Thursday, March 31, 2011

Day 4: Whatever Happened to those Pink Breast Cancer Dolls? 2KCBWDAY4

All those little dolls that were knit several years ago for breast cancer patients....where did they go?

This is Day 4 in the blog along, and the question to answer is this:
Write about the fate of a past knitting project. Whether it be something that you crocheted or knitted for yourself or to give to another person. An item that lives with you or something which you sent off to charity.
There are a lot of different aspects to look at when looking back at a knitting project and it can make for interesting blogging, as much of the time we blog about items recently completed, new and freshly completed. It is not so often that we look back at what has happened to these items after they have been around for a while.
How has one of your past knits lived up to wear. Maybe an item has become lost. Maybe you spent weeks knitting your giant-footed dad a pair of socks in bright pink and green stripes which the then ‘lost’. If you have knit items to donate to a good cause, you could reflect on the was in which you hope that item is still doing good for it’s owner or the cause it was made to support.
Tips: This topic is similar to one we used for the first Knitting and Crochet blog week. This is purposeful and is intended to help the blogger to reflect on past items and refer back to previous posts and projects once in a while.
For Day 4 of the Blog Along, my choice of "whatever happened to your ___?",  I am showing those cute little Breast Cancer Sit-sters I knitted in 2008 and gave to patients undergoing chemotherapy at our local hospital.

(That original blog about those dolls can be found here.)  Several people asked for the pattern, but since it is in the book by Barbara Albright called The Natural Knitter, I felt obligated to refer them to her book, now one of the knitting classics.  The pattern starts on page 16 of the book and goes through page 21.

Amazon is selling the book for only $5.49, well worth it!

So the answer to the question of whatever happened to those knitted Sit-sters is still a mystery.  I can only pray that each of the women who was given one is now cancer free and living a happy and productive life.

Go on over to Eskimi's blog to join in with the blog-along.

"To read more posts on the topic ‘Whatever Happened to your ____"  from bloggers around the world, all blogging today, enter the code 2KCBWDAY4 into Google or your search engine of choice. Happy reading, and happy blogging."

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Honey Mustard Pretzel Snack

This is a very good recipe for all snackers.  I found it at Food.Com.  Here goes:
12 cups miniature pretzel twists
2 tablespoons margarine (NOT low-fat)
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1 Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
2 Spray a large roasting pan with non-stick cooking spray and put pretzels in it.
3 Combine margarine, mustard, honey, garlic salt and onion powder.
4 Microwave or heat on stove until hot.
5 Drizzle over pretzels while stirring carefully to coat well.
6 Bake for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
7 Pour out onto waxed paper and quickly separate into a single layer.
8 Cool completely and store in sealed bags or container.
The reviewers at the website all said the mustard flavor was not strong enough, so I added 1 tsp. dry mustard to the ingredients and REALLY liked it.

If you have food allergies, just use wheat free pretzels.

This reviewer said:
Oh wow! First off, I love, love, love the honey mustard and onion pretzel pieces from Snyder's of Hanover, but recently found out that they contain milk and dairy ingredients, which are not good for my IBS. I did a search for honey mustard pretzels and found this one and only recipe listed. After reading the reviews, I also decided to try some dry mustard; I think I used half a tsp, I forget because I made this last week and forgot to review it, hehe. The smell of this baking was heavenly. My bf tried one of these, and then snatched the Zip-loc bag out of my hand! He said 'get your own pretzels, these are mine!'
Try them, and I'll bet you will like them.

Artwork by Charles H. McCarroll

Brother Mac worked in commercial art for his entire vocational career.  He got his artistic bent from our mother.

Mac is also a Viet Nam veteran, a Marine, a husband and father.  Here is his brief service synopsis, as he relays in this collage:

And here are a couple of his recent paintings displayed in his and his sweet wife's home in Texas:

 Acrylic: 24" x 47" (CH McCarroll)

Acrylic: 16" x 16" (CH McCarroll)

Thanks, Mac, for letting me show these two pictures. Now go paint some more!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Learn Something New - Skill + 1UP - 2KCBWDAY2

Join in!

One of my "blog buddies" on Ravelry is promoting an effort for bloggers to post daily about something along the same lines of creativity related to fiber arts.  Each day during this week, we can then look at others' blogs to see what they are doing related to the daily theme. 

Today's topic is LEARN SOMETHING NEW.

On Eskimi's blog she says::
Announcing the 2nd Annual Knitting and Crochet Blog Week.
Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2011 will run from 28th March to 3rd April 2011 in a week of fibre-arts related posts and events which will see many members of the knitting and crochet community worldwide blog daily together on the same subjects and topics.
Look back over your last year of projects and compare where you are in terms of skill and knowledge of your craft to this time last year. Have you learned any new skills or forms of knitting/crochet (can you crochet cable stitches now where you didn’t even know such things existed last year? Have you recently put a foot in the tiled world of entrelac? Had you even picked up a pair of needles or crochet hook this time last year?
Tips: Don’t be abashed at admitting your own skill and progress. If possible, include pictures of projects that you gained new skills from.
I'll bite.  What I have learned over the past month is to READ DIRECTIONS carefully, and ask friends for clarification!

Remember this pathetic thing?

Obviously, it was just wrong.

So it was ripped out twice, and here it is looking better:

The key was that you must three sets of directions simultaneously (a chart you devise yourself is helpful).  Duh.  Now I get it!  See the free pattern here.  And learn to read the directions!

Go on over to Eskimi's blog to join in with the blog-along.

"To read more posts on the topic ‘Skill + 1UP’ from bloggers around the world, all blogging today, enter the code 2KCBWDAY2 into Google or your search engine of choice. Happy reading, and happy blogging."

Monday, March 28, 2011

Milagro Necklaces or Treasure Necklaces

Let's blog about milagro necklaces.  Stop here if this topic doesn't interest you.  (BTW, the word "milagro" means "miracle" in Spanish.)

In the 80's, and independent jeweler in Denver LoDo had a necklace in a store front display with gold attached charms.  The charms looked vintage, so after inquiries, the story was that the necklace was custom made for a client from her small mementos of previous years.  And the jeweler said the necklace was called either a milagro necklace or a treasure necklace.

Knowing my mother had always worn a charm bracelet from the 1950's and still had those charms, using them in a necklace would make a great surprise for her. That jeweler put me in touch with the woman who had made that necklace in the display, and she was the one who made my mother's piece.  A gift was born.  Mother was thrilled her charms were no longer tucked away in a box, and wore that necklace for many years.

More about milagro necklaces from ShopVilllager:
Milagros, Spanish for miracles, are small metal charms that represent the concerns of our hearts. Milagros are used in making and fulfilling vows or promises and are tangible symbols of such a promise. The boat is a symbol for a journey, the dove symbolizes peace, the eye is for insight, the heart to be aflame, the rabbit represents a leap of faith, the cup is fulfillment. The milagro cross also reminds us that each day is a miracle.
Here is a picture of my mom's fresh water pearl milagro necklace using most of her old charm bracelet dangles, with a few added pieces:

The gold oak leaf shown above is from my dad's naval service in WWII.  He is still living and is 92 years old.

Another of my favorite charms on my mother's bracelet was that of a pin that was my maternal grandmother's from Simmons College, now Hardin Simmons University in Abilene, Texas.  My grandmother, Beulah Burkett Howard, (we called her "MOM" Howard) graduated from Hardin Simmons in 1912, no mean feat for a woman of that generation!  She began college at the age of 16, and graduated at the age of 19, majoring in music and voice.  Mom Howard wrote the fight song for Hardin Simmons back in her day - a claim to fame! She used her educational background for the rest of her life, singing in choirs, as a solo vocalist, and as both pianist and organist for the churches where she and my grandfather were members.  In latter years, I remember her rocking the balcony with organ music from The Messiah at Christmas times.  Handel would have been proud of her.

But I digress.  This is the pin from 1912:

Two charms from my brother John's pins: one from A & M University and one from the Cattlemen's Assn.:

And this is my beaded pink wrist hospital birth identification bracelet (complete with misspelled name):

Oldest brother Mac's corporal insignia collar pin from Viet Nam will be added:

Because Mother liked her necklace so well, I then had a treasure necklace made from my old charms, along with turquoise nuggets.  Now my daughter Juliet has that one.

This is the turquoise milagro necklace that now belongs to Julie.  Her husband Jack took the pictures of it, along with some of the charms.  He did a great job of the pictures, especially the close-up shots.

Close-up of some of the charms:

(Sharon G., if you are looking at this, remember our old high school rings with that center blue stone?)

Just a little stroll down memory lane while looking at the milagro necklaces.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Rainbow Project to Aid Japan

Help support Japan by contributing a picture of a rainbow and a cash donation to The Rainbow Project:
A rainbow is pure magic. Through The Rainbow Project you can share this magic and at the same time help others.
By uploading your own photograph of a rainbow and making a donation, you will connect with communities around the world. Each photograph that is uploaded will become part of unified rainbow and as we go along, these images will be collaged together, forming one harmonious rainbow that represents cosmic solidarity.
Donations made to The Rainbow Project will be allocated directly to Civic Force and Peace Winds Japan. Our goal is to share this project with as many people as possible! As the rainbow grows on the site, so will The Rainbow Project.

1. UPLOAD a picture (.jpg format) of a rainbow. Please include your name, email and location of the photo in the form provided, as well as in the file name of the upload (ex. jane-smith-usa.jpg).

2. DONATE via Paypal to The Rainbow Project. Donate any amount you can afford. Your photo will appear on this site within 24 hours of confirmation of your donation
MSN is doing their part through community involvement while
•Continuing to work with customers, local government, inter-government and nonprofit agencies to support relief efforts. This includes offering free incident support and free temporary software licenses to all impacted customers and partners as well as lead governments, nonprofit partners and institutions involved in disaster response efforts.
•Offering Windows Azure, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Lync Online at no cost for 90 days to help them resume operations more quickly while their existing systems return to normal.

•Providing a cloud-based disaster response communications portal, based on Windows Azure, to governments and nonprofits to enable them to communicate between agencies and directly with citizens.

•Supporting customers directly and providing localized tools such as the Outlook/Windows Live Hotmail rolling blackout calendar. The Microsoft Japan team is also working with partners to create local applications such as J!ResQ, which helps people to find family and friends and aids relief efforts.

•Mobilizing our online properties to help provide information and drive donations. Bing, MSN, MSNBC and are all promoting links to relief efforts and our corporate disaster response page. Xbox Live is running PSAs for the American Red Cross, a new Bing Maps tool has been released to support relief agencies, and MSN has launched its Stand with Japan site.


Help Japan, Buy Needlepoint
Block Prints for Japan
all have lovely items for sale to help in the disaster relief.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Official Website for Royal Wedding-Check it Out

Are you an anglophile?  I'll confess to it.  And the upcoming royal wedding holds great interest to almost everyone the world round, anglophile or not.

William and Kate have an official website dedicated to their upcoming nuptuals.  It is updated regularly and has information, naturally, about any and all things related to the wedding.  What I found especially interesting was the music that will be orchestrated, sung, trumpeted, and otherwise performed.  In part:
Two choirs, one orchestra and two fanfare teams will perform the music at the Wedding Service of Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton at Westminster Abbey on April 29th. These are:
• The Choir of Westminster Abbey
• The Chapel Royal Choir
• The London Chamber Orchestra
• The Fanfare Team from the Central Band of the Royal Air Force
• The State Trumpeters of The Household Cavalry
The choirs will be under the direction of Mr James O’Donnell, Organist and Master of the Choristers at Westminster Abbey. The Choir of Westminster Abbey is made up of 20 boys, all of whom attend the Abbey’s dedicated residential Choir School, and 12 professional adult singers, known as Lay Vicars. In addition...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Everybody is Irish on St. Pat's

Claim to be Irish?  Even our pup (French poodle mix) is Irish today and outdoes the clip art, IMHO.
Doctor Libby (aka Libby the Therapy Dog) also has a St. Pat's scarf, but she was too sleepy to dress in it before the picture was snapped.
Just finished Edward Rutherford's The Rebels of Ireland, which was a tome of Irish background beginning in the 1500's.  If you would like that book, leave me a comment and I'll send it to you postage paid!  First commenter who wants the book wins.

About the book from Amazon:
The Princes of Ireland, the first volume of Edward Rutherfurd’s magisterial epic of Irish history, ended with the disastrous Irish revolt of 1534 and the disappearance of the sacred Staff of Saint Patrick. The Rebels of Ireland opens with an Ireland transformed; plantation, the final step in the centuries-long English conquest of Ireland, is the order of the day, and the subjugation of the native Irish Catholic population has begun in earnest.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Silkworms Made to Spin Fluorescent Colored Silk

...a reprint from CraftMagazine:
Silk worms that produce vibrantly coloured and luminescent silks have been created by scientists in Singapore. The resulting fibre offers a cheap way to circumvent the dying process and may even have medical applications.

By feeding silkworms a mulberry mixture containing fluorescent dye, Natalia's team was able to harvest brightly coloured silk that is structurally unaffected, but which also has luminescent, or glowing, properties. The dye molecules are ingrained within the silk filaments to create permanent colour.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Top Down Vee-Neck

Heidi's free pattern for a Summer Sweater on Ravelry is shown here.

It is a top down knit with a vee neck and looked like a simple enough knit.  I was initially excited to start this knitting project.

So Knit Picks was the yarn selected in a sea foam color in 75% cotton and 25% acrylic.  13 skeins of it!

After a week or so of knitting, it is going back to the drawing board.  Don't you hate that when it just does not fit? 

Here is the v-neck in its current pathetic shape:

The under arm join comes to the elbow.  Not good.  I followed the directions, but this is obviously not what the designer had in mind.

So I'll rip out the sleeves, join the sides and then continue on to finish a smaller sleeve circumference.  It still bothers me that I can't figure out my mistake.

But spring is right around the corner and I'll look on the bright side.  If all else fails, this yarn can always be repurposed into a baby blanket for a charity knit.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Rest in Peace

My morning routine consists of flipping on the tv and iPad, almost simultaneously.  After checking emails and playing a couple of scrabble moves with friends and family, then one of the first web sites that I look at is our local obituaries.

Since I worked a shift last Saturday at our local in-patient hospice, I wanted to check to see if any of "my" patients had passed during the week.  Yes, one of the patients of a family I was privileged to both serve and talk with had died the afternoon I left shift.  Cancer was her cause of death.

We are privileged to have such a caring and compassionate staff at Western Colorado Hospice and Palliative Care. 

And on another note, my friend who had the mastectomy this week was informed by her surgeon that he "got it all" and that neither chemotherapy nor radiation would be required as adjuvant therapies.  That was certainly good news!  And by the way, only ONE of her lymph nodes was removed (sentinel node).  This less aggressive method of taking only the sentinel lymph node goes along with the current thinking regarding lymph node removal cited in the most recent literature.

For all of you undergoing aggressive medical treatments of any kind, keep up the good fight.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Wrens With Attitude

I came across a cool blog post by Andrea where she was talking about birds, their teeth and their expressions.  She says, in part real bird has choppers like cartoon birds. Here is a list of cartoon birds that at one time or another have had dental issues: Woody Woodpecker, Donald Duck, Woodstock, Daffy Duck and Iago. Some claim that the whole cartoon bird with teeth phenomenon started in an attempt to give a bird the character of a human.

Andrea then goes on to say that her images may portray the bird's expressions to be surprised, angry, happy, etc.

Cute expressions, eh?  I think she captured them pretty well.  She has a lot of cool artwork for sale in her etsy store that you can find at BadBirds Art and Embroidery Patterns.

Along that same line, here is a close up of some wrens I am working on in oils.  The canvas is 12" x 36", gallery wrapped.  I'll add some different bird expressions on the second canvas, using some of Andrea's tips.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ash Wednesday 2011 and Links

Most of the web sources speak of Ash Wednesday and Catholics.  But ... how about Lutherans, Episcopalians, and other Christian denominations and their observance of Ash Wednesday?  We observe it with ashes placed on our foreheads, also.

From Pie and Coffee, a thoughtful link with this passage included:
When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you may not appear to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden. And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you”  –Matthew 6:16-18
from 24 US News:
Traditionally, the ash is a sign of repentance and carry the cross of ashes tell the world that you repent of your sins. The ashes were mixed with holy water burned the remains are made of palm leaves of the state of this year’s Palm Sunday service.
from People for Others:Change and conversion are not the same thing…
Change is required of us all. No one and nothing can stand still, cemented in the place, the work, the era that we had come to take for granted. However comforting the thought, however desirable the situation, what I am now, where I am now, will not always be.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Forcing Hyacinth Bulbs in Water

From The University of Minnesota  Extension Service, some advice was given here:
Hyacinths, crocus, and narcissus also can be forced in water. Special clear, glass vases are made for hyacinths or crocus. The bulb is placed in the upper portion, water in the lower portion. The vase is then kept in a cool, dark room (preferably under 50 degrees F) for four to eight weeks until the root system has developed and the top elongates. At this point it should be placed in a bright window, where the plant soon will blossom.
On March 4, 2011, I dug up some grape hyacinths from the back yard and put them in small glass jars and placed those vase jars in a box in the garage.  The temperature in the garage averages about 50 degrees F, but is colder at night.  A few more bulbs were placed on the kitchen window sill.  We will do a simple experiment and see what happens in a few days.

...more information about forcing bulbs from The World of Gardens:
Put the bulbs on the vases (one bulb per vase) and refrigerate for 12-14 weeks. During this time make certain that the bulb’s bottom is in contact (barely) with the water. Keep the vases full at all times! During these weeks, the bulbs will develop roots growing into the water. Remember, the bulb must be in contact with water. Just putting a bulb in a bag in the refrigerator doesn’t work (believe me, I tried it once). After the 12-14 weeks (better to error on the long side), remove the vases and place in a sunlit window. Within a few weeks the bulb will sprout and bloom. Crocus blooms are so fun to do this way. Hyacinth smell wonderful.
Update: 3 days later:...

here is a picture of a few of the dozen glass vases on the kitchen window sill, receiving sunlight from the west:

Those vases in the forefront were moved from the garage after 3days without sunlight, and you can see that there is no green growth on the tops.  The hyacinth roots on the left of the picture were in filtered sunlight all weekend, and are looking much healthier.  It is a learning process. 

We'll see if those bulbs actually bloom indoors.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Baktus Scarf

This Baktus scarf (free download here)

although unblocked, holds its shape amazingly well.  It is made from hand dyed sock yarn by Jelly Bean in the UK, edged with lace weight yarn in a contrasting color.

Designer Strikkelis says:
This is my version of a scarf that was all over the Norwegian blogs a couple of years ago.  The principle is to take one or a couple of skeins, and knit a triangle using your exact amount of yarn.

A good way to use up one of those single skeins of sock yarn in bright colours.To be able to know when I had used up half of my skein, I used a scale:
I weighed my yarn before casting on. Weighing the skein every now and then, I started decreasing when I had about 50% of the skein left.
This is a clever way to never run out of yarn while knitting up this scarf.

Since the yellow yarn used for the crochet edging was lace weight, I used the navajo plying technique to hold three strand together, thus making a three plied yarn with a more substantial look and feel.

Lucy Neatby gives a YouTube video on the navajo technique of creating 3 strands of yarn from 1:

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Breast Cancer: One in Eight Women Diagnosed but does it have to be my friend?

Another friend has to have a lumpectomy in the next few days.  Well *&%$#@*  ...darn.

Breaking news on breast cancer can be assessed on the following sites:

Lots of facts here and televised, too  recently on Oprah
More here about less under arm lymph node removal  and also here at the ACS site (2/9/2011) and here on the UK Daily Mail (at 2/9/2011) (Yes!)
Go to Science Daily with news about breast cancer rates NOT declining in the US (at 2/28/2011)
Here is information about smoking and breast cancer (at 3/2/2011)

Enough.  Go get your mammogram, lady friends. 

Stay calm and focused, special friend, as you see your surgeon today.