Monday, May 10, 2010

Re-usable Pill Bottles

I take so many daily medications and have so many pill bottles to deal with. Here's a nifty way to reuse your empty pill bottles. Don't throw them away. Just peel off the labels – you may need to use some Goo Gone to get the stickiness off. Wash them out real good and dry them. Then put in all your safety pins, bobbins, needles, stitch markers, etc. This is a very portable way to travel also. They fit easily in your purse or tote and storage is a breeze! What other ways do you use them?

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mother's Day Jig

When my late brother Steven and I were young kids, we had a tape recorder. We got it in our heads that we were going to record mama screaming and yelling mad. So our evil plan was to make her mad while she was in the kitchen washing the dishes. Steven hid around the corner in the living room holding the recorder, while I went in the kitchen to badger her. Great plan, right? I asked what was for supper – then said that it sounded horrible. That didn't work. I said all kinds of mean things to her, but she never got mad like we wanted her to.

Finally, I guess she could only take so much. I remember it like it was yesterday. She flung her soapy hands, and water and soap flew everywhere.! Her face was beet red! I stopped flat in my tracks. Steven turned off the recorder. We were both frozen in fear. Mama turned around and said, “I'm so mad I could dance a jig!” We all three looked at each other for what seemed like an eternity. I just knew we were dead. My life was passing before me. (It only took a few seconds, as I was still quite young.) All of a sudden the spell was broken when she actually started shuffling from side to side in a comical Laurel and Hardy sort of way. Steven and I looked at each other in disbelief. Could this be real? Could we have driven her mad? We looked back at her and then we saw the humorous look on her face. That's when we realized that she wasn't mad at all – she was laughing! So we did too. Then we both started dancing our own jigs. You should have seen the three of us dancing in the kitchen that day.

This was a very memorable lesson that I learned and that I've always remembered and drawn upon during my life. Sometimes when things get out of control – the kids, the husband, the job, the bills, etc. - I just dance a jig, real or metaphorical. Sometimes you just need to stop and dance a jig! This is a true story. No person or limbs were harmed in the telling of it. Now go dance your own jig and have a Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Remember Me - 12" Square

Thank you all for your wonderful suggestions for Name the Square Contest. After much thought, my husband and I have chosen the winning name(yes, I asked for my husband's advice as he is the resident knitter – see previous posts). We have chosen “Remember Me” - named after the “Flower of Remembrance,” the red poppy, which is the official memorial flower of the VFW. The person who nominated the winning name is an anonymous Canadian who found me from Ravelry, so I cant' properly thank her. However, if she makes herself known I surely will. She said that her first thought was that the red flower in the middle reminds her of the poppies they wear in November in Canada. So here you have the new 12” square. I hope you enjoy it and I appreciate everyone's participation. Hope you had fun! But first here's a little history lesson behind the red poppy.

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly.
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

This was the poem written by World War I Colonel John McCrae, a surgeon with Canada's First Brigade Artillery. It expressed McCrae's grief over the "row on row" of graves of soldiers who had died on Flanders' battlefields, located in a region of western Belgium and northern France. The poem presented a striking image of the bright red flowers blooming among the rows of white crosses and became a rallying cry to all who fought in the First World War. The first printed version of it reportedly was in December 1915, in the British magazine Punch.

McCrae's poem had a huge impact on two women, Anna E. Guerin of France and Georgia native Moina Michael. Both worked hard to initiate the sale of artificial poppies to help orphans and others left destitute by the war. By 1920, when Guerin, with the help of the American Legion, established the first poppy sale in the U.S., the flower was well known in the allied countries — America, Britain, France, Canada, Australia and New Zealand — as the "Flower of Remembrance." Proceeds from that first sale went to the American and French Children's League.

Guerin had troubles with the distribution of the poppies in early 1922 and sought out Michael for help. Michael had started a smaller-scaled Poppy Day during a YMCA conference she was attending in New York and wanted to use the poppies as a symbol of remembrance of the war. Guerin, called the "Poppy Lady of France" in her homeland, and Michael, later dubbed "The Poppy Princess" by the Georgia legislature, went to the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) for help.

The poppy was adopted as the official memorial flower of the VFW at its national convention in Seattle, Wash., in August 1922, following the first nationwide distribution of poppies ever conducted by any veterans organization.

In 1923, faced by a shortage of poppies from French manufacturers, the VFW relied on New York florists to make up the difference. This was a huge setback, however, and led to the idea by VFW officials to use unemployed and disabled veterans to produce the artificial flower. This concept was approved in late 1923 and the first poppy factory was built in Pittsburgh, Pa., in 1924. This provided a practical means of assistance to veterans and also ensured a steady, reliable source of poppies. Veterans at Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities and veterans homes help assemble the poppies, and each year the VFW distributes roughly 14 million worldwide.

It was around the same time the first poppy factory was built that the VFW registered the name "Buddy Poppy" with the U.S. Patent Office. The term "Buddy" was coined by the poppy makers as a tribute to their comrades who did not come home from the war or who were scarred and crippled for life.

The VFW celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Buddy Poppy as its official flower in 1997. While profits from its sales have helped countless veterans and their widows, widowers and orphans over the years, the poppy itself survives as a perpetual tribute to those who have given their lives for the nation's freedom.


SKILL LEVEL: Intermediate Beginner

FINISHED SIZE: 12” square

MATERIALS: Three colors worsted weight yarn
Crochet hook size I / 5.5 mm (for sample)
Tapestry needle

STITCH GUIDE: Sc = single crochet
Hdc = half double crochet
Dc = double crochet
Tr = triple crochet


Rnd. 1: Ch 6, sl st in first ch to form a ring, ch 3 (counts as dc), 1 dc in ring, ch 4, [2 dc in ring, ch 4] 3 times, join with sl st in 3rd ch of beg ch-3.

Rnd. 2: Ch 1, 1 sc in same st, *sc in next st, [1 hdc, 2 dc, 3 tr, 2 dc, 1 hdc] in next ch-4 sp (corner)**, 1sc in next st, rep from * around, ending last rep at **, join in beg sc. Finish off color.

Rnd. 3: With new color, sl st in sp between first and 2nd sc, ch 9 (counts as first dc and ch-6), *1sc in center tr of next corner group, ch 6**, 1 dc in sp between next 2 sc, ch 6, rep from * around, ending last rep at **, join in 3rd ch of beg ch-9.

Rnd. 4: Sl st into next ch-6 sp, [ch 3, 4 dc] in same sp, in next sc work corner as [2 tr, ch 2, 2 tr], *(in next ch-6 sp work 5 dc) twice, work corner, rep from * 3 times, in next ch-6 sp work 5 dc, join with sl st in 3rd ch of beg ch-3. Finish off color.

Rnd. 5: Attach next color with sl st to any corner sp, in same sp work [ch 3, 1 dc, ch 2, 2 dc], * ch 1, skip next st, I dc in next st, rep from * to corner, ch 1, in corner work [2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc], rep pat around square beg at *, join with sl st to top of beg ch-3.

Rnd. 6: Ch 3, 1 dc in next dc, in corner work [2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc],  *1 dc in ea of next 2 dc,  [ch 1, sk next dc, 1 dc in next dc] 6 times, ch 1, 1 dc in ea of next 2 dc, work corner, rep pat around square beg at *, join with sl st to top of beg ch-3. Finish off color.

Rnd. 7: Attach next color with sl st to any corner sp, in same sp work [ch 3, 1 dc. Ch 2, 2 dc], *1 dc in each dc and ch-1 sp to next corner, in corner sp work [2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc], rep from * around square, join with sl st to top of beg ch-3. (27 dc on each side)

Rnd. 8: Ch 3, 1 dc in next dc, in corner work [2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc], 1 dc in each dc to next corner, work pat around square, join with sl st to top of beg ch-3. (31 dc on each side)

Rnds. 9 - 10: Ch 3, 1 dc in each dc to corner, in corner work [2 dc, ch 2, 2 dc], 1 dc in each dc to next corner, work pat around square, join with sl st to top of beg ch-3. Finish off after Rnd. 10. (33/35 dc on each side)

Copyright - This Remember Me Pattern and the pattern photos are copyright 2010 by Melinda Miller. Free for your own personal use only. Per copyright law, do not redistribute (with or without charge) in any form. (Redistributing to others includes by photocopies, scanning, emailing, putting on a CD, posting in Internet forum messages, putting on another web site and any other manner of distribution.)

This pattern is named after the “Flower of Remembrance,” the red poppy, which is the official memorial flower of the VFW.