Tag Archives: Project Linus

Ringing in the New Year: 2013

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This is kinda written in response to the wordpress writing challenge although most of it was already pondered upon and pressed….

Writing Challenge: New Year’s Resolutions (Doompocalypse Redux)

Feel free to join us. click the link above to read about the challenge.
(Imagine there is a space here)

I don’t really do the resolution thing… at least not the way most people do.  I do a couple of different things.  First I have my list of goals to work on throughout the year.  Not a lot of things – just 2 or 3 tops.  I write them in the front of my journal so that I see them every time I open it – which is usually every day or more often.  I keep track of some items in my journal and journal about my progress.  I don’t like to make “resolutions” that are fast forgotten.

I also make a “to do” list for the year.  This list is pretty extensive and more of a wish list sometimes.  Sometimes I just can’t afford to do some of the things on the list or I need help – like with painting a room in the house.  It is okay though.  This is the time of year when I look at what I accomplished,  cross off what I can and add a few more things.  What didn’t get done just stays on the list for the next year.  The idea in this is that when I get to the end of the year I don’t feel like it was all wasted.  When I flip through my journal or look back at my blog I know my time was well spent.  It wasn’t always that way.  Sometimes I would get into this rut of just waking up and going to work, coming home tired and going to bed.  That was because of my health.  I was working so hard I didn’t have any energy to spend time with my family.  Now I enjoy listening to my kids talk about their days or music or whatever.  I can sit at the table and have dinner with them.  Time is precious and needs to be used wisely.

Anyway, my basic goals are always to lose weight and to get organized.  Surprise, surprise huh?  With my health problems I have a hard time exercising.  When I’m in pain I don’t want to move so I gain weight.  My doctor says says that it is important to exercise as much as possible and that it will actually help with pain.  She’s the doctor so I’m doing my best to follow orders.   I cut some things out of my diet and managed to get some health issues under control that way (which is pretty cool I think).  I managed to stop gaining weight but didn’t really sustain any real weight loss.  I’m just grateful that I’m not still gaining.  This year that is my biggest focus because it isn’t just a matter of how I feel about myself anymore.  Being overweight sets me up for all kinds of other health risks, including diabetes which runs in my family.  My mom died of a heart attack and I’m going to do everything I can to avoid that happening to me.  I’m using a website called MyFitnessPal.com  to track what I eat and it really helps a lot.  I’ve made some friends on there that are in the same boat I am.  They are also trying to lose weight while dealing with chronic pain.  It is amazing to have such an amazing support group that will cheer me on but also understands when I’m not feeling well.

I’m about to set a fresh new goal for this year and take new measurements.  I think I’m going to break my “wish”  for my overall weight-loss into smaller attainable goals.  I think if I lost 10 lbs I would feel pretty darn good and that would give me some “FIRE” to keep going.  So I’m going to do that and just keep working on smaller goals.  Of course exercising every day, even a little, is a task on my list.  Sometimes it just isn’t possible but I’ll do what I can.  I got some advice from a friend of mine that I am working on trying too.  He said to eat what I want but only half.  That is a new concept for me since I grew up being told to clean my plate.  I hate to see anything go to waste so I eat it all.  So I’m going to work on that and put half away for another meal.

Last year, one of the things I added to my list was so stop using the “f word” meaning fibromyalgia.  I thought that I should not talk about it and only focus on positive things.  It didn’t take me long to realize that was not the right thing to do.  Sure, I need to focus on positive things but this is part of me and acting like everything is normal is not the answer.  I realized that there are a lot of people out there that don’t understand what fibromyalgia really is.  Many people and sadly even some doctors don’t believe it is a real thing.  Well, what I feel is real and if there was a solution I’d be first in line.  I really think it is more likely that it is a symptom of something they haven’t yet figured out.  They need to do more research to find out and that means more people need to know about it.  That is when I decided to add that blurb about fibromyalgia to the top of my blog.  I also thought maybe if other people with fibromyalgia could see what I accomplish with this than others will be encouraged.

This past year, in working on my to-do list, I was able to get a lot of de-cluttering done.  Now I am going to keep going on that.  I found this website that has a calendar for each month.  Each day there is a task to work on for 15 minutes.  I think I’ll give that a try and see how it fits in with the areas I want to clean.  Mainly I just need to use some of the things I’ve bought for crafts and let some things go. I have a LOT of yarn.  I’m decided to use that yarn to make blankets for Project Linus.  I’m the coordinator for my area and I’ve had a hard time keeping it going.  I have decided to make working on Project Linus my 3rd goal this year.  I’m going to work on getting people to help out and make lots of blankets.

Last year one of my goals was to finish what I started.  I tracked down some unfinished projects and finished them!  That felt really good!  I also concentrated on finishing one thing before starting the next.  Some people call it multitasking but usually I just end up with a bunch of unfinished stuff.  I did get a lot more done this year and knit, crocheted, and tatted several things.  I also read a bunch of books!  And the books I read have been passed on to others or donated.  I’m also not buying new books but getting ebooks instead.  These little things all make a difference.

So I have my new journal – two actually.  One is a journal to write in daily and one is a smash journal.  I like to use smash journals for projects and pictures.  My main goals are already written in the front and I’m ready to get started.

Of course I have my new list of Twenty Wishes that I want to work on too.  It is interesting to me how this list seems to incorporate many of the things on my yearly list but it is much shorter.  I got the idea for that list from a book.

Now to start working on my lists instead of making them!  Here’s to a good 2013!

Nay to doomsayers!

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Blossom Street

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I’ve been feeling sentimental lately.  That happens from time to time and I start missing my sister.  I miss my bothers too but not like I miss my sister.  Whenever this happens I end up reading more emotional books and listening to sappy music.  I feel sorry for the people who have to endure this little spell of mine.

So I’ve put aside my beloved Clive Cussler books that I’ve been devouring lately and I’m re-reading the first book in the Blossom Street Series by Debbie Macomber called “The shop on Blossom Street“.  I just feel the need to revisit “A Good Yarn” which is a little knitting store owned by Linda Hoffman, a cancer survivor.  It’s been a while since I read it and I can’t remember all of the details.  I just know that the characters are great.  Linda opens her store and has a knitting class to teach how to make a baby blanket.  The people who come together are all so different but become very close friends.  That is the thing that draws me to this book and other’s like it….. that friendship element.   Sisters are like good friends that never drift away, never get mad for long, and always remember your birthday.  My sister and I are a lot alike in some ways but so different in others.  She is the always happy, forgiving type sister and I’m the moody, hold a grudge till I die sister.  We balance each other out.

This book is also about knitting, which I love, and one of the characters in the book just happens to be making the blanket for Project Linus.  Of course its a court ordered community service type of deal and Alex is a little rough around the edges but this little group ends up helping each other out.  Alex is actually my favorite character.  The pattern for the blanket they are knitting is in the front of the book so you can actually make it too, in-between reading times of course.

I read several books in this series several years ago until I hit a brick wall.  I have to read books in order.  I just can’t stand skipping around.  So I found out that Debbie had written a short story that went with the series and it was in a book with a couple other short stories by different authors.  I could not find a copy of this book anywhere.  I finally put it on my wish list at www.paperbookswap.com and a while back I finally got a copy!  So now it has been so long that I feel like I need to start all over.  That is one bonus to getting old – old books become new again!

A Day to Smile

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My husband got off work early today since he had to work on Sunday.  He left at noon to come pick me up and take me to pick up my prescription.  I was right about that too.  They now require all narcotic prescriptions to be picked up in person and you have to show ID.  She said some prescriptions are not as easy as mine.  Mine is a patch but for some drugs she said the nurse has to come out and give it to you and you might have to do a random UA.  GREAT.  I guess too many people are just selling the drugs so they have to make sure it’s in your system.  My doctor said at my next visit I have to have labs drawn so that is probably how they’ll check me.  I really detest needles.  As soon as I see the needle I squint my eyes and get all tense and the nurse usually barks “relax”…like yelling at me is going to help.  Yeah, give me a big knife or a GUN and I’ll relax.  That way I can retaliate when they hurt me.  Especially with IV’s.  Some of the nurses are REALLY bad and stick me multiple times.  Anyway, I got a patch on as soon as I could and I’m STILL waiting for it to take effect.  I have been without it for 5 days!  At least it wasn’t that cold out but I still feel achy from the cold.

We had a great lunch at the Thai House.  We both order the same thing every time.  I don’t go as often anymore but my husband goes pretty often with people from work.  They don’t even ask him what he wants anymore.  They took my order and then said “spicy or no spicy?” and then to my husband, “Heineken, or you work?  I thought that was cute.  Those ladies have been there for a long time.  They are the same ladies that worked there when I worked at the bank nearby.

Thai Food on 365 Project

When I got home I was really aching so I couldn’t concentrate enough to read.  I decided to make another ladybug card since the stuff was still stacked on the counter.  That is the nice thing about painting……  you can just play and that doesn’t take much concentration. I have been looking at various styles of art lately and I saw some pointillism and I saw a watercolor painting where they sprayed it with water to blur the colors and make it look like it was raining.  I really liked that last one because it did look like it was raining AND it actually blurred parts of the picture which, if you think about it, is actually how it is.  You can’t see as well when clouded over and pouring rain.  So I made my “Rainy Day Ladybug” by using a little of both techniques.  It was fun to relax and just play.  I used my inktense pencils and the rate I’m going I’m going to use them up pretty fast.  I really love the rich colors.

So now I have three ladybug cards and the swap was for two.  Then my husband told me I had some mail.  I figured it was just junk mail but there was actually some goodies!  I got a newsletter from Debbie Macomber.  Even if I don’t read all of her books I just love seeing her cheerful face and reading what she’s up to.  I also got a new catalog/newsletter from Handy Hands which is where I buy my tatting threads.  The newsletter comes with a free pattern.  And then I saw this bright pink envelope.  It was the ATC cards from my swap partner!  I opened it up and there was this cute card and 3 ATC cards!  So that means I can send her three too!  Now I’m really anxious to get mine in the mail to her.  These are really cute!  The last one has a little patch of fabric sewn on and the ladybug is painted on the fabric.

Well the NaBloPoMo Prompt for today is

What have you recently started that you know you’ll finish?

That would be my crocheted Wool-eater blanket.  I’ve added a few more rows and I’m trying to get it finished by the end of the month so I can have it ready to be donated to a child in the Pediatric Department of the hospital.   It’s a Project Linus blanket.  I haven’t worked on it much today but I’ll be feeling better tomorrow.  Hopefully I’ll get a lot done in the next few days.

Do-Over!

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My flag on 365 Project

"My Flag" on 365 Project

 “The web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together.” ~William Shakespeare

I’ve been feeling a little better today.  Not great, still kinda punky but definitely better.  So I have been crocheting on my wool-eater blanket today and listening to music.  I’m still working on cleaning up my itunes music.  Anyway, I added a row of this bright variegated yarn that had some purple like the previous row.  Each row is getting bigger so it took me a while.  I never like to stop before I finish a row and that is going to get harder and harder as I go.  So, whenever I finish a row I always like to hide the ends before starting a new row so I decided to get that done right away.  I make sure and do a really good job since these blankets for Project Linus will get washed a lot and I don’t want it to fall apart.   I always make sure the hidden tails don’t show.  When I was finished I laid it out to take a picture and noticed it was ruffling at this one spot.  Then I realized why.

See on the top? Quasimodo happened...

I had added an extra shell where there was supposed to be a slip stitch (Valley).  I also noticed another spot where I messed up.  UGH!  I really wish I hadn’t hidden those ends so well!  I had to sit and find them and dig them out.   Thank goodness the errors were all on the last stretch that I had just done.  So I unraveled that side and fixed it.  I think it looks good even though the center is pink and the color in the bright variegated yarn is more of a red but it isn’t easy to tell and it doesn’t obviously clash.  I don’t think anyway…….. Anyone else???

I need another row of solid next I think.  I wonder if I have enough blue?

Fixed!

Okay, so the NaBloPoMo Prompt for today is

Tell us about your first teacher who was important to you.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm………  thinking………. thinking……………. (picture pooh with his hand to his forehead)

Nope, can’t think of any.  They were all evil.

Crochet allergies

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Cherub  on 365 Project

This is my photo for my 365 project.  A close up of my little garden cherub that I kept inside instead so it wouldn’t get dirty.

So, I was crocheting last night when I had an allergic reaction.  I couldn’t figure out what I was allergic to but I had to take something and go lay down.  Of course I couldn’t sleep since I was trying to scratch myself bloody.  I know I’m allergic to cats but I don’t have one….. and I haven’t allowed Garfield over either.  Since I didn’t use any soaps I’m allergic to and nothing is able to pollinate since it’s all FROZEN… it must be cat hair.

I started itching so bad I thought I was going to claw my skin off.  It was so bad I look like a lobster and felt like a basketball!  My eyes were red and burning and the edges of my eye lids itched.  I jumped in the shower and then slathered lotion all over my irritated skin and it finally started to sooth.  I’m sure the benadryl was kicking in about then.  I racked my brain for causes and couldn’t think of anything.  Of course sometimes I can be a little dense.    Last night I was working on that “wool-eater blanket” and after I got the first row finished with the pink yarn I used for my headband I went into the garage to look for another color.  I have a bunch – several large tubs full – that have been donated for Project Linus.  That isn’t counting the large tubs that are mine.  Anyway, I went looking for bright colors to add to this blanket and I didn’t even think that they could have been donated by someone who has a cat.  The last time this happened (the same thing) was when someone donated a bunch of magazines and pattern books.  I was sorting through them and separating the useful material from the doily patterns and suddenly started itching.  So, I’m a bit surprised that this happened to me again…. and I didn’t figure it out.

Anyway, this morning when I got up I popped a benadryl and went to work on my blanket some more.  (I always wash the blankets before giving them to a child)  I learned a lot when I started this pattern yesterday.  I’ve never made anything like this before.  I started off making these shells and then turned around and did the same on the other side making circles.  I took it out several times playing with different size hooks until I found something that I liked.  You have to be really careful to make sure there isn’t too much of a gap between the stitch you are making and the last one when you are making the triple crochet stitches or it leaves a sloppy looking bump on the back.  So I took this out and started over many many times trying to get it right.  I started out using a size H hook but I didn’t like the large holes in the centers of the circles (see pictures).  I ripped it out and switched to a size G hook which is kind of small for the yarn but is easier for making those triple crochet stitches.  The holes are still there but smaller.  Then I started adding a row of blue (which I now can see has white cat hair on it)  You connect the yarn just like you do with a new color in a granny square but then it says to make a “Cluny”.  I had to look that up.  I thought a Clooney was a handsome older fellow.  He wouldn’t be very helpful with this pattern though… kinda distracting actually.  So I googled it.  Apparently a “Cluny” is a cluster of stitches that are all finished off at the same time.  It is used a lot in making lace.  So when you make the required number of triple crochet stitches you leave the last loop of each stitch on the hook.  At the end you yarn over and pull through all of them – making a handsome stitch :O)

Here is a picture of all of the stitches with he last loop of each still on the hook.

Then, I yarned over and pulled through them all to get my cluny cluster.

This row is only half of the actual stitch.  I think the colors look pretty together.

I really like how the new row makes the pink circles turn into diamonds.  I am currently working on the second row of blue which makes the blue look like rows of circles like what the pink looked like in the beginning.  I’ll have a picture tomorrow.  If you are interested in trying this pattern it is on Sarah London’s Website.

Well, the NaBloPoMo Prompt today is

Tell us about the first time you were in love.

…but I already wrote about when I met my husband and so it’s the same story :O)  No one else ever got even close to that.