My Blanken World

My world of boys, textiles and moving.

Happy 235th Birthday! :D July 4, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized,What's happening — blankenmom @ 1:11 pm
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The sounds of freedom may be small and easy to dismiss, but take them away and you are left with deafening oppression!

nightlifedenver.com

As many are lamenting the booming, bangs, whistles and popping outside their windows this time of year, I relish every one of them…. ok, maybe not EVERY one of them; but with the right attitude, you get what the real meaning of this day is for Americans and America as a whole.  It’s not just another day for the neighbor’s to blow their hands off, spend way to much on something they will literally burn or teenagers to set off firecrackers at all hours, there is an actual meaning behind all of this!

Sit down and listen at the peak tonight, close your eyes and just sit.  The close up booming and whirling, the far of flickers of light and whistles.  The sparks down the street, followed by popping.  235 some years ago, you would have heard all these noises outside your door or down the road.  Just what did it feel like to hear a cannon ball wiz through your camp?  What did it smell like behind the cannon?  What did a bullet, out of an even then antiquated musket, sound like whistling past your head? 

– We’ll be joining one of our new neighbor’s for a pig roast to celebrate –

The idea of a feast in celebration is nothing new; pagans celebrated the earth and what it did for them.  Religions have celebrations to thank their gods.  Countries have days set aside to celebrate great victories.  Americans enjoy a celebration on July 4th to celebrate their freedom from tyranny, injustice and oppression.  What ever condition our country may be in at this moment in time, 325 years later, we are still a proud, strong, blessed people.  We need to remember what those men (and women) went through so many years ago to give us the opportunities we have today (and are still doing!).  And if listening to loud noises for a week or two is what brings that back to us, then bring it on!

littleclickers.com

 Now go out and light a sparkler!

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Aran sweater January 14, 2011

Filed under: Family,Hubby,Knitting,Military,Moving,Sewing — blankenmom @ 11:25 pm
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I decided about a year ago I wanted to make my dad a traditional Aran sweater in our Irish clan name.  I found a store in Ireland that had the pattern, the background, and the yarn I needed all neatly packaged just for crazy people like myself. 

Let me give you the back story to a “Clan Sweater” (btw- this isn’t “clan” like a lynching.  “Clan” in the old school term meaning tribe, your people, the folks with your name.  No white hoods, burning crosses, or rude words involved.  Just “your folk” .  And it’s also not Arian either, it’s Aran, like the island.)  They were made for the fisherman in Ireland so that when they went out, not only could they be kept warm by the nice wool that still retained the oils, called lanolin, from the sheep, making them almost water repellent.  But also, if they were washed overboard, they could identify whose body was found, by the sweater pattern.  Gruesome, I know, but it’s tradition.  *Break into Fiddler on the roof song now*

The unfortunate part of this story is that my dad has an enormous chest.  Mind you, not because he needs a Hove-a-round to get his big buns around Wallyworld, to buy more beer and Cheetos, thank goodness, but because he’s worked his entire life on a farm and has ginormous muscles, even at 65.  This isn’t speaking from a “my daddy can beat up your daddy” perspective, I had my brother measure him, and we were both a bit shocked.  The largest the pattern came in is 58″ and that wasn’t big enough, so 60+” inches, that I’ll need.  WOW!  That’s a LOT of knitting, and a lot of Aran knitting to boot.

Luckily in my test swatch I discovered that knitting with the suggested size needles, I knit just slightly bigger than they want, making it the perfect size, so no math necessary to make it larger.  Granted, it’s not his style so I can pretty much guarantee he’ll never wear it, so size isn’t an issue, but that isn’t the point.  It’s all about the history, the pride in the family name and his youngest daughter spending months making him something.  Yes, I said months.  I am starting to understand why just about every knitter I talk to says that they have an Aran sweater sitting in their closet, half done.

It’s not that it’s hard; once you get the Irish knitting down and the Irish lingo (and a few corrections to the pattern *uhg*) the pattern is pretty easy and repeats itself, lending to mindless knitting.  The problem comes from the fact that it’s not truly mindless.  I can’t watch my silent Alfred Hitchcock while knitting it, for fear that I’ll skip a yarn over, or a purl 3 together.  So it’s “Biography” or “Bewitched on HULU I guess.

So now I’m down to the last 10” on the back….. and still have the rest of the sweater to go.  I’ve been working on it about 2 weeks now and tonight was the first night that I looked at it and thought “Really?  Do I REALLY want to work on it tonight?  You know, you have a pantsuit in time out calling to you!”  Granted, it probably doesn’t help that you need to knit the yarn off of a swift instead of balling it, making your knitting positions limited to where you can attach your swift, although I cheated at the ortho the other day and just draped it over my knees instead.  (Those ortho appt.’s can take up to 3 hours on occasion, I bring water, knitting, a magazine.  If I could fit my sewing machine, I’d bring that too!)

~Which brings me to a side note.  For anyone who has never knitted in public, I’ll let you in on a little secret:  Knitting in public makes you friends with everyone!  People will stare at you, watch you, and ask you a million questions. Also, as my Knit Night girls know, get you several dates, if wanted?  I don’t know what it is, but people like to see a girl knitting?!~

So tonight, as I turn on “Biography” again, and turn out another 10 or 15 rows, with my hands tiring and sore, I’ll think of my dad receiving his sweater, or with any luck, I can deliver it to him in person, granting we get stationed where we think we will, and how happy, proud and loved he’ll feel that I did this for him.

And just think, I bought two, so I could make one for the hubby, yay –

 

Bad mom December 23, 2010

Filed under: Boys,Broken/Repaired,Church,Family,Military — blankenmom @ 8:48 pm
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I’m a bad mom, I know.  For some reason, and yet, somehow, I can live with this fact.  This stems from many facts, but the most recent being that I really don’t enjoy baking with my boys.  I never have; I know I should; I don’t.  I love decorating with them, crafts, walks, hikes, fishing, trips to the park that sort of thing.  I’ll play board games and watch their goofy movies, but baking with them just drives me batty.  Why?  I don’t know?  I’m hoping to grow out of this before I have grandkids!

I am excited for the fact that the second-borns cookies turned out so well, I think this is the first year they’ve actually looked like real cookies and tasted good.  Plus, he had a blast.  So I’m glad I didn’t bow out and sucked it up.

In my attempt to redeem myself, I played several board games after we baked while watching the boys’ favorite Christmas movies.  I think it worked?  Today we’ll be decorating the cookies and I will enjoy that part, and the boys know it.  Although, if they ask me one more time to get the frosting ready I’m going to duct tape them to the grass outside!

Tomorrow will be spent making baby Jesus’ birthday cake, angel food of course.  And watching the two new Christmas movies I’m surprising the boys with early.  I’d love to get to church, but as for now, I don’t know any schedules.  I really loathe not going to church for Christmas, but it’s better than going to some random one and finding out they throw the bible across the church, don’t let you leave, or sacrifice small animals for their festivities.  We’ll be listening to our pastor from home, either from last year or see if they have a live one.  That’s what we’ve done in the past, and I guess we’ll be doing again.

I purposely waited until tomorrow to put the fourth-borns bed back together.  “It’s a Christmas gift!”  I know, it’s mean, but he’ll like it!

I started on a hat last night, with the left over yarn from my “ornamental” stockings.  I love the yarn, so it should be a nice hat.  And while I was working on that, I was painting my zipper pull to match my outfit.  I couldn’t find a zipper to match exactly, but it’s an invisible zipper, so I only need the pull to match.  So using Soldier Boy, grey/green, I made the zipper pull match.

The hubby worked a half day, and then the rest of the day is just for sitting around.  I think we all needed that!

 

Christmas…. specials December 18, 2010

Filed under: Boys,Crocheting,Hubby,Sewing — blankenmom @ 7:00 pm
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We’ve all watched them.  I can, probably very safely say, anyone reading this has watched them since they were children.  And part of your tradition, as is ours, is to watch certain ones.  With a few being added, on occasion as your children are starting to get older (or you, but I didn’t say that).

Charlie Brown’s Christmas special I’m sure is on most people’s lists.  Whether or not you have the same beliefs in Christmas or not, you’ve probably watched it since you could crawl and so, making it your own tradition.  Now, as we’re all having our own children and some of them are getting to an age of having preferences, it’s amazing how they choose these same movies also.  Even or in spite of, the lack of technology used to produce it.

Today my boys sat and watched the entire show for the first time.  HULU is a great thing!  They really enjoyed it, much to my pleasure, although, I must admit, Charlie Brown has never been my favorite cartoon, this special has always been one of my favorites.  Maybe because it was one of the last ones that you could actually talk about Christ, or its simplicity, or that it was one of the good, old cartoons that the “kids” actually acted like kids.  Whatever the reason, it felt good to watch.

I have many favorites, most of them the old black and whites (that may or may not have been colorized).  I’m noticing the boys starting to enjoy those more too.  I love watching these movies, with them.  And I hope, someday, they will sit down and watch those same movies with their kiddo’s; whether for tradition, because they love the movie or just because it’s on. 

It’s just one of those moments that let you KNOW it’s Christmastime.

Now that the hubby has lovingly, satiated me with my favorite mashed potato’s, oh, and some chicken too, tonight, we’re going to sit down and watch a few more of our favorites, while I work on my outfit; having sent the hair bun covers off to their new, little owner and letting my “crochet” finger rest.  We’ve added a few new ones, that we’ll watch too, now that we’ve got the “oldies” out-of-the-way.