Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Out with the old....

I can't believe it's the end of 2003. Time has gone by so fast and the past year has been full of both triumphs and failures - all of which held a good lesson or two.

I'm not much for resolutions, but this past week has been a time of reflection and need for change. So with that, I've set some new goals for 2004:

**No new patterns of ANY type - sewing, crochet or cross stitch
**Very minimal craft/needlework purchases - this is a use up my stash year.
**Minimal amount of seed purchases - I need to use the older ones up.
**More canning and freezing and more make-a-mixes. I'm tired of the substandard items I've been purchasing and paying high prices for.
**Better gardening techniques. I gotta get off my duff and weed more!!
**More prayer and Bible study time. I see things fall apart when I don't take the time to Walk with the Lord.
**Back to Family game night - we lost this in the hustle and bustle somewhere.
**Work harder with the children. When I slack off with them, they slack off.
**Less computer time. Yes, the online world has entranced me more than it should. I've dumped a lot of my lists - and there are still more I can do without.
**Tidy up the house. We are in such a small house that anything out of place makes it messy. Time to start sorting and throwing all the clutter.
**With no buying patterns and minimal amounts of needlework plus cutting back on the grocery bill, we should have more $ to put away in savings. I'm hoping at least $50 a month to go there.
**Learn a new craft and try something I've always wanted to do - I'm going to try quilting and make a rag rug. That should put a dent on the sewing stash I have in the attic.
**and finally - lose 30 pounds. I think that is a realistic goal. I could use more off, but 30 is a good start.

Hmmm - that should just about get me back on track :-)

Tonight we are having a nice turkey breast, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy and corn. The kids have been drooling all afternoon as they smell the turkey cooking. Tomorrow is the traditional pork and sauerkraut with mashed potatoes. We add hotdogs and bacon to the pot right after the rue is added. It is the tradition of my family - handed from my grandparents and from theirs, with the saying that a person who eats pork and sauerkraut on New Years day, will not go broke during that year. So far, it's worked for us. LOL

With the hopes of new beginnings, I have been watching my favorite heirloom seed site for an updated catalog. Today Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds had their 2004 catalog online. I was looking for a couple of things, and found them. It was hard keeping the purchase to a minimum - so many wonderful and unusual seeds!! I did well tho :-) Jere has a cool bean called the 1500 Year Old Cave Bean. That bean seed was found in a sealed clay pot in New Mexico, and was carbon dated to find it was about 1500 years old. It was planted and found to still be viable! I had heard about this story a while ago, and was thrilled to find seeds of this bean!

So many of the seeds that our grandparents planted in their gardens cannot be found any longer. Heirloom seeds are a passion of mine, because they are just a small piece of history and heritage I can hand to my children. We grow and save what we can. We are always trying new seeds and it's a fun hobby for my son. He's met some wonderful people along the way, one being Brook Elliot who writes for such magazines like Mother Earth News and Heirloom Gardener. Brook and my DS write back and forth, and he treats DS like he's a person instead of a preteen. He takes my DS's hobby seriously and helps him with finding seeds. DS has a growing collection, including some seeds that have been traced back to those that Thomas Jefferson had. He swapped in a seed exchange, and these seeds have come from the family that had originally swapped with Jefferson. Tons of history - tons of cool facts - and lots of great veggies to boot! Coolest thing was finding out what a great gardener Jefferson was. Amazing! And they never taught us that in school. Such a pity!

This new year will be bringing lots of good changes to our family and again pointing us back to our roots. I need to simplify things here and I hope that the changes will make our quality of life better. I miss the farm life - and will just do the best here with what we have.

May you have a wonderful start to the new year.
and in the language of my roots:

German: Prosit Neujahr
Polish: Szczesliwego Nowego Roku
and American: Happy New Year!!!

Monday, December 22, 2003

Not much to report today. I finished a preemie blanket, and made a preemie hat to match. I found it in a bag almost done, so instead of moving the bag again, I just finished it.

I'm on DD's hood now. Since doing socks, my picking up stitches is neater and more evenly spaced, but I always like a neater appearance than I get. It seems I can always find fault with my spacing.

I spent the night getting packages out and packed in the van, and making sure I've cataloged what each box has in it. The van is much fuller than the picture I posted a few days ago!! I hope this makes everyone's Christmas enjoyable.

I heard about the earthquake today on the news. My heart goes out to everyone that has been touched by that quake. It has hit at such a bad time with the holidays. But then again, when is a good time?

I still have baking to get done and wrapping as well. I hate wrapping and always put it off to the last minute - then DH feels badly and he helps out. Who says procrastination doesn't pay? :-)

Sunday, December 21, 2003

We took the kids up to my brother's today to let them go help pick out his Christmas tree. They always have such a blast doing anything with my brother because he's just so "cool". Amazing - I never thought of him being "cool" while growing up! LOL Nayhow, they will be staying there for the next few days and we'll all celebrate Christmas there.

While they were out hunting for the perfect tree, I ended up staying at the farm with my Dad and DH. We had a nice visit, and while we were talking, I ended up making 7 preemie hats. I don't every go anywhere without my yarn and needles anymore. Any time I can, I try to get a few stitches in. :-)

I finished the sleeves on the LB Hooded Sweater. Now I need to just do the hood and sew everything together, and I'll be finished. I'm sure this will be done in time, and I know she's going to be happy. She was so disappointed when she found her last Hooded Sweater I made here was getting too small.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

We finally got to pick up the kids' projects that they made at the Corning Glass Works today. They came out beautiful! I had to clean out a shelf in my display case so that I had a place to show them off.

The trip to the Glass Works is well worth the time and money. The kids had a great time and didn't want to leave!

I finished the afghan and am very pleased with the results. I wish I had kept track of where each square came from, as I think it would have made this a bit more interesting. I had a hard time trying to get the whole thing in my picture. I didn't realize it was as big as it ended up being, until I laid it out.

I'm almost done with the sleeves for DD's sweater and was amazed at the color difference between the two sleeves. Both are from the same dye lot, but I wouldn't believe it. Too late now - must continue and finish. Hopefully one won't notice because of the amount of distance between the 2 sleeves when they are on the sweater.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

I have finished putting my brother's afghan together, and am now weaving in the ends... and ends.... and ends... and ends.... OMG! There must be close to a thousand or at least it sure seems that way. I hate ends, and every block I traded for came with them hanging all over, or if they were woven in, quite a few of them came apart. So, I'm doing most of them over, if they look the least bit loose.

I had to make a trip up in the attic to see if I could find any more black yarn for the border of the blanket. Oh goodness! I found something very important out - NEVER store your acrylic yarn in a dark place next to other acrylics. They multiply like nobody's business!!! Those shameless skeins! And here I was planning on trying it use it all up in afghans, charity items and misc things next year- but after viewing what those naughty things did, it's going to be near impossible to wipe them out in just a year. SIGH....

I was at my brother's the other day, and we had a really nice time just hanging out and enjoying country life. That spoiled brat of a brother of mine gets to see a sunset every evening. Ah, what a lucky guy he is! We have mountains all around us, so we never see it rise or set. Just have a look at what he sees all the time:

Of couse, my picture doesn't do that sunset justice. It was just breathtaking.

Well, enough gabbing for tonight. I've got to get back to the blanket and start weaving in those ends in again.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

FINALLY!! A post that is going through! I kept getting internal server errors every time I've tried posting since my last entry. I know my blog isn't the most exciting, but it must be worse than I thought when even the Blogger software rejects it! LOL

The pending holidays have kept us busy!! Packages come in every day from AC4C for the St. Anthony's Center. Here's a pic of the second load that went down this morning:

It amazes me how generous people are. All those packages have beautiful handmade items and/or purchased items to go for the Christmas Eve dinner and party that the Center puts on.

Well, our hunters didn't bring any venison home this year. Saturday was the last day for deer, so we'll have to wait until next year now.

I'm about 1/3 of the way on the sleeves of the LB Hooded Sweater for DD. I'm working them both at the same time. Seems slower going, but I like having them done together. No second sleeve syndrome that way :-) I'm also working on a large afghan/blanket for my brother. For the last couple of years, I've been swapping 6" squares to make a friendship afghan. I am now putting that together and have some of the verticle seams to stitch up yet, then the border and ends to weave in , and it's done. I put a black border on each square before stitching them together and it really makes the colors stand out. What a bright and cheerful blanket it has turned out to be!

This next week is going to be busy finishing all the projects I've got on the needles. It's amazing how fast time is going!!! I really love it, tho.

I was going through all my patterns and yarn plus other craft stuff and I made a comment to my DH that I really need to go on a pattern diet. That man just about laughed himself silly. "So you don't think I can go a year without buying a pattern?" and his response was "ABSOLUTELY NOT!" - sounds like a challenge to me.... So I'm on a pattern diet. Not a cent is going to be spent on a pattern of any type over the next year. I'll show that boy :-)

Sunday, December 07, 2003

I received my first request to send out an angel for Angels for Hope today. I'll have it done tomorrow and in the mail by Tuesday. I've also got a package of preemie hats that needs packed and sent. Hopefully, I'll have that out on Tuesday also.

DS and DH are still at my brothers. We'll be picking them up tomorrow. DD doesn't want to, though. She says she's been having so much fun with just "us" here. We've been watching movies, eating popcorn, playing games, and all that great one-on-one stuff we normally don't get to do. I think I'm having as much fun as she is :-)

I unknitted the seam on the LB Hooded Sweater and knitted it correctly this time. I'm knitting the sleeves now - both at the same time. They always seem to go so much faster when I do them together, than when I do one at a time. Nothing else much to report. I spent most of the time today "playing" with DD, since it's our last day alone without the guys. I don't know who is more disappointed that this is coming to an end - her or me!

Saturday, December 06, 2003

So, where are my entries again? Ahhhh - long story, but to make it short, we tried a new ISP to save $. Well, you know the saying, "you get what you pay for"? Ahhh - that's what we got. :-( I tried posting a few times on here and the page would come up unavailable, I'd reload and everything would be gone! I did that a couple of times and then realized that it was our new ISP and not Blogger. We had problems with email, the newsgroups, bringing up pages - oh what fun. But everything is back to normal now. We are going with our old ISP.

I finished DS's Weekend Sweater all except for the grafting of the underarms. I was lucky and he didn't realize what I was working on the other night. He thinks that what I had was black, white and gray. HAHAHAHA!!! DD's Hooded Sweater now needs a bit of . I have the front and back done, and did the 3 needle bind-off - came out nicely, except it was done on the wrong side. See what happens when you watch those sappy Christmas love stories and knit at the same time?!! I decided it was enough and went to bed.

A couple of FO's to report - 2 more preemie hats and a hat for DD. I got the Gotcha Covered free project sheet from Red Heart and made an adorable hat for DD using Red Heart's Baby Clouds . It wasn't the easiest to use, but it came out so cute! DD loves it and says it's really warm.

DH doesn't like his scarf - like that's news. I told him he doesn't want a scarf - that it won't meet his needs, but he insisted, and now he's not happy. Oh men! They can't be told a thing, can they? Back to the drawing board again. I did inform him that I won't be getting it done this year. I've messed around with his pickiness too much as it is, and I need to get the Christmas stuff done now.

No pics for a bit - my brother has borrowed the camera for a while. He got a new pc that was supposed to be HP camera ready, and believe it or not, it's missing the driver needed for his camera. AND to get the driver, they are charging for it! So much for camera ready!!!! In the meantime of trying to decide what to do, he's using ours. I had no idea I used it so much until it wasn't here.

I'm trying to decide how to log my projects that I've finished. I hate having to go back through the archives to find out information - plus some of the things don't have all the notes I wish I had put down now. I'll have to just sit down and try a few things to see how they work, instead of just thinking about it.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

A good mail day today!!! I received my auction winnings (2 of the 3) and am very well pleased! The Knit Kit was the same thing I bought my mother years ago. It was in perfect condition - absolutely new and still sealed!!! That was like seeing an old friend come in the mail :-) I've been enjoying going through it and can't wait to get into the meat of the book. There's a lot on designing in it. Wonderful!!!

The other auction I won was a lot of 40 patterns. Only a couple listed in the description, so it was fun going through the "grab bag" assortment. I was far from disappointed. Beautiful patterns!!! I had well over $100 worth for the huge bid of $1.99. There was the right place at the right time scenario.

I did 2 more preemie hats today, and I got about 2-1/2 inches more done on the Weekend Sweater. I'm so close to getting it done. I got the second decrease around the yoke done tonight. I was knitting happily away watching TV when DS came out of his room to get a drink. BUSTED! I'm sure he saw it, but I'm so hoping that it went flying out of sight fast enough. If not, oh well - he'll know one of the things he's getting for Christmas. It gets harder every year to make things to surprise the kids. The get wiser as they get older! (well at least in the snooping aspect) LOL

Monday, December 01, 2003

No venison for my freezer - yet. With the price of beef going up, I'd welcome a deer or two.

I'm going on a yarn diet - actually I think a stash diet. I've got enough in my stash to keep my busy for a while. I need to start whittling that down some. I look at it all and feel guilty. I certainly don't want to put myself in the same trap as I did with my cross stitch obsession. I was a professional cross stitcher for the last 15 years, doing models for designers and shops, and my excuse for buying it all was I needed to be familiar with the newest stuff. HA! (liar, liar, pants on fire!!) Now I'm slowly destashing, as there is no way I'll ever be able to make everything in 5 lifetimes! I'm finding that it's difficult to get rid of my stash, though. It's like I have a personal attatchment to them, but too much stuff makes it difficult to keep a clean house. I really need to downsize. And not just a little.....

The boxes are coming in for the St. Anthony's Center. I've got a bunch in the middle of the living room ready to get taken down. The members of AC4C are doing a wonderful job at sending things! The kids are having a great time helping catalog everything that is coming in, and they are anxious to go to the Center to take the things in. I hope that they will continue to help those that need it after they grow up and leave home. We are talking about getting more involved at the center - doing some volunteer work, but am not sure if the kids are too young, though. Besides, it will have to wait until we get our other vehicle fixed and back on the road. DH had an argument with a deer a bit ago, and disabled our van. I really haven't missed the second vehicle, but there are times it's nice to have.

I can't believe that Christmas is almost here. I'm finishing up on my list. Most of the things are handmade for family. We still need to bake and wrap things for those bachelors on our list. They love getting cookies, candy and other things they don't take the time to make for themselves. I have one cousin that lives totally on take-out. And a SIL that can't cook or at least won't.

I'm working on preemie hats right now - found the cutest pattern for one that gives many options on how to crochet it. They work up so quickly and are just adorable. I did 3 preemie hats up today. I also made an angel and 3 butterflies for Angels for Hope and it appears that they all have homes already.