Sunday, November 20, 2011

Busy Weekend

My daughter Amy & I will soon be competing on one of the food network baking challenge shows.  You know, one of those that makes huge cakes, decorated perfectly to a certain theme.  Ha!  Not hardly!

However we do have a good time making messes cakepops.  Our design came straight from Bakerella (with minor changes) and we think they are pretty cute.  Sophie had a good time too.

We had extra melted chocolate and pretzels and so when the cakepops were finished we dipped one end of the pretzel sticks in chocolate.  Sophie showed real baking promise! 

Some friends and I went shopping a few weeks ago and noticed a lot of wreaths made out of mesh.  Since then I've been by a florist and garden center and noticed many more in their Christmas decorations.  So we've ordered the wreath forms, watched the Youtube videos and bought the mesh to make our own.  Yesterday, one friend and I went to a local Holiday Market and we didn't see even one of these wreaths!  We missed our golden opportunity!  By next year after we make ours they will probably be out of style!  Anyway, Doris made one and this weekend I tried one also.  I learned some things making it so hopefully my next will be a little better.  I hung it on the front door for a picture, but am not sure where I will use it. 

Now to get ready for Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 18, 2011

I'm an Older Blogger!

I love to read Kelly's blog even though I am "older"!  She has beautiful children, one the same age as one of my granddaughters, and I love seeing their similarities, but also have just come to love reading about Kelly's life, family, friends, faith, food, etc. 

On Fridays she has Show Us Your Life posts where she asks readers to share their blog link if they fit the category.  Today is "Older Bloggers", meaning over 50 and I certainly qualify!

I'm a knitter, crafter, wife, mom, and Nana to 3 beautiful granddaughters.  Bethany - 14, Nikki - 4 and Sophie - 2.  I'd love to hear from any of you who found me from Kelly's Corner!

On another note - just had to show you some things my friend Doris and I made at work today for the gift shop.  We normally sit behind computers and are not floral designers, but I think these turned out so cute. 

Someone said the little owls look a little scary, but I love them. 

Everybody getting ready for Thanksgiving?  We went food shopping tonight and I think I got most of what I need.  This weekend Amy & I are going to try and make Thanksgiving cake pops and will post a picture if they are presentable!

Keep my cousin, Jeff Travis in your prayers.  He was in a terrible accident a few months ago and yesterday had a bad reaction during and after surgery and is critical.  You can read about his terrible ordeal and amazing journey on a facebook page created to keep everyone informed about his condition - Prayers for Jeff Travis.  He is a wonderful Christian man who deserves all our prayers and for this terrible ordeal to have a good ending.  Pray for his wife Rita also, she defines the word "faithful".

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Where are the days going?

Middle of November already!  It can't be - it was just summer.  Slow down, please!

I love fall -  the beautiful colors, the crisp air, wearing sweaters, but when the time changes, it makes such a difference.  I don't like it getting dark so early, and I hate shivery cold mornings and evenings.  However, it is here and we have to deal with it.  Warm knits are one way to combat that cold!
I saw a similar scarf/cowl on Pinterest and made my own version.  Very warm and cozy.

 When Sophie saw the green and brown tam I made for Nikki she asked for one in orange and so orange she got!  I just changed the top from a bow to a pom pom.

I practically had to wrestle her for this picture, but finally got a smile.  Sometimes she is a ham and sometimes getting a picture is a battle - you know, she's two!

Sophie loved Halloween this year.  She got to trick-or-treat at the nursing home where I work, at her daycare and then at a few houses in my neighborhood.  She got the hang of it really quick and was so good to say trick or treat and thank you.  She was happy to come home though and help hand out candy here too.

A cute little Elmo!
And a cute close-up while she was posing for her mom for Christmas card pictures.

This afternoon she and I went to a nearby dollar store for a few things and she was so good and so cute.  She loves everything.  She oohs and aahs over everything, but then often says, "I have one like it at home" even if she doesn't!  I bought her two $1 books and some stickers and she was happy as could be. She also asked to buy her mom an ornament, which we did.  What a blessing she is! 

Next up is Thanksgiving and we'll be so glad to see our out of town granddaughters then.  I have a few Christmas gifts on the needles and hopefully will post those pictures later!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

It All Ends at Once

After having two or three things on the needles for weeks, they seem to all get finished about the same time.

The Adah Beret by Amy Rose knitted out of Vanna's Choice Baby in Sweet Pea and Vanna's Choice brown (can't find the band on that one).  Both of these were leftover yarns from the baby blanket I knitted a few weeks ago and are for granddaughter Nikki.  I was knitting the blanket when she was here and she loved it.  She also had a new sweater dress that had these same colors along with others in a stripe pattern and this would be a good match.  Easy knit and turned out very cute.

I'm not a big shawl or lace person, but somehow was drawn to do both when I saw this pattern.

Cladonia by Kristen Kapur.  I knitted this with Denali hand dyed sock yarn from Ridgewood Farm.  The color is Fruit Freeze and turned out so pretty.  I would do this one again. 

Now I only have a pair of socks on the needles so the fun begins of choosing new patterns and yarn!

And now for a little cuteness!  Miss Sophie helping Nana make cornbread and she takes her job very seriously.  She amazes us everyday and she is changing and growing so fast.  So smart and funny and keeps us laughing all the time.  Her daycare started "school" this fall and she loves her workbook and lessons.  

Monday, September 19, 2011

How Not to Remove Wallpaper

Our house is 18 years old and our downstairs bathroom looked 18 years old!  It had original wallpaper and cabinets from when we bought it in 1993 and if you remember, wallpaper was quite the rage then - now not so much.  I took the wallpaper off another bathroom several years ago and planned to do this one also, but the first one was such a traumatic experience I just couldn't face it again.  Finally, I  couldn't tolerate it any longer and when I discovered I had a few vacation days I was going to lose in October I decided to take 3 days off last week and tackle this room. 

My first suggestion if you are going to try this is don't - walk away and hire someone to do it for you.  It is not a job for the weak at heart or body.  If you read directions for taking off wallpaper, the first thing they all say is to score with a wallpaper scorer and then spray with a remover.  My next suggestion is skip this step completely.  It is useless.  Unless you score your paper much more than I did the solution only penetrates a few spots and the underneath layer of paper is still mostly dry.  This means after you get off the first layer you still have to spray again and start on the second layer and in my experience that spray bottle is killer on your hands so you don't want to do it any more than necessary.  Also the top layer of paper didn't come off a bit better wet than dry so my decision was to pull off the top layer dry.  You can see from the pictures sometimes this was great and it came off in long strips and sometimes little postage stamp size pieces.  Once you get the top layer off ( if your arms and hands are still attached to your body) then spray the underlayer and scrape off.  This is the easiest part, but still a lot of work.

 Two wallpaper removers I tried.  They both worked - I couldn't tell any difference.  I have also heard you can use fabric softener, but didn't get to that point.  (You can see ugly wallpaper in background)

Red object on right in wallpaper scorer (don't waste your money!) and yellow on left is wonderful wallpaper scraper.  It is worth its weight in gold.  You hold onto the yellow knob and it works much better than a putty knife and is much easier on your hands.

 This shows the work in progress.  You can see I sometimes had better luck than others.  It was a long day!
Thursday was paint day and that went much easier.  I used Behr's Ultra with primer and it was great.  It just took one coat and a little touch up after. The woodwork took two coats, but even that went fairly quickly. 

Friday I tackled the ugly cabinets with 90's hardware.

I first cleaned with TSP, let that dry, sanded lightly, primed with Kilz, and then painted.  DH removed all the hardware before I primed and I placed the doors on the kitchen table on an old shower curtain. After the first mishap (the black paint I had bought was dark, dark green), and another trip to Home Depot for black-black, the painting went fairly smoothly except that the paint took forever to dry.  The guy at HD said that the darker the color, the longer it takes to dry (didn't know that).  Finally after a few touch ups we got the new hardware on and the doors back up.  I had hoped to finish in three days, but it actually took part of Saturday and Sunday too, allowing for drying between coats and installing new hardware after it dried.

This is now:

It is really hard to take pictures in a tiny bathroom.  We aren't finished.  We are in the process now of  replacing the light fixture, mirror, faucet and floor (and maybe counter top later).  Also, now I need rugs, towels, new towel racks - it never ends!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Knitting Under Pressure

Not that I like doing it, but I seem to get more done when under pressure.  If I have all day, or week, or month, I'll find a million other things to do and take forever getting whatever it is done that I need to do (cleaning, laundry, paperwork, knitting, etc.) but give me a deadline and somehow I can move much faster. 

 They say knitters usually fall into two different categories, those who love the process of knitting most and those who enjoy the products that they finish.  I enjoy the finished products, but am definitely more of a process knitter.  I enjoy the knitting and just always want to have something on my needles and unless time is an issue I take my time with projects, unlike  some of the others in my knitting group who impress me every week with all of their FOs.  This week however I turned into a product knitter by necessity and finished this baby blanket in a little over a week even while having out of town company both weekends.  I thought I had till October to make a baby gift, but was then invited to a baby shower for this person and had to get in high gear. I chose something simple but cute and was pleased that it turned out well.  Hoodie Baby Blanket by the Thrifty Knitter. 

Thanks to Pooh Bear for being my model!

 I finished it last night, washed and blocked it at 11:30 pm (had to finish drying it and then steam the border flat just before I wrapped it for the shower this afternoon).  Nothing like going down to the wire!

It has been quite a week!

 Last weekend our son and daughter-in-law were coming to a town near us for their church and so brought the girls (plus a friend) to stay with us.  They all spent Friday night with us, then the girls stayed all day Saturday.  We did a little shopping, ate lunch out and took good naps that afternoon, then cooked dinner and their mom and dad came back by, ate dinner and drove the four hours back home that night.  Long day for them!  

 Then one day this week we had an earthquake!  No damage, but it was a strange feeling.  There is a window behind my desk at work and the front driveway to the building is just outside the window.  I had my back to the window and my chair started shaking.  My first thought was that a big truck had driven up to the front of the building, but there was nothing there!  Then it got a little worse and everyone around me started to notice the shaking.  My first earthquake and hopefully my last.  Very glad there was no damage around here.

We ended the week with Hurricane Irene.  Since son and DIL live in Norfolk they evacuated to here and stayed with us from Friday night until about noon today.  They brought another friend with them whose husband is out to sea and her family is in NYC, so they were in the Hurricane path also.  I was glad to get to see them again so soon.  Since they are 200 miles away we usually only see them every couple of months so twice in a week was really unusual.  Nikki is doing so well!  Her back is so straight and perfect and she has a very smooth scar that is healing nicely.  The best surprise has been the way she has handled it all.  We were so worried about the brace she has to wear, and expected her to fight it tooth and nail but she has been a real trooper and willingly wears it.  She is doing so well the doctor has given her some time out of it every day, but she rarely asks to take it off.  Brave little girl!

Last night we all went out to dinner and here are a few pictures from out waiting time and at the table.
Nikki and Sophie - the first hour or so they are together things are a little difficult - lots of jealously and each of them claiming everything as "theirs", but after they sort that out a little, they love playing together.

 Nikki and her mom. Sorry Janet and getting you with eyes closed!
Bethany and dad.

Sophie & her mom. (And Pooh Bear of course)

Miss Sophie being her charming little self.  Even after waiting a long time for our table and eating a lot later than usual for her she was happy and funny all night.
Back to work tomorrow - I need a day off!  Thank goodness Labor Day is coming up and a 3 day weekend!  Can't believe summer is almost over though.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Much Improvement

Nikki is doing great.  Right now she feels safe in her brace so she is not fighting that and last night and today has gone to bathroom and walked (with help).  We are so thankful and feel so relieved.  Obviously there's still a lot more to deal with but we will take any small steps.

Bethany has been with her other grandparents most of the weekend so I am missing her.  Except for a little shopping we haven't had much time to do anything fun.  Hopefully we can before she goes home.

If you have seen many pictures of Sophie she usually has Pooh Bear in her arms.  She loves her Pooh - so Amy knew she had to try and take her to see the Winnie the Pooh movie yesterday.  This was her first movie and she did great.  I helped that it was just an hour long, but I think she could have even lasted a little longer.  It was a cute, old-fashioned movie.

As you can see - Pooh went with us!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Tough Week

My sweet little 4 year old granddaughter is going through something no little girl should have to go through.  Since birth she has battled scoliosis and we've all hoped and prayed that surgery wouldn't have to happen for years, but it came to a point where the doctors said it had to be now. The curve in her spine had progressed to a point where it was beginning to cause other problems.On Wednesday she had surgery to place rods alongside her spine and straighten it.  It was an early morning for everyone and a nail-biting nervous wait for all of us, but she came through the 4.5 hr. surgery fine. The pediatric orthopedic surgeon was wonderful and he said the surgery went just as it should - no unforeseen problems. 

After they moved her to the PICU unit we got to go in 2 at a time to see her.  She had come out of the anesthesia fine, and before they sedated her again she was in pain and a little agitated and kept saying, "Mama, I don't want this".  It was soooo hard to see a little one in this situation who doesn't understand what's going on.  Heart breaking.  In a little while they got her sedated and calmed down.

This was day one after they got her pain regulated and she went to sleep.

We left late that afternoon to come home and brought Bethany with us so that my son and DIL could stay at the hospital as much as needed and not have to worry about her.  Since then we have been in contact by email and phone, but really wish I could be there too. 

She was kept sedated until today.  Yesterday they measured her for her brace and today Jon said they put the brace on and stood her up.  They have taken out some of the tubes and possibly will move her to a regular room as soon as they have one.  She has such a long journey ahead of her.  Please pray for her and for Jon & Janet for patience and guidance.  She is a headstrong little thing and isn't going to like that brace, but she has to wear it for awhile.  I know this is all for the best - but will be so glad when it is behind her and she is comfortable and pain free again.

We hope to see her like this again soon.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Catching up.......

My life seems busy - but not interesting enough to write about anymore!  It seems like I just go to work, come home, go to work, etc.  If you work I'm sure you can relate.

Summer is definitely here - it has been very hot and dry which means lots of watering.  The flowers are doing well right now though.  If you remember a few weeks ago when I first planted things looked like this:

And now they look like this:

So I guess the watering is worth it.  By August I'll be really tired of dragging that hose around though.

Also in bloom right now are the daylillies and the butterfly bush.

I'm still plugging away on the socks, but they are generally my take-along project so they are going slowly.

 I've started the Cladonia Shawl by Kirsten Kapur and am liking it so far.  There will be lace, but the body is a simple pattern easy to memorize.  I like a little lace, but not too crazy about a big lace project where I have to read a pattern on every row. The yarn is Denali, a hand dyed sock yarn by Pagewood Farm.  The color is Fruit Freeze,

And on a totally different note, this little guy is my companion tonight.  My neighbors left on vacation today and I am pet sitting.  I haven't had a dog in years so this should be interesting.  He will stay in his own home during the day while I'm at work, but I hated for him to be alone so much so he will be visiting here with us some too.