Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pretty Socks for Firefighters

The "HOW" to Make Ruffled Socks Is Toward The End of My Post

 The socks invention. Circa:1979 my husband, a volunteer fireman, wanted socks that were attached to his big rubber boots and held in place by the pull-on handles on each side. Some that were made-out of cotton or what he planned to develop from a new material that he had read from his Fire Fighter Magazines, the new Romex material. We traveled to Los Angeles and went to a knitting machine factory, and we were going to make socks for the crew. This was for just our department and this wasn't a scheme to make them for the world of firefighting. Response time is always looked at by city department heads and he wanted to speed-up the "turn-out race"

We bought a simple machine and isn't wasn't hard to buy at that time because Steve's trash and recycling businesses were doing pretty well. We had some money to try this. I bought soft cotton, but not so soft it woundn't fold or droop in the boots and proceeded to make socks. I still wonder what hole my machine disappeared into when we moved up here to Danger Ranch in 1986. It did work, but the socks had seams that felt funny and when they were wet, it just didn't work. I always wanted to try and use a different yarn, but as craft projects go, the machine went under the bed and we just thought about the socks. I wasn't going to learn to use four knitting needles and try and figure a pattern, so that the seams could be eliminated, I wasn't sure I could do that. I quit trying because there were too many kids and then suddenly out-of-the-blue, even the boots changed dramatically. I still love the idea of making socks different and special.

So now I realize as we try and make homemade gifts just how great December-time is to us. I never remember from  year to year. The first thing we hear about the holidays when we're trying to celebrate Thanksgiving, are the commercials and the advertisements fill our mailboxes with great deals to separate us from our money. We even had this on the day of Thanksgiving this year! There's the huge push to buy stuff. But we stayed determined  this year and make almost everyone of our family homemade gifts

All of this is makes me so aware of making sure I do give thanks. The rush to buy more seems almost apposite of what Thanksgiving is all about. I think it's a bit depressing to think of all the hype to buy the best, the newest, and most in-fashion stuff.

I normally don't save money for Christmas. I'm not prepared and these sales remind me I need to start earlier doing my Christmas presents, so I'm not only prepared but I'm not rushing like I am now, with Steve trying to make our presents. I can only hope my twist on a fun game comes-out at least looking like I tried. Crafts are hard, but rewarding.

We've had lots of great news with family members (that's of course, the most important and puts all things in perspective)

The sad part is that two of our horses need to be sold. Big Quarter Horses require so much Alfalfa. Trading them for Avocado trees can help us so much. The horses eat what could be planted trees. Maybe we should've asked Santa for Avocado Trees.

I still have old Banner, that I love so much and our stallion, Sonny. He gave me kisses today. Our stallion is so mellow and he does need our attention and also now our puppies, our precious puppies, the Queensland Heelers, sold.. Darby is loving her hugs, she actually dances around me, smiling. Queenslands do that. And she's putting on lots of weight and getting back in shape. I'm pretty sure she was glad to get rid of her pups. They scratch and bite her about four weeks and they're eating already, but they still want to nurse. Then, they want to play, pulling her ears, her teats, her neck and she lets them. We pick them up and love on them and I can see in her eyes that she also wants to be held like a puppy. Darby would be on my lap in a second if she had some clean feet.

We had lots of Birthdays at the end of November and all of December.  I've been taking pictures. I found Adree a  heavy lace church dress and cowgirl shirt. She had boots, so this is where I decided to make Lacey long socks, cozy on the inside of her cowgirl boots and Lacey out the top. I was thinking I could make them look darling with heavy, ruffled Venetian Lace. I've done this before in the 1980's with white long Venetian Lace attached to cotton ankle socks and worn with white Converse Tennis shoes for my girl's wedding receptions so they could take off the high heels and be comfortable in their long gowns and dance easily and the shoes do look beautiful covered with lace.

Kenna got a book from us that's now a tradition. "The Daring Book For Girls" Charlie's getting a cowboy hat. An Oklahoman needs cowboy hats when the weather's good and a good felt-type one when the rain comes.

I adore large bookstores, but it never fails, I become lost and distracted and just like all the other crackpots want to read stuff, like it's a library. Barnes and Noble just get better all the time, wrapping presents for free. A healthy lunch area and so very much to look at in the store and I love the smell of new books.

I've been blessed with my health check-ups. Every once-in-a-while everyone has a scare. Luckily, again my digitized ultrasound saved me from another biopsy. Not just a Thanksgiving Day it's really a year of being thankful for all of our family's blessings of health.

Tomorrow is again working hard on our Christmas presents to make sure they go out in time to our daughters out-of-state and their families.

Fireman Socks, Oh Yeah!

I finished Adree's socks and they look great! I folded them in a ball like my Steve's and he didn't know they had lace on them. They're super soft and he wanted to wear them with his fire boots. His feet need soft cushioned socks. He was very surprised at the darling lace at the top. They were part of Adree's present, so I made him take them off. They did look cute on him, but I was looking at how tall they were on him and the if gathering was even and really gathered. Hahahaha

 It would've been great to see my Steve accidentally wearing the socks. You do know that's possible, he gets dressed in the dark all the time. It would be a great trick on a guy firefighter, pranks are still done in our stations, but it's beginning to look more and more like the captains, engineers, and firefighters have to quit pranking the recruits.

Here's how I made Adree's socks:

I took Steve's new, very light. beige socks that were really long ones and started this experiment.

I put the sock on my chubby leg, inside out and backward with the toe section on my heel and the heel on my toes. There is a reason for this! It felt super weird. I had already cut the lace three times the diameter of the sock. I really wanted the lace to be gathered. I started slip-stitching the lace to the sock. Honestly, I thought I could do the back of my leg, but I couldn't, but just starting the lace in the right spot is so important. You want the lace seam on the back of the leg. Okay I needed to find a large jar to slip the sock over to stretch out the top.

The pickle jar seemed like the only thing large enough to really stretch the sock top. I wanted to make sure I didn't stretch it too far and maybe start to rip the top of the sock. The pickle jar worked great. They were Steve's new socks so they were really big. Adree appreciated that because she wears a larger than normal size shoes and her mother bought her boots a little bigger. The cushioned socks were just right, but taller boot socks at the English Tack and Saddlery could work great and they always seem to have the easy slip-on texture if your boots are a bit tighter.

I slip-stitched and then I went around with a back stitch. It worked great~

I put the sock on the jar inside out so the stitching is hidden and I could see what I was doing. Honestly this just takes such a short bit of time. Next, as I wrapped the lace around, stitching as I went, I also back-stitched around again, only because I wanted these not only to stay on her socks but I didn't want the lace pulled away from the sock. I went all the way to where I started and I was on the back side of the sock. Remember, I started my stitching on my leg which was turned inside-out and backward so the back seam would be right in the center of the back of Adree's leg. I handstitched a seam to be together in back. I thought of a glue gun, but I wanted her to be able to wash it easily without the worry of it coming apart.

I overlaped the lace with thread, so it wouldn't fray on the seam

                                                   Finishing is important. I don't know if this
                                               lace would ever fray, but I was taught to make the
                                              seams look neat on the inside of everything I sew.

 I wish this was a really good close-up, but it was at "Linger Longer" at Church and we were about to begin our afternoon potluck lunch. I love her outfit so much. The dress is a size zero and has cap sleeves and it jumped off the rack and right into my arms. The dress is modest, dressy. and goes with the cowboy shirt with cut-work flowers that match her dress perfectly. Everything's pretty much okay to wear in California if it's modest. Dresses are preferred, the Church hasn't changed that but if a need to wear pants is either all you have, or that you're cold, or need covering on your legs ... not a soul at Church cares--we actually brag about finding clothes at thrift shops. I know to East Coast and Utah, this sounds so different from "name brands" that's so loved. California is different.

Find Us? We're Labeled: "Always On Fire"
 My Steve still has a problem with girl's coming to Church with wet hair (I know it's a California thing) but he doesn't mind flip-flops. The only time I ever wore flip-flops was at an adult stake program and the east-wind was howling. I didn't want to wear hosiery because it was really hot outside. You guessed it, I was asked to give the closing prayer after the last song was over.  The Stake Presidency was there and I was clear at the back of the cultural hall and it was super quiet in the whole building and my new silver flip-flops, flip-flopped all the way to the podium. I never wore them, ever again. They were loud.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Goats and Sheep and We're Good 'n' Tired

 Weather reports are beating down on us with the prospect of rain. We can even see the large bank of clouds coming over the Channel Islands. My best friend called me about helping her with her sheep.

 She didn't want to call someone else to come over and pay them to clip feet. Our local sheep expert is quite grumpy these days and we know he isn't feeling good.

My legs hurt like crazy and Jeanie has had some issues with her health, so early Tuesday morning I asked for help. For service, not paid ... but we needed our strong missionaries to help us to hold down our big sheep and goats and fix the hooves.

My Steve and Elder Waiting For the Gate
The hooves lap over and the ugly dirt that they walk in constantly will turn to the worse thing called "Foot Rot" both of our herds looks like they had skis on their feet. I didn't trim the feet since summer. A bad habit to get into. If a person is up on their chores, it isn't nearly a hard job to trim feel. Our old ewe's and ram's hooves are super hard and thick. (don't tell anyone, but my toenails seem to be doing the same thing)

Ask a missionary to get dirty and they are so happy, even if it means to smell like lanolin and wool and they are loving tackling the sheep and goats right through the days dirty pen. I was impressed!

Ram Sheep Strategy
We went out to eat at a fancy restaurant in our messy clothes and visited together and had the greatest time. The missionaries weren't asking us about referrals or going to visit my non-member friend. They had a great time but we all did together.

My daughter Marnie was asked to be put-on this "Level Program" and when I heard it earlier today I wanted to be doing it. Before the missionaries were about to leave I asked to be on this "Level Thing." I asked one of the missionaries if we are in a "level" knowing nothing about it. I want to do it, too. I felt I was missing-out. He pulled right-out of his dusty Levis, a yellow card.

A yellow card and it gives us 3 assignments and we only need to do one. They ask us to perform a service (sheep didn't count because we hadn't started the program yet) or we can post a religious note on Facebook or some other Social Media. Also, reading our Scriptures or talk to someone about the Gospel or a scripture, and when one is done, we get to go to "Level 2" My Marnie's already there at Level 2. I already posted my message on Facebook, so I've done one and it was easy, I had a Gospel conversation with my doctor, another one, but not required. I hope I can do all three.

I was so impressed by my daughter's post on Instagram. She's a Relief Society President in Laramie Wyoming and needed to feed an army of missionaries. The thanks from the missionaries for a great dinner was a "Thankful Song" for full tummies. The work of service in the Gospel is never a paid ministry, but truly my daughter Larin felt blessings above money.

Laramie Wyoming Missionaries

 It's starting to sprinkle with the coming rain and a load of relief fills my heart. Love to work with my friend, Jeanie. Always so fun! Ranchers have it so good when we work together.

 ***My Thoughts exactly***
Mormons have it even better when we live the commandments and do it all with JOY!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I'm Losing My Mind? Oh Yeah, And My Computer's Bottom Fell-out

My family, I'm sure... knows, but if you have ever read or was reading my blog... it came to an abrupt stop over a couple months ago. I used other computers, my Android Tablet (iPhone doesn't work) and eventually, I just stopped trying to maneuver to try and keep my blog up-to-date. I still used my journal so I haven't quit writing, but it's basically illegible. I think I've forgotten how to spell and use pretty and girly handwriting. I wrote hundreds of thank yous recently and my writing skills are pathetic and need to start second grade over again.

I've read so many blogs that begin with "It's been awhile since I've written in my blog...." or "Where do I start, my life got ahead of my blog." Yep, it is doing that at this very moment. So I write from today and move forward and backward. I want to stay current with all that's going-on, but yet fill in all the holes of seemly empty time. There's been lots of those moments when I thought how I wished I had a pen and paper, but knowing now, that I'm illiterate or "foreigner" from who knows where, FOB that means "Fresh Off The Boat," naturally.

Saturday and Sunday were big days for me and Friday, too. My Steve and I retrieved the old Mac Fire Engine out on a ranch to be brought in to Station 81 to be polished and decorated for the Christmas Parade. It has what everyone thinks is a radiator problem and a loose back light that I'm surprised didn't fling off while I was following Steve into town and smash my windshield. The Mac definitely needs repair and I was focused on that light to the point of distraction as we headed toward the station.

Steve slowed way down getting-off the 126 highway and it had a huge backfire. I saw the flame and heard the noise, if I hadn't been looking at the stupid loose light, and saw the fast flame, I would've thought that shots were being fired at me or the guy with the white hair driving the fire truck.

The truck was parked on the side of the station and water poured out of the bottom of the engine. I thought it was a broken water line, holes in the radiator, maybe the truck was hit with real gunfire! Nah... It just overflows when the engine moves and the radiator's too full.

My daughter Marnie and her children gave me a ride down to the station early Saturday morning to get in the Mac. It was backed-up against the fence, ugly. No one washed it, it wasn't decorated and it wasn't going to be in the parade. There weren't enough engineers to drive that sweet truck for the parade. I knew Steve had hoped to be in the driver's seat of the Seagrave that's 89 years old and haul our grandchildren with Santa Claus in the back. BTW...he's a great Santa! Adree and Tatum were the exceptions. Adree was "Sparky the Fire Dog" again this year and Tatum wanted to ride shotgun with her dad in his engine. I've been in that truck for parades and it's really comfortable. This time I rode on the left-side of the driver, as drivers do in Europe. I tied my handkerchief to the bell and spent the whole entire time "laughing all the way" down Main Street.

We Watch The Parade and We're Last With Santa

 My arm was so tired by Davis St. at the Clock Tower I was sure I had pulled my shoulder cranking the siren and with the other arm I was ringing the bell. I refrained from pushing the button that stops the engine cold. I did that one year and it was on the railroad tracks. Prayers are sometimes quickly answered because normally that engine doesn't start right-up after hitting the "stop-it" button.  A seemly small call for help was heard and we were able to make it off the tracks and around to the parade. I'm not sure there would've been a train, but it saved my skin. No fire truck for Santa and who's fault would that be? Why do I have this button pushing obsession? Steve watched me closely.

I truly mourn the Mac and we left him out. That engine was always was my favorite. My grandfather actually ordered the Mac truck, while he was Chief 2. I played on the old Seagrave when I was really young, but I really remember the Mac and rode in it so many times over the years. It's color is faded to pink and the doors and hood and back have all faded differently. I think we needed to cover it with lots and lots of decorations and bells and it could've been in the parade. Someone could've drove it.

Days Before-It could've been beautiful
  How bad is it when you're thinking a truck has feelings
 like "Red" the firetruck in the movie, "Cars" or "Fire Truck Mater" ?

Red, The Fire Engine from Cars
The Mac does have a resemblance to Mater and he was just as brave. That particular engine has seen more spectacular fires and has worked the hardest than all the fire engines on our department put together. I can name "The Big Ones" including Safeway, Firestone and all of the packing houses.  Maybe, he just needs to be pink, to show his courage.

This great traditional parade is the real start for Christmas for our family, immediately we all wanted to decorate everything in that great "Clark Griswold" fashion.

Clark in "Christmas Vacation"

 ***Added Wednesday after the parade. We own our town's newpaper front page:

  1. Those are our grandchildren in the firetruck that Steve drove and I was the helper.
  2. We are the place that had the lion, and we didn't call it in, but got a reverse 911 to lock-down. I quess! lol
  3. The hay fire on the big truck (second article, lower right) was put-out by my husband and his crew. He did a great investigation on finding the source of the fire and had lots of quotes. Tricky fire.
We Love Living In A Small Town!