Sidelined : (

I have been sidelined from needlework!  I have arthritis in both thumbs that has plagued me for a number of years.  A twice a year cortisone shot in both thumbs when the pain gets bad has done wonders and has kept me happily crafting.

Since moving I’ve had to find a new orthopedist and two weeks ago had injections once again due to severe pain.  Two weeks later I’m still in overwhelming pain.  And because of that I can’t knit, crochet or needlepoint.  Needlework is what I’ve always done.  In the evenings while watching TV I most often have something in my hands I’m working on.  On long car drives if I’m not the driver I take something along. So, needless to say, I’m not a happy camper.  And I’m wondering what is next for these thumbs of mine. I have another orthopedic appointment on March 9th so we will see.

In the meantime my post will be about other things.  For instance:

This morning driving to work in a snowy white world I am reminded of how much I have experienced and grown in the last few months here in Nevada.

We moved here during the summer with temperatures in the 100s.  Today it is a cool 27 degrees.  A really cool 27 degrees.  In this last week we’ve had winds of 70 mph or more, torrential rain, sunshine and an overnight snowfall of 11.5 inches.  Coming from Napa in northern California this is quite a shock. I’m told that the winters are not normally this severe.  We will see when next winter comes next year.  But, at this point you have to wonder when you wake up day after day with changing weather if we may not just continue with winter the rest of the year.  I’m kidding of course but you kind of have to wonder.

However, we are not the only ones socked in with extreme conditions.  News reports show that my home state of California is so inundated with rain that the ground in some areas are giving way. After years of drought the ground just can’t absorb it fast enough.  California also has spillways that have not been used in years seeing an overpowering amount of water and causing one to break.  We/they need the moisture so badly but I feel like the ground needs a break to catch up.  Where my son lives 14,000 people have been evacuated because of flooding.  Where my daughter lives they had so much hail yesterday that it looked like snow. This extreme weather unfortunately has kept me from a few visits to see my kids in California.  So, I’m hoping and praying that this ends soon and is not as bad next winter.

Coming from a place that doesn’t see snow I have learned how to adapt to snow.  Its’ cold, I don’t like being cold. So now, I have a wool coat, lots of gloves, scarves and a brand new pair of snow boots.

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The first few snowy days my partner drove me to work. Now I feel very comfortable driving myself.  My little copper penny HHR does surprisingly well in snow and ice I’ve found.  Although, with a 10-15 minute drive to work the heater doesn’t fully get going until I pull into a parking place at work.  So on any given weekday morning you’ll find me in my office at my desk with a portable heater under my desk trying to get some warmth into this body. I’ve also shoveled snow, slipped around on ice and have found some little tricks to make taking off for work a little easier.  FYI: fill a tube sock with cat litter, tie it off, place it up on your dashboard at the window and forget about the inside of your window frosting up. It works!

I’ve also found joy in the little foot prints the rabbits make out in the snow.  So adorable!

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It’s all new, exciting, scary sometimes but overall I’m so happy to be here.  Let me just say that I will be so happy when I can hang my wool coat back in the closet, put my gloves and scarves away and don some flip-flops!  What a day that will be.

So, for now we bundle up, give my hands a rest until I see the doctor again and dream of stitching.

 

Stitch on my friends!!

 

Tracy

Busy Bee at work

If you have been reading my blog for long you know I struggle with finishing projects.  I get so excited about something new I want to make that I often times drop the current project to start another. Thus, too many projects half done to count.  Over the last month, however, I have managed to finish a couple projects (see On Pins and Needles post). I’ve also started and finished a couple projects and have one on the way to completion.

I cam across a cute unicorn crochet pattern from a site called Little Yarn Friends. I posted it on Facebook and said something like “I want to make this simply because it’s so adorable”. Which it is: tumblr_m53spxzhzu1r9eyk1

My brother said he would like one in Frankenstein colors with stitches and everything. So….. challenge accepted.

I was trying to decide if this little guy should be called Frankencorn or Unistein or something else.  But, when my brother received his little box in the mail with this guy in it he called it “Baron Hoofenstein, Undead Unicorn”. I like it.  He is definitely the more creative of us two  : )

Another little project was some crochet cabin boot slippers.  My brother shared it on Facebook and my daughter said she wanted some.  So…. I got out some flip flops, and aul, yarn and crochet hook and made these for her.

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The pattern comes from a website called Make and Do Crew. If you like crochet, they are worth checking out.  Anyway, what makes these slippers nice is that you use a pair of flip-flops to make the sole.  That way if you need to you can wear them outside.  I used Lion Brand Thick and Quick in the color Hudson Bay and buttons from one of my mom’s button boxes.  The flip-flops I got for $2 at Old Navy.  Oddly enough the first boot went really well and really easy but the second one I struggled with.  I think the reason for that is there is a right and left so it was a little difficult to get my head wrapped around the direction for the second one.  Anyway, put them in the mail on Thursday this week and my daughter got them yesterday so I can finally publish this post : )  She loves them by the way!

I just got back from Michael’s where I picked up some yarn (as if I don’t have enough) for a scarf project.  I’ll talk more about that later as it is a gift for my sweetheart.  And, I have promised myself I’ll finish up the needlepoint I’m working on before I start it.  More on the needlepoint in my next post.  I’ll just say it’s nearly finished and couldn’t be happier to be able to get it done soon.  Where I like the design I’m not overly fond of working with Persian wool.  So, to get it done would make me really, really happy!

So, off to a birthday party at a place where you paint and drink wine….what a great way to spend the afternoon.

Have a lovely rest of the weekend and do something creative!!!

Your stitching friend,

Tracy

 

 

On pins and needles

December 23rd and I am anxiously waiting for my children to get here.  Of course, they have not even left Napa yet but they’ll be leaving soon.  I try not to look at the weather reports showing snow and promising a couple feet of snow.  We’re not really used to the snow but I am quickly getting there.  However, the kids don’t do much driving in it in fair weather Napa Valley. As you can imagine there is a stark difference between there and here in Reno, NV.

I think you get the idea.

So I wait…..and worry….

I will be so happy when they are here.

Finished Projects

I am pretty stoked about my recent activity in stitching. I have finished two projects. The first one is a knitted in Caron Cakes  in purple hues.  I found out about Caron Cakes through The Crochet Crowd. The pattern is on the site as well but I found it on the band of the Caron Cakes I bought. Two skeins is all it took and it was really enjoyable to make.  If you would like to give it a try you can find the pattern here Triangle Shawl. Very easy even if you are a beginning knitter.

 

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Another project I finished was a crochet Corner to Corner throw. I used some Red Heart yarn that was my mom’s. She had an abundance of it so I thought that it would be great for this.  It was a little more advanced but not by much.  If you know how to chain, single crochet and double crochet you’ll do well with this.

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As you can see I had a “shades of purple” thing going on.  Something I discovered about my unfinished (now finished) projects.  Both were at the halfway point when I put them down.  Hmmm….. a pattern I see here.  Pun intended!  What was nice though is that because they both were basically corner to corner when I picked them up to finish them I was on the decreasing end of things so they finished up pretty quick. I’m pretty please with the end result and with myself for actually finishing some things up.

However, in a previous post I talked about Crafter’s Math  which if you have read that you know I’m not very good at math.  So…I have started a new project. Of course!  I won’t say what it is but will post a picture or two after Christmas as it is a gift.

Time to sign off and go to the window to check for the kids again. Safe travels to all who are traveling this holiday and to those who moms are waiting on.

happy-holidays

With love from your stitching friend ~Tracy

 

 

 

Road trippin’

A weekend adventure

This past weekend we took a trip to Napa to see our family and friends.  It’s a beautiful 3 ½ hour drive from Reno to Napa.  We had a really wonderful time and I miss everyone already.

We stayed the night there and on the way back we took a different route so we could go through Placerville, CA and stop by at Apple Hill. If you have never been to Apple Hill you have been missing out.  The first time I went there was about 30 years ago.  There were about 35-30 apple orchards in the hills of Placerville.  As time has gone by there have been more popping up and now the count is at around 55.  And those are just the ones registered with the Apple Hill Grower’s association.  There are others that are on their own.

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Map of Apple Hill. At just about every stop you can pick up a guide with map, recipes, event information, etc. Helpful to have. As you can see there are many orchards to choose from.

There’s not just apples either.  There are pumpkins, vegetable stands, museums, wineries, Christmas tree farms and berry farms.  There is so much! We are never ever able to see everything and have a tendency to go to our favorites.  But, it’s always a great time.  I can’t think of a time going there that we have come away disappointed.  Take the kids, take the grand-kids or just go!!  You’ll be happy you did. It can be a little crowded on the weekends but it’s still a great time.

Oh and did I say there are a lot of dogs?!  My partner, Lori, seemed to make friends with every dog she came across.

 

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Our goods from Apple Hill. Two bushels of apples, four pumpkins, walnuts and apple cider.

As you can see we’ll be busy making apple butter, apple jelly, some pies for the freezer and we’re going to try our hand at making apple cordial.  Pictures to follow once that is done.

From Apple Hill we continued on highway 50 through the Tahoe National Forest.  An incredibly beautiful drive.  The fall colors have finally emerged and everything is in hues of green, gold and red.  Everywhere we went we were in awe of the stunning foliage.  Fall is my favorite time of year and the colors that come with it are my favorite colors of all.  Along the way we even found a place we’d like to return to for a camping trip.  We’re close enough it could just be weekend away.  Add some fly fishing in and it would be perfect.

As you can see we packed alot into one weekend. Though I have a job I really enjoy I can tell you it was hard to come back on Monday.  I could easily spend my days in that country.  So, so beautiful. Makes my soul happy!

I suggest that before the season ends you visit Apple Hill and let me know in the comments your favorite fall things you like to do as well.

As always, thank you for reading and feel free to share this blog with your friends.

Stitch on!

 

Relieve my Guilt…..Please!

Relieve My Guilt…..Please!

 

A raise of hands please. How many of you stitchers/crafters have those projects that you just can’t seem to get done?  How do you handle that?

I have a needlepoint that I am trying to finish right now that is agonizing to get through.  I am determined to get it done as it is from a set of three stocking cuffs that I got with my kids in mind.  I have two done but this third one is just giving me headaches and I don’t like that.  I really enjoyed the first part which was a plaid design and I enjoyed the green. But, the black with the gold in it has given me fits.  I’ve even left the piece at work so I would take some time with it each day on my lunch break. Today I worked for about 15 minutes on it and was absolutely done and longed for some knitting.

 

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My thought at this juncture is that I will put it away with the idea of taking out the black at a later date and doing something else.  Maybe a different fiber, or different stitch or both for that matter.  I just don’t know.

So what do you do?  I know I’m not the only one out there that has multiple unfinished projects that they would like to finish and I’m sure I’m not the only one who has that project that begs to be finished but we just can’t get it done.

 

That’s my story for today. Short, a little rant maybe but just needed to share.

 

Thank you as always for reading.  I’d love to know your thoughts.

 

Stitch on my friends!

 

Tracy

Talent in the Family

I’ve got something to share. Once again nothing to do with stitching.  My brother, Kelly, is an artist.  Not just an artist but an excellent artist.  His style is extremely imaginative and whimsical.  His specialty is monsters.

You see, we grew up on monsters.  We saw all the movies, watched Creature Features on the weekend with host Bob Wilkins and were never short of imaginative stories often started by our dad.  Kelly has carried on that imagination very well and has let it influence much of his drawings.  A huge fan of Halloween, my brother, his wife Angie and their friends are known for costumes, decorations and most of all pumpkins.  They don’t just celebrate Halloween, they live it.

Kelly doesn’t just draw. He takes in information, mulls it around and creates some pretty amazing art.  Words don’t do it justice at all.

So, if you go to kellydoren.blogspot.com you will find a sampling of his work.  It’s fun. I especially love the 31 days of Monsters he does every year. There you will find out how much he is influenced by Halloween and Monsters.

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Check it out, drop him a line!  You’ll be glad you did.

Tracy  (Kelly’s proud sister)

PS. Keep on stitching, drawing, making music, whatever you do.  The world is better for it!

Sustenance for the Crafter-Oatmeal Jars

Not about stitching

Today I thought I would share some recipes for oatmeal jars.  I started making these several years ago and it has really made a difference in my breakfast routine.  When life gets busy it’s hard to eat well and even harder to get a good breakfast to start your day.  I started making these because we could just grab them and go.  I saw these for the first time on Pinterest and just altered them to work for my family. The recipes do make a good size serving which for some might be too much.  I’ve just recently started halving the recipe for half pint jars. Oats stay with you for a good long time so it’s a good way to boost your morning.  Try them and let me know what variations you make.  I’d love to hear about them.

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Half pint berry oatmeal jars

Berry Oatmeal Jars – Per pint jar

½ cup Old Fashioned Oats     150 calories

½ cup plain nonfat yogurt      55 calories

½ cup unsweetened almond milk   30 calories

½ cup frozen berries      35 calories

1 tsp milled flax seed     10 calories

Stevia (optional)        0 calories

Mix all ingredients together and put in pint jar. Refrigerate overnight.  Can be warmed up in the microwave.   Halve the ingredients if you prefer smaller portions for half pint jars.

 

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Pumpkin spice Oatmeal Jars – Per pint jar

½ cup Old Fashioned Oats          150 calories

½ cup plain nonfat yogurt           55 calories

½ cup unsweetened almond milk    30 calories

3 T pureed pumpkin      25 calories

1 tsp milled flax seed     10 calories

Cinnamon, nutmeg etc. to taste    Minimal caloric count

Stevia (optional)

Mix all ingredients together and put in pint jar.  Refrigerate overnight.  Warm up in microwave and stir. I top these jars with some walnuts before I dig in. Yum!

Halve the ingredients for half pint jars.

 

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Peanut Butter/Banana Oatmeal Jars – Per pint jar

½ cup Old Fashioned Oats          150 calories

½ cup plain nonfat yogurt           55 calories

½ cup unsweetened almond milk   30 calories

2 T PB2                45 calories

1/2 mashed banana       50 calories

1 tsp milled flax seed     10 calories

Stevia (optional)

Mix all ingredients together and put in pint jar. Refrigerate overnight. Warm up in microwave and stir although just as good cold.  Halve the ingredients for half pint jars.

♥♥

Notes:  I make my oatmeal jars up on Sunday evenings for the whole work week.  The only one that really doesn’t do well days in advance is the Peanut Butter/Banana one.  If you want to make that one up for the week I would leave out the banana until you are ready to eat.

You’ll see I use almond milk.  Less calories, less sugar.

PB2 is a great substitute for high fat/high calorie peanut butters and works better in the oatmeal jars because it’s easier to stir in.  However, I’ve seen people use other nut butters as well.

I hope you get a chance to make and enjoy these jars.  I look forward to eating them every time I make them.  Don’t forget to let me know what variations you come up with!

 

Have an oatmeal jar today and keep on stitching!!

Tracy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gift of a Craft Room

If you’ve been been following for a while you know that I moved from Napa, California to Reno, Nevada.  Huge move!  Most wonderful move!

So, we’re all settled and that is good.  Job is going well and things are just the way they should be.  One of the biggest things that has happened since being here is that I was gifted with a craft room.  My partner has a pool house that doesn’t get used anymore (although the pool does!) and gave that room to me so I could turn it into a craft room.  What a fantastic gift.  Turning the pool house into a craft room has not been without it’s challenges though.  It had become a catch-all of sorts.  So, working among boxes of craft supplies we first worked to clear the stuff out that wouldn’t be staying.  Here are some before photos:

Yes, quite a mess. And overwhelming.  Much of what I have as far as craft supplies go is what came from mom’s house when she passed away.  It got boxed up a little over a year ago and I just haven’t had the space to get it all out and use it. It’s been a mixed bag of emotions seeing all the stuff that mom and I used to use together.  I’m very excited to have it accessible and hopefully mom will be proud of the things I create.

My method for organizing my craft room was to have it in sections.  I have a corner for sewing machines and fabric.  Another corner holds yarn, patterns, hooks and needles.  There is a counter that I’m using for my large format printer (hopefully I can find the power cord for it), my standard printer and the Cricket. I bought some drawers for rubber stamps, ink pads, embellishments etc. A table where it all happens and because every crafter needs sustenance and music, I set up a table with a Kurig and room for snacks and a record player my mom got me for my birthday a few years back. I topped the whole thing off with some wall art and I can tell you I’m so excited to have some time to go out there and create!

This is how it turned out:

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I’m so very happy with it.  There are a few more things I would like to do to it but I can go out there, make a cup of coffee, turn on the music and make some magic happen.

A funny thing…..got everything unpacked and put away and then found a rubbermaid tub and a couple bags of…..wait for it…….more craft supplies.  Of course!!!  My mom used to tell me if I needed craft supplies come to her house first because if she didn’t have it, the craft store probably didn’t have it either.

Well, time for bed and dreams about yarn, fabric, ink and paper.

Stitch on my friends wherever you may!

Nighty-night!

 

 

A Lesson in Crafter’s Math

Here is some instruction on how to add up your craft projects.  

5 WIPs (Works in Progress) and determination to get them done before starting another project.

Whoops!  A friend is having a baby, must make a baby blanket.   Add one more project.

Baby blanket complete and was soooo much fun to make.  Browsing baby patterns.

Almost finished with one WIP (needlepoint). Browsing Keepsake Needle Arts, Herrschner’s, etc.  Fall is coming, I think I’ll just buy a canvas and set of four counted cross-stitch patterns.  I will not start them until this WIP is complete.

Needlepoint WIP complete. Oh look! I love this crochet afghan pattern.  It won’t take long to work up.  I’ll just slide this in between WIPs. But, once I finish this one….Definitely going to finish the other 4 WIPs.

Do I now have 4 or 5 WIPs??

Crochet, crochet, crochet…..This is bigger than I thought.  I’ll just take a break and work on a WIP. This is not grabbing me much either.  

O.k. I’ll just do this tiny counted cross-stitch pumpkin.  

Alright, maybe I’ll do two. You can’t have just one of them done.

Back to afghan.  Love these colors.  I’ll just finish this up pronto.  It’ll look nice draped on the couch.  I wonder if there are any pillow patterns in this stitch.  Then I could use the same color to make those?

Hmmm….running out of yarn for the afghan.  Google search to see if I can find more.  Oooo, look at that yarn.  That would make some nice socks. FOCUS!! We are only looking for what we need to finish the crochet afghan.  O.k. I’m going to just get two skeins of sock yarn as well.  And a pattern book…And…

Cleaning the craft room.  Look here!  I forgot about this WIP.  I think I started that when my youngest was born. 17 years ago? Really?  I’ll get everything I need together to finish it and put it with my other WIPs.  Hmmm.  I’ll need some more Kreinik #8 in Emerald High Lustre to finish that. I guess I’ll need to take a trip to the local needlepoint store. Oh darn!

I think I may be down to 3 WIPs.  I’ve been doing a lot with all these projects.

Oh hey!! Another baby.  Off to the craft store for yarn because none of the 32 skeins of baby yarn will be quite right.

I know you can relate.  I do admire those who are working on just one project at a time.  Those people… you know who they are… pick a canvas and fibers or pattern and yarn and start the thing and work on it until it’s finished before starting a new project.  Either they are focused or just really bad at Crafter’s Math.

Thank you for reading! BTW, still not sure how many WIPs I have. ☺

Stitch on my friends

New Beginnings

I have been thinking a lot lately about new beginnings.  The last couple months have seen a lot of new beginnings, fresh starts, etc from the people I love.  A big one for myself involved moving from California to Nevada.  Two weeks in and I know it was meant to be.  I’ve been through some “fresh starts” only to find out it wasn’t everything I thought is should be.  This is different.  It feels comfortable, natural and wonderful. Everything leading to this moment just fell into place so easily.  It was truly amazing.  I’m not the only one who has had some new beginnings.  My son has graduated from fire academy and has accepted a position in another city.  His boyfriend also accepted a position with a major company in California. Now they have a home together.  Some big changes for those two right there. My oldest has a new apartment, new routines and is doing so well. I am so happy for her.  My youngest of the three graduated from high school in June and will start college this month in Nevada.  Big changes!  I, myself, started a new job at the university here.  That was a hard one for me.  I left Napa to move to Reno to be with my fiance, but in the process had to leave some people that left indelible footprints on my heart from my previous job. And  I left behind family and friends that I really enjoy being with. I will find ways to keep in touch with everyone but am happy to say after one week at my new position I know I work with a great bunch of people.

What got me started thinking of new beginnings is a crochet project I’m working on.  My daughter’s friend Michael and his wife are expecting their first baby. Big, wonderful new beginning for them. We have known Michael for many years so I thought I would make a baby blanket for the little guy, Baby G. I started knitting one in a really pretty mint green but then on one of the many drives between Napa and Reno during the move I decided to go in a different direction.  Michael and his wife are huge Dodger fans.  So, I put the mint green blanket aside and picked up some white and royal blue Caron Simply Soft yarn to make a star blanket.

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It is the Crochet Star Afghan from The Crochet Crowd.  I have been following them on Facebook and they really have a wonderful variety of patterns. This one you can make any size you like.  So, beyond a baby blanket it could be made big enough for an adult. I’m enjoying this pattern. After about five rows I didn’t need to look at a pattern anymore so this has been a nice project while watching the Olympics.

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And so it grows.  The yarn is so soft and I really like how the star is turning out.  A star blanket for the little star of their lives.  Baby G is due in September so I have some time but am hoping to finish it up this week. That way my daughter can take it to the baby shower.

New beginnings, big changes, fresh starts…  We have them throughout our lives. Some seem scary at first but end up being some of the best things in our lives.  I hope your new beginnings are filled with excitement and growth!

Keep on stitching through it all!

Tracy