Friday, June 30, 2006
It's better to give than to keep

Last night I decided that I needed a hat. I wanted to make one in cotton so that it wouldn't be too hot to wear in Florida. I found a cute pattern, and added a few rows since cotton doesn't stretch as much as other yarns. Well, it came out cute, but a bit too cute. It's a great hat for a young girl, but not so great for me. I think things happen for a reason - I would have worn it once and then it would have gotten stuck in a closet somewhere. A girl at the cancer center, though, might wear it more often. I'm sending this one off to Roswell in hope that someone there will like it and wear it.

Thursday, June 29, 2006
I survived.
Yesterday I had my Moh's procedure. I'm so glad that hubby was with me, because truth be told, I was pretty darned nervous. Luckily for me, they didn't have to cut much at all, so the area is pretty small. Because it is on my face, and its specific location on the side of my nose, my best option for "healing" was a skin graft. Again - not a big deal, but it made me rather nervous. So I have stitches on my nose where the graft was done, and more stitches on my ear - the donor site. Luckily the bandages are a nice neutral color, so they don't clash with my shoes and bag.

Considering everything, the whole thing involved very little pain. The shots to numb the area were the worst of it. Today I feel like I've been punched in the face. Just sore with an occasional stab of pain. I feel really lucky though. I had a really good surgeon who I trust, my sweetie was there with me, and there are no ongoing health issues involved.

The bad part was that I brought my crochet, and wasn't able to do any!!! Here I thought I would get some work done. I don't know what I was thinking. When I got home I took a sleeping pill and was pretty much out for the count.

I'm not allowed to exercise or do anything strenuous for the next week, so I think I'll take full advantage and be a real lady of leisure. Looks like a lot of crochet time for the long holiday weekend.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Want fries with that?
This afternoon I go for my "filet-o-face". I think I mentioned that the pesky thing on my nose turned out to be something that's got to go, so today I go in for a Moh's procedure. "When it's got to go, get Moh" - I should have worked in advertising.

It's a very minor procedure that shouldn't take long at all, but anything that involves a razor blade and my face makes me a bit nervous. Didn't sleep well at all last night, so today I'm a bit punchy. I think I'll sleep well tonight.

The good news is that my honey will pick me up from work at noon, so rather than work, I'll have an afternoon with my sweetie. I packed a book and a big bag of crochet, so hopefully I'll make some good progress on the baby blanket.

Monday, June 26, 2006
All you need is love

Today is my anniversary. Four months! I'm so lucky - I married a really wonderful man. He's kind, and smart, and funny, and I'm so very very happy to be sharing my life with him.

He's so supportive of everything I do - including my crochet habit. In fact, when it comes to my yarn "problem" he's quite the enabler. Yesterday we went to Michaels. I wanted to buy a few colors to make another baby book ( I decided to give the first to his niece since I know what her baby's name will be and can finish it now, and make a new one for my niece to match her nursery colors). I have a self-imposed rule that I can not buy more yarn until I use up a lot of what I have. Well, he thought I should buy two skeins of everything - just in case. Then he thought I should buy another skein of the baby yarn that I'm working with ( an on-line friend is expecting a little boy any day now) - just in case. Then there was another kind of yarn that he liked and thought I should buy - just to see what it looks like. $50 later we're going home with a BIG bag of yarn. It's really nice that he is so supportive of my hobby.

So - current projects. Personalize the book I made, a new book in new colors, baby blanket for friend, bookmarks for shower, arms legs and ears for Gerry bear- and whatever else comes up.

I'm a happy hooker! Happy Anniversary, Honey!

Thursday, June 22, 2006
Oh Baby!

After some frustration and struggling, I finally finished the baby book I was working on. It's not perfect, but it's not bad for a first attempt, and I learned a lot doing it. I'll try to make another "perfect" one soon.

First thing I learned - haste makes waste. Measure as you go. It's not entirely my fault. I didn't buy the book for inside until I was halfway done with the cover, and I worked on the cover while out of town when I didn't have a ruler - ergo - the cover was too small. I compensated by adding the white band to the right side. Later I'll sew on letters to say either "Baby" or the baby's name.

The frame on the front is for baby's photo, and inside there are pages to record all of baby's firsts.

Now that I learned the hard way, this book won't be hard to make, and I think it is a nice personal gift for expecting parents.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Have you been listening?
Last week I went to the dermatologist and told everyone how important it is to go for an annual body check. Yesterday I had a mammogram and told everyone how important it is to stay on top of your health and get the regular check ups that you need.

Now I'm back harping. The dermatologist office called me. The thing on my nose needs to be cut some more. This is no big deal (unless he tries to give me stitches in which case he will need a tranquilizer gun - but that's his problem, not mine). The point is that it was caught early so it can be removed without being a big hairy deal.

So, at the risk of being annoying - I'm going to repeat myself. TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY - it's the only one you've got, and you shouldn't take it for granted. :)

The good news is that I will spend half a day at the docs office next week. I shall bring my hook. Should be some good crochet time in there! :-)

Monday, June 19, 2006
Mammogram Monday

So today was the big squish.

You know what? With the new technology and the new mammography machines, it's really not that bad. I know - it's not fun to stand bare-chested with your breast squashed like a pancake, but it really doesn't hurt like it used to. I wouldn't call it fun, but about 3 minutes of discomfort is nothing if it can help you detect and deal with a problem early.

Ladies - if you're 40 or older go for your annual mammogram and pap smear. Gentlemen - encourage the ladies that you love to get their regular exams - and get yours too.

Breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, skin cancer - all of these can be easily detected early if we just follow the recommended tests.

Cancer can effect anyone- men, women, even little kids. We all have the ability to lower our risks. I make a lot of chemo caps. I hope that I never have a need for one myself. Hope you don't either.

Sunday, June 18, 2006
I get by with a little help from my friends
And I get a pretty new blog look with a lot of help!
Thanks to the patience and generosity of a friend, I got a new look here at my blog, and I love it!!! Thanks so so much! I'm so lucky to have great friends!!!

Well, today wasn't a productive day for crochet. Didn't get much done, but that's ok. Took care of some other things. I did want to try Tunisian Crochet today. I bought some Tunisian (or Afghan) crochet hooks recently, and wanted to try. Tunisian crochet it a method where you work the piece on one side only. From right to left you load a lot of loops onto the hook, and then one by one you remove them from left to right. Once you get the hang of it, it's pretty easy to do, and it has a neat and completely different look than traditional crochet.

The hooks I bought are huge, and I don't have any really chunky yarn to practice with. Just for fun, I took out some thin crochet thread and a tiny hook and practiced with that. It's so small and delicate that I can't get a clear photo to show it, but I love the look. When I get my yarn stash down - way down - so that I can buy more yarn, I'm going to need to try playing with Tunisian. Until then, I may play around with thread. I like the look. :)

Simple instructions for Tunisian / Afghan Stitch can be found here (scroll down towards the bottom)

Saturday, June 17, 2006
Get the Funk out of my face
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

"Get the funk out ma face
Get the funk out ma face
You don't like my music
You don't have to use it
Funkin' is a thing that all of us release
You don't have to get it
All you do is let it
Then tell us our funk did you some good "

by The Brothers Johnson

Today I was in a bad funk - stressing over decisions, frustrated with my crochet projects ( my brilliant idea from yesterday is less brilliant than I had hoped). A gray and rainy day. Hubby and I ran out to the supermarket and while waiting to make a left turn, we looked to the right and saw a woman without an umbrella sitting at the bus stop in the pouring rain. She was drenched and the bus wasn't in sight. Hubby is an angel and couldn't stand seeing her get soaked, so we made a quick right turn and asked her where she was going. She didn't speak English, but she managed to communicate that she was taking the bus to the mall. We told her we would take her. She didn't want to get into the car - not because she was scared of us, but because she didn't want to get the car seat wet. We let her know that a little water wasn't going to hurt anything, so she got in. The mall is only a few miles away, and that's where she could transfer to the other bus. It was no big deal for us, but it seemed like a big deal to her. With the few English words she knew, and the few Spanish words that we knew, we managed a conversation. She was so grateful, and this tiny, easy little act of compassion, made such a difference to her. I had 3 umbrellas in the car and gave her one to keep when we dropped her off at the mall. She was so appreciative and we felt so good that we could help her out.

When we finished our errands and came home, I put aside my projects and made the blue chemo cap in the photo to send to the pediatric oncology unit at Roswell Cancer Institute. I was going to start another hat, when there was a message on one of the Yahoo groups that I belong to. A young single mom has a newborn who is full term, but tiny. She doesn't fit into any of the newborn clothes that she had, and the mom's aunt was asking if anyone could help with preemie clothes. I was able to quickly make the little preemie dress in the picture. I don't know if it will fit her, but if it doesn't it can go to another preemie.

Sometimes the best way to get out of a funk is to do something nice for someone else.

Friday, June 16, 2006
I have to THINK????
So I've been working on the cover for the baby book, and I must say I'm loving the look. It's an easy pattern and it looks so nice. Last night I got to the last row. Then I pulled out the book that it will cover.

Not long enough - no problem. A few more rows will actually make my stripe pattern better. This is a good thing.

Not wide enough - problem. Think think think....

Hubby suggests starting over. NEVER! If I frog it, I'll have lots and lots of short strands of yarn that I won't be able to do much with.

I re-read the pattern - for the 8th time, and I still don't quite get how the edging works - as a matter of fact, the pattern doesn't include the ruffle in the photo. That's minor - I can wing that, but what to do about the width...

Think think think......ok - I'm a genius. If I edge both sides and use the edging to wrap around the book cover, I actually have a solution that will look good and that will be easier! Leave off the ruffle on the cover and just do the ruffle on the photo "frame"!

Yes - I realize that until I post a photo, this makes no sense to anybody. The think is, that I had to THINK! I crochet to relax - not to think, but you know what? It was actually fun to come up with a solution! I did it! I can do it.

In no way is this my own design. I got he design on the web and its a GREAT design. I never even imagined a book cover as a project. But figuring this out was really satisfying and might be the first step towards starting to maybe think about perhaps, maybe, doing a design of my own. :)

Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Who's behind that mask?

Kristie, who was nice enough to let me test her cat pattern, just let me test her new raccoon pattern. I hate to praise my own work to much, but I just LOVE him! Honestly, he was easy to make - Kristie's patterns are great!

Thanks Kristie!

Let's connect the dots

Today I went to the dermatologist for my body check.

So many freckles dots and blotches. He asked if I had any concerns and I showed him the new marks on my body. I didn't like his responses - liver spot (Eek!), age spot (Eeek!), some fancy name for red dots and marks that spring up anywhere (Eeeek!) - and those he tells me I'll get more of because they're genetic (Thanks, Mom). Soon Hubby will be able to play connect the dots.

So all the little marks I notice are fine, but then looks at the side of my nose. "How long have you had this tumor?" Tumor???? I thought it was a pesky pimple. Well, it's gone now - off to the lab for biopsy. And I look so very attractive with a Band Aid on the side of my nostril.

I'm sure it's nothing, and if it is something - it wasn't around for that long so it will be easily dealt with. The point is, its important to get checked yearly. Six years ago a routine body check with the dermatologist caught a very very early melanoma that was cut out before it even looked dangerous.

Life is short and should be enjoyed. So pardon my preaching, but do what you can to protect yourself. That means a healthy diet, exercise, sunscreen, but also the annual medical checks - pap smears, mammograms, dermatologist checks (prostate exams for the guys). These tests save lives!

Tune is next week for Wormie's mammogram memories.

Monday, June 12, 2006
Hi Alberto
Growing up in the North East, I used to look forwards to Spring in Summer. Now I'm in Florida. No such thing as Spring and Summer is miserable. We have 6 months of wonderful winter weather to help us forget about summers and hurricane season. It's hot and humid, and Hurricane Warnings have been posted for Western Florida.

I'm in South East Florida, so this won't be bad for us, but every hurricane is bad news, and nobody is ready to deal with another six months of this. To everyone in Tampa and Western Florida - good luck - hope its not a bad one.

So, I've got my lanterns and my propane stove, and I have a lot of Yarn just waiting to be crocheted.

Sunday, June 11, 2006
Oh Say Can You See

Fellow Crocheters Rejoice!!! The product we’ve dreamed of is here!!!

Lighted Crochet Hooks!!!

Now you can crochet where it was never possible before, and the gentle glow
of this crochet hook illuminates your work without disturbing others.
You'll never drop another stitch because of poor
* while watching tv at night
* in bed
* concerts
* as a passenger on the bus, train or car
* movie theater
* around the campfire

Yippie! It always bothered me when I go to a concert and they turn the lights down low! Movie theaters, too – I mean I pay over $7.00 to get into a movie, and I can’t even see my stitches!!!

Now I love crochet as much as any other hooker, but let’s be serious. When I need to crochet at the movie theater, I go prepared. Miner Helmet - don't leave home without it.

Saturday, June 10, 2006
UFOs and WIPs

Nope - not some kinky alien party - just some crochet "lingo". UFOs are unfinished objects. WIPs are works in progress. I generally try to just make one thing at a time, but lately, I've been doubling up. It's not yet a problem, but I feel like I haven't completed anything lately!!!

I mentioned earlier that I'm making another bear like Lulu for my niece's expected baby. This is him - Gerry Bear, but right now he looks sort of like a Stumpy. I must give him ears, eyes and legs. This pattern isn't hard, but the legs require a lot of counting and concentration. I got them with Lulu bear, but with this soft and fuzzy yarn it is really hard to count the stitches properly. I've made and frogged (another crochet term for unravelling a project - "rip it, rip it") several legs. Tomorrow I will try to sit down and get some real legs made, because I think Gerry will be adorable if he ever gets done. Right now he's a soft and huggable blind baby harp seal.

I was in Vegas for 5 days last week on business. Got a bunch of bookmarks made and started working on a baby book that I'm really enjoying. I'll post photos eventually - that will be a time consuming project, but if it comes out right, it will be nice.

So I have my UFOs and my WIPs and I feell guilty that I haven't done any charity work recently. It's hard out there for a hooker. ;-)

Friday, June 09, 2006
More things that I don't get
Truck Balls. These aren't knew. I remember seeing them when I was much younger, but, in my innocence, I always thought they were some sort of counterweight balance for the truck hitch. It never occured to me that people would want their trucks to have artificial testicals.

Can someone explain this? The link says that they are:

a visual means of expressing the driver's masculinity

Huh? Can somebody explain that one? I'm really at a loss! Seems like a way of expressing the driver's juvenile sense of humor. You don't see women attaching artifical breasts to their cars, do you? Of course, some men might like that.

Thursday, June 08, 2006
Is it so hard to be nice?
One of the things that I love about crochet on-line communities, is that people are, for the most part, really nice. They help each other, they compliment each other, they are giving. It's refreshing.

I'm really starting to think that the world is becoming a meaner place. Some of it may be the evolution of on-line communication; it seems that people say whatever they want without consideration for others. People state opinions as facts. They call others stupid or ignorant. They just aren't able to edit themselves as they would in a face to face conversation.

Politics - whew! We've always had a bi-partisan system, but I can't remember another time when the nastiness between the two parties (and some of the smaller parties) was so obvious and cutting.

This is MY blog. I can say whatever I want, but I find myself censuring myself in hopes of not offending anyone who might stumble across something I write. Then I go to some message boards and feel like I'm walking through a minefield with explosions possible everywhere.

Truth be told, we all have opinions, and we're entitled to them. We need to be able to say them nicely, and we need to not be super-sensitive to what others say or write on the web. I've made comments in this blog about not liking Fridgies and Toilet tissue covers. I think they are silly. That doesn't mean that I don't respect the work that other people do and recognize the talent that they put into their crafts. Not everyone is going to like everything.

There is a blog site called What Not to Crochet. This blog bashes what the blog owner thinks are dawg-ugly patterns. I know that some crafters feel it is mean-spirited and horrible. I think its a riot. The writer is funny! Now, if I designed something that was bashed on the site, I might not be so amused, but I hope that I would be mature enough to realize that the comments are just somebody's opinions and that the comments say nothing about me or my skills. I read that site and laugh until I cry. Sometimes I think the design is ugly - more often I think the color choice is unfortunate or the modeling is absurd.

So what am I rambling about? I just think it would be great if people made an effort to be considerate. And on the opposite side of the coin, I think we would all be better off if we weren't super-sensitive and didn't take a strangers opinion personally. If we like who we are and what we do, what should somebody else's opinion matter?

Some of my friends will laugh if they read this, because I tend to be super-sensitive, but I'm working on it. Even the great Wormie has turned out some butt-ugly projects.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Hookin' in Sin City
I just returned from a four day business trip in Las Vegas. Others go to Vegas with as suitcase full of skimpy clothes and a wad of cash to gamble. Me – I go with a knitting tote full of yarn and crochet hooks. Sure, I lost some money. I did go see a show (I just LOVE the Blue Man Group). I met friends for meals and a few adult beverages. I went to my meetings, I did my jobs, but had it not been for my yarn and hooks, it would have been a Loooong trip.

I finished a lot of bookmarks and started the cover for a baby book.

Got hook – will travel.

Thursday, June 01, 2006
Things I don't get
I "get" the love of crochet. I have that need to pick up a hook and yarn and make something. I understand the appeal of crochet - how it is relaxing and productive all at once. I've felt the pain of crochet withdrawal. Yet, there are things that I just don't get.

Fridgies. I don't get "fridgies". It is only fairly recently, when I started spending a LOT of time surfing the web for crochet "stuff", that I heard the term "fridgie". I don't think that this is a term that most non-crafters are familiar with. Apparently, a "fridgie" is a little crochet thing that you can stick on your refrigerator - what I might refer to as a magnet. I have magnets. I understand the importance of magnets - sort of. I just don't get crochet "fridgies". With all the great stuff there is to crochet, I can't see investing my time, energy and yarn in a "fridgie". Just the name "fridgie" sounds so frivolous to me.

And what on earth did people crochet before the days of AOL? Do you have any idea of how many crochet projects there are involving CDs? I am convinced that these designs are a direct result of continued unsolicited mailings of AOL trial discs. We don't use them - or we do, and then we're stuck with them, so we are supposed to crochet around them and make coasters? Why? Or crochet around a bunch and attach them together to make a pretty little basket? Why? I'm all for recycling, but I have no problem throwing out old AOL discs and saving my yarn for things like sweaters, hats, animals and blankets.

Fridgies and CD crochet. Just two things that I just don't get.