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Monday, December 28, 2009

Merry Christmas to Me!

All the mad hoopla that leads up to Christmas and it's over in a flash. So now what? Since I no longer have someone who wakes up with me on Christmas morning to shower me with gifts, I decided to buy myself a Christmas present.

The king-sized bed that I have has become too big and too empty. With all of the after-Christmas sales at the furniture stores, I decided to go browsing for a new bed. They saw me coming... I ended up with a whole new bedroom set:

This pic is of a king-size bed. Mine is a queen so smaller. Visualize 2 pillows across instead of 3.


The set is called Camilla by Ashley Furniture. Yep, I've been watching Clean House waaay too much LOL!! But the sale was outrageous. The box spring was free with the purchase of the mattress, the full set of furniture was had for $1000 off and I got free delivery and assembly. Can't beat that! It should be here on Friday. I'll post pics of the room redo when it's done.

So... you can't get new furniture without crocheting something to go along with it. I'm thinking I'll make this throw to put across the bed maybe in a neutral color like light ecru or oatmeal:


And of course, doilies for the nightstand and dresser, but I haven't picked the patterns out yet.

So there you have it. Can I spend money or what? No one can ever accuse me of not supporting our slumping economy!

But I don't want to leave you with the impression that I didn't get anything from anybody - that would be sad :(

I got some gorgeous yarn from Sandy - Crystal Palace Moshi Plus in a gorgeous blend of self-striping fall colors, a crochet-knit technique book with some cool patterns, some Ferrero chocolates (have you tasted the white chocolate with coconut? Food of the gods I tell you!) She also made a beautiful pair of earrings and a matching bracelet of pearlized beads and crystals with sterling silver - so pretty! She spoiled me rotten. I've already made a beret for myself with 2 of the 4 balls of yarn, I'm in thinking mode for the rest. I'll post a pic as soon as I dig my camera out of my nest of a computer room.

Nisha sent me some very cool hand-made knitting needles and some lovely hand-spun, hand-dyed yarn that I'm still looking for the perfect pattern for. It's a gorgeous shade of ocean blue with hints of purple in a wool/mohair blend. Very beachy! Again, pics to follow.

And one gift that I haven't redeemed yet cuz her mother gave me fudge that I've been having for breakfast, lunch, snacks... is a 1 lb. box of See's candy. Milk Bordeaux is in my future for sure! Thank you Gretchen :)

From Leisa, a home-made blackberry and apple pie. To die for!

Finally because Kirby always bought me a bottle of Opium, (he made me forgive the French), and 2 Lord of the Rings calendars, I picked those up for myself as well. It made him present in a way, and made having Christmas without him a bit more bearable.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and let's all look forward to a better 2010!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Weed Pouch

Here's a quick and simple little thing you can make to use up some of that scrap yarn :)


Materials:

Light Worsted Weight Yarn*

Hook Size E / 3.5mm

Assorted dried or silk flowers or weeds

Red Heart Collage in Wood Trail was used for the model


Rnd 1 (RS): Beg at base, ch 6, sl st in first ch to form ring, ch 1, [sc in ring, ch 3] 10 times, join with sl st in beg sc. (10 ch-3 sps)


Following Rnds: Sl st into ch-3 sp, ch 1, (sc, ch 3, sc) in each ch-3 sp around, join with sl st in beg sc. Repeat rnd 17 times or the number of times to obtain desired length.


Edging: Sl st into ch-3 sp, ch 1, 3 sc in each ch-3 sp around, join with sl st in beg sc. Finish off.


Insert dried or silk flowers / weeds and hang on the wall by inserting the nailhead through a ‘hole’ in the pouch.


Not intended for use with fresh flowers.


I'm also making this pattern available as a PDF download from Ravelry so you don't have to copy/paste - how's that?! :D

(Ahem... that would be as soon as Ravelry cooperates with the upload of the file. Stay tuned.)

Good-Bye Sweetheart

It's taken me quite a while to get up the courage to put up this post, but I feel I need to communicate the last part of my husband's story before I can even think of posting about anything else.

Kirby passed away on November 14th, 2009 at 9am. I was blessed with being with him as he left. His last hours were spent in excruciating pain from the cancer, but I am forever thankful that they were hours and not days. On the one hand, having him pass at home was a blessing as I had the honor of holding him as he left and he was in his own surroundings without IV's, monitors and 'the hospital'. On the other hand, it was the most painful experience I will ever have had to live through - to have the one you love in such dire pain and not being able to do anything about it. But I do take solace in the fact that he's not in pain anymore.

My mother passed exactly 1 week later almost to the hour. She left us on November 21st at 9:20am. How's that for timing? Her passing did not affect me near as much as she was 92 years old and had lived a nice long life. However, when it is my turn to go, I will have to ask her about her impeccable timing.

I went back to work on the 7th. I spent the majority of my bereavement time off clearing out my mom's mobile. And thank God for my friends! They spent a few days of their own time helping me deal with all of that. In between cleaning days, I ran back and forth to the mortuary. With 2 deaths one after the other, I became quite intimately familiar with the place and the guy who made the arrangements for both. I hope to never see him again unless it's in public somewhere. The one thing that I'm happy I did was to have some of Kirby's ashes put into a small jewelry pendant. It's very comforting to have him with me.

Because of the time spent dealing with my mom's mobile leading up to almost the day I had to go back to work, I haven't had much time to grieve for Kirby. I'm doing OK as long as I stay busy, but those quiet moments are especially rough. My routine is pretty much intact except for that one huge piece - him being here. Because he's not here, I find that I can't even do the simplest things easily. I feel confused and unsure of myself most of the time when I'm alone. I'm still very much unsettled. I can hardly watch TV as they're showing previews to movies that he had wanted to see.

I've made small changes - I've managed to arrange the area that his ashes are displayed. I've set up the flag and put Jose's ashes next to him (his beloved dog.) I have a candle burning next to him when I'm home. Most of his big power tools have been put into the shed to store until I decide what to do with them. But his clothes and things he'd left on his nightstand and end table are still there. His van is still parked in the same spot in front of the house - unmoved. I can't even bring myself to move it into the driveway. He was the only one that ever drove the van - I never once got into the driver's seat and I can't bring myself to do that yet because I'd have to adjust the seat and it would be like a little part of him would be gone once I did that.

So I kind of veered from telling his story into telling my own, didn't I? But all of the medical info and dr. appointments that took place leading up to his death seems quite pointless in the telling. He died from melanoma within 4 1/2 months of his diagnosis. Any more than that seems trivial at this point. Now it's a matter of learning how to live my life without him in it and without being resentful that we didn't turn out to be one of those couples that lived together to a ripe old age. And also figuring out how to avoid those stupid eHarmony commericals...

Good bye Sweetheart. I shall forever miss you.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Farting Poodles & Other Things

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Yep, farting poodles. It's actually a cover for an air freshener can. Kitchy project, but fun. I've named him Piedmont le Pew. For those that can't stand it and must have a farting poodle of their very own, you can find the pattern here at Tacky Living. It's reminiscent of those poodle liquor bottle covers that graced most homes in the 60s. Admit it. Your house had one. I remember that my mom made poodle liquor bottle covers for virtually everyone she knew and they displayed them proudly as the children shrunk in mortification! Now that us childrens have grown up, the farting poodle brings back fond memories, doesn't it? :D

On the hubby front, we have two appointments today. One with a neurologist and the other with the chemotherapist. Today is the day we hold our breath as we get the results from all of the tests and the game plan for his treatment. Fingers crossed everyone! And thanks to those that have sent me their best wishes and to just let me know they're thinking of us.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

It's Not Fair

It's not fair. This is a saying that I've never had much use for. To me, it smacks of nothing more than a victim statement that is usually delivered in a whiny tone to set the hairs on the back of your neck straight up. It's typically used in minor circumstances far too often to have any real meaning. Children use it when they don't get a cookie. Teenagers use it when they can't go off and do something all of their friends are doing. Adults use it when their being childish and selfish.

But I'm using it today. It's not fair.

My husband has been diagnosed with stage 2C Melanoma. This means the cancer is running amok through his body. It came to light when one of his moles got real dark and started to grow bigger. After my nagging him for a month, he finally made an appointment with the doctor. He now has a giant hole in his back where the mole used to be. During his follow-up exam, they found a lump under his arm and at his groin. More biopsies were done and we're waiting on those results. In addition, he has had some blurriness in his right eye that they believe is related. In the meantime, we have to schedule an appointment for a PET and CAT scan so they can confirm their diagnosis. Then the chemotherapy will begin. They claim at this stage that they can kill the cancer, but it is very likely it will be back within 5 years.

It's not fair. And I'm being real whiny, childish and selfish about it. We've had our ups and downs as a couple - like any couple has - but we are supposed to grow old and crabby together. At the very least retire together. The prospect of that happening now seems quite grim. For now anyway.

And that's the latest news from the Thornton household. Until this new adventure gets completely underway, it's life as normal with the exception of tip-toeing around the subject with each other. We're both very private people by nature and tend to keep things to ourselves, so this will be a real test for both of us. I actually thought long and hard about blogging about this, but I've got friends who read to check on things that way, so here it is.

Now as out of sorts as this may sound, I've gotta run and pick up dog bones before Paco and Mo kill me with their big sad eyes. I don't know what they put in those Nutri-Bones, but they're both quite addicted to them. And since they're both little beams of light within this big dark cloud, I best git to gittin'. More later.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Wood Floor Warning

Do not walk on a wood floor with wet feet. This should have been a warning label on the product when we bought it. For stupid people like me.

So there I was this morning, enjoying my shower and wishing I could stay in there for at least another 10 minutes. Alas, I am a wage slave. So I begrudgingly turn off the water and open the shower door. Dang. I meant to grab a towel before I got in. Such as it is when you have my brain and have not fed it the proper levels of caffeine. No worries, I keep a few in the cabinet under the sink. Dang. Empty. Sigh. Guess I have to walk out to the hallway and get one from the linen closet.

I walk gingerly on the bath rugs to absorb some of the water that is dripping from my body. Then I step into the bedroom. No throw rugs in my path. I make it about 5 steps and...

WHAMMO!

Down like a ton of bricks. And because my entire body is wet, there is a fun 'slip and slide' effect. As I lay on the floor on my back half in the bedroom and half in the hallway - nekkid and stunned - as it happened in a twinkling of an eye, I stare up at the ceiling and squeak out an 'ow'. My husband is still asleep in bed, but Paco and Mo are awake. They start jumping around on the bed and finally the half-deaf husband wakes up. I'm still muttering 'ow' and he says 'what's that noise?' I say, 'down here'. 'What are you doing down there?' 'Oh, I don't know. I thought I'd inspect the ceiling to see if it was time to repaint. Get me a flippin' towel and don't step in the puddle all around me!!' After at least one more sarcastic response to 'what are you doing down there?', the latent gentleman in him finally comes out and he helps me up.

To put you at ease, I am perfectly fine except for a new bruise on my knee that somehow got in the way of the decline. I'm actually grateful that I was wet all over as it seemed to have made the trip down a lot less harmful due to the ability to fall and slide at the same time. Kinda like sliding into 3rd base upside down and backwards. I'm also grateful that I missed landing in the curio cabinet. Otherwise, Legolas would have finally shot that arrow he's been holding his aim steady on for the past 4 years.

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Needless to say, after that adventure, work was a piece of cake! And how was your Tuesday?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Wish Lists

Amazon has a good thing going with the Wish List thing. You find something and store it there for later. You half-heartedly think maybe you'll buy it later. Months and months go by and still, nah - not today.

And then... you wake up in the middle of the night and can't go back to sleep. There's nothing but infomercials on and you turn them off because they are starting to sound pretty good and maybe you just can't imagine life without that male enhancement product or maybe I CAN get rich in real estate. So you turn to the computer. It's safe. It's yours. You don't have to go anywhere you don't want to go. But after checking out all your fave sites and you're still wide awake, then what?

All that's left are shopping sites. And now everything on that Wish List you must have now!

Here are some purchases from a week ago when this [surprise!] very thing happened to me. And you know what? I scored! The fugly quotient in the books is quite low! Just about all of the patterns in all 3 books are things I'd want to make - how rare is that?!

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Lots of cool projects in this book. Sweaters, scarves, hats, purses and lots of felted items.

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Ever wonder how to wear sweaters and boleros that are not styled with the traditional button/loop closure? Well, you can make a button frog using 2 shank buttons, some elastic thread and seed beads. Just make a loop with the thread and string the seed beads onto the thread, with a button on either side. Tie off, hide the ends and voila! A button frog closure :) This is just a little side tip that is included in the Everyday Crochet book.

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Who can have too many motif books? I'm quite certain that the answer is no one. At least no one that crochets anyway. There's lots of neat motifs with interesting stitch patterns, a lot of which that are textured - and I love texture!

On the disappointing side, I purchased this book from Overstock.com a couple of weeks ago.

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Except for the pattern on the cover, this one is a HUGE disappointment. There's maybe only one other pattern that I might consider making. Oh well, that's the down side of buying books online. Unless they offer a 'browse' feature, you don't know what's inside. So on a positive note, 3 out of 4 ain't bad!

Now, to con the hubby into building a new book case for the craft room...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Concerning Hobbits and other things...

Another round of excitement begins as the early stages of casting, etc. start. 2 films with talk of a 3rd - don't know what that 3rd film would be. I hope they don't get carried away and ruin the overall experience - the 2nd film is taking a bit of liberty in tying The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings together as it is. Anyhoo... if you want the latest and greatest info on the Hobbit movies, go here. And if you're a fan, pleeeeeease post against them doing this in 3D!! I can't think of anything worse that they could do. Well, maybe, but seeing that rumor just about sent me over the edge.

Speaking about over the edge, I had to take my car into the shop this past week. The trunk latch stopped working and I wanted to replace the visors as the mirrors were broken (my bad. I didn't catch this when I first bought the car.) The repair for the trunk latch was covered by the warranty, but the visors were not. Now take a guess at how much the visors were? Now extend that to your wildest dream and double it. Then add $48 for labor - yessirree - turning 4 screws is quite laborious work. Grand total? $348. Was I stupid? Yes. Did I give them a mouthful anyway? Abso-flippin'-lutely!! And they're not even magic mirrors. They do not light up, magnify, put on your makeup for you or tell you that you are the fairest in the land. Chalk that one up under "lessons learned" and "maybe that's why Chrysler / GM went bankrupt."

On a brighter note, my pineapple plant has finally produced something resembling a pineapple!

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It's still a little guy, but he'll grow up. Not having had a pineapple plant before, I'm not quite sure how long that will take, but I'm thrilled to have gotten this far!

It's been a few months since I've posted last and I have finished off a few crochet projects:

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This is a pineapple shawl that I worked up during the MCAL at CFL. You can get the freebie pattern here if you are so inclined. I made this with about 2-1/2 balls of Marble (Red Heart is now selling this yarn under their label - look for 'Collage'.)

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Then I've been working up washcloths for charity. I dorked around a bit with wrapping the washcloth around some handmade soap that I wrapped in pretty paper.

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Then a little gift bag that I did up in Patons Grace. I started out with a square pattern that I found on line and took it from there. Would also work well as a soap holder / saver, dontchathink?

Other than those projects, I've started many and finished few. Seems to be a theme with me now. Could it be I have too many patterns and too much yarn that keeps me from focusing? Could be, but I'm too lazy to do anything about it ~ LOL.

Have a great weekend and we'll catch up soon!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter!

I am waaaaay behind the 8 ball on this holiday. In fact, I didn't realize tomorrow was Easter Sunday until just a few days ago. I guess not having kids to remind you when the holidays are coming is a downside.

But not to fear, I made a
bunny:


He's accompanied by a
Butie and a Gabu. They are friends. Good thing too, as I need to get rid of some yarn around here.

I also made a couple of
cleaning goodies:


These projects helped me to clear out the remainder of 3 skeins of yarn - whee! The cleaning scrubbees kind of look like Easter Baskets with those green scrubbees in them, don't they? Hmmm...

Anyway, just a quick post to wish everyone a happy holiday. Eat lots of eggs so we can fart nationwide tomorrow!

Monday, April 06, 2009

Ren Faire 2009

Saturday was the opening day for Ren Faire. As hubby seemed to have had his fill of 1590's merriment due to me dragging him to the faire year after year, I cut him a break and went with a good girlfriend. We ate, bought stuff, ate some more, had a massage and picked up purchases on the way out. It was a very good day.

That said, Ren Faire always puts me in the mood for doing something whimsical. So one of my purchases was for a Fairy House and Fairy Garden kit. So after a few short naps today (ahhh...), I set to having some fairy fun.

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First up is the Fairy House. It's basically a cardboard tube covered with dried flower petals and that spongy moss that I can never remember the name of. The cute little chair is 2 acorn caps backed with a pinecone (do you call it a leaf?) The picture doesn't do it full justice, but I think it came out cute.

I then took the miniatures that were included in the Fairy Garden kit and placed them under the tree in the back yard. I didn't use all of the miniatures that came with the kit as a couple of them just seemed way off scale.

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awww...

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Close-up of wheelbarrow, tools, stepping stones and birdhouse.

It's kinda hard to see, but I made a shepherd's hook out of tie-wire to hang the birdhouse on. I twisted two strands together then formed the hook. I think I'll take it back in the garage and spray paint it black (or white.) I also have an idea for a miniature pond ;) Later.

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I'm not sure if fairies get mail, but what the hey?

So those were the creative purchases. And the best part is that now I've had a chance to think back on what I saw, some Christmas gifts are coming to mind. Sounds as good excuse as any to go back a second time, donchathink?

And don't ya just love spring?!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I'm Still Here!

Believe it or not, I'm still breathing. I took a nice long break from civilization as I was not fit for human interaction. Work has been more than brutal - not in a good "I'm working hard" kind of stress, but in a "you've been taken over by another company and even though we pontificate about how much we value people, know that we speak with a forked tongue" kind of stress. There it is and that's all I'm going to say about that.

So in honor of coming up for air from all things stupid and ugly, and in an attempt to bring a little whimsy into both my life and yours, I have a new pattern for all of you dog lovers out there! And here it is:

Mini's Cheaper-than-the-Pet-Store Poop Bag Holder

Yes, a poop bag holder. For those of us that live in a city and take our dogs for walks, we must pick up the poop. Now if you've been to a chain pet store (e.g., Petco, Petsmart), those little poop bags and holders are expensive! I was in Petco and needed to pick up refills and a bag of 4 rolls of poop bags was $11! And the poop bag holders started from $5 on up (mostly up.) So I pashawed all that and went to Target where I found a package of 8 poop bags for $6. Still pricey for small plastic bags to me. And wouldn't you know, they were a teeny bit larger than my poop bag holder. Just a teeny bit, but since my holder was hard plastic, it was enough to not fit.

So here you go. This poop bag holder will hold all sizes of poop bag rolls, and if it doesn't, you can easily make it longer without breaking the poop-pickup budget!

Materials Needed
Small amount of Sport weight Cotton Yarn
E / 3.5mm hook
Self-locking clasp


Rnd 1: Ch 2, 8 sc in 2nd sc from hook.

Rnd 2: Ch1, 2 sc in same st as join, 2 sc in ea sc around, join. (16 sc)

Rnd 3: Ch 1, 2 sc in same st as join, *1 sc in next sc, 2 sc in next sc; rep from * around, join. (24 sc)

Rnd 4: Ch 1, sc in same st as join, working in back loops only, sc in ea sc around, join. (24 sc)

Rnds 5-18: Ch 1, sc in same st as join, sc in ea sc around, join.

Rnd 19: Ch 1, sc in same st as join, *ch1, sc in next 3 sc; rep from * around ending with sc in last 2 sc, join. (6 ch-1 spaces)

Rnd 20: Ch 1, sc in same st as join, sc in ea sc and ch-1 space around, join. (24 sc)

Rnd 21: Ch 1, sc in same st as join, sc in ea sc around, join.

Rnd 22: Ch 1, sc in same st as join, *ch 1, sc in next sc; rep from * around, finish off and weave in all ends.


Drawstring

Cut a length of yarn approximately 2 yds long. Fold in half and attach folded end to a stationary holder (I use a binder clip tied to a doorknob.) Holding ends of yarn together, hold taut and twist until the strand wants to twist onto itself. Place finger halfway up the strand, bring both ends together and allow to twist onto itself. Tie each end securely.

Finishing

Thread clasp onto drawstring and weave drawstring through the ch-1 spaces on rnd 16. Insert bag roll into pouch and pull up a bag. Tighten drawstring and tie into a bow. Clip the Poop Bag Holder onto your dog’s leash to keep handy during your walk!

Have a great Sunday!