Checking in

Wow, it’s been longer than I thought since I last posted. I’ve been keeping busy the last couple months. We went on our cruise in September and had a lot of fun. Unfortunately I was sick by the time we got home, and am still sick 2 weeks later. I have many meds for my asthma, and to try to prevent pneumonia. We may or may not be winning that battle. I’ll know more in a couple days. The cruise was once again a writing retreat. We really needed a mental reset, and this did just the trick. We were able to relax, and hang out with friends new and old. We were able to get some great advice from some of the pro’s that were on hand, as well. It was great. I spent a lot of time relaxing. We had a balcony on our room, so I was able to spend some time out there. But, it was hot and humid, so my time was more limited than I wanted. At least it was a wall of door/windows, so I could see the water, even when I wasn’t outside.

I managed to get my sock finished and the pattern updated to out it in for test knitting. The last two weeks has been very little (read as no) knitting. A couple days ago, I felt well enough to finish the sock, and yesterday I updated the pattern and got the ball rolling there.

Trip pictures:
Our ship when we were in St. Maarten. We did an off ship day and did a bit of shopping, so I was able to grab a picture. This ship is huge! I think it’s now classed as Royal Caribbean’s second largest ship in their fleet. They were still calling it the largest when we were on board, but I think the new ship is supposed to be bigger.
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First stop (Jamaica):
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St. Thomas:
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St. Maarten:
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Wild chicken in St. Maarten:
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My sock by the water:
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I could knit here all day!
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And I’ll throw in a picture of Abby, because she posed for pictures before we went away on vacation. I was doing photos for the sock pattern I released in September, and she decided it was her turn.
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In all, things are going well here. We won’t have any impact from the hurricane, which will be good. I feel so bad for all those in its path though. It’s devastating so many areas. 🙁 Now it’s time to go get some work done (what I can do, at least), and then return to resting.

Heat wave

We’re in the midst of a second heat wave in just a few weeks. Although, it does amuse me that they call them heat waves now, when it always used to be called Summer. lol Oh well. Either way, it’s hot outside, and it’s stuffy. So, I’m tucked away indoors. The air conditioner has been struggling to keep up, though, which has meant it’s really uncomfortable inside. Sunday we did an inspection of the system on our own. Let’s face it, we can’t get and HVAC guy in here for at least a week with this heat. Everyone and their dog is going to be having issues. Well, as we did our inspection, we found that not a single duct has been taped. Yep, not one. That meant that there are a bajillion leaks just in the furnace room alone. So, we bought foil tape, and covered every seam. We also felt around and covered everything with a draft. That was such a huge help. We’ve had at least three companies in here doing various inspections of the AC and furnace, plus a whole house balance check, and not one felt the need to mention the tape? Ugh! Oh well. That’s why we do it ourselves. Today we’ll go outside, and make sure the outdoor unit is clear. I trimmed the bushes back about two weeks ago, but we’re going to clear more. Plus we’ll also shut down the system and clean all the coils. That will be everything we can do with the system. Next up is insulation. Our exterior walls are so thin that we have no window ledges. I kid you not. The walls are only thick enough to hold a standard window box, with no extra. There is also no vapor barrier anywhere. When we hang pictures we pull out bits of insulation (and sometimes not even that), and no plastic. So, we’ll go around and temp the walls. If they are warmer than they should be, we’ll be tearing out drywall and spray foaming everything. It’ll cost us a few thousand, but it’s still cheaper than adding an entire second AC unit, which is over 20k. It will also make the house more energy efficient.

Apart from that, I’ve had to put down what I was knitting for the Ravellenic games. It is a Christmas gift and it was just too hot in here to work on it. So, I started a pair of socks. That was my second choice for the games. I should have sock one done tonight, I hope. 😀
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The yarn is very pretty. It’s Tough Love Sock from sweetgeorgia. It’s very pretty and very nice to knit with. It’s not splitting in the least, and is just so smooth. This color is called Oyster Bay. It reminds me a bit of Moon Mist ice cream, but it needs more green for that. I chose a pattern I haven’t knit before called By The River Seine. It’s a simple pattern with just some knit togethers and yarn overs. Super easy. But, it gives the illusion of waves.

Other than that, the weeks have been filled with doctor fights, and trying to exercise. I need to do as much as I can before the end of October, because the doctor might be taking me off the meds. Hopefully I’ve been on them long enough that it isn’t a huge deal. I’m just tired of the doctors in the same practice disagreeing so much. This med works, no it really doesn’t, but this does, but the only way to really help this is diet and exercise, ya, but you should still have this drug. If the med won’t fix it, why should I take it? So, I’ve eliminated gluten from my diet, and have done some other diet modifications that we were already working on, and have been trying to do some exercising. It’s been fine so far. 🙂 I’m not convince gluten free will help, but I need to give it a few months. We’ll see. 🙂

Website changes

I made some changes to what is seen on the right hand side of the blog, and the theme I have running as well. I have a second blog running now, which is mostly business related, so I decided to link up to all of that stuff. Right now I have mostly bracelets and stitch markers up on my Etsy shop. My first sock pattern is currently getting tested, and I hope to have that up for sale in September. I have been busy making a bunch of stuff over the last bit. Here are some of the things I made yesterday and today.

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I really like the stitch markers that have the book charms hanging from them. I’ll definitely have to make more. The stitch markers on the left of the picture look like little Jupiters. Now I want to do a whole line of celestial themed stitch markers. That could easily be my thing. 😀 I have picked out some beads that look very planet like, so once I bite the bullet on those, I can start making sets. I would like to actually sell some things first before I invest more. Mind you, my investment is pretty small at the moment. I think I’m in for just a few hundred. Most businesses run thousands in start up costs.

I have a second sock pattern that I have been working on as well, and I hope to have that out for test knitting in the next few weeks. Either that, or I’ll use the same pattern I have now and change out the chart. That will mean a much earlier release, since the meat of the pattern will already be tested.

So, as you can see I have been a busy beaver. Hopefully this will pay off. I’d like it to at least pay for itself. That would be nice. Until then, I’ll keep plugging along and keeping things updated.

New endeavors

Well, it’s been a few weeks since I last posted. Ooopsie. I didn’t mean to wait that long. But, it’s been a busy few weeks. We finally started working on the house again. The first room we tackled was the library. It’s the room that is open to the foyer below. We moved our office out of the front room, into the fireplace room, which was the living room. This makes for a quieter library area. We finished painting and then yesterday we hung the pictures.

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We love how it turned out. It’s very tranquil in there. We still need to finish bringing in some books, but otherwise it is how we want it.

I have also started working on inventory for an Etsy shop. I have been making chain mail bracelets. Here are the two samples I made that I’ll be keeping.

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I have a copper bracelet done in a different weave that is sitting there in my little drawer I have for inventory. The goal is to get a bunch of stuff ready and then list it all. That will also mean making some more stitch markers. I have a bunch of charms that I purchased that will be making into stitch markers, and possibly necklaces.

Today I released my first sock pattern for test knitting. They are called Winter Jonas Socks. I came up with the idea during the storm this past winter. All I was doing was sitting inside knitting and occasionally snow blowing, so I had lots of time to come up with ideas. I already have my second pattern planned out.
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Now we are moving on to other rooms in the house. We are trying to get things decluttered and rearranged and made useful. Next up is the guest room, because we bought a bed frame for in there that is still sitting in the entry way. We’ve had it for a couple months now. Slowly, but surely I will get from room to room. 🙂 Thankfully the guest room just needs the bed frame, bedding and a mirror set hung.

In Progress

I have been doing so many test knits lately, that I haven’t had a chance to do an update on where I stand on some of my WIP’s. This is of course not a full run down, because there are always WIP’s that go into hiding that I find months later. First up, I have a sweater that is going to be a Christmas gift. It’s the Herbst Rosina Jacket. This pattern is a bit of a challenge. I don’t know if it’s due to being translated, but some of the wording isn’t clear as I go through the pattern. Knowing how to knit a sweater helps a lot, as you know how things should be working. I would say this is a bit more of an intermediate pattern. There are increases, decreases, lace patterns and cables. Even though it may be a bit complicated at times, the sweater is gorgeous. It really is so pretty. I chose Miss Babs yarn. This is Yowza! What a Skein, in the Cloak colorway. It is amazing to work with. It’s not necessarily the softest yarn I have worked with, but my goodness is it squishy. It is absolutely perfect for any sweater that you want to just snuggle up into. It’s also sturdy enough to hold up to a pattern. Just perfect yarn.
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Next up with have my Afmaeli sweater. I have made this once before, but it met an…unfortunate end. It will get a new life as a pillow case. >.> This one is going to be a bright and cheerful variation. I think I finally managed to get a picture of the color that is pretty close to true. It’s such a beautiful vibrant purple for the body. The yarn is Periwinkle Sheep Merino in Aran weight. I have the colorways of Plum Crumble, H.R.H., and Stones Dancing in the Fog. It’s beautiful yarn. Like the Miss Babs it is very squishy, yet sturdy. I do love that this particular yarn is not a solid color. It has slight variations in it, which gives a great look to a stockinette sweater. Sometimes sweaters can look a bit plain in a solid color, but this yarn is fabulous for giving it some definition.

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This is a very new WIP. I started these only yesterday. They are Hermione’s Everyday Socks. I am using Camelot Dyeworks Percival, in the Midnight Express colorway. First off, this is the first time doing the Hermione’s socks. The pattern is so simple, and will give a great texture. However, it should not be used with such a bold variegated yarn as this. I can’t see the pattern what so ever. I will probably just keep going, but I haven’t decided. There is a good chance I will rip back to where the cuff ends and just do a vanilla sock. This yarn has so much detail already that a pattern just can not compete with it. The colorway is really pretty though.

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I also have Honey Badger socks on the go. These are the socks that just will not end. I don’t know why. I love the pattern. I think it’s probably the yarn. It is Schoppel-Wolle in the Kleckse colorway. But, I have to be honest. Even though this yarn is very pretty, it is so splitty! It just keeps giving me trouble as I knit it. So, I keep putting it aside.
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Last, but not least is a sock pattern that I am currently designing. I can’t give many details, other than this sneak peek.
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Finished projects and planning

I actually finished a couple more projects in the last couple weeks. One good thing about getting meds that work for me, and feeling better is that I have my knitting mojo back. I made another pair of socks for myself. I am really trying to get my sock drawer filled for the fall/winter. 🙂

Take Five Socks. This is a great go to pattern. I finished these socks in about 4 days. The pattern is super simple and I have it memorized, so I can work on it anywhere. They really are one of my favorite patterns. It adds just enough detail to be interesting, and can be used for women or men, since the pattern is very unisex.

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The other project I finished was a pair of fingerless mittens that have been sent off to a friend. This is another pattern that can be whipped up quickly. It’s the second pair of these I have made to send to someone. They are called Sleekit Mitts. There is just a little bit of texture, which gives them a bit of extra stretch. And with that stretch they can fit a variety of sizes with no changes needed in the actual making of them. 🙂

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Would you believe that I have already started my Christmas planning? I left it until almost September last year, and it was way too much of a rush. So, I have started early. I have mom’s Christmas present on the go already. The goal is to send some stuff up to mom and dad in various packages to avoid any customs charges. If I send it all at once, the dollar value for a one time shipment is just too much. This year I’ll do it over the course of a few months. That means mom will have to store them somewhere, but it’ll still be a bit easier. Instead of making stuff in September, I’ll start shipping in September. hehe

My goals have been updated recently:
3 sweaters- #1: The Brick: finished
10 pairs of socks- #1: Osier Socks: finished. #2 Girl’s Best Friend: finished. #3 Lapsang Souchong: finished. #4 2luvcrew socks: finished. #5 My cup of tea Socks: finished. #6 Take Five socks: finished. #7 My cup of tea Socks: in progress
2 scarves (laceweight): Ostrich Plume Scarf: in progress
6 hats- #1: Herriot Hat: finished
Beekeeper pieces (Thanks Moody for the reminder!)
Fingerless mitts: Finished

This will be my running tally spot as well. 🙂

eta: WIP’s to finish:

Battle of Five Armies Shawl: finished
Bay of Fundy Scarf
Estonian Square Shawl
Ortansia Wrapigan
Girl’s Best Friend: finished
Lapsang Souchong: finished
2luvcrew socks: finished
Limberlost Trails
Cherry Blossom and Diamond Shawl

eta: starting yardage: 84,919
April 24 yardage: 72,419…used 12,500 yards so far.

So, I am short on a couple things right now. I haven’t completed any of the scarves, but I do have one on the go. I don’t know if I will get all of these done in 2016, but I want to get a good dent in them. The socks won’t be an issue, and neither will the sweaters. The beekeeper pieces are a long term thing. I’m using left over sock yarn to make these, and plan on making a king size comforter out of them. The WIP’s are a working list, but some of these will take months and months. The Estonian Square shawl will take a long time. The finished dimensions are 52″ X 52″. It’s huge. But, this gives me a way to keep focused on what I want to get done. 🙂

Time to Adjust

For the past number of years, I have known where I was headed. My knee was shot. I knew it was, but I also hoped I was wrong. Two weeks ago it popped and caused awful pain. I couldn’t ignore it any longer. So, I called an orthopedists office, and they got me in this past Friday. I made it the two weeks well enough. It hurts, but I can tolerate it. I thought about cancelling the appointment, but J wouldn’t let me, and I did know that it was necessary to go. They did a set of xrays when I got there to see what was going on. When the doctor walked in, went through a brief history that comprised of “you’ve been through a lot”, and “I’m not going to sugar coat this”. The original condition I had, which was osteochodritis dissecans is still there, but is pointless to even consider doing anything with. It’s such a minor piece of the puzzle now, that we are just ignoring it. We found where the rheumatoid arthritis has been happily living. The doc also found osteoarthritis in that same knee. Double whammy with the degenerative conditions. He told me there is nothing we can do right now. The only treatment option is a knee replacement, but given my age, I am still too young. At this stage I would have the first at 40, second around 55, and then amputation by 70. No doctor wants to do that. So, we’ll wait it out. He said I might have two years left, but we could be surprised and maybe I’ll get 10 years out of it. So we’ll begin to plan for all of this. Once I get to a point of having the replacement I’ll be happy as a clam for a while. But, it’s getting to that point that is going to be difficult. There are questions of how long do I wait this out. How do I extend the life of the knee as far as possible? Is there anything I can do to help it’s life? The first step is exercising again. I haven’t done much the last couple weeks because of the pain, but the doc gave me the all clear. And any exercise will be good for the knee. Other than that, who knows. So we know what I am dealing with, but we have no idea of time frames.

In the meantime, I am still knitting and crafting. My craft room has been completed, and I have been decorating in there. 🙂
Music corner:
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Dress fabrication area and storage:
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Desk:
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Closet storage (this will have red curtains around it, as soon as I hem them):
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I have finished a lot of projects recently:
Lots of socks:
Lapsang Souchong. This was a test knit and I have finally finished the second sock. I loved the pattern. 😀
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2luvcrew socks. These ones took me a while to finish. I liked the pattern, but was not in love with the sock yarn or the fit at the time. It grew on me though, and they are comfortable. 🙂
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My Cup of Tea socks. This is a favorite of mine, and I make them a lot. There is just a simple pattern that gives them just enough interest to make them go quickly.
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I have finished my oversized comfy sweater. This is Brick. It’s too big, but super comfortable. 😀 Note to self. Don’t make a sweater that is one size larger when you are trying to lose weight. It is very quickly two sizes larger. lol

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Then we have this bad boy. This is the Battle of Five Armies shawl. It is by the same designer as the Lapsang Souchong socks. It’s huge, and amazing. It is the third in a series of shawls based on the Hobbit movies. It took me over a year to finish, because I was hopping from project to project and spent a good stretch of time not knitting at all in the last year. But, this is a gorgeous shawl. I have already worn it out once, and will wear it again and again. 😀

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Last but not least is a large work in progress. These little guys are hexipuffs. They are only 2″ across, and are knit in one piece like the toe of a sock. They get stuffed part way through and then sealed up. The goal is to get enough of these for a king size blanket. This means I need about 700 of these things. You’ll see by the picture that I might have a little ways to go before I hit 700. Then I need about 30 or so half hexipuffs for the edge to make it all smooth. The reason I’m spending time on these is because A) it’ll be super cute in our country theme bedroom, and B) it uses up my sock yarn scraps. 😀 So, this blanket will cost me nothing extra. It’ll just clean up the scraps I have as I go forward making socks.

Lots of stuff updated this time. 😀 I should have some more projects finished in the next couple weeks. I have another pair of socks on the go that should be finished in a couple days, and then I have a small quick project to do. Then onto a scarf that has been in progress for far too long. Although I do have to do one more pair of socks for a gift for someone. 🙂 At least I am able to knit again! That has been a huge perk to the new meds we have added and the ones I had already been on. I can do a lot of things I wasn’t able to do for a while. It really helps me feel a lot better.

Spring cleaning in February

We have begun the process of recovering our house. Not from damage, but because we’ve felt so awful the last year. We’re both allergic to dust, and our dust bunnies have brought friends. So, you can imagine how much fan that is! I set up a chore list that has a list for each day of the week. We’re slowly getting into the routine of it. I think it’s set up with enough chores to keep on top of things, but not so much that it’s not achievable. I’m implementing a few things for Lent. First is getting on top of chaos and clutter, both in the house and mentally. It will take weeks for us to get the house back in order. But, I have to say that it’s improving quickly. I have our bedroom and the guest bedroom looking nearly normal and well kept. We’ve almost caught up on the dishes and kitchen tidying. I think we’ll be caught in another few days. I have also altered my eating to make that cleaner as well. I have cut down significantly on the pop. I keep trying to cut back, but keep getting lazy or tired of drinking something else. At this stage I am drinking an iced tea lemonade. It’s a powder mix, and is 1/3 the sugar. I just put the powder in a large mason jar (quart), then put in ice, then add my water. I can then put the lid on it and shake away. 😀 I get a very cold drink with a ton less sugar, and it gives me water instead of caramel flavoring. It’s also real sugar, so no high fructose corn syrup. I’m trying to stay away from that, because it makes me feel awful. My sugar levels skyrocket and I get very sick to my stomach, and have GI issues.

So, I should probably list my goals somewhere. There are many, and most of them are knitting based. But, first for me, I want to lose 50lbs. With that, I hope that I’ll feel better physically and with the meds I’m hoping that will mean I’ll get more weight off after that, and just feel able to go and do what I would like to do. With the weight loss, I’ll feel more comfortable with getting my knee taken care of. I’ll be going to an orthopedist soon to see what he wants to do going forward. Until then, here are my knitting goals:

3 sweaters- #1: The Brick: in progress
10 pairs of socks- #1: Osier Socks: finished. #2 Girl’s Best Friend: finished.
2 scarves (laceweight)
6 hats- #1: Herriot Hat: finished
Beekeeper pieces (Thanks Moody for the reminder!)
Fingerless mitts for a friend

WIP’s to finish:

Battle of Five Armies Shawl
Bay of Fundy Scarf
Estonian Square Shawl
Ortansia Wrapigan
Girl’s Best Friend: finished

The sweater I mentioned as in progress above, The Brick, is a bit under half done. I am at least half way through the body. Then I have to do the sleeves and the neck. I’m pushing to get this done next, and we have a wee bit of a cold snap coming, so I might make it. I have 3 days. hehe I might be a bit delusional, but you never know unless you try!

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Two pairs of socks and a sweater being finished by the middle of February is pretty good. I am also working on sewing a plaid shirt for myself. Just ignore the cat fur. Daisy has decided that it is the best bed ever! hehe

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And with that, it’s time to go work on that sweater. It won’t knit itself!

The other side

We made it through the storm! Unfortunately, not all the buildings in the area did. A local Catholic school had a roof collapse at the location of their music department. The snow drifted up in that area and they weren’t able to clear it in time. It has already warmed up enough to melt a lot of the snow, and we’ve had some rain. Thankfully our area didn’t flood, although there were flood warnings for the whole area. We did end up with about 30″ on average around the area. That’s a lot more snow than they are accustomed to here. It was cleaned up pretty fast in our area. In other areas, it didn’t fare so well. Where we are, there are a lot of areas with trees and things where the snow can be pushed. Other areas are so built up that there is no where to put it. So, in the come with front end loaders and trucks to haul it away to fields.

In that downtime I finished a pair of socks. These ones are Osier socks. They turned out cute, but they actually run a bit smaller than most of the patterns I have used recently. That being said, they are a fast knit and are very cute. The pattern is very easy to follow and was a pattern that I could take with me anywhere. I used Chroma yarn for them. The Chroma is nice and soft, but is very splity. And if you make a mistake, trying to tink back can be difficult. This means that they will really hold the pattern well over time. But, they do shrink easily, so just soak them to wash and don’t agitate the water. I am worried about how the yarn will wear, but I’ll find out soon. These bad boys are about to join my sock drawer.

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After I finished these, I was digging around for the pair of red socks I had started ages ago. I remembered them being too big and fiddly. But, I remember incorrectly. I thought I had to tear them out to start over. But, I had already ripped them out, started over, and had one sock completely finished. lol They are knee highs too, so this is something I probably should remember knitting. 🙂 But, I started these 3 years ago, so I can forgive myself a little. I also thought that the matching red yarn I have downstairs was needed for these socks. But, I guess it isn’t. I have plenty in the wound cake that is connected to the partially finished second sock to more than finish this sock. I feel like I have some strange yarn vortex going on here because two knee high socks should take more than what appears to be a half of a skein of yarn. This pattern is called a Girl’s Best Friend. It’s a diamond pattern that is repeated on each side of the leg. The rest is just straight knit, so this is a wonderful pattern for just sitting back and relaxing with a nice cup of tea and just letting the brain relax. I had to knit two different sizes. One is the medium for my left leg and the other is the small for my right leg. Since my calves vary so much in size, this should work out perfectly. The medium is a perfect fit for my left leg. I did however make a slight modification. The ribbing is supposed to continue up to be a thigh high sock, but I stopped just below the knee. I find that socks that go over the knees and up onto the thighs annoy my skin. So, I just decreased a bit in the ribbing to tighten it up a bit and it worked great. I even remembered to make notes on the patter, which somehow I managed to find after three years and a move! What are the odds?!

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Now that February is here, and we’re starting to relax a bit from Christmas and things, it’s now time for getting organized. Spring is going to be here very soon, and nurseries are opening up in just over a week. So, garden planning was a must. Today I sat down and went through all the seeds we had and made a map of our garden space. I have everything planned out of where things are to go. Plus I made the purchase list for things we need to get, like some fresh soil, fertilizer, some marigold plans and peppermint plants for bug control, etc. In two weeks I have to plant the tomatoes and peppers in the started kits to get them going, and then they will be planted around the end of April, outside. Everything else is being planted the last week of March to the beginning of April. Hopefully I can get the amount of plants I would like to get. I’m not really sure if I’ll get what I want. We’ll find out when we start planting. We’ll take our time this year and be very diligent on what is planted where, which is why I have it all drawn out. But, I want to make sure we don’t have over crowding.

I also just finished the chore chart. It’s simply the days of the week, and certain chores for each day. Everything is usually in my head, so it’s hard for Joe to just pick up something to do. Plus I get very frazzled because the “clean what is dirty” plan ends up with me needing to clean everything now. It will take a few weeks to get caught up, probably, but this has everything listed for us both to be able to look at. It’s up on the pantry door where we can easily see it. I actually finished 3/4 of what is on the list for today, so yay me! I’m just not changing the bedding, because I haven’t washed the other set of sheets yet. hehe Those are being washed now. So, I’ll call it a win. I’ll change the bedding another day and then wash the current set on the other laundry day. This should help get the house cleaning under control a bit, and not make me feel so overwhelmed. I like a clean and tidy house, and it’s been tough to get it that way. Fingers crossed this does the trick. 😀

That’s pretty much from our neck of the woods. Lots of things going on, and we’re trying to keep afloat. It’s hard to get everything done in the day and have time for the other stuff. Joe gets very little writing time right now, which needs to be remedied. Hopefully we’ll get that figured out.