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A week ago, my wonderful, favorite ever microwave (gifted to me by James) died.  Though everything looked normal, it stopped cooking in the middle of baking a potato.  The next morning I thought it might work after the overnight rest but when I turned it on to heat a cup of coffee, it made a loud, scary POP and still didn’t cook.  I was so sad as I loved that microwave!

That evening, when talking to DS Jacob as he was leaving for a weekend trip, I mentioned it and he said I should shop Amazon and find what I wanted.  I could send him the description and he would order it with his Prime access (free shipping – YAY!).  Not wanting to bother him while he traveled, I waited until he returned home.  Making a long story short, a Samsung microwave and a surge protector are scheduled to be delivered today.

Sadly, I threw my back out last evening.

I’ve wheeled the dolly into the driveway in hopes I can talk the UPS man into putting the package on it for me to bring inside.  I doubt I’ll be able to lift it today to put it on the counter but at least it will be safe and dry.  I also need to move the dead microwave off the counter where it still sits.  Lots of back work for a radically aching back!

On to more pleasant things — since we’ve already celebrated this gift-giving season, I can show what has kept me busy recently.

With DS’s lady having an early December birthday, I like to have a gift for her.  Since she is partial to rainbow color combinations, I made these ridged drop stitch socks using Knit Picks Felici yarn in colorway Rainbow (discontinued) on size US 1.5 needles.  Upon seeing them, she loved ’em but no matter how hard she tried, they did not fit.  They didn’t have enough stretch to get past her heels and ankles.  I think she will give them to her skinny little sister or someone whose ankle is narrower.  I will knit a replacement pair as soon as new yarn arrives.

I also knitted another pair for Jacob.  This neon-colored yarn was supposed to be self-striping (forming perfect, equal stripes as it’s knitted) but even using the included pattern and trying different sizes, the stripes are mostly streaks so I call them Disco Camo socks.  The colors are wild!  The yarn is called Neon Now (discontinued) and were knitted on US 1.5 needles.  The red toes are from yarn found in my stash.  Thankfully, Jake enjoys crazy, miss-matched socks!

After recently receiving an old shirt from Jake that needed minor repair and seeing how well he has cared for it (it was the first office seersucker shirt I made for him), I asked if he needed more.  I was thrilled to see he outgrew his ‘throw it in the floor and walk on it’ era. He admitted not needing more but his mom-made seersuckers are his favorite shirts and more added to the rotation would be grand.  I immediately ordered seersucker fabric in colors he doesn’t already own.

Originally, I had hoped to have 5-6 new shirts made for gift-giving but with health inconveniences and other interruptions, I was only able to finish two.

The first is solid yellow with tiny golden stripes (not visible in the photo).  It’s  really pretty fabric and I paired it with a yellow, gold, red and brown flame print fabric inside the collar stand.  The buttons are antique real mother-of pearl.  The pocket and back yoke were cut on the diagonal to add interest.  It has a standard collar.

The second is purple tiny plaid (which my camera is finding hard to render!)  This is standard 100% cotton seersucker to which I added a floral multiple purple and red inside the collar stand.  The pocket and back yoke are cut on the diagonal and the collar is standard.  White pearly buttons were used with one added as an accent on the pocket.

Jacob was very happy to receive both these shirts and after trying on, commented they fit perfectly.  I am so glad he is pleased and have already begun cutting two more from recently acquired SALE (!) fabric.  You will soon be seeing orange, pink, spring green and white seersucker shirts.

I have also knitted a Sockhead hat in black/grey yarn for Jacob.  I haven’t had a chance to photograph it yet but since it wasn’t finished for gift-giving, you will see it and he will receive it soon.  As usual, I am also knitting another pair of socks.

Since my life is no longer dictated by the calendar, I’m considering having my personal holiday dinner tomorrow.  I’ve already begun making 3 Bean Salad which always benefits from being refrigerated overnight.  Tomorrow, I’ll cook a bone-in rib-eye roast (2.5 ribs), a thickened au jus with mushrooms and garlic mashed potatoes.

If that doesn’t make my back feel better, there’s no hope!!

No matter how you choose to celebrate the season or if you choose not to at all, I wish your coming week is filled with joy, good food, warmth and happiness.

Merry, merry!

Shirl

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here we are already more than half through December and though winter hasn’t officially begun, I’m tired of it.  It seems we’ve had enough grey, breezy, chilly days.  I’m ready for short sleeves, short pants and flip-flops!

Earlier this month, my two skin cancers were removed.  After being assured I could safely drive myself to and from the surgical facilities in Tyler (over 1¾ hours away), I assumed everything would go smoothly and I went alone.  I should have remembered VERY little goes smoothly when my health is involved and doctors don’t always review one’s chart before cutting.  Thankfully, I was conscience throughout and able to remind them I am allergic to epinephrine.  During surgery, I was informed I am a rather free bleeder and epinephrine was needed to control the bleed.  HELLO?!  ARE YOU LISTENING?!!  NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOUR ARGUE, I AM TRULY ALLERGIC TO EPINEPHRINE!!!

No matter my insistence, epinephrine was administered (in very small doses) so I spent most of the surgical time with my eyes rolled back, on the edge of fainting (the precursor to my typical epinephrine-induced seizure).  Fortunately, full-blown seizures were avoided by my own pure will and insistence they BACK OFF with the epi!

I was stitched and bandaged in a hurry and told to keep pressure and ice on the wounds for several hours to help stop the bleeding.  With lesions on each side of my face, was I to drive with my elbows?  SHEESH!

The instructions for wound care included the need for Vaseline and Tylenol, neither of which I keep at home so I had to stop to pick up those items.  I made sure to stop at a store where I would not be recognized as I had two HUGE (both as big as my hand), bloody bandages on my face.  By the time I got home, it appeared I’d been on the losing end of serious knife fight.  Needless to say, I stayed hidden until I felt safe omitting bandaging, making the surgical sites less conspicuous.  It also took me several days to recover from the effects of epinephrine (absolute exhaustion) so staying home was easy.

The visible stitches have now been removed but my body is rejecting the tiny interior stitches, which were supposed to melt on their own.  Contrary to instructions, using cuticle scissors, I’m able to clip away those stitches when they push through the skin and become exposed.  OH WHAT FUN!  Had I followed instructions, I’d be at the clinic every blasted day.  NOT GONNA HAPPEN!  I’ve been sewing and unsewing over 6 decades!

I’m definitely hesitant to mention the two new suspicious spots I’ve discovered.  This Has NOT been a drama-free, fun game!

Shirl

It’s hard to fathom how quickly the year has passed.  Our summer weather has chilled and the holidays are nearly upon us.  They feel even more impending after baking a turkey last week.  It has been in the freezer for a while and I decided it should be cooked (even if only for the dogs!) before purchasing more.

As it turns out, the turkey was DEEEElicious!  I roasted it unstuffed and made dressing on the stove top (which included giblets, boiled eggs, black olives, mushrooms, celery and juice from the turkey).  Even the dressing was wonderful.  I ate it for a couple of days and fed the rest to the dogs.  We all enjoyed it very much and I plan to purchase another small turkey or two soon.

I’ve continued filling my spare time with sewing and knitting.  I’ve finished the second blouse (using the same pattern as previously posted) but did not photograph it.  I’ve worn it and received compliments but it’s nothing to cause excitement.  Don’t expect to see me wearing it on the cover of Vogue!

Recently, my microwave died.  When I mentioned it to Jacob (who was packing for a visit here), he offered to pick a new one up on his way.  I took him up on his offer but before leaving his house, he talked to his best friend and mentioned my needing a new microwave.  The friend has just moved and his new digs included a microwave.  He had recently purchased a new one which he no longer needs so he offered it.  I tried paying him but he said, “Merry Christmas”.  It’s a nice one!

To offer a little token of my appreciation, I knitted him a Sockhead Slouch Hat.  It was made using Knit Pick’s Painted Stroll sock-weight yarn in Renaissance colorway (modeled here placed over a bowl atop a flashlight).  I hope he enjoys it!  I’ll send it home with Jacob upon his next visit.

I also managed to finish another pair of socks for Jake.  Because I’ve been distracted by other projects, these socks took 6 weeks to complete (twice as long as usual).  The yarn came from Witch Candy on Etsy in the colorway Oil Slick.  I love this yarn!  The pattern is a free one from Ravelry called Simply Skyp which I’ve made before.  I like them!

I finally got the results from my skin biopsies yesterday.  As I suspected, they are basal cell carcinoma which is great news.  One of the lesions is about the size of a dime.  The Ear, Nose and Throat Plastic Surgeon wanted to remove it and cover the area with a skin graft until she noticed on my file that I’m allergic to epinephrine.  Unfortunately, this eliminates the possibility of a skin graft and she feels the lesion is too large to stitch shut or leave open.  I’m now being referred to a dermatologist in Tyler, where a neurologist and endocrinologist will be available if any complications arise.  It is the ENT’s opinion the dermatologist will literally nibble away the lesion (no skin graft) and stitch it shut.   I’ll have a noticeable scar but it matters not to me.  My ‘pretty days’ are long over.  The other much smaller lesion will be removed with little more than what was already done with the biopsy.  I’m currently waiting to hear from the dermatologist and don’t expect anything to happen until next week or later.  In the meantime, I’ll get a flu shot and prepare for the upcoming procedure.

My fingers are crossed Jake will be able to come down for a visit soon.  We had hoped he could come last week but something went out on his truck which required his immediate attention.  He’s hoping to take a couple of days off work so we have a long weekend together.  I’m hopeful!

May the remainder of your week and coming weekend be filled with the joy of doing what you love.

Shirl

As scheduled, I returned to see my doctor.  He changed some of my medications and examined the lesion in front of my ear.  After asking lots of questions and prescribing an antibiotic, he said a lymph node was also swollen and since it is affecting my hearing, he referred me to an otorhinolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat surgeon).  Unfortunately, she may be the busiest doctor around because even with a possible cancer referral, the first available appointment is weeks away.  I’m on stand-by in case she has a cancellation.  I don’t like having time to think about it but it does give me an opportunity to make plans.

Jacob has already said he would be here for whatever it takes as long as it takes.  I love that I can count on him for physical and emotional support.  He will also take care of my dogs and the business if I am incapacitated.  It’s a total head scratcher how I ended up with such a wonderful son but I’m thankful every day!

I’ve been trying to stay distracted and busy. 

The knitted baby blanket is finally washed, blocked, boxed and wrapped along with the knitted hat for the baby shower I couldn’t force myself to attend.  She was expecting a large crowd in her small home and the last thing I wanted was to be in close proximity with lots of folks I don’t know.  Small talk is not my expertise!  Since the baby isn’t due for 8 weeks, I’ll deliver the gift in plenty of time.

I’ve also done a little more sewing but nothing finished to show.  After the warm-weather blouse I’m currently making, I hope to sew a few pieces for cooler weather.  As they say on Game of Thrones, “Winter is coming”.

I’ve also been researching patterns and yarn in hopes of knitting a cardigan for myself.  Extremely cold weather is rare in my area so I prefer to wear sweaters instead of coats.  Thus far, I haven’t decided on ‘the perfect pattern’ or yarn I can afford.  The search will continue.

As usual, I have another pair of socks on the needles and work on them at night while watching videos.  They are progressing slowly.

Another weekend is here and I truly hope yours is fun, restful and filled with love.

Shirl

I’ve spent the last week or so very happy I don’t still live in Houston.  There are things I truly miss about living in a sizeable city (pizza delivery, big grocery stores, garage/yard sales, etc.) but since leaving there nearly 25 years ago, the flooding issue has gotten so much worse.  Add that to the record-breaking rainfall spawned by Hurricane Harvey and I can only feel bad for old friends still there while feeling thankful I’m not dealing with insurance companies and contractors.  I’ll happily live without pizza delivery!

We did experience 5 days of rain from the storm but I’m at the top of a big sandy hill so I didn’t see as much as a puddle here.  The rain was mostly slow and steady accompanied by a light breeze offering me the perfect excuse to stay inside, knit and sew.  The storm also helped eliminate the 100°+ daily outdoor temperatures.  My air conditioners, electric bill and wallet are eternally happy for the break!

While the rains fell, I finished knitting a baby blanket for my neighbor.  I haven’t blocked it yet so no picture at this time.  I also knitted this little hat from leftover sock yarn.  The pattern was free from Redheart.  I was fascinated with how quickly baby items are made.  This was a one day, spare time effort and hopefully will be useful for this autumn baby.

I finally managed to finish another pair of socks for Jake.  These seemed to take forever because of lots of interruptions and the fact that I dropped a size on the needles making the socks a little smaller and more densely knit (more stitches = more time).  The pattern is ‘A Nice Ribbed Sock’ by Glenna C.  The yarn is from A Guy Two Needles Yarn in colorway Mardi Gras.  I was a little surprised the yarn didn’t pool but pretty thankful there are no big puddles of pink.  The toes were knitted with Knit Picks Stroll fingering yarn in black.

Needless to say, I’ve already started another pair of socks; these in NEON colors!  They will be … uhh … wild!!

I took the time this week to inspect my closet and analyze my clothing situation.  I’ve decided many of my tops are looking limp and dismal.  I’ll take the decent ones and downgrade them to everyday wear and make a few new things.  The heavens know I have plenty of stash fabric on hand to cut and sew.

The first top was made of batik fabric.  I dearly love batik because of the hand dyed interesting artistic designs, color combinations and that they are woven more densely, allowing for opaque coverage.  The pattern I used is McCall’s M5640.  I’ve sewn this pattern many times for tops, nightgowns and maxi lounge gowns.  It’s so versatile.  The top offers loose, modest coverage even on days when bra wearing is too painful (darned surgical scars!). 

Fabric has already been selected to make two more tops and a nightgown from this pattern.

After a quick doctor’s office visit with his PA and having blood drawn, I’ve been asked to return next week (never a good sign).  I had shown the Physician’s Assistant a lesion near my ear that is lingering and doesn’t seem to want to heal.  After being told to return, I’ve searched the Net and found photos of what appears to be the exact same lesion.  I’ve diagnosed myself (always a dangerous thing) with squamous cells carcinoma.  When caught early, it’s pretty harmless but because it’s located in a place I can’t see (and I live alone), I’ve ignored it longer than I probably should.  It is already affecting my hearing (sounds like the ear is stuffed with cotton).  Needless to say, I’m not looking forward to seeing the doc next week for his recommendations.  If it has advanced, I could be looking at not only surgery to remove it but chemo to treat it.  UGH!

Oh well, I’ve survived 2 other cancer diagnoses and treatments so I expect to survive this one too.  It’s a good thing I’m TOUGH!

Have a great week and those in the paths of storms, know my thoughts are with you.

Shirl

After knitting a few washcloths, I had intended to knit more socks with the two irresistible skeins of yarn I recently ordered and received.

Then the phone rang….

My neighbor (whose daughter is pregnant) called to inform me her daughter is expecting a girl and they wanted to give me as much notice as possible so I could make something nice.  HUH?  Who said I was planning to make ANYthing?  Sheesh!

Although the baby isn’t due until November, the shower is planned for mid-September.  As the conversation continued, I got the feeling they were of the mindset I would happily make and give a complete layette.  Uhhh, I barely know these people and only well enough to call them acquaintances!

Since the nicest thing I am willing to make is a blanket, I ordered the yarn and started the project.  After knitting with fingering-weight yarn on size 0 needles, switching to worsted-weight yarn on size 10 needles has taken a bit of adjustment.  (Feels like knitting heavy rope with baseball bats!)

The photo shows 2 days into the project.  Frankly, I’m less than enthused about the yarn and pattern but it is what it is.  Though I’m getting little pleasure in making it, I won’t be ashamed to give it.  Thankfully, it is nearing half finished.

I’m looking so forward to returning to making socks for recipients who are ‘knit worthy’!

Shirl

I finished another pair of socks for Jacob today.  The pattern was free from Mary Maxim called Basic Knit Socks.  Because the yarn has dying errors (as pointed out by the dyer), it was heavily discounted from Twisted Threds in colorway Toucan.  Since my favorite hues are jewel tones, I decided to take a chance and purchased the yarn.  I knew as soon as it arrived, it would be a favorite.  I would have happily paid full price for this yarn!

This makes pair #8 since starting sock knitting back in February and if today’s mail is any indication, there will be more in the near future!

Frankly, upon finishing these socks this morning, I pulled yarn from my stash while planning my next projects.  I need to knit a few washcloths (already spoken for) and there’s a hank of sock yarn ready to become socks.

Then today’s mail came which included a squishy package I opened immediately.  Out popped the prettiest yarn I’ve seen in a while (Do I say this about every yarn ordered?!).  My plans are growing wings to fly out the window as I am winding this new hank for another pair of socks.  It’s SO, SO pretty!!

Fingers, knit FASTER!

Shirl

The last few days, I’ve spent more time on the road than usual.  My neighbor’s car was in the shop so I took her where she needed to go (mechanic’s shop, bank, pharmacy, and to work).  It was nice to get out with a friend and run around a bit.  I miss those day of having a close girlfriend and finding adventures away from home.

As I mentioned in the last post, I’ve finished a couple more pairs of socks for my favorite Arkansas family.

These first socks were knitted for Jacob.  While he was visiting, I found the yarn listed by a favorite indy dyer and he loved it.  I ordered it immediately.

The yarn is 75% Superwash Merino wool, 25% Nylon in colorway Black Magic.  It was purchased from Etsy shop A Guy Two Needles Yarn.  The yarn knitted without effort and the socks were made longer for more calf coverage.  A  basic sock pattern was followed.  Jake and I both like how they turned out.

I’ve become so comfortable knitting socks, I can darned-near make them in my sleep.  The days of making multiple mistakes are over.  Horray!

As soon as these socks were done, I started making anklets for Stormy.  I found a free pattern on Ravelry called Shireen by Rayna Curtis.  The yarn was on sale at Simply Socks Yarn Company.  It was listed as Mineville Wool Project in colorway Charlotte.  I hope she likes them!

Though I nearly never wear socks, eventually I’ll knit similar socks for myself to wear to bed on those few particularly cold nights in winter.  They look so cozy!

I will soon finish another pair of socks for Jacob, then will (hopefully) take a break from sock knitting.  I have a pregnant friend for whom I’d like to knit a few items.  Baby is due the first week of November so it’s time to get started now.

Shirl

Yes, I’m still alive and kicking.

Along with the list of chores one must do to survive well, warmer weather adds mowing to the list.  Mowing entails sneaking around Mother Nature to avoid rainstorms or blistering hot temperatures.  It’s been a challenge and I completely appreciate when DS comes to visit with his riding mower in tow.  For more than just this reason, I wish he visited more often!  Though it’s only been 10 days since we last cut, it’s up to my knees again.  UGHHH!  Wish I had something easier to use than a gas-powered push mower, though it cranks on the first pull every time!  Along with the sweat comes small blessings!

During the hottest part of most days and evenings, I continue to knit socks.  The first socks pictured were started on May 1 and finished on May 20 with several days of no knitting during that time.  They were made for Jacob.  The main yarn was leftover from the first socks I ever knitted (Opal Kullerkeks from Germany) and toes knitted with Knit Picks Stroll yarn in Dusk color.  The pattern was free on Ravelry’s website called Simple Skyp Socks by Adrienne Ku and made on size 2 needles.  I still have some of the Opal yarn left and hope it is enough to make baby socks or a baby hat.  (I have a pregnant friend.)

On the same day these Opal socks were finished (May 20), I began making another pair for Jacob using Patons Kroy Sock yarn in Grey Brown Marl colorway.  I bought this yarn on a whim from Hobby Lobby and I’m so glad I did.  I love how they turned out and Jacob likes them too.  I purposely allowed the stripes to mismatch from one sock to the other as I think it adds interest and a quirkiness to an otherwise often boring clothing item.  These were made using another free Ravelry pattern called Vanilla Latte by Virginia Rose-Jeanes on size US 2 needles.  These were finished on May 31… sock knitting is getting faster!

I have more to show but better head outside and cut a few strips of grass.  Hope you have a wonderful holiday and celebrate in your favorite way.  Me, I’ll be making Creamy Chicken/Spinach/Broccoli Enchiladas and eating some watermelon that grew voluntarily in our old garden patch.

Shirl

 

 

Finished another pair of knitted socks.  These were made with a special lady in mind but if they are too big for her, DS will have them.  They we knitted with Knit Picks ‘Koi Pond’ Stroll Hand Painted Sock Yarn and took just less than 3 weeks to complete.

I like the way the yarn pooled in stripes and made mini-stripes on the toes and heels.  Aqua and teal are my current favorite colors and the orange gives them a zing I really like.  I hope the recipient likes them!

As usual, I’ve also made a washcloth.  It may be my favorite yet.  I love the colors and pattern so I plan to keep this one for myself.  It’s 100% cotton yarn named ‘Birchwood’ that I picked up at Hobby Lobby.  It turned out really nice.

For the past few weeks, we’ve experienced crazy weather.  The temperatures have ranged from the high 90’s to the high 30’s with lots of wind and bi-weekly severe storms.  We spent much of yesterday under tornado watches and warnings but received little rain compared to neighboring areas.  We didn’t need more moisture so I’m thankful.  I’m also grateful we saw no severe weather.

Other than crazy weather, not much else has been happening here.  I continue to cook daily, grocery shop, clean house and deal with the critters.  I didn’t plant a garden this year and I don’t miss the work but do miss the fresh veggies.  I hope I can find some locally grown produce to enjoy and possibly preserve.  We’ll see.

Dodge the storms and have a terrific week!

Shirl

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