Update: 10-31-18

Gasp! A blog post?! My goodness! Whatever is the matter?!

Once again the weather has turned cool and while we are trying to finish winterizing everything, I am currently fighting a nasty head cold or allergies. My head is stuffy, nose running, and I want sleep but cannot get there.

Time is still limited but for today, I am ignoring the leaves that need to be raked and trying to feel better. Yesterday I raked over half of the back yard and really wanted to finish today. For my efforts, I have a broken blister on my right thumb and the aforementioned cold or allergies. In my endeavor to rake the leaves, I learned that under the leaves was grass that needs to be mowed very low, also for winter. That will be someone’s project, though that someone may end up being me. Once the leaves are raked into the pile with the wood, DH will be able to burn the whole mess and make a wonderful pile of ash that we should add to our raised garden bed. I also need to make a trip to Harbor Freight to pick up tarps to put over the garden that will be composted with straw donated by DFIL. I am really hoping our garden will be good again next spring and that we will be able to plant it earlier.

In an attempt to ignore how miserable my head feels and braving the “frogs” that may decide to invade my work because of my headache, I have been putting more stitches into DS’s stocking. They say it is good to confess, so I will confess that I am tired of stitching DMC 221, 223, and 3722. These are all shades of a rosy pink. For some reason I had no idea there was so much of it in this piece. Depending on how much more I have in the very top band and the toe of the stocking, I may have to purchase more of each color. Thankfully, I can now move on to 676 on the eventual checkerboard on the top left. It is such a nice change of pace.

The picture on the left is from my last post while the one on the right is where I am at now. You can see a wee bit more at the bottom right and the top section. You can also see the box at the top left that I am filling in the top section with DMC 676. This is the referenced checkerboard.

No other crafting has really happened since last time though I have plans to cast on a pair of socks sometime soon, potentially a hat, and most importantly, pull out DS’s sweater or rather the sleeves and get them moving along or re-cast on. Preparations are being made for having projects on the go that can be worked on while reading textbooks or listening to/watching lectures. Plans are moving forward for classes beginning in January. My second transcript has now been received. Fingers are crossed that the last one will come in soon so that review can be completed and I can learn which classes will be accepted. The missing transcript has a class that is related to my upcoming studies. However, I am not sure if they will accept it since it has been 30+ years. Yes, it has been forever! Time will tell.

I believe that is all for now. I’m off to brave the “frogs” and potentially sneak a nap later this afternoon. Thanks again for sticking with me through this adjustment.

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Update 10-25-18: I’m in trouble now

Where has time flown to? It has been almost a month since I last posted. I truly didn’t realize it had been that long, but then so much has been crammed into the last 30 days that I should not be surprised. Every weekend has been crammed with either trips out of town by DH or both of us, or visits to local churches. Week days have been tossed up in the air between typical chores, new role/volunteer job, and keeping family going. It has been a ride and does not look like it will slow down any time soon. Today I am trying to fit in writing a blog post between laundry, emails, and a new part of my life that will officially start on January 1. So I need to decide if you would like the life update first or the crafting update. I think we need to do the crafting first and then those that are brave enough to read to the end will get the life update OR you can skip it if you prefer.

My crafting calendar for September looked great and most every day was filled with a bit of work on one project or another. Even October started out great for the first week. The hairpin lace wrap saw quite a bit of work and was finally finished except for weaving in ends on October 12. The first picture is when I started crocheting the hairpin lace strips together and the 2nd is the finished, but still needing ends woven in project.

The yarn is Caron Cakes worsted in the Macaron colorway. It was on clearance when I purchased it and sat in my stash for quite awhile before I decided to grab it and use it up. Other than the pictures not truly reflecting the color due to lighting and the time of day, this colorway made up very nicely in this pattern. With the finish of this project, I have also completed the final requirement for the Pathfinder Advanced Crochet Honor.

Two other projects have received bits of work here and there thanks to changes in my life. These are the Toe Up Scrap Footsies – I am working on #2 and trying to knit to the heel, and DS’s Christmas stocking. The stocking takes priority right now because I really want it finished for Christmas. Unfortunately, my crafting time for any crafting has been drastically reduced so the stocking is picked up and put down with as many stitches as I can add each time thrown into the project. 20181025_115103Right now I am stuck in the seemingly never-ending DMC #221 or #223 but I am almost to the end of it in this center section so am trying to stick it out. Unfortunately, I have had to frog a bit of the dark rose color down on the left due to a counting error and will probably have to frog that portion in the lower left corner as well. I am in denial at this point and stitching elsewhere.

Life has been most interesting this month and while some of it was planned, two different things have happened that have changed up how and what I do. On September 30, DH received a phone call from his executive secretary for the volunteer church youth group work that we do. She has successfully completed treatment for a medical condition and was having to evaluate all that was on her personal “plate”. After looking at all that she does – run a day care, heavily involved in her local church, second grandbaby on the way, husband looking for job, plus the secretarial work she did for DH, she realized that something had to be let go. Unfortunately, the secretarial position was what she let go. She will be greatly missed and thankfully, we can still contact her with questions and for advice.

This left DH scrambling for who would fill this role as there is so much that she took care of. On my way home from work after a 12-hour shift that day, I learned what had taken place and listened as DH went through the options on the team. He could pull someone else in from outside the team or move people around. During the last 18 months I had worked closely with DH while completing the planning for last year’s regional Camporee and continued to do some of the work already. DH decided he wanted me to take on this role and he would transfer my coordinator duties to someone else. After considering all of the options and looking at how this would play out along with prayer that this was the right move, I agreed to take on this position, let go of the Senior Area Coordinator position, but retain the Pathfinder Bible Experience Coordinator position. This last one is my real passion when it comes to the youth group work.

The first week of October was spent talking with the Executive members of the team to let them know what was happening and see if they were willing for me to change roles and then the first weekend in October during our Spiritual Retreat, the rest of the team was advised of the changes and asked for their support. The second week of October saw absolutely no crafting until Friday evening as I was busily digging through a laptop and boxes of goodies to get up to speed on what was happening and catch up on work that the prior secretary had not been able to get to. By Friday night I was exhausted, but had a wee bit better handle on how things were going on that end of the spectrum.

Since then, I have still spent over half of each week working on “making this position my own” as she suggested I do. Reports and requests have been solicited and dumped into spreadsheets. Last Thursday I learned that a list of dates were to have been submitted to another party on October 1, so that was quickly dealt with and we are doing our best to move forward. There are one or two more spreadsheets that I need to build to simplify my life and ultimately, DH’s life, at least one order to be made online (and unfortunately, one of the items will not be available until some time in November), and potentially one other order placed, depending on budget. I have had to build a spreadsheet for the budget to help it make sense and am hoping to have it under control shortly. Thankfully, I have a great working relationship with the treasurer at the state church headquarters and she has been extremely helpful on that end.

Long time readers of my blog will probably also remember that I have toyed with the idea of going back to school and finishing my Bachelors. A year ago, this was considered and set aside again. There were too many factors against taking that step at that time. This year has seen DS settling more into his college courses, learning how to drive, and taking charge of his adult life as he turned 18. While he still lives at home, still needs Mom on occasion, he is becoming more and more independent. DD announced last spring that she was done with school and would step it up to finish in December of this year. I was so very happy as she had been dragging this out for long enough. She will have a two-year Liberal Arts degree which will enable her to pursue further education when and if she chooses, knowing that her generals are out of the way for the most part. And lastly, DH will complete his Masters program either in December or January.

Given all of the above, with the exception of the change in volunteer positions, a decision was made last August that I should apply to finish my degree with a start date of January 1, 2019. This month, I prepared DS’s FAFSA for next year. I then entered the information for my FAFSA. This had been done last year, but I had not used it since I had not attended school. My plan was to wait until November to apply to school, and then start in January, however, DH with the support of the kids and the pushing and shoving of my BFF, announced that I had to apply for college at WGU and not put it off any longer. He referred them to me and so began the process. I was very scared and mildly excited because I was not sure we could afford this, not just financially but also for what it might take away from what I do for the family and elsewhere. DH has tried to reassure me that this will not be a problem as it can be worked around everything else, so we will see. WGU’s program is not the traditional multiple classes to be passed over the course of a semester. According to my enrollment counselor, you take one class per month and complete each one before you  move to the next. You are required to complete a minimum of four classes every six months, but can complete as many as you want. The fee is a flat fee per term (six months).

So far, I have applied and been accepted. My FAFSA for the 2018-19 school year has been updated and I have funds for the first six months of 2019. There is a bit over $450 yet to come up with, however I was sent information for applying for a scholarship that hopefully will cover that. I submitted that application this morning and hope to hear soon on whether or not I will receive that assistance. My main transcript has been received and is now being evaluated. The two smaller ones will hopefully be received soon so that they can be evaluated. With my previous degree (AS Legal Secretarial) being received 30+ years ago, I am not counting on too much of that to be accepted against the courses required for a BS in Accounting. We will learn in the next few weeks what they decide.

As you can imagine, this has and will continue to cut significantly into my crafting time. I am hoping that I can squeeze in a bit here and there because my crafting is also for my sanity. You could call it my therapy. I will continue to blog as I am able and craft while I pursue my dreams. Should all go well, I might even consider pursuing my Masters. Right now we are going to take it one step at a time to avoid being overwhelmed.

Wish me luck, and if you are patient and brave enough, stay tuned! 🙂 Next year is looking to be full to overflowing with activities and projects. I definitely will need lots of prayers!


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Update: 09-26-18 – Cooler weather is here!

Welcome back to my readers! My reminders on my calendar come up, and then a choice has to be made: write a blog post, catch up on chores/projects, or craft? The first is a choice that I want to make, however, the second frequently insists on being addressed, and the third is my favorite, but does not happen as often as I would like. With cooler weather for at least a week now, I am sneaking in a few more minutes on crafting. Mornings are anywhere from 37° F to 55° F and coffee has become a nice start to my day. I try to get up with DH unless he goes in to work early (2 am) and at least let him know that I appreciate all he does for our family. Most of our days are in the 70s, though we are being told that this weekend we will have two days of the low-80s. We have plenty of sunshine, though we certainly could use some rain as the ground is quite dry.

Canning and preserving has continued and will most likely continue off and on until at least Thanksgiving. At the moment, we are in a lull until we pick/glean apples for applesauce. Since my last post, four heads of cabbage were purchased along with five bulbs of fresh garlic. On the 7th of this month, I shredded all four heads of cabbage, minced four bulbs of garlic, and mixed together with pickling salt. This was then packed very tightly into 16 pint jars which had lids and rings put on them. The lids were not screwed on tight to allow for fermentation. All 16 jars were then placed in a small plastic bin in a cool spot and covered to keep dark so that they could ferment for a week. On the 14th when I checked the jars, there was a bit of liquid in the bottom of the plastic bin and a nice smell of sauerkraut. Everything was sealed tight and cleaned before I began processing the jars in a water bath to finish canning. One jar was kept in the refrigerator and sampled. I am still enjoying it with various meals. Since no one else in our immediate family likes sauerkraut, I should have enough for this winter.

With the cooler weather, DH and I decided that it was important to start harvesting more of the garden and pulling out plants in preparation for seriously cold weather. On the 11th I picked the last few cucumbers and all the peppers. The cucumbers were eaten fresh and the peppers were dried before being put in my blender to make a seasoning powder.

On the 13th DH and I went and gleaned two five-gallon buckets of peaches from a nearby orchard. The peaches were nice and big. Since they were still ripening for the most part, we left them in the buckets in the kitchen until the following Tuesday, the 18th, when I made 21 pints of peach jam. There were still peaches left and since we already had canned peaches, I loaded up the food dryer the next day and set them to drying.

Finally, DH and I found the tomatoes had not ripened in the garden so we are watching the temperatures in case we have to pick them and bring them inside to ripen. The sweet potatoes have not been harvested from their bucket, however part of the butternut squashes have been picked and will be added to their box in the garage after this weekend. The butternut squash vines have spread everywhere in the garden and there are still quite a few to be picked so we should have plenty to bake and eat.

On the crafting front, I continued to work on “Cat Lessons” by Lizzie Kate. There were some stops and starts as I had to order another skein of “Caterpillar” thread to finish off the lettering on three words. The last stitches were put in last night and a picture taken, although it is in desperate need of a good pressing. 20180925_203010I hope that DD likes this one. Changes were made to the colors because DD is not fond of orange, except for the goldfish. She preferred that it be subbed out for a purple. Her cat is also black with green/yellow eyes, so the cat was changed to reflect her current kitty, Scooter! DMC threads were substituted everywhere except for the purple (Weeks Dye Works), Caterpillar (Classic Colorworks), and the turquoise (Classic Colorworks). Stitching was done on a 32 ct so it will be a reasonable size. Hopefully I can show this in FFO form before long.

A pair of short socklets were finished. These are the Lace Diamond Toe-Up Socklets in a bamboo cotton yarn that I hope never to use again. It is called a Panda Cotton by Crystal Palace Yarns and is so splitty that when I finished the second socklet (finally!) I threw the remainder away. They are pretty, but it was an awful yarn to knit with.

These will be summer socks. I have no idea how well the yarn will wear so we will see come next summer.

Lastly, my BFF brought her hairpin lace loom and yarn with her when we met for coffee on the 19th. This has been something that we have both wanted to learn and over the previous weekend, she had played with it while she was with her husband visiting the coast. Unfortunately, her loom came apart (it has the snap together over the rods type frame) and the 100 loops that she had finished fell off. We played with it while talking and drinking coffee and I came home to see what kind of loom I had and whether or not I could get busy on the project chosen (Women’s Hairpin Lace Shawl by Redheart Yarns). Thankfully, the loom that I had purchased a number of years ago was just a couple of bars that slid up and down on the two rods. It was pretty tight so after a bit of work and reading the directions on the back of the card it came on, I set to work to see what I could accomplish. As of the 24th I completed two of the strips (only one in the picture below) and last night I started on the third strip after finishing “Cat Lessons”. The yarn being used is Caron Cakes in the Macaron colorway. There needs to be five strips that will be crocheted together with other stitches to complete the project.

This goes fairly fast so I am hoping to finish the project soon. When done, this will complete the Advanced Crochet honor through our Pathfinders program with our youth.

In the next two to three weeks, we will be incredibly busy with travel, inductions, two spiritual retreats, and planning for future events. This does not include all of the projects at home for family, nor the studying that needs to be done by both DH and I. With time proceeding quickly towards Christmas and the holidays, I am going to have to somehow organize my time better and pick up the pace. We also will have apples to glean soon and put up. Wish us the best of luck.

Thank you all for sticking with me this far. Hopefully, I will be able to post soon again. Work is being put into DS’s stocking (a transfer to a Q-snap is being tested to see if that will help for portability). An order is expected next week from Knit Picks for DH with a couple of items for me to knit along with him. I’m not sure when we will get to his knitting as he is fast approaching the finish line on his Masters program.

All engines must be full speed ahead! 🙂

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