Sunday, October 22, 2017

Making Strides And The Three Rs

Good morning from the rancho!!!

To all the peeps out there, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Have you had your yearly mammogram?  As uncomfortable or embarrassing as it may be, the girls will love you for it...

I have several friends that are breast cancer survivors.  One is so kind and invites me to walk with her family at out the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk.

In the car and ready to go...

At the mission in San Luis Obispo...

My walking buddy...

I had a wonderful time.  It's only two miles and with the way that I chat, I don't even notice the distance.  LOL

Recycle.  Reduce.  Reuse.

I've been hitting the thrift stores the last couple of weeks, looking for items to use with my cross stitch. I found a couple of cute wire baskets, cute, but no bottoms.  Well, cardboard, a little batting, some fabric, and BOOM, the perfect place for my smalls. 

I try to save original art work.  I'm pretty sure I will never find a priceless Picasso, or a Van Gogh, but I love the idea of giving a piece of art a second life.

Found these at a thrift store.  Not very pretty, but I could see the potential. The first picture is a watercolor...stunning colors, but not loving the matting.  Second picture is a print, #5 out of 50.  The original price tag was still on the back.  Forty dollars.  I paid $1.75.

Framed and ready to hang.  Much better.

Still working on my Blackbird Designs house, but not much to show.  I also started a knitted throw.  I've only finished an next time.  LOL

Work is not quite back to normal.  Monday will be the first day of full movement.  We'll see how that goes...

Have an amazing Sunday, a wonderful week.  Be kind to one another.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

A Peek Into My Week...

Good morning peeps and happy Sunday!  Up nice and early this morning.  I'm on weekend time, but the animals are on their own schedule.  Guess who was up at 5 am to feed the herd?  LOL

Work is still controlled chaos.  Custody hopes to be on regular program by Wednesday.  Hmmmm...It's been three weeks, but no one is really sure if the timeout has worked.  Rumors are that the inmates are not finished. Retirement is looking better and better every day...

My creating area has been a disaster for a really long time (YEARS).  Hubby had a nice cabinet out in the barn that he had offered a while back for storage in the house.  I hemmed and hawed for a bit, so he put boxes of tools in it.  Well, I changed my mind.  He very nicely emptied it out and brought it in the house for me.  I finally got rid of the boxes and stacks of stuff and created a tidy area for me to work.  You will notice that I still need to move all the pictures.  The cabinet looks big, but I've got too much stash.  Ha ha ha...I almost said that with a straight face.  You know that you can never have too much stash  LOL  My fabric is still on the shelf that my son found for me on Freecycle and my yarn is in plastic containers.  At least I can find my cutting board. 

There is now enough room to set up my Featherweight.  It is such a beautiful machine and to be honest, has a better seam that my Viking.  LOL Considering that it was made in 1958, not too bad.  

All that's left on my washcloth is to bind off.  I am on the last couple of feet of yarn, but as you can see, I got carried away with my cast on.  This will definitely be a rectangle, not a square.  LOL  Oh well, it will wash my face the same.

My breast cancer fundraising piece came in the mail this week.  It is a collaboration between Lady Dot Creates and Paula Stewart of Plum Street Samplers.  Lois is a 20 year survivor and does special pieces each year with a different designer.  It is absolutely beautiful.  Pink, grey, and burgundy on grey fabric.  This picture is from Lady Dot Creates FB page:

Lois includes all the finishing information needed, but to be honest, I've done retreats with her the last three years and I think I got this! I have all of the Plum Street Samplers hare pieces, so just had to have this one.  Plus, it's for a great cause...

Okay, off like a herd of turtles.  Didn't do much yesterday, so plenty of chores left for me today. 

Have a wonderful week and be kind to one another.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Well, I Guess I Am a Continental Knitter!

Good morning and happy Sunday from the rancho.

I have a few pictures and lots of words to share, so fill up that cup and settle down in your chair...

Last week was better at work, but we are still on lock down.  I keep buying more box lunches and they keep eating them.  What little money I had left in my budget is pretty much gone.  Between lunches and paper goods, I spent more than $15,000 in the last two week.  I see I'll be doing some begging at the end of this fiscal year.  LOL

Took an hour and half off early on Friday.  Just totally burnt.  Stopped at several thrift stores on my way home.  Of course, had to get a couple of hat pictures!! 

Boy, do I take horrible selfies.  LOL

I spent yesterday taking care of Dad and taking naps.  I managed to get in some craft time, but it was grueling!  I was flipping through Facebook and found a video that promised to make me the world's fastest knitter.  Now that's something I'm interested in!  I'm still practicing on the circulars and seemed to have found my rhythm while knitting.  HOWEVER, since I hold my yarn in my left hand, it is harder to purl.  Well, the presenter had the answer.  Except, no matter how many times I watched the video, I just couldn't get it.  I felt like I was back in junior high, trying to learn algebra.  Not a good time for me.  The first time in my school career that I didn't get an A.  LOL

After twenty times of watching the video, I went to Youtube on the computer to watch it in full screen.  Nope, still not helping.  Though I did learn that I was a continental knitter.  LOL 

Since Youtube is your friend and wants to help, it loaded another video for me.  Nope, still not making sense.  BUT, number three was a winner!!  It was like the light came on, a 5000 watt light.  LOL  The presenter was a crocheter, so it made sense to hold the yarn in the back, make a few twists of your fingers, and BAM, a purl.  Here is the link... Knitting Technique for Crocheters

I picked a pattern from my trusty old book...

This is a knit/purl pattern.  Perfect for practicing.  Since it is a washcloth, no problem if I miss a stitch!

Note that the copyright is 1968.  When I said old, I meant old.  And no, I didn't steal this book from the library... LOL

I knitted until my hands hurt, then moved on to my baby quilt.  Finally picked the colors and pattern.  Decided on a rail fence.  Got started on putting it together.  This is the first time that I've used my 1958 Featherweight and it sure is a nice machine!!  A little louder than my Viking, but not a single missed stitch and straight as an arrow.  There is something about using a machine that is older than you are that brings you closer to your craft.  How many women have used this machine?  How many quilts were sewn?  How many dresses for their little girl?  It makes me smile to think of these things...

The parents want to be surprised, so no reveal party.  They both like traditional colors and shabby chic.  I think this will work just fine.  

Okay peeps, I am finished with my second cup of coffee and it is time to get moving.  I hope that each of you have an amazing day.  

Be kind to one another.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Long, Tough Week at Work...

Good morning from the rancho.  The next paragraph may be unsettling for some. 

It was a long, tough week at work.  My prison had a riot last Sunday and spent the week on lock down.  An inmate was murdered.  I feel so incredibly sad for his family.  Yes, he was being held accountable for a crime, but as he was serving 15 years, there was still a chance that he could have turned his life around.  I am well aware that I work in a dangerous place, but sometimes, it slaps you in the face with a wake-up call.  Our prison was lucky, it was not about staff.  Not a single staff was injured.  Considering that we sent nine inmates to the hospital, we were very, very lucky.  I was at home when it happened, but was on the phone for hours, coordinating meals.  We are working on getting back to normal program, but it will be a while...

To keep my thoughts off the bad, I worked on crafting.  Practiced mounting paper inside boxes.  Went pretty well, though I need to improve my corners.  I like to use clips as I measure and get the paper straight.

Once I finished gluing and putting on the Mod Podge, time to wax.  I used a cream wax, but added a little antique wax to make it look older.  Next time, I will cut the amount of antique.  I have a few too many streaks on the paper.  Overall, not bad for my first try at home.  I finished the bottom with a hand dyed velveteen from Lady Dots Creates. 

Stitched the pompoms onto my scissor fob. Very pleased with this look.

Took Moses to the vet on Friday to have him neutered.  Very sad face that night.  The hardest part is keeping him and Daisy separated.  Sigh.  I feel like a doorman at the Waldorf in, dog out, cat in, cat out, dog in, dog out...

He hates the cone, but the cat hates it more.  Every time Moses walks by the cat, Moto hunches up and hisses. Usually they just ignore each other, so it's got to be the cone. 

So, off to start my day.  I didn't do chores yesterday, so I will be pretty busy this morning.

I wish each of you a day filled with friends, family and love.  Be kind to one another.

Friday, September 22, 2017

A Little Finishing...At A Class That Is...

Oh, where to start...

First, happy Friday.  I was pretty much ready for Friday on Monday.  I am not sure who planned a five day work week, but sometimes they just plain hurt.  LOL

Last weekend was my finishing class for the Hands to Work project.  Really, too much fun for one person to have.  LOL  I visited with friends, laughed, and ate my way around Modesto.  Lois Bear is an amazing teacher. She is so fun and filled with great ideas, they just fall out!  I learned how to use bookbinding glue, Mod Podge, scrap booking paper, and how to make cording like a pro!!

Here is the wax bag and pincushion.  I love how the pincushion looks. I can definitely see doing another one like this...not the same pattern...but the same shape.  LOL  See that cord?  I made that cord!  I usually just use the door knob and a pencil, but oh my goodness, used a corder and WOW! Went and bought one that afternoon.  LOL

In the right picture, you can see the wall paper that was added to the inside of the box.  So cute! That's where I learned how to use bookbinding glue (less water) and then cover the paper with Mod Podge to seal.  I've already picked up both products for practicing at home.  LOL

We painted the box and then rubbed on a brown tint wax to dull the color.  One person in the class did a green box, but I like the coral.  If you look closely at the picture above, you can see the color right above the paper. My box top fit just right.  And any areas that were a little wonky...covered that up with pompoms.  LOL  You can see the scissor fob at the bottom corner, but still need to get it stitched close and add the pompoms and cord. More cuteness!

In between class, I hung out with the ladies from my table.  They are very adept at knitting, crocheting, needlepoint.  I perked up when a couple of them said they knitted.  With circular needles? I asked.  Why, of course, they answered.  Hmmmm...I have problems with circular.  How would they feel about a mini-lesson?  An hour later, I FINALLY GOT IT!!  Here is the finished project:

Yes, it's a washcloth, but it's a knitted-on-circular-needles washcloth.  LOL  Now that I am one with the needles, I can seriously look at knitting some socks.  Maybe...LOL

I managed to get a couple of walks in while in Modesto.  Sunday morning sunrise was absolutely fantastic and the weather was perfect.  This picture is the sun coming up over one of the canals that run through the city.

So, I am off to plop my behind on the couch and get in some stitching time.  I wish each of you a wonderful weekend.  Be kind to one another.

Sunday, September 10, 2017


Quiet weekend here at the rancho.  We had normal weather last week, then up into the 100's again. Sigh.  We are expecting rain and thunderstorms later today and tomorrow.  With all the fires, now there is the threat of mud slides.  We love the rain in the Spring, but not so much at the end of Summer.  I managed to close up the house early and get my chores done before the worst of the heat. 

I worked on my stitching this past week and made progress.  Lots of tiny, four stitch squares. Tedious, but at least you don't have to keep checking the pattern.  LOL

One of my friends sent a washcloth pattern.  Has a very cute pumpkin outline.  You know how I feel about anything pumpkin.  LOL  I didn't have dark orange cotton yarn, but did find this variegated with Fall colors in my stash.  

Can you see the pumpkin?  I have another skein of this yarn, so will be doing one more in the next few weeks.

Just had to show my little cow vase.  I found it at an estate sale and fell in love with its little face. And how about that flower on the tail?  Never had any of our cows with one of those!  LOL  I went out and grabbed one of my Christmas Aloe babies and moved it into its new home.  Very sweet.

Dad is the same.  I sat and watched him for a while yesterday.  Just sat quietly and cried.  I don't know why yesterday was any different than any other day, I just felt sad.  So, then I got up, pulled up my big girl bloomers and got on with my day.  We all do what we need to do.

I hope that all of you are safe and sound.  As much as I dislike the heat, it's not a hurricane or a tornado.  Be kind to one another. 

Saturday, September 2, 2017

A Very Long Week...Time to Regroup

Good morning from the rancho.

It is early, early, early Saturday morning.  Quiet and cool.  Okay, it's 70 degrees, but that's not bad. Our forecast is in the 100's, again.  Here is what I found last Saturday when I got in my car...

It dropped to 113 degrees as I went down the highway.  I guess that was a bit better.  We have at least another week of this weather.

Since it has been so hot in the afternoons, no yard work for me.  Here is my stitching update.

So...we have failed at hospice.  Medicare filed a request for review.  Since my dad has been on hospice for four years, Medicare felt that we were abusing the program. Based on the review, we have been taken off of the program.  I am not angry at hospice.  They have done everything to keep us, but Dad is dying too slowly for Medicare's liking.  That is the nature of his disease. There was not enough monthly change to justify their participation.  To be honest, the only parts of hospice that we used were the weekly baths, the nurse visits, the music volunteer, and the social worker.  I use a caretaker service while I am at work, and the ladies have offered to do Dad's baths.  My husband's doctor is also a friend, so he will take Dad as a patient and do house calls.  But the moral support? The music?  Those I will miss.  Our music volunteer had made a point to learn the old western songs for my dad.  Sigh.  I don't know who cried more, me or my worker...

I am torn.  I want my Dad, but the man in the hospital bed is not really my dad anymore.  He hasn't spoken in over a year and his body is very contracted due to the Parkinson's.  I miss his smile so very much. All I can keep thinking is that my dad would be angry to know that this is what he has become. Hospice has recorded in our file that my dad is alive because of the excellent care that he receives. But, I won't ignore him. I will take care of him until the end.

So, after a pretty trying week, I am looking forward to a three day weekend.  I have a few chores to do, but plan on spending some quiet time with myself, trying to regroup.

Be kind to one another.