Australian Cruise

Australian Cruise
Our first full day in Australia, 2012, on a Freemantle beach.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Walking down the stairs in the dark....

Way back in February 2015, I ran down the back steps, in the dark.  I thought about turning on the light, but peaked down the stairs, and I could see them from the porch, so thought I would be fine.  Once I was on the stairs, though, they were now in my own shadow.  As I hurried down them, I got to what I thought was the last step, took a big step to land on the carport, ......... and went down 8 more inches than expected.  I literally heard a crack, and felt immediate intense pain.  Not a good thing.

It was late, and I was pretty sure out doctor's office was closed, and I said I wanted to wait until morning to go.  I was hungry!  I wanted to eat!  John had an early commitment the next morning, and we went after that.  Finally we went, and sure enough, the x-ray showed that  I had indeed broken my foot.  My 5th metatarsal, to be exact.
The arrow points to the crack.  That's not a joint!

This shows the bruising and swelling of my right foot.

My new accessories.  Pretty uncomfortable. And ugly.



I did not want surgery.  I only went to my regular doctor at first, and he didn't think I would need surgery.  He even shared the x-rays with a podiatrist, who concurred with my doctor that I didn't need to see a specialist.

Between the 1st appointment and the 2nd, the x-rays showed a little healing. Between the end of Month 2 and the end of Month 3, x-rays showed no improvement.  That's when I finally went to a podiatrist.  The podiatrist looked at my x-rays and told me that if I had had surgery in the beginning, I would be healed already.  Bones only heal if the broken pieces are touching.  My broken pieces were not touching!  Close, but not touching!  The podiatrist said, "That's like saying you're just a little pregnant."  You're either pregnant or not.  Not almost pregnant.  Sigh.

If they did surgery at this point, it would be going backwards- they'd have to clean out the new bone growth, push the crack together, put a pin in, then start the healing process all over.  Instead of that, they gave me a bone-growth stimulator.  I had to wear this medical device 3 hours a day, every day.  I did it while sleeping, most of the time.  After a week, I thought, "You know, I sleep longer than 3 hours.  I may as well turn that thing on for another 3 hours."  I always wake up in the middle of the night anyway!  So for 3 weeks between Month 3 and Month 4, I was wearing it for almost an average of 6 hours a day.  I could feel that my foot was healing, the swelling was going down and it ached less.  That was a really great feeling!
This is my bone growth stimulator.  I would turn it on, and it would send electrical impulses at my broken bone for 3 hours.



Time came for the Month 4 x-ray.  My bone was almost completely healed!  Since I was moving, the doctor just gave me "the plan", which was to stay on crutches for a little longer, until mid June, starting to put more weight on my foot, with a boot.  Then wear my boot until August 1st.  I took the crutches on vacation, but didn't use them much.  I mostly just wore the boot.

Sometimes you just have to customize! Foam, polka dotted duct tape and a strap to hold a bag blinged up my crutches.
I flew into the Honolulu airport on July 24th.  I couldn't wait to take off my boot, so I actually wore it for the last time on Thursday, July 30, getting rid of it one day early!  I'm sure my doctor would have been okay with that!

Walking with a boot was quite easy.  WAY easier than the knee scooter or crutches!  No pain, just the weight of the boot.  Nice and supportive and very protective.  Walking without the boot was a different story.  My ligaments had barely moved in 6 months and were tight.  I had to move slow, and not go very far.  Each week I'd try to walk farther, and eventually my foot stopped aching so much.  I massaged my foot often, and took a lot of Ibuprofen.

It's been 6 months since I got rid of the boot. Now my foot is pretty much healed, probably 95%.  I can walk 5 miles a day!  Back in August I had a hard time walking 2 blocks to church!  My foot still swells, and I wonder if I will ever be able to wear my favorite shoes again!  Just to see if it was real or my imagination, I measured my feet a few days ago.  Around the middle, my right foot is one centimeter larger than my left.  I'm betting that sometimes it's more than that, depending on time of day and what I've been doing.  It was not my imagination!

In 2 weeks, on February 19th, it will be my one year anniversary of breaking my foot.  Even though it is not 100% back to normal, I am extremely grateful for the healing that has happened.  If this is as far as I go, well, I can certainly live with it!  I cannot complain, not when I can walk 5 miles!  I may have to buy more shoes, though.
My favorite sandals.  They are too tight across the front of the foot, and I still can't wear them.


What hasn't healed yet as much is the finger I broke while we were on vacation.  We were at a beach, and I wanted to go snorkeling.  John helped me in and out of the water.  After we got out, I let go of his hand, slipped and fell.  I hyper-extended the fingers on my right hand, and broke a piece of bone on my middle finger joint.  I still can't close it all the way or straighten it all the way and have to do stretching exercises every day.  I feel like the injury has spurred on some arthritis, as now all 10 fingers are stiff every morning.

So, the lessons are these:
1) Don't go down the stairs in the dark!!!
2) Don't let go of your support when you are in a vulnerable situation!
3) Celebrate the milestones, and do as much as you can to make your situation easier.  Figure out what you can do by yourself (without hurting yourself!), as it will lift your spirits do not have to rely so much on others.  The first day I could take a shower all by myself was a spectacular day!
4) Don't complain about your problems, because there are many who would trade you yours for theirs.


Our bodies are a blessing, and they are meant to be temporary.  As my brother, a computer programmer, put it once, "Body, version 1."   Be glad that you have one, and take care of it the best you can, and put it to good use!


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

BIG changes! Hawaii!

I was actually surprised to see that I had posted last February.  I didn't realize it had been so recent. :-) So many things to talk about. Most of those things will wait for a later post.

LOTS of things have happened since last February!  We have a new grandson; that was a BIG deal!! I love him so much!  It's amazing how much love you can have for grand children.  The HUGE think that happened this year was Hubby was assigned a new position and we moved... to Laie, Hawaii! Never in our wildest dreams did we ever think that we would live in Hawaii.

Main entrance to BYU-H.
Family Photo Wall
Many would think that this was a dream come true, but it isn't easy. It is true that I love living here, (I'll talk about the challenges later), but I miss Provo, too.  I miss my family- in-laws, kids, and especially grand kids-, friends and neighbors. After living in the same house for 25 years, the roots are deep.  One of the first things I did here was to hang family photos. Didn't feel right until the pictures were up.  I also started using Facebook a LOT!  I didn't feel so far away when I could see what my friends and family were doing.  Some people moving here have a hard time adjusting, mainly because they are so far from family.

There are many challenges here that I've had to learn how to deal with:

1) Humidity. When you drop a piece of ice, it melts, then stays a small puddle of water.  Unless it is in the sun, it seems to stay forever.  90 degree weather feels about the same as 100+ degrees in Utah.  Thankfully, we usually only get to 90 during "summer": July, August, September, and maybe into October if it's a hot year.

Humidity is also a good thing.  My skin and hair are so soft, even though curls don't stay more than 5 minutes after you step outside!

2) Mildew.  Related to humidity, obviously, but you have to always be on the look-out.  I've had to clean mildew off of 2 pairs of shoes, a skirt and a jacket that I hadn't worn for a while.  Plus a wallet I wasn't using.  Threw out my almost all green "boot" (worn after I broke my foot last February.) Gross.

3) Rust.  Also related to humidity, but also to the fact that we are close to the ocean, and the ocean breeze blows in salt air.  Plastic is way nice to have here, especially for patio furniture and fan covers.  Motors don't last long on small appliances or lawn mowers.  Someone said the average life of a lawn mower was 2-3 years!  I put my sewing machine under its cover with a silica gel bag inside the cover.  Hopefully, it will survive.  Also, metal door handles and door stops corrode like crazy. Everyone's bike that's not brand new this year looks like it is 20 years old. We wash our car every time we come back from the beach, and it still has rust spots on it. Rust just happens. You have to constantly attack it.


4) Bugs. Never, ever leave any food scraps out.  Ever.  You need to make sure you clean up after meals and not procrastinate or leave until morning.  You will be sorry.  Sometimes the ants come without even food to invite them.  Terminex is my friend.  They come every 3 months and in-between if there is a problem.

The things that I've really enjoyed:

1) The sea breeze.  Our house is 2 blocks from the ocean, and we get the East Tradewinds blowing right through our windows.  I absolutely love it when the wind is blowing!

2) The green mountains.  I love mountains.  I love white, snow-capped mountains, short mountains, tall mountains.  Oahu's mountains are green, some are very steep and some are more shallow and round.  I love seeing the different mountains around the island, and love showing them off to visitors.





3) The ocean.  Okay, that may be obvious, but there are a lot of people here that just aren't ocean goers!  Hubby and I love to snorkel and scuba dive, and have done so many times since our move here.  Many of the beaches are fun to go to to look for shells, too, which we have done for some of our Saturday outings.

4) The community.  Laie is a very close-knit community.  Almost everyone is associated with either BYU-Hawaii or the Polynesian Cultural Center, and everyone knows everyone.  I don't know everyone yet, though!  The faculty and staff at the school are definitely an "ohana," or family.  Although I'm quite new here, everyone has really tried to make me feel welcome.

5) The fruits, palm trees and flowers.  I really love pineapple, mango, bananas, passion fruit!  Palm trees are just so cool and make me feel relaxed.  And the flowers are gorgeous!

6) My house. We are renting, but I really like our new house, which is technically a duplex.  I have a master bathroom, a walk-in closet, a garage, a huge laundry room and a huge dining room-living room combined area.  Small yard.  LOVE it.

7) Being with hubby more.  John's responsibilities at work and church here do not take up as much time as they did back in Provo.  Even the fact that he can walk to work in 3 minutes makes a big difference in how much time he spends at home.  Back in Provo, he would walk to work and back- almost 1 1/2 hours.  Now we take a long walk together each weekday morning.  Even though we still have yard work, it takes much less time, so I get him for more hours on Saturdays.  We probably spend 10-15 hours more together each week than we used to. That's a huge difference.

So even though I miss Provo, my home is here now.  The truth is, my home is where John is.  When he goes away on a business trip, I miss him, and start feeling a bit homesick for Provo.  But when I'm gone visiting, and he is here, I miss him and love it when I'm back!

Pretty bad picture of John and I after a Saturday outing.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

My first attempt at designing my own snowflake!

I was at a basketball game and brought along my thread and hook, but only one simple snowflake pattern, because I wanted to actually be able to watch the game!  I finished that snowflake before the 1st half was over..... Hmmmm.  Maybe I'll just start crocheting and see what I come up with....  Here are the results!


The one on the top is the first attempt, and I finished it by the end of the game.  I decided to make another version the next day, and that is on the bottom.  The secondary loops are on the 4th row instead of the 3rd, so they doesn't have the single crocheting around them.  Also, on the first attempt, I made the loops 8 chains on the 3rd row, so it was a lot more loose.  I kind of like that look. 

If I was to do it again, I'd make the picots on the secondary loops much smaller, like all 3ch picots, instead of 5ch, 7ch, 5 ch triple picots.  I like large picots, but it is a bit too much here for ALL the loops to have such large picots.

Here is my pattern (my 2nd snowflake):
Rhonda's Snowflake
Special stitches:
5 ch picot: ch 5, sl st in 5th ch from hook.
Triple picot:  ch 5, sl st in 5th ch from hook; ch 7, sl st in 7th ch from hook; ch 5, st st in 5th ch from hook; sl st in first sl st.


Ch 6 and sl st in 6th ch from hook to make a loop, or (preferred) make a magic ring.
Rd. 1:  Ch 2 (counts as dc), 11 dc in ring.   (12 dc)
Rd. 2:  (Ch 6, skip a stitch, sl st in next st) 5 times.  Ch 3, dc in beg st.   (6 loops)
Rd. 3:  Ch 1, sc in same loop, (Ch 6, sc in next loop) around, joining at at beg sc.  (6 loops)
Rd. 4:  Ch 1, sc in same loop, *in next loop (4 sc, 5 ch picot, 4sc); sc in sc.*  Repeat around, sl st in beg. sc.
Rd. 5: [Ch 5, triple picot, ch 5, sl st in same st. Ch 12, triple picot, ch 6, sl st in 6th ch from hook, ch 6, sl st in next sc.]  Repeat around, sl st in beg. st.
Finish, weaving in ends, and stiffen.


Monday, February 16, 2015

More snowflakes!

The materials for making snowflakes are quite portable, and they are so fun to make, that I've made some more!  Four of them are the same (some of the ones I will be giving away), one is another repeat, but the others are new patterns.  So fun!

First, the four of a kind, with the chart found at http://stylowi.pl/15848121:


Next, I have 4 snowflakes from a Martha Stewart site :


The Martha Stewart site is sort of confusing, as it shows a picture of all the snowflakes, then has steps 1-5.  Step 1 is the overall directions of making, stiffening and pinning the snowflakes.  Steps 2-5 are instructions for the individual snowflakes, all mooched together in one paragraph.  I copied pasted onto a Word document and put spaces between the rows.  The "feather" flake was easy, but a pain to pin.  All of them were fairly easy patterns.

Then one I have to find the pattern for... Book, "Our Best Christmas Thread Crochet", #31...


Then the last one is from a site with seven snowflake patterns.   Mine is #7.  Super easy pattern, with a lot of loops, and you just pin it to get the angles.  I think it's pretty cute.  My changes to the pattern:  Instead of starting with a chain of 8 and then 18 dc (2sc counting as a dc), I did a 6 chain ring and did 12 dc in the chain. Then just do the next row "in the next stitch." Couldn't figure out what she meant by skip the next space...


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Snowflakes!

My, oh my!  Back in November, I was helping a friend who wanted to learn how to crochet an easy snowflake, and I decided I wanted some more snowflakes myself!  They are so pretty, and take very little time to do, at least compared with a 'normal' project. (Like my sweater I've been working on for over a year that only needs 1 1/2 sleeves and then it will be done. That's next on my to-do list.)

After I made just a few, I first decided I wanted 100 snowflakes, so I could display them on my front two windows, but realized that 100 would probably make it so I couldn't see out very well. :-)   Fifty seemed more reasonable! 

I started out with a few free patterns online, then made about 10 from the Christmas crochet book I have, then got the rest of the patterns online.  I will try to find the links to as many as I can!

First of all, here are all 50 snowflakes!
50 snowflakes, made between November 2014 and February 2015.

Whew!  It was fun, but am glad I'm done.  I am VERY sure I will be adding to this, but my to-do list is waiting....

Now for the individual snowflakes....  in groups!
(If you read this and the links aren't here, I am "in the process".  Couldn't do it all in one sitting.  Would have been a lot easier if I had done it one at a time, and not had to try to find the link later... I've loaned out my print-outs.  Plus, in my groupings, I duplicated two, and can't find all the patterns...)


1.  Sewemup Mesa Snowflake, large
2.  Book, "Our Best Christmas Thread Crochet", #34.
3.
4.  San Luis Peak snowflake


5.  Vintage Blazing Star Motif; Really interesting construction.
6.  Fiocco di neve
7.  Conundrum Peak Snowflake
8.  Spindrift 1


 9.   2010 Snowflake,  I had to rewrite a good portion of the pattern.
10. 
11.  Blue River Snowflake
12.  Dainty Snowflake


13.  A Snowflake for Marikamum      
14.  Sam's Garden Snowflake, by Orb Weaver  Unique design. A few things were tricky to understand. On rd 3, "dc in top of half of next dc" it means the LAST dc on previous ch 6. On rd 4, "Working around" means skip that part of the snowflake and move to the next part. When she did "ch 1, sl st in top of last dc" I did a ch2 picot instead. Would have been easier with clearer directions.
15.  Book, "Our Best Christmas Thread Crochet", #33.
16.  Book, "Our Best Christmas Thread Crochet", #36.


17.  Snowflake Chart;  One of my favorites- best chart I used, made it quick and easy.
18.  Charmed Snowflake (without the bead)

19.  Yarnspirations Snowflake C (Photo is C, Pattern is B)
20.  Book, "Our Best Christmas Thread Crochet", #30.
21.  Yarnspirations Snowflake A (Photo is B, pattern is C)


22.  Snowflake 1
23.  Yarnspirations Snowflake A    
24.
25.  Stand Out Snowflake
26.  Chain Loop Snowflake
27.  Rosa Snowflake   I only did 3 clusters on each outside spoke

29.  Lion's Brand Snowflake   Make sure you note the corrections.
32.  Pretty Picot Snowflake    Made a few corrections/changes to pattern. Round 2: Should read 6 ch-4 loops, 6 picot loops (not 12 ch-4 loops) Round 5: Instead of "ch3, p, ch3", I did "ch4, p, ch4." At end, instead of "sl st around beg. ch 2", I did "sl st around 1st ch in beg ch3."
33.

36.
39.   Bicycle Spokes Snowflake   Made a few corrections/changes to pattern.  rd 4: Ch 2 (counts as first hdc), *into same ch 3 space, work dc, ch 3, 2 dc into 3rd ch from hook, ch 5, sc into 5th ch from hook, ch 5, sl st into sc, ch 5, sl st into sc, ch 3, 2 dc into 3rd ch from hook, (dc, hdc) into space, sc into dc below, ch 8, skip hdc, sc into next dc; hdc into next ch 3 space, repeat from * around 5 times for a total of 6 spokes and 6 points, finishing with sl st into sc before starting ch 2 instead of hdc on final repeat; bind off. Weave in ends.
43.


44.
45.
46.  Oops! This duplicates #17.
47.  Snowflake garland; One of my favorites, and whips up quick!
48.  Book, "Our Best Christmas Thread Crochet", #31.
50.  Oops! This duplicates #20.

The real number 46 (on left):
46.  White Snowflake Christmas Ornament 2
The real number 50 (on right): 
50.  Oro Snowflake   I did 4 ch loops instead of 3 ch loops on 2nd row.

Ones I know I made but missed the picture somehow:
  







Truck Quilt

I have meant to post this since Christmas, but it was very busy, then I forgot! 

I made this quilt for my grandson, who loves trucks! 
We (my mom and I) have made our quilt 'sandwich'.

On the frame and Mom trimming off the excess.

Details of the before and after trimming.

On the frame and ready to start quilting!

Wahoo! We've done our first roll!

Mom is REALLY good at this.

See how nice her quilting is?

All done except the parts that are going to be machine quilted.


Sewing on the binding.

Proof that I actually did do some of the work. :-)

Christmas Day! "Did you get a blanket?" "No! It's trucks!"

Already playing under his new quilt.

Elise says he won't sleep with any other blanket.  I love that he loves it!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Dried Leaf Stationary

My friend, Beverly, makes this very cute craft that her mom taught her when she was a kid.  She wanted me to post it.  Absolutely!  Adorable!

Dried Leaf Stationary





Supplies:  envelope, paper for template and inside of card, dried leaves (flowers, construction paper cutouts, whatever you want to use), white water-base glue, soft paint brush, bowl, wax paper, cheap facial tissue,  paper-cutter or scissors, and rubber cement glue.





1.  Decide what size envelope you are going to use.  (Can't seem to get rid of this HUGE space!  Sorry!)


   2.  Cut a paper twice the size you want your finished stationary/card so that you can fold it, and use it as your template.  Draw a dark line down the crease where your stationary will fold.  (if your card is too big, it won’t fit easily in the envelope, and too small will look funny.)


  3.  Choose your pressed/dried leaves that you wish to use.  (you can buy them at a craft store or make your own ahead of time by doing the following:

Pick unique leaves, place a single layer of them in newspaper, place a book or heavy object on top to press it.  Repeat until all the leaves are pressed.  Wait 6 weeks until the leaves are thoroughly dry. )

  4.  Using your white glue (I use Elmers, but any brand should work) and soft-bristled paint brush (I get mine out of the kids water-color kit), mix together some glue with some water in a bowl.  I use about 2/3 glue and 1/3 water.  (It needs to be runny enough to spread, but glue-y enough to hold everything together when it dries).


  5.  Lay your template on your work surface.  It is a good idea to label which side is the outside front and outside back of your stationary for easier leaf placement later.



  6.  Cut a piece of wax paper and place it over your template.  If it tends to roll up, place something on the edges to hold it down.



  7.  Place your desired leaves on the wax paper in the desired location.  I prefer just to have mine on the front, but you can also have them on the back.


 8.  Take a piece of tissue paper, and pull the 2-ply piece into two separate 1-ply pieces.

 9.  Use one 1-ply tissue and place it on the leaves and wax paper (the template is still underneath the wax paper). 


  10.  Using the soft brush, VERY gently spread glue-mixture on the tissue.  It is best to “dab” (up and down) the glue-mixture on rather than “brushing” (sideways) it on.  I start on the leaves so it holds them in place better.  You want the tissue to be thoroughly wet so it adheres to the leaves and wax paper.  Do not use so much that it puddles up. 


  11.  Continue spreading the glue-mixture.  This process takes time and patience, it usually takes me about 5-7 minutes, so if this is your first time, make sure you allow plenty of time for this.  If you happen to tear the tissue, gently and carefully push the torn edges back together.

  12.  Continue with the glue-mixture until you have covered the entire area of the template.  Remove the template and set the project aside to dry.


13.  It takes about 4 hours to thoroughly dry.  The glue is slightly flexible, but if you bend it too much, it will crack or start separating apart.  It is best not to stress it too much.

14.  When it is dry, it can be ironed between clean paper to make it flatter, or just leave “as is” as I usually do.  Then, cut it to your desired size.  You can use your template as a guide.

  15.  Fold it in half so that your design is on the front.

  16.  Cut and fold a plain white paper so that it is just a tiny bit smaller than the stationary.

  17.  Write a note/letter, then using rubber cement, glue in the paper (if you glue it in first, writing on it will be bumpy).  It looks best to glue the back, then just a little on each front corner to hold it in place.
    

18.  All finished!