Thursday, November 29, 2012

I'm Ready for a New Challenge...

Many of you know that 3 1/2 years ago I was in 2 car accidents within 8 days.  The first one shook me up and the second one injured my back pretty bad.  I also developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result.  I've been in physical therapy for many, many months, had cortisone injections into my S-I joints, been treated by a chiropractor...and the results are that I have a permanant S-I joint dysfunction.  So I am having to learn to live with daily back pain.  The only hope I have of living a "normal" life is to keep my core muscles strong.  Since finishing PT back in July I have not really done any regular exercises.  I admit...I have a hard time staying motivated.  But I've found something that not only motivates me, but helps out a local charity as well.  I am going to participate in a Mary-thon. 

Now, I didn't say I was going to run a marathon.  A Mary-thon is a 26 week self-designed fitness program that commits me to a minimum of 30 minutes per day of the physical exercises of my choice for 5 days per week.  At this present time, I can not run, I can only walk short distances and I can't stand more than 5 minutes without pain.  So I am going to have to get very creative with my fitness program.  But I'm very excited because Project Linus of East Tennessee will get a $10 donation with my registration.  So I get the motivation I need to keep moving and one of my favorite charities gets some money to help them care for kids in need.

I'm going to be starting on January 1 for 26 weeks.  Do you want to join me?  Go to and sign up.  You can do a full mary-thon or a half-mary-thon (exercising 3 times a week) or even a mini mary-thon (for 12 weeks 3 times a week) for various prices.  You might ask: Why pay money to do something you can do for free?  Well, to be honest, I need the motivation to keep moving forward.  The three years of PT have strengthen my back, but if I don't exercise, then those muscles will get weak again.  I've been in a lot more pain recently because I haven't been exercising.  So if I don't exercise, I'm going to have even more trouble on down the road.  Plus it's hard to not gain weight at my age if all I do is sit all the time.  So I want to try and regain as much movement and flexibility as I possibly can.  There was only 1 person who told me they thought I could get better.  Mark, my physical therapist, believed in me and I can't let him down by sitting around and not moving forward.  He courageously ran a marathon several years ago when the doctors told him that he would never be able to run one because of having had part of his lung removed because of cancer.  So I am going to push forward and hopefully prove Mark right. 

Here's a photo of my racing bib.  Watch for #190 to finish her mary-thon sometime in 2013. 

Want to do something good for yourself in 2013?  Then sign up and join me as we keep moving forward!  Don't forget to put "East TN" in the comments line of the registration so that our local chapter gets the donation.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Our first cruise...

Have you ever been on a cruise?  I’ve always thought it would be fun, but have never had the opportunity or money to go.  Well, for Mother’s Day/my birthday my 5 kids (& niece) pooled their money together to give me the opportunity to go on a cruise to Grand Cayman Island and Cozymel, Mexico.  To say that I was excited is an understatement.  At the last minute, Molly, my yarn ball monster, decided to stow away in my luggage and go with me.  Here is Molly trying to show me she could drive.  Unfortunately, her feet didn’t reach the pedals, so she had to let me and my son do the driving on the way down to Tampa, where we were to dock the Carnival Paradise ship. 

We left really early in the morning (about 2 am).  Unfortunately, my van broke down about 30 minutes from our destination.  My van has been burning a lot of oil lately, so we were prepared with several containers of oil to add when the oil light came on.  But the light never came on and all the oil burned out of the engine causing it to die.  So here we were...stranded along the side of the interstate just minutes away from our cruise ship.    As you can see, Molly was very distressed.

We unloaded all of our luggage and found a shady spot by the side of the road where we could rest out of the sun and wait for a couple of cars in our group to go and unload their passengers and luggage and come back for us.  Molly decided to take a nap while she waited.

Thankfully, we had left early enough in the morning to give us plenty of time to get to the Tampa Port Authority before the ship sailed.  We were amazed at how big the ship looked.

As soon as we got to our stateroom, Molly decided to lay down a take another short nap.  But then she was up and ready to go explore the ship.

One of the first places we went was to the kids’ area...Camp Carnival.  She found some friends there and told my 3 grandkids that she was sure they would have fun there.

Then we checked out the pool area with its fun water slide. 

And the putt-putt course and ping-pong tables.

Finally it was time to set sail, so everyone went up on deck to watch as we made our way out of the port into the wide open ocean waters.

Molly stayed in the stateroom during supper to rest from her long journey...and because quite honestly, having a fancy sit-down dinner is just no place for a yarn ball monster.  We enjoyed the dances of the waiters...and our favorite dessert...warm...chocolate...melting...cake served with vanilla ice cream.  Mmmmmmmm!!  It was so good I had it every night for dessert.  While some folks asked for a second serving, one was more than enough for me.  But I must say I had to restrain myself from licking the bowl as it was so good.

Almost each evening when we returned to our rooms after dinner, we had a cute towel animal waiting for us.  You can see that Molly enjoyed hanging around with her new friends.

Even my grandkids enjoyed having the dress up dinners each night.

After enjoying the beautiful sunshine on our first day at sea, we woke up the next day hoping to go to the beach at Grand Cayman Island.  But it was pouring rain.  We decided to so onshore anyway.  We rode in a small tender boat and it was raining so hard that we all got soaked.    We went shopping for gifts to bring back home and then return to the ship.  Molly seemed to enjoy seeing all the island trinkets and we enjoyed our first buying trip.

I love to eat coconut, but I’m not a big fan of drinking coconut milk.  Apparently, there are people who do because I saw this stand where you could get some ice cold coconuts.

That evening we traveled to Cozymel, Mexico and woke up to a beautiful sunny day.  After going ashore it was fun to be able to see the size of the whole ship. 

We took a taxi to Paradise Beach to spend the day.  The water in Mexico was so many different shades of blue and was very beautiful.  The sand was very different from our beaches as it was grainy and brushed off easily.  Molly enjoyed laying out in the sun and I made sure she put on sunscreen so she would not get burnt.

There were a couple of macaws there that were very friendly.  My pet lover daughter just had to get up close and personal with one of them. 

While we were there, they put up a ladder to one of the coconut trees and started cutting down the coconuts. 

And there were these beautiful trees with bright red flowers that they called “Flamboyans”.  They looked just like our Mimosa trees but with red flowers instead of pink.

After the day at the beach, we went shopping.  Our 2 little monkeys, i.e. my grandsons,  found this cute cut-out that we just had to take a picture of.

Then we got back on the ship and got ready for another wonderful meal...and more chocolate melting cake.  :~)

As our cruise came to an end, we were forced to deal with our broken down van again.  We went to pick it up and had to laugh at this fountain they had there.  What a great way to recycle an old car!

The repairs were not quite done, so we were “forced” to stay an extra night at a motel and enjoy an extra day of vacation.  It also gave me and Molly a chance to check out a local yarn shop called “Knit ‘N Knibble” in Tampa.

We had a wonderful cruise and I hope to have my hubby join me on the next one.  Molly also had a good time, even though she was toted around in a knitting bag most of the time and got some soda spilled on her at the end.  But she was a good sport and was glad she had tagged along.  I hope you enjoyed her latest adventure.

Now that I’ve had a week vacation...and the shop girls have closed down the Farragut shop and remodeled the Cedar Bluff shop...I’m looking forward to having all of our yarns under one roof again...back at Cedar Bluff where it all began over 5 years ago.  Hope you’ll come in and see what we’ve done to the shop and see the new yarns that are just waiting on you to knit or crochet something beautiful with them.   

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Our New Farragut Shop

Having two shops to run has been a lot of work...but a lot of fun.  We're starting to feel more settled in our new shop.  Although we still have some work to do at making sure we have everything we need moved from our Cedar Bluff shop. 

I thought that today I would share with you before and after photos of our new Farragut shop.  So here is what our shop looked like before we moved in.

And now we have some new plants that Melissa planted, and yarn balls hanging on the porch, and our shop pet standing guard outside the door.

Inside we had to tear down a wall to open up our gathering table area.  Here is the before...

and here is the after shot.  Looks a lot different, doesn't it!

And our couch area looked a lot different as well....

until we added a comfy sofa to make it more home-like.

Upstairs, was a big empty room.....

but as you can see, we are starting to fill it up with wonderful yarns.

And the slanted wall threw us at first.....

until we saw the possibilities of what we could do with it.

So there's a quick tour of our new shop.  We hope you'll stop by soon to see it upclose and personal.  It's really quite cozy and I can't wait to get some rocking chairs out on the front porch.  Hope to see everyone soon!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Christmas and the New Year...

Christmas this year brought lots of new adventures.  First of all, my son had a new wife to introduce to the extended family.  She is really nice and we have enjoyed getting to know her better.
Isn't my sweet girl growing up?  It's hard to believe she was only 4 when she came to live with us.  But now she and her dad have moved out to start a new family. 

 And then they added two new little ones to the family.  Meet Nola and Jack.  They are a Pomerian-Jack Russell mix.  Very lively, but cute as buttons. 

 We went out to Memphis again this year to spent some time with the Gray side of the family.  We all missed my sister-in-law, Nancy, who passed away this summer.  But we found new things to do at Christmas such as have a chili-cookoff.  We had my niece's white chicken chili, Nancy's chili (made by her oldest daughter, Krista), and my own 3 bean chili.  They were all delicious, but everyone had their favorite.  It was very fun and I anticipate having more cookoffs with other members of the family in the future.

At our Cedar Bluff shop we added a new yarn line from Unique Sheep.  Their yarn comes 4 skeins together with gradiant color changes.

Isn't Melissa's shawl out of Unique Sheep beautiful?  You need to come in and see all of their beautiful colors.  There are several that have caught my eye.

We've added lots of classes to our Farragut well as our Block of the Month on the 1st Saturday morning of each month.  The Knitters and Crocheters at our Cedar Bluff shop have enjoyed the BOM for 4 years.  Now it's the Farragut's shop turn to have some fun as well.   Learning new stitches will help you progress in your knitting and crocheting skills...and give you a beautiful heirloom afghan to enjoy as well.

Check out all the details on our website.

May 2012 bring you much joy and happiness as we knit, crochet, spin, & weave together!

Monday, December 5, 2011

New Knitter's Pride Needles are in the house...

Have you heard about the new Knitter's Pride needles? Well, we now have their Dreamz wood needles at our Farragut shop. These needles are very similar to the Knit Picks needles. They are made of laminated birch wood that is sourced out of Vermont. The needles come in straight, double-pointed, fixed circular and interchangeable. But there are a few differences in these needles from the Knit Picks needles.

  • Instead of all sizes having the harmony wood color, each size of the Dreamz needles has an unique color.

  • The size is printed on the wood AND on the metal shaft of each needle. No more guessing which size you have.

  • The Knitter's Pride needles come with 16" cables.

  • Needle tips come in 2 sizes...5" and 3 3/4". The shorter tips were especially designed for creating 16" needles, but they could be used on any of the cable lengths.

  • They have cubic needle tips which are square and useful for hands that need a little tender loving care.

  • They also make crochet hooks that are interchangeable and able to do tunisian crochet. And they have regular crochet hooks made out of the same wonderful laminated birch wood.

  • And finally, they are priced at the same price as Knit Picks...although some items are priced a little lower.
Come try out some of our new Knitter's Pride needles. If you already have some Knit Picks needles, you'll be glad to know that the cable cords fit them as well.

I also have some finished items to share with you. Marilyn has been a busy bee for the past few months. She made the Miley Tee (which is a C2Knits pattern) out of Araucania Ulmo yarn. By the way, we've gotten in some more of this yarn and I'm working on a mitered square bag pattern to share with you in the near future. Look for it at our Cedar Bluff shop.

And then she made Ysolda Teague's Ishbel shawl out of Noro Silk Garden Lite.

Next came her gauntlets and headband out of Berroco Blackstone Tweed. She used 1 skein of 3 different colors to make both of them using Berroco's Huxley pattern.

And then she made the Green Goddess Cardigan out of Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool XL and Malabrigo Sock yarn. She stranded the 2 yarns together.

Ginny brought in a different version of Kate's Shawl using Malabrigo Rios yarn.

She also shared with us a diagonal scarf she made out of Berroco Jasper yarn.

Ann did a great job on the Kate Jackson Log Cabin Bag. She used 11 different colors of Cascade 220. Lining the bag was a nice finishing touch.

Roz finished her Coquille shawl out of Araucania Ranco yarn. We're having a class on learning how to make this shawl at our Farragut shop on Tuesday, January, 10. Come sign up if you'd like to join us.

And last, but not least, Susan brought in her finished Ladder Shawl that she made from Lisa's Ladder Shawl Workshop.  Great job, ladies!

On a more personal note, have you ever prayed for a miracle? Well, I have been this week. You see, I have a great-niece, Hayley, who is only 14 years old. She has recently been diagnosed with an inoperable brain stem cancer. She is at St. Jude's Children's Hospital right now receiving 6 weeks of radiation. While we are praying that this medicine will shrink the tumor, we are also praying for a miracle. We want that tumor to go completely away. We want Hayley well and able to live a long life. If the Lord brings Hayley to mind, would you join her friends and family in praying that Hayley would get her miracle. Here's a prayer that Hayley's mom, Kari, posted.

I wait in faith... acknowledging you are in control.
I wait in confidence... knowing you are almighty.
I wait with expectancy.... knowing your plan is perfect.
I wait in thankfulness... for what you are going to do.
I wait in dependence... knowing you are all I need.
And I wait in stillness...knowing you are my God.