Once again an insane amount of time has passed since I last wrote. How does this happen? The water continues to flow under the bridge a couple of blocks away, fiber slips through my fingers, stitches and loops joining together, spindles handled and mailed. The minutes, days and months slip by.

In that time not one but two Mermaid Blankets were made. Seeing the first one made for 9 year old Feather, 4 year old Violet wanted one too. Not only are they cuddling in them during the evenings they take them to bed with them which made the making of them so worth the time.
#1 Mermaid Blanket crocheted for Feather. (I can’t find the picture that her mom posted on FB of her in it.)
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#2 Mermaid Blanket finished just in time for Violet’s 4th birthday.DSC02344

So much so that I offered to make the grandson a shark blanket. Unfortunately I ran out of yarn coming into the second fin and am still waiting for more to arrive.
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Since late last year our Grandson’s 2nd grade teacher has been giving students a poem every week which they have to read out loud so many times a day, to different people. As a result he calls at least twice a week to read us the poem of the week. Every time he calls now he asks if I’m working on his blanket. That yarn had better be in the mail tomorrow!

It certainly feels as though the year is leap-frogging and skipping over the weeks.

We’re looking into the face of March, the month with several birthdays, the annual Irish gig, crunch time for organizing tax paperwork, yard work and getting a start in the garden.

Priorities and scheduling, landing on routines that are doable.

The Mermaid blanket I mentioned my granddaughter wanting? It took a long time to figure out what yarn to use. When it came I dug into my crochet hook bag only to discover that I had NO size Q hooks, or any other bigger ones. How was this even possible? My husband spent well over a decade making crochet hooks. Thousands of them. I have none that size? So much for being generous with those I had. Somehow I thought I had more on hand. Allison of Ageary Woodworks came to my rescue and made me a Q / 15.75mm hook. An email letting her know what I needed, along with payment arrangements was sent to her. Within a couple of weeks a hook was in the mail. Allison is the young woman whom Ed taught to make the hooks and needles eventually taking over that business from us.

The fin is finished, the body about half-way along. The pattern suggests it would take “approximately 2.5 – 5 hours to make depending on size, skill and speed.” Apparently I’m lacking skill and speed. The fin was ripped back at 3 times before I finally figured out I was reading the instructions wrong. (Completely my fault). The body of the blanket is coming along nicely but it’s still be ridiculously time-consuming considering I thought the entire thing would be done within a week. Easily. Ummmm, no.
DSC02121It will be soft and cuddly, and machine washable.

We’ve had a very mild winter with lots of sunshine interspersed with copious rain. Daffodils are blooming. The plum tree next to our bedroom is beginning to bud. Daphnes have been fragrancing the kitchen.

Last Friday Violet and I visited some lambs during a lovely outing where we got to feed and pet the sheep. Some of their processed wool even came home with me.

They crowded into the barn when we first arrived hoping for some handouts.
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Some of the ewes and their lambs in one pasture.
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Jan likes to raise crossbreeds of CVM, Romeldale and Merino mixes to get sheep with various colorings, a fine wool with good crimp, and a nice hand.
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Our ancient bathroom is getting a much needed makeover! Ed is doing all the work, other than painting which falls to me. Hooray for my small part.
First the rarely used doorway between the bathroom and our bedroom was removed and hole walled over.
Before:
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After:
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Ed stripped off the old wallboard inside the bathroom.
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The old sink was the impetus to the makeover: the original molded sink was about worn all the way through after almost 40 years of use.

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Note the linen cabinet to the left: that to will be transformed. Ed started working on it yesterday.

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New wallboard in place. Ed is cutting flashing to put around the floor openings for the sink plumbing. Much to his chagrin, plumbing in old mobile homes is far from standard.
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Laying the new flooring. This coming summer we hope to remove that ugly old orange carpet that’s in the hallway.
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Painting next to the redwood wall that Ed put in the tub/shower ten years ago. Slowly, slowly the improvements are being made.
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Applying the second coat of off-white.
The red wall was the first to be painted. That cheerful color delights my heart to no end.DSC01849

Cabinets and new door installed.DSC01881Once Ed has made the new linen cabinet I’ll repaint all the walls one last time and rehang the curtain I wove last year. We’re thrilled with the clean new look and feel.

It’s been another month of not being able to settle down to a knitting, or weaving project. So far each thing I’ve undertaken has languished quickly after it was begun. Instead, lots of spinning has been happening. Mostly during the almost daily walks. I’m participating in the Jenkins Woodworking Ravelry group’s “Recipe Challenge” which has been fun. It’s helped that despite having over 7 inches of rain fall in January the temperatures have been in the 40s and 50s F with a couple days edging above 60F. We had only 3 days where the temps dipped into the 30sF. A few days of hard rain were followed by sunshine.
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The yarn needed to crochet my granddaughter the mermaid blanket was finally ordered last week. I’m hoping that once it arrives I’ll have a blast making it.

After finishing the handspun socks in November I set out to knit up a quick hat with the leftover yarn.
The beginning of a knook/crochet hat for my granddaughter.DSC01142
A couple rounds after taking this picture enthusiasm evaporated. It was frogged. Stitches were cast on with knitting needles stitches starting with an earflap.

About then granddaughter, Feather, informed me that she’d love, love, love a crocheted mermaid blanket. Grandson, Wes, wanted a crocheted shark blanket. Patterns were found, bought and printed. Reading the type and amounts of yarn necessary for two such beasts, er, blankets my heart sank. Acrylic yarn held double-stranded.

All knitting/crocheting/weaving mojo disappeared. The busy Advent season was suddenly less busy and time appeared for other activities:

The first Christmas letter in years was written and mailed to far-flung family.
A gingerbread train was decorated with Violet,DSC01310
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Christmas carols and tunes fiddled
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to a church full of people singing upstairs,DSC01353

eating and visiting downstairs.
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A tree was decorated,
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Presents were wrapped.
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Turtles of singles were plyed, soaked and hung to dry.

The clouds burned off Christmas morning giving us the first day of sunshine in 24 days, perfect for a cold Christmas day bicycle ride.
DSC01512All but a couple of the main paths were flooded by the 22 foot higher than normal Willamette River, the swift current racing across the path showing its power.
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Puzzles piecedDSC01542

Brisk walks taken with my neighbor. We were so grateful for sunshine after 24 consecutive days of rain which dumped a record amount of almost 16 inches rainfall in the month of December.
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Even with the seemingly endless days of rain December 2015 was a very good month.

Tomorrow I need to firmly settle back into the work saddle, pick up the reins and settle back into a good work routine.

Young Ebo has never minded laying supine on my lap while I gentle rub his tummy and his many toes.
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It doesn’t take long before he’s completely relaxed. One time he was so relaxed he even flopped off my legs in slumber.Relaxed Ebo3

If you like pictures of cats check out Katzenworld for more laid-back cats!

It’s been a super busy workday trying to catch up with mailing spindles. Twenty-six individual orders out the door – that’s a record for me with packing spindles. Tonight I’ll bake a cake for Ed to take to the Wednesday supper crew, practice Christmas music on the violin then I hope to make like Ebo and relax.

Thirty days with a post each day this past month.

As we teeter on the edge of December I am considering recording some flash-backs to significant times and events. This month I’ve looked back on posts from previous years and appreciate the value of gathering memories, pictures and thoughts in one place.

Writing daily has been a struggle at times: Carving out the time, deciding what to share, how personal to get. Often during the day a topic tumbles through my brain but by evening I shy away and stay with the easy, quick thoughts. I believe that I’m ready to take this a bit deeper from time to time.

A cup of hot Breathe Easy tea is next to me, helping to sooth my lungs. Otherwise the corner has been turned, the fever and chills are gone (hooray) and I can taste food again. Tomorrow will be another marathon day of packing up spindles that were bought Friday and Saturday. I didn’t get nearly as many into the mail today as I wanted. I fully expect tomorrow to go smoother.

With the temps dipping into the mid 20F Ed’s been diligent about feeding all the birds that winter here.  We warm up the hummingbird water and top off the tubes for the tiny fellows; handfuls of seeds and grains are scattered across the ground and feeders are filled. Shortly after noon Ebo wanted out. I watched him as he stalked towards some of the small birds on the ground. They flew up into the tree next to the house. Ebo crouched low and froze in place. After a bit the birds returned to feeding, a wary eye on the three month old kitten. (We learned his age when we took him to the vet for a checkup.)

After a few minutes he carefully moved towards a group. They didn’t stick around to be playthings. Then to my amazement he moved across the way to under the camper and hid behind the tire. The birds didn’t return to the ground and I went back into the office. About an hour later I heard thrashing near the back door. Small feathers were scattered everywhere as Ebo wildly, joyfully tossed around a poor dead Finch that he’d caught. I managed to pry it from his jaws and paws, pushed him inside the house and gave the Finch a quick burial.

Tomorrow Ed will put fencing around the base between the tires so that he can’t hide behind them within an easy pounce to the feeding birds. Hank showed us that cats learn to smoothly move when wearing a bell collar so the bell doesn’t jingle.

Speaking of Hank… We got up very early one morning to drive to Idaho at the end of September. Thunder, the outdoor cat, had been fed and I was gathering food for the trip when a movement outside the back door caught my attention.

Glancing outside I grabbed my camera.
In a rush to snap the pictures I forgot to check the setting or adequately focus.
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Down a step and to the side out of camera view was a second raccoon. He was too spooked by me to come any closer.
Hank didn’t seem too surprised or upset. He sat calmly watching while the raccoon ate Thunder’s food. We haven’t seen either coon since but there have always been coons around here, often living under the museum just down the block from us.

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