Saturday, March 27, 2010

Feather and Fan Pattern for Centerpiece

From the beautiful coffeetable book Knitter's Stash (2001) by Barbara Albright, I found her intriguing patterns for elaborate lace washcloths.  She has eight different lace patterns, and suggests using linen as knitting yarn for these small projects.

Knitting a smaller piece is a good way to see which lace pattern repeat you prefer from the eight discussed. 

Using a bright wool/polyester fiber with slubs, here is the completed project called "Feather and Fan":

And here is one use for this little jewel:
It is a canvas for a terrarium placed beneath a painting on an entryway table.  Those bright colors just make me happy. 

And now I am ready to complete a shawl with the same "feather and fan" lace repeat on its edges.  This smaller snippet of lace was helpful in familiarizing myself with that particular pattern repeat.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Needlepoint Facts and Pictures

It's time to use some old pieces of needlepoint that I've stashed for years, waiting for a good use.  Most of  this intricate handwork was performed by long deceased family matriarchal members.

From this source, Marie Reidelback, Curator of the Needlepoint Museum writes:
Every needlepoint is an astonishing achievement, when you think about it.

They take tons of work--even a small needlepoint the size of a business letter has about a 100,000 stitches and took someone maybe forty-five hours just to stitch--an incredible investment of time and energy.

And when it's finished? Needlepoint is amazingly durable, colorful, lustrous, and rich--a needlepoint bag will last for years of heavy use, as strong as leather. And from the canvas to the finished piece, it's made completely of strings. Remarkable.
This same Museum of needlepoint oddities shows dozens of "odd" pieces in its gallery.  Nudes, flowers, landscapes...all are included in their library.  Here are just two of the differently abled displayed needlepoint pieces shown at their website:

Needlepoint is one of the oldest forms of needlework and has long been associated with church vestments, kneelers, and wall hangings. During the 19th century this method was known as Berlin work and is now sometimes known as canvas work. The needlepoint technique is worked with needle and yarn on a strong canvas background.
Below are a couple of pieces of old needlepoint that I previously re-purposed (the rose was completed about 100 years ago by a great aunt and now used for a footstool cover.   The monogrammed "M" on the leather folder and the framed lemon were sewn by my late mother).

This is the last piece of needlepoint that needs to be used.  It is about 9" x 7" with a geranium motif on an ivory background. 
What do you think? Should it be used for a knitting yarn bag?

Lauren Burch has beautiful, hand painted needlepoint designed canvases if you want to create a 21st century piece of needle art that will last for centuries.  It is worth a click to see some of her beauties.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Create Your Own Color Palette using

Project:  Guest bathroom needs a paint facelift. 

This has been on the to-do list for a while.  Color choices: narrowed down to reddish hues.  Where to go for color guidance in paints? THIS SITE is excellent!  Colour Lovers opens up a plethora of choices in helping select a paint palette. 

Here is the scheme I made in about five minutes using the software on the site, without downloading anything:


Two walls will be painted in the darker red, and the wood trim will be painted in a very light hue of the purplish grey, similar to this color:

What a fun, easy way to choose colors.  You might give it a try.

On second thought, the red is too dark.  Back to the drawing board for a lighter shade of brick red.

Now to get the paint and do the work.
Color by COLOURlovers

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Alice in Wonderland, the movie

Have you seen the movie Alice in Wonderland yet?

Stephen Greydanus gives a far better review than most (the link is inclusive and has an excellent viewer comment included).  Simplistic me, I enjoyed the 3-D graphics, and believe it was worth the price of admission to enjoy the graphics and costuming.

Loved the Queen of Hearts' red valentine mouth!  And Tweedledum and Tweedledee were captivating.

An enjoyable film, and popcorn and soda were not necessary concessions for added entertainment value.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Arches National Park

This week included a trip to Moab, Utah and Arches National Park, a short visit from a Denver friend, and a new recipe that was pretty tasty.

Regarding the park, the above site says:
Arches contains one of the largest concentrations of natural sandstone arches in the world. The arches and numerous other extraordinary geologic features, such as spires, pinnacles, pedestals and balanced rocks, are highlighted in striking foreground and background views created by contrasting colors, landforms and textures. With the addition of the Lost Spring Canyon area, the park is 76,519 acres in size.

Above is a picture of The Three Gossips, one of many unique rock formations found in the park.
Water and ice, extreme temperatures and underground salt movement are responsible for the sculptured rock scenery of Arches National Park. On clear days with blue skies, it is hard to imagine such violent forces, or the 100 million years of erosion that created this land that boasts the greatest density of natural arches in the world. The more than 2,000 cataloged arches range in size from a three-foot opening, the minimum considered an arch, to the longest one, Landscape Arch, which measures 306 feet from base to base. New arches are being formed and old ones are being destroyed. Erosion and weathering are relatively slow but are relentlessly creating dynamic landforms that gradually change through time. Occasionally change occurs more dramatically. In 1991 a slab of rock about 60 feet long, 11 feet wide and 4 feet thick fell from the underside of Landscape Arch, leaving behind an even thinner ribbon of rock. Delicate Arch, an isolated remnant of a bygone fin, stands on the brink of a canyon, with the dramatic La Sal Mountains for a backdrop. Towering spires, pinnacles and balanced rocks perched atop seemingly inadequate bases vie with the arches as scenic spectacles.
The weather was sunny and warm and a perfect day for a car trip and sightseeing.

Here is a quick recipe that was ready for us when we returned home, since the crockpot did the cooking:

Tangy Chicken

2 ½ - 3 lb. meaty chicken (boneless thighs or a package of frozen, skinless, boneless chicken pieces)
¼ tsp. salt
½ of a 12 oz. can frozen lemonade (3/4 cup)
5 oz. can of chopped green chilies
3 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
3 Tbsp. Ketchup
1 Tbsp. vinegar
2 Tbsp. corn starch
2 Tbsp. cold water
Put chicken pieces in slow cooker. In small bowl combine lemonade, sugar, ketchup, salt, vinegar and green chilies. Pour over chicken. Cook on low 6-7 hours or on high for 3-3 ½ hours. Take chicken out, cover and keep warm. Put the sauce in a small pan, skim off fat, combine corn starch and water and stir into liquid. Cook til thick and bubbly. Cook for 2 minutes more and pour over chicken.

Cashews or peanuts added at the last with a garnish of chopped green onions tops it off!  Served with rice, this is a fast and tasty dinner. (Thank you for the recipe, Darlene.)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Patrick's Day

Top o' the morning to all you Irish and others!

Two years now I have been blogging!  This blog experiment started around St. Patrick's Day in 2008.   It has been a self indulgent journey of archiving projects, places, and eclectic facts that are of no particular interest to anyone (except me). 

Tonite, Gene, the Cook, is making a traditional Irish corned beef and cabbage dinner for family and friends.  I'll be whipping up an emerald dessert to keep us in the spirit of the Green.

A short pub crawl in downtown Grand Junction will finish off the evening's activities.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Pretty Birds

Pretty Birds at the Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver, BC:

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Daybreak Scarf (2)

Notes: Ensure that the edges are very loose as the scarf has a tendency to pull inwards.  Blocking and then ironing with steam will set the edges nicely.  This was a pattern download from Stephen West.

Imagination hand painted sock yarn from KnitPicks in the Munchkin colorway was used along with a plain green acrylic yarn.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Vancouver Pictures

A Week In Vancouver

Create Your Own

Knitting for Pleasure with Betsy McCarthy

This is worth watching; it is a video is with Jane Pauley (NBC) and a Betsy McCarthy, a woman who has traded a professional life for a less stressful retirement of knitting full time.   Her passion has also led to teaching the art of knitting.

Is your life calling?  Can you relate to Betsy?  As an understatement, I surely can.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Moments in the Healthcare Setting

There have been many eventful moments I have been privileged to share with patients hospitalized for myriad reasons, and also with individuals involved in the hospice experience.  Sometimes, the clients have shared personal thoughts and fears.  And quite often, when conversing with those in their last months of life, people have shared inspirational moments.

Here are a few incidents of spiritual, or ironic, or pleasant, or perhaps even humorous moments recalled with people who were ill:
  • One patient shared that she knew the secret for a happy life in some of her last verbalized thoughts.
  • A 96 year old woman who was raised on a ranch once asked if I had ridden my horse over to see her. (This occured in 2009 in an urban setting.)
  • An elderly gentleman reportedly asked why Joe Biden was pitching for a televised baseball game he was watching from his recliner.
  • A younger woman was having simultaneous conversations with people in the room that I could not see, but she was sure were present.  It appeared to be a one-sided from where I was sitting, but who was I to question it?
  • My personal dream when I believed I had died, only to awaken to realize that I was still living. That dream had me puzzled for quite a while.
  • A frightened, elderly patient who wanted someone to sit with her, but no conversation would be allowed. ( her wishes were followed.)
  • One young man said that he imagined I was a "pretty hot babe" when I was younger. (love this much younger?)
  • One woman explained how she was not afraid of death, because she had a near-death experience when she was a teenager.  She was fully expecting and embracing her life after death.
  • A friend who told me shortly before she died that she wanted me to do everything I could to make a happy life.  (That conversation could take a lifetime to interpret.)
  • A patient with whom the pup and I were visiting shared her last hours with us as we sat on her bed; she stroked Libby Sweetpea between times of lucidity and murmured for us to please stay for a while.
  • The painting below tries to capture the last days of a friend's life in a hospital bed as he struggled for breath, yet with his assurance that he would come into eternal life.  He was Catholic, and looking forward to release from this earth:
(original oil by N. McCarroll, 2002)

Along this line, a poem written by Dietrich Bonhöffer, a young theologian of great promise and was martyred by the Nazis for his participation in a plot against the life of Adolf Hitler. He wrote Who Am I? in 1946:
Beginning stanza: Who am I? They often tell me I stepped from my cell’s confinement Calmly, cheerfully, firmly, Like a squire from his country-house. ..... Ending stanza: Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine. Whoever I am, Thou knowest, 0 God, I am Thine!
The entire poem can be found here

A reference about Victor Frankl's book Man's Search for Meaning:
Life is not primarily a quest for pleasure, as Freud believed, or a quest for power, as Alfred Adler taught, but a quest for meaning. The greatest task for any person is to find meaning in his or her life. Frankl saw three possible sources for meaning: in work (doing something significant), in love (caring for another person), and in courage during difficult times. Suffering in and of itself is meaningless; we give our suffering meaning by the way in which respond to it…Forces beyond our control can take away everything we possess except one thing, our freedom to choose how we will respond to the situation. We cannot control what happens to us in life, but we can always control what we will feel and do about what happens to us.
This post on others who have come through difficult situations comes to mind as our daughter Julie is awaiting surgery today at Carolinas Medical Center for an AV shunt revision.  Your prayers for her well being are appreciated.
Julie with Muggsy, 2009