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Monday, December 31, 2012

Writing Sin - Chapter 12

This book is now Published on Amazon, please buy a copy :-D
Writing Sin

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Mortal Goddess - Chapter 8

Chapter 8

My goodness Devius! You have been so unhappy since you returned from our stay with the Hamiltons. This is very unlike you. What happened seven months ago to upset you like this?” Emmaline asked her son. Devius shrugged; he didn’t want to talk about it.
Well, I hope that you’ll cheer up once you marry your fiancée. I can’t believe that the wedding is only a month away.” Emmaline chattered on, hoping to bring her son out of his gloom.
She still couldn’t believe that Devius had allowed her to arrange a marriage for him. It had been too easy for her. She had merely entertained the Duchess – who had a beautiful but spoiled daughter who had apparently set her cap for Devius. Hence the reason that the Duchess had deigned to have tea with her.
The Duchess advised Emmaline of her daughter’s desire to marry Devius and had asked for her help in arranging the match. Emmaline informed the Duchess that Devius had already given permission to her to arrange his engagement, and they immediately began planning the wedding.
Emmaline then informed Devius of his pending nuptials and he had merely nodded his acquiesce. He had even ordered his valet to buy an engagement ring and deliver it to the Duchess’ daughter, Anne. Devius had been extremely kind and patient with Anne, never treating her with anything less than courtesy and respect. He never let her realize how miserable he really was.
Emmaline, as concerned as she was for her son, was ecstatic! She was already planning how to spoil the grandchildren that she would be seeing in – if everything went according to plan – less than a year.
Mother, I have to pay a visit to a friend in the country, I should be back in a week,” Devius announced suddenly, his brooding finally getting to him.
Emmaline frowned, maybe I should pay a visit to Olivia. Olivia always gave such good advice and Emmaline had a feeling that she could use some advice right about now.

Gia, this is your fault, isn’t it?” A moody Aira asked. Aira was about two weeks away from her expected due date. She’d had a relatively easy pregnancy, but she still got nauseous whenever she ate or drank anything that wasn’t utterly bland, and none of her herbs helped much.
That’s because you aren’t taking them regularly like you should be,” Gia’s spirit said, reading Aira’s thoughts. “Also, you have done nothing but mope about the house for the last month.”
That’s because my brothers won’t let me go anywhere,” Aira retorted. She was working in her mother’s garden, but her belly was so big that it was getting in the way. She sat up in frustration.
Imagine what they would do if they knew I was carrying twins!” Aira giggled, pressing her hands into her belly. Being a midwife had certainly helped her make her pregnancy as comfortable as possible. Even though she still got nauseous at the drop of a hat. Which was what she had just accused Gia of being at fault for.
That is not my fault,” Gia reiterated.
How could he stay away so long?” Aira whined. It had occurred to her to leave her people and go to him, but she had decided against it. Her people meant more to her than almost anything!
Why haven’t you gone to him?” Gia pressed for clarification.
I don’t know where he lives.” Aira used the first excuse she could think of. “Besides, he would see my condition and immediately offer to marry me. Then how would I ever know for certain if he married me for me or because he got me pregnant?”
Gia’s spirit sighed in frustration and mild aggravation.

Officer, I’d like to offer the information that I have about the death of the midwife Gia,” Devius said to the head of the police department closest to the Hamilton property. After he had introduced himself, of course.
And what information do you have?” The officer asked brusquely. He shuffled papers around on his desk to illustrate just how busy he was and how little he'd appreciate Devius wasting his time.
I believe I know who killed her,” Devius answered, feeling unbelievably relieved to finally get this weight off his mind. His conscious would not let him rest until he came forward with his evidence.
The officer straightened up and stopped fiddling with his paperwork. Gia had helped his wife with the births of his three sons and any information about her death would be greatly appreciated. He had talked to Aira and the tenants living on the Hamilton lands, but he had come up with nothing conclusive.
I believe Thomas Smith is directly responsible for Gia’s death,” Devius said.
Thomas Smith! His family is among the most influential in the area. Do you have any proof of what you accuse?” The officer asked suspiciously, secretly believing that the man was actually capable of such treachery.
Not anything concrete, but I had visited him the morning of the murder. We had chatted about various things, during which I mentioned that I was staying with the Hamiltons and he had displayed a distaste for them. Which really has nothing to do with anything, but he boldly said that he heard that there was a witch on the property.
I carelessly replied that whomever had said that might have been talking about Gia. I’d heard how eccentric she was, but I didn’t have any evidence that she practiced witchcraft,” Devius explained.
You accused Gia of such a horrible deed without any cause, and then blame Thomas for her murder?” The officer asked angrily.
I have thought endlessly about that day, and I have concluded that Gia would most definitely be alive today if I had not said what I had, but I do believe that it was Thomas who actually killed her. For one thing, the killer had written a message on the ground, so that limits the suspects to those who can read and write. Also, every member of the Hamilton household was home at the time, so they can all vouch for each other.
Except for Aira and myself. I believe she was in the village, and I was sleeping on a rock by a pond. Aira must have been riding her horse nearby, for I heard her scream and quickly followed it to Gia’s house,” Devius embellished slightly, for he had no desire to explain his affair with Aira to the officer and ruin her reputation.
I believe I saw another rider quickly leaving the area, but I paid no attention to him as I had seen that was Aira bent on rescuing Gia and was intent on stopping her from harming herself. The house was engulfed in flames, and Aira would not have survived if I had not stopped her,” Devius continued.
I believe you, except for the fact that you didn’t come forward right away, but I need concrete proof, and you haven’t any,” the officer said.
Wasn’t there any evidence at the murder site?”
No, the only thing left after the fire were a bunch of liquor bottles, and we can’t prove that Gia didn’t already have them herself,” the officer answered.
Gia didn’t drink from what Aira has told me about her. What brand of liquor was it?” Devius asked.
Come to think of it, they were bottles from the Smith family distillery,” the officer mused as he remembered viewing the evidence, his hope beginning to rise.
So, we have some proof,” Devius stated hopefully.
Yes, but very little, and they were left at the site, so we’d need to go get them anyway. I have talked with Aira, and you have confirmed much of what she said, but without a solid witness or a confession, we have no case. I highly doubt Thomas’ll confess.”
Have you questioned Thomas?”
No. You’re the first person to accuse him, and frankly we can’t question him without more proof,” the officer informed him.
Thank you anyway,” Devius said, standing up to leave.
Mr. Mansfield, I can’t say anything official, but if anybody knows anything about what happened, I’d bet my life that it’s his sister,” the officer said as he shook Devius’ hand. Devius nodded in understanding, then left.
Once on his horse, Devius was drawn in the direction of the Hamilton estate; more specifically to Aira’s pond. He didn’t want to see her ever again, but no matter how hard he tried, he just could not make himself go anywhere else.
Unbeknownst to him, his guardian spirit was teaming up with Gia – who was tired of Aira mooning over him – and together they were physically dragging him to the pond. Well, at least as physically as two spirits can get. They knew that Aira had snuck away from her brothers – when they weren’t looking – and had made her way to the pond to relax.
Devius was finally able to stop himself when he was able to see the pond. Tears came to his eyes as he watched the woman he loved bathe. He could only see her head, neck, and the very top of her shoulders. It was as if the rest of her was jealously being guarded by the pond. Feeling his presence, she looked up.
How long have you been there?” She asked, though she had only sensed him for a moment. She prayed that it wasn’t any longer.
Just a moment,” he confirmed her senses.
What do you want?” She asked, surreptitiously looking to see if he could see her pregnant belly.
I miss you,” he blurted out honestly. “My life has not been the same without my Goddess by my side.”
Then why have you waited so long to come back?”
At first, it was because you told me to leave you alone, and I was in too much pain to face you. Then, I became engaged,” Devius replied solemnly.
Oh… Well... congratulations on your marriage,” Aira murmured, trying her best not to cry. “I hope she makes you happy. I just want to tell you that I missed you too, but I… I… I meant it when I said that I never want to see you again… Pl-pl-please, just go.”
No Aira. I’m not married yet, and I know you don’t mean what you said. I love you. I think I’ve loved you since I was born, and I will continue to love you until I die. Longer than that even.”
What about your fiancée? Does she love you? Are you willing to break her heart? I have never said that I love you, never once. What makes you think that you can break the heart of a woman that loves you to be with one who doesn’t?” Aira asked.
Aira, she can’t possibly love me; our marriage was arranged by our mothers. She can have any man she wants, and she only chose me because I would make the best decoration on her arm. She is the only daughter of a Duke and she was bred to fill his position. I have talked at length with her and she has made it clear that she does not want me to interfere with her handling of the business. She will not make me happy, nor I her, I suspect. Please, don’t push me away,” Devius pleaded.
You think you can abandon me all this time, and then expect me to welcome you back with open arms? What if I don’t want you?”
If you can honestly tell me that you never want to see me again, I will walk away. What choice do I have? I still half believe that you could turn me into a puppy, but even if you don’t want a relationship with me, please, let us remain friends. In either case, I’m going to break off my engagement. I’ve decided that you are the other half of my soul and I cannot marry anyone but you! If you won’t marry me, then I’ll settle for just your friendship,” Devius confessed, bared his soul, hoping to impress upon her his deep emotional need. Praying that she didn't want to be nothing more than friends, but unable to be parted from her any longer.
Aira sighed, her pain and anger melting. “I love you... and I’ve missed you, but I’ve changed since you left. I’ve learned that I don’t have to be kind and sweet every second of the day. I’ve become moody and I let people know exactly how moody I am at any given moment. I’ve gained weight and I talk to myself. Are you sure you still want me?” She asked.
Always,” he promised.
Slowly, Aira walked out of the pond, watching Devius’ expression as he took in the new shape of her body.
By God! You’re pregnant! Why didn’t you tell me? I would have dropped everything to be here with you!” Devius said, taking her into his arms.
I didn’t want to trap you. If you were going to come back to me, it was going to be of your own free will,” Aira responded.
I have a few things to take care of, but I will be back. You won’t be too disappointed if I leave for just a few more days, will you?” He asked, hugging her as if he never wanted to let her go.
Yes, but I’ll understand. I’ve moved back in with my family, you’ll find me there, and hurry! The baby’s due in less than two weeks.”
Does your family know that I am the father?”
No... I never did feel like talking about it,” she replied.
Do you think that you can wait for me so that we can tell them together?” He wanted to be on hand to apologize to her family for letting her bear this burden alone for so long.
Yes,” she promised mischievously.
He kissed her deeply, trying to leave but unable to let her go. She pushed him away.
I thought you had to go.”
I do. I’ll be back soon. I love you.” He kissed her again.
I love you too,” she assured him, kissing him in return.
Slowly, he backed away until he bumped into his horse. Then, he mounted and forced himself to ride away as quickly as his horse could run so that he could be back as soon as possible.
That went rather well,” Gia congratulated herself out loud.
Aira grinned. “Yes, it did!”

Go To Chapter 9 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Friday, December 21, 2012

Once again, the Gods smite my arrogance

In my life, I always strive to live with grace. Not in the sense of being graceful like a ballerina, but in the sense of being serene and accepting and very go with the flow. I love to try and help others and often give advice. In my heart, I just want everyone to live happily.

Apparently, I get over confident and arrogant far too easily. For example, I recently posted tips on how to get over a cold super fast. They are still good tips, and they do work, but apparently I got cocky. I sat online thinking that I held the secret to good health in my hands!

The thing about having a fever is that it makes me tired. So after successfully inducing a fever, I stayed in bed to sleep it off for close to two days. I could breathe just fine, but my throat was sore and I could tell that the congestion was there, it was simply not making me miserable.

Then I got out of bed and my fever almost went away. I thought for sure that I was just about back to normal. THAT'S when the Gods decided to punish me for my arrogance. They pointed their fingers at me, laughed, and told me to suffer. (Really wish they weren't so frickin' hard on me!)

My nose suddenly felt like someone had turned on the faucet and then walked away without turning it off. I was blowing my nose every. Five. Seconds! I took my garlic, which helped in the sense that it thickened things up and effectively turned off the faucet. Except that doing that gives me a headache that most people would literally kill to get rid of.

In desperation, I took some vicodin to get rid of the headache without suppressing any of my symptoms and making them take longer to heal. I discovered something that surprised me, but upon further reflection, probably shouldn't have.

Vicdin actually clears up the sinuses. This is what I didn't want to happen since it tampers with the body's natural immunity, but it does. An hour after taking the vicodin, I felt much better... for about an hour, grr!

Vicodin is basically a legal form of opium. In the past, there was a very versatile medicine called laudanum which was basically a liquid form of opium, and it was used for headaches, coughing, as a decongestant, and to help a person sleep. Basically, all the things that drug companies would much rather we have to pay them a ton of money for instead.

Anyway, it's the same reason that codeine is so effective. I wasn't thinking about that when I took the vicodin. I took advantage of the temporary lull in my symptoms to go back to sleep because by this time, I had been awake more than 12 hours and desperately needed sleep.

BUT I need to back up a bit in my story to give you the full effect.

So, just as I was crawling out of bed feeling pretty okay from my fever - before the nose started running - Gryffin lingered in bed with a thundering cough like mine. He moaned and groaned and generally sounded pathetic. He finally managed to crawl out of his room and watched some TV.

"Mama, can you get me the bucket?"

Oh man, this is never a good sign. The bucket was actually occupied, so I got him a huge metal mixing bowl instead, and sure enough, he soon filled it. Hubby made him empty and clean it himself, which normally I would have objected to - a sick person shouldn't have to clean up after themselves after all - but I was starting to feel pretty miserable, and didn't think quick enough to object. Besides, Gryffin simply did it without complaining.

Then he lay down and moaned and groaned and coughed and sneezed for a while until I gave him some fermented cod liver oil and garlic. Then he perked up and felt better for a while. Then he went to bed and slept - which is really the best way to heal.

So - of course - the moment I am hoping to go back to bed, Gryffin is awake again. I have no idea why, but this always seems to happen with Gryffin. He tries to be awake at all times I am, even when I want to go to bed but don't want to leave him alone, sigh...

Anyway, I am tentatively feeling better today, and Gryffin is nice and quiet, cuddled up in the chair watching TV. Phoenix made himself some malt-o-meal, and is also being mostly quiet. THIS is one of the reasons I wish my kids got sick more often, but I AM grateful that they aren't sick ALL the time.

Meanwhile, I've only eaten 2 apples and a handful of pork rinds since I first got sick. One of my more unpleasant symptoms is this nasty taste that makes it unappealing to eat or drink just about anything. Now that I am feeling a little better, I think I might actually be able to eat something.

Whining alert!

So of course I have absolutely NO desire to cook! I would rather starve than cook, and I don't want to eat any carbs, so I can't just grab some cereal or another apple. Therefore, I am probably going to haunt the kitchen until I either 1- muster up the motivation to cook, or more likely 2- hubby gets home and empties MY pan which he used and then left full of carby leftovers that I can't eat.

In any case, here's wishing everyone a happy day. A happy Yule. And even better, a happy Day the World DIDN'T End :-D

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

How to Beat a Cold ASAP! Naturally.

Everyone and their brother has a cold remedy. Most of the time, they sound crazy and then don't work because they are taken with an over the counter cold medicine that suppresses the symptoms and makes the whole thing take WAY longer.

This isn't a remedy. At least not in the sense that I'm about to suggest taking this crazy thing because my grandmother's brother's wife's second cousin swears by it. This is giving your body everything it needs to kick that cold to the curb :-)

First of all, the immune system is pretty complex. It has a whole army whose sole job is to defend you from viruses and bacterial infections. The very first thing you need to do to get rid of your cold quick is to feed that army!

1 - Take a dose or two of Fermented Cod Liver Oil. I actually recommend the liquid - Cinnamon Tingle flavored, chased by milk - but as you'll see, the link is to capsules so that you don't have to taste something you think is going to be icky. This stuff is HIGH is vitamins A and D - and other fat soluable vitamins - that are vital to a healthy immune system.
2 - Take a spoonful of Acerola Cherry Powder. The Acerola Cherry is nature's most potent source of vitamin C, and we all know how important Vitamin C is when it comes to healing a cold.

If you are anything like me, you get frustrated easily when your nose runs and makes your throat sore. At this point, you might be VERY tempted to take a decongestant or other over the counter drug that suppresses your symptoms. RESIST THIS URGE! It will only make your body have to work that much harder and longer to fight off the virus or bacteria! If you must do something to clear your nose, try using a Neti Pot.

Instead, arm your army. Give your body the tools it needs to fight the cold/flu/sinus infection.

3 - Buy a bulb of garlic, preferably organic. If you can have sugar and prefer to drink a warm and soothing drink, make garlic lemonade. If you can't have sugar (which works better anyway), chop a clove of garlic up as finely as you can. If it's a small clove, chop two so that you have enough to fill a spoon. Insert the spoonful of garlic in your mouth and then immediately chase it with milk - preferably organic and whole, or better yet farm fresh - swallow the garlic like it's a pill. This gives your immune system nature's antibiotic, antiviral, and antimicrobial as a weapon it can use to kill the cold. It seriously works on any invaders, and better yet, it doesn't kill all the good guys (probiotics) that are trying to help your immune system. (You can also take some BioKult to give your body even more support in fighting the invader.)

If you don't like or are allergic to garlic, use ginger. Fresh, dried, or powdered. Swallow it like a pill like the chopped garlic - use it like the Acerola Cherry powder, or drink it like a tea. Combine it with raw honey and lemon for extra weapons in your arsenal :-)

Now that your body's army is fed and armed, take your temp. Are you running a fever? If yes, good! Cover up so that you are warm and comfortable and let the fever do it's job of killing off the infection. Seriously, viruses are picky about temperature. That's why a virus will make your nose run, give you a fever, and make you sweat. The body is responding to the threat by trying to kill it in an oven too hot for it to handle (and trying to get it out of your body as quickly as possible via your nose). Pick a temp you are comfortable with - such as 102 or 103 - and so long as you are under that temp, let the fever do it's job. Do NOT mess with it!

4 - If you are not running a fever, induce one. I did this by covering up with my blanket, layering my husband's blanket on top of mine, and then putting a heating pad under (actually between since I was laying on my side) my feet. It took a while, but when I first lay down, I felt miserable. I couldn't stop coughing and it was hard to breathe. The heat slowly cleared up the stuffiness in my nose, got rid of my headache, and stopped the coughing. After I started to sweat, I let it continue until I just couldn't take it any more! Now I'm cooling down as I write this blog, but I have not taken anything to lower my temp. I started with a fever of 99.6 - so it was very low grade - and after cooling down for an hour, my temp is only 100 degrees.

REMEMBER to keep hydrated! Drink plenty of water, especially once you start to sweat. If you happen to have on hand, or have the inclination to make some broth, drink the broth to give your body yet another weapon to use to fight the cold (flu, sinus infection, whatever you've got). If you don't have broth, stick with plain water. Anything with sugar in it is just going to feed the virus or bacteria and make it stronger. Seriously AVOID all sugar as much as possible!

To be honest, the fever is really all you need to get rid of a cold (or other invader). The fever kills it. End of story. Then the white blood cells come in and clean up the dead viruses or bacteria. Giving your white cells the food and weapons I mentioned simply makes them the strongest army they can be so that if any invaders survive, they can make short work of them.

I felt better in a matter of hours, but my body still has some work to do. Even so, clear sinuses and no coughing is the best progress ever! Good luck and hopefully you'll be feeling better in no time too :-)
Lastly, while you are waiting for your fever to kill your cold, try reading up on why fevers are actually good for you. Here's a book that takes about one man's experiences running a clinic that used all natural healing - back before all natural healing was the latest trend, lol! It's called Back to Eden, and is very inspiring to read, even if it does advocate vegetarianism - which I don't.

Have a happy day :-)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Falling Snow - Basic Crochet Hat Pattern

Today I posted a pic on my Facebook showing the hat I recently made for my son Phoenix, and people seemed to really love it, so I thought that I'd post instructions for how I made it :-)

This hat was crocheted using Thin Chenille yarn in Baby Blue. Such as this, or alternatively, this for a darker blue. The thickness of the yarn doesn't really matter except that a thicker yarn is going to work up bigger and may need more yarn. I do not remember how much I had of this yarn, but I am going to guess that for the hat and the scarf both, I probably used 3-4 skeins. Always buy more than you think you'll need :-D

I also used a wonderfully soft white yarn that is so delightful to touch that I ALMOST didn't want to let Phoenix have the hat when he was done! It's called Sinsations, and I can totally understand why it's called that since it is SINFULLY soft!!! This yarn is expensive, but I only used one skein for the hat and the scarf, so it's totally worth buying :-D

I used an H-8 5.00 MM hook. If using thicker yarn and desiring a bigger hat, use a bigger hook.

To start, chain 20. This is equal to 10 for the front of the hat and 10 for the back of the hat. If you fold this chain in half and hold it next to your ear and it doesn't seem long enough to cover your ear, then add more. If it covers your ear, you'll be fine :-) (I mean the ear of the person you are making the hat for OR a person of similar size.)

Chain one more for the turning chain. Turn and then:
- Row 1 - Single crochet into each of the 20 chain stitches. Chain one to turn. (Note: a single crochet is made by sticking your hook into the chain, yarning over the hook, pulling through a loop, and then yarning over your hook and pulling through both loops on the hook. In British terms, this is actually called a double crochet.)
- Row 2 - Working in the back loops only (if you look at the stitch from the previous row, there are two pieces of yarn that you normally work under both. To work in the back loop only, stick your hook between the two pieces of yarn - into the center of the stitch looking down from the top - and then out the back of the stitch. Work as a normal Single Crochet.), complete 9 Single Crochet stitches (usually abbreviated as SC). Then, in the 10th and 11 stitches, make two Single Crochet stitches each. Once done with this part, you will now have 13 Single Crochet stitches. There should be 9 left to work. Finish working those 9 stitches for a total of 22 Single Crochet stitches.Chain 1 to turn.
- Row 3 - Working in the back loops only (Hint, the ENTIRE project is worked in the back loops, so if you haven't figured out what I am talking about, please ask me!), complete 22 single crochet stitches. Chain 1 to turn.
- Row 4 - Working in the back loops only, work 9 Single Crochet stitches. In the 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th stitches, work 2 Single Crochet stitches each. You'll now have a total of 17 stitches worked and 9 un-worked. Finish working those 9 ending with a total of 26 stitches. Chain 1 to turn.
- Row 5 - Working in the back loops only, complete 26 Single Crochet stitches. Chain 1 to turn.
- Row 6 - Working in the back loops only, work 11 Single Crochet stitches. In the 12th, 13th, 14th, and 15th stitches, work 2 Single Crochet stitches each for a total of 19 stitches worked and 11 un-worked. Finish working the 11 leftover stitches for a total of 30 Single crochet stitches. Chain 1 to turn.
- Row 7 - Working in the back loops only, complete 30 Single Crochet stitches. Chain 1 to turn.
- Row 8 - Working in the back loops only work 13 Single Crochet stitches. In the 14th, 15th, 16th, and 17th stitches, work 2 Single Crochet stitches each for a total of 21 Single Crochet stitches worked and 13 unworked. Complete those 13 stitches for a total of 34 stitches. Chain 1 to turn.
- Row 9 - Working in the back loops only, complete 34 Single Crochet stitches. At this point, your hat looks kind of rainbow shaped, lol! Chain 1 to turn.
- Row 10 - Working in the back loops only, work 15 Single Crochet stitches. In the 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th stitches, work 2 Single Crochets each for a total of 23 Single Crochet and 15 unworked; work them for a total of 38 Single crochet Stitches. Chain 1 to turn.
- Row 11 - Working in the back loops only, complete 38 Single Crochet stitches. Chain 1 to turn.
- Row 12 - This is the last increase row! Working in the back loops only, work 18 Single Crochet stitches. In the 19th and 20th stitches, work 2 Single Crochet each for a total of 22 stitches worked and 18 unworked. Finish working the rest of the stitches for a total of 40 Single crochet stitches. Chain 1 to turn.
- Row 13 - Working in the back loops only, complete 40 Single Crochet stitches. Chain 1 to turn.
- Rows 14-30 - Working in the back loops only, complete 40 Single Crochet Stitches. Chain 1 to turn.

At this point, your hat will look somewhat like a hat, lol! Holding you beginning chain together over one ear, check to see if the hat is ALMOST wide enough to fit your head - or better yet, the head of the person you are making this hat for. (There is still about 12 more rows to add, so don't forget that when guestimating width.) Don't worry if it seems a bit short and no longer actually covers your ears at this point. If the hat is NOT wide enough, add 4 more rows of single crochet worked in the back loops only. When the hat IS wide enough, it's time to decrease!

- Row 31 (or 35 if extra rows were needed.) - Working in the back loops only, complete 18 Single Crochet stitches. In the 19th and 20th stitches, work a decrease by inserting hook into the 19th stitch, yarn over and pull through a loop. DO NOT complete a Single Crochet! Now stick the hook into the 20th stitch, yarn over and pull through a loop. Yarn over and pull through all three loops on hook. Et Voila! you have now made 2 stitches into 1. This can also be accomplished by simply skipping the 20th stitch, but it leave a hole in the hat. NOW decrease the 21 and 22 stitches. Once done, you will have 20 stitches worked and 18 unworked. Finish working those 18 stitches for a total of 38 stitches. Chain 1 to turn.
- Row 32 - Working in the back loops only, complete 38 Single Crochet stitches. Chain 1 to turn.
- Row 33 - Working in the back loops only, work 15 Single Crochet stitches. In the 16th and 17th stitches, decrease. In the 18th and 19th stitches, decrease. In the 20th and 21st stitches, decrease. Once more, in the 22nd and 23rd stitches, decrease. You will now have a total of 19 stitches worked and 15 left to work. Work those for a total of 34 stitches worked. Chain 1 to turn.
- Row 34 - Working in the back loops only, complete 34 Single Crochet stitches. Chain 1 to turn.
- Row 35 - Working in the back loops only, work 13 Single Crochet stitches. In the 14th and 15th, 16th and 17th, 18th and 19th, and 20th and 21 stitches, decrease. Remember, a decrease is combining 2 stitches into 1. This will be 17 stitches worked and 13 unworked. Work the 13 for a total of 30 stitches. Chain 1 to turn.
- Row 36 - Working in the back loops only, complete 30 Single Crochet stitches. Chain 1 to turn.
- Row 37 - Working in the back loops only, work 11 Single Crochet. In the 12th and 13th, 14th and 15th, 16th and 17th, 18th and 19th stitches, decrease. You now have 15 stitches worked and 11 unworked. Complete the rest of the Single Crochet stitches for a total of 26 stitches. Chain 1 to turn.
- Row 38 - Working in the back loops only, complete 26 Single Crochet stitches. Chain 1 to turn.
- Row 39 - Working in the back loops only, work 9 Single Crochet stitches. Decrease in the 10th and 11th, 12th and 13th, 14th and 15th, 16th and 17th stitches. This will give you 13 stitches completed and 9 unworked. Complete those 9 for a total of 22 stitches. Chain 1 to turn.
- Row 40 - Working in the back loops only, complete 22 Single Crochet stitches. Chain 1 to turn.
- Row 41 - LAST decreasing row! Working in the back loops only, work 9 Single Crochet stitches. Decrease in the 10th and 11th, 12th and 13th, stitches for a total of 11 stitches worked and 9 unworked. Finish the 9 stitches for a total of 20 stitches. Chain 1 to turn.
- Row 42 - Working in the back loops only, complete 20 Single Crochet stitches.

CHECK FOR FIT! at this point, the hat should be wide enough to fit the head, but not necessarily long enough. If it IS long enough to cover both ears, then you won't need as many white rows, but even so, more is better than not enough, lol! Working in the back loops only has created a ribbed stitch effect, and makes this hat stretchy. Even so, it is a good hat to make oversized :-)

Decide which side is the inside and which is the outside. Fold the hat so that the INSIDE of the hat is on the OUTSIDE. Sew or crochet the sides together, fasten off the yarn and cut it and then weave in the loose ends.

ALMOST done! Whew!

Turn the hat so that the OUTSIDE is on the outside, lol. At one of the side seams, attach the fluffly Sinsations yarn with a slip stitch. (A slip stitch is when you stick the hook into the stitch you are working, yarn over and pull a loop through, but rather than yarn over again to create a Single Crochet stitch, continue pulling the loop through the loop on your hook.)

- Round 1 - Working along the bottom edge of the hat, Single Crochet until you come back to the beginning. Slip stitch into the beginning Single Crochet. Chain 1 to turn.
- Round 2 - Working in the back loops only, work a Single Crochet stitch into all stitches until you get back to the beginning. Join to the first stitch with a slip stitch. Chain 1 to turn.
- Rounds 3-8 - Repeat round 2. When finished, fasten off and cut the yarn, then weave in the loose end. This is where you can change the length. If you don't need the hat to be as long, you can omit rounds. If you need the hat to be longer, add some rounds. Keep in mind that you should only have enough of the Sinsations yarn left to complete about 1 more round. If you think you are going to want a lot more rounds, you are going to need to buy more yarn.

YEA!!! You are done! Congratulations on your cute new hat :-)

A friend of mine wanted me to teach her to read Crochet Patterns, that is why I took the time to write ALL of the instructions out. A Crochet Pattern uses abbreviations so that it would look like this:

- Row 37 - Working in BLO, work 11 SC. DEC in the next 8 st. SC across for a total of 26 stitches. Ch 1 to turn.

This abbreviation makes it a LOT simpler to write a pattern, and is easy to follow if you know how. Generally, if you can't figure out what an abbreviation means, the pattern will tell you that - for example - DEC means decrease, and will even tell you how to do that. Usually, this info is at the end - or the beginning - of the pattern.

Good luck and have a happy day :-D

Friday, December 7, 2012

In Brist's Time - Chapter 5

Chapter 5

Brist opened her bag, took out her mini digital video camera, and inserted a blank DVD into it. She placed the shopping bag containing the rest of them into her bag which still had most of her stuff in it; seeing as how she hadn’t wanted to unpack yet and had ordered her maid not to because she wanted to do it herself.
Drew had been home when she returned from Belana’s. They’d sat down and talked for a few hours. Drew told her that he planned to go to the casino for a few hours, and then he was going to have the family jet fly him back to Minnesota. Brist sighed morosely.
“You miss Jesse, huh?” Drew asked. Brist nodded.
“What I don’t understand is if he really had someone else he was in love with, then why did he have sex with me just a few days before he broke up with me? I mean I would have known if he were in love with someone else… I would have sensed it, even if we were in the back of the limo. Not to mention, why would he give me a ring if he were going to break up with me? Something just doesn’t make sense.”
“Well if you ask me, I’d say you’d be in far more misery if Dad found out you were having sex in the back of the limo,” Drew remarked dryly.
“How’s he going to find out? Besides even if he did find out, it wouldn’t be until we were back in Minnesota, and by then it would be too late to do anything,” Brist said with a shrug.
“What if you are pregnant?” Drew asked.
“Nah, I’m on the shot, and we used protection,” Brist informed him. Drew hugged her and then re-announced his intention to go gambling. Brist had watched as he left, then ran up to her bedroom to find something to do.
So here she was, desperate for anything to keep her mind off Muskles. She decided to see how well her video camera worked. At 11:30 PM her parents came home, but she didn’t notice. She was busy walking around the house, as if recording the first exploration of some ancient ruin.
She descended the stairs around 11:45 and headed to the library. At first, the words her parents were speaking were so horrible that her mind refused to understand them. Even so, Brist felt her world shatter.
She simply stood in the doorway of the parlor recording her parents – who were so engrossed in their conversation that they hadn’t even noticed her presence. Her strength seemed to be depleted by just hearing this conversation of betrayal; the tiny lightweight video camera seemed too heavy for her to carry and so she set it on the nearest table, unknowingly giving it a perfect view of her parents. She stood – as if mesmerized – as the words her father was saying finally sank in.
“You want to know what’s wrong! I’ll tell you what’s wrong, Ellen. I went to surprise Brist after work one day and sent her driver home with my car, but instead of surprising her, she shocked me! She and that boyfriend of hers wouldn’t have noticed me if I had been in the back seat with them and when I pulled into his driveway…. Ellen she pulled her underwear out of his pocket practically right under my nose! Even with the privacy glass blocking my view of the backseat, I could well imagine what was happening,” Brist’s father said in a pained voice.
“So… I took care of the matter the only way I knew how. I paid the boy the money he needed to go to college to become a computer programmer. Damn expensive too, but it could have been worse, he could have been going to Harvard Law for 8 years. It was agreed that he would break up with our daughter immediately, and that he would stay as far away from her as possible. Which shouldn’t be too hard seeing as now that he has the money for college, he’ll be enrolling in the most prestigious school for computer programming in the country, which happens to be located in Florida.” Her father finally finished his explanation of why he had been in a bad mood lately.
Brist’s mother looked at him disapprovingly, but she never had a chance to say any thing.
“How could you! I will not live another moment in the same house as that man, Mother!” Brist shouted as she came back to her senses. She grabbed her video camera and ran from the room. Once she reached her bedroom, she remembered to stop the camera from recording, then she stuffed it in her bag. She was suddenly glad that she hadn’t unpacked and therefore didn’t have to waste anytime packing. With her bag strap securely circling her neck on the opposite side of which the bag hung – which reminded her that it was heavy – she prepared to leave the house. Making sure that it was secure, she was glad that it wasn’t likely to fall off if she didn’t hold on to it tightly. Then, as quickly as she could without tripping over her own feet, she raced down the stairs and out the door.
“Wait! Stop! Where are you going?” Her mother called after her frantically. Suddenly it was raining. Hard. “Edward! Go after Her!”
“Calm down Ellen, this storm will prove to be too much for her and she’ll be back in less than 5 minutes,” he reasoned, certain of his logic.
Exactly 5 minutes later, the old grandfather clock started its announcement of the midnight hour. At the first stroke of midnight, lightening lit up the sky and thunder started a series of deafening booms that got louder with each strike of the clock. Finally – just after the last stroke of midnight – the storm, the lightening, and the thunder stopped completely, as if it had been just a figment of an overactive imagination.
During the 12 strokes of midnight, Brist had finished saddling Cream, mounted up, and rode her out of the barn. She intended to ride to Belana’s house to spend the night, but the thunder had gotten so loud that it frightened Cream, who bucked and threw Brist to the ground a total of 20 feet from the stables, her bag landing on her with a muffled thud.
Renee, the stables master, had seen the whole thing from her apartment above the stables and rushed to where Brist had fallen, but Brist was nowhere to be found. Renee quickly assessed the ground to see if Brist had remounted and rode off, but there were no tracks on the ground other than the ones that came from the stables to this spot. Renee shook her head, she had come down from her apartment on stairs located on the outside of the stables and had had this spot in view the entire time. She was positive she would have seen if Brist had gotten up and walked, ran, or rode away, but there was nothing indicating Brist did anything other than disappear. Cream was nowhere to be found either.
“She hasn’t come back yet and now the storm has stopped!” Still inside the house, Ellen was hysterical. Just then, there was a knock at the front door.
“I’ll bet that’s her now,” Edward said, rushing to open the door.
“I saw her fall. She landed not 20 feet from the stables, but when I got there – to the exact spot where she had landed – she had vanished,” Renee informed her employers, half numb with disbelief.
Ellen was surprisingly calm as she placed a hand on her husband’s arm. “Edward, dear, isn’t it funny that at a time like this, I remember that there’s an envelope behind the painting of my great-great-great-Grandmother addressed to me? I am supposed to open today.” She went to the painting feeling as if absolutely nothing in the world was more important at the moment. She pulled the envelope out from behind the portrait and held it up for a second. “See.” She opened it, and quickly read its contents.


In the master bedroom, above the fireplace, you must push in the center brick, then go into the closet within a minute and push against the back wall.

Your ever-loving daughter,

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Adventures in Candlemaking - Part 1 - Oil Candles

Today - for no reason that I can truly understand - I got an urge to make candles. I had visions of fat and happy candles proudly standing on top of holders burning merrily away. I looked forward to making these candles and watching them burn with something akin to motherly love.

And then I realized that there is pretty much only one way that most modern people makes candles: By buying wax, melting it, and pouring it into molds. That's... boring and not the authentic experience I was hoping for, lol!

I thought to myself that there had to be a way to make candles that didn't involve buying anything. There HAD to be a way to make candles using only what I had on hand at home. As it turns out, there is :-D

Here is a link to a nifty tutorial on how to make a coil for an oil candle that provided the inspiration for my first foray into candle making.

So, a basic oil candle required just a few things that I had here at home:
- Wire of some sort. Considering that my hubby makes Chainmail, we had plenty of that.
- 100% pure cotton string, which I have because I crochet :-D
- Oil of some sort to burn. I decided that since this was a simple test to use sunflower seed oil from when we last made eggrolls. It's working beautifully!
- Lastly, something to put the oil in! I used a nice candle holder that has seen some hard use - as evidenced by the huge burn on the side - and a jar lid that I fished out of my recycling bin.
- Optional - I added some of my gardenia perfume to give the second candle a hint of scent.

All in all, a very satisfying first foray :-D However, I need to play with the wick more to get a taller flame.
These candles were super easy, fun, smokeless, and long lasting. Well worth throwing together whenever  you just want to add a bit of ambiance to your home :-)

Have a happy day!

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