Saturday, August 29, 2015

Prayers Needed

Please pray for my Aunt Vera.  You may remember that after never having been sick a day in her life, she was diagnosed with breast cancer at the start of the summer.  She is 89 years old & is like a second mother to me.  She has been beating the cancer but has been having problems with retaining fluid.  She has had difficulty walking because of her legs being so swollen from the fluid & difficulty breathing as well.  She has been hospitalized 3 times already this summer because of this, & I just got a message on our answering machine from my cousin (her son) saying that she has been admitted a 4th time ... something about increased difficulty breathing & the fluid being around her heart.  He was only home to take a shower & change clothes & then was heading straight back to the hospital, so there is no way I can get in touch with him for further details.  

Thank you for your prayers.  

The Joy of Autumn

I don't know about you, but I think autumn is a wonderful time of year.  It's as if all through the spring & summer I am in a cocoon or something, just going through the motions of life ... but at the first sign of leaves changing color & dropping to the earth, cooler temperatures, & the kids going back to school, I become a new person.  I am happier & more content.  I smile all the time.  I immerse myself in baking pumpkin bread & making homemade soups & stews.  I almost squeal with delight when I walk out the door & have to go back inside the house to get a sweater   : )

I know that January 1st is the start of the new year, but I have always felt as if the first day of school was the start of the new year.  A new year filled with promise.  And of course winter is not too far off, & you know that I am positively giddy when the snow begins to fall!

My back has been improving with the help of 3-year-old muscle relaxants & one of the best purchases I have ever made ... a wheat filled wrap that you place in the microwave with a cup of water for 3 minutes & heat to pain relieving perfection   : )   Thanks to all of you who have prayed & sent me good wishes for a speedy recovery.  I deeply appreciate it.  John is hoping that I have learned to not pick up heavy things when he is not here but to rather wait for him to do it.  I hope I have learned that too.

I had a lot of plans for this week which had to be shelved as I either spent my time bent over whilst shuffling from one part of the house to another, or sitting with the heated wheat filled wrap whilst working on my crochet.  I have tried various ways of making granny squares (a few of them shown below ... I have attempted more since this photo was taken) & have settled on what I think is my favorite way of making them.

I have two shawl WIPs which I am knitting along with a pair of fingerless mitts & two pair of socks. I find it rather puzzling that I can't for the life of me have more than one cross stitch project going at a time, but multiple knitting & crochet projects don't bother me in the least.  

Today I am going to venture out into the world to pick up a few groceries & to purchase a few plastic bins.  Did you know that wool yarns should be stored in plastic bins?  I didn't.  I thought they were supposed to be able to "breathe," but yesterday I found out differently.  Apparently you are to keep them in sealed plastic bags or in plastic bins with tight fitting lids ... or in sealed plastic bags inside plastic bins with tight fitting lids ... to keep various vermin from munching on them.  Definitely news to me.  I have been keeping my wool yarns in an old steamer trunk with a few lavender sachets tossed in for good measure.  So far they are okay, but I don't want to tempt fate.

This is kind of a rambling blog post today, isn't it ... lol!  I will end here, get myself ready to head out to do my shopping before the Saturday crowds begin to form (don't worry ... John is coming with me to lift & carry things), & maybe come home & bake something.  Sounds good to me   : )

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Stupid, Stupid, Stupid, Stupid, Stupid

John & I awoke to a beautiful morning!  We were blessed with a delightful 54-degree temperature last night with the predicted temperature today being 77 degrees.  The sun was shining, the cloudless sky was a beautiful shade of blue, & it wasn't hard to imagine a little nip of fall in the air.

John said he was going to walk to a few stores to enjoy the weather rather than drive to them.  He asked me to come along, but I declined.  There were some things I wanted to take care of here, plus I wanted to go to one of the furniture stores in town to see if I could finally find a nice sofa so we wouldn't have to sit on the floor anymore.

Since the furniture store wasn't going to be opening for another 2 hours, I began to unpack a box of things to put in the bedroom closet.  I then found things in that closet that needed to go to one of the storage units.  I moved them to another room to take care of at another time.  I went upstairs & looked through a few crochet books I had recently purchased, then sorted through more things to list on eBay.  There were some boxes piled willy-nilly at the top of the stairs, so I sorted through them & neatened them up a bit, then came into this room where my computer is & sorted & neatened a bit in here as well.  I carried a few things downstairs, looked into the dining room & saw some boxes there that I knew needed to go to one of the storage units. Boxes of books.  Eight boxes of books.  I decided to move them over next to the back door where it would be convenient for John to take them to the car.  Things were going well until I picked up the 8th box.  I immediately felt a sharp pain in my lower back, & I immediately thought "You idiot!!!"  I was diagnosed with OA in my lumbar spine many years ago.  I know better than to lift heavy boxes of books.

I knew I had an ice pack & surprisingly remembered where it was ... in the bathroom cupboard rather than in the freezer.  It's in the freezer now & hopefully will be ready to bring a wee bit of relief to my back in the not too distant future.  Of course without a sofa or chair to sit in, getting comfy with an ice pack is going to be difficult   : (

After the initial blinding pain, I hobbled over to the steps, sat down, talked with God for a while, & marveled at just how stupid I can be.  I also thought about how we never know from one moment to the next what will happen in our lives. There I was, one moment accomplishing something, planning to do some shopping, etc ... & the next moment painfully incapacitated.

If you could manage to say a prayer or two for me today, I would most definitely appreciate it.  

Saturday, August 22, 2015


I have been getting more & more frustrated with the never-ending cleaning, the never-ending unpacking, & the never-ending trying to find a place for stuff.  After my last visit to the storage units (you will recall that we now have two of them again), I came home vowing to rid myself of more things than Carter has pills.  (I wonder if anyone uses that expression about Carter's pills anymore?)  Make no mistake, this is going to be a HUGE undertaking.  I took a small step in that direction today by listing some lacemaking things on eBay.  I think I listed two cross stitch books as well.  Of course listing things on eBay brings its own set of frustrations.  If only I were a wealthy woman & didn't have tons of dollars tied up in this stuff, I would give it all away ... or burn it! ... just to get it off my back.

Having said that, I'm now going to show you my new shipment of crochet yarn ... lol!  Out with one batch of stuff, in with another, eh?  At least crochet yarn is something useful   : )   Here's the box of yarn after I brought it home from the post office.  Yep ... that's unpacked moving boxes you see behind it   : )

Let's peek inside, shall we?  Oooooooooo!!!  Pretty colors!
Oooooo!!!  More colors!!!
I'll sort them out a bit for you   : )
Do you see the two skeins of the same color?  I don't know how I did that, but I ordered two of the same.  Of course they'd have to be ORANGE rather than that pretty lilac color you see there, or that peacock green on the top right.  I despise orange.  I only ordered a skein because it's useful for snowman noses   : )

Here's the "new yarn" combined with the yarn I came home with from Michael's last week.  (Two of the skeins have WIPs attached.)
I think I should get a nice blanket out of this.  I just need to decide on which colors I'm going to use.

Incidentally, I know I have months ahead of me to rid myself of excess stuff, but right now I just want to be like Jeannie.  Fold my arms in front of my chest, nod my head, & blink everything into some semblance of order.
Doesn't she look happy?  No moving boxes or no-longer-wanted things piled around her bottle!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Two Kinds of People

There are two kinds of people in this world.  The person(s) yesterday who robbed us of our tool box, & the couple who live in the townhouse behind us.  They were among the first people to welcome us here, & today they brought us a gift "because we are so nice" (their words).

Monday, August 17, 2015


I've lived for 61 years & have never had one of these guys come to my home ... until now.  We are living in a "high-end neighborhood."  Our neighbors drive Porches & Mercedes & BMWs.  There are no shady characters roaming around.  People leave their garages open for hour at a time. We've been doing the same.  

About an hour ago, John & I went into the garage & I immediately noticed an empty spot where we keep our tool box.  A big yellow plastic tool box that we've had since the kids were little over 27 years ago.  Among other things, it held some old wrenches & screwdrivers my dad gave us when we moved into our first home in Tennessee.  It also held a brand new set of screwdrivers, still sealed in their package, that I bought my dad for Christmas a couple years before he passed away.  He said they were too nice to use.  After he died, I found them in his tool shed & brought them home.  

The tool box was pretty beat up & filthy to boot. I had wanted to give it a good scrubbing & clean out before we moved but there just wasn't enough time.  I thought I'd do it here when things settled down.  

I cannot imagine any of our neighbors walking into our garage & taking this cheap, crappy box of beat up tools.  Wouldn't a thief steal something nice looking?  Something worth money?

I filed a police report but it's doubtful we will ever see the box or the tools again.  The tools won't be hard to replace.  Neither will the box.  But the stuff my dad gave me ... the set of screwdrivers that were too nice for him to use ... the loss of those things breaks my heart.         

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Crochet!!! And other stuff too.

It's not as if I don't have enough to do, & it's not as if I don't have enough crafting interests already. The urge strikes me every now & then.  I can usually shrug it off, but not this time.  I think it started a couple weeks ago when, in a moment of weakness, I joined a Christmas in July ornament exchange on Ravelry.  As I scoured the internet for knitted ornament patterns, I found a plethora of crocheted ones, some of which were really intriguing, & I said, "Shirlee, you ought to learn to crochet so you can make these!"  And I downloaded a few ... you know, just in case ... & I chose a knitting pattern for an angel ornament & enjoyed making her for my assigned person in the exchange.  

In a different Ravelry group they have an exchange for what they call "prayer squares." You knit or crochet a 6" square for someone, praying for them while you make it, & then gift it to them. The end result is that people will end up with enough squares for a blanket which will, in effect, cover them with prayer.  I like this idea, & I've been gleaning the Ravelry pattern archives along with the internet for patterns for these squares. Many of the ones that have caught my eye are crocheted.

Two days last week Michael's had a 20% off everything sale.  I got some ornament/prayer square yarn.
Then I went back & got more.  This past Friday & Saturday I dug out my crochet hooks (used in knitting), watched just about every YouTube video I could find, searched out crochet blogs for inspiration, & attempted to crochet a granny square.  Here's what I ended up with.
After a few rough starts I managed to crochet the square you see on the right.  However, something about it didn't feel quite right to me, & so I tried another one using a bigger hook.  I'm not too sure about that one either ... but the point is that I crocheted two squares this weekend, so hooray!  I'm not sure if I should stick with the larger hook or not.  One YouTube video indicated a bigger hook is the hook of choice because a blanket should be floppy, but all the other video crocheters used smaller hooks.  

I'm not giving up on knitting.  I plan to make more angel ornaments, & I have 2 shawls, 2 pair of socks, & a pair of fingerless gloves in the works. I'm not giving up on stitching either despite the fact that I haven't picked up a needle for the past 6 months.  And I'm not giving up on my desire to conquer punch needle & rug hooking ... at least not at this point in time.  This move is making me finally give up on some things though.  I haven't cut wood or painted in years, & the fact that my supplies are taking up half a storage unit is beyond ridiculous.  I came to the conclusion this past week as I rented yet another storage unit (we started out having three, pared them down to two, then one, & now we've got two again) that I really need to unburden myself of things I haven't used in years as well as things I seriously don't see myself using in the future ... like my tatting things, & my bobbin lace things, & lots of books, & a bunch of quilting fabric, & decor stuff that hasn't seen the light of day for more than half a decade.  Yesterday I decided to open a large box that indicated some of this decor stuff was inside. This large box was full of smaller boxes.  One smaller box had the words "Autumn Gathering" written on it.  A bunch of "stuff" escaped from the box when I picked it up.  When I looked inside, I could barely tell what had been in there.  It was half disintegrated for the most part, but it appeared to have once been a grouping of dried sunflowers.  On another box were written the words "Fall Decor."  It held a bunch of pumpkins made from wool.  Unfortunately the maker of these items purchased old wool clothing & fabric from Goodwill or something & failed to wash it before using it because eggs had apparently been laid in the wool, & then hatched after she crafted these items, & the little critters ate holes throughout.  This destruction was sort of a Sad Thing/Happy Thing scenario.  A Sad Thing because I paid money for these things, never put them on display, & now they're ruined; A Happy Thing because I now have two less boxes of stuff to be concerned about.  

This has nothing to do with crafting, but I pulled a muscle in my back a couple days ago.  I felt the pain while I was doing something or other (can't remember what now) & I was kind of careful about what I did the rest of that day.  The next day I seemed to be okay, & that's the day I got the second storage unit & rearranged things between the two of them.  I could feel a bit of pain that day as I moved this box here & that box there, but it was nothing that incapacitated me.  I didn't really have any issues that night, but then last night the pain increased, & this morning I'm hobbling around needing to be careful of every move I make.  I have some 3-year-old muscle relaxers in the medicine basket that I'm thinking of taking.  

Before I end here, I will bring you up to date on my furniture dilemma.  As you know, I bought a new dresser which to me was very low.
It was a beautiful piece of craftsmanship, but I had to contort myself into a bent over, Quasimodo like character every time I needed to get a pair of underwear or put away some socks. Hey!  Maybe that's what caused the pain in my back!  I wouldn't doubt it.  Anyway, I asked my followers to please take a moment to measure their dressers & let me know how high they were (I deeply appreciate those of you who did that) & as it turned out, my dresser was taller than most others.  Still, I felt as if it were a child's dresser.  I opted to have the store owner order me the taller dresser.
It will be nice to have at least 2 rows of drawers that won't cause me back pain   : )

It is hard to believe that we've been in our new home for 7 weeks now ... & in 10 more months we'll be moving again!  AAAHHHHHHH!!!  This will be a year of transition I guess.  Downsizing, searching for another place to live, & crafting.  Not a bad year ahead, all things considered   : )

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Need Help with Dresser Measurements Please?

Life continues to be good here in ... what do I call this place?  I'm not in The Devil's Playground anymore.  I will have to give this some thought.  In the meantime, if anyone isn't overwhelmingly busy with anything else, I could use some help regarding dresser measurements.  I am curious about the height & width of your bedroom dresser.  The reason I'm asking is that after many days & an enormous amount of stressful deliberation regarding the purchase of some bedroom furniture, I settled on an Amish made set ... then the next day told the owner that I changed my mind ... then contacted her again the day after that to tell her no, deliver it as planned.  Yes, I'm that pathetic ... lol!  The furniture was delivered yesterday.  It is solid cherry & more beautiful than I remembered it being in the store, but I didn't quite remember the dresser being so short or the drawers so shallow.  Here is a photo I found online.  I looks like the dresser in this photo is oak rather than cherry, & there is a mirror that attaches to the dresser which the photo doesn't show.  

The dresser measures 74" wide, 25" deep, & 35" high.  The length is great, the depth is fine, but the height is a bit of an issue.  I feel like this chick when I stand next to it.
I don't remember ever having a dresser that made me feel this big.  Have I grown taller as well as wider over the years?  Is 35" the typical height for a dresser?  Or perhaps the Amish are typically short people?  Or did I get a dresser based on a prototype for Munchkin Land?

And while on my knees & bending over at the waist trying to fill the dresser's Munchkin size drawers with my clothes, I quickly realized that I either needed to downsize or buy another dresser or two.  I opted for downsizing.  I don't know about you, but I have struggled with my weight for many years.  About 20 years ago I was quite plump, but when I would find neat clothes on sale, I would buy them despite the fact that they were a couple sizes smaller than the size I wore because surely I'd lose weight & be able to wear them one day!  Well, not only can I still not wear them ... I'm even plumper than I was back then!  I have some pretty cool jerseys & jeans & cords.  Oh, how I love cords!  I considered wearing 2 pair of cords at the same time, one pair on each leg ... & 2 jerseys at the same time, one jersey on each arm ... but I couldn't quite figure out how to go about doing that without looking stupid, so into the giveaway pile they went, still dangling their price tags & size tags at me, laughing their fool heads off.  And I attempted to put my Designs by Omar clothing collection (you know, Omar the Tent Maker) into the dresser drawers made for Munchkins, & I sat there in the midst of the cotton & the denim & the wool, tears streaming down my face, & then I went & got a Hershey bar, a bag of chips, & a gallon of Rocky Road.  Stupid Munchkin drawers.

Why was I writing this post?  Oh yeah ... what's the height of your dresser?