Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Self-Help for Neck Pain


Well, I was minding my own business one morning a couple of weeks ago, when all of a sudden I felt a cramp or spasm happening in my right shoulder, resulting in the feeling of having a crick in my neck!

Usually when that has happened, it’s something I’ve woken up with and I assumed that I had slept wrong.

Well, not this time.  I wasn’t doing anything when it just
…happened!

So, you know me, I began to scour the Internet for self-help measures, when to see the doctor, that sort of thing.

I knew from a recent back spasm to begin taking Advil, so I did that.  And it helped some, but not enough.

Long story short… I used my pain creams, a Q-Flex massager thing (which I like), was on the Advil, got an electric shoulder and neck wrap, and assumed it would be gone after about a week.

But after 2 weeks, and it hadn’t gone away, I went searching for more answers.

I finally found it in a simple stretching exercise:

You bend your head over to where your ear touches (or tries to touch) your shoulder.  You even push on your head to get it down further with your hand.  Then you hold it there for 30 seconds. 

I use the timer on my smart phone.  Really.  Otherwise I wouldn’t do it long enough.

Then you repeat on the other side.  (I usually pull my head back up with my hand, just to help my neck out.)

I still do it a few times a day.  (My neck tends to freeze up a little extra when I work at the computer since the incident.)  But it’s so simple to do, it's no big deal.

And there’s no expense or equipment involved, so you can do it whenever or wherever you need to!  Isn’t that nice for a change?!?

Anyway, it has really helped me and I hope it helps you and yours, if you ever need it. 

XOXO,
Lucky Dog



Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Motivation



Wouldn't it, though??

XOXO



Friday, January 22, 2016

Favorite Product: Smoothie Straws



To tell you the truth, the first time I bought these,
I did it by accident. 

But now I love them and buy them on purpose!

They have a larger diameter than regular straws,
which makes them perfect for taking pills

(Y’all remember how much I just love taking pills! 
Especially those big enough to choke a horse!  LOL)

I get them at my local HomeLand grocery store,
but I just checked.  

They are also available on Walmart.com and Amazon.

Just passing it along….   :)

XOXO,
Lucky Dog


Friday, January 15, 2016

From Skein to Frame


In my knitting world, it all starts with the yarn.


Most all of us knitters go into a yarn shop and shop with our fingers as much as with our eyes.  We love to feel all the pretty yarn and different fibers on the shelves and in all the bins before we pick that special one that calls to us that day.

While we knitters love to support our local yarn store as much as possible, occasionally what we want is not available locally.  And that was true with this skein.

And while we have all the yarn we could dream of at the click of a mouse, thanks to online shopping, we knitters have a problem.  We can’t touch it, see it in person, or know exactly what we’re really buying until the deed is done.  (I think I need online yarn shops to post yarn colors with Pantone numbers beside them!)

So when I specifically wanted to try some mulberry silk yarn, I had to order it on faith. 

I have learned the hard way to order reputable brands and do not stray.  (Once bitten, twice shy.)

I have also learned the hard way that the colors on the monitor are deceptive. 

Strangely, the colors on my smartphone are truer and more accurate than the colors on my laptop monitor.  I won’t get into the technicalities on that one, but it’s good to remember.

When I found this yarn online, a gorgeous skein of mulberry silk named “Dusk” (a sophisticated neutral grayed violet), I bought the smallest amount available, just in case it was not as beautiful as it looked on my iPhone.  But when I got the package in the mail and tore open the tissue paper revealing the yarn, I was not disappointed.  It was gorgeous.  There’s nothing quite like the radiant luster of silk, and the color was, to me, breathtaking.  Rarely do I see violet rendered so elegantly.

Now it’s time to knit.

Here, in a series of photos, you can see the steps that I take to create one of my framed lace pieces.  It starts with the yarn wrapped in a skein.  Yarn looks better that way, so it sells better that way.  That’s why they sell it shaped like that. 


But before you can knit with it, you have to roll it into a ball.  
Or, like I do, wind it into a little cake with a cool handwinding tool.


Then I pick the pattern for my swatch and cast on.  
Here is the swatch with just a few rows knitted:


After the swatch is complete, it looks like a mess!  

My knitting lace teacher told us not to freak out, 
that all lace looks like a frumpy dishrag until it’s blocked.



To block a piece of lace, you wash it and towel-dry it, and carefully pin it out on one of a number of surfaces.  I have used a carpeted floor, a sewing cutting board (the cardboard kind that fold up like an accordion), and blocking boards. 

(To tell you the truth, the sewing cutting board is the most economical and versatile solution.  Less money, lightweight, and super easy to store.)


Then you leave it pinned out overnight to dry.  The next day when you get to un-pin it, it is the most glorious thing.  This frumpy dishrag of a thing has become as delicate as butterfly wings.  At least, that’s how it always feels to me.  It is such an amazing thing.  You place in on your hand and you can barely feel its weight.

Then, since this isn’t a scarf or a shawl but a small swatch, I love to frame these in an 8X10 frame.


Knitting swatches is a nice way to try out a yarn or stitch pattern, but instead of it being a dry exercise in self-control, by framing the swatch you are also creating a piece of knitted art.  A bite-sized gift of lace.  At least I hope so.  That’s how I see it, anyway.

And trying out the yarn in a swatch reveals things to you about how it behaves.  I had never knitted pure silk before, and I had no idea how much silk relaxes and opens up.  It stretches much more than the mohair-silk combination yarn that I usually use.  I also didn’t realize that you get such great stitch definition with silk.  I should’ve anticipated that, but I didn’t.  No wonder so many lace knitters use it.

Anyway, there you have it.  From skein to frame. 
My latest passion.  ♥

XOXO,
Lucky Dog



Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Handmade Christmas Ornaments


Well, it’s kinda hard to believe that Christmas and come and gone and that it is already January.  Much less 2016!  J

I want to share with you some fun that I had last month making Christmas ornaments.


You see, I had some clear, empty glass ornament balls in the closet waiting to become something, and I’ve had an idea on the back burner for awhile, and I finally got a chance to try it out.


I got out some of my papermaking/collage “fodder” and played and played and played.  I realized before going in that I would need some elements with some body to them.  Just putting in glitter wasn’t going to work.  It would just fall to the bottom. 
I had gravity to deal with, after all.


Fortunately, I have a lot of curling ribbon, tulle, excelsior, and other fun things to stuff in these balls.  Once you have a few things stuffed inside that can hold their own, you can add some things like metallic threads or angelina or glitter that would normally sink to the bottom.  With the other elements added first, you can hope that things will kinda catch on each other and stay aloft.  (A little bit, anyway.)

I had great fun shaking these up as I made them, as if I were making snow globes. 

Oh, and the glitter can and will fall out with the shaking.  Ask me how I know!  :) 


But why limit yourself to red and green??


Oh, this is like eating potato chips!  You make one, and you think up a new color combination that you want to try!  Wouldn’t a blue and silver one be pretty?  Or one with metallic golds and silvers?  And I think a pink and silver one would be very lovely.

You can find these empty ornaments at your local craft store (I got mine at Hobby-Lobby), along with all sorts of goodies to go inside. 

I think I'll make that pink and silver one next.  J

XOXO,
Lucky Dog









Friday, January 1, 2016

Friday, December 25, 2015