Wednesday, November 26, 2008

wedding congratulations

Hearty congratulations to my youngest brother Eric and his bride Kelly, who were married last night and who will spend Thanksgiving with us tomorrow. Kelly brings three sweet boys to our family. I couldn't be more pleased to welcome them all, and I pray many, many years of happiness for Eric & Kelly.

thanksgiving blessings

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day here in the U.S.A. We're having the traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings (and 23 relatives) at my Mom & Dad's house as we usually do. I have already made my famous sweet potato souffle and creamed onions and tonight/tomorrow will put together some peach and berry crostata (recipe here) plus sauteed green beans (yum) and this fresh green salad (minus the turkey). We've also got a bake sale fundraiser for Relay for Life here at work which I made ginger bread and pumpkin bread for, plus an office snack potluck for which I made spinach/artichoke dip in a bread bowl. I do believe I've done my share of cooking for the time being.

That being said, I want to make a list of some things I have to be thankful for:
  • faith in God who sustains my life
  • living in a free country
  • a wonderful husband and three healthy boys
  • my loving extended family
  • my mother's successful surgery and recovery
  • two new sisters-in-law, 4 new nephews and a new niece
  • a job I enjoy
  • friends who love me and put up with my foibles
  • my art, which is better than therapy
  • this blog and all the wonderful new friends it has put me in touch with

Whether you're in the US and celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow or in another part of the world that doesn't observe that particular holiday, I urge you to be mindful of your blessings. Thankfulness is always appropriate.

Monday, November 24, 2008

weekend doings

It was my Saturday to work at the VAAM Gallery, so I took things with me as usual. I finished the felted bag I'd been working on. It turned out to be a clutch. My sister helped me choose the funky button decoration. It closes with a large snap.

This is a felted bucket bag I knitted to my own pattern. I'm really impressed with how well Lion brand 100% wool yarn felts. Every bit as good as spendy wool yarn and I can get it at Wal Mart or Hobby Lobby. The color of this is "cadet blue", with a plain black handle. Can't remember what the fuzzy stuff is.

Here are some cotton and bamboo silk socks I've dyed and have for sale at the Gallery. I took a bunch in weekend before last and they were almost gone by midweek, so I had to do more. I sold a couple of pairs on Saturday, too, so they seem to be popular. The bamboo silk kind of piques people's interest because they're a very nice sock, soft and very warm, plus people like the idea that bamboo silk is a sustainable resource. It takes the dye extremely well, too.

This isn't a good photo but it shows one of my handknit acrylic scarves. This was taken in 100% natural, brilliant sunlight streaming through the window of the Gallery, which shows what kind of weather we've been having. Gorgeous, in other words.

I'm busily knitting up the sari strips into a scarf for a certain sister-in-law's Christmas gift. I'll photograph it but maybe not post until after Christmas because if she's reading this I don't want to spoil the surprise too much.
Have a great week, all.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

knitting up a storm

I've made a few yarn purchases lately, on e-bay. This is a wool/silk blend. I love the colors.

This one is Icelandic wool. It's on my needles now, going to be a felted purse. It had to be pink, of course.

I was intrigued by this. It is strips of silk fabric, torn and tied together at the ends, for knitting. It is apparently waste silk that ends up on the floor in the process of making garments, etc. I like the idea of taking something left over and making something beautiful out of it. This will probably become a scarf.

I've knitted my mother a couple of chemo caps. She doesn't need them yet, her chemotherapy doesn't begin for another month. She continues to do marvelously, by the way, healing quickly and basically she's back to her routine. We will be having Thanksgiving next week at her house as usual, with about 23 people coming for dinner! I'm helping cook, so that will be fun.
Hope you're all having a wonderful week.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

and now for something completely different

I don't usually post cookery items on my blog but this was too good not to share. We had a church supper the other evening and I was casting about for something unusual with an autumn flavor. Since we were encouraged to bring recipes originating in other countries, I decided this Argentine stew in a pumpkin tureen about filled the bill in all directions. The recipe called for the stew to be made in a pot on top of the stove, then put into a hollowed out and buttered pumpkin shell (which my kind hubby did a bang up job on). The whole thing was then put in a slow oven and baked. It got a lot of attention at the dinner, I can tell you that! It was also delicious. The idea was to scoop bits of the baked pumpkin into the stew as it was being ladled out. I would definitely make this again.

Now for some craftiness. This is some luscious yarn I've been working with, 75% wool and 25% silk. I decided to try and make a felted handbag, so I knitted a rectangle....

...and then I got clever and decided to decrease at each end of each row until the knitting came to a point at the end for the bag flap. I think it worked rather well. This is the knitting after felting in a washer full of hot water with a couple pairs of slacks to agitate against the wool and help the felting process along. I will finish it with a large button closure, a felted strap, and maybe lining.

My mother, bless her heart, has done absolutely beautifully since the surgery. She's been up and around really since she came home on Tuesday, feeling a lot better than she had expected too. It has been a great blessing to have my sister around to look after Mom; the rest of us have been able to be easy in our minds knowing Mom was in very capable and loving hands. We've been out to lunch a couple of times and Mom and Sarah have been shopping--Mom looks really good, certainly not like someone who just had surgery last Monday! Again, thank you all for your kind thoughts, prayers, and concern. It really does make a difference to know you all care.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

mom update/drawing

Thank you all so much for your concern and kind words about my mother. She had her surgery yesterday, everything went very well, the initial report on the lymph nodes is that they were clear of cancer cells. She will be home later today (!) and my sister will be staying with her to help her for the first few days. We're very grateful that #1 the surgery is finished, #2 everything went well and looks good, #3 Mom gets to come home where she'll be very ably looked after by my sister (an R.N.--did I mention that part?), #4 Mom's pain seems quite manageable and she's in good spirits, eating, reading, generally taking an interest, #5 we've had so much love and support from our friends and family. My youngest brother and his girlfriend are here from KC and were able to be with Dad and my sis at the hospital as they waited through the surgery. I was planning on being at work as usual yesterday but Dylan got sick over the weekend--the first time this school year, which is remarkable for him--so I was at home yesterday.

That all being said, I completely forgot to do the drawing until today. I didn't want to wait until Dylan got home from school so I used this cool randomizer here and came up with the following result:

List Randomizer
There were 8 items in your list. Here they are in random order:
1. maureen
2. jules
3. viv
4. kate
5. bethel
6. julie m.
7. genie
8. robin
Timestamp: 2008-11-11 16:03:31 UTC

That means Maureen wins the bag, Jules wins the scarf, and Viv wins the embellished silk pillow. Congrats to you all and I'll pop them in the mail very soon. Thanks to everyone who entered. Hope you're having a good week so far.

Friday, November 7, 2008

happy friday

Nothing to report today really, but I wanted to remind you to post a comment if you want to be involved in my giveaway I talked about here.

Since I hate to post with no photos, here's one of the campus of the University of Kansas in the autumn. It's from the world of stock website, obviously.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

kansas sunrise

I had a wild idea this morning--get up early and run to McDonalds to pick up some sausage biscuits for breakfast (trust me, that's about as wild as my ideas get, but we like McDonalds breakfasts occasionally), and on the way home I was enjoying the sunrise so much I stopped and photographed it. That's a Kansas farmstead in the background, along with the ubiquitous telephone poles and an oncoming car with lights on. Oh well, you can still see the glorious colors of the sky and clouds.

I forgot to mention that this past weekend I participated in our town's Main Street holiday shopping kickoff. The Opera House and VAAM Gallery cooperated in a "Festive Holiday Market" featuring several artists' booths in the Opera House annexe and theatre lobby area plus a display of beautiful holiday table settings and other gorgeous decorations in the Opera House ballroom. It was quite well attended and as my booth was right next to the elevator I had a lot of traffic and good sales. One thing I sold was this hat which you may remember from a previous post. The young lady who bought it asked if I could make a scarf in the yarn I used for the stripes, so that's what's currently on my needles. Her sister wants a similar hat with a turquoise stripe so that will be next, followed by some chemo caps for my mother who will be needing them fairly soon. I've got some yummy yarns ordered especially for those caps.

I'm also planning to knit some wool purses to felt. More on that later.

Hope you're having a good Wednesday.

BTW, don't forget to go to yesterday's post which talks about my latest giveaway and send me a comment saying you'd like to be included in the drawing.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

bag giveaway

I've been feeling awfully thankful lately, for a lot of reasons. We've been blessed, so blessed, in our family and our friends, our church, our neighborhood, the kids' schools and work situations...I could go on at length. Anyway, I want to pass on the thankful theme by giving away a few things, among them the bag I made for the fiber workshop.

This is the photo I posted when I blogged about the workshop. The bag as pictured is not completed. The finished product has a tidier strap and more embellishment, including beads and other goodies. It's not large, probably 10 inches up and down and 8 across or so. It is lined and there's a little pocket inside, and it snaps closed with one big snap.

I'm also going to give away a hand dyed silk scarf in fuchsia red and tangerine, and one of my little silk velvet painted/stamped art pillows which can be used for a pincushion I suppose, or just for a cute decoration.

All of this giveaway will occur one week from today, Tuesday November 11, Veteran's Day here in the US, which reminds me of another thing I'm grateful for--my cousin who was fighting house-to-house in Baghdad not too long ago has returned safely home and was recently married.

If you want your name included in the drawing, please leave me a blog post specifically saying so and I'll put your name in the hat.

On a more somber note, my mother has had a recurrence of breast cancer and must undergo a mastectomy in a few days, followed by 4 months of chemotherapy. The earlier cancer was 10 years ago so this was a bit of a jolt. She's doing well though and just wants to get the treatment behind her. My sister, a nurse, will be here to care for Mom post-op, which is another thing to be really, really grateful for, as is the excellent medical facility and physicians involved in the treatment. We'd all appreciate your prayers and positive thoughts in our direction.

Hope you're all doing well today.

Monday, November 3, 2008


As promised, Halloween pictures. I was certainly colorful, that's for sure.

This was my favorite part of the costume, although they were NOT comfortable. I took my crocs along because I knew I'd want to change. I was right.

My fellow costumed ghoul here is my workmate, Rob, who is dressed as the Grim Reaper. I actually made his costume, out of a black bedsheet. Looked good, though.
We had lots of little goblins at our door on Halloween night. My oldest son took my youngest and his little friend out trick-or-treating while my second son manned the candy bowl and answered the door. Both of my older boys still like to dress up--Adam went in full military kit (he's a big WWII history buff) and Chris put on a black t-shirt with fake tattoo sleeves up and down his arms. By that time I had changed into real clothes and was nursing my poor fingernails from their assault by the long purple glue on nails I'd worn all day.
All in all, quite a fun day.