Wednesday, January 29, 2014

My Pet Cat...

Well, not a real cat of course... no pet policy at my rental house.  This is the
back door or the house entrance at the lower level by the garage.   This is also the
door that I enter each day.   So, it's nice to have some flowers and a cat greet me.

Monday, January 27, 2014

The rains ended and the welcoming sunset was worth 4 days of solid rain...

For Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Holiday weekend... it rained for 4 days straight.  It rained on Friday before the holiday, all weekend, and during the holiday.   On Tuesday, when we went back to work it was still raining.  On Wednesday, the sun came out and it finally stopped raining. 
This was what I saw as I drove home on Wednesday.   Except the sun was so vivid right overhead-- and of course, that was almost gone by the time that I got to my house.  I did enjoy watching it change almost instantly as I drove home though.   This is looking out my backyard towards the mountains.   By the way, while we were getting rain-- the mountains were getting snow.   When it finally cleared up-- you could see the heavy snow.  
My camera is still broken and the photo is fuzzy... but, I thought it was still beautiful.  It's not often that the winter sunsets are vivid as this one was.   Our temperatures have been unusually warm- as in:  41 *F at 5:40AM this morning!   We've had sunny days.   I hope that the weather warms up for those in the states soon!      

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Oh no, OH NO!!!

I came home to work to this screen a couple of days ago.   I had never had this happen to any of my previous computers and I did have a virus protector... but, I just knew that this didn't look good!
I called my landlord's son (call didn't work) because he speaks English and his job just happens to be: IT for a company here in Italy.   So, then I called his dad (my landlord) so that he could see if Luca could help me out.   My landlord speaks pretty good English-- but, on the phone it is very difficult.   He did understand that I needed help with my computer.   Luca was finally able to come by last night (Friday) and it took him almost 3 hours to fix everything-- (including adding a new virus protecting program that he uses- my computer was running very slow so the download took quite a bit of time.)

Everything seems OK now... however, I can't find all of my photos-- I click on the 'photo' file... which should immediately give me the options to select by year and by month within each year that the photos were taken/downloaded... but, they are all blank.   :(

Luca also told me that in the past 2-3 days he has either helped fix this problem or he knew about 60 different computers having this happen to them here.   I am glad that I have never had this happen to one of my computers ever before. 

I'm so happy that he was able to fix things-- because, I already have the broken 'digital camera' that has the battery that falls out when you pick it up and it only takes fuzzy photos.  This photo was taken w/ my Kindle Fire and then emailed to myself and then downloaded.   Then I have the printer... that just refused to start working... (says it can't clean the screen) of course, this happened AFTER it told me that 2 or 3 of the inks were low and I had changed them.   I think I'll try to see if the next printer that I purchase uses the same size/brand of ink refills.

Has anyone had this happen to their computer?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Door knockers and the such...

Old doorknocker on one of those 12 inch or thicker wooden doors that you find in Europe.  This was in Dresden, Germany... I think?   These doors are huge too- about 10 feet tall.  Usually double doors too.  I've always taken photos of these whenever I see interesting ones.  

I saw this on an old stone wall with nothing else around it.  

Monday, January 20, 2014

Teaching children how to knit...

A squirrel created by one of the boys in my after school knitting class.

This little boy was able to knit all 3 of these during his knitting class time-frame.   They all learned sewing stitches too.  They loved making various animals and 'monsters!'

Action shot of some of the monsters with an owl in front of some of the student artwork on display in the hallway outside the art room.
When I taught at the military base in Germany- I was a K-5th grade art teacher.  I had an after school knitting class for students.   I taught them how to knit 'using some of my old acrylic yarn' (and some additional colors that I found in the German grocery stores).  I started all of them on learning how to just do the knit stitch.   Usually, we'd end up with something that mostly looked like a square or a small rectangle.  Instead of removing all of these wonky stitches- no matter how bad they looked-- I taught them to turn them into finger puppets.

I ask them what they want to turn the knitted piece into and I help them add extra features- even if it means learning to pick up stitches to add wings/etc.   We also use felt pieces and wiggle eyes to add to the 'creations' if they want to use these items.   I had both boys and girls in my classes.  I divided the classes up- we met twice a week for a month and then it was another grade level's turn.  I did have a 'boy's only class' after so much interest was shown.  
I'll have to find more photos of some more of the creations that they made.   One little girl, had 4 siblings at home and she picked up knitting really fast and wanted to knit each one of them their own little 'finger puppet' for their Christmas gift.   Many of the parents really did support their child's budding interest and purchased them their own yarn and knitting needles after the class was over.  I let them use all of my own supplies to take the class so that 'cost' wouldn't prevent them from learning how to knit in the beginning.  

I also let anyone that was interested know about different places to purchase yarn and knitting needles in the area. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

There were 2 good things about winter in Germany....

I was looking through some of my old photos taken in January, and I thought that while my digital camera isn't working and I don't have a replacement yet.  That I'd share a few old photos.   One advantage of the long cold winters:  I could hang my Dr. Pepper, in a sack, out on the door handle of my classroom.  It would be icy cold by lunch.

This is the school parking lot.  You can see some 'footprints' and sometimes we had to walk across this snowy mess.  There was no path from the cars to the school- you had to walk across the grassy area for about 8 feet or more (now under the snow of course) over the snow to get to the road that was in front of the school.   See the arm?  That raises and lowers for the buses to leave the road/loop right in front of the school onto the actual road that leads into the parking lot and to the school.  The actual road is between the 2 different sections of  parked cars.   This area had a slight incline too and when it got icy - it was very difficult to get to your car!   Even with snow boots!   One morning, we had to form a human chain to get across the 'bus road' right in front of the school -- because there was black ice and you couldn't walk alone.   WE just shuffled our feet slowly and held each other up.  

This is the start of the 'mountain of snow' from the plowing of the snow in this immediate area.  This was so that cars could park in immediate area.   This mountain of snow got much bigger as the weeks passed.  This photo was taken in early January one year.  Eventually, you wouldn't be able to see the school.   We'd have a guessing contest for the kids to guess 'the date' the date that the snow in this mountain would finally melt.   In April.     *IF YOU look right in front of the green car -- see that area from the front of the green car to the dark grey blacktop road?  That's the area that teachers had to cross after getting out of their cars.   It was never shoveled.   We'd make several pathways with our feet- and it would get icy and we'd have to make new ones.  You had to wear snowboots just to get from the vehicles to the road because this snow would be 2 feet or more in places.
What was the 2nd good thing about the long German winters?   YOU could go grocery shopping and then go out to dinner and not have to worry about the food in your vehicle spoiling! 

Hey, I had to find the good where I could.  ha ha

Friday, January 17, 2014

Making friends 'if only for a few minutes' with a local cat 'somewhere in Italy' and somewhere near Vicenza...

Two or three years ago, I visited northern Italy about this time of the year from Germany.  I went on a base trip to escape the bitter cold snowy winter of southern Germany.  The kitty wouldn't make eye contact or stay still enough for me to take a clear photo at first.

I kept calling her... 'gatto' (cat in Italian) and soon she came closer to me.

I found her at a residence that our group had stopped at for those 'interested' to purchase furniture.  While it would be nice to buy something that someone had created with their own hands, I knew that I had plenty of furniture- so, to prevent the temptation of 'wanting' something that I did NOT need... I opted to not even look at what the man had made in his shop that was attached to his house.   I went outside and I stuck up a short friendship with this family's cat.   She was a sweetie.   I soon had her purring and coming up to me.

Someone on the trip came outside and the cat got a little 'shy.'

She was nicely marked.

She's wondering if she should go with me to the snowy land of Germany.   She ponders this decision.

Once she found out that it was RARE for the sun to shine at all during the 6 month long winter.  She makes her decision because she knows that the milder winters with sunshine as this day in February in northern Italy shows... is far better than the long cold winters of Germany.  After all... kitties love to rest/sleep in the sunshine.

She lets the stone fence know that she'd never leave her favorite resting place outside where she surveys her kingdom in the winter sunshine.

I love this photo of her.   See, my old digital camera used to take nice photos.

She shuts her eyes and bids me a farewell. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Yes, I admit it... I also take photos of manhole covers in my travels.

Usually the cobblestones are just kept in place with sand... not cement or any adhesive material.
Well, actually this one appears to be a 'drainage cover'????   I thought it looked pretty cool though.  I've taken many photos of different ones though the years.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Oh, no... a possible crisis....

I use this toothpaste...
You will notice that it is CINNAMON flavored... not the more commonly selection of 'MINT' flavored. 
I do not like mint flavored toothpaste- I never did even when it was the only option available.  I remember using a 'striped' toothpaste when I was much younger and it was less 'mint flavored' than the other toothpastes being sold.   I don't know why I don't like it-- I think it seems to 'foam up' much more than this lovely cinnamon flavored option.  All I want to do when I use the mint flavored toothpaste is to 'spit' it out of my mouth as soon as possible- which does not encourage one to brush the proper length of time.                                                                                                                                                        I went to the 'toothpaste' area in the base commissary last week to get some more since my tube is getting empty.  They didn't have any.   I wasn't concerned.   On Monday, I went to the base PX to buy some toothpaste there (commissary is closed on Mondays) and the PX didn't have any either.   Now, I'm getting a little concerned.                                                                                       I went back to the commissary today.  NONE was available.  I'm very concerned.  What if this isn't being produced anymore for some strange reason?  I did check carefully and the absolute only options are MINT FLAVORED TOOTHPASTE.   :(      I've sent an email to friends still working at the same base in Germany to see if my 'favorite toothpaste' is still being sold there.   I thought it would be best to start there-- since, we can mail letters/packages between overseas military on a 'free space available' basis.   After all, postage from the states would cost as much or more than the tube of toothpaste will cost.   I've learned my lesson... I've learned my lesson-- I will buy several tubes this summer when I am in the states.   I do not want to experience 'mint flavored foam' and look like a dog experiencing a rabies attack ever again.  They say it's the simple things in life and it is true...because I want my cinnamon flavored toothpaste!!!    (for those who love the mint flavored foam- I will not judge you.)  ;D

          I sent the email to have my friends in Germany, who are still working at the same military base as I used to work... to see if this 'much larger' commissary and/or PX has any of this most wonderful cinnamon flavored toothpaste in stock.    I'm going this route- because, we can mail packages to each other's military bases without having to pay any postage.   If I have to have a friend send it to me from America- the postage fees will cost as much or more than the tube of toothpaste will cost to purchase.  I just came home from the commissary... I checked on the toothpaste options again.  NO CINNAMON FLAVORED TOOTHPASTE.    Now, I'm wondering if they have stopped producing this in America too?  If so, I'll have to go back to the mint flavored options available.  *I did check carefully... ONLY mint flavored is available in the commissary for any brand of toothpaste 

Monday, January 13, 2014

King's Day...

The last January that I lived in Germany... in 2012... I had a knock at my door and I opened it to find these children dressed as Kings for the 3 King's Day or the last day of the Christmas holiday season which is also called Epiphany.

The children sang a song and took an offering for charity.   I gave them some money and gestured that I wanted to take their photo.  Aren't they cute?   I also had the top of my door signed in chalk showing that they had stopped by and that my house was now blessed.  I lived there for 4 different months of January and this is the first time that they came to visit my house for Epiphany. 

*Read down below for more information about why/what/etc.

I didn't have anyone stop at my house here in Italy last January or recently- since, this event was just recently celebrated.

Not much snow, huh?   Soon, that sidewalk would be just a walking tunnel in the deep snow all around it.

*Some information that I found on the web.
This day (known as Three Kings Day, Epiphany or The Feast of  Theophany, depending upon what country you live in and what religious traditions you follow) and the night before (known as Twelfth Night).  There is more about all the different customs here:

Christians celebrate is that on the 12th night after the birth of Jesus, the Three Kings were led by a star to find Him in Bethlehem.  They brought gifts of frankincense, gold and myrrh.  This night marks the end of the Christmas season, and is also traditionally the time to take down the Christmas tree and all decorations (although some traditions do leave the Christmas greenery up until Candlemas on February second).

Many families make a cake for Twelfth Night, with a bean or pea tucked inside it for a little Queen or King to find! In England, Twelfth Night is a festive time for merriment and good cheer! (Wassail is a beverage associated with this night as well).

In Germany, children dress up as the Three Kings and go from house to house to collect money for a charity.  In Scandinavian countries, there may be a procession of singers led by “Star Singers” that move from house to house.  Russian children wait for Mama Babouschka to fill their shoes with gifts, as children in Spain wait for gifts from the Three Magi.  Italian children wait for Old Befana to bring gifts as well.  The local grocery stores had lots of Befana stockings for sale last weekend to celebrate the arrival of Old Befana.

French families typically share a Kings’ Cake.

The day after Twelfth Night is Epiphany.  Epiphany is actually one of the very oldest Christian festivals.  Besides the Three Kings, also celebrated is  the Baptism of  Jesus and The  Divine Manifestation of the Holy Trinity and the Revelation of Jesus to Man. 

In some parts of Europe, someone will write above the front door in chalk C+M+B flanked by the year (so for this year it would look like this:  20+C+M+B+12).  The C,M,B can stand for the Three Kings themselves:   Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar, although many of German friends say the C,M,B stands for “Christ Bless This Home” or a variant of that.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

What's the weather like today?

Well, I do believe it looks a bit 'foggy!!'    About 3 weeks ago, we had 4 days/nights of fog that was so bad... that I was driving home on this road from physical therapy (at night) and in the opposite direction as to where I usually drive to go to/from work.  My driveway is even with the street-- just to the right of the fence that you see in the photo.  This is the view right outside my front door.   Anyway, it was SO FOGGY that I couldn't even SEE WHERE to turn into my driveway until I got right to my driveway-- and this is with a yellow flashing light at the top of the pole that 'flashes yellow' when the electronic gate is activated for entrance with the remote control!   You can usually see this 'flashing light' for a couple of blocks or so in the distance.   At least, it's not as foggy as it was during those 4 days/nights.  
America has been having horrible cold weather and Europe has been having unusually warm weather for the time of the year.   I had some friends visiting during winter break from where I used to live in Germany and did you know that there wasn't even ANY SNOW on the ground there and hadn't been?   It had only 'lightly snowed' a couple of times!  Winter snow can start in October... but, in this area... it did snow in November and the snows NEVER MELTED until April!!!   And, here it was the end of December and they hadn't had hardly ANY SNOWFALL and there was absolutely NO SNOWFALL on the ground!!  

To see the building/area that can't be seen in the photo-- scroll down to the 'sheep returning story' and you'll see what is missing in the photo- The last photo, with the bus, is of the view out the front door- the same as what is shown in the above photo. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

A little knitting goes on sometimes... even if I don't remember knitting it...

When I first saw this photo- I thought that I had downloaded it from the web somewhere 'for inspiration' for something to knit/create in the future.  However, upon closer inspection- I recognized the background as one of the couch pillows that I had made for me when I lived in Seoul, South Korea.   I then remembered that I had knitted them for a toddler that I knew at the time.   I probably started knitting the guy on the far right (in overalls) because he looks a bit 'special' for lack of a better word?   His overall bib is a bit too loose for the area and his little baseball cap has the brim flipped up.  His face is flatter and one of his eyes is a bit wonky.  He was clearly the 'test knit' and the others improved as a result.   I was able to make the legs/arms and even neck appear by simply using a big needle and the yarn stitched through all layers and pulled tight (or just wrapped around the neck area for the neck).   I think that they were about 6-9 inches tall?   I just used durable acrylic for them.   I'm sure that there are patterns for something like this out there?  I do remember starting at the feet and just increased or decreased as I saw fit.   I did some crocheting on the little girl's skirt to make it lacy and open.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Some 'Pop-Up' cards found in a shop somewhere in Europe... Germany, I think? (Maybe?)

I love to teach my elementary students how to make pop-up cards or pop-ups to illustrate stories.   Of course, we don't things as elaborate as the cards shown.

I love this Pirate Birthday card.  You can see that there were many of these cards on display along the sides.   This is even a special rack holding the cards open for display.

The camping one was great too- and you can see some musicians at the bottom right.

The wedding one was amazing.  If I had known anyone getting married- I might have been tempted to purchase this one.  

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

No time to do charity knitting-- so, I am doing 'donations' of materials instead...

For years I have knitted hats/etc. and donated these items to various charities or people gathering knitted squares to sew together for knitted afghans for various reasons.   I've knitted hats for cancer patients, warm wool hats for Afghanistan, baby hats, etc.   However, things are just too busy now- so, I found an address for a hospital in Oklahoma (my home state) that took donations of fabric and yarns (among other items) to then donate to their own volunteers to sew or knit items.   So, during the winter break-- I went through my fabrics and I found anything that would work for infants/etc.   The fabrics are all soft 100% cotton.   The dolphin fabric I had purchased (12 yards!) to make curtains for my on base classroom in Seoul, South Korea.  My classroom had a wall of windows that faced the west.   It would be hot and the sun was blinding in the afternoons.   However, our school put in some window blinds during spring break before I could sew up the curtains.   So, I have hauled this fabric around for several years now.   *Our school mascot was the dolphins.   The rest of the fabrics are either 1-3 yards in length.

I also found some 'baby appropriate colors' of yarn and put those in the box with the yarn.

Last summer, I was an 'in-patient' in a rehab hospital after my knee surgery.  I brought my knitting along-- of course.  Once I felt better I did start knitting.  As long as I was using the wheel chair I was able to manage my knitting- but, once I was using the 'walker'... it wasn't easy to carry anything around.   Later on, after each patient reached a mobility milestone-- they were given one of the aprons that carpenters put nails in - the kind that you can get for free from most hardware stores.   That was handy to tie onto the front of the walker or to carry along with you in the wheelchair.  HOWEVER, it just didn't have enough pockets- so, I had noticed a door in the hallway (going to the physical therapy department) open one day and I saw a sewing machine sitting on a table.  I asked the PT department -- if there would be anyway that I could sew more pockets onto my 'walker apron' and they did have some fabric scraps and let me use the sewing machine.  I did have to sew some of the small fabric pieces together to get pieces big enough to make my various pockets/etc.  I used the original 'carpenter nail bag' as the backside and sewed my created pocket front to the front of this carpenter's bag.   This enabled me to have a very large open pocket and this became the stashing area for my sweater that I was knitting as it got bigger and bigger.

I've been sewing since I was a child so I didn't need any assistance or supervision.  I was able to make myself a handy dandy pocket-filled new apron to tie on my walker and also to use with my wheelchair.  It also stayed tied to my hospital bed always ready.   It became my entertainment bag.  I kept my Kindle Fire in it along with my knitting, etc.

I sent the fabric in the above photo to this rehab place so that other 'future patients' could make their own bag full of pockets if they wanted to do so.

I gathered up some fabric that would be useful for other patients to sew up special bags for their walkers to help them carry things.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Oh what a TANGLED WEB WE WEAVE... when we carry 'unprotected' yarn in our bags....

Yes, yarn is trapped around my keys.   *In Italy, each door has a different key.  No car key in the photo.  Just various doors to the rental house.   Right now, they are still tangled and probably more so.   I had knitting in my bag, to knit on a volunteer/charity project, while waiting on my friends to arrive by train (to my little town)... and 'somehow' the yarn got all tangled when someone was  digging in my bag (w/ permission) to get the keys out.  
I usually have my knitting that I haul around in a protective bag 'even if it is only a cheap plastic zip lock bag'... but, since, I was only driving to one location for a short period of time... I didn't do that.   THIS IS THE RESULT. 

Yes, to use the keys... you have to have the key still attached to the yarn.  It's quite the mess.   I will try my best to untangle it tonight.  I forgot about it and now I'll just have to make do.    At this  point, I don't want to cut the yarn---  the project about half finished and I don't want to have to weave in the ends in the middle of an acrylic project.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Winter sunsets... fleeting and beautiful...

Usually, winter sunsets tend to be much paler compared to the summer sunsets... however, here is a recent 'vivid' winter sunset.  This is on the backside of my house- and the view that my balcony looks out onto.  I drove home recently with this in my view as I drove along the road towards my house-- ALL the time hoping that I could get home before this beautiful sunset ended.  *Please do excuse the 'fuzzy photos'... my poor digital camera just can't take photos anymore.   Bless its heart.

You can barely see some fog starting up towards the ground.   Also, do you see the lights in the far bottom left?  That's actually the local Austrada (Interstate).  

This is the empty pasture and trees in the far distance that borders the fence (that you can see in the front) of my back yard.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Baa... Baaa... *The Italian Chisum Trail returns...

The first sheep blog post is here.

Yesterday, I was at home... cleaning house, cooking/etc. or in other words getting ready for the return of my Christmas break guests... who were returning from traveling in various parts of Italy for the past few days.
Suddenly, I heard... 'baaa, baaa... baa' and I rushed to the window and sure enough the SHEEP were returning (going the opposite direction now) and I found my big 35 mm camera (since, the digital is of course broken- along w/ having a battery that falls out constantly!)
It was raining and they looked a soggy wet mess.

This area that they are walking along-- is a huge open field next to my rental house.  I can't believe that they didn't try to make a run for it-- only a couple decided to sample some green grass along the way.  Hey, you get hungry walking all that distance to their 'winter home'....

The donkey is looking at them... Like 'Now, you're gonna get it Beaver!  I'm telling mom!"

The donkey... has washed his hands of the situation and has continued onward.

The crowd mentality soon takes over... the  thinking of if:  "THEY CAN EAT THE GRASS ... SO, CAN I!"

The babies had grown so much since I saw them a few months ago.  That's the shepherd with the black umbrella.   The first time the came through here 'going in the opposite direction' to their summer grass area... he had to pick up several of the babies and put them in the back of that pick-up truck. 
If you want to see the blog post where I first saw the sheep-- check out the blog post about:  Chisum Trail.
This photo is right in front of my front gate (that's the drive way gate) and the city bus got caught in amongst the sheep herd.  However, I was not happy with him when he tried to continue driving along the road!   He only had to wait a couple of minutes before they cleared the area.   He did drive through them about a block and finally stopped.   *Click on photos for a larger view.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Some art to brighten up your dreary winter January days...

I have 2 different teaching degrees.  I am sometimes an art teacher and I sometimes teach elementary classroom.  

When I was in Germany, I was the art teacher for grades K-5th.   Here are some examples of artwork that was entered in a contest.   Several pieces of artwork were chosen to be printed in a publication of student art work.   One of my favorite ones is the owl.   I just love the expression on the face... and it was made by a kindergarten student!   The white things?  Eggs.  The owl is guarding the eggs.We studied owls in art class- their body shapes, looked at different types in photographs and I even found recordings of various owls.   They especially loved hearing the owls!   The portrait on the top far left?  That's from the face drawing lesson that I did every year with my fourth graders.  I select 4th grade-- because, without any further instruction or strong natural talent-- most adults stay at the fourth grade level of people drawing ability.   So, I teach them facial placements, shading, and how to draw 'realistic' human faces.  It's probably one of the most profound differences that you'll see in children's art work- because, I always have them draw a 'face without any instruction' before I start the lessons.   So, not only do they do such an amazing realistic face-- but... I also teach them how to use and shade with pastels!  

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Some of my Christmas Market Purchases and a little knitting...

I saw these 2 little sheep in the window of a store in Bolzano.  They were the last 2 that were left.  They are made out of the natural sheep's roving and are hand-made.  I added them to my rustic hand carved Nativity scene that I had purchased in Poland one time.   They do look a bit like 'giant sheep' but with sweet little faces like that-- I don't think that 'Joseph' would have been alarmed by sheep the size of horses, do you?   I'll have to see if I can find some roving, some day, and make some more appropriately sized sheep.

I got this at the Innsbruck Christmas Market.  It was hand-made out of TIRES!!  I couldn't resist it!   I will store yarn or anything heavy that I need to carry when having handles would be more useful than just trying to haul a heavy cardboard box around.   It's pretty big too.

I did a tiny bit of knitting during break.  I just 'winged' it and knitted a little sheep out of some multi-colored fuzzy yarn that I found on sale here in Italy.  It was difficult yarn to knit with and I'm glad that I didn't pay much at all for it.  There is enough to knit another sheep-- I'll have to wait awhile while the memory of how difficult the yarn was to work with fades a bit.   I put a bell on a gold cord around his neck.  *Can you see how much more 'fuzzy' this photo is than the tire bucket is?   The tire photo was taken before the most 'recent' camera drop to the pavement.   I'm afraid that was the one that was ONE DROP TOO MANY.   My camera seems to have suffered too many 'concussions' and isn't able to do the job anymore.

Here's a little star that I knitted out of some sparkly red, green and white left-over yarn that I had.  The hardest part was trying to weave in a bent piece of wire through the i-cord tube.  Why was I using a bent piece of wire you ask?  Well, it was all I had... no stores open... to find more.   I needed the wire to be thin enough that I could pinch it at the points so that I could make it 'look like a star' as much as possible.... and strong enough to keep the bent shape.   I used some left-over wire from an old crafts show from many years ago-- 'SEE, there is a REASON for not throwing EVERYTHING that you no longer have a need for (at the moment - that is)... it could come in handy some day.   I think you learn to do this just from being a teacher... much less a 'crafty type of person' who just happens to live overseas with limited 'crafts' materials-- depending on where you are living.   You just keep things-- because it is likely to be needed in the future.

A candy cane knitted ornament that I made.  This was the first one that I did.  I tried using some jewelry making wire-- it wasn't really sturdy enough-- and it was so time consuming trying to force/weave/push it through the one color -- that I decided that it held the shape 'good enough' and I only put the wire in ONE COLOR of the candy cane!   

What else have I been doing?  I've spent quite a bit of time... 'downstairs' in the 'extra room'... the room that you need a guide to go with you to make sure you make it back out safely.   It is where all the boxes got shoved after I moved in and had 2 weeks to get my house ready for company.  That was after teaching all day... in the winter (ceiling lights aren't very bright and I have really tall ceilings too) ... I had to get 3 bedrooms ready, boxes out of the way, etc.   So, after a certain point-- everything that didn't have a home or I didn't have time to deal with... got shoved/hauled to this extra room downstairs.   I had wanted to work on it this summer and I had planned to do so- until the knee surgery/injury problem prevented me from doing it.   Now, the problem is... I want to find things to get rid of... but, since I haven't seen this stuff in a long time now-- it is more difficult to get rid of something that you haven't seen in awhile... and that you still like.  I'm working on it- I'm trying.   I have sorted through things and I do have some things set aside that I can do without-- but I need to get rid of a lot more things.    ANYONE ELSE 'sorting' or getting rid of things?