Hearts, Hay, Horses, and Headaches

The letter for today is apparently H. I shall start with hearts, since it’s a cheerful topic and something to be proud of. After finishing the camo blanket, I went back to work on my heart afghan I was making for Kathleen. Today I finished the heart section.

heart afghan
It’ darned cheerful!

It’s way too small to be useful to keep one warm, so I am already a third of the way through with making a border of squares to go around the hearts. I have ten colors of yarn for the centers and need 30 squares. That’s pretty dang good how it worked out!

squares
Pattern from that book I got on crochet quilt blocks.

After that, I’m gonna do something else as another border, probably also from that book. I have a lot of yarn. Well, except for the cream. I may need another skein of that one. All the other colors I haven’t even finished the first skein on!

Hay

I decided that since hay had gotten so expensive due to the drought, I should “harvest” what was left when the front pasture was shredded. There was some long and very nice coastal Bermuda out there that got mowed.

That’s a good amount of hay!

It was fun to pick it up. I feel ranchy!

Horses

Sometimes the horses mystify me. Both Fiona and Drew had smears of blood on them this evening.

Just a schmear.

No horse had a cut. Maybe Apache had another nosebleed? His nose looked fine, though. A mystery.

I’m still thrilled Mabel looks so much better.

Mostly they make me smile. They see me coming and pick those heads up to see if perhaps there’s food.

We see you. Is it dinner time?

When it’s been a hard day, watching their antics and rubbing those soft necks can make everything better. Which I needed.

Drew’s relaxed enough to drop and roll around with me right in front of him. Probably trying to wipe off the blood.

Headaches

Have you ever had a day where you start off sorta irritated and then actually irritating things start happening? That was me at work today. Sometimes I wonder how people get hired. Or how they keep their jobs if they don’t understand what their job entails. It’s like signing up to be a carpenter but you insist on hammering the pointy sides of nails. That’s not how nails work!

But I’m way better at shutting up these days. I didn’t write the software I support nor their job descriptions. I’ll just do my job and let their bosses notice the quality of their work.

Still. I got a headache.

Occasionally this helps.

Plus I missed a meeting this evening. My calendaring skills are something my boss should have a chat with me about.

I Finished Something but You Can’t See It

Just kidding. I can’t help that the Camo Blanket is practically invisible! It makes me invisible, too!

I’m not here

I think it came out the way we intended it to. Kathleen says the colors look better than she feared they would, and I was impressed that I used almost all the green. I guessed well on how many squares I could make.

Carlton is dubious.

I like how the zigzag join looks braided. It looks nice on the back, too. And I think the border adds a little interest. I didn’t want to do anything girly for the edging, since its recipient is a manly boy.

It’s pretty big but not too big I hope. It should be good for naps and sitting under on cold hunting trips and alligator killing expeditions! Or watching TV. Whatever the toddler wants to do.

A toddler blanket!

I sure hope the recipient doesn’t read Facebook or blogs yet! This is his Christmas present! I have enough of the brown to maybe make him a camouflage hat, too.

It makes a nice background for a finished manicure, too.

Now to finish off my other project. It’s nice to have a rest day. Tomorrow it should cool off and I’ll make the horses do fun stuff again.

Old Patterns

I’m thinking a lot the past couple of days about old patterns. One I’m happy to keep around.

Granny square burritos

I’m still enjoying the granny squares. My 63 camo squares are now nine green burritos that are actually strips of seven squares. I just can’t stop until they are all joined!

The other old pattern is here.

Do you see it? Of course you don’t. You see a horse standing at a funny angle and an older woman in cowboy attire laughing at him. Here’s what I see.

I may have a body image problem

How many years of Brené Brown telling me I’m fine just as I am must I endure? How many affirming and empowering images of women of all sizes must I see? How many articles about why women tend to add belly fat after menopause must I read? Why do I still judge myself negatively when I see candid shots of myself?

Sigh.

It just goes to show that the patterns I got into as a child, where I was made fun of daily for being fatso, tub-o-lard, elephant, hippo, water buffalo, wart hog, fatty fatty two by four can’t get through the bathroom door…um, telling myself I’m fine just won’t erase. (Was that grammatical? Cut me some slack.)

Testing a lipstick on my lip wrinkles.

The gray hair? It’s fun. The wrinkles? They seem a small price to pay for wisdom. And my health is so good! But my first thought when I see my body is judgmental.

The good news is that just like how you can vary granny squares and do cool things with them, I’m able to take a second look at my body and give it permission to change. I have lots of fun with it, and not wasting time planning how to achieve some ideal pant size gives me time to enjoy my life.

Patterns that change subtly are more interesting, I think. Cheers to my charmingly imperfect mug and self!

Patterns are what they are because they are ingrained. They’re deeply grooved in your psyche and not easy to smooth out. But, progress is possible. I’m proof. I now wear shorts, sleeveless tops, and bathing suits in public. Five years ago that was not true. I’ve modified my pattern!


Later: I’m not begging to be told I’m cute or not fat or whatever. I know I’m slightly bigger than I’ve been most of my life and I’m fine with that. I know I’m fine the way I am! I’ve gotten so much better about not caring what others think, too. My point here was that the old patterns that must be in my limbic system kick in before my higher processing can react sensibly.

What’s in My Sloth Bag?

Hmm, I sure took a large bag with me on this evening’s drive. Cute bag, isn’t it? I got three or four of them to hold knitting stuff and am getting a lot of use out of them.

Happy rainbow sloths

I’ve been working on two projects at the same time, a blanket for a toddler and one for the niece Kathleen. I hit a milestone on the camouflage blanket today, since I’ve been riding in cars with Lee a lot this week. So, what’s in the bag are 63 granny squares.

Practically invisible camouflage squares.

Of course, now that the squares are done, I need to turn them into a 7X9 rectangle. 63 squares; I did math.

The first two. It will look better once the ends are covered.

I’m using the zigzag joining method because it lays nice and flat. I’ll make 9 strips of 7 squares, then crochet the strips together.

First strip, artistically draped.

When it’s all together, I’ll make a border out of the brown yarn. I’d like to do something interesting but I may not have enough of the yarn. I look forward to winging it! It will be loved, no matter what.

Bonus photo: ground beetle with purple side stripes seen at Anita’s house.

Lee’s Tahoe has been having issues and had to be towed to the dealership. It’s a good thing my plans for tomorrow don’t involve our trailer!

Book Report: Block by Block Crochet

4 stars

I’m too tired to write my planned post so hey, here’s a book that I just received and am already loving. Block by Block Crochet: Quilt-Inspired Patchwork Blocks to Mix and Match, by Leonie Morgan, came out in 2021. It’s a great reference book for anyone like me who likes to get creative with color and blocks.

Not my best photo

Every single pattern Morgan shares, from a simple solid square to more complex motifs, has given me ideas for using up my stash or making something special and new.

Sample page

Morgan did a great job of not over-complicating things with the patterns. She tells what techniques you’ll use, gives a sample of what multiple blocks will look like together, and gives the patterns both in words and charts. You’ll be glad for the charts if you’re American, because the instructions are in UK English. With crochet, that matters more than in knitting, because we call the stitches different things. (Our single crochet is double crochet in UK terms. It’s not hard to translate; you just have to remember.)

Since I’m having to rest my hand a bit each day, dreaming of what I can do with these crocheted “quilt” squares is a great break. I’m such a sloppy quilter that I hesitate to see things. But now I can play with yarn like I would fabric.

This looks fun.

Yep, this book was $18 well spent, plus it got me free shipping on the black yarn I want to use in the next project. Hmm. Maybe I’ll use it with one of these motifs!

Things We Like

My spouse and I do have a few things in common. Today I was reminded of some of them. That made me feel all warm and fuzzy, which I needed, since the dogs killed another animal friend and that made me sad.

Sorry, buddy. I wish I could pick up and rescue a snapping turtle that somehow got into the yard, but I need my limbs.

I’m happier thoughts, I got something fun in the mail that my friend Deana told me about. It’s the Yarn Tarot. It’s so cute. The illustrations cover knitting, crochet, spinning, and weaving.

Also note my avocado nails.

The main reason to get the deck would be the art, some of which is clever. The deck was designed by Katie ponder, who does seem to know about the crafts. The Fool cracked me up, setting out over the precipice to buy yarn.

And the dog has a sweater on.

The suits are: pentacles a woven star, cups drop spindles, swords knitting needles (duh), and wands crochet hooks. I have a feeling getting weaving to fit in with the pentacle symbolism was the hardest.

See, it’s on a loom.

The twee book is a standard tarot book and doesn’t refer to the art or archetypes, but it’s not a bad book. Just not exciting.

That’s the World card.

So, that’s one thing Lee the Hermit and I both like. Another is pens. We both own so many pens and each have strong preferences. I love to write in my journals, and he did, too, until he started making them on the computer.

Lots of pens.

I got more pens than I intended to today. I thought I’d canceled one set. On well, I will use them all in my horse journal! They are all subdued, muted colors, which will fit with the horses. One impressive surprise was the at one set of pens came with an entire set of refills! That’s a good idea. Some inexpensive sets don’t put much ink in the pens, so yay for that manufacturer. They make theme sets, so I might get more (ocean theme, etc.)

One more commonality.

The final thing we have in common is a love for cute li’l animals. I was really excited to see the storks replaced with two sets of twin calves and their mamas. I’m pretty sure one set are the ones I saw at Sara’s a couple of days ago. Double the cute.

Sweet.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I’m going to see where I work!

Yarn Failure – DOH

Sometimes I wonder about myself. Other times I laugh about myself. Today I am laughing. You may recall that I am making an afghan that looks kind of like a quilt with a heart in it for Kathleen. When the yarn arrived, I realized that the cream color for the heart was not in the order. Well, I figured, I’ll order it and by the time I get to the heart, the yarn will be here.

Time marched on. In the meantime I got halfway through the squares for the macho camo toddler blanket I’m making for Kathleen’s grandson for Christmas. It looks like that one will be done in time at the rate I’m going!

Stack o’ camo squares

I began to be annoyed at how long that cream-colored yarn was taking to get here. I got ready to give those people at Knitpicks a piece of my mind! What slow shipping! Grr!

I headed on over to the website to check on my order, in quite a huff. Um. There was my order, just sitting there. I remembered I’d also wanted to get a collection of striped yarns to make something for the tack room. They were there, too. Someone had not clicked the “order” button. I was that someone.

That certainly explained why the yarn had not arrived. I placed the order like the competent adult I often believe myself to be. And lo and behold. The yarn took less than a week to show up. I think I will buy that yarn winder that’s on sale to make amends (since I haven’t found the missing part of my old one).

Here it is, plus a preview of the next project in line, which may be knitted or crocheted.

I was so happy to see the yarn that I started singing, “Yarn, glorious yarn!” to the amusement of the entire family.

In other senior moments, I did start work on the heart afghan again last night. I decided to work on it when I could concentrate and keep the camo blanket for long meetings and when I chat with friends on Zoom. It took less than a day to get frustrated by leaving the crochet hook where I last worked and having to fetch it.

Ta da. Note the cute little hermit salt and pepper shakers. Great gift!

At around 9:30 pm last night it dawned on me that I own more than one size G 4.0mm crochet hook. I’d bought two sets recently just for this kind of situation. All right, then, I’m set. Let the festival of squares continue!

This is just one side of the afghan, but shows I got the heart started. So far, it does not look like a heart, according to my husband.

Maybe I need to take some of Lee’s memory pills.

Hi There

Not much is going on other than the dizzy thing and working hard. Work is good, of course. I could do without queasy and dizzy.

This will make it all better.

The liquor is a prop, as is the hat. We were celebrating a coworker’s birthday today, so we wore party hats, made signs, and brought celebratory beverages to our 8:30 am meeting. Party on Zoom! It made Lenna cry. That’s a good way to start sprint planning (if you don’t know what that is, consider yourself lucky).

Why didn’t you invite ME? Well, Apache, you don’t like hats.

Declan put a set of blinds that didn’t fit on another project in the tack room. This is the only one that worked, but it’s okay, because that’s the one that gets lots of morning sun and heats things up.

Ok. Later I will hang up the little art I’ve had since I lived in my first house in Illinois.

And since I was too woozy to exercise, I did a fun thing at lunch. Kathleen gave me one of those kid sun-catcher crafts to cheer me up. It was a paint horse, and I made it look like Apache. It’s got his mane and tail plus a white nose. I had fun, and it’s cheerful in a window.

And one more thing, I found yet another mushroom variety today. The puffballs are back! And yesterday’s ink caps are already fading. Maybe my mold issue will, too.

The look like golf balls grow!

Old Friends Return

Some of my things from Austin I don’t miss at all, while others have left a bit of a hole in my heart. Today some of my favorite things returned and it feels good.

My petit point flowers from 1993

I had most of my needlepoint wall hangings at the Bobcat house. This one was in my bedroom (as were the other old friends). I made it in 1993 when Declan was a baby. Today he brought it back to me.

It’s so pretty

The six-sided frame was made by my ex and his friend. They worked so hard in the garage of our sweet house in Champaign, Illinois, ciphering the angles, cutting the wood, and staining the frame. This may be the only thing he ever made for me, so I’ll treasure it always.

These two pictures I made after Anita got here, I think when we were in the casita. I made them for the Bobcat house, though. They were in my bedroom. The fun donkey has a yellow background to go with my old bedroom, which no doubt is white now! I really enjoyed making these, and I’m glad I’ll get to look at them every time I go upstairs from now on. Lee was very kind to hang them so quickly!

What’s this?

My knitting friends know that these two old friends are among my favorite things, and I’ve missed them! It’s an umbrella swift and ball winder that take loose hanks of yarn and turns them into pull-skeins, which we like to call “yarn cakes.”

Finished products.

You may recall that the yarn for the macho granny square project came in hanks. I wound the first two by hand, which my watch thought was an elliptical machine workout.

Before. These are hanks of yarn. Fancy yarn comes in hanks that you must wind yourself.

I mentioned that somewhere in the stuff from Austin were these useful items, but they were hard to find, since the boxes weren’t organized. Well, by gosh, they’re organized now and my equipment and art showed up! It’s going to make finding things for the pool house and another project that’s coming up a lot easier! Maybe I’ll find some old kitchen friends!

Squares in progress. This will be cute!

Meanwhile, we’ve been getting some pretty good rain. There is even some water in the front pond again, which means there’s been runoff. If the predictions are right, we’ll be back to green grass and full ponds next week.

Not impressed? Well there was just the barrel last week.

Or, knowing central Texas weather, it will flood soon. Our old friends, the floods. Better than droughts and fires!

It’s so nice to sit outside.

Off to start a fun weekend. Wow. I am becoming a little more social!

Granny Squares

I heard it was recently International Granny Square Day. So glad I was working on some at the time. I have two rows done on the current project, which consists mostly of granny squares divided diagonally into two halves.

Goldie had to help.

It ends up looking like a quilt. I shared the yarn one day last week. To start, I colored in the pattern with markers. Of course I changed some.

My really messy doodles

I’m stopping here until the yarn for the heart arrives. I do have the other camo yarn I can turn into balls and swatch with. Sigh. The ball winder and swift are still packed up, somewhere. But I can wind by hand and it will count as exercise!

Time for wine by the pool

Speaking of which, it was literally like an OVEN outside today. Neither I nor the horses were up to running around. It was 102° and extra humid. So I got my exercise in the pool. I swim weird but it counts!

I didn’t have to save Suna.

The good news is real rain should be coming tomorrow or Friday. I will believe it when I see it, but it’s the most hope since early May. I think we need it, judging from the ground.

Sorry I’m so dull right now. All the interesting stuff I can’t write about. Oh, here’s a tidbit: I’m officially renewed and get to stay at Dell another year. Income! Yay!

You’d pet me more if you retired.
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