Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas Candy

I told you I'd write a post about our candy making session today - and so I shall. Of course, being the amateur blogger that I am, I forgot to take my camera along. But DBiL to the rescue! He was willing to loan me his and then emailed me the photos while I was still there so I could get this posted tonight! Awesome guy.

The blizzard has finally been wrangled under control by the local snow plows, so I was able to make it to Sis's house without incident. However, when I got there, the nephew was down for his afternoon nap (don't we all wish we still got to do that?), so we got to work pretty quickly. Mom, Sis and I had 6 pounds of chocolate to melt down and either mix things into it or coat things with. We started with my personal favorite, peanut butter balls (as seen below):

Mom immediately started work on her favorite, peanut clusters:

And I totally forgot to get a picture of Sis's work on the dipped pretzels...nummilicious!

Below you can see a shot of Mom getting ready to break apart the coconut she had coated all over the tin foil to make coconut bark. Can we say good?

(By the way, I told Mom I'd tell her if there were any eligible men out there - so if you're lurking out there, speak up! LOL)

Of course we had to have an official taste tester. And who better than the darling nephew when he woke up from his nap?? He kept asking for "nummies" all evening - I think they were a hit!

Below is the Mother Load of our work. We spent a little over 2 hours working on this and we figure we've got roughly 15 pounds of chocolate candy to enjoy over the various Christmas celebrations we'll be attending this year. Not too shabby!

We all had a great time today with much laughter and story-telling. And I got to see nephew's new favorite face. I secretly call it his Evil Face. Just don't tell him I said that!

I came home with those 3 little tubs you see in the picture above. I figure that will satisfy DH and my sweet teeth for at least a week or two ;) Oh shoot! I forgot to get some for the in-laws....well, I guess I'll have to make another trip down the road before Christmas to get that plate all set.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Snow Day!!

We have been under a blizzard warning since 1:00 yesterday afternoon. It's supposed to last until 4:00 this afternoon. We've got snow, wind, ice and more wind. Brrr, it's cold outside!!

DH and I piled in the car this morning to attempt our normal 45 minute commute to work, but after spending 20 minutes to get about 10 miles down the road, we decided to call it quits. Especially when the Interstate was covered with snow...we travel west to work, and it's always worse the closer you get to Lake Michigan. Lake effect snow and all that...

I'm back home now, in my pj's and fuzzy pink slippers and loving every minute of it! DH is out playing with his new snowblower, and looking to be loving that, too! Hehe, men are so weird sometimes. I'll stay inside, thank you very much!

I have one gift I'm planning to make this year for Christmas, although, if I don't get it done, it's not that big of a deal. My little niece certainly won't miss it for want of the amount of gifts she's getting from us. Yes, DH and I wen't a little crazy this year on the neices and nephews....well, crazy for us anyway. No, I think today I'll be spending more time with this little lovely..

I've been working on the quilting for this one for about 7 years now. It is the second quilt I ever pieced and it was supposed to go to DH when it was done. However, it's just too small for him. He likes long quilts or afghans over him when he's watching tv. So, I've asked DH to build me a quilt rack for our blank dining room wall, and I hope to have this quilt hanging up for Christmas. I doubt it will happen, though - I haven't even started the border yet! Oh well, it's a goal, and goals are a good thing right now.

Saturday I'm planning to go over to Sis's house and make our Christmas candy with her and Mom. DH has decided to opt out this year (so much for building a Christmas tradition). I'll try to remember to take the camera so I can post some pictures. It's always been a blast in years past, I hope we have a fun time again this year.

Ok, time to go wrap up in my quilt and stay warm!! Have a great day everyone!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

How long has it been?

Wow - over a month! I didn't mean to stay away so long, but, well, you know how it goes.

I finally got my computer upstairs set up with wireless internet, so now I can surf and post anytime I want (no more waiting for DH to get off the computer downstairs). We're still working out the kinks up here, but we do have the basics.

I've been in a bit of a slump this week, not working on much of anything. Maybe I'm still recuperating from Thanksgiving. I know I'm about a week behind in getting my Christmas decorations up. I finally got the tree up Friday and decorated today. We usually have this all finished the day after Thanksgiving.

Well, this year, we hosted Thanksgiving here - we've hosted for the last 5 or 6 years I guess. Mom, sis, brother-in-law and nephew came over. It was small, but very nice. We had the usual turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet bread, homemade white bread, rolls, cranberry relish, Sis's green bean casserole, 7-layer salad, pink stuff (cottage cheese salad) and yams. All topped off with pumpkin pie and cherry cheesecake for dessert. It was wonderful. And the best part of the day? Sis wouldn't leave until all the dishes were washed! I think that was what I was most thankful for on Thanksgiving. Of course, having Mom in good health is a great blessing as well.

DH and I ventured out on Black Friday to attempt to get some deals at 2 area stores. We managed to snag the things we were hunting for, but whew! What an adventure! We were up by 3:30, and at the first store by 4:30. We picked up the one thing we wanted there - a wireless router - and were out the door by 5:15. Not too bad. We then crossed the street to stand in line at Menards with the other crazies, I mean shoppers. After watching many people cut in line, 3 right in front of us (and oh yeah, I went and spoke with them sharply. They will just have to live with the karma they are earning), we finally were able to enter the store. Talk about rude people! I had one little lady shoving me from behind when all I could see in front of me was a mass of people. I finally turned around and told her to stop shoving me, there was nowhere to go. She attempted to explain that she just HAD to get through, so I informed her there was "NOWHERE FOR YOU TO GO!" She finally backed off. Sheesh! But we were eventually victorious there, too, and were out of the store by 6:15. I do believe these were new records :)

We then went home and I went back to bed. DH proceeded to return the wireless router as it didn't work, thus losing the sale price (I made sure to inform him before I went back to bed that if it didn't work, he should hold onto it until they got more in stock and we would exchange it). Oh well...what can you do?

We got our first real snowstorm of the season this week. It came down so fast Thursday night that we woke up to 3 inches on the ground when we had grass the night before. When DH went out to clean off the car, about 10 minutes later he came back in announcing we weren't going to work that day. Yay! He said he couldn't clean off one side fast enough before the other side was covered way was he going to try to navigate the roads when it was like that! So we had another long weekend this week and did I get anything done? Not really. I mean, I got the tree up, and some cleaning done, but nothing spectacular...nothing worthy of three days of free time. Oh well...

Oh! We did make it to the big craft show in our town yesterday. We were able to get gifts for about half of our family in one swoop! And, we found 2 Jim Shore figurines to add to my collection for a total of $10! It totally made my day :)

Well, that about gets you caught up for the last month or so...Sorry about no pictures this time, I'll work on that and see how the new computer likes them. Meanwhile, welcome to my 2nd follower! I can't see who you are just yet, but I see there are now 2 of you!

Erin walks away mumbling to herself about getting DH to get this computer up to par soon.

Monday, November 2, 2009

What I've Been Working On...

I promised you an update on what I've been working on lately. Here it is!

While on breaks at work, I've been working on my cable scarf. I found the pattern for it here. It's a good beginner cable pattern, and I'm enjoying working on it very much. I'm using WoolEase yarn and it's so wonderfully soft. I'm not a very fast knitter, so I don't expect to have it finished this year - but as long as I'm still enjoying it, it'll still see some working time.

The other thing that's been on the work table lately is the Circle Quilt. I had found sticky dots that were the size I needed for the circles, and was in the process of basting the seam allowances around the dots. But it was going very slowly! And, I couldn't iron the circles with the sticky dots in there - they became permanent! So, one day, as I was working on appliqueing some more of the leaves, it occurred to me that I enjoy needle-turn applique. And why is a circle considered harder to applique than any other shape? Sure, getting a perfect circle can be tough, but if you have a perfect line to follow - it can't be impossible. Also, I was having some trouble getting the circle's seam allowances to stay tucked under (as you can see in the picture below). So....I changed my approach.

I've begun tracing around the sticky dots on the front of the fabrics and things are moving along much quicker! I got about 150 of these done last night while watching a movie with DH.

I also wanted to share with you a recent purchase I made. I found both of these glass jars at Hobby Lobby. I think they work perfectly for my spools of thread and my fabric scraps. And I just love the look of clear glass bell jars.

This last picture is included only because I felt it was time to introduce you to another of our family members. This is Boots. She lives with us both by accident and force of will. You see, her mother was a member of our family about 10 years ago. We rescued her and took her home. We lived in a 3rd floor apartment in a large city. We used to leave the sliding door to the balcony open for the cats to get in and out when they wanted to. One morning we woke up to a cat missing. Apparently she had jumped from one balcony to another and disappeared. Imagine my surprise when I spotted her hanging around the apartment building in the middle of winter the following year! After 2 or 3 days and nights of trying to catch her, we finally succeeded and brought her back home again - only to find out she was pregnant. Later that spring we welcomed Boots and 2 brothers into our family. We found a home for one of her brothers, and finally decided to take the rest of the family to my uncle's farm so they could live as barn cats (we were currently at 7 cats in a 2 bedroom apartment!) When we got to the farm, the mother and brother took off, happy as larks to be outside running around. Boots, however, hunkered down and started wailing. Well, soft-heart that I am, we ended up taking her back home with us. She's been with us ever since. And you can see, she loves getting involved in everything we do. In fact, right now she's circling my chair as I type, trying to find a way up on the computer table. :)

Sunday, November 1, 2009


I have been so bad at updating my blog lately. I blame it on the one computer we have in the house with internet capabilities and the limited time we both have to use it (it's called sharing). I'm sorry, so I hope you'll enjoy hearing about our Halloween last night.

DH decided a couple of weeks ago that he was going to be a pirate for Halloween. His work always does a Chili Cookoff for Halloween and his department was participating, and they had all decided on a pirate theme. Which meant that I was volunteered to make some of the props and costume....yippee (can you here the sarcasm?)

So, I made some sails for the pirate ship DH built - that was pretty easy. Then he handed me this fabric:

Any ideas what he wanted me to make with this stuff? It felt like plastic wrap....eww!! Here's a hint:

Yup! A sash for his pirate outfit! As you can see, he's pretty pleased with the result :)

They didn't win any of the prizes at the Chili Cookoff, but I think they still had fun, and that's really the point, right?

So yesterday we decided to get everything set up for Halloween. I carved a pumpkin for the lap of our scarecrow:

And DH set up his scary ghoul that popped up by remote (some of the littler kids didn't like him at all - especially our nephew!) and his fog machine. Mom, DSis, DBiL and nephew came over for dinner before the trick or treaters showed up (they live in the country and get no kids coming over), then we spent 2 hours handing out candy to roughly 250 trick or treaters. Wow - that's a lot of candy!

Next post I'll show a pic of the scarf I've been working on, as well as an update on my circle quilt.

I hope you all remembered to turn your clocks back!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

This Time Last Year

Since I've been lazy lately about taking pictures of the things I'm working on, I decided to show you something I finished last year about this time.

Our neighbor, a.k.a. The Insane Gardener, has a deep love for all things Halloween. She likes the scary, ghoulish stuff, none of the cutesy things...So of course I had to find something to stitch for her. I came across this lady designed by Mirabilia and thought it fit The Insane Gardener perfectly. I used the recommended fabric, but took some liberties with the pattern itself. For instance, I took the owl on her shoulder out of it completely, as well as changed a couple of the swirls at the bottom of the picture.

I wanted to frame this piece, but didn't have much funds...I also knew that The Insane Gardener preferred the look of large that added to the dilemma. I got very lucky and stumbled across this frame at Hobby Lobby (complete with mats and wood inlay) for half off! I was able to lace it myself and I think it turned out quite nice (if I do say so myself!).

When I gave it to her, she was speechless - which is just perfect :)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

The Knitting Class..

I know you are all waiting with baited breath to hear how my first knitting class went at the local library. Well, I'm here to assure you, it was everything I had hoped for and more!

There were 8 of us in the knitting class (the crochet class was full - at least 15 people!). We had 3 teachers with us, one of them VERY experienced ;) All of them great.

The evening started out a bit chaotic (as every class does, probably), but we eventually found a technique that worked and soon we were off. All of the students came to class with different skills or needs and the teachers were great about accomodating all our wants/needs with grace. We had students who were rank beginners to those that had knit extensively many years ago and wanted a refresher. We even had a man in the class!

The first thing I learned was how to cast on stiches by knitting. I had been taught how to do the loop method of casting on and doing it with knitting makes a much nicer beginning row! So, once I picked up the technique, I helped the women on either side of me learn it, too. Then, I knitted a couple of rows for a base (because that's the only thing I came to the class knowing how to do), then asked one of the teachers to show me how to purl. Well, it was definitely awkward at first! I felt like I was trying to knit left-handed. But, after doing 2 or 3 rows of purl, it started to get a bit more familiar. Then I tried a couple rows of knit 1, purl 1. That was certainly adding more wrinkles to the old brain! LOL But, I actually had a couple rows of stockinette stitch! Whoa!

So, then I asked one of the teachers to explain to me how to reload the work on your needle if you need to take it off for one reason or another (i.e. dropped stitches - but none of us do that!). She happily took my work and pulled the needle out - didn't even bat an eyelash! So, she started to show me how to load it back on, and as it was a knit 1, purl 1 row, she was loading stitches one way for this stitch, then a different way for the next stitch...back and forth, and I was lost as to how she could possibly know how to do this. So, she handed me back my work and told me to work the next row. And, quietly informed me that she had purposely done a couple wrong and for me to find them. Um....right.

So, of I go, knit 1, purl 1....clickity clack, clickity clack....the teacher watching over my shoulder. And suddenly, I hit this stitch that just wasn't right. Can I explain what the problem was? No, not really, other than the right-hand needle didn't slide into it like it should have. The teacher quickly explained that she had loaded that stitch backwards and showed me how to take it off and turn it around ("be careful not to lose the stitch!" she cautioned). After doing that, I moved on...clickity clack, clickity clack....til I found the next backwards stitch. I fixed that one, too, to her great praise. And then I noticed this long string between the next 2 stitches. When I mentioned that it didn't look right, she beamed at me and told me she had purposely skipped that stitch to see if I would find the "dropped" stitch. Heh. She then showed me how to pick that stitch back up (not quite sure if I can do that again yet...might have to practice that later)...

Anyways, as much as that last paragraph makes it sound like I'm trying to praise myself, what I'm really trying to say is that I really appreciate the techniques these teachers were using to teach us. I really took to the method.

We didn't pick a pattern this week, it was more of a time to get a feel for where everyone's skills were at and to get the students comfortable holding 2 needles at once again. So, next week we're supposed to bring in a pattern that we might like to try and the teachers will give us the pointers we need to tackle it. I've got an afghan pattern that I really really want to try, but it's the most complicated cable pattern I've ever seen, so I know it's out of my skill range right now. So, I'm on the hunt for a cable scarf pattern that I can work with for this class to get the skills I need. I do plan to take this afghan pattern to class with me next week, though, to show the teachers where I'm aiming. And to see the looks on their faces :)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Wrap, continued...

I don't have a picture to share today, sorry. But I have learned that football Sundays are great for crocheting. I have managed to get the wrap to 27 inches. Only 53 more to go! So, if I keep on at the same rate, this should take me roughly 6 weeks to make. Plenty of time to get it done before Christmas - and a nice surprise for my sister :) I told her this one was for her, and she responded with something smart like "well, my bad circulation from age will need it by the time you get it finished." hmph.

I'm having trouble moving to another quilt right now, after getting Summer Days finished. I've got the Circle Quilt on the design wall, just waiting for me to baste those circles down on a couple of blocks....but it's still waiting. The fabric for dear nephew's quilt still isn't washed....I haven't even been able to decide on the contrast fabric yet. Well, it's only been a week, I guess I'll be drawn to something sooner or later. Meanwhile, the crocheting is filling the evenings well enough.

Oh yeah! I signed up for a knitting class the local library is offering! I've been able to make those knitted dishclothes since high school, but I've never been able to move onto the next stage. So, when I saw this free class being offered, I figured it was worth a shot. I've got a lot of goals that I hope to get from this class, we'll see. I want to be able to recognize different stitches, how to rip something and reload the needles without ripping the entire thing, learn how to read a pattern, learn what increase and decrease are exactly, how to purl. Yeah, I'm such a beginner.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Why My Hands Were Shaking

What is this, you ask? Well, it's a stack of magazines. Cross stitch magazines to be exact. And I got them all for 10 cents a piece!

The company I am temping for asked for book donations to sell as a fundraiser, and someone brought in a big box of cross-stitch magazines! I found them at lunch-time and immediately found 4 or 5 that had to come home with me. That was before I found out what the price was. That stack grew to 17 very quickly! I was having a VERY hard time not comandeering the entire table until I had looked through all of them - but I controlled myself and played nice.

After I started looking through a couple of them on last break, and realized what else was in them, I went down after work and bought the rest of the booty!! I came home with 60 of these puppies! :)

Here are the 29 The Cross-Stitcher's I found:
....the 3 Stitcher's World...
...2 Christmas ones...

...9 Cross Stitch & Needlework's....

...and the real haul - 17 Just Cross Stitcher's - including one of the ornament issues I was missing!...

I'm just so thrilled with this, it's made my entire week!

And just in case you've missed your updates of DH - here is his response to my question, "What have you done for me lately?"

He wasn't impressed :D

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Less for More

Ok, this is a rant, I admit it. But have any of the rest of you noticed how we're now getting less but still paying the same prices? Manufacturers are packaging things in smaller bags/containers, but keeping their prices the same. I have a lot of examples, but the latest is our toilet paper.

We have been buying this particular brand of toilet paper since I was young enough to remember particular brands of toilet paper. When I was married and started my own home, I continued to buy it, because I like it. So, when we did our weekly grocery shopping Friday night, and toilet paper was on the list, I naturally picked up the package of Quilted Northern that I've bought for the last 14 years. Yes, I admit, it has changed some things over the years. No longer offering anything but double or 2 1/2 times size rolls was something to get used to, but we managed. Having 3 layers as a choice was looked at, but passed over for the tried and true. But when I pulled a new roll out this afternoon, I do believe it was enough to make me start looking for a new brand. The roll is a complete 1/2" narrower than the roll I had just tossed out!!! What the heck? Now we're getting less toilet paper and still paying the same old prices....well, not the same "old" prices, but it certainly wasn't any cheaper than the package we bought 2 weeks earlier! I'm really ticked off about this.

Who has other brands they can suggest??

Summer Days Top Finished!

My eyes were blurry, but I put the last stitch in last night at 11:20 PM.

I had to ask the Insane Gardener to come out and help me hold it up while DH took a picture for me. I was hoping to get truer colors by taking the pic outside, but I don't think that happened. It seems more neon in this picture than the actual quilt is. Oh well. Now it's time to start thinking about the quilt designs I want to use :)

Now it's back to football!!

Circle Quilt Update

First of all, I want to apologize for the quality of the following pictures. I don't know what happened, but everything is slightly out of focus.

I decided to pin some circles to a block to see how they would look. To see if I like the scrappy idea I started with. Here is the result:

I'm not 100% certain I like the scrappy look. I'm really leaning toward a controlled color scheme right now. So, I decided to put up another block with some borders I had finished earlier...

It's looking a little better......sorta...well, anyway, you can see how the whole quilt layout will be in the next picture...I'm just short a block - it should be 4 blocks by 4 blocks when done (my design wall isn't big enough to lay out the entire quilt)...

I think I'll leave it this way for now and start on the Candied Hexagon quilt I've been holding off on in my controlled colorway idea. Maybe doing that will get it out of my system and I will decide I really like the scrappy look of my Circle Quilt.

What do you all think?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Wrap

Remember that yarn I bought at the yard sale Labor Day weekend? The one I talked about here. Well, I finally managed to get it wound into a ball last weekend...and it's huge! This thing rivals my head! It took me most of a day to get it wound, and here it is:

I've surfed the net for shawl or scarf patterns that I might enjoy both working on and using when the item was finished. I wasn't finding much. That is, until I found this wrap. It's just gorgeous! It's both a simple pattern (which I need, as my crochet skills aren't very great), and a great finished item. I can so see myself using this at football games this fall (if I get it done that quickly, that is).

So, I decided, before breaking into the "good yarn," I'd stitch up a sample piece and see how the pattern fits together. Especially since it's been 10 years or more since I've crocheted anything. I found some Red Heart yarn in the closet and started in. I re-discovered my problems with the beginnings and endings of rows, so I stopped by my Mom's place for a quick tutorial. She assured me I was on the right track and immediately asked for a copy of the pattern so she could make one for herself! LOL

After this much red was done, I realized I really didn't like the feel of the yarn. It was labelled Holiday yarn, and it just had no softness to it at all. So, I remember this Wool Ease I had hiding in the closet and thought, "if I have enough, maybe I'll make one for my sister." After digging it out of the closet, I found I had more than enough and started in on it. This is how far I've gotten:

The good news is my sister loves the color and the softness of this yarn :) So, I'm going gang-busters on it at work. I lengthened the pattern (added 6 stitches to each end), so it's taking a bit longer than the red piece did, but I think she'll like the finished item much better this way.

I'm not sure I'm stitching loose enough for my piece to end up looking like the one on the pattern, but it's still looking nice, so it's full steam ahead for now.

Now, do I wait to finish sister's piece before starting mine? Decisions, decisions....

Old Souls

As I was making my breakfast yesterday morning, the radio played a clip they had of Reba McIntyre talking about Taylor Swift and mentioning how Taylor was an old soul.

This triggered a memory of my own - someone in my past had once told me I was an old soul. And it's driving me crazy that I can't remember who! I've asked both DH and my mom if they recall anyone saying that to me and they're both coming up blank. So, until I can remember - let's move on.

What makes a person an old soul? Maturity? A certain sense of self? A particular way of putting things in context? Being able to see the big picture?

When that mystery person told me I was an old soul, I immediately had this mental image of a bent old lady masquerading inside my body. All of her experience and wisdom was hidden inside me, just waiting for the right opportunities to make themselves known. I think I still feel that way about it. There are times I will surprise myself with the things that come out of my mouth - with no forethought. It sometimes feels like there is another consciousness inside me. But I don't think that is what this mystery person was referring to.

I think most people are referring to maturity when they say someone is an old soul. Especially since it seems to be told to younger adults most often. I'm not sure it would be taken in any other way but confrontational if told to an older person. Ok, so you have a mature young adult. What differentiates this mature person from being "old for her age" (something I was told a LOT growing up) and being an old soul? It has to be more than maturity.

Maybe it's maturity combined with a high level of self-confidence. You know the type - those people that feel at ease in every situation they find themselves in - almost like they've experienced these things already. Those people that never go home and spend the evening wishing they had handled a situation differently. Let me assure you, I am NOT one of those people. So was that mystery person wrong for labelling me in this way? Maybe, maybe not.

Maybe it has something to do with being able to always see the big picture - how things fit in context to everything else. Someone that doesn't waste time worrying about all those little things they have no control over. Heck, just being able to identify those things could be a qualifier. Again, not me.

So, maybe this mystery person in my past was wrong. Maybe what they really meant to say was that I was old for my age. I don't know. If they are wrong though, I don't have to spend any more time trying to remember who said it to me!

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Have you seen this?

Amazing Sand Drawing

It's just amazing. At first I didn't know what the medium was, but after a couple of minutes, it becomes clear. And the talent she has!

The blurp says the artist is Kseniya Simonova. She's a Ukranian artist that just won Ukraine's version of "America's Got Talent." And even though I didn't recognize the music or the language, it still brough tears to my eyes - as well as the judges and audience.

Watch it and tell me what you think.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Flowers and a Summer Days update

Just look at what DH got me last week :) He bought these for me Labor Day weekend and they are just tonight starting to look a little withered. I can't believe they lasted so long! And they look great in my sewing room! :)

I spent most of my long weekend trying to get the borders on Summer Days. I don't know how some of you people get so many things done every day, because you need to share your secret! I had a 4 day weekend and I still didn't manage to get all the borders sewn on! Of course, I had to spend some time pressing and snipping stray threads...

And more snipping....

And then I had to trim the borders down to size. Can you see what happened to the border in the picture below? This is why my rotary cutter and I don't get along. After measuring, re-measuring, checking, double-checking, and finally cutting - I still managed to snip off the tip of this flower! And it's supposed to be 1/2" in from the edge!!! Thankfully, the other 3 borders turned out fine. But I think I need to come up with a different method for doing my borders....this is just too much work to risk ruining it once it's all done.

I finally got everything sewn together last night. I pinned it to the design wall so I could snap a quick photo. I've still got to get the stems sewn to the corner flower units, and about 7 leaves sewn on where seam lines hit in the corners. But, when that's done, I'll have a complete quilt top! It's my first large applique quilt and I'm very happy with it (snipped flowers and all!)

Friday, September 4, 2009

My Amazing Find!

Today, on my way to the Amish fabric shop, I must have passed 15 yard sales - it is Labor Day weekend, afterall. One I noticed, has a large pile of yarn on a tarp laying in the yard. Well, I decided on my way back from the fabric shop, I would stop there and see what I could find. Maybe I could get a large bag of yarns for my Mom to work on this winter. You see, she's quite the crocheter.

Well, when I got there, the yarn wasn't really much of a deal. So I didn't spend much time looking at it. But on the other end of the tarp, I noticed this huge hank of something. When I went over to investigate, the lady in charge of it all told me she'd take $10 for the hank. Ok...I still didn't know what I was looking at. So, I picked it up and immediately could tell this was something special. First of all, it was heavy! (It ended up being 1 1/2 pounds) I noticed there was a tag on it, and it said it was 60% wool/40% silk. Whoa....and it was 1635 yards!!! Whoa!!! On the other side of the tag was a price tag saying $220 a bag (how many of these could fit in a bag??)

As you can see, it's really a gorgeous hank of yarn. It's got a sheen to it that I think shows up in the picture pretty well. It's even decent colors. The color on the second picture is much truer.

So, I originally thought I'd put it on ebay and try to make a little money off it. But the more I look at it and stroke it, I realized I just can't part with it! It's soooooo soft. So, I'm trying to figure out what I can do with it.

My first thought is this is a lot of yarn. I don't know how to knit very much at all (I can knit a dishclothe that has knit and yarn over stitches - everything else is beyond me). I can crochet very well, but I'm not a big fan of the look of crochet. So, I was thinking, a scarf would be nice. To have something that soft next to my face is a nice thought. But, I'm thinking with this much yarn, I'd have enough for 3 scarves!!! Unless I could find a pattern that is a real yarn-eater, that is. I don't think there's enough for something like a sweater, and I couldn't knit one of those, anyway....

Oh! Maybe a shawl! Hmmm....I think I'm going to have to surf for scarf and shawl patterns. If anyone has a good pattern they know of online, let me know. Thanks!

I Finished!

the bulk of the applique on Summer Days, that is :) I put the last stitch in on Wednesday night. Sorry, I don't have any pictures yet, but I have a 4-day weekend ahead of me, and the camera is going upstairs into my sewing room with me, so there should be lots of goodies to look at in the next few days.

Today I'm heading up the road to an Amish fabric shop I discovered a couple of years ago and promptly forgot about (bad Erin!). Then it's grocery shopping and getting DN's fabric washed and ironed. Tomorrow night we're off to a baseball game. Our first one of the year - but the Famous Chicken is going to be there and DH has unfortunately become a huge fan of the Chicken *rolling eyes*. So, we'll go enjoy greasy food, a Chicken and fireworks. Oh, and supposedly they have a 5/3 pound hamburger (discussed here) which I don't expect to encounter, but it would be interesting to see one.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend and hopefully you'll see some more pictures here soon!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Half-Square Triangles

I am hoping to have the applique to Summer Days done by this weekend, which means I will get to start my nephew's quilt. I am planning to use a pinwheel pattern for it, and am debating which method is best.

I love the method of tracing templates and cutting them out with scissors, then sewing them on the machine - I have a line to follow, always a good thing! But, that method takes a lot of time, and I'm not sure if I want to put that much time into a toddler's quilt, you know?

So, I'm debating other options....there's Thangles, but I've never used them before and I don't want to buy some just for this project. I could do a square template, mark around that and mark the center line to sew on either side of....but again, that's a time-eating process...

I don't know. I mean, it is for my nephew, so putting some time into it isn't necessarily a bad thing - I do love him immensely. But I know it's going to get the love beat out of it, too, so I hesitate to put too much time into it. Of course, the quilt I made for my niece a couple of years ago (hand pieced, hand quilted) has now disappeared and I don't lament over that (too much). So, maybe I'll just go with the method I enjoy and put that love into this quilt, too. I mean, he certainly deserves it :D

Thanks for following along on this foray into my thinking process. I promise to not do this kind of thing too often ;)

Monday, August 31, 2009


Sunday, dear Sis and her family (hubby and nephew) came over for a visit. We spent some time outside and enjoyed the sunshine and cooler temps. When they decided it was time to go, I noticed a large insect on Sis's shirt. It was a live cicada! I've only seen a live one one other time in my life. Thank goodness she isn't queasy about insects! We got him off her and let nephew investigate him a little bit - he wanted to pick it up!

After they left, I went back outside and was chatting with DH when I noticed another cicada! So, I got the first one in the same place and grabbed the camera. 2 in one shot!

I then noticed a shell on the ground beneath the chair I was using to pose the 2 live I had to get a shot of that as well. What a day :)
And yes, I do think they are terribly ugly, but they're so elusive, I just couldn't pass up the opportunity! I think they were hiding underneath the hosta that's next to this chair - I had just dusted it with something to get rid of the japanese beetles and these guys showed up.

Oh - and a Summer Days update: I have about 11 half leaves left on the last border - almost there!!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

A Lost Day

I had every intention of getting a ton of things done today in my sewing room. You see, DH is off photographing a wedding (he's trying to start a business with the photography thing), so I had the house to myself - all day! And I did make it into the sewing room this morning. I even managed to sew 3 or 4 half leaves on that last border of Summer Days. But then I got sleepy. Really sleepy. So I decided to lay down for a nap. 3 hours and 20 minutes later I woke up to the phone ringing....DH calling to say he was at the reception and the wedding went well.

Yay! But I got nothing done yet!!! It's now 7:00 PM and I haven't done anything today! So, I'm on my way back up there and we'll see how I do....wish me luck everyone!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Lovely Gift

My DH's Aunt is a wonderful person. Since she never married or had children, she dotes on her 2 nephews - and well, on me too!

About 8 years ago, she gave me this for Christmas. Isn't it beautiful?

She made it with plastic canvas. When you lift the top, you see inside she constructed little sections for me to put things...

And when you lift that, you see there is another layer of sections!

I just love it. I use it to store all of my perl cottons and Kreiniks (as you can see). When I think of the time she put into it, it just makes me smile to know she loves me :)

I forgot to add a picture of the circles of my Circle Quilt the other day. These are what I'm working on when I watch football with DH. The circles finish to 1 3/8" (if I recall correctly), and I was lucky enough to find stickers in that exact size. So, I'm running a basting stitch in the seam allowance and pulling the fabric tight against the stickers. I've experimented and found out I can't iron with the stickers still there, so I'm letting them sit for a while, and when I'm ready to start sewing them on the quilt, I hope the fabric will remember it's crease and I can just pull out the sticker and go. If not, a quick dab of the iron should do the trick.

Oh! We found our first pumpkin yesterday!! DH and I decided to plant 2 pumpkin plants this year. We had wanted to do a whole garden, but we just don't have the yard space for these 2 plants were our consolation. We didn't clear an area for them, just plopped them in the ground behind the grill area about 6 weeks ago or so. They've been blooming each morning for a while, but yesterday, we found our first pumpkin - we were so excited! And today, I see there is another :) Can't wait for Halloween so we can use them to decorate :)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

It's the Journey for Me

If your favorite kind of blog entry is one about a finished project, my blog probably won't be on your favorite's list. You see, I just don't seem to get many things to the finished stage. Don't get me wrong, I love a happy dance as much as the next gal, but it's not what drives me. For me, it's the journey.

I usually start a new project with the pattern. I am not and will probably never be an "art quilter." Maybe it comes from my history as a cross-stitcher, but for me, my jumping off place for a new quilt is the pattern. I never feel comfortable when I try to start a quilt from the fabric-pulling stage - I always have a pattern in mind when I raid my stash. Now, that doesn't mean I won't make changes to the pattern - quilt or cross-stitch - but I don't like to start from nothing. I have to have a plan to work from.

I've even considered translating a photograph into a quilt. But I can't just look at the photo and start creating the quilt from bits of cloth and thread, oh no. I have to come up with a way to enlarge the photo onto paper so I can make templates. Of course, the easiest way to manage this is with a projector and a dark room. Unfortunately, I don't own or have access to one. So, I'm stalled, waiting for inspiration to strike and show me a different way to get my templates.

Don't get me wrong, I love the process I choose to make my quilts. That's what keeps drawing me back to the craft. The more handwork a project has, the more I love it. I'm actually considering giving my rotary cutters and cutting mats away and going back to templates. They're tried and true and I get much better results using temmplates than I ever did with a rotary cutter. Plus, it connects you to your project more, the more you handle it. You stitch more memories into it the longer you work on it. Heck, I've got projects that I've been working on for over 8 years, and I love them as much now as the first day I started working on them. I'm almost afraid to finish some of them - it will be like losing a good friend that I could sit down and enjoy the evening with.

On that note - I'd like to share a couple of things I did manage to get finished. These are my carry-along goody bags. The first one is my current favorite. I got the pattern as a free insert from Connecting Threads when I purchased a fabric pack. You can find it here, with a different fabric pack than the one I bought.

(I have no idea how the link to the above picture was goofed up...sorry - I also don't know how to fix it)

I changed the pattern slightly by stuffing one of the inner pockets with fiberfill and stitching the top closed, rather than constructing a round pincushion for the bottom of the inside. I still want to add beads to the drawstrings, but I haven't made the time yet. As you can see, it holds everything I need to work quite well, and when it is closed, it becomes small enough to toss into my bag for work so I have everything I need for breaks and lunches.

This next one is another favorite of mine. I made this one from a pattern that was given to me (I don't know where it came from). I modified it again by making the outer layer of fabric a solid piece, rather than construct the flying geese that the pattern calls for. It's a good way to use a favorite piece of fabric.

The ends are stuffed so they can be used as temporary pincushions. Long-term needle/pin storage is inside the flap, though, so nothing comes up missing during transport. It holds quite a bit, as well, and is very compact, too. You may notice on the close-up of the following picture that the end circles are a bit worse for wear. That would be because Pips, our dog, got a hold of this when he was a puppy and thought it tasted very good. Luckily, I was able to rescue it before he did too much damage, and just a bit of minor repair got it back to decent shape again.

Oh! And in case you thought I had forgotten about Summer Days, I finished the 3rd border last weekend! I tried to get "artsy" with the photo, so it's not the best, but I'm still learning how to do this whole photography thing. I'm working on the last border now and hope to get it done in the next week or two.