Sunday, August 25, 2013

10 Things of Thankful: # 5

I have to admit that this listing of things to be thankful for has become quite addictive for me. I was writing to my pen-pal yesterday, and I was telling him about my new pastime of writing thankful lists in my Blog when, before I knew it, I had written a list of 10 things that I'm thankful for in our relationship as pen-pals! :)

Because my pen-pal is within the prison system in the USA, I won't give any details about him, but I will be using some of the thankful points I'd written to him, in my Thankful list today, as there really is a lot I'm thankful for in having got to know somebody who is living in a worse situation than my own.

I won't go into the reasons, or the moral issues, of his situation, as they are between him and God but, because of a strange quirk of fate, we were connected, and I've gained much insight, and felt much compassion, for everyone who might be in his situation - the phrase 'there, but for the grace of God, go I', always comes to mind when I read his letters.

So, here is my 5th week of Thankfuls: 

1.     I'm thankful for my step-daughter, who has honoured me with the title of Grandma, even though she has her own mother to fulfil that role.

2.     I'm thankful for the gift of being taught how to type - so many years ago now - as it enables me to keep in contact with everyone I know, without going through all the pain I feel when I try to write with pen and paper. 

3.     I'm also thankful to the Open University, who provided me with the software that allows me to talk to my laptop when my hands won’t do as they’re told! 

4.     I'm thankful for the gift of patience – a lesson in life I needed to learn, in order that I could then understand the problems that other people have in life. 

5.     I'm thankful for the many gifts of friendship I've been given, as friendship is such a precious commodity in our day and age, and it’s something that I treasure all the more as I get to know all of my friends around the world. 

6.     I'm thankful every day that I have the freedom to be able to keep in contact with my friends, wherever they are in the world. 

7.     I'm thankful that I saw an article in one of my course books while I was studying, as it made me aware of the desperate need of pen-pals within the prison system, and then led, eventually, to me coming into contact with my new pen-pal. 

8.     I'm so thankful to God that He gave me life, as this is a precious thing - even when things are so bad that I don’t know how to go on. 

9.     I'm thankful for God’s forgiving spirit, and that he loves us all so much that he was willing to allow his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to sacrifice himself for our sins – and that, through acts of genuine repentance, we are freely forgiven of those sins. 

10.   I'm so very thankful for the gift of prayer, 
     so that I can speak to Jehovah God about 
     anything in life that bothers me - or that 
     makes me glad – and to know that, no 
     matter what ask of Him, He will listen 
     to me, and answer my prayers, even 
     when those answers are ones I don't 
     expect - or if the answer isn't the one 
     I was waiting for! 

So, these are this week's list of my thankfuls - and if you feel like joining in, please click on the following, and it will take you to one of the brilliant organisers of this hop, where you can then join in with this merry band of people, who find the Thankful in everything they do, or are:

Ten Things of Thankful

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Carrying on Crafting . . .

It's been very quiet here on the crafting front. Not because I've been neglecting my crochet hooks and yarn, of course, but because I've been making a series of things as a present to one of my daughter's best friends, who is expecting a little boy within the next 8-odd weeks.

I've actually got 3 expectant mum's I'm making things for but, as Jo is due first, I figured I'd do things in order :)

I always enjoy making things for other people, and it gives me so much pleasure when they like what I've made for them :)

For Jo, who loves Dolphins and Unicorns, and the sea, I had a great choice of colours to use - lots of blues and greens - and, as she's having a little boy, they couldn't have been better.

I made a Jo a baby blanket, using Red Heart yarn, in Amethyst, Light Periwinkle, Real Teal, Windsor Blue, and some Oceana, along with some Robin DK Turquoise, as I didn't have that colour in the Red Heart yarn.

I actually made the blanket as the summer's challenge for The Crochet Crowd, as we were making a blanket using the Red Heart free crochet pattern, the Juicy Fruits & Whipped Crème Throw:

With a few modifications of the pattern, I crocheted the blanket, hoping that it would look a little like a tropical sea, and I think it turned out OK. I also added some Dolphin appliqués, to go with that theme and, although they didn't turn out quite as I'd hoped, I think I didn't do too badly for someone who's never done any of this before: 

Dolphin-themed blanket

As Dolphins were the theme of the day, I also made a dolphin toy for Jo's baby, crocheted in the same colours as the blanket, and made as child-friendly as is possible:

Bottle-nosed Dolphin

And to keep on with the theme, I also made what Americans call a Lovey - or we Brits call a comfort blanket - done in the same colours, with a dolphin as the main toy, and with a tiny baby octopus as his companion. This was my first attempt at making something like this, and I'm very happy with how it all turned out :)

Dolphin & Octopus Comfort blanket

Now, as Jo is so mad-keen on Dolphins and Unicorns - and everything so far was aimed at her baby, I decided to make her a Unicorn of her own, using a couple of the colours from the baby blanket and appliqués, to keep the theme going. I found the sweetest pattern for this, a free one, created by Rachel H, of Little Yarn Friends

Hubby calls him Donkicorn, and has got quite attached  -
I can just see the tussle as Jo tries to take him home! Lol

As I've said before, all this is very new to me, and so the dolphin and unicorn are only the 2nd and 3rd amigurumi-type items I've ever made (with RaggaRory the Lion being the 1st), and so, when it came to the mane and tail, I just couldn't seem to follow the directions well, so I decided to make my own version - it was only after it was complete, and I was chatting to a friend who was also making the same Unicorn, that it suddenly  clicked where I'd gone wrong, which helped my friend, but was too late for me :)

So, as you can see, I have actually been quite busy with my crochet hook and yarns and, rather than that being the end of it all, I've already made a start on the cot blanket I'll be making for my future step-granddaughter, due in December :)

The theme for this, is Butterflies & Hearts, and using a pink & cream colour palette. The blanket is to be made using 4" squares, so I'm going to need 112 of them, using 4 different patterns. Here's the first of them:

As I'd never made a heart, or a butterfly, before, as you can imagine, there was an awful lot of frogging going on, before I got something I was happy with.

I also chose to make a flower-type square, and I used the Not So Square Granny Tutorial by Clare, of bobwilson123 fame for this, as I think it goes well with the whole scheme. Here's the link to her tutorial:

The blank square will stay that way mostly, except those that I'll be using to add my granddaughter's name on to, of course :)

As I've got another 27 butterflies, hearts and flowers to do, I'm going to try and use different shades of pink, so that there's a little more variety to the colour scheme. But I'll see how that goes as I keep on with them :)

So, as you can imagine, I'm going to be keeping busy for some time ahead - and loving every minute of it! :)

Saturday, August 17, 2013

10 Things of Thankful . . .

are sometimes very hard to find, let alone think about.
When life starts handing you the pits, instead of the cherries, all the stuff that can weigh you down can get in front of what's still good in your life. 

But, if you just take a few minutes, and try to think of the pluses, instead of the minuses, it's amazing how many things you can come up with.
So here are my cherries:

I'm thankful that God had such a sense of humour that he made me. I know he has a sense of humour, because I do, too, under all the pits :)

Start as you mean to go on? :)

I'm thankful that I was given the gift of carrying a child for 9 months under my heart. Having been told I'd never have children, this was such a gift for me that I still thank God every day for my beautiful, amazing girl :)

Hubby, & Brex at 1 hour old :)

I'm thankful for a husband who is so unselfish that he always puts myself and our child before himself. My hubby is an amazing man, and we will be married for 30 years in October - and I love him even more than I did at the beginning and, even better, he loves me like that, too :)

True Love :)

I'm thankful for a warm, dry house. We lived in so many places that were falling down around our ears - houses that weren't that old, but so badly built that we had to battle mould or drafts all the time. We now live in a 300 year old house that is as warm, and snug, as we need, and wanted :)

Fred, guarding the house :)

I'm thankful for the gift of love that our dog, a Jack Russell Terrier called Fred Barker, gives unstintingly to us. He will be 19 next march. He is as deaf as a post, and is so arthritic he has a job stepping over the tiny lip on his bed but, the minute he sees either of us, his tail wags, and he gives us that amazing doggy smile we fell in love with when we first rescued him 18 years ago. 

Fred, aged 10.

I'm thankful for our cat, Kushka, who was rescued as a tiny kitten. We took her into our home, and our hearts, when she was barely 6 weeks old, and had to keep feeding her replacement milk for a month as she had been in such a bad way. She'll be 5 next birthday, and she is my constant companion, lying as close beside me as she can - she has always seemed to be aware that sitting on me would only bring pain. She purrs like an engine when pain takes me over, as if she is trying her best to soothe me, and she has always been there for me, no matter what.

Kushka, breaking in the new cover I crocheted :)

I'm thankful for the gift of crochet. I hadn't crocheted before I started to learn last July, and had got into a bad place in my head when I'd had to give up knitting and cross-stitch, as my hands couldn't cope with either any more, so to find that I was able to hold a crochet hook enough to use it, was a fantastic thing to happen to me :)

My Spring Fling cushion cover.

I'm thankful for the internet, as it took me out of myself, and brought a world full of the most amazing people into my life, and into my heart. After I got housebound, the world became a very drab place, as I had come from a large family, so was used to company, and noise, and all the other things that come with family life. I had always loved visiting all of our many friends homes, and going places and seeing people whenever I chose to, so to be housebound was a kind of torture for me but, once I had the internet in my home, it opened up a world of possibilities I couldn't have imagined - and also enabled me to keep in touch with my daughter, wherever in the world she goes :)

Brex, in an Amazonian village, in Peru :)

I'm thankful for the bounty of things that surround me, for internet shopping, for a free health system that is very much needed for me now, for the chance to be able to do what I can to stay focussed on the future, so that I can stay true to myself, and true to God.

Me, on our 29th wedding anniversary :)

I'm thankful for the chance to have lived this life that I have - whether good or bad! To have been born in a time, and a place, where women are able to make whatever life they dream of, and for the chance to be able to have my voice heard all around the world.

Ten Things of Thankful

Saturday, August 10, 2013

10 Things of Thankful . . .

I've decided that I'm going to try and get my 10 Things done well within the weekend this time, so I sat here, trying to get some sort of list together, and heard the sound of numerous tractors going past, and that gave me my thankful list:

1.   I'm thankful for our very first tractor, Cedric, an old 1952 Fordson County, that hubby bought to help with his work in the Forestry here  in West Wales. Cedric had a life of his own and, because the headlamps and grill looked like eyes and a smiling mouth, we had to give him a name J 

  1. I'm also thankful for the Igland Winch hubby fixed to Cedric, as it allowed him to move a lot more timber than using any others available at the time J  

  1. I'm thankful for the tractors that slowly rumble by our house every year, either taking manure to the fields to fertilize them, or groaning under the weight of bales of hay and straw at harvesting time. They are the lifeblood of our area, and the farmers would have a much harder job than they already do without them.

  1. I'm thankful that the yearly steam engine fair has just this minute finished! Don't get me wrong, I like to see the old steam tractors chugging by as they join the crowds of people going to the fair, but we are so close to the fields that it's held in, we quite often can't hear ourselves think because of the noise of the tannoy. It's great that so many people still go to these fairs, but it is a relief when they all go home again! J

5.   I'm thankful for the term Tractor, which is derived from the Latin word 'Trahere', meaning 'to pull', and is also a shortening of the term Tractive Effort (or Torque), which gives the power to pull a trailer, plough, or any other machinery used by the tractor. 

  1. I'm thankful that we now use the term Tractor, rather than Traction Engine, which was used until 1859. Although I must admit, I do love the term J

  1. I'm thankful to John Froelich, the inventor and builder of the first gasoline/petrol-powered tractor in 1892, in Clayton County, Iowa. His invention made the tractor a more manoeuvrable beast, and enabled it to be made lighter, so that it could cope with a better variety of terrains.

  1. I'm thankful that tractors improved no end by the 1920's enabling them to be used for a variety of different uses. I'm sad they totally took over the jobs of horses, though.

  1. I'm thankful for the skilled wood carver who made a wooden tractor for my daughter, when she was 3. It was strong enough for her to sit on and move around the house with, and she cried when she got too big for it a year or so later :) 

  1. I'm thankful for the many varieties of tractor available today. From farming to felling, from clearing snow, to helping to prepare the ground for building work, they've made life so much easier for people.

There are well over 16 million tractors being used in the world today :)

Sunday, August 04, 2013

10 More Things to be Thankful For...

Ten Things of Thankful

Oops! It's almost the end of the day, and I've only just had the time to write my 10 Thankful Things post - naughty me - and so here I go . . .

  1. I'm thankful for my faith, which keeps me going when I might want to stop.

  1. I'm so very, very thankful for a loving and understanding husband, who has been putting up with my bad temper as I try to cope with yet more pain.

  1. I'm thankful that, despite the extra pain, I've still been able to do a few things, rather than being comatose with all the meds I have to take.

  1. I'm thankful for the small mercies - that the sky has been relatively clear, that, even when it's rained, it meant our very dry garden got a thorough soaking.

  1. I'm thankful that, no matter how bad my life can be, I know I'm fortunate to be able to do things others can't. 

  1. I'm thankful to still be able to chat to my mum and dad, whereas my hubby has lost both of his parents, and so can't tell them all the small miracles of life that happen to him.

  1. I'm thankful that my step-daughter is having her first child, and is deliriously happy with her partner.

  1. I'm thankful that my daughter loves her life, and her work, and that she is just starting a whole new business for herself.

  1. I'm thankful for all the love, and help, we're given from all of our sweet and kind friends.

  1. I'm so very thankful for the creation of the internet, as it makes so many people that much more connected to each other :)

It amazes me that, the more we think about our lives, the more there is to be thankful for :)