Friday, November 30, 2007

Things That Make Me Happy

We have had so much stress the past few weeks. I'm just amazed at the number of things that you try to do that go so terribly wrong. Or maybe not terribly wrong, but just don't go right. There is one thing I've learned, if nothing else, and that is that when dealing with cable companies, and other companies too, nothing is ever what it seems. They always make you think you are getting a great deal, but they neglect to tell you fine print and other important things, like extra charges and then you get a shock when you get your bill. I guess it's partly our fault for being so trusting and not getting every single detail clarified.

Another thing we have been dealing with is that we had some new gutters put on our house a few weeks ago. We had a much needed downpour last week and now our pantry, which is a small room that sits to the front of our carport, now has a ceiling in one corner that is about 1/4th of the way falling in. We believe this happened as a result of the shabby work by the gutter people (since we never had problems before), so now we are going to have to get it resolved in some way with them. If they cooperate, which I doubt. Whatever happened to customer service? I think it must be a dying art.

There are other things such as this that are causing us stress, but I won't go into them here. It would really serve no good purpose other than allowing me to vent and I don't want to use this blog for that. I'm also going through menopause and I believe that is making me really hormonal, so that it takes nothing to cause me to burst into tears. I would really like to go one day without crying. That would be nice. Of course, we are trying to keep our perspective and we know that really all this stress is nothing compared to what other people go through. These things can be fixed, but there are some things that cannot always be fixed, such as illness, death, etc. So, we realize that it could always be alot worse and try to remember all of our blessings, which are so many that I can't even begin to list them all.

In this time of stress, I look for things to give me joy and happiness. One of the things I really enjoy is reading Marmee's Blog. I love her artwork. I wish I could paint and draw the way she does, but for now just looking at hers really gives me joy. I especially love the new one she just put up on her blog that is a commissioned piece. The title of it is Lily.

Lily is playing a violin and has really, really cute music notes flowing from her instrument. I tried drawing some of those music notes, and they are really easy and fun to draw. Now, I need to figure out an art piece of my own that I can use those for.

There are lots of other things that give me happiness and joy too; I just happened to think about Marmee's blog this morning and how much joy her artwork gives me. She also has a wonderful Etsy store where her artwork is for sale. I have ordered several of her prints to give as Christmas gifts and to keep for myself.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Lots of pictures today so that you know what I have been up to. We have been really busy getting some things done that really needed to be done, but I did find some down time for something fun. Like knitting this wonderful scarf. I can't remember what yarn this is but I think it was from ArtYarns and is a 100% merino superwash type wool. I think it's the color 109. I really think you could use any type of worsted weight yarn to knit this with. Any soft yarn that is good for scarves, such as Caron's Simply Soft or other soft yarn. As long as it's variegated yarn. I have seen a couple of scarves in this pattern in solid colors and while they are really pretty, they are not nearly as beautiful and dramatic as using variegated yarn. My needle size is US size 9.

It's called the Flying V Scarf and can be found in the Exquisite Little Knits book by Iris Schreier. I tired to knit this scarf about 2 years ago and got confused, so it went into my ever mounting UFO pile. I picked it back up this past weekend and decided to wing it and see if I could figure it out. Once I figured it out, it was really easy. It would help if there were more illustrations or explanations of what "on the other side" means. Basically, all it means is that when you have finished knitting row 15 you will have a small triangle on one side of your needles and some stitches that are not knit on the other end. After you have worked row 15 and you turn your work, you will be headed in the right direction. You just start from there and knit rows 1 through 14 again. It will look very funny, but trust me, it works out. That's the easiest way I know to explain it.

I've also been busy making gift tags. Fun, Mother Goose gift tags.

I'm going to put them in my Etsy store later on this week.

And another fun thing... Eddie went with a bus tour to Pigeon Forge, TN yesterday. He went to a show called "Christmas in China", and he brought me back this beautiful fan.

I really love it and I'm going to frame it in a shadow box frame so I can keep it forever.

Eddie also made an appointment for me to get a therapeutic massage last Friday. I had never had one before and it was wonderful. So relaxing. Makes me want to get one once a month. He takes such good care of me.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

African Violets

Within the past couple of years I have fallen in love with African Violets. I could never grow them before (in fact, they died when I tried) until I discovered self-watering pots. I believe this is the real secret for growing African Violets. Well, that and a couple of other things.

For one, I always use an African Violet potting mix and I always water with Schultz Liquid African Violet food. Plus, I have placed them directly under the flourescent lights in my office. I have 4 African Violets at home in my sunroom and the one above is one of them. I do believe they love the fluorescent lights better because the ones I have at work are thriving. The ones are home bloom, but not as much as the ones at work. I also keep all of the dead flowers and ugly leaves trimmed off. I believe it helps to promote new growth and blooms. I just check the bowl about once every couple of weeks and when it gets low, I add more water with the food. So far, it's been easy peasy.

Everyone who comes into my office comments on my HUGE African Violet. I just trimmed it back this week, cleaning off the dead leaves and blooms, but just as soon as it blooms again, I'll post a picture of it. It's similar to the one above, only the blooms are a beautiful pink. I think it's a ruffled varietgated version.

I have gone to several different sites that talk about growing perfect African Violets. I don't really know anything about that. I just know what has been working for me and all I know is that I love them. They are just beautiful and they make me happy.