Sunday, October 2, 2016

off to a good start

I have a couple of finishes to share with you this week.  Lately, I've been in a stitching mood, like cross stitch.  Mostly because I want the finished product, ha!  I really love the Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery patterns and follow them on Instagram.  Right now one of their new patterns is Trick or Treat Costume Club.  I dig it, but know for myself I need a quicker project.  I saw that there was a smaller pattern similar to the bigger one in the Halloween special issue of Just CrossStitch magazine.    
It turned out so cute!!!  I was going to just clip it on this little pedestal I have on my entryway table.  But, then I remembered seeing some people make little cushions with little patterns.  I did add rick rack around the edges and a ribbon loop.  So, the magazine pattern had a light grey fabric but I could not find any grey cross stitch fabric locally and was too impatient to order any! ha! Due to using black I had to rethink the black bits in the pattern.  So the girl's costume I did a light grey and then the bats I decided lime would be fun.

 So this next project I finished yesterday.  It's funny, while I was knitting socks I was trying to hurry up and finish so I could start a little animal.  The last week I've been hurrying to finish this little mouse so I can start socks! ha
I've made this pattern before basically.  It's the Mrs. Bakery Bear pattern by Kay Jones of the Bakery Bears podcast.  In the previous incarnation I altered the bear pattern to a kitten.  I thought I'd be making another kitten when I started this pattern.

I think I've said before that I feel like a pattern "speaks" to me while I'm making it.  I know that makes me sound crazy.  But, while I'm knitting, crocheting or sewing a doll or animal I start to think of it's story.  Which then influences how the stuffie is made.  This one did not really have a story, which is why it took me until I had finished all the pieces except the nose and ears.  She also does not have a name yet which is also unusual for me.

I'm really pleased with her nose.  I followed the pattern for the bear and thought I'd see if I could make it pointy like a snout.  I did a couple extra decrease rows and that worked!  Then, I stitched the light pink across the point several times to fill it in and then went round to shape it.  The little smile is really what made her personable!  

And the ears.  How sweet are they?  The modification I made on these were stitching them in stockinette instead of garter.  I knew I was going to line them so I wanted the outer part of the ear to be more like the rest of the body, which is stockinette.  I thought about lining them with felt but then changed my tune to fabric.  This has the tiniest rosettes.  I sewed some half circles into the middle of the ear and then pulled the edges towards the center to kind of gather the ear, then sewed them to the head.  I think it worked well.  I'll update once I get the dress finished.

So, I know it's Fall but today really feels like Winter already!  We've had rain, hail and currently it is 40 degrees out!  Brrrrrrr.  I did catch this rainbow in my back yard!  It was a full rainbow but since I was pretty close could only get a portion.  So pretty!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

cool pen and yarn dyeing

I am blaming this post on Walmart!!!  baha.  I am still feeling very puny and sick.  I went in for juice, soup and cold medication (and maybe a vacuum). I came out with a lot more than that!  Truthfully, it was my own fault for going in without a firm list.  
This first item, not on the list, is actually really, really cool.  It may be old news to other quilters out there but it was new to me.  A friend of mine had given me a sewing box that had been her grandmother's after she passed away.  Her grandma was a quilter and in the mixture there was a bright pink pen.  The ink disappears when you iron over it!  I used it completely up!  I have looked at Joann's, Michael's and a quilt store and did not find another like it.  So.  Today in Walmart I was walking by the office supplies and thought "I wonder?" Sure enough!
This second blank picture is after ironing over the spot I had written in the red ink. Love. It.  

Right. Here's where things get a little dicey.  Somehow I ended up in the yarn section.  I think I was walking by and a bright white skein caught my eye.  Like bare yarn.  I thought that was interesting, I entered the aisle....and that led to me deciding I should learn to dye my own yarn!!!!  You see how these things can just "happen", right?

There were only a few colors so I went a couple aisles over and found the tie dye colors.  Much better selection.  I don't know if it will actually work.  But thought I'd give it a go.  The yarn is a cotton lace weight 50g hank.  They also had a chunkier cotton.
I put the yarn in this plastic lid. 
The dye was already in these little bottles, just added water.  Easy peasy.

The yarn did not initially accept the dye.  Once it was wet though it did.  It may be a good idea to start with wet yarn next time.  The dye was super saturated.  I put on the light pink, then squished in the darker.  Then the purple which initially was like black.  Then, I took the black and spattered it over everything.  At that point the yarn was wet with the other colors so the spatter stuck well.  
I did not follow the instructions on the box.  After the dye was placed you were supposed to wrap it in plastic for 6-8 hours.  But, I decided to rinse it in cold water and woolite.  That lightened the color considerably to what you see above.  

I have it drying outside.  I can't wait to see what it will be!!!  50g could maybe be a short pair of socks???  For socks I usually start with 100g and I have a ton left over.  Anyway it was mostly just for fun, an experiment.

I did also come home with a hard floor vacuum.  I love it!  Even though Rocky is a short hair and doesn't shed horribly there still ends up being a ton of hair!  Sweeping was just getting old.  It's small, easy to put together and inexpensive.  So there's that.

Ok. For reals I am doing nothing for the rest of the day! I hope you all have a great week.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Fall finishes and award winning socks

I have a lot to catch up on!  Yikes.  
 This year I decided to enter some hand knits into the fair.  I entered my Duchess of Devonshire shawl, which won an "honorable mention"!  I already knew I had won on this because of friend of mine had sent me a picture while she was at the fair letting me know!  Last Friday night I made it out to the fair to check everything out.  I found my shawl first, as it was in the aisle on this mannequin figure.
Next I had entered these socks.  I thought they were fun with the contrasting colors and silver stellina.  I had written little note cards on each item telling the yarn, the pattern, when I started and ended each project.  I thought the judges might like to know?  These socks didn't win anything but it was still fun to find them in the showcase!
And here's the big surprise!!!  I got a first place prize ribbon for my eyelet socks!  Wooo hooo!  I truly did not expect to win, at all.  One of the doctors at the clinic I work at had entered a pair of socks that were cables cuff to toe and I thought for sure those would win! She did win 3rd place.  My first place was a shock!  I didn't realize it at the time but I also won $10 :)  I thought the prize was the ribbon - even bigger surprise!  Now every time I wear these socks I will remember they are prize winners. ha!

Last weekend I finished up these Halloween quilted items.  There's a couple pillow cases, a table runner (in front, folded) and a table topper.  I'm giving the table topper to a friend.  I bound them all with a thin black and white striped fabric, so fun!

The other quilted item I worked on last weekend and finished the binding today was this mini quilt.  When I bought this house with the fireplace, I knew that the open space above the mantle would be perfect for mini quilts!!!  

Honestly I think I could go a bit bigger but I like it.

The pattern did not have the little borders in between the o's.  I sort of wish I hadn't done those now, but meh.  I sort of like it.  Sort of don't.  But, it's not like I hate it and it's ok.  I really love the fabrics I used, they are sort of Fall but I think can also be used at other times too, you know?  I didn't use anything that screams, this is only Fall!  

Since I had finished that up I started putting out decorations.  I wasn't going to because my energy is super low.  I've had a cold all week and it has just drained my mojo.  boo.  But!  This week it is officially Fall so I just took my time.

It was fun because I had put things on the mantle, then take a step back and was like, nope.  Still needs something or don't like's now pretty close to really great!  ha.  Also!  I almost, almost forgot this little turkey pillow!  I did forget it last year.  

It's so fun having this new house, a new layout of furniture and surfaces to decorate.  That was one thing I *loved* doing at our old house when my husband was alive.  Every season I would take everything down, unpack the new season and enjoy all the things I've collected and love.  It's been 3.5 years since he died and I'm just now starting to want to do that again and get a bit of joy from it.

In knitting news I am almost finished with all the parts for a little animal.  There's nothing to really show since nothing is sewn together yet.  It's been nice since my energy has been like nothing to have just little pieces to knit and finish.  I'm really missing having a sock on the go though!  Oh! I found a new podcast (to me) that I really like!  It's called Bookend Knits, you can find it on youtube here.  It is seriously cracking me up.  It's two ladies who are identical twins, they chat about knitting, books, yarn, nerdy stuff....and they are quirky.  I love quirky!  So, I have been binge watching them, I'm on episode 4.

I just have to say that I'm so glad I found podcasts.  Mostly knitting podcasts.  In my real, regular life I know a few knitters but that's just about all we have in common.  The podcasts I really like also read, do other crafts, they have a sense of humor.  It's nice to "chat" with them!  If you don't watch podcasts I know that may sound funny but most podcasters also have some type of forum where you can interact, ask questions and such.  Anyway, I just wanted to say it's been nice to have that connection.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

not getting sick

I'm having that feeling like my body is right on the cusp of getting sick.  Like a tingle in my nose, low energy, a little rasp in the throat.  But, I am not getting sick!  I am telling my immune system it is so strong, there is no virus that can compare!  Oh and lots of  Airborne and water.  So I've been laying low this weekend.  I still got some crafty progress made but not as much as I had planned.

Late this week, maybe Thursday?  I finished my socks!  Yeah :)
So glad to finish these.  I really liked the pattern, which was the Blueberry Waffles pattern, which is free on Ravelry.  The yarn was a Crazy Zauberball, which was really fun to knit with.  Since the yarn was pretty thin I just went with my regular cast on which is 64 stitches.  The pattern calls for 52 stitches on DK weight with 3.75 mm needles.  Sock yarn is quite a bit smaller and I also use US size 1 needles (2.25mm).  It worked out quite nicely, as you can see they fit really well.

 For the last couple of weeks I've really been wanting to be knitting a little animal! But I made myself finish my socks first, I didn't want them languishing.  So last night I cast on what I think will be a little kitten.  I'm using the Mrs. Bakery Bear pattern by Kay Jones and I'll just change the face and ears.  I've done that before, I really like her pattern and it's easy enough to alter.  The yarn is just acrylic, it's very soft and has a bit of a halo.
This morning after knitting a bit I moved into the sewing room.  And so did George.  Here she is taking over the cutting side of my sewing table!  She was quite determined to stay right there.

Eventually she did move and I got some cutting done.  The top row you've seen before but now it's sewn into squares.  The rest of the squares I've been playing with.  On the left, second row, was my first attempt to figure out the  Thimble Blossoms Cheerio pattern. I could tell it was a variation of the "road to Tennessee" classic block but with the little squares and a widened center.  I finally gave in and bought the pattern (!) which usually I'm too cheap to do.  I'm blaming feeling under the weather.  I just didn't have the brain power to keep up the math guessing game!  

I was really really close though on the math!!  Oh well.  So, the circlet with the white center is the official Cheerio pattern.  For me, it's all about those little squares!!!  I just love them.  So, I am debating if that will become a pillow top or maybe a runner with some other fun Fall fabrics?  My first attempt is going to be a Halloween pillow.  It kind of looks like one of those floaty rings on boats!  

Welp, that's about all the happenings here.  Hope the end of your Summer is going well - Labor day next weekend!  For me, that's like the end of Summer....except when I lived in Chico and it would still be like super hot into October.  Fall is right around the corner!  Pumpkin everything here we come :)

Sunday, August 14, 2016

It's not pretty

Every year around this time I start to look forward to Fall.  And I start to trick myself a little bit and start doing Fall things.  Like I want to wear sweaters and be cozy, light Fall scented candles, drink pumpkin spice flavored coffee...all the things.  Last week it was really chilly at night and morning so I really felt like the weather was feeling the same as me - looking forward to Fall! ha!

Actually, that's one of the things I love about where I live is that I look forward to each season.  Winter not as much because driving on ice is not my favorite.  But a nice thick snowfall when I don't have to go anywhere is actually really sweet.  The other day I found pumpkin spice coffee creamer at the store and of course bought some and I've been enjoying it all week.

I'm trying to remember if I've talked about my back yard or not?  I think I have.  Anyways.  I killed all the grass and weeds and now it is a dead zone.  I am planning to reseed in September or whenever the temps are between 60-80 degrees consistently during the day.  Before that can happen though I have a LOT of work to do out there.  As per usual I could feel myself starting to get overwhelmed and then avoid the situation.  But!  I told myself if I just do a little at a time I'll be done in no time.

Right?  So what do I do?  Start small and take little bites?  Nope.
Yesterday I thought, I'll just start with weeding and cleaning out the raised bed area.  It's small.  So I raked and filled two trash bags full of grody foxtails and debris.  And then I thought, I'll just see if the sides lift up easily.  One side sort of did which encouraged me to dig out around the edges and lift the entire frame up over the dirt and start to move it across the yard.  In the heat of the afternoon in the sun.

Luckily I did not get sunburned but it was hard!  I'd pull and push it a couple feet then have to stop and cool down.  Then get back to it, then stop, and so on.  I kept telling myself, "you can do it, you can do it."  And eventually I did.  You can see here where I started at the dirt pile and then where I ended up on the other end of the yard.  I know in this picture it doesn't look like that far, but it really is!  Oy vey.

I parked it at the bottom of the little hill there. I wanted to leave a nice open space in the rest of the yard in case Rocky and I play fetch or something, give him room to run.  Also it gets the most continuous sun here.  The shade you see here did not start until 5 pm.  

I was kind of hoping to put an apricot tree at the top of that sloped area, there is a flat spot at the top.  But, I don't know if that will work or not.  Eventually I am going to put flowers on the hill.  I'd really love to get a cottage type garden growing there and then have the rest of the yard be lawn.  

This perspective is from inside the house looking out.  George, being a curious cat, is checking out the new situation.

So, I know these pictures are super ugly and not fun to look at, but I wanted to be able to document my starting place.  Hopefully I can manage to get everything green by next year and that box full of veggies!  My goal is to grow the ingredients for my pickles.  I thought that would be really cool.  So, cucumbers, dill, garlic and jalapenos.  I would also love some tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, lemon cucumbers and who knows what else!  

In other news I have finally gotten past the heel on sock number 2 of my raspberry waffles socks!!!  Yeah!  This yarn is so fun.  I think if I can really work on it this week I can finish this sock and have it finished!  
I hope you all have a great week!  I plan to knit and keep watching the Olympics :)

Sunday, August 7, 2016

slowly but surely

A couple of weeks ago now, I had an appointment with my hairdresser to get my highlights done and trim.  On a whim I sent her a text to see if we could put some pink peek-a-boo chunks in.  I don't even know what got into me!  But, I love it!  You really only see it when I've got my hair pulled back or wind blows or something.

I started a Halloweenie table runner.  So far I just have everything up on the design wall and one square done, the one in the middle.  It was kind of fun to drag out all my Halloween fabric, there's not really that much and pull together what felt right at the moment.  Joann's has some fun Jack Skellington Nightmare Before Christmas fabric.  I cut too many squares and then overshot my estimate of how many half square triangles to make so I have enough leftovers to make a pillow as well.

I keep knitting away on my Raspberry Waffle socks.  This is where I am on the second sock, almost to the heel.  I'm really loving how this yarn is knitting up.  The colors are much deeper in person.  

I really have a hankering to be knitting a little animal of some kind.  But!  I am forcing myself to finish this sock before I cast something else on.  I'm afraid if I don't make myself finish it will languish for months. Plus, I have yet to find some fuzzy yarn in the right weight....

So!  I think I've mentioned before that the plan this year for my yard was to see what grows and then next year start filling in and fixing and planting.  Yep, that was the plan.  Key word was.  What has actually started to happen is that I'm starting the fixing this year.  Rather by accident.  I mentioned the sad weedy state of my back yard to a coworker and her husband and then all of a sudden they were like we found this spray, you should try it, blah blah you can re-seed in September, blah blah.....

And so I found myself planning how to start a new lawn from scratch.  Any real grass has been long dead and overtaken by foxtails.  Foxtails are no fun and frankly they are rude to animals.  It looks like grass at first, so I was fooled.  But, then the ends turned into foxtails, which pop off and get stuck everywhere!  ugggg. 

The new plan is that I have killed everything green in the back yard.  Don't feel bad though because all that was left were foxtails and spindly spiky dandelions.  I am then going to somehow remove all the dead stuff, rake out the dirt, fertilize and re-seed, cover with either a mulch or compost and then hopefully have grass growing.  

In the meantime!  My Mom brought me a red hot poker plant when she came to visit and I needed to plant it.  I have a couple of flower beds right up against the house in the back.  One is full of weeds, the other was full of rocks.  Nice, huh?  LOL I picked the one I thought would be easier - the rocks - and raked them out.  I bought another couple poker plants and it looks really nice!  

After church today I popped over to Joann's fabric, looking for fuzzy yarn to knit an animal.  I found a few contenders but nothing perfect.  On my way out I stopped to check the magazines. Look what I found!  Eeeek!  I can't figure out how to turn the picture, sorry.  But!  Bunny slippers!  That are not felted!!!!!  oh, it is ON!  

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


I totally meant to post this weekend but ran out of time!  I actually got a lot done on Sunday, much needed house chores.  Saturday night I started weeding - wild night at my house!  My strategy was to have the sprinkler soak a section of yard, move the sprinkler and weed the soaked spot.  For the most part the weeds just came right out that way.

My internal alarm clock has been going off super early lately - like 3 or 4 am.  Yuck.  But, I can sometimes fall back to sleep a little bit.  Sunday morning I was up at like 5:30am.  I decided to take advantage of the coolness of the morning and start weeding.  I set the sprinkler in the back yard and weeded the front flower beds.  Then, I'd go in the back, move the sprinkler and weed back there.  I kept hopscotching back and forth until about 10:30am and I got it alllllll weeded!  Here's Rocky looking over my dead weeds.  This was really only about 1/3 of it, I had three giant trash bags full besides what's on the ground here!  While the yard was still damp I sprinkled 'weed and feed' over it in the hopes of bringing some of the grass back to life.
I have to say that my back and legs were SO sore Sunday and the next few days!  OMG.  Like so sore.  My next yard challenge is going to be pulling the foxtails out of my raised bed, and cleaning rocks out of the flower beds in the back.  Next month I am going to see if I can re-seed the grass.  The weed and feed container said I need to wait 30 days to re-seed.

Saturday morning I made it to farmer's market.  I was looking for cucumbers.  Last year I totally spaced it until the end of the Summer and by that time pickings were few.  I got there about mid morning and there were still lots of cukes!  I bought a few pounds, fresh garlic, jalapenos and dill.  Super fresh, beautiful, fragrant produce!  Perfect for pickles.

Sunday afternoon I set about making some spicy garlic dill pickles.  I know I've said before that canning is so much easier in my new kitchen, but seriously it is SO nice!  I've got lots of counter areas which made it cool to have "stations".  I also love my dishwasher!  I washed the jars while I was cleaning up the cucumbers and cutting the jalapenos and peeling the garlic.  The water started to boil right about when the dishwasher cycle ended which was perfect for processing.  The jars need to be warm so that when you add the jars to the boiling water it's not a shock - there's a chance a jar could break if it's put in cold.  I've never had that happen but it's better to be safe.

It never ceases to impress me how pretty pickles are.  My kitchen smelled so delicious!

After finishing the pickles I wanted to get some sewing done.  I went into the sewing room and who did I find in the closet snuggled with fabric?  George!  How cozy is she?

I decided to make some fabric baskets.  I've been thinking it would be cool to have some to hold random stuff.  I used the measurements from the 1 hour basket tutorial on Craftsy.  I didn't follow the tutorial, just got the measurements from it.  After making this one I wish I had actually read the directions.  Not sure what I was thinking but I left an opening for turning along the top edge instead of the lining!  It would have made my life easier to do it that way - now I'll remember for next time.

I made two at the same time with different facings.  This top one is a super stiff facing.  Not exactly my favorite.  The facing had a "memory" and kept some of the curl from being on the cardboard bolt.  I'm not a fan.  Plus turning it inside out was a super pain.  boo

This second one I used a soft fleecy facing that I use for my project bags.  I was pleasantly surprised that it held up like a basket.  I was afraid it would fold in on itself but it stands up nicely.  Currently I don't have anything in this pink floral one but I'm sure I'll fill it up with something soon!

I plan on making some shorter versions to put on my rolling cart to hold a few things like scissors and such.