Monday, September 10, 2012



I-Cord Bracelets
As a special treat for the 500+ kids in the orphanages in Kazakhstan that we support with our knitting on the Mittens 4 Akkol group some members have been knitting little bracelets. An experimental batch of 30 or so was sent and distributed in May of this year to the teenaged kids who were aging out of the children's home. They were a big hit! So the group decided to make enough (500+) to gift every child in the orphanages for their winter "Father Frost" celebration in December

Well, I told the group that I would stay focused on knitting warm socks for the kids because we need 500+ of these too and I love to knit socks. But then I made a life-changing discovery. While digging through my stash (sailboat insulation) for some thread to swatch for a new lace KAL (remember, I'm not a monogamous knitter), I came across a little bag of glitzy yarn. Who would have thunk it? Un-natural fibers and metalic glitz on my boat? Yep.

Suddenly I remembered that way, way back a looong time ago (2008) I had whipped up a little design for my Holiday Mystery Gifts Yahoo group for bracelets. These are simply I-cords to be worn either alone, or multiple colors twisted together, or embellished with a charm, buttons, or beads. EASY. The pattern has a little tutorial on how to knit the tubes (I-cords) which are like some form of knitting magic. This little instructional pattern is free on or you can click here for instant gratification:


Twisted I-cord Bracelet
See? I just learned today how I can link to my free patterns on to my blog so I can share it with you right here! Anyway, I'm sure that other knitters will create even more fun and beautiful things than what I whipped up here a few days ago. See that flip-flop slipper "charm"? That is actually a piece from a set of little girl pony tail elastics. Very inexpensive and cute and they make great buttons for knit stuff too. The heart shaped plastic "charms" were bought at a bead store and I've attached them to the bracelets with a simple jump ring. (Yes, I know the flip-flop bracelet is different. It was knit just like the top cuff of a sock in 1x1 ribbing: cast on, rib for an inch, bind off. There...that's the pattern)

Conch Machine with chocolate
Now that we've finished discussing knitting we can move on to chocolate. While we were in Belize last week (resetting our visas for another 90-days in Guatemala) we visited a tiny local chocolate factory. The Cotton Tree Chocolate factory in Punta Gorda, Belize opens it's doors to the public and of course we visited. It was torture to walk past this place on the days/times when it was closed because the aroma of chocolate filled the air.

This photo is of the chocolate being smoothed out in the conch machine. I was given a little stick which had been dipped in this batch - yummy!  Besides chocolate, there wasn't any other exciting food to eat in the scruffy port town of Punta Gorda. On Saturday, when the fruit and vegetable market suddenly appeared along the road there were food stands selling BBQ chicken with coleslaw and beans. That was the food highlight of the 3-day trip; fresh apples, bananas and a styrofoam clamshell to-go box of chicken.

We had come prepared with a stash of portable foods such as granola bars, nuts and dried fruit (because we had visited here 2 years ago and knew about the food situation) so we didn't starve. Our bananas that we carried from Guatemala were confiscated by the customs official in Belize - oops. Thus we were fresh-fruit-less until Saturday as there is nothing fresh sold in the local stores.

We took long walks along the shoreline road to pass the time and explore. The breeze off of the Caribbean Sea was fairly steady so it was pleasant to get out and walk. Here is a photo of some white flowers that were blooming out in the fields. We've seen these lately in Guatemala here even in our marina by the boat. They are seen along banks where water stands such as the river here - and in Belize in flat, swampy areas. I've tried to identify them but no luck so far - any ideas?

Jonesy and his 9 Kilowatt 3-cyl Diesel Generator
That's all for now - Jonesy has the floorboards torn up here in the salon of the boat right now as I write this blog. He's working on the generator which konked out on us the last few days we were anchored on Roatan Island (spewed black smoke). There are piles of tools spread out, he's wearing his geek-factor headlamp, and now he's using his torch to heat up a bolt at his workbench in the galley. Uh-oh...he just said the word "Oops". That always scares me 'cause I worry if he hurt himself or just messed up. WAIT! Just now he announced that he found the problem!

As Guillermo the local master diesel mechanic suggested could be our problem, there is a clog in the exhaust system. Jonesy has torn apart the whole system and found the clog of exhaust particles in the exhaust manifold as pictured! Eureka! No expensive parts to replace - no way-too-expensive total replacement (like $18,000 US)! Time to celebrate!!!

I'll go make us some nice spaghetti with fresh bell peppers in various colors, onions and zucchini squash. Life is good.

Thanks for the pattern! I'm sure at least some of the 4 granddaughters will enjoy that!
Thanks, Terry for the pattern. I have stuck to socks for Mittens for Akkol, too but the idea of making a few bracelets is tempting.
The flower is some sort of Spider Lily. I sell them at work as marginal pond plants! haha.
oh, I'm also really glad the generator problem was nice and mundane! whew.
Nice that Jonesy knows how to put it all together!!!
A friend posted pics of this flower, growing in Zachary, Louisiana, asking for an ID. The answer was, indeed, a spider lilly.
Yep - spider lily :-)

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