Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

And here he is!!

 Last weekend my daughter and I drove down to southern VA,                     3 hours away from home - to pick up this little guy!!!

Meet Tate, my daughter’s new English Bulldog puppy and my new grand dog!!

It began the night before with me driving down to my daughter’s condo in DC.  This is a drive I have taken hundreds of times to pick up Milo, her previous dog, that we lost last July.  But this was during rush hour, it was dark and the traffic patterns were a bit different because of rush hour, and I haven’t driven in city traffic in 8 months. This trip is about 30 miles away - and mid-day it would take me about an hour, but this night it took about 90 minutes.  Just the state of traffic in our area.

The next morning we traveled through snow and high winds.  Fortunately we were traveling south and driving out of the storm.  

At some point it was just rain.

We knew the storm was still hitting our area and we would need to deal with it on our return trip, but ...

At the end of the road was this wonderful joining of pet owner and puppy.  And what a darling he is.
We spent a short time getting his paper work and some initial instructions ... and then we turned right around and began the 3 hours trip back home.

I had some serious bonding time with him in the back seat - and when he wasn’t sitting on my lap, he was looking out the window.  Everything was new to him.  He didn’t sleep a wink on the trip home. He was on an adventure.

A seriously cute little guy.

Arriving at home my daughter had set up his crate and his play area - with toys aplenty!  He was so cute running around and enjoying it all.

She purchased a very important ’toy’ - a stuff white dog, with a heart beat you can feel and a heating pad insert that lasts 24 hours.  He sleeps on or beside it all the time.

She even purchased a quilted jacket for him because the weather was so cold over the weekend and he seemed so cold outside, but the jacket was kind of big and the weather is now improving and he clearly had an opinion about wearing his new jacket.  The face says it all.

What Tate doesn’t yet understand is that he will want for nothing!  He has landed in a family who values their pets as especially important family members.  

Welcome to the family little guy.  
You are in for a great life!

Friday, March 11, 2022

The Aja Evolution - Chapter 72, Section M, Line Item 3, parts A through F 🤣 !

It is hard to wrap my brain around just how much adjustment time this little creature, 

called Aja, requires. But clearly we are not at the crest of that mountain top!  

This coming May will be 2 years since a very scared, skinny, jittery and somewhat distrusting little orange female cat entered our lives.  And still there are little changes happening all the time - she is more comfortable in our home and more comfortable with us.  

Sitting on my lap - and not sure she likes this camera “thing” I keep doing.
Its all in the position of the ears!

In the last few months she has been conquering the skill of lap sitting.  Usually in the evening, when all is quiet and I am watching TV (listening through ear buds - so the condo is very quiet), this little cat jumps up to the arm of my chair, waits patiently while I clear what I am doing from my lap, then steps carefully into the space I have made for her - and settles in for some petting time.  

She can’t see I am taking another picture, so the ears
have returned to normal.

But she didn’t start out this comfortable.  

It all began with her version of “drive by” - feet hitting the side of the chair and just as fast, feet pushing off in the opposite direction. Blink and you missed it!  After she figured out that no ‘condo monster’  swallowed her up,  she tried jumping into my lap with no warning ... sometimes landing on the top my open laptop - and then shooting off again, leaving me with a mess on whatever I was working on.  But I knew I was being tested (or maybe trained?)  I was calm.  She was persistent!  Next step in the goal of lap sitting, she started jumping on the arm of my chair and staring at me.  That was her signal that I must prepare her space (my lap.)  Once cleared she carefully settled in - tail whipping back and forth - letting me know she is “on the ready” for something.  Currently, she has stopped whipping her tail and she lets the petting begin.  I am also using these visits to acclimate her to the idea of my arms around her for an affectionate hug and a kiss on the forehead.  The first couple times I did this, she leaned away from me in the opposite direction.  Now she seems to accept it - because she knows I let go. At some point she just might enjoy it.  Its all baby steps with her! 

My husband, too, is working on his own schedule of 'taming the tiger.’  Several times a day he walks into the bedroom and sits on the side of the bed calling to her - and she comes!  Sometimes it is from the far end of the condo - on the run!  She jumps up on the bed and sits primly beside him as he gives her pets.  She obviously wants that time with him, because she always comes.  It is a short time but welcomed by both man and beast! And thank God for it -because those who read my blog almost 2 years ago, will remember, the first night she was with us, my blind husband stepped on her.  She was definitely NOT friends with him that night.  But like all our cats, over time she has figured out that he can’t see, so when he is on the move - so is she!

She also comes out of the bedroom most afternoons and curls up on the floor in a safe place and naps!  We are hoping that someday she realizes that there are comfy chairs just one leap up where she can reside safely as well.  

She has her own water fountain now that provides her moving filter fresh water whenever she wants it.  Yes, we bought her a pet water fountain when we discovered her trying to drink out of the bathroom faucets.  I quickly realized that I hardly ever saw her drink water out of her bowl (which was changed twice a day.). The moment we put the new water fountain down - she began taking long drinks.  That along with her healthy appetite - and she has put on some weight.  When May rolls around, I am sure we will be getting the first of the yearly Vet lectures about keeping an eye on her weight!  (Just like when I go to the doctor.) Ha! Regardless... her fur looks soft and shiny and no bones are showing!! Happy and healthy.  One good looking orange kitty!  

She also has some favorite toys.  Cat Nip Paper Bag is a recent addition!  

The bag smells yummy!

I don’t see anything.  Maybe if I get closer!

Ok!  Going in.  Taking one for the team!!

She also has a crinkle toy that I have seen her bat around and carry in her mouth.  

And laser lights are her very favorite toy of all.  I’ve even found a ball of yarn rolled across the floor - and not put there by me!

Bottom line - she is doing great! And she continues to get her owners trained just the way she likes them!!

Oh yes, we are going to get the weight lecture!!


Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Weaving - I’ll be back!

I wish it wasn’t so, but I occasionally have projects that are started, not completed and are either given away or frogged. 

One of these 'not completed' projects is a weave-it blanket.  I will say this project has “staying power” because it has survived multiple downsizing events.  Every time I came across the bag filled with woven squares I said “I’ll be back” ... It never occurred to me even once that maybe I should just give up on this project

Well, now I am back!  And here is the story.

Here are all the squares of this partially started blanket.
Yes, it is a lot of pieces,
and yes, it has a lot of ends to weave in! (Gobs and gobs of ends!)  And as you can see - some of the 
sewing has been done - but honestly, this has a ton of work left to do 
before it is complete.

But seen up close the woven squares are so appealing to me, and different yarns
produce different effects.  The plaid ones above are made with a single multi color skein of yarn.  
It is fun to watch it develop.  
Each plaid is different and there is no cutting the yarn to change colors.

This weave-it blanket was started around 2009 - 2010 soon after I learned to make these little squares from Karen, (Happy One) of the Life is Good blog.  Karen introduced me to this weaving technique that she learned from her grandmother. At the time it wasn’t all that common a technique but in the 1930s and 1940s it was very popular.  When I started with this project you could buy weave-it looms on the secondary market - and with a little searching - I found someone who would make them “new.”  As the interest in weaving grew over the years, these little looms were “rediscovered” and have gained popularity among weavers, knitters, crocheters alike.

The white loom is the Zoom Loom and the wooden loom is the one
I purchased off of Etsy. Both are weave-it style looms.

On weave-it looms, the pins are in groupings of 3.

At about the same time, I discovered the pin weaving looms made by Hazel Rose - looms where the pins are equally spaced and the weaving is done corner to corner. They come in various sizes (squares, rectangles, triangles, etc.) and fall under the umbrella term of continuous strand weaving - meaning that you create the warp of the project at the same time as you weave the project.  Very ingenious and half the work.

Here are 6 squares made on a 12” Hazel Rose pin loom using the 
continuous strand weaving method.  They are not yet sewn together and many more 
are needed to complete the project - but with 12” squares there are many fewer ends to
weave in and the sewing is much easier.  I am still experimenting with this project on patterns and
if I will introduce a 3rd color.  I have researched weaving patterns that can be done on this loom as well.  So this project is still in its infancy.

I once made a shawl for my mom using this 12 inch bias corner to corner loom.  It was pretty easy to sew 10-12 squares together and have a lovely shawl. A close up of that shawl can be seen in the center picture of the header of my blog. Unfortunately that shawl is no more and finding pictures of the shawl have proved unsuccessful.  My mom was in assisted living at that time and the shawl was snatched up by the center staff and put in the laundry - washed and dried in commercial sized washers and driers - and because it was 100% wool, it shrunk to the size of a placemat.  ☹️

Weaving and I parted company for a few years, but I held on to most of the equipment and yarn.  Then my thumb started giving me problems and I was searching around for things to do with yarn that didn’t aggravate my hands!  Weaving started to pull me in once again, but only for the smaller simplistic looms - like the weaving-it and the Hazel Rose looms - that didn’t involved tons of preplanning and warping as a precursor to the fun part - which was the actual weaving.

So weaving is back in my life again and it has been most gratifying to discover that these smaller pin looms have a dedicated following.  They can be found in Facebook groups, Ravelry groups, websites, and several dedicated blogs that focus on small hand held looms - and even books and patterns that are dedicated to wearable projects created using these cute little blocks.  In fact, it is very easy now to get a weave-it style loom that is not a 1930s antique.  The Zoom Loom has several wonderful little features that the antique style loom does not.

Returning to the weave-it loom blanket (that I am now calling The Patch Work Blanket) - here is the first photo once again followed by the most recent photo that shows the current progress.

Here are the squares that I found packed away in a bag from years ago.
Only the far left column of squares have been completely sewn together.  
Tons of strings still hang from all pieces of the work.
And, yes, all those strings are a bit overwhelming.  But I have
a plan for future weave-it projects to get passed the strings.  

Almost all the squares have been sewn together and the strings for 
most of it have been woven into the piece.  I suspect this blanket is more than half done,
but how much more needs to be done - I don’t know yet.

I will return to this blanket and the pluses and minuses of doing a project like this in a future post.  I will also share some of the books and patterns that I have discovered that use this technique.