Sunday, December 10, 2017

Year 17, Week 47, Day One (week 933)

Year 17, Week 47, Day One (week 933)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
12-02-17 Saturday

77 low, 82 high, partly cloudy with the sky filled with sheep like clouds crossing the sky. Light breeze and lots of sun. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach department of Tourism.

The infection in my feet has kept me from doing much of anything. At times, walking from my truck to the door is all I can handle. Shopping is sometimes a real test of endurance. The feet are healing quite well, and the pain has shifted from a raw scraping feeling to more like a bruise. My best course is to stay off them as much as possible, and elevate them when possible also. Also they hurt at night many times so getting a full night’s sleep is tough, so getting as much sleep as possible during the day is important when possible. 

For Thanksgiving, I planned on walking over to my nephew’s home, which is about a block away, which is about the maximum of my range if I put my mind to it, but it was raining really hard, so I drove over to their parking lot, which cut the walk to about a third, and by that time and distance, the rain had dropped to a drizzle. My job for the gathering was to bring flavored coffees. Everything else was handled by the three other families. 

The awning is still not up and my equipment is still in storage. It looks like a while before I can do any wood working again. With my feet the way they are, that does not bother me as much as it should. 

The one craft I have done something on is crochet. I have made a skip-stitch scarf where there are three stitches, then a space and then three more stitches along the length. It came out pretty good. It is about seven feet long. I have to tie in the ends, but it is otherwise done. 
I started a wave stitch dishcloth where I do graduated stitches from very short to long and back down again across it, then change colors and do the exact (at least supposed to be) opposite stitches going back the other way. I got a ways into it and found I am not even in my stitches, I do a standard row of stitches between the waves. As of this moment, the last straight row I did is not straight. A quick glance indicates that I have added stitches here and there which causes it to curve. 
To take a break, I decided to do a simpler stitch dish cloth – double crochet, triple crochet, double crochet – as something that can be done quickly. I have only had a couple sessions with this one so it is not too far. It will, though, go quickly as I am making it smaller than others I have done. This one is 25 stitches across. Many dishcloths I do are 30 stitches across. Five stitches does not sound like much, but it shows when beside each other. I always make them square and the five extra stitches adds up to about 200 stitches for a whole piece.  

It won’t be too long before I will be starting my Christmas Cards. I am gathering my card stocks and paint, and have started the process of eliminating designs that are too difficult or not worth painting. 
I looked at copies I have kept over the years. I don’t want snow men, Christmas trees, even if they are palm trees. Eliminating those reduces the choices greatly. It is the same problem I have had with the Christmas ornaments I carved. There is a limit on how many versions of snow men and trees you can do.  In both cards and ornaments, one does not want to copy something you have done before. I have to get to work searching for ideas.

I don’t see much wood working in the near future. I will work crochet and will paint my Christmas Cards. Beyond that, I don’t see much else happening.

Skip stitch scarf. Just have to weave in the ends.

Wave dish cloth. about a third done. The ripples in the fabric show my mistakes.

'alternating rows dish cloth. 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Stuff I made...

I'm trying to post here a little more often. Being a busy writer and spending time with family doesn't always leave me a lot of time for blogging. So forgive me while I play catchup...

I will eventually be posting about the house renovation, just have to dig the pictures I want off the portable hard drive, sort and resize them, and put together an explanation. Working on the house is an ongoing project, so we're far from completed yet. This was just Phase 1 of a long string of things this old house needs to have updated. We kind of ran out of money, so it will be a while before we can get anything else done.

Anyway, almost all of today's post is about crochet. So on to the recent projects...

Remember the crocheted bald & naked dolly from my last post? Well she now has clothing and hair. My granddaughter loves her, and named her Rosie. So here's Rosie, who had 100% removable clothing, right down to her white granny panties.

 That ombre yarn on the dress is from that last thrift store visit. The rest is from my stash.

I didn't think of the buttons for the straps until after I designed the jumper, so they are on the back. Pretty easy to get on and off.

The panties were made first. Must have proper clothing!
I didn't follow any patterns for the clothing, it was all trial and error. You should have seen Terralyn's eyes light up when she saw the doll. Makes it all worth while.

Halloween was coming, and since I've had a full year of crocheting holiday decorations for the house, I had to make something for that as well. I planned to make garlands again, so I started thinking about ghosts and pumpkins, and began researching patterns online. I wanted something on the small side. One night I sat down with hook and yarn and made a ghostie freehand.

Well, he turned out too big to hang on a garland and I didn't like the idea of looking up inside his winding sheet, but he happily sat on an end table in the living room for quite a while.

Then I found some pumpkin and ghostie patterns online that looked promising (can't recall where I got them) and went to work.
The initial pumpkin was far smaller than I wanted, about the size of a quarter. So I increased the size and got the jack-o-lantern I wanted. It was just a matter of adding extra rounds with increases. Each one is doubled; in other words I made two pumpkins for each side, decorated them with faces using yarn and my terrible embroidery skills, and sewed them together with the bad side inward before adding the little stem. Below you can see the results.

This is one side of each jack-o'-lantern... These are about the size of golf balls.

And here's the other side. Where they were hung, both sides could be seen. The pumpkins were going to be alternated with ghosties on a beaded garland, so a dozen was plenty.

Here are the ghosties I chose, a really neat pattern. One again, to get the stiffness I wanted, I made two for each and sewed them together. Getting French knots in the right spots for eyes was a little challenging because I was using worsted weight yarn on a big blunt needle, but it worked.

The beaded garland. With a string through the top of each ghost or jack-o-lantern, and some trial and error, I was able to space them out properly along the garland.

The finished result. My helper hung them in the wrong area, and we moved them later, but I took a couple of quick shots.

You can see how I hung them. The fine little strings really don't show that well at a distance.

That knot at the top helps hold the crocheted decorations between the pony beads.

Actually, we used that area with the hanging baskets for the second garland, which somehow I neglected to get a picture of after it was done. All I have to show are the component parts below, as I finished them. But they were hung on an orange pony bead garland base, and alternated just like the ghosts and jack-o-lanterns.

I knew from the get-go that I wanted black bats, and had to try a couple patterns before I found what I wanted. While I was researching all that stuff, I kept seeing the Mexican Day Of The Dead skull motifs, and decided I had to have skulls. I had just the right color yarn for something a little more sinister.

I never used the bigger bat with the feet, because the little ones were perfect. Love those bright orange eyes. The first skull I made was far too large and floppy, so I modified the pattern and came out with this: 

As with the first garland, everything is doubled. Lining up the eyeholes in the skulls proved problematic, so I would up crocheting little discs in 4 bright colors and shoving them inside. They stayed in place nicely and gave the skulls some 'pop'.

Now a lot of people might wonder, why go through all this trouble to make decorations when you can buy some really nice things after the holiday for quite a bit off? Or perhaps get something from a local crafter and avoid all the mess and hassle. Well, maybe it's hard to understand, but I actually enjoy making things. I like the planning process and all the little surprises along the way. As with writing, what I had envisioned and what the end result was are often two different things, but that's the beauty of handmade. It's always one-of-a-kind, and there's a lot of self-satisfaction that goes into being able to say, "Yes, I designed and made this myself." My family gets a big kick out of looking at my creations, and I like to think of them as heirlooms for future generations. I will be leaving something tangible of myself behind when I part from this mortal coil. It also says a lot about how my time here was spent. 

I do most of my crafting at the end of the day. It gives me a chance to unwind while I watch TV, and something else to focus on if I'm not particularly interested in whatever is on. I'm still sitting with family regardless of what I'm occupied with. Writing is my primary occupation on the days when I am home, and that requires incredible concentration, and so I must shut out most of the world. By evening I am done writing and want to be in a more gregarious situation, though I still prefer it to be fairly subdued. I could be wasting that time online involved in social/political debates, taking pointless quizzes, or playing games. Those things don't necessarily lead to anything remotely productive, though I suppose they provide some self-satisfaction.  

I see people endlessly bent over their smartphones and I have to wonder, just what is the big attraction? I stare at a far larger and very bright screen for hours during the day, so the last thing I want to do is stare at one all evening too. So no thanks, I'll pull out the crochet hooks and yarn, the beads, buttons, and other trinkets, and make something. That's more my style. 

Till the next time,

Monday, October 23, 2017

Year 17, Week 41, Day One (week 927)

Year 17, Week 41, Day One (week 927)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
10-21-17 Saturday

I am mixing in the past few weeks in the same post as I don’t have a whole lot of new stuff to report.

The weather, for the most part is dots of showers coming off the ocean, some from the north, some from the south. Today there were no showers and partly cloudy.
The early showers prevented yard sales, for the most part on many weekends, and one simply do not waste time going out, though there are sometimes sales under cover.

Right after the storm, the area looked like winter, where only dark leaves were on the trees, no new growth at all. Lots of twigs were visible too, which added to the effect. It was interesting, but did not feel like the tropics. In subsequent weeks, new growth came out and a variety of greens now show. One of my most favorite colors has always been what I call “spring green”, the color of brand new leaves. Some trees developed patches of that after the third week.

A month later, some of the palm trees still have all their fronds facing west. The winds off the ocean reached beneath the eastward fronds and lifted them fronds off the tree so the west fronds are all that is left. It is rather interesting to see. It is more what you expect to see in tropical pictures.

Most of the debris is now gone there are a bunch of stumps around the area where the tops of the tree was removed to clear the roads. Once in a while, I see interesting piles of wood. It costs extra money to remove the trunks. Some of these trunks may sprout branches and fill out.

Two weeks after the storm, I ran my route to see what the conditions were and found three yard sales. The next week I found three more. The weather and my condition has not been favorable to yard sailing since.

Any walking or standing is out. It is surprising how long it takes for infections to heal. I have a doctor taking care of the wound but the infection I have has to be knocked down first, and then heal the wound.
I missed the turning club meeting this Thursday. I went to the doctor in the early afternoon and, getting home and getting to bed was my first priority. The treatments take it out of you. When you cannot get your foot in a comfortable position, driving is not fun. It was Friday that finally I remembered we had a meeting. I was supposed to bring the bring-back prize and never had a chance to give it a thought. I must say that my feet have been my number one concentration. At this moment, the infection is down to a rash and should heal quickly now. Even if I remembered the meeting, I doubt I could have made it. 

It hurts to look at all the wood that was along side of the road, that I could not take home. I am still not in condition to even consider wood working. 

It is late October. Most years, I am working on Christmas Ornaments at this time or at least struggling to find ideas for designs that I have not done,  and am rushing to have them done by December First. I have a couple designs I would like to do but am not able to work on them yet.  One, rocking horses, were designs from last year.... ouch!!!

The awning I work under has not been put up yet. It will take some repairs to the frame first. Once that is up. Then my equipment can be moved back there and I can get to work again. The neighbor has been kind enough to let me keep my stuff in his garage. He is remodeling his house and these are not YET in his way.  We need to move the stuff soon, though.


Sunday, September 24, 2017

Year 17, Week 35, Day One (week 921)

Year 17, Week 35, Day One (week 921)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
09-07-17 Thursday

Weather calm, warm, as if nothing is about to happen. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.

I usually keep notes of my activities so that when I get around to posting my wood working diaries well after the fact, which has happened often lately, I can get the facts straight. Well, in moving things around for the hurricane, my notes disappeared. All I did the past few weekends was go yard sailing. I THOUGHT about wood working but never got closer than that to actually making sawdust or wood chips. This storm is reducing the chances of doing anything, for a while.

At work we closed up the office after half a day of work, putting things in bags, and draping plastic over desks and such in case things got bad. The men went to jobs and shrink wrapped stuff or placed stuff in a safe location.
We knew the storm was coming by Tuesday, so we made plans. I was to stay with my parents during the storm. It will be best for them and for me, so I closed up the condo, bringing plants inside on Thursday. I had to fight with a window who’s crank is stripped. After an hour of playing, I got it closed up tight. Luckily, the wind will only come into the building, and not out, unless a window is broken by some object, and then a bad crank is not going to be something to worry about. I grabbed my two Colman Stoves and two gallons of white gas, am emergency bin containing Sterno, candles, matches, coffee pot, folding stoves, and other needed items for a storm. I also grabbed some batteries and crank lights that I keep in the freezer. Batteries go bad a whole lot slower if they are kept in the freezer, and crank lights do have a small battery in them. 

Year 17, Week 35, Day Two (week 921)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
09-08-17 Friday

Hurricane Irma approaches. Sky cloudy, winds have picked up, Humidity rising.
This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.

My company decided to be closed Friday to give us a chance to get ready for the storm.  Mom and I started moving stuff out of the back yard. We got permission to put some stuff in the neighbor’s house, in exchange we had to put up the shutters And watch over the property.
My brother and his son came up and helped put up the shutters on the neighbor’s house, close the awnings on mom’s house and take down the panels over the work area. 
Along with the Sterno and Colman stoves, and we also had a gas BBQ grill with most of a tank, and a small charcoal grill. I figured we had no problems about cooking food if things went bad.  I let my brother take one of the stoves and a can of gas. He has one somewhere but no gas for it.
We put the machinery in Mom’s garage and found that she had very little room to get to the garage door. She would have to be like a sneak thief to fit through there. We were both tired and called it a day.

Year 17, Week 35, Day Three (week 921)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
09-09-17 Saturday

The eye of the storm is going to miss us, but we will still get hurricane force winds. 80% humidity, some squall lines coming through, but mostly a light drizzle. A good brisk wind of about 40 mph. This storm completely covers the whole state of florida and into Georgia, and the eye is still at Cuba!!!

I decided that the other garage, which was full of stuff for a remodel, had a whole lot more room than Mom had, so I brought the wood working equipment down one drive way, across the sidewalk and up the other driveway to the garage. Things that went into Mom’s garage last went in first. Even with the stuff in there, there was a lot of room left.
My lathe is on a set of wheels. They are welded to blocks that have a bar running through them. At one end of the bar, there is another block that has a lever attached. When the lever is pointing up, the lathe is sitting on some 3"x3" blocks on the base of the stand. This is so, when working with something really out of round, the lathe won’t roll around. Push the lever down causes the wheels to come to the ground and then lift the lathe up off the blocks. There is a two by two bolted to the base that acts as locks to hold the lever down so the lathe will roll around. 
While pushing the lathe, we got near the neighbor’s garage, the lathe dropped to the stand’s block. I have a lot of stuff on the lathe to make it vibrate less when somewhat off center items are spinning around. Along with good wood I want to keep track of, the base of the lathe is really weighted down with weight lifter weights and bricks. I had to put my whole weight into the lever to push it down and get the wheels back into place for the lock to swing into place.
We had it almost into the garage, the lever slipped and the lathe clunked onto the ground again. When I tried to lift it back onto the wheels  the lever broke. I will have to check  later to see if the metal gave or the weld gave. Mom took a hand cart and lifted that end and I pulled the lathe into place. 
Some other time, when the time is right, I will unload the lathe entirely, removing all the wood, weights, racks, the head stock, the tail stock, the tool rest, flip it upside down. I can then remove the wheels and get the lever fixed. Not now though.

The past few weeks, I had been fighting an infected sore on my foot. At the time, I did not know it was infected. I had peeled some skin a while back, accidentally, and forgot about it. When it started hurting, I started treating it at home. 
I had to go to the hospital Wednesday Night when the pain would not go away. They gave me medicine and instructions for caring for it. It was also why I was not doing much the past few weeks. 
I thought I was in shape, but “being round has no point.” lifting, pushing, pulling, carrying all sorts of things is taking a toll on my body. We got a whole lot done mainly because mom is running around like a fifty year old.

On the radio, someone said that waiting for a hurricane is like waiting for your dad to come home after Mom said “wait till your dad gets home.”
I also heard TEXAS SAYS “I’ve been through the worst hurricane in history.”
FLORIDA SAYS “Hold my beer, and watch this.”

My camera disappeared yesterday. I found the pouch on my hip was wide open. I looked at some of the obvious places but could not find it. Today, mom found it beside the chair where I sit when talking to them or watching TV. That was nice.  My alternative would have been to use my tablet. I don’t like it near as much.
I took pictures of the neighborhood so I could have before and after pictures. 
The house on the end of the street is vacant because a power line blew out the wiring of the building quite a few months ago. I went around the house and picked up stuff and put them some place safe. I had wanted to do more but that was all I had the endurance to do do. Someone had put down the awnings but there weren’t enough screws for all of them to be locked down. I don’t have those screws either. At least there would be little damage to the place.
The two biggest problems of storms is boredom and anticipation. Anticipation leads to worry and fear.

All work we intended to do to get the property ready is done. It is now a waiting game.

Year 17, Week 35, Day Four (week 921)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
09-10-17 Sunday

We have steady winds of about 40, with gusts above 80. 75 mph  are hurricane force winds.
The winds are coming due East. Our neighborhood is on an East-West road so each house blocks the wind for the one after it. 

Today would have been my dad’s 100th birthday., He passed when he was 89. All his injuries over the years added up. He lead me into wood working and other crafts and hobbies. 

I went outside to take storm pictures and videos. I used the houses to block the winds. I also went out to check for early damage in case there was something I could do to make it less. Other than mom’s potted plans falling over, we are doing well so far. (

The past few months, I have been making PAN GLOVES which are little socks that fit over the handles of the pans (especially cast iron or stainless steel pans) to protect your fingers from hot handles. These are crocheted in cotton and I use a metal hook that is tiny to get a tight stitch. 
Today, I did not feel like working on the one I was working on, so I grabbed some variegated blue and white yarn and started on a long scarf. I did the chain and two rows before I stopped. I was doing a skip or block stitch where you do a couple stitches, then you chain and then go in skipping a couple stitches. What you end up with blocks and holes through the whole piece. I made a mistake at the beginning on the stitch count for the first block so I have to frog it out to the beginning of that row and start over, doing it right. It looks best if the blocks of stitches and the holes are the same as the height of the stitch. I was doing double crochet, but the spaces and blocks were three stitches long. It does not have the right look.

Year 17, Week 35, Day Five (week 921)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
09-11-17 Monday
Clearing, a nice breeze, warm and humid.

We never lost power in our house. The power company has worked a long time to replace wood poles with concrete poles and to trim trees. I also still had my phone service which gave me internet access. 

Later in the afternoon, after I figured some of the roads were cleared, I went to work, to see what to expect when I open up in the morning. Lots of branches down but no real damage,  and then to check on my Condo where I found the screen is trashed at the condo. I put the screen in myself and that stupid idiot did it all wrong.
Traffic lights were out all over the place. One is to handle a dead traffic light like a four way stop. Floridians do not understand the concept of a four way stop, let alone stopping at all. 
Trees were down everywhere. From what I understand, nearly all our damage was caused by trees or branches falling. 
Did you know that they make trees, branches, power lines all out of feathers? People were talking about all these things being down.........

Because the eye did not pass over us, we faired well considering.

Later in the week and especially next weekend, I will see what things really look like.


Monday, September 4, 2017

Yes, I am still alive!

I know it's been forever since I've posted on this blog, which is ironic because I'm the one who started the doggone thing! Between the writing, the grandkids, and other demands on my time, I just have not had a chance to get over here. Well, that is about to change...

I have a lot to talk about and no way that I can do that all in one post. I'll pick away at that stuff as I go along.

Health issues have kind of derailed me from doing a lot of the things I used to enjoy. With osteoarthritis in all the major joints and degenerative spine, I don't get around well and can't walk for long distances. So not only did I have to give up gardening, but I just can't handle all the wandering around at the local fairs, yard sales, and flea markets. I still get out to a thrift shop or craft store infrequently and with some additional pain management I hope to do that more often. I do babysit my two youngest grandkids twice a week most weeks and while I'm there I help my elderly mother with things like showering that she has trouble with now. I've had a bunch of other things come up this year, a thyroid cancer scare (multiple nodes in a goiter that all proved benign—WHEW!) and two eye surgeries for cataracts, implanted lenses, and stents to help control glaucoma. The surgeries were absolutely necessary and proved a success, though I am still on all of my glaucoma drops and now need a minor corrective distance lens as well as the reading lens. So I will be back to wearing glasses at least part time in order to see well enough to drive and do close work.

I am still writing almost daily. I have an author page on Amazon here where you can see all the things I have in print, and I still have the two sister blogs, WRITING FROM HOME & COMPANION DRAGONS TALES where you can see what else I've been working on. On the latter blog, my old pals Roger Stegman and Lee Houston Jr. are co-contributors to that series. Roger posts here regularly, and Lee does on occasion though you will most often find him on his own blogs, THE FREE CHOICE E-ZINE & FILLING BLANK SPACES. Lee gets our dedicated blogger award because he's had The Free Choice since around this time of year back in 2008 and he has hardly missed a week. 

WTG Lee! Now you have to post here too...

Over the last year or so we have put a tremendous amount of work into updating and renovating this old farmhouse, and believe me, there's plenty more to be done. But I have gained two new bedrooms that are finished and the house and a good part of the outbuildings are sided. I have a lot of pictures which I will be posting over time. We would have done this work sooner, but it was almost impossible to find someone willing to work on a place built in 1770. Glad to say that we did finally find the right company, and we're very pleased with the results. Thank you TEDCO!

Now that I have a living room that is no longer also a bedroom, I have a place to sit and crochet. Most of my evenings are spent that way, with the TV on with either programs I enjoy or a ballgame, and me sitting beneath a lamp with hooks and yarn scattered around me. I did a lot of handmade ornaments for the holiday tree that I finally had room for, and I've been making banners, buntings, wreaths, and other decorations for my living room fireplace or the big beams in the kitchen/dining room area. Now and then I turn out a doll or some other little doodad to surprise the grandkids with. I'll post a few pictures here for now, and dig up more of them as I go along. I hate to admit it but the yarn stash in my room is overflowing as are my idea files. There's worse things I could be doing.

So here's a few things I've done lately...

I went thrifting! It was just a single stop at a local Salvation Army, but you have no idea how wonderful it felt to walk in that door. I think this might have been only the second or third time I stopped in this year. I am supplementing my prescription Naproxen and OTC 8 hour time-release acetaminophen with sour cherry capsules and that has really helped me. It's been less than a month but I am beginning to get around better.

So what did I get? Not that much, but I walked through the entire store pushing a carriage and I found a few items.

A 4 cup measuring cup, and a giant spatula in almost new shape. Kept the measuring cup but gave the spatula to grandson Ben, who at 13 is starting to cook. He needed something big and sturdy to turn pancakes he made from scratch when I stayed at the kid's house for one weekend. Cooking is a great skill that this grandma wholeheartedly encourages.

I grabbed those two little folding chairs with the younger grandkids in mind. They were marked $4.99 each but are like new, no stains, rips, or bad seams and the mechanisms that folds and unfolds them are still stiff. We used them this weekend when we celebrated Labor Day and Zack's 4th birthday with a cookout/eat indoors feast. The kids loved the chairs.

Yarn. Yes, I bought yarn. Did I need it? No, but I wanted it. That's what I went through the entire store trying to find, and finally located the craft area up front in one corner. They had a laundry basket filled with tangled skeins and balls, and I picked out what I wanted. Only the Aunt Lydia's rug yarn was marked $1.99, so at the desk the checkout guy said, "$4.99 for the lot?" and that was fine with me. Don't care what kind of yarn it is, I use everything.

There were two skeins that I did not buy because they were smaller and I didn't think I'd need them. But they are brown and that's a color that is hard to get right now. So since I lamented that out loud, Lee went back to the thrift store during a shopping excursion and pored through the basket of yarn until he found them. They let him have those for 79¢ each. Very inexpensive if it gets you a hug and a big smile...

So what have I been making? Well, this and that. 

For Mother's Day I was given a yard or so of polar fleece in my favorite pattern by #1 son Jason. This summer I edged it with matching stripes of single crochet. Right now that sits on the back of my chair where I plop myself down to watch baseball and crochet. Go RED SOX!!!!

I simply blanket stitch onto the polar fleece after it's trimmed and then pick up the stitches with the hook and start the edging in whatever stitch pattern I like. I've done quite a few throws and chair shawls that way. Sure is nice to snuggle under one of those on a cold or damp night.

In my kitchen for the entire month of July hung my two patriotic garlands. The stars are the same ones I used on my holiday tree as ornaments, a pattern I found online and then made two of them for each and sewed them together without stuffing. Just enough bulk to have them hang fairly straight without being too fat.

Those are pony beads in alternating colors strung on soft red faux suede lacing that I got in bulk online. Each end of the garland had some metallic gold pony beads. I've made several garlands with that roll of faux suede so far and it holds up well without lots of stretching. The little translucent faceted plastic beads on the baker's string hangers gave just enough shine to remind us of fireworks.

So for the other beam, which faces the dining room, I made those half-circle buntings you see all over on the 4th, and used gold colored yarn to tie them together. There's a smaller one on each end because that was the size of the original pattern, and I thought it was too small, so I increased rows and made it bigger.

You get an idea of the simplicity of the bunting project close up. They have picot edging to make them festive.

Because I know the grandbabies love the twinkle star song and would want their own stars, I made them each some special ones. I'm thinking of putting them on beaded hangers so they can wave them around and sing the song. Grandma sings a lot to them.

Grandkids get spoiled here. I made some little teddies. Interestingly enough, the hook and yarn used were supposedly the same size and weight, but the tan teddy is bigger than her brown ted counterpart. He seems to have gotten straw on his face—where has he been? Crochet toys are wonderfully indestructible unless you have one of those dogs who chews things up. This pattern is interesting because both sides of the bear are made together, joined by the very end of one paw. It's pretty quick.

Poor dolly got set aside while I was finishing something else. She is naked and bald in this picture but over the last couple of nights I have been working on her hair. I made her a foundation wig cap and sewed that in place so her scalp won't show through, and I'm using the same yarn to root hair for upright pigtails. She only has one side of her hair done and looks odd so I will update later. I'm not sure I like her mouth. The pattern for the doll called for underclothing, shoes, and socks that were worked into the base stitches but I know my granddaughter too well to do that. All her babydolls get undressed so they can go potty and get imaginary baths. She would be frustrated if the clothes didn't come off and the dolly couldn't be 'nakee'. LOL!

That striped throw the doll is standing on is an oldie I made years ago from polar fleece with crinkly, ripply edging.

The big fall project was decorating over the fireplace. I started making fall doodads about a month ago with no plan for what I was going to do with them. Fortunately I have some big vine wreaths on hand so one of them got decorated with all sorts of things.

On either end of the big beam over the fireplace I hung some crocheted Indian corn... 

And then I made a leaf and bead garland for each side. The left side has the oak leaves and acorns...

While the right side got the more colorful maple leaves. 

I went back and made some in brown and green to kind of mute those bright colors a bit. All the patterns were found online but sometimes I tweak them a bit.

So here's the entire display! It's far from symmetrical and wasn't really planned well, but it's one of a kind and was fun to do. Crochet is very therapeutic, it helps me relax, when I'm not yelling at the TV because the umps are making bad calls. LOL! It's a change from writing too, which is important. It uses the same part of the brain, but in a far different way.

Oh and in case you wondered, Ariel The Wonder Dog is still very much with us, and she has appointed herself boss of the entire neighborhood. She spends time on my bed almost every day letting all the neighbors, bunnies, chipmunks, stray cats, noisy birds, mail carriers, wandering zombies, UPS or FEDEX delivery vehicles and any other loud traffic know that this house has the world's most efficient alarm system. This dog does not miss a thing. She can hear a mouse scratching its rump on the other side of the house. Nothing escapes her attention, and she works for dog treats and snuggles. You can't buy that kind of loyalty.

Hope you enjoyed this indulgent little foray into recent events here at home. Believe me, there's more to come because I find plenty to do in my 'spare' time.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Year 17, Week 26, Day One (week 912)

Year 17, Week 26, Day One (week 912)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
07-08-17 Saturday

Blue skies for the most part. Twice, clouds and thunder heads built up over the Everglades only to head west. We are at the edge of the Tropic of Cancer. That is a band of winds that head to the west continuously. Most of our winds head to the north and west. Farther up the state, they head to the east. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department Of Tourism.

Mom needed to get one thing, so she decided to drive the yard sales. I rode along.  We do have different styles for hunting for yards sales. We skip sections that others would visit.

At one yard sale, I walked away after the woman ordered me to leave because of the puddle of drool I left. She had an old style clothes iron where you put the hot coals in the body and they would keep the iron hot. She also had a really nice condition meat grinder, a little bigger than the two I had. I fought long and hard to get both. I have no need or place for either, but they were really interesting.
At another yard sale, I asked, out of curiosity, how much a commercial deli slicer was worth. Next thing I knew I was setting it on the seat of the car. I have no idea what had happened. I have two meat slicer bodies that use the same motor. The nice thing about them is that except for the motor, the whole thing can be put in dishwater and really scrubbed.  This new one is heavy, bulky and looks harder to clean. Now I have to figure out what to do with it. Once in a while, we all make mistakes. I was able to go on line and download all the documentation for the machine. This will get thinner than the slicers I have as the “knife” as they call the blade, is not serrated. I would have been much happier with the meat grinder than this. 

After we got back, the garage door repair guy arrived. He replaced all the wheels. He said he would schedule for replacing the pulley wheels, where at least one is shot. Expensive, but won’t have to be done again for a while. 

I had picked up a case of sports drinks a while back and had emptied most of the bottles. They have helped in the heat and humidity we have had.  It then dawned on me that I should use those water bottle flavorings. I knew I used to have a bunch but could not remember what happened to them. I planned on going to Walmart to stock up on them as they help when it is really hot. I accidentally opened a cabinet in the kitchen I seldom go into and found them. I cleaned and filled half the bottles of the case and refilled them with flavored water. Nice. A pitcher fills three of the bottles.

I will have to see what I do tomorrow.

Year 17, Week 26, Day Two (week 912)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
07-09-17 Sunday

I cleaned the BBQ today. It came apart a lot more than I thought it had. I could have done a better job last time (the first time) I used it. The drip pan comes out, which I did not know. I used a trash can filled with soapy water to scrub everything, changing the water a couple times. My nephew had heated it before he started and the thermostat on the lid said it got up to 600 degrees. That will be hot enough to make sure it is clean if he does that again next time. 

We went out for lunch at JBIRD’S MUDDY WATERS again, and we ate our fill. I liked my dish better this time than the first time.  I had a side of wings and a shrimp/chicken pasta dish.
We went to Walmart to get some groceries. I will tell you, it is no fun shopping for groceries when you are overfull.  I left there with only a flavored coffee. Nothing fun to have. 

I generally use a webbed belt with a slip buckle. The end of one started unraveling. I had to cut the thread to keep it from getting worse. I sat down and carefully cut the end off with one of my favorite kitchen knives as it was sharp enough to make a clean cut. They come with a metal tip that clamps on the end. Those tips come off fairly quickly. I located one and attached it properly. The belt ended up about two inches shorter, but that is not a problem as I get a bit longer belts than needed. 

I examined the slicer a bit more, using the instructions. Nice machine, but I really don’t plan on using it much. It is really for cheese and deli meats. The way that raw meat splatters and drips, it is not really a raw meat slicer.  I saw on line that these slicers are listed starting at $400 and goes up to two grand. Of course, that says nothing about what they actually get for them. It is just what they are listed for. I would rather pass it on to someone who can use it effectively. I might use it for some things, but that will only be a few times a year.

I will see what I accomplish next week.


meat slicer

Year 17, Week 29, Day One (week 915)

Year 17, Week 29, Day One (week 915)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
07-29-17 Saturday

Mid to high 80s in the morning and late afternoon, 90 in the middle. In the morning, we were bracketed by two trains of clouds heading to the North East. It was clear in between them. Radar showed each one with moving radar blips. After yard sailing, I had stopped at a couple stores. When I left , I could see the road to the south grayed out. I arrived home and the ground was wet. The radar showed the trains still following their rail but dots formed between them and zipped across the land. I was missed, other than a couple driplets on the windshield, everything that was out there. Those dots were heading to the north east. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.

Mom goes to a painting teacher’s convention each year in the spring. She is on one of the organizing committees. Each year they have a theme which one day they dress up. This next year is LOS VAGUS. Mom got the idea of giving art materials as prizes. She decided to do part of the yard sale loop in hopes of finding art stuff that would be good gifts for the people to win.
One woman had a treadle powered singer sewing machine. I keep looking at them and wondering if I would ever use one if I got one. It is one of those space taking things one would like to have. If I knew it worked perfectly, I might have considered it. Not really for that price, but..... One problem is that I cannot sew. Also Mom has several modern machines that I could use if needed.

We finished the route, so I then went out on my own. I found one yard sale that mom missed, about the time the mom decided to head home. This woman had sold most of her stuff in the morning, Our conversation started with what we look for at yard sales, then on collections, hobbies and into arts and crafts. about twenty minutes later, it was time for me to leave. She had decided that since no one had come while we were talking, it was a good time to pack up.

I found one other yard sale that was at a storage unit. Our eyes always go to the things that are most interesting. there was a meat slicer in the box. This was a high quality home-style unit. I have lower quality ones at home. I have one motor for two bodies. I also have that commercial one I accidentally picked up.  I never asked the price, but I lingered several times....  
Several of the yard sales had glassware on display. Me and glass don’t get along too well. 

After a quick stop at Lowes, I went to a restaurant supply store called Gordons Food Supply. I ended up picking up a 17.5 pound boneless pork butt. I did not have time to deal with it tonight so it is in the fridge. It will become a bunch of steaks. 

I got home, and we lingered a little, and then went out for Chinese. As we ate, mom told about a book she is reading. It was like an hour and a half later when we left there. when we got back, I laid down and napped for a while before leaving.

Year 17, Week 29, Day One (week 915)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
07-29-17 Saturday

90 degrees, 60% humidity, partly and then mostly cloudy. Large blobs on the radar passing from the west, but avoiding us. This weather report is brought to you by the City Of Pompano Beach Department of Tourism.

I found a yard sale in the morning on the way to Mom’s. He was still putting his stuff out. I picked up a small wood box with a nice lid design. I have an idea for it. 

I later stopped at a “community” yard sale at a historical house. There were like ten people with displays, one had food. Many looked like vendors (stuff in original packagess). One person had all sorts of elephant figurines. A couple had glassware. One had a old style sewing machine. Just the machine in the box and it was three times the price of the one I saw yesterday. There was a “high hat” cymbal stand. This is the stand with the foot peddle where you step down on the peddle and the two cymbals clang against each other. This is another case that if I buy it, I will kick myself, and if I don’t buy it, I will kick myself. I found myself out by my truck when I realized I did not buy it.

I found out that my brother was coming up, so I decided to cut the pork roast I picked up yesterday. I have all those meat slicers. What did I use to slice it? A knife. This was two boneless Boston Butt roasts. They simply removed the bone and sealed two of them into the same package. I sliced one for lunch and I sliced them thick. I sliced the rest of it into thinner steaks, and cutting some of the larger pieces into smaller portions. 
I am one of those people who, “If I cannot tell the difference, why pay the difference?” and if it is a whole lot cheaper, I will gladly go with a lower quality.  I eat a lot of pork steaks as the quality is close enough to a cheap beef steak, and at half the price, I can have a lot of it, whenever I want. 
I am also one of those people who believe that if a labor savings device takes more labor to clean than it saves, I will use the other way. I used the knife as it is a whole lot easier to clean than my meat slicers. I can slice fairly evenly too. You end up using the knife anyway.  My freezer is now filled with packages of steaks. The meat slicers are best for stuff like sandwich meats where you want consistently thin slices. 
Mom fixed dinner and it was so good. We sat and talked for quite a while. By the time my brother and niece left, it was too late to do anything outside. 

This week, I was thinking about ornaments to make for next year. Each year, I TRY to do four designs, and a dozen of each. These are generally carved out of two by twos. Last year I had planned to do some rocking horses. I have three ways of making them and will try each and see which works best. Because of hurricane Matthew and some other things that were going on at the end of the year, I could not even think about doing ornaments. 
The hardest part is to do an ornament that one has not done before. That is getting very difficult after 17 years of carving. There are only so many variations of Christmas Trees, Snow men, Penguins and Angels one can do. Many times, I have searched the web pictures for ornaments and they end up being all the same. Most years, I try to have them done by the beginning of November and most of the time I am into October before I find something to try. It does not matter when I start searching for ideas, I am always under the gun to find something. Now a few times I came up with ideas early in the year and they ended up being the least liked designs. 
I also should start thinking about art for the Christmas cards to do next year too. I tend to be doing them on Christmas Eve when I am to give them out.... With the cards, I have done too many snowmen, Christmas trees, and palm trees. Again finding good ideas are tough. 
With both carvings and cards, the problem is that it has to be simple enough to do quickly but complex enough to look good. One cannot spend a lot of time on each one. 
With the carving, I have blanks for many of the designs I did over the years that were not carved. They tended to be too tough to carve when it came down to it. 

I will see what I do next week.


Year 17, Week 28, Day One (week 914)

Year 17, Week 28, Day One (week 914)
(January 17, 2000 was my first carving day.)
07-22-17 Saturday

The temps got up to 90, but we did not get any weather in our area. A giant blob headed west, but north of us in Palm Beach County. We had a lot of sun, but later it clouded over with a light cloud cover. Late in the day it dropped down to 86.  This weather report is brought to you by the City of Pompano Beach department of Tourism.

We went to get the trees. One was a queen palm, and the other was a purple Tabebuia. The tabebuia usually is found in a bright yellow and is sometimes called a golden shower tree as the flowers fall all over the yard. Usually people select the biggest queen palm tree they can find as they are expensive to buy. We picked up likely the smallest queen palm tree they had. It will be small for a very long time.  

We stopped at a yard sale along the way and I got a good recorder (flute) in a case. At a later yard sale a woman had two professional recorders and really had no clue what to sell them for. She paid good money for them. One, though a different brand, but was just like the one I got. I later found that mine was a professional brand also.. 

Out on my own I found a Garmon Nuvi Navigation system. They said they did not have a computer in order to use it as it had a USB cord on it. My truck has a USB outlet so I plugged it in a while after I had left. It works! I have to play with it a little. This uses the same USB outlet plug as the tomtom I picked up a while ago, so I can swap the charging cord with the USB this one has. I can use them both if needed. It has a bracket to hold it and it appears that the ball socket had broke off. part of the bracket is still there, but there is some broken plastic in the ball socket hole. I plugged it into the computer and it just got power. I then saw there is a different plug in for data. 

At one of the last yard sales, there was one of those stainless-steel pot-racks that goes into the kitchen to hang pots from the ceiling.  I looked at it a couple times and decided against it, then I started walking to the truck to leave. With a sigh I said "I'm going to kick myself." and I bought it. sigh. I likely will for a while too.

My brother and my nephew came over. After doing a tiny bit of work, we got together for lunch. I like mom’s cooking. I napped afterwards before having to leave.

Sunday, we went for Chinese buffet lunch so I had nothing to report.