Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Mid-year update? Book, yarn and adventures

My blogging on a regular basis? Pretty much non-existent. However, at least I'm here again. I'm just going to excuse myself by saying that books, yarn and adventures are keeping away. I'm sure that's not 100 percent accurate (because we can always find time to do the things we want to do), but that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

So let's get to it! First up, books.

This has been a great year of reading for me. Anyone who knows me knows that I love to read. Working in a library is really awesome when you are a reader, and one consequence of my job situation is that the number of books I've read has increased significantly (and let's not even talk about the increase in my to-read list!).

Goodreads is my friend. Since I started using it a few years ago, it's so much easier to keep track of the books I've read and to keep a list of books I want to read. Plus, I love that I can set a goal (annual reading challenge) and track how I'm doing. I can see what my friends are reading, too, and I love that!

Next up: yarn (and other things that have to do with needles).

Yeah, not as much yarn time happening in my life right now, but that's OK. I'm slowly working on a couple pair of socks. I do love hand-knit socks even though they take me forever to complete. I do have a lot of WIPs hanging around my house (works-in-progress) so I ought to pick those up and work on them.

I have picked up embroidery again and I am really enjoying it. I'm not fast at it either, but it's sure fun. I love the retro designs I've been able to find.

I also started a little quilting. I've learned to paper-piece, but I don't get a lot of time at the sewing machine, so it kind of feels like I have to re-learn every time I sit down to make another block. I do have some other ideas for making a couple of quilts, but again, there is not enough time in the day to do all the things I want to do!

Finally, adventures!

I love to travel and while I don't get to go to all the exotic places I want to visit, I do get to do some pretty fun things close to home. I'm so glad to have good friends that I can have adventures with.

Here are some pictures of a few of my adventures lately (walking, yarn, travels, concerts!).












Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Hello 2016!

Ah, it's a new year. And considering this poor blog has languished for nearly three years, I think it's time to get back at it.

Today, I'm ruminating on reading. OK, to be fair, I do this pretty much every day. It's a side effect of working in a library, but today reading is on my mind even more than normal. I don't know if it's because I finally got my nightstand cleared and have room for my books on it now (really, how could I let my nightstand get so overrun there was no space for books?!), or maybe it's because I've been thinking about my Goodreads reading challenge for this year.

Yeah, I opted for the kind-of easy way out and set a goal of 52 books again. I exceeded my goal for 2015 (52 books, because a book a week seems so doable) by nine books, but I'm unsure I can do that again. If I had my way, I would spend all my spare time reading, but that doesn't make my hubs so happy. And it means a pretty messy house and other obligations get left behind.

But what about all those books that NEED to be read? I have shelves of them at home and thousands that call to me at work, not to mention the hundreds on my Kindle.

I love to read. And I mean I really, really, really LOVE to read. There's nothing quite like cozying down into a comfy chair with a good book and a snack. If it's cold out, a hot drink just adds to the experience. It's not uncommon for me to read for a while, and when something pulls me out of my book, to have to blink my eyes a few times and remember where I am. I love that feeling so much!

Thanks to Read It Forward for this fantastic poster!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Round dishcloths . . . and the pattern!

So, on this snowy afternoon, after attempting to work from home (quite unsuccessfully, I might add), I decided to bust out the crochet hooks and make some easy dishcloths. They are just a basic circle. For some reason, I really like round dishcloths. A lot. Like this one.



And this one:


Anyway, a friend of mine asked for the pattern, so I thought I would post it here. These are made with DK weight yarn, Omega's Sinfonia, which is a mercerized cotton. They are just as absorbent as the ones made with kitchen cotton, but I find this yarn holds its color better, and I like the lighter weight. Mine measure about 7 inches across when finished. If you use worsted weight, they will be bigger.

I also crochet a little on the loose side (I usually have to go down a hook size or two to make gauge for patterns). So keep those things in mind when you are choosing your own yarn and hook. The pattern below calls for the yarn weight and hook size I used for these, but please adapt to your wants, needs, and crochet style.

Smiley Round Dishcloth

Materials:

Yarn: Omega Sinfonia, DK weight mercerized cotton (or yarn of your preference)
Crochet hook: size F (3.75mm)
Scissors
Tapestry/yarn needle

Notes: 

Throughout this pattern, the chain 2 at the beginning of each round does NOT count as the first double crochet of the round. This includes the chain 2 at the beginning of the magic circle.

Directions:

Round 1: Using the magic circle method, chain 2 and make 12 double crochet in the loop. If you are not familiar with this method of beginning crochet in the round, watch a YouTube video of it here. Join with slip stitch to top of first dc of round, ignoring the ch 2 at the beginning of the round (12 dc).
Round 2: ch 2; 2 dc in each stitch around; join with sl st to top of first dc of round (24 dc).
Round 3: ch 2; 1 dc in same stitch, 2 dc in next stitch, * 1 dc in next stitch, 2 dc in next stitch, * repeat from * to * around. You should end with a 2 dc in last stitch. Join with sl st to top of first dc of round (36 dc).
Round 4: ch 2; 2 dc in same stitch, 1 dc in each of next two sts, * 2 dc in next stitch, 1 dc in each of next two sts, * repeat from * to * around. You should end with 1 dc in last two stitches. Join with a sl st to top of first dc of round (48 dc).
Round 5: ch 2; 1 dc in same stitch and in next two sts, 2 dc in next st, * 1 dc in each of next three sts, 2 dc in next st, * repeat from * to * around. You should end with a 2 dc in the last stitch. Join with a sl st to first dc of round (60 dc). 
Round 6: ch 2; 2 dc in same stitch, 1 dc in each of next four sts, * 2 dc in next stitch, 1 dc in each of next four sts, * repeat from * to * around. You should end with 1 dc in last four stitches. Join with a sl st to top of first dc of round (72 dc).
Round 7: ch 1; 1 sc in same stitch and in each stitch around. Join with sl st to first sc of round and fasten off (72 sc). 
Weave in ends.  
Be happier and smile more when using to clean your dishes and kitchen! 

This pattern has not been tested, so if you find an error or have any questions, please leave a comment and let me know!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               


Friday, June 15, 2012

Just in time for summer

We are finally replacing our deck. The original was built when the house was built 20 years ago, and has been decaying rapidly. In fact, if you dared to go down the stairs (it is on the upper level of our home), you were taking your life in your hands.

The old deck was small, and didn't have enough space to really be useful at all. But now? Oh, it will be terrific! We extended it by 4 feet, and it's amazing what a difference that seemingly little bit makes. The base of the deck is that wonderful recycled plastic that looks like wood. Easy care, long lasting. So much better. And the railing will be wrought iron posts with wood rails. I need to get some wood sealer for the few wood parts, but it will be so much nicer than it was before. Here's where we are at this point:


The little dogs approve. And it's done enough that I can go out and sit on the edge and hang my feet over. Loving it already!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Life is busy . . .

but what's new? I am glad I have lots of options to keep my busy actually. And lots has happened here in the past few weeks.

First, I have actually been crocheting still. I have two new shawls started, but neither one of them is finished. I will get them done soon and post updated pictures, but for now you can see the starts of them. I like both patterns very much and am glad I chose to make them.

Shawl #1:
And shawl #2:

Second, my daughter and her husband cam home from Germany (where they've been living for the past  10 months) last week! We had them here at our house for a week. It was nice to have them here and be able to spend time with them after not seeing them for so long. She is crazy sometimes Here is a picture that she took of herself on my iPad:
and she is an awesome blogger. You should go read her blog. You can find it at http://www.itsalyx.com/. Really, she's pretty good at this blogging thing. Lots better than I am! And she even writes about me once in a while. But that's not why you should read it. :-)

Third, I love reading good books. I love reading, but I love it when I come across an outstanding book, and I did this week. One of my book clubs is reading "The Language of Flowers" by Vanessa Diffenbaugh this month, so I sat down yesterday to start it, thinking I'd read for a little while, then do some other things. The other things? Yeah. They never got done. That book demanded to be read in one sitting. Those characters? They needed my attention. Oh my goodness, it was an amazing book. I loved it. I know I will read it again. I highly recommend you read it too.

Oh, and on another reading note, I just updated my list of books read this year. I haven't checked my pacing to reach 100 for the year in a little while and I think I might be just a little behind on my pace, but I've got some really good titles all lines up. You can see my updated list if you just click on that little tab up there.

On another book-y note, I got to go to another author signing tonight. Our independent bookstore is amazing at how they get authors in. Tonight was Laura Moriarty, and she was wonderful. Here she is talking to the group:
She was funny, and entertaining, and kind and fun to talk too. I was near the end of the signing line and got to spend a few minutes visiting with her. I had already met her before the signing as she was sitting with the owner of the store, who I happen to know. What a lovely person Laura is. And her writing is lovely too. I have not read her newest book, but am very much looking forward to it.

If you've read this far, thanks! And I'll try not to save quite so much up for next time!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Graduation (a little late) for real!

I promised I would come back and write a post for real about graduation, so here it is! It's hard to believe that I am old enough to have three kids out of high school already, but there it is. I shouldn't be so surprised since my 30-year high school reunion is this year too. Wow, where has the time gone?

Anyway, we had a lovely day and I am so proud of my graduate. He graduated with honors and will be heading off to BYU in August. For the summer though, he is lifeguarding at the local water park. It's good for him to finally have a job.

Graduation was pretty much a typical graduation. Lots of people and cheering and a good group of kids heading out into the world. The graduating class was 417 kids and there were times that I thought we'd never get to the end of the green caps and gowns, but we did. He didn't really want anything too big (after all, Senior Celebration is where it's at!) so after the ceremony we took some fun pictures around the campus of the university where the ceremony was held and then went off to Olive Garden with my sister's family to celebrate.

Here are some of my favorite pictures:

He's the tall one at the right.

Here he is actually getting his diploma case (because of course they have to go get their diploma on the way back to their seats).


 Here he is with his dad and me.

 This is one of my favorite sculptures on the campus—a demolished piano. I don't think he looks angry enough to have done all this damage . . . ;-)

Another one. He needed to take a little walk with these ladies.

 I think this one is my favorite. I am a happy mom!



Saturday, May 19, 2012

It's graduation day!

Not mine, of course, but my son's. Third child and it just doesn't seem possible that we can be at this point already. Surely I am not old enough to have a *third* kid who is graduating already, am I? Alas, I guess I am.

It's a windy, warm Kansas day, pretty much typical for this time of year. But the sun is shining and that's a happy thing. Camera batteries are charged and toenails are painted (mine, of course) and dress shirt is in the dryer (his, of course). Yarn project is ready to go (I know what's important!) and I have a paperback in my bag too.

I think we are ready. OK, ready for the ceremony, not so sure I am as ready for the reaching this point with another child. I'm really starting to feel old!

I promise an update with photos later. As for now, here is one of the graduate from last summer: