HAWAII, part I

My son, daughter-in-law, granddaughter, me and grandson.

WOW! I went to Hawaii for the first time! And it was totally awesome! !  The sunsets are spectacular over the water. This pic is overlooking Waimea Bay.  There was a restaurant just across the road that is all open bays, so you can view the ocean as you eat.

We stayed on the island of Oahu. My daughter-in-law lived and worked there for several years. She is a little water baby and surfer, so she knew all the best places to take me to. Unfortunately, I did not get to see her surf. She keeps her board on the island with a friend and it was recently stolen. 

We rented a VRBO (vacation rental by owner. I discovered the pure joy of an outdoor shower. Yes, the main benefit is you do not track sand from the beach into the house. I however,  liked the freedom of showering outdoors. I was under the open sky and warm sun. No steamy bathroom to contend with. There was a walking path along the fence. It was kinda exhilarating to be naked, outside, but yet in private, hearing the conversations of people walking by!




This was one of four bedrooms. I immediately claimed it for the awesome knitting chair, and yes, I did find time to knit.

Keikei Beach, where we stayed and just south of famous Sunset Beach

I am not a strong swimmer and a bit wimpy in the water. However, the grandkids loved getting beat up by the waves and spent hours doing so. The sand was so deep walking was difficult and frequently my feet would sink up to my ankles. 


At Waimea Bay,  kids love jumping off the cliff. The girl in the blue top with her arms spread out, getting reading to jump is my granddaughter. She was fearless when climbing the on the slippery rocks and when jumping, which she did about 25 times! The next two pics are me and my grandson swimming with a sea turtle.

Lani Kai Beach was great. The surf was gentle, we did some snorkeling,  The sand was soft and fine. 

Time out for knitting and sand castles!

I even got stung by a jellyfish!

A break from the beaches at Makapu’u Lookout. 

The sea cliffs have been formed over time by the wind and surf. Very beautiful and very windy. 

We visited the beach at Bellow Air Force Base. 

The sand was like fine powdered sugar. We rented boogie boards for the kids to ride. I was even able to catch a kiddie wave and ride it to shore.  Wow, riding a boogie board was not on my bucket list, but so glad I had the experience.  I have no pics of this greyt event, yet. I am waiting for my son to download and forward it to me. 
Meanwhile back on the homefront, Vinny survived another thunderstorm!

Time to take a break. I will share more pics with you soon!

FREEDOM

Today is the 4th of July. The United States of America is free from the  tyranny of Great Britain.  Hmmm,……

Things have changed a lot in two hundred and forty-plus years. Great Britain is one of our closest allies. Now we fight against terrorism and other factions that want to take over and rule the world. Why can we not all be happy in our own little niche and accept the differences around us. 

Many countries have had to fight for their freedom. I recently visited Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial. Over one thousand men are still buried within this ship.



Every few seconds oil still bubbles to the surface. It is as if the ship is saying, “Remember me! I am still here and I have not quite given up yet.”

There were many men on that ship whose origins were from different countries. That is one of the foundations of this country. You can be free here. Free to say what you want, free to worship and live how you chose. Freedom from fear that you will not be punished for how you chose to live or who you are.

 Freedom, that is one thing greyt about this country. But what about tolerance and acceptance as part of that freedom. Accept your neighbor for their differences. They have good things to share with us. 

Let’s show the world that we can live together and get along with our neighbor. Some of their beliefs and culture may be different, but they want what we all want. To practice their way of life without someone punishing them or trying to change them. We all want freedom to have a good life and to live in peace!


Wishing everyone around the world a day of freedom, tolerance, peace, acceptance.

REDISCOVERING MY STASH OF BEADS! ! 

If you have been reading my blogs you know that I have fallen behind for a couple of months  and have been contemplating how best to get caught up.  Do I bore you with a chronological order of all that I have been doing. Or do I just jump in and do it in a hodge-podge kind of way.

 I have decided to not go into detail, but just jump in and hit some of the highlights. The little details will just go away until another time, if at all. 

Beading is back! ! My first stitch markers!
 
BEADING is what has been consuming my interest the past few months. I got together with my BKB (best knitting buddy) and revived this old hobby.  BKB and I have tossed around an idea of making beaded stitch markers and possibly selling them, maybe on an Etsy shop of just locally. 

For those who do not know me, I never begin a new hobby without immersing myself in it to the point of almost drowning and becoming financially broke. To the relief of the greyt spouse and my credit card,  I dragged a humongous suitcase from the basement filled with my old stash of beads from several years ago. 

BKB and I drooled over these glistening gems. It was almost overload for me, I did not know where to start. 

These beauties are hand crafted glass! With onyx beads, Swarovski crystal beads and sterling silver flex wire are too precious to sell. They now belong to me.(This will have to go on the lost side of inventory. lol)

It wasn’t long before I was back in the groove and thinking of nothing but the next bead project. My knitting needles were calling to me, but I could not hear them. So sadly, many WIPs have been neglected. The sparkle of the beads are hard for me to resist. 

To take a break from beaded stitch markers, I started putting together earrings for myself and family members.

Zipper pulls for backpacks
I went shopping for some sunglasses and took time to knit a case for them from some stash yarn. My pattern, on Ravelry.  I used some ribbon yarn from my stash, along with an old button.  Hmm,… maybe this is an item I could whip up and sell in my little shop. 
Then back to more stitch  markers.

Hawaii is soon approaching and I think some special jewelry is required.

The three bigger ones are for myself, my daughter-in-law, and a friend. The small one is for the granddaughter.
 

I made these for my daughter-in-law, a friend and myself. The cute little ones are for the granddaughter, and she immediately put them in her cute little ears. 



Okay, the creative juices have really started flowing. MACRAME!  Macrame bracelets for the grandkids with some decorative beads. Once upon a time,  I also did macrame. In fact, I saved all my old books on macrame. 
 More jewelry for more granddaughters. 

So far I have been able t resist the temptation to buy more beads, for the most part. Only shopping for the findings needed to make stitch markers and earrings. 

I will end by saying that I have had some luck in selling some of my pieces already! To the ladies of my knit group! And, one of the ladies in my neighborhood commented on a pair of earrings I was wearing. Besides saying ‘thank you’ and I also added that she could also have a pair for a nominal fee! She took me up on my offer immediately! My daughter-in-law also liked a pair I had made. Due to her family connections, there will be no charge to her. (Hopefully she will do some free advertising for me!)

Maybe I should give some more serious thought to starting a small sho

 I’M BACK!

Okay, it has been almost two months since I have shared with you or even read the bloggers that I follow.   These two months have been very busy, some expected, some unexpected. I am finally caught up on my reading, so now it is time to write.

Before I bore you with vacation photos, my next two blogs will be catching up.

In the last part of April and May we had our usual spring snow storm. Usually we only have one major, but this year we had two followed by a month of rain and more rain and freezing temperatures.

Bloomin’ buckets taken April 28, 2017.

WOW! Check out that grass. Credit goes 100% to the greyt spouse. He manages the lawn. I do the flower beds and veggie garden.

Having a very mild winter brings spring flowers earlier than usually. And this year they looked even better. My crop of tulips were awesome. Check out my blog on ‘Springtime’.

As you can see, it takes some creativity to find enough covers to protect  everything from a very wet and heavy snow. Sometimes you just have to pick what to save and what to let go. So, I picked what was left of the tulips and daffodils and brightened up my kitchen and mother-in-law’s room as we looked out our windows at this,…


Notice the christmas cactus has blooms!?! This silly thing blooms through out the winter months, except Christmas time. And only small sections bloom at a time.  I don’t know much about habits of this cactus, but you would think with the name Christmas  cactus, that it would bloom during the Christmas season. Thanksgiving, yes. Christmas, no. Valentines and St. Patrick’s, yes. April showers, yes, or more like April snowstorm.

And nights of using a broom to knock snow loose so we do not end up wit broken tree limbs.

After a couple of days, we were able to get out and walk the dogs. FYI, most greyhound owners may be offended with this next pic of because Vinny  is not wrapped up in a cute, thick fluffy coat and think I am neglecting my dog. But,…

Vinny loves the snow and loves to lay in it.  Silly dog. He is not a fan of summer heat (which we are now in) and is already refusing to take long walks.  And the temperature is just mid 60s and low 70s with are morning walks. But, walk him in the cold, he is a happy camper. If there is snow, he makes several rest stops in it and happily checks out the neighborhood.

We survived the snow and excessive rain, along with below freezing temperatures. Soon I will share some pics of my summer flowers and gardens.

 

A Reason for Celebration! You Lucky Dog!


One year ago our sweet greyhound, Vinny, was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy. And he was not even 5 years old, yet. It was discovered after a trip to the dentist for some oral surgery, that he had developed a murmur. For those of you with a limited medical background, cardiomyopathy is an enlargement of the heart muscle. This leads to  thickening of the muscle and a weakened pump.  It is a progressive disease that can also cause arrhythmias (irregular or dangerous heart rhythms) or sudden death. No cause could be determined, it was thought to be genetic or just an anomaly.  Being a critical care nurse for the majority of my nursing career, I am quite aware of how devastating this disease can be.

So, the greyt spouse and I came to terms with Vinny’s diagnosis and were ready to give him the best that we could and enjoy him for however long he would be with us.

Yesterday, one year later, we repeated his echocardiogram. I calmly waited to hear from our vet  to call. Vinny has been doing very well this past year. His energy levels were good, there has been no signs of coughing or signs that he tires easily. I was not expecting a bad report, but I did not expect the vet to say that he heart is,….NORMAL! 

What? This is not a disease that returns to normal, normally. The explanation from the vet and cardiologist is that for some unknown reason Vinny developed a viral infection that affected his heart. Most viral infections are self-limiting and the heart muscle will return to normal or near-normal function over time.  However, viral cardiomyopathy is not a common occurrence in humans, even rarer in dogs and the first case my vet has seen in her career.
So gone  are the twice daily horse pills that cost about $100.00 a month. Along with routine trips to the vet for blood work that made Vinny shake worse than the Energizer Bunny on uppers.   He will need another echocardiogram in a few months, just to make sure there are no changes. 

I love kissing big-nosed dogs!
Trying to hide during a thunderstorm
He always crosses he front paws in this manner
Not sure what he is thinking with this look. But I get it often.
Guess how many different beds I have?
The many sleeping positions of a greyhound

The greyt spouse and I now look forward to many, many years with this silly dog whose talks to us, roos at us for taking too long to get ready for a walk and whose tail wags like a broken spring!

Vinny, here’s to many, many years of walks, dreams of rabbit hunting, treats and lots of love! Now if only we could cure Vinny’s corns, so that his walks could be pain-free.

2 more HOTN! (Hot Off The Needles)


This little thing is called, ‘Let’s Get Lost’ Scarf. It is the third one I have made. The two previous went to my daughters. It’s a fun make and the different colors and pattern change kept me from getting bored. Information can be found on Ravelry under ‘frazzldknitter’. I used Madelinetosh sock. 

Imagine When Shawl, by Joji. I made this last year for one of my daughters. The shawl is made in sectiions and the size can be adjusted according to the number of repeats completed in section two.  The remaining sections are worked in short rows. 

So nearly a year later, I finished one for me. I also used Three Irish Girls yarn, the colorway is Chambray. I definitely wanted a shawl, so I added even more repeats than on the first shawl.

Isn’t this awesome. The sizing turned out perfect. The only down side is I underestimated the amount of yarn I would need. My LYS did not have any more, so I ordered from TIGs website. There is a difference in the color. I tried to minimize change in color by alternating rows of new and old yarn. 

Do you see the change in color, or is it just a shadow? Well, once I am wrapped up in it, you will only see how pretty it is.
SO, . . . WHAT WILL BE NEXT ON MY NEEDLES?

How about bonbon bunnies for the grand daughters?

And, can you guess what this is going to be? ! ?

HAPPY KNITTING AND BLOGGING TO ALL!

Springtime, visiting family, a Cute Yarn Shop

I love this time of year. And this year is exceptional.  Yes, we did get a couple of spring snows, but it was only a few inches. Not the foot we could have gotten. So my daffodils and tulips look better than ever.

The front right side bed.
The front side yard.
Part of the back yard.

And Yes,… if you are thinking that the porch would be a perfect place to sit with my neighbor this evening and share a glass of wine, or two. That is exactly what the greyt spouse and I will be doing!

I went to Lincoln this week to visit my brother. Also, was able to catch up with my nephew and his beautiful wife. They just had a house built and moved in a few months ago. They did a spectacular job designing it. It is very open, modern and has a fantastic porch that looks out over the lake.  I could not think of a better place to be. Congratulations on designing the perfect home.

My brother and I always check out the latest movies when I visit. We saw, ‘Going in Style”, a very cute and charming movie. I love movies about old people who decided that living a quiet, retired life is not okay and that they are not going to standby while life tries to screw them. We also saw ‘Kong: Skull Island’. I have not seen a Kong movie since Jessica Lang was the damsel in distress. There was no damsel distressed in this movie, but a  couple of the characters definitely wished they had thought things through better and maybe  have come up with a different plan. Hehe! 

Jim is smiling. At least, I think he is smiling. He said he was smiling!
He likes to make people think he is this big scary guy. Really, he can be quite cuddly, if you are not afraid to stand your ground!

Before leaving Lincoln, I found this little yarn shop called,…

The owner was very friendly and helpful. A while back I found this pattern call,  ‘DaVinci Code Cowl’ by Mary-Ann Lammers. It is a planned pooling cowl and I loved the yarn she used. I found that yarn at The Yarn Shop! 


The shop also had the most amazing selections of buttons. The little sea turtle is a button I plan to turn into a shawl pin for a scarf I am currently making. 

One the way home I made a stop in Kearney to visit my niece, Crystal.  It is always fun to spend time with her. She is so vibrant and upbeat. We had dinner at the local grill, followed by a taste of Kearney’s local theater group that her mother is currently working with. The play is called, ‘The Hat Maker’s Wife’, or something like that. I enjoyed their practice. For a small town, I think they did a grand job. Of course the three of us ended the evening with wine and getting caught up. Mostly I did a lot of bragging about my knitting and blog site. 

The morning was a short visit with Crystal’s kids. Unfortunately Oliver had to rush off to school, but Maura was very entertaining and did not take long for her to warm up to me. 


I headed home after making Crystal promise to bring the kids and come visit this summer.

One more thing. The Yarn shop in Lincoln had some cute T-shirts. This one found it’s way into my shopping bag before I left the store.


I think it is appropriate for this addicted knitter!

Yarn Festival and Eye Candy

This past week my BKB (Best Knitting Buddy) and I went to the Interweave Yarn Festival in Loveland, CO.  This was a new experience for me. It is an awesome annual event packed with every kind of class and workshop you could dream up. And a huge convention room full of eye candy. I immediately went berserk, but my BKB said, ‘Deb, do not buy anything, and I mean anything, until we have walked the whole floor.’ She was right, I think almost every booth had something I wanted. But, I took some very deep gulps of air and restrained myself until the end and only chose what I could not resist.   

Come to me my precious pretties!

I tried to stick with items that are not usually carried by my LYS. Unfortunately, I could not get everything I wanted on this first visit. But next year, I will be better prepared. And I did sneak lots of business cards just encase I cannot wait a whole year!


Cat Mountain Fibers. I am thinking a throw for the sofa? What do you think.  I have knitted with her yarn before. In fact it is almost my favorite knitted item, a beautiful short-rows shawl full of colors that remind me of living in Colorado, which is where this yarn is made. You can see the shawl in my blog titled, ‘WIP DONE!!! Along With A Shawl’ 


I found a table with beautiful hand-crafted spindles from Greensleeves Spindles. I am a sucker for hand-crafted items. And my BKB said,  ‘I can teach you how.’  SOLD, and let’s go find some fibers to spin. The Malabrigo with be a good one to learn with before I start on the Lisa Souza fiber of super merino, cashmere and tussah. To touch this fiber, it is like being reincarnated as a cat. I not only nuzzled it, but you have to sink you claws (I mean fingers through it), and wrap it around your neck. I think this fiber should be called ‘ambrosia to the touch’.  Oops, I got distracted, from telling you what tussah is. Silk, that’s what it is. Now I understand why it is so touchable, cashmere and silk!

This walnut and ambrosia maple yarn bowl was also made by Greensleeves Spindles. I have used it the last couple of days and really like it. 

Beautiful hand-crafted beads by Glorieta Glassworks. I’m seeing stitch markers and a unique necklace. And some discounted necklaces. $15.00 each. No way could I buy the beads to make it for that price. Check out http://www.glorietaglassworks.com


Okay, the wooden earrings are from Favour Valley Woodworking. She makes awesome buttons that I have used on a couple of previous knitted garments. So, having earring to match will look awesome! The shawl pin is from Lickinflames. Very unique, my LYS was next door to this booth and the owner heard me talking about how I love hand-crafted and unusual items. I hope I could talk her into carrying some of his products. 


I have succumbed to the ‘Find you Fade’ trend.  I cannot resist any longer. Yarns are from Wooly Wonka at http://www.woolywonkafiber.com, Western Sky Yarn at www, western sky.com, and the oddball, Knerd String at http://www.knerdshop.com. I am hoping to complete a couple of projects before starting, but these yarns are strong and are  calling me and I am having a had time ignoring them.


Last, but not least,  is this from Western Sky Yarn.  Originally was going to use it with the Fade, but it got pushed out by other colors that looked better. Not sure what it will become when it grows up, but am sure it will look spectacular. Aren’t those colors amazing.

SO LONG FOR NOW. HAPPY KNITTING AND BLOGGING. 

Picking UP Stitches, OMG!

I am just about finished with a summer tunic. I started it a year ago, and had hopes of wearing it for summer and the fall last year. But for some reason I just couldn’t get into knitting it. After completing about half of the back, it has sat dormant.

A couple of weeks ago it started bugging me.  I have about 6 or 7 projects on my needles and want to get some objects completed so that I can start some new ones, without feeling guilty about the old ones. So, I targeted my White Tunic Top. The pattern is Crisp Rectangle Tunic by Stefanie Japel, from her book, ‘Fitted Knits, 25 Designs for the Fashionable Knitter’. This  top is made from side to side and the random striping really caught my eye along with the tunic length. 

Completing the front and back did not take me long. However, this pattern is deceptive. It looks simple, and for the most part it is, but it ends up with a fair amount of detail. Picking up stitches is something I really, really do not like. It seems that no matter what little tricks I try, there will be gaps or it just does not look smooth. This garment became my challenge. I tried knit pick-ups, purl pick-ups, knit through back loop, picking up from right side, then wrong side, and lots of ripping out. Really, I mean a lot of ripping. And, in the end, it all looked about the same. So, I picked-up stitches to do the sleeves, (both sides, and front and back). Then, I picked-up stitches to do the neckline, front and back. Did I mention, that I hate picking up stitches! Last I picked-up stitches around the bottom to finish the garment. If someone wants practice picking up stitches, this is definitely the project for you!

I started sewing up the side seems, and just did not care for the look, so I thought I would try a crocheted finish. Have I told you that I do not like crocheting.  Well, it is right next to picking up stitches. My mother taught me as a child. I am left handed and she taught me right-handed. Thus, it has always been awkward for me. Plus, that little hook really does not do what you want it too. It splits the yarn, gets caught on the wrong threads, drops the loop you are trying to make and I am doing this with my right hand. Enough, I said to myself. I am a fairly smart person, and being left-handed in a right-handed world, I have had to learn to adjust. So, I should be able to adjust and crochet backwards, right?


So, I am getting the hang of it. I know I could have checked out you tube for a video, but I like a challenge and the struggle gives me something to complain about. It took several hours and some ripping, but I DID IT! You are now asking me if I am ready to take up crocheting, ABSOLUTELY, NOT! Doing it left-handed was a bit simpler, with fewer dropped loops and splitting of the yarn, but still very frustrating. I will stay with my two straight needles, thank you very much. That hook is just evil.


I do like the look of the crochet side seam. It blends in nicely with the design of the garment. I am patting myself on the back that this one. 

I’m only putting two buttons on each side. I decided to sew the neck to shoulder closed and just leave the sleeve open. I also did stockinette stitch on sleeves and bottom, instead of seed stitch. And I left a slit on each side at the border of the tunic. 


I love the buttons. They are from a company in Henniker, NH, called Favour Valley Woodworking. I have also used the buttons on another garment I made. The website is http://www.favourvalley.com.


I really like the end product  and can’t wait to start wearing it.

DO YOU HAVE ANY SUMMER KNITTING PROJECTS? IF SO, PLEASE SHARE.

LOOKING FORWARD TO SPRING AND SUMMER. HOPE YOU ALL HAVE A GREYT WEEK!

Ladies Weekend Retreat and a Shawl

Hello, it has been awhile since I wrote something. I have been busy and and do have several things I can share, but for some reason I did not seem to have the words.

Last weekend my neighbor and friend, Nancy, invited me to the mountains for a girls retreat. Her S/O, Jim, has a beautiful log cabin up near Steamboat. Jim was out of town, so it was a perfect time for us to go, along with her dog, Missy. 

The snow is melting fast up in the high country. Elevation is about 8500 feet and there was only about 2 to 3 feet of snow left. The dirt roads were dry, so we were able to walk the area. We met some of the neighbors along the way and Nancy was able to catch up on the doings of the neighborhood.  Afterwards we came back and had happy hour on the deck. Missy was happy after her walk and was content to sit at our feet while we enjoyed the view of gently sloping hills and the sounds of birds. Besides the crows and magpies, we also saw a couple of mountain blue jays and a blue bird. 


We had a small fire in the fireplace, soup for dinner, girl talk, more wine and a couple of girlie movies.  And of course, I had my knitting, which I will show you in a minute.


This was the sunrise the first morning. I’m not usually an early riser, but felt like I really wanted to take advantage of the weekend and Nature was very accommodating. 

The next day we spent in Steamboat for lunch and some window shopping. Okay, it was a bit more then window shopping. I love to browse shops. Many are the  usual tourist stuff.  But there are always those that have unique gifts.  Some which are hand crafted. Unfortunately, many were beyond my pocket book. I just could not find a way to justify with the greyt spouse why we needed this extremely large geode made into a beautiful coffee table. But is was fun to look at and dream, and I did make a few finds to bring home.  We also visited the town of Kremmling, just a few miles from the cabin. There is a small motel that has been converted by a group of local artist. The main part of the motel  is the gift shop. The individual motel rooms are workshops for the artists. I was able to get a good start on some Christmas gifts. There were different types of painting, jewelry, wood crafts, hand-tooled leather, art glass. There was even a small corner with some yarns that were hand-dyed. If you make it to Kremmling, it is definitely worth your time to visit. Or you can check out there website at http://www.GoreRangeArtisans.com.

Here are a couple of trinkets that I could not resist!
Here are a couple of the trinkets I could not resist!

It was a greyt weekend and ended too soon. Thanks, Nancy, for bringing me along with you and Missy. And thanks to Jim for sharing his beautiful cabin. 

So,… my knitting for the weekend was a stash buster shawl. I started it a few weeks ago and was really ready to get it off my needles. It is made of worsted weight acrylic from my stash and is perfect when there is a bit of chill around the house.The idea came when I saw a scarf called ‘Suddenly, Gradient!’, by the Universal Yarn Team. 



Nancy had the greyt idea of adding the pocket. Now isn’t that a nice personal touch!

So long for now. HAPPY KNITTING TO YOU ALL.