More Painting, but Mostly Indoors

The guys finished trimming out the shipping containers today. There were a few clouds in the sky, which helped.

Vlassic and Lee approved.

Looks good! Yep!

I, too, painted. Kathleen set up a fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Foundation today, sponsored by our personal assistance service, Hearts, Homes, and Hands. For a donation (small) participants got to paint either a seashell or a dolphin.

Paint and refreshments!

This was the kind of stuff we’d hoped to do before the pandemic. There was a great mix of clients, caregivers and their families in attendance. All the paintings were fun and individualistic. I enjoyed doing mine, with all those techniques I learned painting my weird turtles.

Some of the art. Fun was had.

Kathleen says we’re going to do more of these in the future. I love to have fun for a good cause. I’m proud of the team at HHH. Our new admin, Toni, is doing great. I’m enjoying being the silent partner and cheering our company on. It’s three years old now. Time flies when a virus attacks.

Meanwhile, I’m using up that leftover yarn.

I spent most of today working like crazy, which helped me not think about some family health scares. When not working, I crocheted. I think Drew understands that it was just too hot on this summer solstice to work together. I’ll try to get up early to work with him!

Too Hot to Paint but It Happened

I felt bad for my kid today. He is a very hard worker, not doing what he thought he’d be doing at this point in his life, but learning a lot. But wow it’s hot right now. And he’s been painting.

That shipping container blends in!

He and his coworker had already painted the Suna Shack red and white. But we also had the two shipping containers over in horse world. One is to be the hay storage and one storage for equipment. Both were reddish, but not red.

Another view.

In well over 100° heat, the second container got painted without the coworker. I was really surprised to see him patiently painting on white trim on it. I guess the nephew said to make it all match. Wow, it looks sharp so far!

Not quite done on this side, but I sure don’t miss all the shipping letters on the container. (Roof is getting replaced when it cools off)

I’m glad no one went along with the idea of painting stripes. Whew. I’m feeling like I’m a fancy barn owner, but not at such a high price. This is all done by my family (and Marcus). It means so much more than some prefabricated thing! I do love my kids and wish I’d been a better mom after their dad left. Oops. Back on that topic again.

Apparently this one gets white trim, too. Let’s see if they paint the poles.

Still. The horses will rest in so much style now! Speaking of style. I believe I found the loudest nail polish on earth. It’s called Mardi Gras. Obviously I’m not painting barns.

Yow.

But I do work, and I found out today that I’ll get to stay another year at Dell. We’ll see what I decide to do after that. And tomorrow I hope to do some painting for a good cause!

I hope I don’t mess up my nails!

Things You Find when Looking for Something Else

My spouse is trying his hand at book binding. He needed a needle he could thread dental floss through to sew the binding in. So, I went through my unorganized craft stuff to find something. I found a needlepoint needle, which was good. But I found many other things.

Found!

One thing I found was this pouch I made to test out felting an entrelac project. I ended up using it more than the very nice purse that was my main project back in the old Bluebonnet Yarn Shop days. Believe it or not, I stored tampons in it.

Mama bear

The necklace is one my therapist made for me back in the Very Bad Old Days when my marriage was painfully ending, as were the marriages of many of my friends. On top of that there was a horribly toxic woman who showed up at our UU church who ran around ruining marriages, breaking up friendships, and rampantly spreading rumors and suspicion everywhere. Many of my friendships never recovered, and though I stuck around a while, I never again felt safe at church. Victoria was making jewelry at that time, and she made me the mama bear necklace to protect me.

My spouse found these journals. The top one covered 6 months of this time in excruciating detail. I feel so bad for my kids. And I can’t believe how doggedly I insisted people had good intentions in the face of evidence to the contrary. I’m sure glad my ex and his dogs and super-fit wife are so happy. We paid for it.

I needed it. My son was struggling, too. It was the start of so much stress, struggle, and growth. All that hit me when I saw the necklace. I’m sick to my stomach. No wonder it’s a good idea not to live in the past!

This is actually slightly more organized.

On a happier note, I found this UFO (unfinished object) in the knitting bag where the necklace was. It’s another entrelac project. I think it’s a table runner? It’s made of leftover sick yarn. Maybe I can work on it later.

Speaking of the past

The other UFO I found is this very warm shawl. I’m on the border of this one, too. What is it with me and unfinished borders? I should finish it before I start the other project. Sigh. It is very soft, too. Fancy yarn.

Hey, I remember this.

But wait, I found something else. I was in the Hen Haven or whatever I want to call it, and realized I didn’t know what was in a box under the work table. So, I opened it. Wow! Leather tooling supplies!

They must have cone with all the horse stuff.

I immediately knew what to do with it, too. I ran to get Drew’s fancy leather lead rope. After practicing on an old belt, I got to work.

Custom lead strap!

It’s Drew’s now! He fancy. I’ll see what else I can whack with a mallet. By the way, if the nephew is reading this, I did put the mallet back.

Bonus content: how many hens are at this chicken conference?

Finished a Shawl, Finally

And it came out great! This shawl is what I was working on before I started making all those baby blankets.

Knockout Round shawl with large sawtooth border

I started on January 15 and was almost finished in February when I sat the project aside. I knew I had to finish it, though, because both yarns were delicious. The tan yarn is baby llama. Baby llama! It’s called
Frog Tree Llambrosia. I used up every bit of that. The second yarn is a hand-painted yarn, whose name is a mouthful: Knitwhits Freia Handpaints Freia Ombré M/S Sport (Refined) – Gradient (the links are to their Ravelry pages). That Freia feels so good to knit with. It’s a silk/wool blend.

As you can see, it’s a simple, triangular shawl, but I did use a pattern to do the tabbed start, so credit goes to that person. The border is based on a classic sawtooth pattern, but I messed around with it. Since I had a lot of Freia left over, I added some plain stitches to make it wider. (Want to learn more? Here it is on Ravelry.)

Border up close

The big surprise was that when I got to the end of the triangle, I was at the end of a border repeat, which made turning the corner easy. Then, today, when I got to the end, it was EXACTLY at the end of a border repeat! It looks like I did a bunch of careful planning to get the pattern to come out right. I wish I could say I did, but nope, it was total luck.

I’m happier than I look. Just tired from horse lessons. That is why my shirt is dirty.

And no, I don’t have a border pattern. You cast on some stitches, and declare some number your sawtooth and the rest the plain part. You knit some, yarn over, K2 together, then knit to the last stitch which you knit along with a border stitch. Then going back out, you knit 2 together at the end. When there is only one stitch before the hole for the yarn over, cast on some number and start again. I believe my number was 12. You see, I’m a technical writer by day, and it’s the weekend now. No technical writing.

Yes, you can find the pattern online at http://www.interweave.com somewhere.

I actually DO have something interesting I want to make after I use up all the Mandala yarn from the baby blankets with my overly colorful crochet ripple afghan. It will be a garment! A sleeveless top! With yarn I have been saving! It’s from the latest Interweave Knits (Summer 2022) and called Morellet. Let’s see if I can do that!

I’m so glad that there are at least a few knitting magazines out there. I can read patterns much better on a page than online. And no way am I sitting through someone yammering on and on for some online pattern. I know I am old, but I don’t have time to sit through endless promotions, background information, videos on how to do a stitch…I just want a pattern.

Vlassic would like to thank me for the very pink chair he can sit in to watch me in the tack room.

Don’t get me started trying to find the actual recipe for anything online. I have no sympathy with people’s needs to cram more and more ads in their patterns and recipes. I hope they get rich from it. Wait, don’t I have ads? Yes. And I have yet to hit the magic $100 to get paid.

Heat apparently makes me grumpy. I did drink my healthy supplement o’ magnesium and potassium when I was running around with the horses though, honest. Tarrin made me do it. (That’s her tag line, too.)

Mojo Sinking

Wondering if Jim Morrison was singing about mojo rising. Mine is sinking. But I had the energy to look up that song.

Mr Mojo Risin is an anagram (A word, phrase, or name formed by rearranging the letters of another) for Jim Morris name. He believed or at least stated he was going to be reincarnated and come back as Mr. Mojo Risin. Nov 17, 2021

https://m100group.com/2021/11/17/who-in-the-world-is-mr-mojo-risin-what-does-even-mean/

Ok. Fine, Jim. Meanwhile, work is kicking my butt and the wind has given me a headache. I had to put all the plants in a safe place thanks to the weird wind and African dust in the air.

How I feel

I honestly love this job but I can only write so many things a day now that I’m older. But two people complimented my work today. That keeps me going, knowing I help people learn and that they aren’t bored.

Also how I feel

Tuesday is just hard. I was working by 6:30 am. Long day! But I swam and bonded with the animals once I was done, which helped. I even made dinner! Beef stir fry that everyone seemed to like.

Penney has a hint.

So, I’m gonna relax and work on this “snake” I am crocheting. I think it is a blanket from leftover baby blanket yarn.

Bag o’ yarn

So, no deep thoughts today. Just some photos from around here. Take care! I know my mental fog will clear soon. All these things would be great blog fodder. Too zonked. Minus mojo.

Tomorrow is another day. I “only” have nine meetings. Sounds like not a lot of writing will happen.

Cat Butts, by Request

That’s right. Cat butts. Really, cat assholes. My friend Dorothy sent me a photo of some coasters that look like the back view of a cat. Could I make those? I figured I could. So, I looked for a pattern by searching for “cat butt” on Ravelry. Yep.

First one I made. Not thrilled with it.

It was harder than you’d think, because most of the patterns were not actually there or cost way more than they should for a circle with two lumps and a tail. I finally found a free one that was hard to read, but manageable.

Second one. Same colors but less awkward.

I made one according to the pattern and decided I didn’t like how many times you had to break off the yarn and how many holes there were. So I changed it a bit. Then I made a couple more.

Tan cat with pale anus

Then Dorothy said she wanted tabbies and calicoes and tortoiseshell cats. The pattern was for plain cats, so I’ve been improvising.

The butt of a tabby is not striped. And I had not yet figured out striped tails

I hadn’t crocheted much recently, so this was a nice break from knitting. I’m happy with this one.

I like the jaunty legs and striped tail on the calico.

There are a few more to try before I stop. I have a lot of Dishie cotton yarn from when I was making dishcloths, so there are many colors of cat butts I can make. I assure you this is not a project I thought I’d make, since I didn’t know these were a “thing.”

Kitty kitty kitty

If you want the pattern, just search for cat butt coaster and they’ll pop up. Grab cotton yarn and an appropriate hook and you, too, can set your water glass on a butt.

Sculpture! Birds! Nature Surprises! Beauty?

Today I got to have all the funs, to celebrate an actual day off, and have some emotional recharge. And of course I had to do some deep thinking. I’m on a roll with wonder and wondering.

Nature Surprise

You may remember that Lee forgot to pack any shirts for the trip. The t- shirts he got were fine. But. He got one long-sleeved shirt at Kohl’s when we stopped at one on the way, and it turned out to be weird and too big. So, he declared we would go to Tractor Supply and get more Lee-esque shirts. Why? It got chilly overnight!

Fern time. Sensitive.

Imagine my happiness when I saw that next to the store was a beautiful wooded area with a stream running through it. It was sort of like what I imagine in my mind when I think of a southern American woods. There were oaks, sweet gums, ash, and holly trees, with ferns and palmettos underneath. There were jack-in-the-pulpits and lizard’s tail. Vines included muscadine grape, poison ivy, and Virginia Creeper. I was in heaven. Plus I got to buy a windbreaker.

As if that wasn’t enough, we were actually in our way to our favorite spot, Brookgreen Gardens. It’s always great, but we lucked out this time. For one, the butterfly exhibit at the zoo has recently re-opened. We got to see some butterflies we’d never seen before. And the flowers weren’t bad, either.

A malachite butterfly.

While waiting in line, I met a fellow horse owner and traded photos, of course. But dang, look at these beauties! I don’t know what they are, though.

Of course, I had to get bird photos, too. I didn’t take many of the captive birds, but the ducks were so pretty I had to. At least I got some pretty wild birds, too.

I’ve saved the best for last. Just yesterday, a new exhibit opened. It’s sculpture by two married people, Babette Bloch and Marc Mellon.

I got the book, too.

Mellon has had his work at Texas A&M (to impress the locals) at the Bush Presidential Library. He also designed an official medal for President Obama. His main work has been statues of female athletes. He makes them look strong as well as beautiful. He also did a horse. I liked that.

My heart melted when I started looking at Bloch’s work. She started out in bronze, but then moved on to making art with laser-cut steel. It’s lots of flowers. As you know, I am fond of flowers.

Large herons, outdoors

I had two favorites. One is a phoenix. The base of the sculpture is based on Bloch’s face!

My second favorite was a wall with dozens of flowers in bowls with color behind them. Each bowl was someone’s family heirloom. It moved me to tears to see the old things become new art.

All her work was interesting and different from anything I ever saw. The burnished parts were mesmerizing. Here’s some more of her work. Lee just loved the dog, of course.

To top it all off, I went back in at the end of our visit, and I got to tell Bloch how much her work and the stories behind it moved me. That felt great. My heart is full. What a great day.

My Deep Thiughts

Being at Brookgreen and enjoying the art made me wonder something. Do humans always seek beauty? Have they always done so? Are there things that just naturally please humans?

Are sunsets thought beautiful in all cultures? If so, why?

I seem to remember that symmetry is often found beautiful, like in people’s faces. And there’s that golden ratio that’s supposedly pleasing.

Any thoughts? I’m going to do some research. I guess I shouldn’t take time off from work and chores. I start wondering.

A Shiny Baby Blanket

I finally finished this special project, which is a blanket for my friend Mandi’s upcoming surprise baby. It took a long time, because I used small needles and only have about an hour of knitting time per day. I recommend the size called for by the yarn, a 5 US.

Knitted ripples

Mandi asked for a ripple afghan, which is easy to crochet, but it hurts my hands too much. So, I looked for knitted ones. I didn’t like any of the ones I found, so I just did it the way I wanted to.

Note the sequins!

I used another version of Lion Brand Mandala yarn, the one that has slow color changes. This one has sequins in it. Just enough. Not too many. It was easy to work with and is machine washable. I also like the size it came out. Perfect for a newborn or a “lovey” blanket. I had one of those I slept with until college. Its name was “Lovin’ Blanket,” or LB. It once was a satin receiving blanket, but after many years, all that was left was its edges. I digress.

How to Make Your Own

So, here is the extra easy pattern, at least if you know the abbreviations.

Mine took 3 balls of Mandala Sequins plus about a quarter of another ball, to make both ends blue. You can make the blanket as wide or long as you want. It could be adult size, if desired!

Cast on a multiple of 12 stitches + 8. I did 12 repeats. 142 stitches.

Row 1 slip 1, knit to end

Row 2 slip 1, *SSK, K4, YO, K2, YO, K4, K2tog* repeat between ** until the last stitch, K1

Repeat these two rows until you reach the length you want, then bind off loosely. Slipping the first stitch on each row makes a nice edge, especially if you knit the last stitch through the back loop.


The next blanket I make will be mitered squares in another colorway of the same yarn, with a centered decrease accent.

Baby Blanket Bonanza

Yeppers, I’m making more baby blankets. It’s rewarding to me. And relaxing. I found some fun yarn to use for the next two. It has both long color changes and sequins! Woo.

Mándala sequins yarn

The yarn is weird in that it doesn’t stay wound up very well. The sequins are in the yarn, though, so they will stick. I got three colors, even though I only have two blankets to make. I’ll find something else to do!

Really pretty color

My first recipient wanted a ripple blanket, so I looked around for patterns. I didn’t find one I really liked that was knitted, so I added yarnovers to one that looked good.

My pattern.

I like how the thinner yarn makes the blanket delicate and good for a baby, even though it’s a boy. It’s a fun pattern that’s pretty traditional.

Close up.

I’ve managed to make a few mistakes in the easy pattern, and I had to rip out a few rows twice! You do need to pay attention when you are counting to 4, I guess.

This is closer to the real color.

It’s nice to just do something for someone else and put in some love. Kindness, giving, and stress relief all bundled together.

The third color.

Let’s all find ways to heal our souls and share love with others.

Normal Horse Activity

This is exciting! Sara and I rode our horses around our pastures and it was uneventful! Woo!

Who me?

I promised I’d just write about horses for a while. So yep. Aragorn and Apache were good guys and checked out lots of stuff with a minimum of acting up. It wasn’t perfect, but it was way better. I’m so glad to be able to have fun with our horses again.

Aragorn did great opening gates, too. What a guy. He’s so much calmer. We are all developing our partnership.

It’s happy for me, in the horse department.

The yarn came for my next baby blanket project. It has sparkles.

Colorway is Opal. It’s for Mandi.

That’s all I’ve got. Peace out.

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