Friday, September 29, 2017

Yogurt Soap

Last night I met with some knitters to work on Knitted Knockers for women with breast cancer. My job was to stuff the finished ones. They were all so beautiful. We have fifty completed and ready to donate.  I think the women who receive them will feel very appreciative. The bamboo and cotton yarns are so soft and light.

One of the women there told me that she had run out of my creme soap, which she had been using on her hands. She showed me how they were getting dry again, now that she was washing them with a commercial brand in a pump. I told her that I would check my  soap stash, and update it on Etsy.  I have four ready to sell, and another batch that is curing on the racks. They will be finished in four more weeks.

I love this recipe because the end result  feels special. The yogurt is mixed with distilled water, and then frozen in ice cube trays. It's a lot like a milk soap. When Ann L Watson had people test her soaps, this one got rave reviews. People described it as the perfect soap. I can see why. It has such a lovely look, and it also has a really nice texture. I often give to my friends as gifts. I used rose Brazilian clay to color this batch.

It was nice to sit and knit with the ladies last night and enjoy good food, conversation, and lovely yarn. We met at Creative Ewe in Canyon Country.  For some reason, I was having trouble following the Knitted Knocker pattern while in a group. I decided to focus on stuffing, and attempt the double points when I'm by myself and can concentrate. Earlier in the morning, I had spent a lot of time crocheting the shawl, and I think my patience was gone. I've had to rip out several rows to get the count correct, but it's worth it. I'm really learning to see the stitches and to identify them. I have a lot of dark yarn in this project, which can be a strain to see. It's rewarding to watch it grow, though.   

I stewed up a few leftover plums that were too ripe to eat. I added a bit of water, some sugar, and simmered them until they were soft. They are absolutely delicious! I bought the plums on sale for fifty cents a pound. I think I will keep an eye out for the late season plums and peaches, and stew them. It really brings out the flavor of the fruit, and it makes a nice dessert.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Looking After Yourself

Self care is an important part of health. Our daily habits really make a difference in how we look, feel, and appear to others. I always feel better after having my morning coffee, knitting or crocheting for an hour or so, and then making breakfast. After I finish eating, I make the bed and take a shower. Once dressed,  I take a bike ride and run the dogs. It's a great way to start the day.

It's funny, but the little things really do  make a difference in our mental attitude and perception of the world. I find that often if I am feeling out of sorts, emotionally, I can shift my mood by changing my actions. Today I took a bath in epsom salts, used a bar of homemade cocoa butter and rosemary soap, and listened to a podcast by The Gentle Knitter. It was so relaxing to sip herbal tea while I soaked. I really enjoyed  her voice and explanation of her current knitting projects.

Doing yoga before bed always helps me to feel peaceful and to sleep well. I find that it doesn't have to be a difficult session, just a balanced and complete series of poses. Showing up at the mat is most of it. I also regularly do Pilates and the physical therapy exercises that I learned after my hip surgery. It's a good feeling to work those muscles and to keep them trained and in use.

A hot lunch is another way you can treat yourself. At noon today I made a grilled cheese sandwich. It tasted delicious. Something about the butter, whole grain bread, and melted cheddar cheese was very tasty and comforting. What kinds of things do you do to take better care of yourself? 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Fall Garden Photos

I took a walk through the garden this morning, to see how the plants and fruit trees are doing. The amaranth has gotten so tall! I just love it. It has such a pretty dark reddish color and vibrancy. I love the taller flowers. This is actually a grain, but I use it as an ornamental. It can tolerate the triple digits,  and it actually thrives in our desert heat.

The blood orange tree has numerous clusters of green oranges on it. These will become beautiful, reddish orange fruits in the winter. There is a lovely marbled crimson shade to the flesh. My friend Karena gave me this tree many years ago, as an Easter gift. It just keeps giving and giving. I absolutely love it.  

These four o'clocks were grown from seed. My neighbor gave me an envelope of seeds for them almost twenty years ago. Each year the flowers reseed and bloom. I love the brightness of the colors. They attract hummingbirds, which are one of my favorite pollinators.  They are drawn to the tubular shaped flowers and blossoms.

The meyer lemon tree has lots of lemons this year. They are kind of hard to see in this photo, but if you look closely, there are several of them growing at the bottom of the tree. They are so delicious! I am looking forward to using them in my cooking and baking. They make a divine sorbet, too. The rind is very fragrant and zesty.

The navel oranges are my very favorites. They are so sweet and flavorful. I love them as an eating orange. I'm pleased with the size of the fruit this year. It takes many years for citrus trees to grow and mature. This is the first time I have had oranges that were so large. I can't wait to taste them! How is your garden doing? 

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Learning a New Stitch

Yesterday I decided to learn a new stitch for my shawl, the popcorn stitch. At first I was just going to substitute the double crochet stitch, since the designer said you could do that one in place of it. It would have been easier. I realized that I was just afraid of the popcorn stitch, because I didn't know it. I googled it on Youtube, and watched a video. I was happy to discover that it's really easy. I completed row 10 on my pattern, and felt elated.

This morning I decided to double check what I'd done with another video that I had just found by the designer. It turns out that she only does four double crochets and she doesn't end with a chain. I had learned it on Youtube with five double crochets, and that teacher finished with a chain. So, even though I LOVED how it looked, I ripped it out, and started doing it again , her way. At least I now understand the mechanics of it and can execute it. I went to the library and printed out the pattern. It's fourteen pages long! I'm not sure how much time this intricate shawl will take me to make.


A lady in my knitting group brought me in a bag of baby yarn that she no longer needs. Wow! This is such a wonderful gift. I am so excited to start using it. I forced myself to work on my vintage sweater today, and ripped back a lot of work. I'm dying to do something easier with the baby yarn, but am determined to restrain myself. I need to finish these two other projects.

I came home and made some sauce to eat with the leftover pasta that I had cooked last week. It feels good to use up the leftovers. I baked another dozen oatmeal cookies, and started a pot of soup on the stove. This one is chicken vegetable with barley.  It's nice to have plenty of healthy, prepared food for the week in the fridge. Lana is doing so much better on her diet of cottage cheese and rice. The vet said that it would give her digestive system a rest. The change in her is remarkable.  

Monday, September 25, 2017

Taking Knitting and Crocheting Lessons

Yesterday morning I finished the socks. I forgot to take a photo of them until after they were wrapped. Later on that afternoon, I decided to begin the Lost In Time shawl pattern on Ravelry. It's a free one.  I had  admired it for a while, and wanted to try using some Noro Silk Garden yarn from my stash for it. I bought it at Creative Ewe in Canyon Country.  I thought the earth tones would look pretty in the pattern. I've never crocheted a shawl before, I've only knit them.

As I started the first couple of rows, I got confused. I was working in the round, and I knew that must be wrong. I booked an afternoon private lesson at our local yarn shop, Creative Ewe. I'm lucky that I only live a mile away from them. It really comes in handy if I need to buy a set of needles, or if I need a professional's help in understanding a pattern.  I brought a linen/cotton tank top that I had knit with me. A few nights before my dog Carlie died, we were playing a game of frisbee out in the backyard.  She had gotten overly excited, and she jumped up, trying to grab the frisbee. She ripped a few holes in my tank with her nails. I had tried to figure out how to fix it at home, but my eyes were glazing over as I stared at it. Yuko showed me how to catch the dropped stitches, and she placed them on stitch markers. She then was able to recreate the knitted stitches with the yarn by threading it through with a sewing needle, and stitching through the fabric. It looks excellent. I love the feeling of having something fixed. I had just washed a couple of those tops, and had laid them flat to dry. They are such a great basic to wear here in the summer. The cotton/linen yarn is airy and light. It breathes nicely, and it doesn't pill. I've had these tanks for several years, and they still are in really good shape. I wear them all the time. I knit four of them, in different colors. The yarn is Araucania Lontue; it's hand dyed. I bought it at Creative Ewe in Canyon Country. It's been discontinued, but it's lovely yarn.

Yuko helped me get going on the Lost In Time Shawl. It was really tricky for me. I had to get used to the coordination and method of crocheting a shawl. I was skipping the first stitch, which isn't how this pattern is written. You work in the first stitch. I was also struggling at the end of the row, when doing the last stitch. That's where the increases happen, and it felt crowded and confusing to me. If I count and check my work on each side, it makes sense. Now that it's growing, I can see the progression. I didn't expect it to be such a challenge. The pattern looks simple, but I've had to plod through it, slowly. I'm constantly comparing the sides  and checking the stitches and spaces. It will be good for my technique. It's probably not something I'll be able to do in a group, though. It takes a lot of focus.

I made some nice meals over the weekend. I took a bag of meat bones out of the freezer, and used them for a stock. I added pearled barley, vegetables, and herbs. I love the way the barley soaks up the liquids in soups. It's such a magical grain! I've always loved it. I bought a large bag of it at Sprouts. Soup is so nourishing and comforting. Cold weather foods are so nurturing. I also bought a steak on sale. It was marked down by $6.99, so I splurged. It was absolutely delicious! I had it with a baked potato. It brought back memories of my mom's cooking. Half of it is still in the fridge to have for dinner tonight. This time I'll make a salad, too.

For dessert, I baked some oatmeal cookies from scratch. They taste delicious. It's getting to be that time of year. It's so much fun to be cooking and baking again. It makes me  feel grounded and happy to be at home. This morning I dropped off some clutter to the local thrift shop. There is more to do, but it's a start. The garden is doing so much better in this weather. It's like the plants have heaved a sigh of relief. I'm looking forward to the citrus ripening.  How was your weekend?         

Friday, September 22, 2017

Completing Knitting Projects

Today I spent a good chunk of time working on the socks that I've been  making. I turned the heel, which is always the most challenging part for me. It's a relief to have both heels completed.  Now it's smooth sailing. I can zip through straight stockinette on the foot. I keep hand written notes of the other socks that I have made on my sock pattern. On them I write down the type of yarn, the shoe size,  and the number of rows that I knit for the foot. I also record the size needles that I used. If I'm knitting on tiny circular needles, I use a half size larger dpn's for the toe. This pair of socks is for a woman who wears a size 7 shoe.  My mom used to wear the same size, and I knit her several pair of socks when she was still alive. We would always discuss how they fit. Since I'm a size 9, I try on the sock, and then start the toe decreases an inch before they would reach my big toe joint. It's nice to be able to custom make your knits. With store bought socks, I always used to just buy the one size, that fits 9-11. They look small compared to these, and fit tightly. Hand knit socks are so much nicer, I think. They are really special. After wearing the first pair that I had made myself, I knit a pair for every day of the week. I also give them as gifts to friends and family.

Yesterday I finally figured out where I was going wrong with the window pane stitch. I had written in my notes to knit on the purl side, and pearl on the knit side.  (for the final rows in the contrasting color.)  I had also listed it as two rows of garter. That's why I kept having trouble. It was actually one row of pearl on the pearl side, and then another row of pearl on the knit side, in the contrasting color. I'm not used to making something like this without a pattern. It sounded so easy. When the woman who taught it to me offered to write out the pattern, I told her not to worry about it. That was a mistake. I learned the hard way that there are several critical details. One was to start the pattern section on the purl side.  Now I understand it, and can duplicate the sample blanket that I was given. It felt so good to finally fix my mistakes. I was really agitated and upset about it. I just could not let it go, and kept going back and trying to fix and re-knit it. I finally succeeded.

This afternoon I set out my knitting projects on the coffee table, because I have been avoiding that blue vintage sweater. It's the one out of the lovely silky wool that I was given. My stitch count on the front ended up being incorrect, because I forgot that the front of the sweater has more stitches than the back. I will have to rip it out and fix what was wrong. I'm putting it in front of me so that I will be motivated to work on it. It's always worse in my mind when I need to correct an error on a sweater. Seeing the shape and design again  makes me realize that it's too pretty to neglect. It's been sitting for two weeks in my knitting bag, which  makes me feel guilty. I can always start with the sleeves. That will get me inspired. Sleeves are easy. These are short and ribbed.

I received a few unexpected and kind messages from old friends in the past few days. There may be some exciting opportunities in the works. You never know what the future holds, especially when you've worked in show business. I feel lucky to have met so many wonderful, talented people.       

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Broccoli Cheese Casserole

Rosemary's Broccoli Cheese Casserole

6 Tablespoons of butter
6 Tablespoons of whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon of sea salt
2 cups of milk
1 cup of grated Tillamook mild cheddar cheese
1 head of broccoli or cauliflower
breadcrumbs (I save them from homemade bread and freeze them)

Slice the broccoli into bite size pieces. Peel and cut the stalks into one inch lengths. Cook the stalks in a medium large saucepan in boiling water for five minutes. Add the crowns and cook for an additional twelve minutes.

While the broccoli is cooking, melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the flour, and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until bubbly. Stir is the salt, and pour in the milk. Cook and stir and cook over medium heat until your white sauce thickens. Add the grated cheese and blend well. Turn off the heat.

Drain the broccoli or cauliflower. Combine it with the cheese sauce in the larger of the two saucepans. Fold the mixture into a casserole dish, and cover with breadcrumbs. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown, about thirty minutes.

Rosemary Valaire taught me this recipe when I lived with her in Santa Monica, California. I was seventeen. It is so delicious! I made it for my parents when I went home to visit, and my mother and aunt went crazy over it. They decided to add it to the Christmas dinner menu.

 Rosemary was a gourmet cook, in addition to being a principal dancer with The Royal Ballet in London. She was one of my finest teachers in LA. Because I rented a room in her home, she also taught me how to cook, bake, and swim  in the ocean. She was a great master. Yvonne Mounsey,  the director of Westside Ballet, referred to Rosemary as "the sage from Mar Vista." I always loved that line. It was such a perfect description of her. Yvonne and Rosemary were a remarkable team, and they trained numerous professional dancers together. They were such divine artists. They were also very good friends.

I've been practicing the windowpane stitch with a contrasting color. I still don't have it quite right, but I'm getting there. I left in my mistakes so I could see them. It's a little tricky, and I spent several hours working on it this morning. This afternoon I went back to knitting the socks and hope to finish them by the end of the week. I broke my rule about only having two projects, so I ripped out the window pane sample. It's still gnawing at me, though, because it's such a pretty stitch. I'll probably work up another sample for practice. I've got big plans for that baby blanket yarn that I was gifted. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Old Fashioned Gingersnaps Recipe

Old Fashioned Gingersnaps

Oven: 375 degrees
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup molasses
1 egg
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 cup granulated sugar

1. In a large mixing bowl, combing about half of the flour, brown sugar, shortening, molasses, egg, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Beat with an electric mixer on medium to high speed till combined. Beat or stir in remaining flour.

2. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in the granulated sugar to coat. Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 8 to 10 minutes or till edges are set and tops are crackled. Cool cookies on cookie sheet for 1 minute. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool. Makes about 48 cookies.

This is a vintage recipe from the old Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. My mom gave me a copy of it when I first bought my cottage. Mine is old and tattered. I love all of the vintage photos and recipes. I brought these to my knitting group today. They were very popular with the people who still eat sugar and gluten. I sent the tin home with one of the ladies who really enjoyed them. I like to keep the dough in the refrigerator, and make up a dozen at a time.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Homemade Dish Soap Recipe

Homemade Dish Soap

1 bar of soap, grated
1 3/4 cup boiling water
1/4 cup vinegar

Optional: a few drops of essential oil

I made a batch of this dish soap today. It's a quick and easy recipe. Most of us have the ingredients on hand. I used my homemade Coconut Dream soap, because it's very cleansing. It also has a terrific lather in hard water, which we have. I was very pleased with the results. It's much cheaper than buying the commercial brands at the grocery store. It's also greener.  

I received some more beautiful free yarn today, at one of my knitting groups. This will make gorgeous baby blankets and sweaters. Such a treasure! I am almost done with the first sock for the lady who gave it to me. She picked out the yarn, so I know she will like it. The pattern is by Yuko Frederick, and is available for sale on Ravelry. It is a simple sock with a short row heel. I rib mine on the top, so that the leg is elasticized. The yarn is Cascade Heritage Hand Paints. My friend purchased it at Creative Ewe in Canyon Country, California. I love self patterning sock yarn. It's so much fun to watch the colors develop.  

Monday, September 18, 2017

A Very Relaxing Weekend Gardening

I had a wonderful weekend. I made a real effort to slow down,  enjoy the days off, and to spend time in nature. Saturday I planted most of the snapdragons and begonias. I went to a neighbor's garage sale, and bought a few things from him for the garden.  For $13.00 I got two used gardening tools: a long handled metal rake and a hoe. I also bought a potted loquat tree. There was a baby loquat tree in the soil with it, as well as a small rose bush. The pot was kind of heavy for me, because of my replaced hips, so I wheeled it home on my Burley Travoy shopping cart/bike trailer. I hesitated to purchase it a few years ago, because of the price. It's an expensive and  very quality bike trailer. Boy has it come in handy! I use it all of the time. It's so much better than lugging things around,  and straining my back, like I used to do.

The weather has been glorious. It's such a relief not to be barely existing in that sweltering heat that we were having. I hope this weather lasts. It's heaven! I scooped up  some of my homemade compost from the backyard, and brought it into the front garden. After digging some holes for the transplants, I added water, compost, and soil from my neighbor's pot. There is such a difference in the consistency of our soils. I combined them together. His holds moisture much better than mine does.

The sunflowers look spent, so I will be pulling up the last of those today. I planted some more amaranth seedlings that had come up from my compost pile. Some of them are as tall as I am! They are quite impressive. I love them, because they reseed themselves, they are easy to grow, and they can handle our brutally hot temperatures. The birds like them, too. One of my neighbors asked me as he walked by,  "Stephenie, what are the red ones?" I explained that they are actually a grain, used in cereal, and gave him some seeds. He's an excellent gardener. I also harvested some berries off of a mystery volunteer plant. It turns out they are choke berries. They taste absolutely delicious! They remind me of a cross between a blueberry and a blackberry. One of the forest teas that I drink has them listed as an ingredient. I recognized the photo of the flower, and that's how I figured out what they were. I didn't want to be eating something that was poisonous! They have a lovely little white star shaped flower, too. They are so easy to grow. It's amazing how many attractive and unexpected plants from seed  land in my garden. I think the birds spread them. I also planted the paw paw tree that grew from  my compost. It looks very green and happy.

On Saturday afternoon I went to a crochet group that meets at our local library. There were just a few of us there. It was nice to chat, have a cup of tea, and work on some socks. They will be a gift for the knitter who gave me so much beautiful yarn.   

Yesterday I took Lana and the neighbor's puppy on another hike. There are some great new trails in our area. We took a lovely drive through Sand Canyon, too. I came home and spent a lot of time reading. It was so relaxing, and it felt good to be home at the cottage. I pulled up the balloon curtains so that I could see the snapdragons in the window boxes. I love that look.  How was your weekend?

Friday, September 15, 2017

Planting Snapdragons

This morning I took a gorgeous hike with Lana and our neighbor's dog. It was sunny and 74 degrees, ideal weather for Fall in Southern California.The views were spectacular; I wish I had brought my camera. My hands were full, though. As we were getting ready to leave, the puppy jumped into the driver's seat of the car. I had to correct her. "I'm driving," I told her. She's very smart, and she understood. She leaned over and licked my face and nodded. She likes discipline.

After the hike, I went and bought some colorful annuals to plant in my front cottage garden. I love snapdragons. I haven't purchased them in years. I am going to try them in pots this time. I put them in the ground several years ago, and they kept getting eaten. I also bought some pink and white begonias. They bloom year round here. I like them in the window boxes. I also found this gorgeous squash. I love how bumpy, pale, and feminine it is.

Lana was very strong and enthusiastic on the hike today. I am amazed at how she has improved this week. She seems to really want to show the puppy what she can do. It's like a healthy competitiveness. She is just a completely different dog compared to last week. I let her go first, (well I should say second, I go first,) through the doorways and into the car. She just loves that ritual, it's so funny. Dogs really do have a pack mentality and a pecking order. Sometimes they jockey to be top dog.

I've been keeping her ecollar on, or else she licks at her sores. She sleeps all day. Last night she was banging around in her bonnet. It was keeping me awake. The sound of the plastic against the wall seemed amplified. It's a challenge to have an older dog. She wanted to go out twice, in the middle of the night. I always go with her, and check for coyotes. She would get out there and look at me like, "What are we doing again?" I think she has dementia. At the same time, she is very funny.

I sent out an order of soap this morning. I need to make another batch of regular goat's milk soap. It's fun to see the turnover. I've got a couple of ice cube trays of goat's milk in the freezer, ready to use. What are your plans for the weekend?       

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Catching Up on Cooking and Housekeeping

The weather has been much cooler this week, and I have been doing more cooking and cleaning. Yesterday I made artichokes. My mom always cooked them this way, and they are delicious. You cut them in half, and lay them cut side up, in a casserole or baking dish. Generously pour  vinaigrette and fresh lemon juice over them. Cover with the lid or aluminum foil, and bake for an hour, or until tender when pierced with a fork.

I turn them over and let them marinade in the salad dressing. They keep well in the fridge, and taste delicious either hot or cold. You can dip the leaves in mayonnaise.  They are just delicious. I love making my mom's recipes. They remind me of her; she was such a good cook. I'm sure she would be happy that I am continuing to cook and bake her favorite dishes.

Yesterday afternoon,  after I got home from my knitting group, I got the urge to do some housework. I vacuumed, dusted the living room, and scrubbed the bathtub with my homemade liquid soap and baking soda. I also did a quick mop of the kitchen floor with the swifter and white vinegar and water spray.  I took a nice warm half bath, and soaped myself with a new bar of homemade She Butter Goat's Milk Soap. It felt so good this morning to get up to such a clean house. It was so nice and  peaceful as I enjoyed my morning coffee. I realized that I was getting very down on myself about letting the house go. It wasn't awful, but it feels so pleasant and healthy when it's spick and span. I'm going to invest more time in the chores that I have been neglecting, and make them a priority. I can always reduce the time I spend on line. I tend to loop between Etsy, the blog, forums, and Facebook.         

I've realized that I need to cut down on my knitting time, too. I love it, but I can knit less hours per day.  Today I washed Lana's bed, and the sheet that I keep on top of my bed, in case she sneaks up there. (which she  did today when I went to Costco.) I put out some old linen sheets on her bed and on mine, while ours are on the clothesline, drying. The hot sun does a nice job of bleaching them.  I made a pot of cream of broccoli soup, and another batch of chicken broth. I reused the carcass for a third time,  and added more vegetables and herbs. Lana is eating her kibble again. I pour a cup of chicken stock over it, and tuck in a few small pieces of chicken that have fallen off the bones.

I discovered that I made an error in my vintage sweater. The front has more stitches than the back, and I was following the increases for the back. I will have to rip it out quite a ways...just like I did with the baby blanket last week. Oh well. It's only knitting. I wish I had read the pattern more carefully. The vintage patterns are written differently. It's good practice.  It's such a relief to not be frying in the heat anymore. I am going to drink some chicken broth, enjoy a pot of fruit tea, and spend an hour or so knitting. Thanks for stopping by; I hope you are doing well. 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Things Are Looking Up For Lana

Lana is doing much better now. I am so happy. I really was afraid that I was going to lose her, too. The new medication has made a huge difference. She is sleeping calmly through the night, and no longer seems to be hypersensitive.  I followed the vet's advice, and started giving her cottage cheese and plain white rice instead of her regular food. She's now eating again, and is very enthusiastic about this new diet. She was acting like a puppy when I was dishing it up for her last night. I also fed her some potatoes that I had saved from a batch of homemade chicken soup, and a few small pieces of chicken. She lapped it all up, eagerly.

This morning I took she and the neighbor's puppy on an easy hike. They loved it. They get along really well, and look so cute riding in the car together. They each sit up very straight, right next to the window. It was good to be out in the fresh air and sunshine. I love the canopy that the oak trees create.

I'm still working on my vintage sweater. I have knit up to the armholes on the front. The back is complete. The sleeves are short, so it shouldn't take me too much longer to finish. I plan to knit a pair of socks as a thank you to the woman who gave me all of this lovely yarn. Some of what she gave me is sock yarn. I've gotten so many compliments on the Silky Wool that I'm using for the sweater. It's really excellent  quality.

I've been getting behind in my housework, so I need to spend more time on those duties. The dogs have been taking up a lot of my energy. I will get some cleaning done tonight before bed. One of my soap orders has been delayed, due to Hurricane Irma. I am working on filing a claim on line with the post office. I just entered all of the information, and then lost it. After my mini ipad has recharged, I will enter it all again. Computers take patience.     

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Gifted Baby Yarn

This morning I dropped off the pink baby blanket to the woman who ordered it. She was pleased, and loved the border. That was such a good lesson for me. "You are good with color," I told her. "I never would have picked those colors, and I really like them together." "Yes, I am good with color," she agreed.  It's always such a good feeling to finish a project and have it in the hands of the customer. I was frustrated that I had to start over because of the mistake that I made, but it was worth it.

My friend Mark sent me this photo of his blanket and scarf. The colors of the two items don't really look good together, but it was so sweet of him to take a picture for me.  He said that it's getting colder in New York, and that he is already putting them to use. I see love seeing the gifts and orders that I have knit in their new location. He told me that he had talked to his mom, and that his niece was wearing her the alpaca throw that I had knit for her grandma. She had it wrapped around her body like a cape, and was running around the house. That made me giggle. Children always seem to feel  and respond enthusiastically to the energy of hand knits.

I showed some of the ladies in one of my knitting groups the baby blanket, and a few of them mentioned that they have baby yarn that they aren't using. They asked me if I would like it. "Yes!" I answered, thrilled. I had just been thinking about stopping by Hobby Lobby to browse through their baby yarn. In the car this morning, my intuition told me, "You probably already know someone who has some  that they don't want."  I have a few leftover balls in my stash. It's Bernat Softee, which I love. It's so soft! It's leftover from a blanket that I made for my neighbor a couple of years ago. She's the one with the dog that I borrow. I remember working on it at my first doctor's appointment for my hip replacement surgery. The baby blue was given to me by a fellow knitter. Between the two of us, it's made two baby blankets already. It was one of those huge oval balls.

Thank you for all of your messages about Lana. She is doing so much better today. I called the vet yesterday afternoon, and he suggested that I try feeding her cottage cheese and rice. Later that afternoon I went to Food For Less and bought a huge bag of white rice, and two large cartons of cottage cheese. She ate a whole bowl full of it last night. At 6:00 p.m. she played a vigorous game of frisbee with me, and then happily went for her walk. She spends most of her time sleeping. The vet prescribed a new medication for her, and it seems to have given her immediate relief. My neighbor has been kind enough to let me borrow her puppy each morning. She's just filled with sunshine, joy, and enthusiasm. Lana loves puppies, they energize her.

I guess I better get back to my knitting. It feels good to be working through the stash. I am really excited about making more baby blankets and clothes. They are so sweet and hopeful. I hope you are doing well today.   

Monday, September 11, 2017

Finished the Pink Baby Blanket

This afternoon I finished the pink baby blanket. The pattern is Now all I have to do is weave in the ends. The customer who bought it supplied the yarn. She chose a variegated shade for the border; it's quite pretty. Color makes such a difference in hand knit and crocheted items.  I normally edge  these with a solid pink or blue yarn, but I really like the way hers came out, it's subtle.

I had a nice weekend. I took my neighbor's dog for a hike on Saturday. I think it was her first time going, and she loved it. I've been picking her up each morning and taking her for a run alongside my bike. She is so enthusiastic and appreciative. It's really sweet. I brought a recycled plastic cup, and poured her some water to drink after our hike. She acted like I'd given her the world. I lowered the driver's side window of my Beetle as we drove home. She rolled over on her back and stretched out as if to say, "This is the life!" She's a wonderful dog.

It was such a relief to have Hurricane Irma pass.  I didn't realize how much I had been dreading it. My family and friends in Florida and other areas that were hit are all okay. I had been bracing myself for very bad news, and I didn't realize how tired and drained that had made me feel.  There was so much fear and dread with the media and the predictions.

Dear Lana has stopped eating, and I am afraid that she won't be with me much longer. It's hard to imagine life without her. She's ten. She has sores that aren't healing, in spite of being on antibiotics several times. She also has a lump on her leg. I have been talking to her quietly, and I think it is her time. She put her paw on my  hand, as if to thank me and give me comfort. She has been the sweetest and most conscientious dog that I have ever had. I am enjoying each minute that I  have left with her. She is still going for walks, enjoying her treats, and she perks up when she sees the puppy.  How are you?  Did you make it through Hurricane Irma  okay?