Thursday, September 8, 2016

What Puts a Smile on Your Face?

They say that if an object held in your hand brings you joy, then hang on to it! I've been focusing on finding joy as a part of my grieving process after Alan's death on July 1. ILiving in a new town in a new state has given me ample opportunity to get out there and look around.

There is no shortage of art and culture in Indianapolis and it is the Bi-Centennial year of the state so there are extra-special things to see. Looking back on the last few weeks, it seems I'vebeen quite busy. A photo-essay about some of the things that brought me joy seemed a better idea than the minute details.

Outside Gallery 116
Two sparkly friends came to visit & comfort 
Debbie Watson's glass art
I dshed off to Florida to get food for the soul from Sista Cin.

At Isla Morada

Lime does Something for me!
Our favorite restaurant when we lived in Coral Springs (1977-85)

Had to have their famous Key Lime Pie! The wine was just an after-thought!
Leaving from Miami International

They say kids love "toilet humor." How did the Children's Museum in Columbus, IN know that?

If they went down the tubes once, they went down 30 times with it "flushing" behind them!
#Painting with a Twist: My House
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Sitting next to the inspiring and hilarious Sean from B105.7 @sean.copeland

Stutz (Bearcat) Gallery

20 yearss of Artist Residencies Exhibit
Just Cute!

Just Cute 2
A return to my Alma Mater, #ballstateUniversity: the Famous Ball Brothers

Things have changed in 45 years!

 art museum

Benificence where Alan proposed to me!

My dorm, Hurlbut Hall; renewed!
We've Reached New Heights

Yarn is key to this amazing fashion display! 

Water Fun!
Abba Tribute ~Outdoor Concert: loved the invitation
Alien Being at Amish Acres (the one in the middle!)
In Memorium: Alan's Hats
Please weigh in and share with me all that makes you smile!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

My Crown is Still Tilted, but I'm Back on the Throne!

First let me begin by saying that I've missed being perched up on the throne watching the crochet world evolve and sharing it weekly with you.  All I can say is life and death got in the way!

A long and progressive disease, Corticobasal Degeneration (CBD), got the best of my husband, my King; and he died on July 1, 2016. If you want to know the details of this horrible and debilitating disease, you can find it online. If, after you read about it, you wish to contribute to the research to find a cure for this rare disease, thank you!

I've been faithfully committed to this blog since May of 2007; crochet is life to me. It is not my nature to let "life get in the way" of my weekly blog posts: but since my last post on May 5, 2016, I have not had the energy or the time to keep up with it. Although I am a public figure in the crochet world, I am also a private person. You have not read here or on Facebook about this 10-year journey Alan and I were on.

Explaining his condition required way too many words! Little is known about it and even pronouncing the disease is a challenge! Thank goodness, I have a medical background; I'm convinced it helped me stay strong and get through this. It helped me adjust to each step of Alan's gradual deterioration and to figure out what I had to do. Too many questions and too many suggestions led me to just wanting to focus quietly on what was best for us and to seek the guidance of professionals.

I will never forget the care we received from Heartland Hospice in both Illinois and Indiana. The staff's daily care and comfort, honesty, and support was what we needed, when we needed it. Without them, I would not have been able to keep Alan at homeand comfortable until he took his last breath. Sitting vigil by his bedside for 3 weeks as he was losing his battle with CBD was not like anything I had experienced before. I had many mixed emotions; so much time to think; and I was beginning what is calledl the grieving process.

Sitting beside him as he slept; watching his face and his breathing; holding his hand and talking even though he didn't respond took energy; but it was what I chose to do. I was amazed at how the hours went by and how I didn't pick up my crochet. Under any "normal" circumstances over the last forty years, I would not have been able to sit still in front of the t.v. or wait patiently in a doctor's office or a traffic jam! Instead, needing to reach for my crochet for relaxation and tranquility. This time, though,over those few weeks, it wasdifferent, and I don't know why. Perhaps I didn't have extra energy; I didn't have inspiration; or I didn't have the right project on my hook. Now it doesn't matter; I am learning a new rhythm with my hook, and with my life, for that matter!

I am such a strong believer in the therapuetic value of crochet, but I am not going to beat myself up for not reaching for my hook and crocheting away. My hands needed to be holding Alan's more than I needed to hold a hook!

Patriotic Afghan presented by Hospice for Service to our Country

Last winter my crochet therapy WAS at work. I was inspired to create a freeform necklace from mostly spirals. Each spiral in itself was a thrill and a learning experience of shape and color. Bringing those spirals together and filling in the final design taught me more about freeform crochet. The colors helped me smile. At the time, my life was mostly "rush-rush" based on the schedules of Alan's caretakers. On one of my free days, I found the perfect color of fabric with a free-formy embossed texture; and I did the grueling work (for me) of cutting the shape to fit the necklace perfectly.

In April I thought about entering the necklace into the CGOA Design Contest IF I got it done in time. Alas, I finished the hand-sewing of the backing to the front 2 days after the deadline. Seeing as how my memory is not always accurate, I thought I would just double check to see if I had missed the deadline. Lo and behold, it was announced online that the deadline was extended by two weeks! So, I packed up the necklace and our daughter graciously maiedl it for me as I was not leaving the house at this point.

I felt some pangs of guilt that I took my hands away from Alan long enough to do the hand-sewing; and to ready the necklace for something as frivolous as a contest! Imagine my surprise when I was informed that I had won 2nd prize in the Art category! I think it was a sign that I needed to rid my head of guilt and be reminded of the importance of crochet as therapy.

Swirling in Creativity Necklace
Seeing Alan's courage to the very end; knowing that his wish to donate his brain to research may be a small part of discovering a cure; and feeling a room full of love for Alan at his Memorial Service on August 19 has given me the strength to find a new rhythm for my hook and my heart.

He has dropped by twice since his death; first as a lady bug on the edge of my glasses and just yesterday as a butterfly who stayed on my shoulder for 8 minutes. I know he misses me as much as I miss him and is watching over our family!

Stay tuned as I now continue to bring you weekly news and tidbits about crochet as it is inter-woven into life as we know it!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Book Review: 3 Skeins or Less ~ Modern Baby Crochet

Book Review: 3 Skeins or Less ~ Modern Baby Crochet 
by Sharon Zientara

I have admired the design skills of Sharon ever since I reviewed her first book, It Girl Crochet. In her newest book and the latest in Interweave's 3 Skeins of Less Series, she has assembled a group of designers, many of whom we've come to depend on their creations to both please and make us smile!

Additionally, all of the eighteen patterns within the book can be made in either 1, 2, or 3 skeins of yarn. Each of these 18 adorable designs are an opportunity for the reader to hone crochet skills. Interesting techniques in each pattern provide practice in tiny, less intimidating projects.

Cameron Blanket
Beautifully clear and colorful photographs capture some adorable child models; I have to believe that the crochet they are wearing only enhances their beauty!

Spike the Hedgehog Hat

These talented designers have gone all out to provide some very useful learning experiences for the crocheter. For example, have you ever installed a zipper in a crocheted sweater; added decorative ribbon to a button placket; or appliqued fabric onto your crochet?

Liam Zippered Pullover
There are many opportunities to experience new skills like practicing cables on a pint-sized project or working the "hair stitich" on a small and special hat. You will want to crochet away to learn new skills or to work on stockpiling adorable gifts for the upcoming holiday season and the precious little people in your life.

Available from Interweave, 3 Skeins of Less Modern Baby Crochet retails for $18.67.