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At what point?

At what point?

I have come to a stopping point in nearly ALL of my knitting projects.  Each one has it’s own little problem that I haven’t had the time, ambition or energy to tackle.

Problem One

I started this Cabled Raglan Baby Sweater (free pattern for subscribers to Knitting Daily) with Louisa Harding Kimono Angora yarn.  You’ll never guess where I got this yarn.  Tuesday Morning.   Yes, the TJMaxx-ish home goods store.  I found 5 balls of it, each marked 3.99.  For angora yarn.  There were others of the same kind there, but the colorways were particularly awful.  I just hope I have enough of this pink to finish the sweater! 
The problem with this sweater is fairly simple to fix, I think.  Each row starts with knit 5.  well, about 5 rows ago, somehow I purled 5.  so I have three rows that look like stockinette for the first 5 stitches instead of garter stitch.  If this were in the middle of a row, I would be able to easily (as easily as possible with fuzzy angora yarn) ladder down and fix those 5 stitches.  Since the problem is the first 5 stitches of the row, I’m having a hard time laddering down and rearranging the stitches so they look nice.  They got all stretched out.  So, I think my new solution is to rip back to before I screwed up.  But the problem there is that there are all kinds of increases for the sleeves through the middle of every other row.  I am not sure once I rip back that far if I’ll have the right number of stitches.  I really don’t want to unknit 5 or 6 rows one stitch at a time. 
When I am only about 20 rows into a project, can I/should I rip it completely and start over?! 
Why is there so much pain in knitting!?

Problem Two

I bought this sock yarn with a gift certificate that Ryan gave me for my birthday in 2008.  I held onto it for more than a year for some reason.  I went in May before the wedding to pick something out and decided I’d need a new pair of socks to start and take with me on our Honeymoon to Wilmington, NC.  It turned out I did very little knitting on our honeymoon, imagine that!  So, I’ve been knitting on this sock very rarely (see this post for part of the reason) and partly because it’s not easy 2 by 2 ribbing and actually requires I read a pattern.  
Last week I noticed that I have at least three pairs of socks on the needles and while I have TONS of sock yarn and can’t seem to stop acquiring more, I think I need to stick to one pair and finish it.  I also realized that this yarn is not superwash.  it is 100% alpaca.  I do not like to hand wash my socks and this yarn seemed to be making a sock that wouldn’t hug my leg and may be a tad droopy, which I really don’t like.  But I didn’t want to frog the little bit that I had started. 
I left the partial sock on the needles and didn’t break the yarn.  I started from the other end of the ball and started a scarf.  If I end up needing the whole ball, including what is started on the sock, I’ll frog it then, but for now, I can’t commit to the sock or the scarf.

Problem Three

 This is a Malabrigo sock yarn I bought in Chicago last month.  I love this colorway!  it is not as teal in person as it is in this photo.  Definitely more royal blue and charcoal.  The problem with this is that I may have cast on too many stitches.  It is a Christmas gift sock for someone. We do not have the same size feet, so I can’t use myself as a guide.  I really don’t want to start over, but I really don’t want to knit any further on this until I decide if it will fit.  
Problem Four – SOLVED!

I started these Lorna’s Laces toe-up socks at least a year ago.  Possibly TWO years ago.  The toe was fine and easy, I knit around and around for the foot until I got to 1-1/2 inches before the heel.  I tried the heel twice, from two different patterns.  Each one had it’s own issue that I couldn’t deal with (and can’t remember because it was probably two years ago, and I won’t bad mouth any patterns I used, because I’m not sure it was the pattern’s fault).  So, I frogged the heel twice (at least).  A couple weeks ago, I was perusing the knitting section at Borders and saw this book by Wendy D. Johnson (pictured with sock above).  It looked like it had great patterns and really great illustrations and step-by-steps.  So I thought I would give it a try.  It WORKS!!!  I have a perfect toe-up heel with no holes and no funky issues!  I am soooooo excited!  I have wanted to learn toe-up socks for such a long time. 

Since this is the only thing I’ve figured out among all the problems, this is what I’ve been working on.  Instead of the Christmas gift socks.  He’s pretty used to getting a box with one sock in it for Christmas though, what’s one more year.  Does three years of doing the same thing make it an official Tradition?

None of this has stopped me from looking online for yarn, or wanting to start another pair of socks.  And none of it has motivated me to do anything about any of it. 

The Adventures of a Modern Squirrel

The Adventures of a Modern Squirrel

Back in my day, we had to walk to school. Up hill, both ways. In three feet of snow. Gas only cost 29 cents per gallon. A loaf of bread was a nickel. Someone delivered your newspaper to your door every morning. And squirrels ran around all autumn burying nuts in the ground. Yes, digging a hole in your lawn or your flower beds and burying a nut and carefully replacing the soil.

But this is 2009. This is the future. The squirrels of today know that the best place to hide his or her nuts for the long winter is not in the cold, wet (not to mention dirty) earth. The best place would be somewhere dry, relatively clean, with some sort of covering to keep the snow and wind off of them. Somewhere like… our shed.

I got home from work on Friday and Ryan and Bella met me outside for some frantic tail wagging and little howls of delight… (Bella was excited too… haha, sorry, couldn’t resist). We stood in the driveway a couple minutes and then Ryan asked me if I wanted to see something funny. He took me through our back yard to the shed, only about 40 yards from our back door. Opened the door to the shed and didn’t say anything, just pointed to the salvaged dresser drawers on the floor. They were full, nay, overflowing with walnuts. Every nook and cranny had walnuts packed into it. All along the walls where the angled roof meets the walls, there were 5 to 10 walnuts in every little space.

So we stood in the doorway of the shed, flabbergasted, just laughing at how many there were. Ryan said that it only took the squirrel about two days to fill that drawer. I haven’t been back in there since Friday, but I expect the next time one of us opens the door it will be like that famous episode of The Dick VanDyke Show where he has a dream of opening his closet door and thousands upon thousands of walnuts pour out of the closet. (That is a youtube video, the scene I’m talking about happens around the 1:30 minute mark, but I strongly suggest you watch the whole thing. freaking hilarious.)

Our shed is old and not in the greatest shape. I’m sure there is more than one entrance for the squirrel to get in, especially this big gap under the door.

We are going to leave the walnuts, we will probably clean up a bit, but all the nuts will stay in the shed. We’re not into causing squirrel starvation. And, this is a good test to see if squirrels actually do remember where their nuts are hidden. It would have to be a really incompetent squirrel to not remember this big pile!

But he’ll have to watch out, because Bella’s on the hunt!

Meerkats and socks… if only it were meerkats WEARING socks!

Meerkats and socks… if only it were meerkats WEARING socks!

It has been a busy September for me and busy in a good way so far. The beginning of the month brought me a new job! It is kind of funny because it is also my old job, where I worked from 2003 to 2006. I am now fully employed again at a 9 to 5 office job, no longer working at home for Chris Roberts-Antieau. Which means I once again have paid vacation and sick days and I get evenings and weekends off AND… I get my sewing room back!!! (that’s what I did this past weekend, I cleaned out all of the stuff that belonged to the studio and re-arranged my room to make it more cozy and efficient for what I want to do in there, pictures to follow.) So I think this new job was the perfect change for me. I love the people at the studio and especially Chris, but there were so so so many memories there of my mom that at first were comforting but now are painful. My mom had been working at the studio for more than 10 years when she died, she was the manager, she knew everything, ran nearly the whole show. Without her, everything was kind of handed to me to handle/figure out. Some of which I wanted to do, some not so much. Most of that didn’t bother me so much. It just got to the point that I would stare at the art from about 10am until 5 or 6pm and just want to cry all day. I was tired of looking at it, mostly because it just reminded me of my mom and that she’s not here.

The middle of September took me to Chicago to visit Shannon and go to the Renegade Craft Fair. It was very cool. Definitely what art/craft shows SHOULD be. I love that it is kindof small, so you don’t reach your absorption limit for art goodies before you’ve seen all the booths. I’m used to the Ann Arbor Art Fairs, that really, if you wanted to see every single booth and go into the neat stores around Main Street and South University, it would take two days at least. But this we did in an afternoon. The reason we wanted to go to the fair was to check out if I wanted to be in it next summer. I DO! My goal is to stockpile up as much stuff as I can to sell there next year. I can stay with Shannon and have very few expenses. I am already getting excited!

I didn’t buy anything at the craft fair, (if I had, it would have been this) but we did sneak into Nina and I did buy some yarn.
I stayed from Friday night through Monday about noon (yay for vacation days!). On Monday we went to the Lincoln Park Zoo where we saw lots of cute animals. My favorite was the Meerkats. They are just so cute the way they snuggle together. Of course I took many pictures, here are a few.

It was a hot day, and we were there right about 11:30, so most of the animals were just hanging out, sleeping. Except for this guy.
I don’t know what was in the corner of that little pool, but he was really interested in it. He was staring into the corner and pushing the water into the rock and it was splashing his face. He did it for a long time too. Maybe that bear has OCD?! Maybe he had to push the water into the corner 49 times before he could get out of the pool.

Monday was also Bella’s birthday! She is now 3 years old. If that makes her an adult, someone needs to tell her about it, because she is still as feisty and playful as she was 2 and a half years ago. Except much more well-behaved.
(she moves so fast, it’s hard to get a good picture of her). I brought home some of Chicago’s best bacon from the Original Pancake House for her and her dad got her a stuffed lamb, a pig ear and a rawhide bone. One week later and all three are gone. She made quick work of that.

The end of September brings ArtPeers in Grand Rapids. Ryan and I are both participating in this event that places art in participating stores throughout downtown Grand Rapids. Anyone in the area this weekend should come to Clothing Matters to see my work and to Literary Life to see Ryan’s work.

In October, I hope to start working again on a commissioned wedding guest book quilt for a friend that we started together in 2006. I also told Shannon that I would make her a quilt for above the fireplace in her new apartment. I am going to make some really pretty fabrics and make a Chicago city skyline for her. I’m also knitting about thirteen-hunnerd things… ok… maybe like 3 socks and a baby sweater. Not counting the things on the needles that I haven’t touched in at least a year and the stuff not on the needles yet that I have in bags with the yarn, pattern and needles ready to go. And I’m not making any promises that I’ll finish anything before I start something else.

Cabled socks, another good day

Cabled socks, another good day

These are Trekking XXL Cable Rib Socks from Interweave Knits Fall 2005. I have been working on these for quite a while. I have noticed a pattern, I tend to do the first sock pretty fast, then get to the heel on the second sock when all of a sudden doing the heel and especially the gussets seems like a HUGE pain in the butt. So I leave it and start something else or don’t knit at all. Then when I finally get back to picking it up again, it goes so quick and I wonder why I let it sit there for so long.

I made myself finish these socks because I have started at least three other pair since stalling at the heel months ago. I have so much new sock yarn, that I wanted to start another pair, so I told myself I couldn’t start another sock until these were finished. And it only took two evenings to finish them.

When I started these, I was using a bamboo cable needle from Knit Picks. It was big and too long, and just kind of awkward for sock yarn. So, I thought I would try to use one of those row markers that looks like a stubby safety pin as a cable needle. That was working ok, but I really couldn’t knit the held stitches right from the marker, I had to slide them back onto the working needle. So, I was telling my mom all of that sometime last spring probably, and then the next time I saw her, she gave me this:
She was always breaking her size 1 bamboo needles. So, she took one of the broken ones and sharpened one end and sanded it real smooth and it is now my size 1 cable needle! Genius!!! It is the perfect size, obviously because I was knitting the sock with size 1 needles, but it’s also the perfect length. It is short enough to not be in the way, and long enough to actually knit the held stitches right from the cable needle. It’s perfect! Except that it is just small enough to get lost, or accidentally mistaken for a used toothpick and get thrown away. So I am careful to not leave it out on the table.

When I finally got to the end of the toe and started to use the kitchener stitch for the seam, I thought I remembered how to do it. I was too lazy to get up and walk a couple feet to the sewing room to get my sock book for the instructions. I did the first four stitches of kitchener right. then must’ve skipped something and was knitting the purls and purling the knits, and ended up with this half ‘innie’ and half ‘outie’ toe.

So today while I was waiting for the roast chicken to reach 165 degrees I un-kitchenered, and re-kitchenered. And now they are done and on my feet.

Getting it back

Getting it back

I think I had a little break-through yesterday. Since December when my mommy died I have not really wanted to do anything, and planning our wedding took up a lot of my time and brain power. Since the wedding is over I have had a lot of time and extra brain cells to do the things I used to LOVE to do in my spare time. But somehow, none of it really interested me. I would stand in my sewing room and rifle through things, flip through a pattern book, feel up my stacks of fabric, dump out a bag full of already cut-out pieces to a project and then put them all back in the bag again. Knitting had even lost it’s luster for me.

My mom and I used to talk on the phone every day. I’d tell her all the mundane details of my day and she’d listen as if I were telling her about my first African Safari and each round of a sock was a new animal I’d discovered. When all of a sudden I didn’t have her to report to every day, I stopped doing things.

Until yesterday.

I got home from my meetings at work at about 2:30, ate lunch and took a little nap. Then while Ryan cooked dinner I sat on the couch and knit on a sock for more than an hour. Before yesterday I hadn’t knit on anything for more than about 5 minutes at a time, and probably less than once a week.

After dinner we cleaned up the kitchen and I made a bee-line (B-line? what is that expression? V-line would make sense…) to the sewing room. Ryan seemed surprised when I didn’t join him on the couch after dinner and asked where I was going. I told him I was going to go play in the sewing room. I think he had been waiting for this moment too.

So from about 8:00 until 11 I was in the sewing room working on this green shibori quilt. I started it quite a while ago, I dyed the fabric while I was still in school, the quilt top was cut and pieced when my sewing room was still in the basement. (the color in these pictures is so wrong. it’s an avocado green, not so much gray)

I had started quilting it a couple different times on the sewing machine, but I never liked how it looked and ripped it out each time. I wanted to do something that would enhance the shibori design, not make it harder to distinguish. So I had some shiny embroidery floss in a pale yellow and tried that. I decided to use it to just make a running, almost like a basting stitch, from top to bottom. I made it wavy on purpose and left different widths between each row of stitching. A clever disguise to not-so-perfect piecing abilities.

A couple months ago I had found a big shoe box full of old thread. It must have been my great grandma’s because the spools were all wooden. My mom could never throw anything away, so I sorted through the box and got rid of any empty and almost empty spools. I found a bunch of spools marked “pure silk” and wondered if that really meant it was silk. I don’t know why I don’t trust the spool, maybe it’s really cotton, but they called it silk because it was really strong and shiny or something. I don’t know. But I separated all the silk spools and set them aside to use some day.

So in the spaces where I left empty pockets between rows of stitching I used the “pure silk” thread to make smaller rows of stitches . It’s not that visible from a distance, but up close I think it looks neat. So far I’ve only used a reddish color for the smaller patches of stitching. I think I’ll do the whole thing that way before I decide to add another color. I thought maybe of adding patches of some french knots. We’ll see.

What do you think so far? I’m not sure that the patches of red are even necessary. And I think my pictures are kind of crappy today, so maybe you won’t even be able to tell me what you think.

Today I will try to continue with my productivity. I have to work all day, and all of my Etsy listings have expired, so I need to put some things on there to sell. I have quite a few new things, so I’ll let you know when they are up. Ryan’s website needs to be updated with some new show info too. So, on that note… I am stepping away from the computer. Not to return until I have accomplished at least 5 hours of work. Wish me luck!

Oh yeah, I got married

Oh yeah, I got married

I haven’t been blogging like I said I wanted to. I have no excuses. Just laziness. The laziness has spread to many aspects of life lately. I got a good swift kick in the pants and really need to stay on top of the blog and also MAKE the time to do the things that I want to do.

So, In the time I’ve been away since January I just got married; no big whoop. 😜 hehe

So many details and stories to tell… But I think I’ll just let some pictures speak for themselves.

Lighting the Unity Candle (I thought it would look nice if we used the big unity candle along with two stubby votive candles. It did… but we had a funny little moment where the candles were too fat to reach the wick of the big candle. We eventually got it lit.)

The kiss

When I couldn’t find the cake toppers to purchase anywhere, I told Ryan what I had pictured, and he used leftovers from our first Christmas tree to hand-carve these two little birdies. He is amazing!

mmmmmmmm cake!

Ryan successfully retrieved the garter!

And of course… the Chicken Dance!

So, that was our wedding… about 9 months of planning, a lot of money, a lot of misunderstandings, agreements and disagreements, for about 8 hours of fun. Totally worth it.
Cheap and Not-So-Cheap Thrills

Cheap and Not-So-Cheap Thrills

First things first, let’s get the most important news out of the way.
I have new sock yarn. Yep, that’s the most exciting thing going on right now, and believe me, in my current state I will take any little thrill I can get! I was reading someone’s blog the other day and clicked over to a pattern and then saw a link for a contest, clicked that and saw the word “Sale” on the sock yarn store, clicked that, and only 2 minutes later I had new yarn on it’s way to my house. It was such an impulse buy, but at only $24, including shipping, I got TWO skeins of Arucania sock yarn and it arrived yesterday. Perfectly timed arrival too, as I was having a shitty morning.

The solid skein is actually a gorgeous dusty purple, it looks more gray in this photo. I plan to make socks and use the purple as the toe and heel. Then, I’ll have to use some leftovers of another skein to make purple socks with contrasting toe and heel. (I bought my mom a ball of this yarn in a blue and purple colorway. I can use that to go with the purple, it will be PERFECT! That brings up a question for another day about an in process sock she was working on before she died.)

On another side note, Shannon… I LOVE MY NEW CAMERA!!!
My old digital camera was only about 5 years old, but that is probably about 50 years in technology time.

Ok, so there’s the exciting news out of the way. Next to tell you about Christmas gifts.
I had many many projects to finish before Christmas. I was working on a pair of socks for Ryan using Knit Picks Risatta. He got one… the other is ready to turn the heel.

The other Christmas project was a pair of thrummed mittens for Shannon. One is done, the other is about 5 inches in, I’m ready to put the thumb stitches on a stitch holder.

I have a small box of stuff to send Shannon this week, so my goal is to get it done and include it in that box.

But, (there’s always a “but”) I have been casting on new projects left and right over here. I knit a whole baby bootie that I didn’t like so there won’t be a second one. I cast on for a Calorimetry using straight needles, and needed a circular to fit all 120 stitches onto, and didn’t want to get up to get one, so there that project sits. Then I also cast on for a neat little headband I stumbled upon on Pepperknits that uses leftover sock yarn. I have tons of that and boy do I need a headband! I was at the drug store last week and they wanted to charge $8 for ONE cheap-looking black spandex thing. So, I am totally enthralled and entertained by this simple 4-row repeat project. And I’m using leftover sock yarn that I LOVE LOVE LOVE from the Michigan Fiber Festival. It is just striping way more beautifully than the socks did and I am getting such a cheap thrill from this project that I want to just work on it all day!
So that is the competition for Ryan’s second sock and Shannon’s second mitten (and of course, actual work I have to do for a paycheck). Pretty fierce competition.
LOVE the new camera! Thanks Shannon, Love you too!

And one last little thrill. It amazes me after someone close to you dies, how important their STUFF becomes. Things they probably never looked at once it was thoughtfully placed on a shelf, their impulse purchases that they didn’t like any more, their yarn that they coveted and never used because they were waiting for the PERFECT pattern. Every time I go to my mom’s house since she’s been gone, little things catch my eye. There are the obvious things, like, the sock box that Ryan made for her, the quilt I made for her, anything in her handwriting, old photographs and Christmas ornaments. Every time I go I come home with a bag full of stuff. Sometimes it is something that I need that now don’t have to buy. Other times it’s just a nick-nack that catches my eye. The most recent visit, I saw this cute little lamb, sitting on a lawn chair. He just spoke to me and I had to take him home.

So I put him on a shelf in my sewing room next to a card that I gave Mommy for Mothers day in 2001. He makes me smile when I look in his direction.

So tonight is my first Wedding Dress Fitting! My bridesmaid Kristy is coming and so is my future Mom-in-law (I’m going to say “mom-in-law” becuase it doesn’t have that bad connotation that “mother-in-law” does, because she is certainly not “one of THOSE”. And I am NOT saying that because I know she reads this, Hi Gayle!) I had forgotten about the dress fitting, and on New Years Day I was changing the calendar over to January when I saw “Dress Fitting, 6pm” staring me in the face and it felt like someone punched me in the stomach. The first wedding thing that Mommy can’t be here for. I panicked and immediately got on the phone with Kristy to see if she could come with me. It is going to be fun and it’s really going to suck at the same time.
I have to make the best of the situation. This WILL be my only wedding, this will only happen once and I have to start getting excited about all the little details again. It was destined to be this way, and I have accepted that. That doesn’t mean I have to like it.

A brand new sewing room for the new year!

A brand new sewing room for the new year!

So, I’ve been taking some time off work the past couple weeks, to let my mind and body mend after the shock of losing Mom. I decided to use this time, in combination with some money I got for Christmas to get new carpet for the sewing room. I have been wanting carpet in there since before it became my sewing room in February 2007. I also wanted to get the carpet in this week so that I could clean out the sewing room and rearrange the furniture and give me a project for a couple days. So I went to the Carpet Outlet in Adrian, MI and looked for a remnant for less than $100. I found a lot of very nice things, some way out of my budget and some that were just close enough to work. So I picked out a nice off-white berber and we came back the next day with the truck to pick it up. I hadn’t yet thought of how it was going to be installed, with what tools or who was going to do it. I just had to have carpet… it was going to happen.
So here is a before picture of the total mess that was my sewing room only two days ago.
Note the wood floors: pretty but cold and hard. Bella doesn’t even like to stay in there with me during the day while I work.

Wednesday morning I got to work packing up the sewing room. Our house is fairly small, so I had to stack everything up on top of, around and under the dining room table. We had to disassemble my sewing table, and take the doors off the closet.

Then Ryan pulled up all the trim while I drove to the lumber yard to rent the tools. It was only $30 per day to rent the big power stretcher (that we may have broken) and the knee bumper.

When I got back I pounded all the nails out of the trim. It only took two nails before I asked, “How much would it cost to just buy new trim?” So I went to Lowe’ and looked for our molding and got my answer. At least $80. That’s more than we wanted to spend, so I went back to pounding the nails. Then all the holes needed to be filled, the whole thing needed to be sanded and then painted. (all things that never occurred to me when I was buying carpet)

Ryan was in the sewing room nailing down the tack strip and stapling down the padding, and I was in the dining room pounding nails out of the trim. Bella was under the dining room table looking very worried. That was a lot of noise, and she was already nervous about me moving all of my stuff out of the sewing room. She followed us with every trip to and from the sewing room to the dining room with arm loads of books and supplies. So as soon as we laid the carpet out in the sewing room, she planted herself on it. I think she really just wanted to help.

Except that Ryan was on the other side of the room trying to pull the carpet into the corner. Not so easy with a 30 pound fur ball sitting on the other end.

At about 10:00 last night, the carpet was pulled, pounded, stretched and we think, finally in place and the trim was freshly painted and nailed back onto the wall, closet doors were back up where they belong. So we assembled my table, and moved the rest of my stuff back in. Here it is!!! (it’s still pretty messy and unorganized, but it will probably never be spotless and uncluttered)

And this is what a guy looks like after his first time ever laying carpet.

After only watching one or two videos on the This Old House website, and me saying, “I remember when my parents hired a guy to lay their carpet I saw him do this…” I’m sure that was very helpful, since I was probably 14 the last time my parents got new carpet. And I’m sure I was paying such close attention! Ryan did a great job. Never complained, never threw any tools, didn’t break anything (except maybe the rented stretcher, but I think it can be fixed) and we only lost the carpet knife once; right before we needed it and found it after the room was finished. Naturally.

What a guy. I love that I can call him on the way home from the store and say, “I just bought carpet” and less than a week later, that carpet is in our house, perfectly installed and no one is mad at the other one.

The finished project of 2008

The finished project of 2008

The only other things I didn’t mention in my previous post, are the stuff that I have this blog for, the art stuff. I had one major project that I started in April and finished in… November. It was a big one though, so I guess 6 months or so isn’t too bad.

I started with the leftover fabric that I dyed for the background of my X’s quilt. I cut half of each color into 4.25 inch squares and then cut leaf shapes out of the other half of each color. I arranged the squares on my design wall and then fused them to the batting, with extra room all the way around.

My original idea was to have a leaf in each background square. So I pinned them all up, varying the color combinations.
That seemed pretty boring when I finally saw it all together. I liked, it, but it wasn’t anything special. So I added some more leaves and moved some around, so it looked more “messy” and I was happy with it.

All of that only took two evenings to accomplish. The quilting was what took the most time. I used a tight satin stitch to sew the veins and stem on each leaf, and then did free motion quilting everywhere else. And the result is:
This is one of my favorite finished projects I’ve done. The colors are very soothing and I think the overall design is pleasing and has interesting focal points without being too realistic or representational. The only thing I could still do to it is clip all the threads on the back. Does anyone know if that is necessary if it were to be in a show? Do the judges look at the backs of the wall quilts?

The Ups and Downs of 2008

The Ups and Downs of 2008

The year in review, since it has been that long since I’ve posted.

January 2008
Ryan has life threatening sinus infection. Needs emergency surgery. Has no health insurance.
Judge’s score: 1
We qualify for Charity Care discount and get most of our bills covered at 90%
Score: 7.5

April 2008
April fools day, I make dinner that looks like poop in the grass, but is really meatloaf and rice.
Score: 9.8
My birthday: a wonderful two-day long celebration that included wine, yummy food and yarn.
Score: 10

I had a kidney stone.
Score: 2
I have health insurance and I took lots of vicodin and slept for two days
Score: 8
I passed the stone at home
Score: 6 (there’s another stone waiting in there to wreak havoc another day)
May 2008
We find a family of baby birds in our back yard that are learning to fly
Score: 10
Bella finds family of baby birds in our backyard that are learning to fly
Score: 2

June 2008
Ryan has a sinus infection again. Goes to doctor for drugs and is told to go to the hospital for pre-op bloodwork.
Score: -4
We still qualify for Charity Care discount
Score: 8.5

July 2008
I get engaged! Ryan asks me to marry him on the two year anniversary of closing on our house! I say yes!
Score: 10
August 2008
I harvest the few vegetables that grew in my mostly weed covered garden
Score: 6
September 2008
Bella turns two
Score: 9
Bella is still a puppy
Score: 7
October 2008
My mom and I pick out and purchase my wedding dress
Score: 10 (no pictures, in case Ryan reads this)

Engagement photo session with my friend and Bridesmaid Kristy
Score: 10

We are goofy
Score: 8.5

It must have been the windiest day of the year
Score: 3.75

November 2008
Shannon comes home from Chicago for Thanksgiving and Dad’s birthday. We go out bowling and to a very nice Seafood restaurant in Saline.
Score: 9 (not a 10 because Leah couldn’t be there too)

December 2008
Shannon buys tickets for she and I to go to the Lyric Opera in Chicago to see Porgy and Bess. We spend 2 whole days together shopping, laughing and eating awesome food.
Score: 10
I ride the train both ways and DO NOT mis-read my ticket and DO catch both trains
Score: 10

Saturday the 20th. I spend the whole day, from 11am until almost midnight at my mom’s house baking cookies, chatting and even threw in a trip to the new(ish) Plum Market in Ann Arbor.
Score: 9.9 (not a 10 because the day is just never long enough!)
Sunday the 21st. Ryan and I go bowling with his parents for his dad’s birthday. I get a Turkey (that’s THREE strikes in a row)! and my final score is 163! My best ever!
Score: 10
Tuesday the 23rd. Wake up and get the kitchen cleaned up and ready for a whole day of baking bread for Christmas presents.
10:48 Call Mom because my kitchen Aid mixer is acting up. No answer, wonder why.
11:19 Text Mom to tell her Ryan fixed my mixer. No response, think it’s strange.
noon Call Mom at home. No answer, get worried.
1:45 Call Mom on her cell again. No answer, really really worried.
2 something. my cell phone rings, it’s the Washtenaw County Police, calling from my Dad’s cell phone. They identify themselves and ask for Ryan. I start shaking uncontrollably.

Deborah Candice Schuyler
October 7, 1956 to December 23, 2008
My mommy, my best friend.

The judge has no score for this one. I can barely put my thoughts together for this. I am just completely lost, discouraged, pissed, and just totally totally sad.

The rest of Tuesday was spent waiting for Shannon to get home from Chicago, a day earlier than planned, and for Leah to get here from Grand Rapids.

Wednesday was Christmas Eve, which we usually spend with Ryan’s side of the family. I felt numb and ok enough to go with Ryan to that. It ended up being very nice to be there. I planted myself on his Mimi’s couch next to my soon-to-be cousin Deanna (who recently married into the family and also lost her dad two years ago) and was able to participate in Christmas there and also zone-out when I needed to. I got a hug from every single person there and that felt great. After Mimi’s party we went to Ryan’s parents house for our gift exchanging. I got everything I asked for and more. And everyone else loved what we got them too.

Christmas morning we packed up all the gifts and Bella and drove to Chelsea for my family Christmas. My mom had finished her shopping on Monday and had everything wrapped. So we still had presents to open from her. We weren’t sure what to do, if we should skip it, or just go on with our usual traditions. We decided we would open things slowly. Open a few gifts, then eat breakfast, open a few more and then lounge and watch a movie. We wanted it to last as long as possible.

The first gift I opened was a hand-knit teddy bear, wearing a tiny hand-knit scarf. We all started crying and decided it was time to stop and have breakfast. She knit me that bear and must have been so excited for me to open it on Christmas morning. She had told me a few weeks prior that her tree was up and decorated and there was only one gift under it, and it was for me. I’m sure that was the one.

We proceeded through the day; laughing, crying, eating what little we had the appetite for.

Friday was the visitation, Saturday the Service. SO many people said wonderful things about my Mommy. Shannon and I both wrote something to be read by Leah. She was the only one of us strong enough to stand up there and speak without crying. Every single person at the service cried. The men you thought never cried in their life were crying. My mom was beautiful, smart, a smart-ass, so creative and talented, an amazing mother, a natural care-giver. There is so much to say that I can’t put into words.

So, Because I know she loved to read my blog, because once a week was not enough of a visit for her. 2009 will be the year I start blogging again. I WILL work on my own art. I WILL make time for everything and everyone. My mom NEVER said “no” or “I don’t have time” or “I can’t” to her girls. When I grow up, I want to be just like her. And because you can never say it enough: Love you Mommy!

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