Thursday, February 28, 2013

One step closer to everything back to normal!  The vanity (part of it anyway) was installed in the guest house yesterday.  It is missing the doors, but they put it in so they could start work on the top.  One step at a time - I guess anything moving forward is better than not moving at all.

Here are some baby mittens I made - they look very small!  They are sized for newborn.  The newest addition is due end of June, so she probably won't need mittens for a while.  I may re-make them in a larger size for her first winter.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Ever wish you had just one more day in the weekend - that you didn't have to go to work on Monday?  Sometimes, you get what you wish for, and it isn't what you really wanted.  Allison started throwing up yesterday at 3:00, so we are both home today.  Luckily, she seems to be feeling better this morning, but I'll keep her home today, just in case.  The little stinker slept most of the afternoon, so at bedtime last night wasn't tired.  I was, but....she didn't go to bed to stay until close to 11:00.  I really should have gone to bed early last night myself, to catch cup from the night before, but....that wasn't in the plans I guess.  Maybe we'll both take a nap this afternoon (and then have a repeat of yesterday - she won't go to bed on time!)  I'm just happy she seems to be feeling better.  Having her sick is no fun for either of us.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Alli needs to learn to sleep in when Mom has a late night!  She was up earlier than normal this morning, and I went to bed later than normal - not a good combination for Mom.  I went to the Fur Ball last night - not quite what I was expecting, but still fun (thanks to the people I went with!)  There were 320+ people (40 tables of 8 set up for dinner, plus wait staff and assorted volunteers) in a room that wasn't quite big enough for that, along with LOTS of items up for auction.  It was a fund-raiser for Another Chance Animal Welfare League (a no-kill animal rescue sanctuary), and I think they got some funds raised!  I did my part - I bid on and won a dog leash and olive oil from Happy Valley combination (yes, an odd combo, but....I figured I would probably use both)  The leash is pretty, and I didn't know we had anyone in Happy Valley producing olive oil!  I'm not an expert of olive oil, but this looks pretty.  Ralph checked behind me when I got home to make sure no furry friends followed me home.  Good thing they didn't have the animals there to be adopted - the pictures they had were so cute, one just might have followed me home!  I'm such a sucker for the older animals.  I always feel that if I don't adopt them, no one will, because everyone wants cute little puppies and kittens.

I'm learning the joy of making very short to-do lists.  Yesterday, my list consisted of things like vacuum, wash a few loads of laundry, go to the dinner, go to a memorial service, do my normal shopping, etc.  And I got them all crossed off!  Such a nice feeling.  I almost didn't make the memorial service - I googled for the catholic church in Red Bluff, and came up with the name and address.  I verified the name - but when I got there, it was the catholic school, not the church.  I could not get an address at all for the church!  So....I went for a drive.  Red Bluff isn't that big, and the church is old.  It should be in the town itself, not in the suburbs, right?  I found it right at 1:00, so it was a little after 1:00 when I got in.  Not my original plan - I thought I would be there at least 15 minutes before the services started, not sneaking in after it actually started.  The best laid plans.....

Today's list is also short - laundry (again, or still, I'm not sure which) and some quilting and some crocheting.  I have my quilt blocks ready to sew the applique down, which won't take very long at all.  I also found out why I had my afghan so confused.  It is a graph afghan, and the beginning block only shows 9 rows, not 10 like the rest of the blocks.  I was probably just fine with a lot of what I had done.  I was completely confused when I was trying to reconcile to the number of rows I had done to where I was on the chart.  Hopefully it really will be easier now that I can count!

Also on my to-do list for today is a bike ride.  Ralph got my bike finished up yesterday, so AJ and I went for a quick ride.  He finished up around 4:30, so I didn't have much time, and I didn't grab a jacket.  It was a bit cool in the wind, and the dinner started at 5:30, so....just a quick lap around the neighborhood.  The bike works great!  One of the many things he fixed was the brakes, and they work really great - I almost crashed the first time I grabbed them.  Ralph is also working on rebuilding a smaller bike we had here - so eventually, Dawn will have a bike to ride too, if she wants to join AJ and I for a ride.  Spring and Fall are such great times to bike in the valley.  (Summer - not so much)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

And here's what I worked on rather than the afghan that I had to start over:

Working with thread was a nice change from ripping out the afghan.  I did get a couple of rows put back on the afghan, so I am rolling along with it again.  It should go together nicely this time around, right?

I don't know that I'll have a lot of time for it this weekend.  Tonight I'm off to the  'Fur Ball' - a charity even put on by Another Chance Animal Welfare League.  It think it is one of the few groups we haven't adopted a pet through (yet!)  It is a bank sponsored event - we have a table of 8 - so it will be fun.  This is my first year attending, so I hope it is.  Between that, my normal weekend chores, a memorial this afternoon, and some quilting I want to get done, the afghan may just have to wait.

Friday, February 22, 2013

I think the baby afghan is going to take longer than I thought - I ripped out all but 5 rows and started over last night.  One thing I have found - count EVERY row - not just every once in while, how could I get off, it's simple?  Trust me - I can get off track easily, whether it's because someone started talking to me, or I needed to get up to change a movie for Alli or let a dog in or out or whatever (maybe even just not paying attention to what I'm doing?  You think??).  Count every row, every time!  Maybe this time it will go a bit better - at least I hope I don't have to start over again!  Needless to say, I don't feel like I've accomplished much this week, crochet wise.  I do feel a little bit better about my work accomplishments for the week, would be a really bad week if I was re-doing everything in both worlds!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I'm done with jury duty for a full year!  I had a jury summons for yesterday (check in after 5:00 on the day before) - and was put on standby, and then, yesterday got my official dismissal after 5:00.  I'm good for a year.  Woohoo!  There are so many ugly trials going on right now - I did not want to get on any of them! I don't know if there is such a thing as a pretty trial, but there are a ton of murder trials coming up.

While I was up at Mom's, I finished a little baby dress.  I have no idea if it will fit any baby or not.  I think it turned out pretty cute (even if Mom doesn't like it!).   

I sent an e-mail yesterday to Kandis - did she want me to give her things as I made them, or did she just want to be surprised by a big box later, and....did she have anything in particular that she wanted, or that she didn't want (i.e. if she says that those ugly crocheted dresses are so hideous! this one won't go in the box!)  Yesterday was a bad day for her, so she was going to think about it overnight.  Unless she has something in particular that she wants, I will probably focus on toys and booties from here on out.   Except that I have started an afghan for her.  I hope to actually finish this one - I got some of the yarn this weekend.  A link to the afghan is here.  I have about 12 rows done now.  Good thing I have until June to finish it!  It is very cute, and is much easier than the animal one I have started (and probably won't finish for quite a while.)

We did get the carpet in the guest house, and it's actually sort-of put together.  Ralph and I got the bed and furniture back in on Sunday, and I got a bit of the house cleaned up on Monday.  It looks better at least - or, as my dad hated to hear - better than it was!  Here's a couple of pictures after the carpet and before the furniture:

Monday, February 18, 2013

That will teach me to make a to-do list on a holiday!  I need a break!  Alli doesn't 'get' sleeping in on days off, so 'we' were up at 5:30 this morning just like every other school day.  Since I was up, I might as well get started!  I got the walls in the bathroom washed down, 5 loads of laundry done, the freezers cleaned out, a shopping trip in to town that included Costco, Wal-Mart, Sew Simple (the quilt store) and Michaels,  We even ran through McDonald's as a treat for Alli for lunch.  After we got in from the shopping trip and ate lunch, Alli took a nap, and I worked on my quilt!

The new quilt is an appliqued quilt, and I haven't done that before, so....I made up a sample before I tried it on the 'good' fabric.  I had to dig out the cams for the Singer and figure out how to use them.  I did find a few more bells and whistles on my machine I didn't know about in the process, so it was all good!  Here is the first applique from the machine:

It's a good thing you can't see it up close.  The first edge I tried was the small circle - i should have saved it for last.  I took the sample in to the quilt ladies today to get their verdict - and it passed!  A few suggestions, but passable!  So....I came home and put all the quilt blocks together.  Now I just need to sew them down.

I took a couple of pictures in Susanville - one being the sunrise on a chilly Sunday morning:

Later that day, Mom and I wondered out in the back and looked at her trees.  She still has patches of snow, and one of the patches had the cutest bird tracks in it.  I never really thought of birds as being heavy enough to leave tracks in the ice - snow, yes, but ice?  

Friday, February 15, 2013

Woohoo!  We went (finally!) live with our solar yesterday!  I thinks it's been about two months that it's been installed and we've been making electricity, but it didn't count toward our bill.  Since I've also been making payments on the loan for the solar, it will be nice to have a reduce bill to offset that payment a little bit!  Not to mention that we are getting a rebate from PG&E, and couldn't even submit for it until we went live.  

Ralph got in from his Stockton/Modesto trip yesterday, and look what he brought me home for Valentine's Day!  This guy is about 9 inches tall, and is gorgeous!

I made another pair of booties for Kandis's little one (due the end of June).  Tami at work is learning to crochet and was going to be making these booties for her great grandchild, and I knew she would be asking me how to read the pattern, so I thought I'd test it out a bit before I was 'tested' by Tami.  I like the pattern - Emma's Baby Booties - the link to the pattern is here.  It is a quick little pattern, and works up nicely - always good to have in your library!

We might actually be getting the new carpet installed in the guest house today.  Things MAY be moving back to normal for us.  Dawn is semi-out of the guest house for a bit (her boyfriend's mother was killed in a fire on Tuesday - she's staying with him to help out.)  I would like to get it put back together again before she gets back as a nice surprise (yes, I know she reads the blog, so it won't be much of a surprise, but I've found if I write things out as a sort of commitment, I am more apt to get them done!)  The guest house needs some serious organizational help, and if we can put things in their proper places, it will help.  We still don't have the bathroom together - the vanity re-build isn't done, but we can do something about some of the mess out there, I know.

I'm off to Susanville tomorrow - the weather looks like it will stay nice.  I have Monday off as a holiday, and Tuesday off for a vacation day, and then.....Wednesday I have to call in to see if I have Jury Duty.  Since I'm Group 7, I'm pretty sure I will have to go in.  Bummer.

We are about ready to start a couple of major projects at work (and, of course we have to start them both at the same time!!!)  One is a doc imaging program, where we will be scanning in all the paperwork associated with a loan (and deposit accounts, etc. - they just aren't MY problem!) and the other is a  workflow process for the entire loan department.  Both are big projects, and I'm happy to say that I'm not the lead in either.  I am the driving force behind the doc imaging, because my main job is loan documentation, but.....I'm not in charge, thank goodness!  (and it is a much smaller project, really.)  We have a 'meet and greet' meeting for the workflow project next Tuesday, (yes, I'm on vacation, but it is a dinner appointment - I'll meet with them for dinner anytime!!) and then the first part of March we start the work in earnest.  I hope to get a lot of the doc imaging program settled before that, at least my part of it.  We'll see how that goes.  If I get on a long jury trial, my plans may not work out that way.  (One co-worker is on a two-month murder trial!!!)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!  It should be a gorgeous day here - the temperature is forecast to be around 70 and sunny!  Of course, we are also expected to have high winds.  I'll take the warmth, but could do without the winds.  It feels like Spring is here already.

Since today is Valentine's Day, I was up until 11:00 last night baking cookies.  I needed cookies for Allison's class (19 kids - a combination of high school classes and 'adult' classes) and cookies for daycare, so....two batches of sugar cookies.  Since I'm making that many cookies, I need some for work too, right?  The cookies for the classroom didn't need to be frosted, since the kids do that, but I frosted the rest last night.  Sugar cookies make a good breakfast!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

You'd think by now I would know that I actually have to READ the pattern instead of skimming it, and do the whole thing, thinking I know what I'm doing.  This pretty little coaster is the result of that issue:

This is the pattern I (thought I) was making:

I had the very first row right, and that was it!!!  You'd think I would have noticed somewhere along the line that I had more than three sides???  In my defense, I didn't have the picture printed out with the instructions and I forgot what I was gong for - can you tell?  The good news was I could show it off at work.  There are several co-workers that just started crocheting, and some have been very frustrated with how to read instructions.  I showed them my work, and knowing that I've been doing this for a long time....they were reassured that it wasn't just them.  One co-worked said that it was nice to know that even I wasn't infallible   I told her that she just didn't see the things that I ripped out - she only got to see the things that I liked when I was done!!!

Since I had so many problems with my little triangle doily, I did this on instead.  

I got a text yesterday from AJ - could I pick Margene up at the airport tonight at 8:15.  Sure - which airport - Sacramento or Redding.  I could do either - it just made a difference on what time we left.  Luckily, she was coming in to Redding.  Since the airport is less than 5 minutes away, no problem!!  Margene called at 7:30 from San Francisco - her flight hadn't left yet, they didn't even have the plane at that airport yet.  They were now scheduled to come in around 10:00.  I assured her it still wasn't a problem - I could pick her up.  (Ralph is out of town this week, and AJ was house sitting, so it meant Alli would have to go with me to get her, but...still no big deal.)

At 8:00 she called back.  They had actually cancelled her flight to Redding, and the next flight was not until Thursday.  She was renting a car and driving up.  Then she called back, she was renting a mini van, and was driving up with 5 other people - at least one was going all the way to Redding.  I don't know where the others were being dropped off, or if they were all going to Redding,  She had just mentioned in one of the previous phone calls that there was another woman going to Redding that she was sitting with in the airport, waiting for the plane.  I told her to call me when she got in, and to text me on the way up so I knew she hadn't decided to drive up with an ax murdered or something (though how they would have gotten their ax through airport security, I don't know).  She sent me a text around 2:00 this morning - she was home, safe and sound.. tired, but home safe.  That poor woman has nothing but problems when she travels.  Last time, she ended up in the hospital while she was on vacation and missed her return flight.  Remind me not to travel with her!

Friday, February 08, 2013

I finished the little unicorn stuffed toy!  I put a few bells inside, and it is adorable!!!  Once again, there is something that if I make it again, I would do differently - the mane!  I also think I would try shaping the legs like the flying pig's.

Speaking of flying pigs, I gave it to Carole last night, and she loved it!  I was glad to see that she did like it - you never know with handmade things.  She took it around the shop to show off even - not too bad!

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Here are pictures of my 'new' jewelry armoire.  I even put my fairy doily out on it!!!  Too cool!  (It's been stuck in a box ever since I made it - now it has a home as well.)  It's amazing how much I had to put in it - not that it is all 'good jewelry' by any means, don't get me wrong - but it is a place to put all my costume stuff so I can see what I have.

Monday, February 04, 2013

The puppies and I took a walk before the game yesterday - it was beautiful out!  The dogs had a great time running up and down the creek (and had to stay outside when we got home because they were wet!! Koori actually lay down in a couple of the puddle on the way back (not enough to go swimming in the nice clean(ish) creek!)  Walking the three dogs at once down to the creek was a bit tricky.  Coming back, they were all very well mannered, but the trip there was a different story.  Of course, that's because we met three different sets of people - and Jasper wanted to see them, Koori wanted to hide behind me, and Tank wanted to bark at them.  Thank goodness two of the dogs are trained to sit on command (we're still working on Tank).  Everyone thought they were "just the cutest" (while I was trying to unravel myself from three tangled leads).  Good thing they are cute!

What I did during the Super Bowl:

The official name is Cu-pig, and is supposed to have a bow and arrow and a scarf of made of hearts, but....I think she cute just as a flying pig.  My manicurist collects 'flying pigs', and has a birthday next week.  I think this can go into her collection!  The little tail is so cute!  I wasn't real happy with the wings.  I think if I ever make one again, I would change the wing pattern up.  The rest of the pattern is awesome!  The ears are crocheted as you go, and have a nice technique of making them nice and perky, and the legs are shapes as well - not the norm for most amigarumi animals.  Very nice (and it was free!).

I found a cute little unicorn pattern to make as well.  I have most of a unicorn (all but three legs and the horn) made from a pattern I found free on the web, but I really don't like how it is turning out, so if I finish it, it will probably be as a dog toy (like that last toy giraffe I made - Koori loves it!).  I got the pattern late yesterday, so will probably start one this week.  We'll see how this one turns out.  I'm not usually satisfied with my stuffed animals - I'm not the greatest at 'adding character' to the dolls, and they look a little flat to me.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

Good thing I didn't plan on completing any projects yesterday - I don't think I finished a single thing (unless you count vacuuming, and I don't, because as soon as you finish vacuuming around here, you need to start it again!)  I started the day off with migraines, and the day just never got going real well after that - I was just in a non-creative funk all day.  I started a stuffed unicorn toy (with jingle bells in it - too cute) but....didn't like what I had done so far so didn't finish it.  I'll look at it again today to see if it was just me, or if I need a different pattern.

Ralph changed his mind about the marble we were putting in the bathroom, so he took me (and
Alli) out to look at something different.  Now we are putting in marble - easier to maintain than granite according to Consumer Reports).  We were able to find one that will fit in the budget - a broken slab can be cut down, since the vanity is smaller than normal.  Usually, the granite is too expensive for what insurance will allow.  We are three weeks out for the vanity, and the carpet salesman he is ready with the carpet whenever the contractor is.  One of these days......

Since we were 'in the neighborhood', Ralph, Alli and I went over to Vic Hannan's Landscaping and talked to them about setting up the raised bed gardens in the back.  For around $200, we will have two 4.5' X 4.5' garden plots.  Sounds good to me, so once I line up some willing and cheap labor (i.e. when AJ can round up a friend or two) we'll get that delivered and set up.  The landscapers will deliver it - but I'll need some willing backs to put it in the containers (after we get them built!)  The guy at Vic Hannan's even reminded me not to plant anything until the end of March, I've got time!

My chicken project has been put on hold for the time being.  The cost of a chicken coop is going to be around $500, so with all the other expenditures around here lately, I'm going to hold off on that for a bit.  The thought of getting the garden area cleaned up for chickens is a bit daunting too.  I think at this point, we need to burn the leaves that are out there, but before we can do that, we have to clean up an area to burn in so that the rest of the garden doesn't catch on fire.  A bit more than I want to bite off this weekend!

AJ and Ralph went for a bike ride yesterday!  I think that is the first time in a couple of years that Ralph has gotten on his bike.  He has lost quite a bit of weight since the 1st of the year, and is under the weight limit of the bike again.  He went in yesterday and got new shifters and derailer for my bike and will be getting those installed.  Then we will be back in business for riding bikes.  One of my things to-do list (or two things, actually) is to ride from Shasta Dam to the Sundial Bridge (18 miles - mostly downhill) and from Westwood to Susanville on the Biz Johnson Trail (25 miles - also mostly downhill).  AJ said he would do them with me, so I better get them done before he heads off to college (if he ever picks a major.....)

Saturday, February 02, 2013

It's the weekend, and no big projects to be done.  Randa was here this week, so my house is still clean(ish), I finished the doily for Mom, I finished several projects while I was on vacation, and I'm not quite ready to jump into some new projects I'm researching (raised garden beds, chickens in the old garden area, etc.) so, what to do, what to do?  The funny thing is, The more you look for fun things to do, the more things find you that you really didn't want to do.  Yes, I can sort through things in the garage (and I need to, I know) and yes, I can clean things that Randa doesn't, but....what's the fun of that?  I want something new and fun to do!  I think what winter blues I get are here!  Even AJ is looking for something for 'us' to do.  (He is convinced that we are all going for a bike ride today, including Allison - we'll see!!)

A project I'm considering is this quilt:  Flower Fairy quilt.  Here's a picture of the panel:

My favorite fairies - in a quilt.....Yes!  But....I found this pattern when I was looking for a baby quilt pattern for a co-worker.  She is having a little girl, and is decorating in a "fantasy' theme - fairies, unicorns, etc.  (But no princesses - she said she's not going to raise a princess.  Didn't we all say that???)  This quilt is great for me, but for a baby girl?  I may end up making this one just for me (what a thought!) and then continuing on my search for a little more 'girly' quilt.  They show a panel of fairies in pink at this site, but....they don't seem to have the coordinating fabrics now, and I have a hard time maneuvering around - I don't see a price for the pink - does that mean it isn't available anymore?  More research is needed (or at least more research done when I'm not falling asleep - it was a long week, and I found this last night!)

We are one step (but an important step) toward a finished project in the guest house.  We have a toilet!!!!  Last week, the workmen  repaired the drywall, textured and painted the bathroom (and the ceiling in the bedroom - a separate issue from several years ago that we never totally fixed).  Also along the line, the sink in the kitchen started leaking.  What next?  Never ask that!  When they went to replace the toilet, it leaked.  How can you break a toilet?  Whatever!  Ralph spent his lunch hour running to Home Depot and picking up a toilet and plumbing supplies for the sink and running them home so the toilet could be installed.  Finally, we have a toilet AND a sink that doesn't leak.  Now....the bedroom ceiling needs to be painted, and we need the vanity/sink back in the bathroom.  The vanity has to be hand built - it isn't a standard size.  Seriously?  We are still 3-4 weeks out on that project.  Ralph and I looked at granite last weekend for the top, replacing the prior tiles, but then Ralph decided to do more shopping.  Today he wants me to go look at something else.  One of these days, the guest house bathroom will be back in full operation, I know it!  I (and Dawn) are VERY happy that the toilet is back at least.  One step at a time, I guess.

Friday, February 01, 2013

I finished it!  Here's Mom's doily - I think it is the first doily I've done in 6 months - I know it's been a long time.  It's about 18" X 10.5" - a nice size for a table.