Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Waves of Life

Hello friends.  It was a glorious day today so we (my husband and I), headed off to have lunch at the beach.  It got me to thinking about life and what I call the waves of life.
I have a wonderful family and life.  I know I'm blessed but sometimes I see those turbulent waves pop up now and then.   It seems what sets me off these days is that many people (not my family) have forgotten what it means to be caring or nice.  It brings to mind the saying: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  It doesn't cost money or take much to be polite and caring.

  I don't like change; if something works why change it.  It will almost be six years since I moved to California.  Sometimes I think if I was younger and had children then the move would have been easier.  I've struggled to find a church and I'm almost to the point of becoming indifferent.  But, on the bright side, I'm here next to my grandchildren; I see them numerous times each week and it's beyond joy to see them growing up.  This is what makes life special. 

I've always enjoyed meeting and visiting with older people.  You can learn so much from them.  But it seems like today's society only wants what is new and modern; friends included.  I may be 62 and look 62 but in my mind (yes, my mind), I don't feel a certain age.  But people can judge by looking. Two friendships that I cherished most were knowing two elderly friends; my dear friend Zaizaf and dear Mrs. G.  Both of these women were immigrants to this country and they were filled with knowledge.  They are gone now but I feel blessed to have known them.   It's like looking at a cover of a book.  It may not look "new" but oh, what a wonderful story is waiting for you. 

Not everyone can project laughter, joy, spontaneous behavior but although they may seem quiet, they can be filled with so much joy and giving to share with others.  My son who was home for an extended visit left yesterday to return to his work in Europe.  I woke up this morning and my goodness the house was so empty.  My husband agreed with me.  It's still sometimes difficult to be an empty nester.

I love my life to be calm and quiet.  Today my best friend for over 40 years called me.  She has been dealing with some health issues in her family and I felt so bad I wasn't there to be with her.  But, during our phone call today she brought joy to my heart.  You know why?  Because she too had been experiencing some of the same things as me and we understood each other's feelings.  Her son had been home visiting with her and left this week.  She felt sad.   We spoke about how it's always hard to see them leave but of course they will return.  Then we spoke about church.  She has been going to her church for over 40 years.  And now, just like me, she's struggling because of the changes that have occurred at her place of worship.  I know this story well.

It may seem like I'm rambling on but accepting change is not an easy thing for me to do.  On the other hand, I have no right or reason to complain.  Life has been good to me and is good to me.  My husband is always here to listen to me and my dear daughter does a wonderful job to keep both my husband and I entertained.  So, I will carry on and continue to enjoy each and every day and all that life has in store for me.  And maybe, gradually, I will be able to accept change more easily.

When I started this blog a few years ago, I never realized what joy and happiness it would bring to me.  I learn so much for you my dear readers.  And, if you really think about it, I shouldn't say I'm an empty nester because my husband and I do have Lilly, my big, Maine Coon kitty that keeps us company :)

I hope to return next week with maybe a knitting project.  There's a couple of WIPs on my needles and so far, it's coming along splendidly.  Until then...

My best wishes to you,

 Linking with:

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Five Shawls for Five on Friday

Greetings my friends.  It's been a quiet week here at Lilly My Cat.  I was so looking forward to rain this past week but nothing appeared.  Obviously, the weather person had the forecast incorrect for my area.  I love rain and I miss it so much.  Clouds are my friends as I try to keep out of the sun...

I had mentioned that I would try and share with you some crafty news this week.  I just finished another shawl so here goes...

This is the Cicely shawl that was featured in Taproot magazine.  It's knitted out of Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece.  I enjoyed knitting this pattern although the yarn is not my favorite.  I knitted the lace border first and then picked up stitches for the body of the shawl.

I finished this shawl awhile ago.  I love this yarn - Berroco Ultra Alpaca.  It's super soft and a joy to knit.  I'm sending this shawl off to my dear friend as a "prayer shawl".  I've never done that before and found a lovely prayer shawl poem to send with it.

Next up is the Wild Poppies Shawl.  I didn't want to step on anyone's toes with using their photo so here's the link to the shawl pattern.  I've ordered some glorious gradient yarn from Austria to make this pattern.  And, of course I'm going to add some beads for embellishment!  I'm so looking forward to starting this project.

Here's the shawl I just finished this week.  It's really not my type of style as it is asymetrical and colored blocked.  It's knitted from organic 100 cotton yarn.  It was the yarn I received from the Little Woollie Yarn Club.  Wow, this yarn was made in South Africa, was sent to Australia and traveled back to me in California!

Last is a shawl/scarf that I just started knitting (I was bored and didn't want to start on a long project).  The pattern is an update from an old Weldon's Needlwork pattern.  It is featured in the March/April 2016 issue of Piecework.  I'm using the Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece that I used in the Cicely shawl above.

Oops, this is not a "Shawl" but it's a beautiful photo I captured this week from the balcony of my home.  We've had some amazing clouds but as mentioned above,  no rain :(

Thank you everyone for visiting Lilly My Cat.  Information for all of the above shawls can be found on my Ravelry page.

If you have the time, I'd love to hear what you have been up to lately.  I will try and visit everyone's blog, too!

Wishing you the best,

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Queen Mary & Wine Tasting in Ensenada Mexico

Greetings dear friends.  I was away this past weekend on a little mini trip with my family.  I apologize for not visiting your blogs as I did not have internet...

My daughter booked a three day cruise for us from Long Beach.  We've done this itinerary before but it's always a fun get away, especially with the family.  We started the night before, checking into the Queen Mary Hotel in Long Beach. (You can check out my previous blog about the Queen Mary here.)

The Queen Mary is 80 years old this year.  She sailed the seas for 31 years and she's been docked in Long Beach for almost fifty years.

Here's a photo of the promenade deck.  Just imagine how it would have looked with all the passengers 80 years ago...

We enjoyed happy hour in the iconic art deco bar and caught a glimpse of the sunset.

I've shared many photos before of the cabins but I just had to show you this picture of the drawer which becomes a desk.  Isn't is amazing!  Imagine sitting there and penning a letter to your dear one across the water.  Oh, how I wish I could go back in time!

The ship still retains a lot of it's original fixtures and proudly wears its art deco decor.

Sadly, I don't think we will be staying there again.  The prices range from $99 to $500 (according to the hotel clerk).  But, we paid just shy of $200.00 for one night, with no parking and no amenities whatsoever in our room.  There is no central heating/air conditioning; our daughter's family froze in their room and the hotel's engineer had to turn on the boiler in order for it to warm up.  It amazes me how they can run this as a business when so much is lacking.  I would love to see someone take this project on as a "restoration" so as not to lose anything that makes this ship so special.  But, I'm sure it would be cost prohibitive.

The next morning we walked across the parking lot and boarded our cruise ship for a three night cruise to Ensenada, Mexico.  The photo above is of Ensenada from the pier.

The weather was perfect when we arrived in Ensenada. 

Ensenada sits at the northern part of the Baja California peninsula.  It is semi arid so there's no lush tropical greenery as you would find further south.  But, it's still a lovely area.

I went on a wine tour with my daughter and son-in-law.  My dear husband stayed onboard the ship.
It was about a 45 minute drive to the vineyards.

Our first stop was at L.A. Cetto winery.  Mr. Cetto came from Italy and started this winery back in 1928.  They make wonderful reds and white wines along with their special extra virgin olive oils.

On the grounds of the winery there is this little chapel area with a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  A blessing of the harvest takes place here each season.

And, here's a little tiny snapshot of one of the vineyards.  The area is so beautiful with the rolling hills and green vineyards reaching out along the land.

Of course, we had to view the barrel room.  For the white wine, they use oak barrels from France to give that unique oaky aroma.

And, the tour concluded with wine tasting in the tasting room.

From there we traveled down the road a bit to another winery which is known for being strictly an organic operation.

The buildings were a bit primitive but the scenery made up for it.

We tasted some lovely wines and enjoyed sitting on the patio area.  It was then time to board the bus back to the ship.

If you're familiar with my blog, you know that I'm from central Washington state.  The part of the state that is big on agriculture.  We also have lots of vineyards and the scenery here reminded me so much of the area of the Tri Cities (Kennewick, Pasco and Richland).  

Although it was not my first time to Ensenada, I enjoyed learning some new things about this city:

1.  Ensenada is the third largest port in Mexico
2.  The drink called "Margarita" originated in Ensenada
3.  Ensenada is home to Mexico's wine country
4.  Ensenada has a population of approximately 700,000 people
5.  Ensenada is approximately a three hour drive from the border of California

The cruise was enjoyable for our family as there is always something for each of us to do to keep us busy.  And, the ship itself and our cabin was well cared for.  But, something did bother me a bit.  We dined in the formal dining room each evening on the ship.  They have a short program where the waiters sing and dance called "showtime".  I'm sorry to say, but this time I felt it was very humiliating for the wait staff.  The sound system was horrible and the way the dining room was set up on board this ship made it extremely awkward to "sing and dance".  The staff on board the ship are people like you and me.  They work extremely hard with no days off, sign extended contracts and have to be away from their families for months at a time.  I admire these people who are so hard working.  And, I don't like to see them treated unfairly. 

Thank you again for all your lovely comments and for reading my blog.  Life has quieted down here a little bit now and all is well.  I'll be back again hopefully sharing some crafty (knitting) news if I can complete the project I'm working on.  Until then, be safe and have fun whatever you are doing!

With my best wishes to you,

 Linking to the following:
BTTCG BLog Party ...

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Springtime Tea Cup Exchange

The box arrived on Monday afternoon in the post.  I was so excited that I waited until the evening to open it.  It was my first time taking part in the Tea Cup Exchange over at The Enchanting Rose.

I carefully unwrapped all the wonderful gifts that my new friend Teresa sent me from Ohio.  This is what I received.  I was thrilled.

All the little items have a tea or tea cup theme.  Do you see the little teapot?  It's a measuring tape; perfect for my knitting!

And, Teresa was so kind to take the time to write me a hand written letter and little notes about her favorite teas that she also included.

And, here is the lovely English teacup she sent me.  Isn't it beautiful; from England! And, I love the little tea theme doily she also included. 

Pictured above is what I sent my teacup partner.  I made the doily and the little coasters.  As it was my first year in taking part in this exchange, I wasn't sure what or how much to send.  Maybe I should have included a bit more items but I do hope she will like this.

The fun part about this teacup exchange is that you send one person a teacup and a different person sends to you.  Thus, you get to meet two new friends.  I sent my box to Melisa in Alabama.  It was great fun and a wonderful experience.  I look forward to taking part again next time.

There's so much more I could share with you.  My anxiety over business is sometimes overwhelming but I tell myself, I really don't have anything to complain about.  I may explain later in another post.  I hope your post Easter week is going well.  It's been a bit chilly here in southern California with temps in the 60's and some chilly wind.  

I look forward to hearing from you when you have the time.  I read and appreciate each and every one of your comments.

My best to you,


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Thursday, March 24, 2016

Simple Crocheted Easter Baskets

The glorious celebration of Easter will soon be here.  There's still time to do some crafting if you wish.  I wanted to share with you an easy idea for crocheted Easter baskets.

Here are the two baskets I made for my little grandson and little granddaughter.  I crocheted a bow for one of them and a carrot for the other as embellishment.

You can use any type of yarn you wish; I had a large skein of Red Heart acrylic.  I used a size H hook.  You'll also need some type of plastic container which the basket will be crocheted around.  These clear plastic containers originally came with dried dates in them. 

I started at the bottom with single crochet in the round.  I increased the stitches as needed, measuring my work against the bottom of the plastic bin that I was using as the liner.

I then switched to double crochet for the edges, again crocheting in the round.  I inserted the liner into the crochet before starting the cluster stitch row.  To finish the top, I did a row of triple crochet cluster stitch.  The handles are single crochet and I crocheted some ears in double crochet. 
As mentioned above, I used Red Heart acrylic.  It was a large skein and you can see in the first picture how much I had left.  (I sometimes forget how crochet loves to eat yarn vs knitting :)

Here's the baskets all filled with their bunnies and Easter goodies ready for the grandchildren for Sunday Easter dinner.

I wish all of you a joyous holiday and I send you my best wishes, too.  Feel free to write and let me know what fun projects you may be creating.  I love hearing from you!



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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Meet Monsieur Pierre and Mademoiselle Pasclina - Knitted Easter Bunnies

I told you I'd share with you a crafty post this week.  The taxes have been delivered to the accountant; thank goodness!  The craziness of business papers is still swirling around but I'm going to ignore it for a couple of days and close my "office"!  So here goes...

On Tuesday I told you about my yarn club box I received.   Here is what was inside.  Three skeins of a marvelous 100% cotton yarn from South Africa, two tea bags, novelty buttons, washi tape and some pattern ideas.  I was thrilled, to say the least.  I signed up for a three month subscription so I'm expecting two more boxes in the months to come.  I wasn't disappointed.  Fun times ahead ...

It was delightful to receive my yarn club box from Little Woollie in Australia ...

Now, I'd like to introduce you to Monsieur Pierre and Mademoiselle Pasclina.  They are the official Lilly My Cat bunnies for 2016.  I've made a bunny each year for my little grandson.  Since this is the first Easter for my little granddaughter, she has a bunny, too!

I made little "bunny tails" for them, too.  It was so much fun creating these little creatures from my leftover yarn stash.  Pierre's eyes are the buttons I received in my yarn club box.

 I got around to decorating my little Easter tree. It's actually a goose feather tree made from real goose feathers and made in America.  I bought it a few years ago from a little gift shop in Tacoma, Washington.  The large eggs are wooden eggs from Russia. 

Before I sign off, I will tell you how I made the bunnies above.  I found the original pattern here. But, when it came time to make them, I realized that the pattern was knitted flat and you had to sew up all these seams.  What a pain :(  I took out my trusted DPNs and altered the pattern to be knit in the round.  I made the arms on DPNs too and added them to the neckline.  I did knit the head separate from the body.  It was fun to see them take shape.  I would have embellished Pasclina's dress a bit more but since it's for a baby, I thought I had better keep it baby safe.

I hope you have enjoyed this post.  I'd love to hear what you have been up to so feel free to share your ideas in the comment section.  I read each and every one and so appreciate your friendship. And, please try and stop by for a visit for this week's link parties listed at the bottom of the post.

My best to each of you,

Linking to the following parties:

Monday, March 14, 2016

Wool, Waffles & Waiting

Hello dear friends.  It's Monday night here and I thought I'd share a few thoughts with you.  Not long ago, I signed up for Little Woollie's Yarny Love Club.   Last Friday, I received my first box and it was amazing!  I will share more of what is included with a later post (it includes three lovely skeins of wool plus more).

It was packaged so nice with a personalized card included!

Awhile back my dear son-in-law told me about a recipe called Pizza Waffles.  I decided to make them the other night.  I made a simple pizza dough and after it had risen, rolled out thin circles of dough.  I placed Italian dry salami on one circle aong with a drizzle of pizza sauce and cheese.  I placed the second circle of dough on top, crimped the edges. Then, to make it look nicer, I took a saucepan lid and cut out the dough into a nicely shaped circle.  I placed this directly on the hot waffle iron and cooked it until it was lightly browned.  They turned out delicious!  Downside is that I had to clean my waffle iron :(

 Here's my Pizza Waffle...

I felt I was running all day today.  I don't know how many of you can work, take care of children, your home and your family.  Maybe I'm getting old...Anyway, today was a day full of errands; mainly business.  But, I did go to the eye doctor today to get my eyes examined.  All is well, thank goodness.  But, as I'm near sighted, my bifocals were driving me crazy; I have to take them off to read my phone or look closely at my needlework.  The current prescription was from a different doctor I saw two years ago as my insurance changed and my preferred doctor was not included.  I decided to see him anyway  and pay out of pocket.  I received a new prescription but he fitted me with one contact lense.  He told me to see how I like it.  My eyes have been dialated all day so I can't really tell.  I'm not sure it's going to work.  It it does, it would be great not to wear glasses.  I've give it a try and I'm waiting see what happens.  Supposedly, one eye adjusts for near sighted and the one with the lense adjusts for distance.  So, if there's typos in this post, you will know why, haha.

Friends are coming over for dinner here tomorrow so I will be busy in my kitchen.  I'm going to fix chicken with mushrooms, Palestinian rice (rice with meat, spices, and garnished with almonds), lamb kofte (seasoned meatballs), eggplant salad, and for dessert, fruit salad and almond paste cake.  Wednesday is suppose to be in the 80's and the family has decided to go to the beach.  It's really  not my cup of tea but I'll go.  I'm a mountains and tree person but they love the sand and the sun.  I've loved the clouds and rain this past couple of days.  I'll be sitting in my beach chair with my beach umbrella shading me from the sun. 

If all goes well, I'll be back on Friday to share some Easter creations I have finished.  Take care everyone!  And, thank you for visiting Lilly My Cat.

My best to you,