2012 Ups and Downs

2012 is over and done.  It wasn’t a bad year.  Lots of good things happened with the bad and I’m thankful for all of it.

Probably the biggest thing that happened was figuring out my soy allergy/sensitivity.  Call it what you will, but I’ve been doing fantastically since cutting out every last little bit of the nasty substance.  Only once in a blue moon (I’m talking really only once every 2-3 months) will I have an episode and only after eating things that I know I shouldn’t eat!   I’m really glad that Darling Hubby was able to figure it out and that it wasn’t milk.  Despite the friendships I lost during the whole brouhaha, I feel I’m better for having the whole thing happen.  I’m feeling better overall.  I don’t wake up feeling like crap every morning and don’t go to sleep in pain every night.  And, it was all because I simply changed my diet.  Who’d have thunk it?

Another good thing that happened was that I learned how to knit socks.  I’ve made 14 pairs of socks since the start of March.  They are all pretty simple socks, but I love them simple. I’m not a real fancy lace and pattern girl.  I even challenged myself to do some unusually constructed socks like the carousel socks and the sideways socks.  Unfortunately, I didn’t finish the Owlie socks my friend Barbara and I started as a knit along.  I just had a bunch of other projects come up that took precedence.   I wear a knitted pair of socks practically every day and most members of my family have received a pair of socks at some point.  The only one who hasn’t is Fidget…

Another good (and bad) thing was that I opened my own shop on Etsy.  It’s been open since April and I’ve only had one online sale and that was a custom order for a friend…but, the recipient of that custom order Cthulhu hat is delighted with it, so that’s what really matters.  I will admit that most of my sales have been off etsy to friends or at the craft fair I did in September with some of the girls from the library knitting group.  I made 3 blankets for a friend from back home for her to give for Christmas gifts.  I also made another blanket for someone at the knitting group at the public library after she fell in love with one of the 3 that I made.  I haven’t had much time to do my own knitting lately because I’ve been doing projects for the shop.  I’m still excited to have the shop open…I’m just a little disappointed that it hasn’t done as well as I’d hoped.

Another good thing is that I went to Rhinebeck for the first time for the Sheep and Wool Festival.  It’s where I got bitten by the spinning bug.  I came home with a drop spindle and taught myself to spin yarn on it.  Of course I couldn’t just stop with that.  I’ve fallen in love with wheel spinning.  I’ve been getting better by leaps and bounds and just learned how to Navajo ply and I might even list this most recent yarn in my etsy shop (if I can talk myself out of keeping it!)  I’m hoping to save up enough money to buy my own wheel at some point.  I’ve tried a Kromski Sonota and an Ashford Kiwi and so far I really like the Kiwi, despite the nasty creak that it has in one of the treadles.  But, I’ve heard that Ashfords have a tendency to creak…lol

The bad was, thankfully, few and far between.  Things didn’t really start to get bad until November, which seems to be a pretty crappy month for many people.  Darling Hubby was off for the week of Thanksgiving and we woke up that Monday to a very cold house.  Despite the fact that the furnace was running all the radiators were stone cold.  Turns out the circulator pump blew and a day of waiting for the technician to come to fix it and $700 later we had a warm house.  Thankfully we have the wood fireplace for back-up warmth…then, Darling Hubby had to have his car inspected and that needed $400 worth of work…so in 2 days we’d spent over $1100…and we hadn’t even started to buy Christmas presents.

Probably the worst and absolute last thing that happened in 2012 was that on New Years Eve around 9:30 pm, our little dog Spiral passed away peacefully in her box.  It’s something that we’ve been expecting could happen at any time due to her age and health, but it was pretty sudden how it happened.  Literally it was she was alive one minute and gone the next.

We came home early from a New Years party, Darling Hubby walked the dogs and I started ushering the kids upstairs.  I filled the dogs water bowl (both dogs were happy and dancing around) and headed upstairs to do the bedtime routine while Darling Hubby went out to plow out the bottom of the driveway, thanks to not 1, but 2 plows coming through right after we got home.  Anyway, Fidget left his new Buzz Lightyear downstairs and wanted to sleep with it, so I went down to get it.  I noticed Spiral was laying with her nose down in the blanket and not on her paws like normal and I got no response when I called her name.  I’d seriously only been upstairs 10 minutes.

It came as a complete shock to both me and Darling Hubby as to how sudden it was, but like I said it was expected.  We’d had her for over 9 years and she was estimated to be around 2 when we adopted her.  She had bad teeth and a severe heart murmur that had progressed into congestive heart failure where she was constantly coughing, but she was still active, ate well and seemed happy.  I’m thankful that she seemed to go peacefully and that she’s in a better place and has hopefully been reunited with her best friend, Grace, who passed away nearly 2 years ago.

So, the bulk of 2012 was good (oh, and I should add that we didn’t die in the apocalypse that didn’t happen!)  I can only hope that 2013 is even better!

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Making It Work

For Christmas I got an MP3 player from Darling Hubby.  It’s something that I’ve wanted for a while now and I’m really loving it.  It will help me get through the boring chores like folding laundry, dishes, sweeping/mopping, etc.  I don’t have a radio in every room and I usually do my cleaning while Fidget naps, so I tend to try to stay quiet.

So I have this tiny little MP3 player, cute purple and blue earbuds and Outlander the Musical to rock out to while I’m cleaning.  For those of you who enjoy Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, Outlander the Musical is a musical adaptation written to go along with the first book.   I love it, except for the woman they chose to do Jaimie’s sister Jenny’s voice…she sounds like an elderly Chinese woman, but I digress.  I can sing and dance around while cleaning and no one is the wiser.  🙂

Another perk of having a little MP3 player is that I can use it in my car.  The only down side is that it won’t work in my car…For some reason when I plug it into my USB port in my car I get nothing…I called the dealership and brought it in to be looked at.  They deterimed that the UBS/AUX port wasn’t sending signals to the stereo, so they ordered the part to replace it.  I had the new part installed yesterday and when I went out into the parking lot and tried it before I left, it still didn’t work, even though they assured me it did.  The tech ended up coming out and taking a look with me.  They only tried it with an auxilliary cable and his smart phone and not a USB cable.  I know my USB cable isn’t faulty since it works with my computer to both charge the player and transfer data.  After a few tries of him running back into the shop a couple times (which I felt bad about since it was like 20 degrees out and windy) for a couple USB cables he determined that it just wasn’t working.

He ended up taking it back into the shop and looking at it again in the warmth and decided that it’s possibly the radio not receiving the signals from the port.  He did tell me that this was an updated port since the original model that came with the car had a tendency to malfunction…Great!  Our next step is to order and install a whole new radio…Which means another trip and time spent waiting for that to be installed  (at least I was able to get 4 rows knitted on my Bella Sweater and read a little of A Breath of Snow and Ashes this time around.)  I’m hoping that this is the last time…It’s starting to seem silly to go through all the trouble just so I can have a little extra music, but it would be nice to be able to switch between all my music without having a ton of cd’s clogging up my glove box…

The car is 16 months old, so it should have worked from the get go, but I had no way of knowing since I never had reason to use it.  The only good thing is that it’s all still under warranty, so I don’t have to pay anything out of pocket…or you can believe that I’d just say forget it.  Hopefully this time we can make it work…fingers crossed for me.

Food for Friday! 11/21-12/4

Monday – Steak, carrots, rice
Tuesday – Craft Night – Rose’s turn to cook (probably Hamburger Helper for home)
Wednesday – Bacon and French Toast
Thursday – Chili with tortilla chips
Friday – Friendly’s for dinner followed by Lights in the Park
Saturday – Tacos
Sunday – Christmas Dinner – Rotisserie Chicken, Rosemary Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes & gravy, Crescent Rolls and homemade cranberry sauce

Monday – Chicken Soup
Tuesday – Craft Night – my turn to cook – Barber’s Chicken Cordon Bleu, Fries and veggies
Wednesday – Mini Calzones
Thursday – Game Night – Chicken Alfredo
Friday – Sausage, biscuits and gravy
Saturday – Fend for yourself/leftovers
Sunday – Fend for yourself/leftovers

Hats Off!

At the beginning of the month one of my Craft Night friends and her sister-in-law planned a trip to a LYS called Common Thread Saratoga.  Carole (the sis-in-law) found this yarn shop in Saratoga, NY and thought it was different and knowing my friends yarn crafting habits, thought bringing her up there to buy her birthday and Christmas presents would be fun.  I tagged along in the hopes of finding some yummy yarn.  I can count the time I’ve used the really expensive and awesome yarns on well one finger!…pretty much all of the yarn in my stash is acrylic or wool/acrylic combined.  Not that there’s anything wrong with acrylic.  It’s great for items that need frequent washing  or things that are difficult to wash like baby blankets, large blankets and sweaters.  It’s just not yummy yarn!

While we were in the shop I fell in love with this Misti Alpaca Hand Paint Chunky (100% baby alpaca) yarn.  Oh. My. God!  This yarn is so soft and squishy and, like the clerk said, it’s like knitting with a cloud!  I didn’t have a particular pattern in mind when I set foot in the shop, but one of their display hats caught my eye and I was in love.  It was a bulky snowboarder earflap hat with braids.  It was exactly what I was looking for!  I ended up purchasing the pattern (at around $5.50) and 2 skeins of the alpaca yarn (at $22 a skein!) in a variegated green called Midsummer’s Night (CP25) that matches the bright green of my winter coat.  I’ve never bought yarn that cost that much…much less 2 skeins of it!  Thank goodness for credit cards! lol

I had to wait about a week before I could start on the hat for myself…I had to finish the project on my circulars before I could start anything new.  I have a set of Boye interchangeable circulars and I was using the smallest length for a scarf that is a Christmas presents for one of Bug’s teachers.  I also had to pick up a set of size 15 dpns and I ended up going up to the other LYS called Trumpet Hill because Joann’s (despite me having a 50% off coupon) just doesn’t carry needles that big.

I finished the scarf on Thursday the 8th (I’ll post about those Christmas presents later) and started the Snowboarder Hat (for Everyone) on Friday.  I was worried that I wasn’t going to have enough yarn since the pattern calls for 130 yards of super bulky yarn and together the 2 skeins of Misit Alpaca were only 110 yards and only bulky, so I would have to hold them together to get gauge.   I figured worse case scenario I’d go back up to Trumpet Hill to get a contrasting color in the baby alpaca they carry for the border and braids.  Turns out I had nothing to worry about.  The hat is such a quick knit and the alpaca was like knitting with a warm fuzzy cloud.  The only downside is that it shed quite a bit, but I didn’t mind!   I ended up making the braids holding the yarn single stranded rather than doubled and I’m sure that saved me a bit of yardage at the end.  I actually love how it came out!  I wish I had more of the yarn leftover so I could make a matching scarf or some mittens.  It’s the most expensive (and luxurious) hat I’ve ever owned.  Seriously, I’d never buy a hat that cost nearly $44 bucks in a store!  It cost as much as (if not more than) the 2 new pairs of jeans I bought last month!  I’m looking forward to wearing it every chance I get this winter!

I seriously loved the pattern so much that before I was done making mine, I bought yarn to make more and I’ve made it twice since!  Once for Bug and again for Fidget.  Bug's HatI picked up some Lion Brand Home Town USA yarn in Cinncinati Red and Oakland Black at Wal*Mart for less than $3 a skein when I had to buy a replacement Christmas tree stand for out 8 year old one that cracked.  Two Skeins of Red and one black was enough for me to make 2 hats and have enough left over to probably make one more child size one.  Bug’s hat is red with a black edging and red and black braids (that’s the one that’s pictured).  Fidget’s took some modification to make it sized down for an 18 month old, but I did it (the mods are written on my Rav project page) and it’s also red with black edging and has black braids (mostly so I can quickly tell which hat is which.)  Now if I can just get Fidget to keep it on his head when we go outside!  lol

Since pretty much everyone in my family has new hats, (except Darling Hubby who has a perfectly good earflap hat (not made by me!  GASP!)) I think it’s time to go through all the hats in storage and wash and donate the ones we really don’t need.  I know I have at least 2-3 hats and a couple scarves that I haven’t worn in forever…Guess it’s in with the new and out with the old.

I’m Thankful For…

This week was spent mostly with my little family of 4.  Darling Hubby had the week off from work and Bug had Wednesday through Friday off from school.  Darling Hubby, Fidget and I did a little Christmas and clothes shopping on Tuesday and on Wednesday I went to Bug’s Parent Teacher Conference.  I’m thankful for my sweet, sensitive, and super smart six year old.

Thursday we made the 2.5 hour drive to visit with our parents and Darling Hubby’s Grandpa and various Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins.  It was actually a relatively quiet (compared to past meals with 30+ people) and was enjoyable.  I even tried a new food – orange jello with carrots and pineapple.  It was interesting and good.  Fidget was eating it by the handful!  There was some drama brewing, things not meant for the public, but everyone managed to get through the day without saying something they’d regret.  Despite all the ups and downs and the drama, I’m thankful for my family.

Grandma M & The Boys

Grandma M, Bug and Fidget

Bug, Fidget and Great Grandpa

Great Grandpa, Bug and Fidget

We also visited my parents.  By the end of the day Fidget was tired and cranky from not having a decent nap, so he was pretty cranky.  I tried to get pictures of him with his brother and grandma, but he wouldn’t cooperate.  I did snap this picture of Bug with my mom.

Grandma R & Bug
We came home late Thursday night.  Fidget was exhausted despite sleeping for at least an hour in the car.  He went right to sleep.  Bug insisted on a chapter from Harry Potter and ended up not going to bed til 9.  I was thankful for some quiet time with Darling Hubby.

We stayed home Friday and Darling Hubby and Bug hung the Christmas lights up outside.  Darling Hubby followed Bug’s orders for light placement and it actually came out looking pretty good.   Saturday, we decided, was going to be our own Thanksgiving.    Early afternoon we ran out to get some more outdoor Christmas lights and the fixin’s for dessert.  Around 3, Darling Hubby and I cooked a 13lb turkey (using Alton Brown’s recipe – you must do this with your next turkey!  It’s so darn good!), stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, crescent rolls, cranberry sauce and french cut green beans.  I also made a peanut butter cup pie for dessert.

Sunday we decorated inside for Christmas with a Christmas candle burning and some Christmas music playing on the tv.  The tree is up, the stockings are hung, the wreath is up and the garland is on the stairs…the only thing I need to get out is my winter Eeyore collection to go on the stairs.

Fidget helping decorate

Fidget Helping Decorate

My only task between now and Christmas is to keep an 18 month old Fidget from destroying or breaking any ornaments!  At least I don’t have to contend with the cat in the tree…she prefers to sleep under it or on the radiator behind it.  And yes, we did decorate while still wearing out PJ’s!  I just wish I could put some presents under the tree…we just know they’ve never survive til Christmas.

Bug putting the Santa on the tree

The Two Best Presents!

The Two Best Presents!

Finding The Time

Finding the time to either blog, read or craft always seems to be the problem.  There are never enough hours in the day to do everything that needs to be done and do all the things I want to do.  Like knit or read (I’m currently on book 6 of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.  If you don’t know about this series you should go check it out.  Seriously!  It’s about a hot Scotsman and there’s some time travel, too!  Picture Chris Hemsworth (Thor) with red hair and a kilt!  Meow!  What’s not to love!?)

I was sick Tuesday and yesterday with a weird stomach bug, so things have started to pile up and I have no motivation to take care of any of it now, despite the fact that Darling Hubby’s game group (I don’t play anymore) is coming over tonight.  (ETA – I did manage to get everything accomplished before everyone arrived and I fed everyone dinner, too.)

There’s still a ton of things around the house that should be done like sweeping and mopping, dusting, folding the clean clothes…but if I spend all my time cleaning I’ll never have time for me or my family.  Sometimes I just want or need to sit on the couch and play on the computer or knit.

I did find the time to knit a little this past weekend.  On Friday I started a ScWiNoNa scarf for one of Bug’s 1st grade teachers for Christmas.  I was looking for something that was kinda mindless and easy and would work with the yarn I have. All of the patterns I tried wouldn’t work either because I didn’t have enough yarn or because the pattern was too complex for my liking.  The ScWiNoNa actually matches the slanted raised rows in the Divine Hat that I crocheted a couple weeks ago (I’m making a hat/scarf set for both of his teachers.)

I’m hoping to get this first scarf done within the next couple weeks so I can start on the 2nd one.  I’ve got to get them done before Bug gets out of school for Christmas break.  I’ve decided that I’m not making crochet or knit Christmas presents this year.  They aren’t always appreciated (which breaks my heart) and I just don’t have time this year.  I did make a couple necklaces as gifts, but aside from that everything will be store bought this year.

For now I’ve got a few minutes of downtime before I have to get the kids to bed…now to decide if I want to knit or read…