*K1, P1; rep from * across

August 10, 2009

My first knitted piece of clothing!

My first knitted piece of clothing!

To a lot of people, the title of this post looks like my 3 year-old got a hold of the keyboard during my posting. No, no. It’s part of a knit pattern that I’m now all too familiar with. Today is a happy day in my up and coming etsy success. I completed my first handmade knitted piece of clothing!

This is a 9 month-old cardigan made with Lion Brand Thick ‘n Quick yarn. It only takes two balls to make this and a matching hat (which is still on my needles!). If you’re a knitter or would like to become one, check out the website for the free pattern. It really is your basic beginner pattern. Basic garter stitch, rib stitch and increase and decrease.

http://www.lionbrand.com/patterns/81083AD.html?noImages=0

I’ve signed up for another craft fair this fall and hope my crocheted and knitted items sell well. I’ve recently had some success on etsy.com with my crocheted kufi hats. Check out my etsy shop.

http://www.TangledKnots.etsy.com

Oh, now I’m addicted to scrapbooking, crocheting AND knitting. Pretty soon my sister will get me addicted to quilting, I’m afraid. Until next time, have a great day!

Scrapbook Pages

June 16, 2009

I thought I’d share a handful of my favorite digital pages I’ve recently made.  I just printed forty 12″x12″ pages this weekend.  It feels nice to be getting somewhat caught up, especially since my CM album size is being discontinued and I’m still not sure how many pages and protectors I need to buy!  I guess that’s what I get for refusing to scrap in chronological order.  (Corie, I know that you know my pain!)

The Lovely Couple…

May 24, 2009

This morning I took a look at Kira’s blog and saw this very sweet picture from 11 years ago when she and Nick first began to date.  I of course got all sentimental and had to drag out some old pictures of Jeff and I over the years.  My first reaction to seeing these photos is, “Oh, we look so young!”. My next reaction is, “We were so thin!”  lol.  But that’s how life goes sometimes.  Enjoy!

2008: A Year in Review

February 10, 2009

After looking at some of the journaling I’ve done in preparation for making scrapbook pages, I’ve come to realize that 2008 has been a very busy year.  I’ve branched out in a lot of areas and lots of life-changing things have happened, too.  

  1. minimarathon11. Mini-Marathon.  In May I participated in my first Indianapolis Mini-Marathon.  This is something I had always wanted to do ever since my cross country days at North Putnam High School.  But like a lot of things, it was just one more thing that I didn’t get around to doing.  I had shed some pounds earlier in the year and had high hopes of training to run it, but it didn’t turn out that way.  The truth is that I barely even prepared myself by going on long walks in the neighborhood.  Something always seemed to come up and I was pretty nervous about going through with it.  I considered selling my entry on ebay rather than humiliating myself by not being able to finish.  But I chose to go anyway and walk it.  I finished, but at about mile 10, I thought I was just going to die.  Okay, maybe not die  but definitely collapse.  I shuffled across the finish line four hours after the start of the race and as much as I wanted to just lay down and veg out, I had to drive myself home.  I had friends and family offer to come downtown to cheer me on, but I told them it wasn’t that big of a deal.  I kind of thought I needed to do this all by myself; to remind myself that I can do something if I really put my mind to it.  When I got home that day, I got online and signed up for the 2009 Mini.  Minus all the blisters and muscle cramps, it was a wonderful day and I can say I’m proud of myself for trying something new. 

2. Mary Kay. I became a Consultant over a year ago and have had a lot of fun with it.  And even thoughlook-book I’m not as proactive at selling like I was last year, I still truly enjoy it.  I’ve used my business for some good in the community, raising money for the local abused women and children’s shelter.  Fortunately, the shelter was available to a dear friend of mine that needed emergency housing for her young daughter and herself.  They do great things for the people of this community and it gives me warm fuzzies to be able to send them my commission check once a year.  I also am thankful to have found Mary Kay because it’s tremendously helped me in my fear of social situations.  A few years ago, I’d get what I consider panic attacks when I had to socialize with people I didn’t know.  I guess looking back, I was afraid of them judging me for some reason.  But I’ve become much more confident speaking with strangers since venturing into this business, and for that I’m thankful.sheltering-wings-photo2

 

 

3. Religion. I have to admit that in recent years I’ve been very cynical about whether God even existed.  Not in the “if God exists, why does he let bad things happen?” sense, but in the sense of “when we die, we die.  The End.”  But this year I’ve been trying to find out more about God and what he means to me and my family. I realized my four year-old knew more about God than I did (from going to Mass with my in-laws).  That was pretty sad!

sssI began attending RCIA classes at a nearby Catholic Church.  While there are still a few things I’m having a hard time grasping about the Religion, I’m really enjoying the process.  My girls and I will be baptized at Easter Vigil and my marriage to Jeff will be officially blessed by the Church.  I’m excited to be a part of the church community. 

4.  Hendricks County Fair.  This summer I participated in the Open Class competition at the local fair.  I submitted a scrapbook of my in-laws’ Mediterranean cruise that I had made for them, along with a terra cotta snowman that I made for a local craft fair.  I earned two first-place ribbons, which I was very excited about.  (Although I have to say that the Grand Champion scrapbook looked like an old-school Creative Memories album, circa 1998, which I was completely not impressed with!)  I can’t believe it won Grand Champion.  Their Grandmother probably was the judge.  lol.

5. Daycare.  About two years ago I started a small, in-home daycare to help out with some bills and break up the monotony of being a stay-at-home Mommy.  Well, in February 2008 I decided to significantly downsize since it seemed like I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I once did.  I felt like I was ignoring my own children in a sense, to watch after other people’s children.  After sitting down for a long time with lists of pros and cons, I decided it was in everyone’s best interest if I just continued to take care of one little boy along with my two girls.  Life is good now; I am so happy with the way things are going.  I guess I had to learn the hard way that I’m not cut out to watch 6 or 7 high-energy kids all at once.  It makes me tired just thinking back to it all!  lol.

6. My Life Minus a Stepmom.  My dad’s divorce from my stepmom became final in 2008, over four years from when they first separated.  Life is better for me and my family now. For those of you that know the situation, that’s no news to you.  For those who don’t, let’s just say we all wish it happened 18 years sooner than it did.  ‘Nuff said.

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My mom at Christmas 2008.

7. My Mom Became a Widow.  My stepdad passed away in October and although I feel like Mom is moving on really well, I still feel bad for her.  She’s having to manage a household, dogs, bills, car repairs, furnace issues, being snowed-in,and everything that goes with living in the woods all on her own now (not to mention he had no life insurance).  And while my stepdad and I had a bad relationship to say the least, I was sad to hear that he suffered so much in his last few weeks on Earth.  Because of the more than likely cancer diagnosis, they were not able to procure any organs, other than his corneas.  Mom is proud that his eyes will help someone else see.

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Our new kitten!

Hello, everyone!  Our cat, Waffles, had her yearly vaccinations with Dr. Stokes today.  He said she was very healthy other than being slightly overweight.  I believe his exact words were, “She’s not pathologically obese yet, but if she gains any more weight, you will be getting a very stern lecture from me.”  So I have to do my best to pick up the thrown pieces of hot dog and chicken nuggets before Waffles devours them. 

Dr. Stokes asked if she had any problems.  I said she was fine other than her occasional “psycho-kitty mode”.  She will get these bursts of energy and attack your feet, bite and be generally mischevious.  She calmed down a lot once we had her spayed and front declawed, but it’s still a problem.    Dr. Stokes’ easy solution:  get another cat for her to hunt so she doesn’t hunt the family! 

Pancakes with her new mommy

Pancakes with her new mommy

Being the impulsive people that we are, I quickly convinced Jeff that we needed a new cat.  The vet said a male kitten would be best.  He also said the first few days they might act like they’re going to kill eachother, but rest assured that after about five days, they’ll be the best of friends and be sleeping on each other.  Then they can aggrivate each other to get their energy out, and we can play with them to have fun without being attacked. 

We decided to go to the Putnam County Animal Shelter, only because Hendricks County wasn’t open on weekends and we (I) was really excited about a kitty.  Now where the title of this post comes in–our new little boy is named Pancakes.

Here are the girls checking out the little fur ball

Here are the girls checking out the little fur ball

The story on little Pancakes is that he and two sisters were strays, abandoned by their mother near a house in Greencastle.  The elderly couple that lived there said they’d be willing to take one kitten, but couldn’t take the others.  They were literally leaving the next day to stay in Florida for the winter.  I guess the shelter was officially “closed” to taking more animals, but after the nice man begged and made a generous donation to the shelter, they decided to take the two kittens.  Pancakes was brought to the shelter just yesterday.  And by us prepaying our vet for the necessary neutering and vaccinations, the nice lady at the shelter let us take him home today. 

Pancakes purring on Jeff

Pancakes purring on Jeff

Willow thought we should name him Prince.  (This is after we explained that “Princess” is a name only for girls!)  The other names Jeff and I liked were Pancakes, Syrup and Mr. Blick.  We got Waffles’ name from the cartoon “Catscratch” that was about three cats who lived in a mansion.  Gordon and Mr. Blick were the names of the other two cats, but Willow said we could name him anything except Mr. Blick!  So it was down to Syrup and Pancakes.  Obviously Pancakes was the winner.

We just got home a bit ago with our new furry friend.  Waffles is stalking him and hissing.  But no attacks (yet!).  We’re all excited to have a new family member and at the thought of not being attacked by Waffles any longer!

Okay, I admit I’m weird

December 3, 2008

My first "plarn" purse
My first “plarn” purse!
While looking for a granny square crochet pattern online the other day, I came across a pattern for a “plarn” purse.  Plarn is where you connect strips of plastic grocery store bags to make yarn.  Sounded weird.  Sounded fun.  Sounded green.  So I tried it.
A friend of W’s is having her eighth birthday party this weekend and the thought of making a trip to Wal-Mart this time of year made my skin crawl.  So I made this little purse as her gift.  I wish I had counted the number of bags it took for me to make this, but it didn’t occur to me at the time.  I’m guessing it was about 30 standard-sized grocery bags. 
My original plan was to make a large, reusable grocery bag to take with me when I go to Aldi’s.  I always take my own bags, but after about the third or fourth time of using them, they end up with holes or the handles are broken, etc.  I decided to try this smaller project to see if I enjoyed it before I tackled such a big project.  Well, I did enjoy it and now I just need to collect more plastic bags!
I read online that people suggest using these for toting your things at the beach–it doesn’t matter if sand and water get into it–rinse it off and let it air dry.  That’s it.  (Ummm…don’t put it in the dryer…that could be pretty nasty! :)  )
Just wanted to share my latest project.  I’ll let you know how my big grocery bag turns out.
***I’m sorry, but for some reason I can’t get breaks between paragraphs.  I know it’s kind of hard to read without them!***

Cancer is a Scary Thing

December 1, 2008

Here is me with my sister, Beth. 10.18.08

Here I am (right) with my sister, Beth. 10.18.08

For those of you who know my sister, Beth, you’re probably already aware of her recent cancer diagnosis.  The great news is that the doctor cleared her, saying it was all removed during the procedure.

During a family function this past summer, our cousin, Tracy, told us that she had a few moles she was nervous about and decided it was time to go see a dermatologist.  A few weeks and a few surgeries later, it was revealed that she had pre-cancerous moles on her back and belly.  This freaked my sister and I out, especially given our horrid family history of “bad stuff”.  So Beth decided to have her “funny mole” looked at.  Her dermatologist took a mole off her back, sort of routinely, not expecting it to be anything at all.  It turned out to be malignant melanoma.

The thing about melanoma is that it can spread to other areas of the body.  If it spreads to your lymph nodes, there’s a 60% survival rate.  If it goes to another organ in the body, there’s only a 20% survival rate.  Scary stuff.

This is an example of a melanoma caught early

This is an example of a melanoma caught early

A bit worse of a melanoma (I'll spare you the really gross pictures.)

A bit worse of a melanoma

Beth has now had two surgeries and been evaluated by an oncologist.  It doesn’t look like it was deep enough to require chemo or radiation.  So they’re going to keep a close eye on her and make sure nothing new pops up. 

The Melanoma Awareness Ribbon is black

The Melanoma Awareness Ribbon is black

 

Risk factors for malignant melanoma include: fair skin, many moles, one or more blistering sunburns before the age of 12, and most significant is a positive family history.  And the back/shoulders, face and back of the calves are common places for melanoma to pop up. 

SUNSCREEN IS YOUR FRIEND!  Please don’t get caught up in the “Oh, I need a tan!” craze.  The best thing you can do is use sunscreen.  People laugh at me because after my vacations to Florida and Mexico, there was no sign of me having been in the sun–SPF 45 all the way, baby!  That’s alright, I’ll take alabaster white skin over the risk of cancer any day.

So please, please, please….make an appointment with a dermatologist for a mole-mapping.  They’ll identify any suspicious moles and have them removed.  It’s better to be safe than sorry.  And I am practicing what I’m preaching–I have an upcoming appointment myself.

Some Digital Layouts

November 23, 2008

I wanted to share a couple of scrapbook pages I’ve recently made.  I’ve discovered the joy that digital scrapbooking brings when your only clean up is shutting down your laptop.  I haven’t yet mastered this art, but I am taking an online course to teach me the basics.  It’s fun and nice to know all those photos are being put to good use.fiona-gymnastics1

 

beautiful-willowwalker-girls-at-the-rock

My Latest Obsession

November 21, 2008

This is my Granny, Laura Walker

This is my Granny, Laura Walker

Maybe it’s because I’m getting all sentimental since my Granny passed away this year, but I’ve been obsessing a little with my crocheting and knitting talents (or lack thereof).  Granny babysat me during the summer of 1987 when I was just six (turning seven that June), and taught me how to knit and crochet.  I must have made fifty random squares and circles using different stitches she had taught me.  Those squares were mostly used as coasters by my mother and step-father, if I remember correctly.  In the word of my mother, I “piddled” with the craft for numerous years, not making much of anything.  And for all of you who know me pretty well, you know that one thing that I do best is not finishing projects.  It wasn’t until I was pregnant with W that I made and completed my first crochet projects, two baby blankets.  I’ve continued to “piddle” with it over the last four years, but just recently got myself reaquainted with the craft. 

When Jeff & I took a trip to Vegas in April this year and was stranded in the Chicago airport for half of our vacation (That’s a long, frustrating story in itself!), I bought and read The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs.  It got me remembering how fun it can be to create something out of a cheap ball of yarn.  So I knitted a scarf.  Then I started another.  Then I searched the internet looking for charity groups that donate handmade items like scarves, hats and gloves to the homeless.  I found more deserving charities than I’d ever be able to help.  But a few in particular pulled at my heartstrings and I’ve now been obsessed. 

One group I have joined is called “Ameican Angels”. groups.yahoo.com/group/American_Angels_HeroghansIt’s made up of 56 women from all walks of life across the country.  We crochet or knit 12″x12″ squares in red, white and blue then attach a note of condolance for the family of a US troop that had died in the line of duty.  These are called “Heroghans”. We then send them to a few assembler volunteers in the group.  They attach fifteen squares together to make one afghan and get it to a family who has lost a loved one.  Seeing copies of some of the thank you notes received from the families is enough to make you cry.  I guess I’d like to think that a random act from strangers would give a little bit of comfort to a greiving family.  I was both proud and sad when I mailed my first two squares this week, as you can see why. 

A sample of a completed heroghan

A sample of a completed heroghan

Another group I joined is Warm Up America! www.warmupamerica.com   It encourages people to make various items like hats, scarves, gloves, socks and baby layettes to distribute to those in need locally.  I’m in the process of starting a group at W’s school to teach the older students to crochet for this charity.  warmupamerica-photo

 

 

 Yet another group I’ve become interested in is Save the Children’s Knit One, Save One campaign.  They distribute simple handmade caps to babies in third world countries that would otherwise go without.  And that can mean death for some.  The caps are sometimes partnered with basic baby supplies and given to new mothers in impoverished areas.knit-one-header

If any of you have a skein or two of yarn taking up space in the back of your closet and want to find a good use for it, please let me know.  I’d be glad to use them for the Warm up America! projects.

I finally have a blog!

November 21, 2008

 Hello, everyone!

This is my favorite picture of Jeff & me. (Grand Canyon 4/2008)

This is my favorite picture of Jeff & me. (Grand Canyon 4/2008)

 

 After a few friends asking numerous times why I don’t have a blog to post my crazy stories and kiddo pictures, I finally got around to starting this.  I guess I just didn’t think my life is entertaining enough for people to want to read about it.  And to my dear friend, Corie, please let me know if I do the English language a total injustice on here.  I’d rather hear it from a friend than a mean member of the Grammar Police Force. 🙂

If you’re reading this, you probably already know a little bit about me and my family.  I guess we’re the average family with two adorable little girls and one psycho cat.  My husband, Jeff, is an accountant and works downtown.  I’m a stay-at-home mommy that also babysits one sweetie pie of a little boy.  Between the three kiddos, I’m always busy.  I wish I could be busy doing more things like keeping my house clean and organizing this train wreck of a house, but I’m trying to let go of a little control and realize the kids and my family are my top priority.  What ever gets done, gets done.  What ever doesn’t, doesn’t.  Of course adding this blog is just one more thing to consume my time, but I think it’ll be fun and maybe even a little therapeutic. 

As far as my interests, I don’t think it’s any secret that I’m addicted to scrapbooking.  And the fact that I’ve recently aquainted myself with Photoshop Elements 6.0 means that I’m adding one more way to feed the addiction!  I say that I’m an 80 year-old trapped in a 28 year-old body–I like doing things like knitting and crocheting, gardening (when I can sneak in the time), and making a variety of crafts from silly stocking stuffers to stained glass panels.  Now that the kids are a bit older, it’s a little easier to sneak time away for these hobbies, but like most every one else, I’m always in search of that ever-elusive balance between family, work and personal time.

Bear with me while I figure out this whole blog thing.  Sometimes I’m a little technically challenged.  :)  I’ll be sure to add some pictures and thoughts on here when I catch another fifteen minute chunk of time!

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