Lisa Lately

Random musings about life, family, and crochet

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Name: Lisa
Location: Indiana, United States

I'm a perfectionist. What more do you need to know?

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A New Look

Ta-da! Here's my new look for my blog! I love the French Impressionists, and I decided to base this new look on the artwork of Claude Monet and his famous water lilies paintings. I also boosted the size of the font so the text would be easier to read.

For the record, I loathe Microsoft Internet Explorer. Get Firefox.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Am I Dreaming of Summer?

I'm posting this photo because I want to change some of my photo settings and I can't do that without actually posting one. Or at least, I don't know how to!

Ron & me

Anyway, this photo of my husband Ron and me was taken on vacation at Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, a couple of years ago when Ron and Brigid graciously agreed to let me take a nostalgia trip. My family used to go to Hilton Head for vacation every year, way back in the days when the island had only a small handful of hotels and not many people. Boy oh boy, has Hilton Head ever changed since I was last there! Way too many people for such a small island. Although I did enjoy revisiting this special place from my childhood, it was not much like my memories and we most likely won't go back.

Open Wide and Say "EEEE"

Laryngitis sucks. Seriously. I've had laryngitis now for over seven weeks. My family doctor prescribed antibiotics first, then put me on a round of prednisone for two weeks, and finally turned me over to the ENT (ear, nose, and throat) doctor, who I saw last Friday.

The ENT stuck a tube down my nose to look at my larynx, but he didn't see any nodes or polyps or burst blood vessels or anything. He had me say "eeee" so he could see my vocal cords vibrate, and he determined that I have something called "right true vocal cord palsy," which basically means the right side of my vocal cord is kind of paralyzed. So now we get to try to figure out why.

The thyroid gland surrounds the larynx, and so that's a suspect. But this can also be caused by certain neurological events. So I had some blood work done on Friday, and this morning I had a CT scan of my neck. If the CT scan doesn't show anything, then I'll have an MRI on Wednesday. And I go back to the ENT on Friday to discuss any results.

I don't really know what to hope for here. Well, beyond a definitive answer. I don't want to end up with an undetermined cause. What I do know is that I'll probably hit my medical insurance deductible for 2006 this week! And Ron and I should have put more money into our 2006 health care Flexible Spending Account. Oh, well, it's only money. :-) (You know I had to use the smilie again!)

Saturday, January 28, 2006

I Hate Weaving in Ends

I'm nearly finished with my sweater. All I have left to do is weave in the ends and sew on some buttons. Not very much — but then I realized my blog needs a button that people can use for links. You know, all those thousands of fans of Lisa Lately who keep pestering me for a button. :-)

So I decided to make a button. Naturally, this has led to a complete redesign of my blog! I hope to unveil the new look in a week or so, once I get all the bugs worked out, but I'm having loads of fun getting all the pieces together. I've had a few distractions too, of course. For example, I had to create the smilie face above, just for the heck of it.

Hmm, is this all just to avoid weaving in those ends?

Monday, January 23, 2006

Aliens and Rubber Thingies

We are having quite a mystery at our house lately. A few weeks ago I found this rubber thingie — we're researching the technical term — in our backyard near the porch. I showed it to Ron, who didn't know what it was either, so we just assumed it was some weird trash that ended up in our yard for whatever reason. No big deal.

Then last week, another one of these rubber thingies shows up — on our front porch roof! Okay, now it's become a bit odd. We still don't know what these rubber thingies are, and we're wondering how one ended up on the roof.

And now, just yesterday, we find yet another rubber thingie, this time on the main roof.

Click on photos for a larger view. The pencil is shown for scale.

Rubber thingie on our front porch roof.

We've now entered bizarre world.

Are neighbor kids going around and tossing these things on our roof? If so, why? Okay, kids don't really need a why, but still, why?

Are airplanes losing pieces as they fly over our house? Seems unlikely that they would all end up on and around our house, though, and no one else's.

Are aliens landing on our house for weird midnight abductions, but we're too drugged to recall any of it in the morning? Could this possibly be related to my laryngitis that has now lasted for six weeks and seems impervious to all medical attention so far? Hmmm.

So anyway, if anyone knows what these rubber thingies are, please let me know!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Brigid and the Shawl

Okay, I got permission from Brigid, so here are some photos of her modeling the Serafina Shawl made with black Moda Dea Cheerio. I am really pleased with how this turned out. You can click on the photos for a larger version.

Bonus! Even though she's not wearing the shawl in this one, Brigid graciously allowed me to post this one, just because I think it's a beautiful photo of her.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Yet Another Serafina Shawl!

I've finished all the pieces to my sweater, but I've had to put off assembling it. Brigid is going to the Winter Formal this weekend with her boyfriend. She'll be wearing the same dress she wore to the Theater Awards last spring, but since the dress has spaghetti straps and this is January, she needed a warmer wrap than the light shawl she wore with it in May. Brigid asked me to make her a Serafina Shawl (pattern here), so off I went to Hobby Lobby to find an appropriately dressy yarn to use.

I picked up several skeins of Moda Dea Cheerio in black. This is a soft, slightly furry yarn, sort of like a cross between TLC Amoré and a thin chenille yarn, but it also has some sparkly bits in it, which makes it perfect for a shawl for a formal dance. I used an N hook and about 3½ skeins (1.76oz/50g) to make a shawl that comes to Brigid's elbows.

I'd never used this yarn before. Overall, it was fairly easy to work with, helped by the large N hook of course. But the yarn did shed some of the sparkly bits as I crocheted.

Here are a couple of photos of the finished shawl. You can click on the photos for a larger view. I hope to have pictures of Brigid actually wearing it this weekend, but we'll have to wait and see if she'll let me post those here or not!

Serafina Shawl in black Moda Dea Cheerio

This close-up shows some of the sparkly bits. And if you look really closely, you can see where our cat Rika contributed some of her own sparkle to the effort. No matter how careful you are, if you live with cats, you live with cat hair!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Finished Crochet Projects

Okay, I've bought new batteries for the camera, so here's my crochet update. You can click on the photos for larger views.

Brigid bought me a skein of recycled silk yarn for Mother's Day, and I made a small shawl out of it, using Doni's Serafina Shawl pattern (found here). I've made several versions of this shawl in different fibers, and they've all turned out really nice. I just love this pattern! I had a small amount of the yarn left over, and I crocheted a small flower and placed it at the center of the neckline. Recycled silk yarn is made from remnants from making silk saris. You can read more about it here and here.

Recycled Silk Serafina Shawl

I made a lightweight shrug and matching tank top for Brigid, using lilac Red Heart Soft Baby. For the shrug, I followed Lauri B's incredibly easy Any Size/Any Gauge Shrug (pattern here). I used a very simple stitch pattern: (ch 1, sk 1, dc) across; then on each following row, (ch 1, dc in the dc). To increase, (dc, ch 1, dc, ch 1) in the dc. For the tank top, I followed Jessica Rice's Sherbert Tank Top (pattern here). I'm really pleased with how this set turned out. Brigid declined to model for me, though.

Tank top, full view

Close-up of lace pattern

Close-up of strap

Shrug, folded view

Shrug, open view

Close-up of shrug stitch pattern

A couple of years ago a friend gave me a skein of really pretty pink and cream alpaca yarn that she got in Ecuador, and I finally decided what to do with it. I paired it with a couple of skeins of a cream wool/acrylic blend and made a child's shrug and hat. I used the same shrug pattern as above, only this time I followed Laura's stitch pattern. I added a simple tie, made by braiding together three strands of yarn and knotting the ends. The hat is a generic one, which I described in an earlier post (Crocheting Circles, in the Gallery at left). The brim is trimmed with (sc, ch 2, sk 1) around. The decoration on top is just a long chain looped to look like a flower: I attached the yarn to the center of the hat, (ch 15, sc to center of hat) and repeated so I had seven loops. I think this set turned out really cute. I only hope it fits, as I had to guess about the measurements of the intended recipient (not the recommended method!).

Shrug & hat set

Close-up of hat

Shrug, folded view

I'm currently working on a cardigan for myself. I'm using a free pattern from Kim Guzman (CrochetKim). The pattern is called Adult Jiffy Jacket and is available here. I'm using vanilla TLC Amoré, a yarn I've used for several items and really like. The pattern is easy to follow, and she includes good diagrams and measurements of the pieces. The yarn I'm using doesn't match her gauge — not even close! — but her diagrams and measurements made it easy for me to adjust the pattern.



Fronts & back


Now, I should mention that I've had a lot of trouble making sweaters. I do fine following the patterns, and my sweater pieces all end up the proper size and everything. But when I sew the pieces together, the finished garment just doesn't look right. So far I've made three or four sweaters, and I won't wear any of them. We'll see how this one turns out. If anyone has any great finishing techniques to share, I'd really appreciate it!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Hey, I'm Back!

No, I haven't abandoned my blog. I've just been too busy to blog lately! So I think it's time for a quick recap of what's been going on around here the past few months.

The least pleasant part of this time was that I caught a cold the week before Thanksgiving, and I've been trying to get rid of it ever since. A week after Turkey Day the cold turned into laryngitis, but the worst laryngitis I've ever had. I do have a tendency to get laryngitis with colds, but usually that just means one day or so of no voice and another two or three days of hoarseness. This one is quite unusual: I've had laryngitis now for about four weeks! When my cold turned into laryngitis I went to the doctor and she prescribed antibiotics, and now I'm wondering just how long I should wait before making a return trip. In the meantime, I sound like Alvin and the Chipmunks much of the time, which of course makes me the highly amusing one around the house. Brigid and Ron have been having loads of fun at my expense.

We had Ron's parents here for Thanksgiving, and Brigid had volunteered to help prepare the big meal. Turned out to be a lot more "help" than she'd bargained for, though. My cold was at its worst on Thanksgiving, and I didn't think I should be handling the food very much. So Brigid ended up doing nearly all the work: preparing, marshmallowing (okay, that wasn't so hard), and baking the sweet potatoes; peeling, cooking, and mashing the potatoes; trimming and cooking the green beans; preparing and roasting the turkey. This was the first time she'd ever had to handle raw poultry, and she definitely was not happy about that. But she screwed up her courage and dug right in. The meal was a great success, but when the time came around to make Christmas dinner, she declined to help. Gee, I wonder why.

I've been doing some volunteer work two afternoons a week the past few months. I spend one afternoon at our local food pantry updating client files in the computer, and another afternoon as a telephone specialist at our local 211/information and referral service ( The data entry work at the food pantry is pretty easy but necessary, and the other people I work with are fun to be around. The telephone work at the 211 call center is more challenging and more frustrating sometimes but also more rewarding. I take calls from people wanting information about a range of stuff, everything from local support groups to volunteer opportunities to government information to financial assistance programs. Most of the calls are from people who need financial assistance of some sort, though. The frustrating part comes in when a caller needs help with something that our community has no resources for or when the caller has already exhausted those resources; it's hard to tell someone that no help is available for the problem. But most of the time I'm able to point the callers in the right direction for the help they need, and it's especially gratifying to uncover solutions the caller didn't know existed.

I've finished several crochet projects. I'll write about them and take some pictures as soon as I get new batteries for the camera.