, and baby brother Zachary in the background, looking on.
The Dogwood Blossoms sweater is almost ready for the steeks. I've been recovering from a cold, so haven't had much energy for knitting, but should get back to it soon.

Note: This blog post was produced entirely on the MacBook, using the iPad for photo processing. No other computer was used in any stage of composition or posting, and no Windows were opened, waited for or cleaned.