Sunday, July 31, 2011

Prayer shawl

..As you know, I like to crochet...

and I like to make things that I give away...

I like to pray while I crochet..... thinking about the person who will wear or use what I make...

With that in mind, understand that prayer shawls (and blankets and scarves) are something I have been involved with for a long time.

Once upon a time :-)

I tried a new pattern...

It was really pretty...

Funny thing is that I followed the instructions but it turned out really big

I mean REALLY big...

I finished it anyway... and looked at it...

and looked at it....  thinking seriously about ripping it out and making another one...

But for some reason....  I added it to the stack of prayer shawls at my church.

I've thought about that shawl a lot over the last couple of years.... and kept meaning to get it back

and re-do it....



But God's ways are not our ways....

and we have to have faith that our efforts are good

we have to have faith that God has a plan for everything... even when we can't see it


While I was in church the other day,

I noticed a woman across the church from me ..wrapped in a crocheted blanket....  it gets really cold in the summer air conditioning..


While I was checking out the crochet (because I can't help it).... I thought... I remember making something that color...  oh my goodness!  You know where this is going, don't you?


It was the shawl I made......  and it was absolutely perfect for that woman...

If I, in my unholy perfectionism, had torn that shawl apart to make something else, that particular woman would not have had a shawl to fit her.

Not my plan..... God's plan....

Have faith!  God has a plan for you and all you do!

It is not only good enough.... it is perfect!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

2011 Mid-Year Goals.. or a refinement of 2011 New Year's Resolutions!

      My family gets amused at my personal need - this year - to set goals and make progress.  I think though, that as a homemaker, I get very pre-occupied with the day-to-day activities and needs of others.   It is too easy to let days slip by in a haze of food prep, errand-running, homework doing, vacuuming, laundry, paperwork.. and whatever other chores crop up.  I LOVE my job as homemaker... but I see a need to be a dreamer and planner of where I and my family will be as time goes on.  It is true that my actions of today build the foundation of my tomorrow.  And as a homemaker, the tone of the household really depends on ME!  That makes my activity a lot more critical in the bigger scheme than whether or not a toilet gets cleaned.

All that is my premise behind constantly reviewing and re-doing my resolutions / goals!  Now - on to the meat of the matter:

    I have been working hard on this list of resolutions and getting nowhere pretty quickly!  Yikes!  I seem to be ready to spend a WHOLE month making a LIST.  So now that July is virtually over... here is my game plan!

I have incorporated the same topics as I started with - but have added my family!  They should have been on the list in the first place but I did not make a WRITTEN priority of it!

 I am committed to making more lists - but mostly because my first 6 months resolutions were pretty vague.  I need some specific goals to work toward.  I have accomplished a lot this year already compared to other years and am thrilled to have a record of it!   Now I can do a better job of deciding what needs to happen next to get where I want to go!

As you read my list - start one of your own - or tweak it - or dream about it.... Where do you want to be in a year?  What do you want to have accomplished?  What could an outside person do to help you get there?  Share!  There is nothing quite like helping someone move toward their dreams!

1.  Make peace with food... and find balance!
Continue with health - food and exercise patterns until I can find something that works consistently.   Continue internal work identify / dealing with issues standing in the way.

2. Make time for - monthly gatherings with whichever family members are available.
                       - monthly OUT-ings with my husband... just the two of us :-)
                              Try to send random 'no reason' cards as time goes by.

3.  Spend a little spiritual time each day connecting with God and self. 

4. Catch up / stay current:
   habit of daily writing (includes blogs)
   Dishcloth Challenge
   photo scanning
   Bread Adventures
   Train for 3Day in Washington, DC in September

5.  Add ONE new project monthly for blogging (and fun!) purposes - kombucha, herb drying, crochet with plastic, loom knitting (and not sure what else)

4.  START lists for 2011 and 2012!  Set goals with these lists and begin the journey.
          unfinished projects - to begin finishing up or tossing
          financial goals - work on with husband & set some goals for year end - and next year
          house maintenance list - set some goals for year end / and next year
          Set up pages for lists to keep accountable with financial, decluttering & house maintenance goals

5.  Working with my husband, begin thinking about and planning for the next 20 years.  We are within 5 years of traditional retirement age and, by no means ready!  We have been busy raising a family.  We need to spend some time dreaming and plotting out some goals for the next year, 5 years, 10 years, etc.
         
6.  Crafting :
         *determine annual goal for lovies  hat-scarves - prayer shawls & get moving on it
Operation Christmas Child – 5 lovies per week (225 by Collection week) (116 so far)
Hats 4 the Homeless – 4 hats / month (48 hats)  (5 so far)
Library hat / scarf sets – 2 sets / month (24 sets)  (4 so far)
Prayer shawls – 1 shawl / month (12)  (0 so far)

        these goals were set BEFORE I got myself embroiled in the dishcloth challenge so they will need to be re-assessed!

          * continue work on random gifts determined at beginning of year :-)
           * continue making things for grandgirls!
           * keep up with crochet gift needs - fill from unfinished projects if possible

Friday, July 29, 2011

I Can't Do That!

How often do you say that?

Do you mean it?

I mean... WHY can't you do things?

Are you too old?  Too thin or fat?  Too many children or responsibilities?

Do you not know how to do something?  Is that why you CAN'T?

Do you think people will laugh or think badly of you?

I'd like to suggest that perhaps


You've simply decided


that you CAN'T.


As I get older, it seems easier to sit back

and allow others their opportunities.

It seems easier to sit back and bemoan the FACT (?)

that I CAN'T do whatever it is.


The REAL fact is..... that it only SEEMS easier.

Because while I am busy

'CAN'T-ing'

I am miserable.

I am depressed.

I don't understand why I'm so tired.... when I am not doing anything extra to make it so.

I feel OLD.

So.... it's not really easier to CAN'T, is it?

Today

Just once

I will silence the internal nay-sayers

and get UP and say

just once

Okay.... I CAN figure this out....

I CAN find a way....

I CAN try :-)

What I CAN'T do is live a life where I myself have stunted my own development and blamed it on others.  What I CAN'T do is limit my own life because of fear or laziness.   What I CAN'T do is settle.... close my own life to new hopes and possibilities.

I want to live a life of CANS....... not a life of CAN'Ts...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Bread Adventures (Batch 8) Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day: The Discovery That Revolutionizes Home Baking Follow along with me as I bake my way through Artisan Bread in Five Minutes. a Day.  It really takes very little time - I am thrilled with the results!

This week I moved on to semolina or durum flour.  I've heard of this one - they make pasta from it.  While I did locate it in a store - hooray! - it comes in small package that holds about 3 cups.  This was just enough to use for one batch of dough - I managed a pizza, a calzone and a loaf of bread.



I tried the recipe rustic Wild Mushroom and Potato Pizza Provencal. .... with sliced red potatoes & mushrooms with shredded parmesan.... not bad but I'm not sure it would be a family choice.  The boys looked at me like I was insane :-)  I added onions because we like them and the pizza seemed a little bland ....  I think I could do this again with different veggies for myself and my husband.. the new potatoes were yummy... but on pizza?  It's a bit of a stretch for us!  But the flavor of the crust was unbelievable!








To reward the boys for trying the potato pizza, I also used the dough to make a calzone... stuffed with sauce, pepperoni and cheese..  Nice and traditional.... (and, she says smugly, demolished!)










..and then a sesame seed studded loaf just for fun. 


This beautiful loaf is my husband's favorite so far :-)



   I will need to hunt a little more to see if I can find semolina flour in a little larger quantity.  We really liked it for pizza crust but need to find a more cost effective way to purchase it!

Have you checked this book out yet?   I still can't believe I can turn out beautiful breads with MY schedule!

Try it from your library first..... if you decide to purchase it from Amazon.com, please click a link on one of my bread blog pages - usually the title of the book or the cover graphic.  Thanks :-)

Crochet post! Dishcloth Challenge #103 through 110 & more

  Last week was so busy!  With one son at a workcamp fixing houses, and one at home to enjoy... it was a full one!  We are also slowly working through changing up the house a little to accommodate my two young men as they grow into adulthood.  More and more, their lives will be separate from ours and we want them to have more private unsupervised space..... (and consequently, my husband and I will have more private unsupervised space :-)

   I am trying to keep up with my commitment to make lovies for Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes too!  I added 8 more to my total this week, bringing me up to 116 this year :-)  I committed to average 5 lovies per week (or 225 by Collection week in November)   I am halfway there!




All these dishcloth patterns from Maggie Weldon's challenge can be found at www.bestfreecrochet.com

So for this week, I can share:

#103  Peach Pinwheel Dishcloth on the bottom left of the photo below - NOT my best effort!  I did it - but lost track somewhere along the way and missed something so it curls :-(   I feel fairly confident that it was not the instructions - it was me.. but I don't like working with thread enough to want to spend the time figuring out what I did wrong and fixing it.  I might try this patten in regular yarn sometime though... I looks like it would make a cute baby blanket!

#104 - This Little Piggy Dishcloth  - cute, Cute, CUTE!  This one worked up pretty quickly and is adorable.  There's not much more I can say about it...  I do like the way that the eye is crocheted - which makes it safe for babies!




#105 Ice Cream Cone Dishcloth above on the upper left - another fun one!  I was looking forward to trying this pattern and it did not disappoint!  Easy to follow instructions and a terrific end-product... LOVE IT!

#106 - Shells in  a Row Dishcloth pictured above in the upper right row - very pretty - easy to work up.  Really nice in a  variegated yarn.  I made it up for the 4th of July!  This pattern will go in my 'do again' collection.


The next four are shown in the photo below.

#107 - FunFetti Dishcloth - pictured on the lower left of the photo below.  I liked the name of this one - it even SOUNDS like a good time.  This is another one using shells and a variegated yarn.  It works up quickly and is pretty

108 - Sunny Day Red Hat Dishcloth on the lower right - Absolutely adorable and works up a lot easier than it looks.  Really brightens up the kitchen and will put a smile on the face of any red hatter!

109 -Vintage Check Dishcloth pictured on the upper left - this one turned out really cute.  Carrying the threads takes some getting used to but the effect is really nice!

110 - Winter Solstice Crochet Dishcloth - I LOVE this one.  It is so pretty and really looks like winter to me.... would be great in a blue kitchen.... combination of colors and stitches makes it an interesting addition to a gift package.

Have a great week and happy yarn things!

















Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Starting an exercise program.... again :-) Week 3

..Okay - it's been a busy week.... an excuse, I know.

I just can't bear to turn that stupid dvd player on again.

So, I am spending a little time reviewing what IS the problem!  It would be great to have fantastic abs.... and I did the work a few years ago so I KNOW it can happen.  I admit, it is a little frightening too.  Having spent the majority of my life feeling too fat to live, I - sad as it sounds - am comfortable with that feeling of self-loathing.  I may not WANT that feeling... but it seems to be my default position.  And I don't think I am alone - I think WAY too many of us have the exact same unwarranted feeling!

THAT is the real issue - the part that must be changed.  I think that if.... no, WHEN, I can change my attitude, the rest will follow.

So, I spent a few days whirling around in the brain storms (NOT brainstorm :-) that follow in the wake of my analyzing my own behaviors.... and have come up with a short term solution that I think I can live with...

Apparently I am starting WAY at the beginning of an exercise program because I feel incredibly sedentary.  While I have no problem wandering around the yard weeding... I can't seem to face 'official exercise' and I NEED  to exercise my HEART muscle, if nothing else!  And that is cardio - and, well, yuk.

My desire - my goal - is to build a healthy lifestyle.  That may or may not include 'official exercise' but MUST include some type of cardio.  While I ponder on that, I have made a very tiny commitment to myself.

Once upon a time, I counted the number of jumping jacks I could do in a minute - that is 40.   I have committed to doing sets of 40 during the day.  Just 40 jumping jacks.    Just 40..... that's about 20 more than was comfortable the first day... so I did my 40, patted myself on the back and went on with my day.

The next day I did 40 again.   I still didn't want to do them - but just 40 - just ONE minute... that's not too much to ask :-)

On Day 3, I managed to do it twice - once in the morning and once in the afternoon.  I am seeing a slight - oh, so slight - difference in my attitude.  I am not saying that what I am doing is enough - it clearly isn't... but anything is better than nothing... and babysteps will get me there.

Anyway - I will continue to think about the dvds I own.. and the exercise equipment... and work on getting up the moxie to use it again!  I am not sure why I am having such a struggle getting started - how about you?  Are you exercising consistently?  Is  life getting in your way or have you hit your stride and figured out a method that works for you?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Monday Monday

Monday morning.... a clean slate.... new opportunities galore...

Looking out at the week ahead....I see lots of opportunities to start fresh..... to keep going..... to continue changing my thinking!  We spend so much time striving for the life of our dreams....

I often forget -

the life of my dreams is


NOW!




With all its yardwork, severe weather, economic issues, and illness...

the only thing I can be sure is within my grasp

is this moment

right now.

Planning, trying, setting goals... these are good things.

But it's how I do it that matters.  It's all about attitude!

Today as I go about scheduling appointments, putting frontline on the dogs, running kids to classes, doing my treadmill session, worrying about WHATEVER.....

I want to remember that

it's the journey TO the destination

that really counts.....

For all of us, achieving a goal... is awesome!  And achieving that goal sets the stage

to set another one.

It's the journey that matters.  The getting up and starting over.

The friends you make and the love you share along the way.

You DESERVE the life of your dreams.....

take a look around today....

What can you do

RIGHT NOW

to appreciate where you are & who you are traveling with?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Let life flow

Hey God, good morning....

Good morning..... how are you today?

Oh, I'm fine... just trying to gather my wits and figure out what to do today..

What's on your agenda?

Let's see...... church.. and a little party there afterwards..  my son is going with me so it's a good chance for us to talk... hmm.... then it's back home, I think and getting the house and family ready for the week ahead.... laying out the current schedule, getting food and menus together, all that stuff...

Sounds like another day....

Yes - I'm kind of at loose ends though

Why?

Well.... since I lost that bit of writing yesterday, I feel kind of lost.

Why?

Well... I worked on it a long time..

And?

I finished it up and then went to publish and POOF!  It disappeared!  But you know all that... you watched the meltdown.  I'm still feeling it.... and I am sad.


But if you worked on it a long time, isn't it still in your head?

Some of it.... it is my goals and lists and things I want to accomplish for the rest of the year..

Maybe you need to think on it some more...

Maybe - but I'm beginning to think that I think too much...

Really?

Yes, I'm getting kind of tired of trying, trying, trying to meet goals.

So?

Maybe I just need to let life flow

What do you think will happen then?

I don't know.... but I won't be constantly striving for something I can't see.  And I won't be driven to chronicle all my failures..

Is that what it feels like?

Sometimes yes.  But I am not sure I am a person who can let life just flow.

I made you who you are.

So.... should I let things flow?  Or should I be laying out another course for myself to follow?

I'm afraid you have to figure that one out.

You aren't being helpful.


<smile>

I feel you smiling at me.

Of course.  I find you funny. 

I'm not feeling funny.

But you please me.  I like the way you plan.  I like the way you try.  I like the way you keep getting up and trying over and over.

Great.

And it's okay to be tired.  You already know that balance is always best. 

So I can flow today?  And get back to business tomorrow?

<smile>

You are smiling again....

Just remember that YOU came up with that idea.........

Huh...... but ONLY because I am talking with YOU

Right.

Thanks, God.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Reading Plans for the Week

So for me this week, I had grand plans - but have been slower than I would like..


I have finished High Rhulain by Brian Jacques.... a wonderful Redwall tale!  If you are not familiar with Redwall.... it is a fantastic series for younger people than I.. but I love them and want to finish reading the series!  The protagonists are peaceful woodland creatures who endure struggles with warring rodents & carnivores of various types.  The setting is a medieval abbey.... there is a peaceful commune of delightful creatures.. and a noble warrior or two, of course.... and then there are the cruel villains.  I love these stories - they are chock full of 'feel good' scenes and leave me happy!







     

Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series, another one I am working through... Fearless Fourteen can be added to my stack of finished books this week.  Fun and frivolous - quirky, with a bit of intrigue... I enjoy these too.  A very quick engaging summer read...   










                              The Matchmaker of Kenmare by Frank Delaney is taking a bit longer.  I will finish
that one tonight or tomorrow.  An Irish story with lots of description, it has a million different twists and turns... it's a bit like wandering down unknown paths.  I don't think it quite qualifies as a quick read.. but I am enjoying both the story and the writing style.  Frank Delaney has a way with his phrasing that makes you ponder!






 And, finally, I am working my way through Michael Thurmond's 12 Day Bodyshaping Miracle... NOT because I believe in weight loss miracles... but I am definitely in a slump and need an intelligent BOOST to get me back on track.  Physically I need to stop gaining weight (EATING junk)   and I need to regain  fitness!   I need to re-condition to get ready to walk a 60-mile event in 10 weeks!  This program sounds logical so I am going to try the 12 Days - watch for upcoming blogs about it!   I can do anything for 12 days, right?   Yikes!                                                              

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bread Adventures (Batch 7) Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

      Artisan Bread in 5 minutes a Day!    Come join in the fun :-)  There is nothing quite as satisfying as pulling hot homemade bread out of the oven - and when you can mix the ingredients... shove it in your fridge and come back the next day to play and bake.... well, there's nothing quite like it :-)

   The next basic bread in the book is called Light Whole Wheat Bread - this one looks like a basic loaf.  I am getting lazy lately and enjoying using my loaf pans.  At least I know these won't go flat :-)

     The "trouble" I have with some of these is that the dough makes 3 - 4 loaves.  It's not really trouble since the bread is EASY to give away when you have too much :-)  I haven't tried freezing it yet... but I DO need to use up all the dough before moving on to the next one... because I am me and I USE UP!

At any rate - this made a nice loaf that we used for sandwiches.   My sons aren't quite buying into the idea of making sandwiched with my bread, but they will learn!


I did decide to make rolls with some of this dough.  The rolls I created worked well with sandwiches.  These turned out about the size of hamburger buns.

Next time I will make them a little smaller and try to flatten the tops.... maybe that is something I will learn about when I actually GET TO rolls :-)  This was all me taking a detour!


The next recipe - 100% Whole Wheat Bread - is absolutely delicious!  The only complaint I got was that it is really dense..... I think that is not a real complaint though - I think that is an observation!  Most of us who have always used 'store-bought' loaves are not accustomed to how heavy whole wheat bread actually is.



The specialty bread for this week is Limpa - a Swedish bread flavored with ground anise seed, cardamom & orange zest.  I never could find ground anise seed, when it occurred to me that I could try to grind them myself with my blender.  DUH!!  Took me weeks to figure that one out... I told you, I have NO kitchen sense!   That shows you how good this book is :-)

My blender was a wedding present - so it is a bit ANCIENT.. I suppose I could say VINTAGE.  But it did do the job.  I would say that the seeds were MOSTLY ground :-) And that seemed to be adequate!



This bread has a super flavor - but again, I was in a quandary about the four loaves I was going to have to deal with.   My neighbor said it would make great bread pudding (I don't care much for pudding so never tried it).  She made some for me to try and she was right!  Her bread pudding really didn't remind me of pudding per se... it reminded me of a sweet version of stuffing.  And this bread was terrific for that purpose!

Follow me to the next bread adventure, Batch 8, where I get to play with semolina dough... (what in heaven's name is that anyway?)  Hmm..... back to the stores....

Get your copy at Amazon by clicking the link below!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Yarn things.... and the Dishcloth Challenge #95 through 102

    I still have a few more weeks to play catch up with the challenge - but some more 'yarn chores' are coming to me!  I began sorting a large garbage bag of donated yarn scraps so that I could get it organized and ready to use for the hats and scarves it was donated for.  Wow!  a mother lode - BUT it was all tangled up and a real mess..... I did a little each day for the last week or so - and am down to just ONE small plastic bag of tangles to put into balls someone can use :-)

A few more gifts to decide on - 2 baby boy blankets need to be chosen and worked on.... a request for a little gitl hat (which will encourage me to make THREE of them so I will have some made for my grandgirls!) .. and I ran across a toddler sweater pattern that I want to make for the girls too!  So - at some point here I really NEED to put the dishcloths aside and FOCUS!
At any rate, here are some more dishcloths from Maggie Weldon's Dishcloth Challenge :-)  Today they posted #200!  I started doing the current ones when I came back from Boston - so I have completed #160 through 199 already..... As soon as I catch up 'the middles', I will begin to show a few more each week :-)

#95  Pink Basket Dishcloth - pictured on the lower left, the instructions are easy to follow - and the cloth is a good size.  This one worked up quickly and I enjoyed doing it :-)

#96  Starlight Dishcloth - I thought this one turned out really pretty!  If you are comfortable with a granny type stitch, you will have little trouble making this cloth.




#97  Ladybug Dishcloth - You can see this one - the little one on the upper left.  It is cute - but I felt like it was a lot of work for a dubious dishcloth.  The halves are crocheted separately and then crocheted together.  The 'spots' are cross-stitched.  I think that if I did it again, I would use plastic canvas yarn because it has nylon fibers in it and would be better for scrubbing!

#98 Grapes Dishcloth - This one turned out to be gorgeous!  I did in colors that complimented the pineapple dishcloth I did a couple of weeks ago because it will match my kitchen!  The leaves are crocheted separately and needed to be sewn on but it was worth it :-)


The next FOUR are pictured below:

#99 is the Passionflower Dishcloth pictured on the lower left.  This is another one that turned out fairly well.  The instructions called for using yellow nylon netting cut in one-inch strips to crochet the center.  I didn't have the netting, but I DID have some yellow plastic canvas yarn, so I used that.  It provides a 'scrubby-feeling' center that seems like it will be great for dishwashing.  That center piece is crocheted separately and stitched on later.

#100 - The Houndstooth Dishcloth - is pictured on the lower right.  It is crocheted with two strands of yarn carried throughout which makes it nice and thick.  It will be absorbent and great for the task of washing up!


 


#101 is the Michigan Sunflower on the upper right.  I LOVE this pattern!  The center is raised and curly and will be good for scrubbing... and the petals are defined with front post double crochet stitches.  The instructions are clear and easy to follow.  Honestly, I just like sunflowers... so this will be one of the FAVES.

#102 is called the Quick Beginner Dishcloth... and it is!  Done in a self-striping cotton yarn, it looks a bit more complicated than it really is.  This is a very successful pattern.

Hope you enjoy these (and the other wonderful patterns that Maggie Weldon has to offer!)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Starting an exercise program.... again Week 2:-)

One week down and on to the next!

Week 2... Day 1... nope, no dvd... but I did get 3 miles done on the treadmill and a little armwork done on the total gym.  See, I have no real excuses... I live pretty far from civilization so I have slowly acquired everything I need to get fit right in my own home!  All stationed in front of the television so I can catch up on the shows I record!

  Day 2... Okay. it's Sunday... so I'm off to church and working on Vacation Bible School.  No excuse, I know - but I did spend half the day at church and much of the rest of it on the computer doing one thing or another for VBS and preparation for the weekly shopping excursions which begin on Monday!

Day 3.... was supposed to go to line dancing but didn't get there... ran errands but no real exercise

Day 4.... stayed home today but spent it in the yard.  I did a lot of weeding... bend, grab, pull... shift around so the back doesn't hurt too much... some bending, some squatting.. lots of shifting around :-)  No "official" exercise :-)

Day 5... am feeling pretty pathetic right now.  I'm not sure if I am tired or what but I can't face that dvd or any other television exercise.

Day 6.... Life is full... getting son ready for camp.... taking him early this morning so another day with no dvd.  I'm not sure why - but if I don't do it first thing, it is not going to happen.

Day 7.... Okay - flubbed again.....  I am just not in the place where I want to turn on a dvd every morning.  I am not sure why..  but I KNOW I need to be more active.  I need to figure out another angle for next week....  something easy that is consistent.  Probably a minimum of watching one tv show daily from the treadmill....

I don't know - I sound whiny even to me!  I will get up again tomorrow and try again.... this year I want to find a solution.  NOT another project... but a lifestyle I can support.  The year is half over..... my deadline approaches...

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I MIss You, God

<sigh>

I am meeting myself coming and going.... being here at church reminds me that I really miss you, God..

I miss you too.

I mean, life is just moving by so fast.  And I have these goals.. trying to stay healthy... and making sure that I get the chores done.... and the errands taken care of.....  did you know that I even missed getting my car inspected?  By 2 months????  I don't know what is happening to me...

What do you mean?

I mean that I don't have time to breathe!  I mean that there is so much to do!  I am letting things slide... I just can't get it all done.  I need more hours in the day.

<chuckle>

Are you laughing at me, God?  I really don't have enough time to do what needs to be done.  I really wish that I felt your support!  I miss you.

I'm not laughing at you.  If you'd relax, you'd laugh too.

I don't understand what you are talking about.  There is nothing funny about my inability to remember what I need to do.  I even write things down in a list... but then I misplaced the notebook!  I'm exasperated.  Why can't you give me a few more hours?  Or maybe even stop time for a day or so and I can get caught up.

I have missed you talking to me.  I always did like the way you think.

I tell you I don't have time any more.  And I don't appreciate your making fun of me.

You have exactly the same amount of time that you have always had.  You have exactly the same amount of time that everyone has had since the very beginning!

Oh God.... things are different now.  Life is moving too fast....  and there is too much to remember.

That's true.   I have found that human lives have moved faster each generation... and it is definitely more of a challenge now than ever.   But what exactly do you think would happen if I DID give you a few extra hours?

That would be AWESOME!  I could get caught up on the laundry... or finish up the Vacation Bible School project.. or maybe read another book... or maybe visit some friends I've neglected.... or sleep - yeah, I might even do that...

So... you'd use the extra hours to do what you ALREADY DO?  And just how - exactly - does one get caught up on laundry?  

Well.. you are right there.... laundry is like a revolving door... getting caught up is very temporary.  But I would sure feel better about it.


Now we are getting somewhere...

What?

Apparently it's not really about the amount of work you have to do or the time you have.

What's it about then?

You really are worked up, aren't you?   Do you find it hard to concentrate?

Well.... I don't mean to be disrespectful... but are you listening to me?  YES!  If I had more time to get caught up, I could even spend more time with YOU!

Even?

Sorry I didn't mean that the way it sounded... but, seriously.. what you said before - it's not about the amount of work or the time.  What is it about?

You said it yourself... it's about HOW YOU FEEL.

and... what next? 

You tell me.

Are you telling me to change how I feel?  How do I do that?

I think you are making a good start right now.

I think I am not missing you so much right now.

<chuckle>  I like when you talk to me.

Yeah okay, I like talking to you too.  And I don't know why but I feel a little bit better.

But the VBS project is still there... and I'm pretty sure the laundry situation hasn't changed...

I know.. but I am calmer..  I really have missed you.

You keep saying that - but you do know that I didn't go anywhere, don't you?

What?

I am right here.  I am always right here.  YOU are the one who goes away.

Wow... you know, you are right!  So... you are saying that it is up to me to come to you?  I am sorry, God.... I do know better...  I will do better.. I will make time for you every day.

Work me in your schedule?

Yes.  I will remember that you ARE my schedule.  I promise.   Hey, you know what?

What?

I remember where my list is.

See..... together.... we have your life under control :-)

Thanks, God.  I'll be back soon, I promise.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

When is too nice not nice? Accountability

I like to think of myself as a nice person.

For the most part, I give others the benefit of the doubt.  I am too nice.

I don't like confrontations.

I don't like to make people mad.... or upset them.  I care about what other people think and feel.

Or do I?

If you do something to upset me, often I will do nothing... because I don't want to upset YOU.   For the most part, that is okay.... there is no need to address every infraction.

But what if you promise to do something and you don't get there.  I mean, it happens to all of us at one time or another. 

IF I say... it's okay.... you SHOULD be able to believe me.

But what if it's NOT okay?  What if,,, THIS time...  it really inconvenienced me?

And I still don't want to address it with you because I don't want to upset you.  So I stay upset....

And I HAVE to talk to SOMEbody... so I choose the closest person to dump on....I mean, this is a friend too and won't tell anybody else...  and explain the situation... so THEY know that I am upset.... that YOU are at fault.... and that I am blameless (a victim).

What then?

Am I still nice?  Too nice to make you be accountable for your actions?  Too nice to let you know how I really feel?

Am I leaving you wandering around clueless that you have really upset me?  How HURT (upset) are you going to be when you find out what happened?  Because you will.... secrets NEVER stay secrets..

Am I assuming a greater importance by becoming your victim?  Absolutely!  And it's compounded by the fact that you don't even know what happened!  THAT is MY fault...

I think I am not so nice after all.  I think I just created a greater problem in our relationship than YOU did.  You screwed up.... I wasn't honest and maligned you to somebody else.

And I thought I was the good guy in this....

but being TOO nice is not nice after all...

Friday, July 15, 2011

Summer Reading Program

I am such a Dork!  Nerd..... you name it!

I found out that my local library has an ADULT summer reading program.  And guess who has to sign up!  I mean.... sign RIGHT up!   There is a weekly drawing for a $10 Walmart gift card and an end of summer drawing for $100 gift card.  Wow!  Frugal too!  Checking out books AND possibly winning a prize.... how can you lose?

Except maybe when I tell my family.... sorry about the laundry... I HAD to read this book?  Hmm..... actually that's not a new concept around here.... at least my family reads as much as I do.  But I DO like the idea of  MAYBE. just MAYBE getting paid for reading :-)

At any rate... in the last week I finished:

The Union Quilters - a quick read that combines quilting, a small community of characters I have met in other books of this series and a bit of US history.  I particularly enjoyed a few snippets that mentioned local place names that I have researched and written about in my children's history workbooks.



I also finished Lean Mean Thirteen - the 13th (really?) in the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich.  I get such a kick out of these books!  The bumbling heroine keeps getting into trouble and comes out smelling like a rose... and always gets the guy... two of them, actually :-)  A quick easy read!



And, a little more seriously, Writing The Popular Novel: A Comprehensive Guide To Crafting Fiction That Sells    This is an oldie but goodie.  I really enjoyed the information that Loren Estleman shares - but it is also a great story and offered bits of other books as examples.... which of course gave me ideas of other books to check out and read!

Anyway -  if you like to read.... check out your library - maybe they have a program for you too!  An excuse to READ.... wow... I love it!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dishcloth Challenge #87 through 94

Lots of excitement in the last week.... Vacation Bible School started up and I have had a lot of powerful thinking to do to make sure the schedule is set and the activities are ready to go!

And a request from my husband for a couple of baby gifts has me digging through unfinished projects that have been set aside in my frenzied attempts to catch up with the dishcloths!  I have found no less than 4 (but I stopped looking!)  AND yarn & instructions set aside for 2 more...  I will have to get moving on a couple of these... I think I will choose whatever I can work up the quickest because I don't want to lose too much speed on the dishcloths!

I did 3 lovies last week too - using up more of the yarn people have generously donated so I can crochet for charity!

Below are the dishcloths for the week.... and hopefully in the next week or so, I will have something other than dishcloths to share with you!


#87  Flower Basket Crochet Dishcloth - pictured below on the bottom left - this one had a beautiful picture and I was anxious to try it.  What a struggle!  I finally got it to work somewhat and it is cute enough but I was truly disappointed.  Either I couldn't figure out the instructions or just didn't get it - but I had to get creative to get it at all!  Anyway, it was definitely not my favorite!

#88  Snow Pines Crochet Dishcloth - I really liked this one.  It is had to see in the photo but if you look closely, you will see 5 trees with gold stars at the top (the center of the cloth) and brown trunks at the bottom (outside edges).  It is really cleverly done and awfully cute!





#89  Green Check Crochet Dishcloth on the upper left.  It is what it says :-)  green checks!  Easy  to work up and pretty.  I would definitely do this one again in coordinating colors.  Quick, easy and pleasing to the eye!

#90  Humpty Dumpty Crochet Dishcloth - in the upper right hand corner.  This one was fairly easy too - and an attractive finished product.  I had to sew on the eyes and embroider the mouth.. so the extra touches took a little longer but weren't difficult.  Not enough fun to make twice but I think this will make a cure washcloth for a child!


The next FOUR will be describing the photo below:

#91  Crayons Crochet Dishcloth - Guess which one this is?  This particular dishcloth starts the patterns for the month of April so you can see how far behind I am!  With luck, I will be catching up within the next month!  I thought this one was pretty cute.  With the exception of embroidering the word CRAYONS on the cloth, it was pretty quick and used up some tiny scraps of color I had left over from other cloths.  It would be great for a child - or a gift for a teacher :-)

#92 - Stars and Stripes Crochet Dishcloth.  This one is pretty unusual.  I was intrigued by the way the blue field & red / white stripes were done.  The stars are crocheted in crochet cotton thread and had to be sewn on.  They turned out nice - but were not quick :-).  My eyes struggle with the fine threads and hooks so this is probably not a repeat for me unless I find stars to make in regular 4-ply yarn!




#93 Pretty in Pink Crochet Dishcloth - I LOVE this one! The pattern is easy to follow, the colors used are pretty (though I can see other combinations to help me use up scraps!) and the cloth is a good size and ready to scrub with!    Two of them stitched together would make  a nice hot pad for the table.

and.... #94 in the top right hand corner is called Carnival Crochet Dishcloth.  This is a pattern that is different on each side - reversible.  I really like the way it turned out.  And in these colors, it looks like summer!

There you go for this week!  Remember, these patterns are all copyrighted to Maggie Weldon and located at www.bestfreecrochet.com.

What needlework projects are you working on?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Floaters, Flashers and Other Excitement!

Aging is an incredible adventure!

My eyes are treating me to a light show worthy of the July Independence celebration. 

My eyes have always been a little, for lack of a better word.... WEAK!  Actually, they are quite healthy and strong.... but they don't work very well :-)  Acute astigmatism, acute myopia.... the combination basically means that I don't see well.  When you add allergies and light sensitivity, a basic optometrist is not much help for me.  I have a specialist who has worked with me for years to keep me in contact lens.  The mall places turned me away as a lost cause years ago.

Last year, we add dry eye to the scenario.  I love that term... dry eye.  No one knows the what or the why - but it's a term to explain away irritated old eyes.  In my case, my specialist sent me to another specialist and we settled on a combination of 3 more conditions, rosacea (of the eyelids only (what?), blepheritis (okay, a chronic infection of the eyelash follicles (!), and something else I can't remember that basically means that the composition of my tears is not oily enough.   So, a year with my heavy glasses and ridges on my nose :-(

So I have worked through the year and lots of eye drops.... and still sometimes have blurry patches in my vision... but they clear up quickly and don't bother me too much.  I use a prescription eye treatment for the oil composition (and have increased my Omega-3 intake) and a cleansing regimen for the chronic infection.  And, finally, am back wearing my contacts.. Hooray!

And, now the fireworks :-)


A few floaters... who pays attention?  A few weeks ago, they became a little more persistent.  And then I was catching glints of light in my peripheral vision... mostly I thought it was from vehicles.  It IS summer after all and the sun is bright.   And then more floaters... or was it bugs around my head?  Hmm.....  a few false jerks because of impressions in my periphery again (no, I am not paranoid!).... and then a small bit of film that 'hung' in my right eye most of the day.   Back to the specialist to discover....

You guessed it..... NORMAL!  Okay I am blessed... and healthy overall.  My understanding is that I have entered a roughly 3-month period where the 'jello' in my eyes is liquefying.... (EWWW) and that, as this process occurs, the fibers will pull away and cause disturbances.  As my son so forthrightly put it, apparently this is part of the process that occurs as my body begins destroying itself.  I really do love that kid - but I almost brained him!  I'll get my revenge later..... I am selecting HIM to change my diapers when that time comes...

I am to be checked monthly for the next few months to make sure that these fibers don't bring my retina with them.    THAT is the part I have heard of before.....  I never picked up on the fact that I would be treated to the kinds of things I get to see all the time right now.   So now you know.... IF you are my age..... or if you dabbled in things you shouldn't when you were a teen.... now you know you should have waited.  At a healthy middle-age... you get it all for free.... naturally.

So, at a time in my life when I am already questioning my own thought processes.... and bodily functions.... now my eyes are jumping on the bandwagon and including my brain...... so I run on auto-pilot and pretend things are as they SHOULD be... not as I actually see them.  I am glad that this is a process and it will end in a few months.... but I am determined to figure out a way to ENJOY the experience :-)

Reading is entertaining because of the stuff floating around between me and the print..... tv is okay - but not the channel guide!  Outside I keep swatting insects away - even though they aren't there... it's ALL me!   But at least I can sit on my porch at night and see fireworks of my very own :-)

It's no wonder young people think old people are crazy!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Bread Adventures (Batch 6) Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois - Come follow along :-)

I am still having a blast in my kitchen!   I have to make 2 kinds of bread now since my men won't eat rye or pumpernickel!   That means TWO tubs of dough in my refrigerator and bread baking most days.  I cannot emphasize enough how EASY and SUCCESSFUL this book makes breadbaking!

Still using some of the rye flour, I have moved on to pumpernickel.  What a great flavor!  I still get a chuckle thinking about ME making pumpernickel bread.   The recipe called for caramel color but I had no clue where to get any... so I skipped it.  The bread still turned out the right color so I am not sure why it is needed!



Right after the regular pumpernickel, I discovered Pumpernickel Date and Walnut Bread.  I DO love how each batch makes several loaves.  You just go back to the refrigerator the next day and get another hunk of dough to play with.  For this particular loaf, I flattened out the dough, sprinkled it with raisins and chopped walnuts.  Then I rolled it up and put into a greased bread pan.   It doesn't get much easier!  I didn't have dates handy so I used raisins.  I am constantly surprised at the incredible flavor of the breads.

I really thought this bread would be more like a dessert - but it isn't - still bread just better :-)


I took this one to my Vacation Bible School workshop and it was demolished..... I am already getting questions asking which breads are coming to the next workshop!

Research is telling me that more flour might take care of the tendency to go flat - I tried it with the Bran enriched dough and it seems that it might be true!




What I liked about this dough is that my boys got "white" bread they enjoyed and an extra dose of fiber to make me happy :-)

  With the last bit of pumpernickel dough, I tried the onion rye recipe I wrote about last week.  No photo, sorry - but it looked pretty much the same as regular pumpernickel outside.  The inside was flattened out and sauteed onion rings spread out on it.  The the dough was rolled up like a jelly roll.   Oh my goodness, it is AWESOME,,,, this is ONE easy, impressive recipe I will use for potlucks..... both pretty and unusual

I still used a pan for this one, thinking that I might not be able to get the extra flour mixed in well enough to be invisible in the dark bread.

Hope you are having fun!  Has anyone gotten the book to try the recipes?  It should be called breadmaking for dummies..... honestly, if it works for me - it will work for ANYONE :-)

Let me know if you try it!  

Monday, July 11, 2011

6 month resolution evaluation

      Each time I have tried to sit down and evaluate how the first half of the year has gone for me, I keep getting STUCK!  It's no wonder that I have never followed through on resolutions - life keeps changing on me!

  Though I suspect it is I who is doing the changing - at least THIS year :-)

As I went through the list of good intentions that I started 2011 with, several have shifted a bit and I am dealing with the mental shift that goes with it.

The FIRST thing that hit me when I recognized that I am not planning on continuing one of my resolutions is ..... what?  WHY aren't you going to accomplish that?  You are lazy or you need to work harder.... there is something WRONG with you that is keeping you from doing what you set out to do!

I am not sure that is true.

I think that life changes and new challenges arise that supersede the old.  And I think that living with my resolutions has shown me not only what I am accomplishing - but also what I am not prioritizing.

So right away I want to say that I am going to spend July making a new list.  Some things will remain on the list - some things will change - and I will continue to live out loud (here :-) and share the journey!

Here's to July and re-evaluating!

Things I have done well:
                       #2. Send birthday cards to friends and family / also be prepared with sympathy and congratulations cards.    STILL on target with only a handful of them late :-)

                  #3. Read a minimum of a book a week for the year- I still LOVE this one!

                        #8. Photo project – I plan to locate, sort and organize family photos.  - I am halfway through scanning them - go me!  I am in the middle of digging through the tub salvaged from Hurricane Isabel... constantly reminding myself that if they were THAT important, I would have put them in albums in the first place!   But I will salvage & scan what I can :-)

 Things I have done marginally:
                       #4. Crochet for charity – and use my crocheted items as gifts when possible.

             *I became intrigued with the dishcloth challenge and am having a lot of fun working on different techniques.   Of course, I WILL use these for gifts and charity BUT this is not what I set out to do.  AND my initial goals for the year (what I intended to make) have changed.  So this is a little swerve, not a big change :-)

                         # 6. Spiritual reading – I am considering reading the Bible through again.
                   * Nope, Bible reading is not happening.  I have read several spiritual books, however & took a course on Christ.... but they aren't filling the hole.  What I need to do is set aside daily time to talk to God.  I did pretty well when I blogged during Lent.  I need to work on that again - but be consistent.  God is kind enough to be there for me, I just need to make the time to go forward and be there for GOD!               

                                              #7. Organize, unclutter, streamline, purge!  A continuing journey to simplify my life both of material possessions and of time commitments

             **Wow - great sentiment but not specific enough! While I am working on this and will continue, I CANNOT feel accomplished until I get more specific.    

                                        # 8. Continue debt reduction journey.  I made significant headway in 2010… I want to end 2011 with only a mortgage, triple my savings, continue to tithe and some improvements to house and property.

                ** Definitely time for a revision!  I've done a lot... and put time and energy into learning about coupons but our  business is doing significantly worse and, while debt has not increased, neither has it decreased much.  Again, I need to be more specific with my goals.

Things that are stagnant or changing:
                #1.      Weight, weight, weight!  Maintain loss and lose a little more.  Tighten and tone…. Develop a daily regimen to stay fit for life!  Learn to eat like a thin healthy person.

       *I keep working on this.... I have regained half the weight I lost a few years ago - but need to find balance.  I still don't know whether I want to be an athlete or not.... right now,I think not.  But I need to find the middle ground for health and wellness..... muscle & weight control.

                  #5. Get back to quilting my own projects and mending the quilts my MIL made for us

           * I have done a little - very little.  But this will stay on the list because I will enjoy doing it!


These last 3 are related and will definitely change in some way:

#10. Walk Breast Cancer 3Day again - time #4 for a total of 240 miles to fight breast cancer..   2011 is the Cleveland location.

* I have not raised the required amount of money this year and cannot go to Cleveland in July.  I also have not trained so it would not be a good thing anyway.  I have very mixed feelings about this since it was a big life goal for me.  I do know though - that even with the best of intentions.. I often have a 3-year attention span to most projects.  I just didn't think this was one of them - but it might be.  I think I might need to allow myself to be myself.
 
       #11.            Train for and do several races this year.

*I have done 2 races this year but I may be finished for now.  The whole weight / exercise thing for life needs to be resolved in my head.. I am not sure where my races & training fit in all of this.
            
             #12.   Continue dancing!  
       *I love dancing but have questions about how much & what kind I want to do.

The thing that should have been prioritized in writing is family - something that I hold very high on my personal list that always needs more focus.  This is my first ministry and my absolute highest priority.. yet it never made it to my resolution list!

New ideas / challenges that have arrived for me this year:

                      This blog!  The commitment to writing almost daily has been new for me - and a blessing!
                     I also stumbled onto the crochet dishcloth challenge which intrigued me initially, increase my skill at a hobby I enjoy and, now..... more than 150 dishcloths in, I am loathe to stop :-)

                    The bread baking exercise has been fun too... and I will be a lot more comfortable in the kitchen by the time I (and all my friends) get tired of fresh bread.

                    Heading up Vacation Bible School is a blessing and a fantastic boon to my spiritual life.  I often find it difficult to go to church and getting involved makes it easier.


How is YOUR year going?  Are things happening the way you planned or have things derailed your good intentions?  Or are you finding yourself changing as the year goes on... and struggling to keep up?  Join me in July as I refine my goals and determine how I want 2011 to end!






    



Saturday, July 9, 2011

Innocent until proven guilty

The latest murder trial to take the public interest.... as many as were glued to the television to watch every little bit of activity.... over and over and over again..... has ended with a 'not guilty' verdict.

The public outcry is enormous!  So many people.... exactly sure..... fanatically positive..... and angry.

I'd like to put forward another perspective.

Our system worked.  Innocent Until Proven Guilty.  Beyond a Shadow of Doubt.  

While to most, the fact that the defendant did not receive the death penalty.... heck, not even a 'guilty' verdict.... is a terrible injustice, I have a different view.

At first I was stunned like everyone else.  But that is emotion talking...... there was no concrete evidence and I am proud of the jury for doing their job.  Yes, proud.

Guilty or not - and I won't begin to judge - this person - the defendant - will never lead a normal life again.  There can be no peace.... no good ending for her.

Aside from her own internal machinations - which may or may not include guilt, remorse or sorrow - she will never again have privacy or anonymity.

After the years of this trial, where will she go?

Where can she get a job to support herself?

Where will she find friends?

Every time she turns on the television.... or the computer.... or opens a magazine... she will be faced with untold numbers of documentaries and opinion pieces (like this one) in which she will have to re-live tragedy of her daughter's demise and all the evidence that points to her as murderer.

The public - and the media - has judged her already.  The official ruling is superfluous to all but her freedom of movement.

Where can she have a normal existence?

Her name is infamous..... even the least interested is aware of it.   The world is small.  

She is young... so we are talking about a LIFEtime of this punishment.... that, to my way of thinking... is worse, MUCH worse... than the death penalty.

At any rate, in reality - I am proud of our justice system.  Those words..... innocent until proven guilty... and .... beyond a shadow of doubt.....  they are some of the reasons I love my country.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Victim Language

I am not a victim.

I made that choice long ago.

Then why, oh why... do I say things like:

I couldn't do that because my kids were little

I can't do that because I didn't have enough money

I couldn't / can't do it because.... well, you get the picture...


You could call it excuses..... but they are real reasons

You could call it blame..... but it isn't really..... I don't FEEL blame.... it's just true...


But in honesty... it's VICTIM language

It sounds like I truly couldn't do what I wanted.  It sounds like I was prevented from doing what I wanted.

But truly I COULD

and I DID and I continue to do what I want :-)

I made a choice to be with my kids instead of doing other things.

I make/made choices as to how to spend my money

I make choices... so I am not a victim

That is important - say it again...

I make choices, therefore I am NOT a victim.


I think for the most part we do not think about the power of our words... especially the words we use inside our own heads.

And those are the very words that inspire us or hold us back.

The very words that lift us up or beat us down..... we are responsible for those words.

Just as we need to watch our tongues around other people and choose our words wisely.... I think we need to be careful how we talk to ourselves.  Our words define us..... we need to be careful not to box ourselves into a definition that isn't what we would CHOOSE :-)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Bread Adventures (Batch 5) Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day

     I am having a blast baking my way through the book - Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois   and learning so much!

The next bread in the chapter is Tapenade Bread.... okay - food dummy here.... no clue what this is.  But the recipe calls for olives (only I will eat these), capers (no clue WHAT they are - but I can tell you where to buy them and how much they cost :-), and anchovies (no way!)..... hmm.... I need more information to get a feel for the end product

Back to the search engines.....

Armed with several recipes for various versions of olive tapenade, I may just make this sometime when I know more people will be around.   The same with the Bruschetta recipe.  I live with men who won't eat tomatoes SOOOOO I will leave this for a larger gathering!

The Deli-Style Rye recipe is next and is incredible!  It has caraway seeds inside and also dusted across the top.  I love how beautiful the loaves are coming out of the oven! Again, I am the only one in the house who likes rye OR the next bread - pumpernickel - so I keep hunting for people to give bread to :-)



The dough from the Deli-Style Rye is versatile and is used for the next two rye recipes.

The next recipe, Caraway Swirl  Rye was yummy - but turned out all flat!  I am not sure why yet but will keep baking and see what I can figure out.  At any rate, the dough is flattened a bit and more caraway seeds scattered across it.  I rolled up the dough like a jelly roll so the extra seeds are in a swirl inside....  I think that, while I liked it.. I would not like a LOT of it... the seeds are a little more powerful than I thought!




The next recipe also uses the dough from the Deli-Style Rye.  It is called Onion Rye and is handled the same way as the Caraway Swirl, except with sauteed onions rolled in the center.  This one flattened a little as it rested too - I still don't know the answer so I put it into a bread pan instead and it did just fine.  The flavor is incredible!  I think that the onions make it amazing.... I will definitely put this in a FAVE recipe folder!

All three of the rye breads were fun to have a slice or two.... and give the rest of the loaf to willing volunteers :-)







So, while I was playing with the rye bread dough, I put together the next bread dough that I thought my family would eat - Bran Enriched White Bread.  They love it!  But it made 4 loaves and I am having to give it away :-) Now my neighbors are starting to love me too.....

I forgot to cut vents into the top of the bread - and it vented itself!  But that didn't affect the taste - so we are still good :-)  The one on the right is the white bread!


My boys like it as soon as it is cool enough to cut - slathered with butter.... there is nothing like fresh hot bread from the oven!


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dishcloth Challenge #78 through 86

I am a week behind in posting the dishcloths - though I am MILES ahead in crocheting them!

This batch was done partly on my trip to Boston in June.  My husband drove and I crocheted... and crocheted... and crocheted!  Some of the patterns suffered because my attention to detail was a little pressed by the conditions - but I finished them anyway - MY WAY :-)

Remember, the instructions and patterns are copyrighted to Maggie Weldon and available on www.bestfreecrochet.com   So go have fun!

First off, a reminder -   # 80 and #82  are the Easter Bunny & Duck pictured below.  We've already shown and talked about those.



        The SEVEN dishcloths I am sharing for this week are pictured below all together.  I have inserted single pictures for the ones that I thought had features that are hard to see in the group photo!

#78 Diamonds and Rust Crochet Dishcloth
This one gets a single photo!  I didn't have the sparkly yarn specified - so I used 2 strands of thin crochet cotton instead that had metallic strands in them...... it worked just fine. I LOVE the colors.... really unusual and pretty :-)  Kind of a FUN idea to have a SPARKLY dishcloth!




#79 "HIS" Crochet Dishcloth...  This one is a HOOT!  Check it out below on the bottom row in the center.   My men do indeed help with the dishes but I don't think they would appreciate having their own dishcloth.... I'll have to find a different home for this one!  Fairly easy to work up, it really is a cute idea.

#81  The Blues Crochet Dishcloth - This on is pictured below on the bottom row on the right.  I found a bit of a problem with the instructions on this one.    It does not specify to end off colors and weave in the ends at the ends of the rows.

I was riding in the car and a row further along when I noticed I wasn't supposed to carry the colors. Instead of starting over, I changed the numbers a bit and carried my colors - mine doesn't look quite the same but close enough! Still pretty :-)





#83  Square Spiral Crochet Dishcloth - upper left hand corner.  My dishcloth really does not look the same as the one in the dishcloth challenge... I am not sure where I messed up and at that point, didn't have the patience to figure it out!  I like the colors I chose and was tickled the way that the edging disguises whatever I did wrong.  Gotta love that in a pattern!

I DID enjoy the different approach to crocheting it - it LOOKS like you would start in the center and crochet in the round - but instead you start at the bottom and work your way up.  I do like a challenge!

#84 Birdhouse Crochet Dishcloth - I thought this one was really cute.  The bird is made separately and stitched on so it took a lot longer to make than it should have :-)  I have a real problem with letting things sit (live?) in my sewing basket!

# 85  Fancy Heart Crochet Dishcloth  - top row...    Oh my goodness... I am finally STUCK! This one stumped me good!  I have worked and worked and put this one aside for a day or so.... I am fine through Row 7 but something is happening on Row 8 that I can't figure out.... has anyone else done this one?  I went back several times and just can not figure it out!

I did try asking the question on the website but didn't get an answer... so I wiggled around a bit and made it work.... but the pattern is definitely wrong!

#86 Fat Cat Crochet Dishcloth - top row far right - I ADORE this pattern!  Not this year, of course, while I am keeping up with the challenge - BUT I can envision making a TON of these in holiday colors.....  a Christmas white kitty with red, white and green tail.... a Halloween black kitty with a black, orange & white tail.... etc!


      And these are the cloths for this week! 

     The dishcloth challenge will post 365 patterns this year and it has been bugging me that I am so far behind.  I decided when I got back from Boston that I would do that day's cloth and keep up with the daily patterns while I catch up with the earlier ones.  I won't post them out of sequence but I will start posting a few more each week.... and perhaps will do an extra post each week when I do catch up :-)