Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Inside projects

So let's talk about indoor projects a bit. I've been in my house now over a year and have been collecting things to put on the walls. I am slowly starting to put things up.  This little montage is in my dining room.  The Amazing Grace sign was white and I just did a thin coat of a super light pink to get it to pop.

The close up here is a quilt square I made to fit in this 9 inch square frame. I know it's hard to see but on the top lefthand corner is a fabric I have been hoarding for seriously at least 15-17 years!!!  The fabric is too thin to use in an actual quilt but I thought, here's my chance!  Oh how I love that couple caught in a tango. 
And next is this bookshelf.  I don't have a before picture but if you can imagine a crappy unloved, dirty and stained wooden shelf then you'll get an idea of what the before was! haha!  But, I took a step out of my comfort zone and bought an electric hand held sander and went for it!  It was so much fun. So. Much. Fun. The hum of the sander drowns out all sound and it's just you and the wood and once you get the outer layer off the beauty starts to show itself. Then I could see the potential.  I did like 2 coats of mahogany which I did not love so I followed it with a dark brown (don't remember the color name) minwax stain.  

Before I got in my sewing room and books loaded on it I still wasn't sure.  But that's the great thing with natural wood, you can always start over again!  But, I really do like it so it's a win!  This is just to the side of my sewing machine table in corner.

Hmmm, I don't know if I've introduced this hutch yet?  Well if I have sorry to repeat myself!  This is currently housing my yarn and sewing patterns and lots of miscellaneous stuff!  But, I wanted something I could close the doors and hide some of my clutter so it works perfectly.

I finished this little red white and blue pom pom banner just in time for 4th of July. It's so cheery and has a bit of sparkle in it which I know you can't tell in the picture.

So I guess that's it for now. I had a lot to catch up with so I tried to break it into smaller posts but each one became it's own.  I think we're up to current though.  I do update more frequently on instagram because it's so easy to do!  But, I know I'll keep my blog going as well because I tend to have more than just a caption to say on things.  

Speaking of more to say, I have more to say.  I'm still bumping along my widowhood journey as I know I always will. Lately, if it wasn't for this house to focus my time and energy into and my Mom to talk to, I wouldn't be in a great head space. Life at this stage can be kind of lonely...and there are occasional setbacks emotionally.  I am thanking God for getting me through. I am slowly realizing that even though I am building a new dream and home for myself in the singular, Scott is still there always in my heart. In the beginning after he first died I did not think that was possible and felt I would be betraying him somehow. I guess I just wanted to put that out there for anyone else that may be at the beginning - the pain never leaves but it does change, you learn to live with it. And while I scoffed at the idea of "moving on", there is a way to live on still holding love in my heart.  I will always miss him every day, that will never change. 

Monday, July 3, 2017

of socks and quilts

Okay, so, I finished a sock!  yippee!  My friend Leigh came out with a set of socks on Ravelry called Louleigh's Simple Socks (click for link). I followed the stitch pattern for the "Socks with holes in" and have really enjoyed it!  The pattern is written for cuff down but is easily modified to do toe up, which is my preferred method. I just have gotten my toe and measurements down so I just figure out the pattern repeat and plug it into my numbers.

For the heel I did the Sockmatician Toe Ups (click for link) by Nathan Taylor. I did that heel on my last socks but didn't quite understand what I was doing so gave it another go.  This time around I think it definitely clicked better and I had left myself a couple of notes that helped as well. My gauge is super tight though so I had to consciously relax my hands.  That's no fault of the pattern obviously! ha!  The yarn is exactly as everyone says about self striping: it is addictive!  I just kept feeling like ooooh I want to see the next color.

In quilting news: I started this donut quilt.  Not sure when? Maybe April or March?  Anyways I had seen a quilt pattern called Donuts which is by Johanna Masko. (click for link) I liked the idea but did not initially want to make it. Really what it comes down to is that I did not want to buy the pattern, which is generally what it comes down to with me and quilt patterns.  

But the idea kept coming back up. So I figured out my own pattern based on the shape.  Really if you look at it you can see that it is a cross between a nine patch and road to Tennessee blocks. I have not seen the pattern in person so I don't know what the pattern measurements and finished block sizes are, so I figured out the size I wanted to end up with and went from there!  Right now I'm not planning a border.  Each square color represents a different flavor.  Chocolate brown, Berry, lemon, blueberry, sprinkles, strawberry, honey, lime.  I think I'm going to do one more row and then call it good.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

how does your garden grow?

I've got lots of updates in my yard to share today.  We'll start in the back yard which is honestly still pretty grody but has had a lot of progress made.  
In the picture on the left is where I ended last summer.  I had killed everything in the back yard and moved over the garden frame which was on the other side of the yard completely in the shade.  The garden box was already here when I bought the house last year.  The photo on the right shows the beginning of this spring.  When everything started coming up green I was so excited! Then, after the first cutting I realized it was all fox tails!!!! Rude. So, I set about pulling them - by hand.  It's verrrry slow going as you can imagine. But! If I weed eat them the heads that have the seeds just go on the ground so this way I am eliminating some of the seeds.

And here we have the day I planted the garden!!!!  Oh that was an exciting day for sure.  I bought already grown plants for most things. Next year I will start things from seed indoors.  I'm learning, slowly but surely!  See that cart in the background?  That is my weeding cart. I try and fill at least one or two cart fulls every day. This past couple of weeks I have not been hitting that mark but still do something every chance I can. Slow and steady I am reclaiming my back yard!

So photo on the left after a nice drenching rain. Photo on the right this afternoon.  I thinned out the onions in the bottom lefthand corner so I know it looks bleak but they are just thin shoots but still there.

 And I have baby tomatoes!!!!!!!  Oh happy day!  I have one group that will be yellow pears and another group of cherry tomatoes.  I have not had any success growing tomatoes up here in the past so this is very exciting!

Now for the front yard. The front is like a whole different house. Ha! My HOA takes care of the lawn in the front yard, keeping it green, aerating and mowing.  So it's lush in front and weed free.  I have two flower beds, one on either side of my walkway.  This first picture is in front of my living room window and there's a bit of a covered porch area behind the roses.  The roses and rhubarb were already here, and the rest before I started planting was grass and weeds.  I pulled everything out back to dirt and planted flowers.  The purple is veronica, in front of that are pink carnations, next is a spirea that is small now but will be a shrub eventually. 

The flower bed on the other side I don't have as many photos yet.  On that side there is a giant rose bush that was already there, and tucked behind it was a clump of lilies. It also was full of grass and weeds. I did the same thing here, pulled it all back to dirt.  There are also a bunch of rocks so it makes me think at one point maybe it was filled in with gravel? Anyway, I thinned out the lily plant and divided it into 6 plants and spaced those evenly in front. In the back row on either side of the rosebush I alternated lavender and purple salvia.  In between each lily plant I put in some iris tubers that a friend gave me from her garden.

Everything is filling in very well, which makes me happy.  I can see what I want it all to look like in my mind's eye.  I know it's going to take a long time to get rid of the weeds and replace with healthy grass and flowers. But! With God's grace I have hope.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

slow mo socks

So I took a bit of a social media break for Lent. I am not Catholic but I do like to try and do Lent. I find I learn something valuable each time I do.  This year was no different. I learned a lot about my motivations. I found that I didn't really miss facebook except for friends and family who actually post things about their real lives. I did not miss at all, even a bit, the memes and videos and junk that clog up my feed.  That bit I could do completely without.  Which is why Instagram was so hard to give up for me. But even Instagram has a bit of a disconnect sometimes in the personal-ness that I crave.  When it comes down to it, nothing is a substitute for real life relationships! The thing is, in my real life I am pretty limited when it comes to crafty folk that I click with so I try to piece together podcasts, instagram, facebook, ravelry to make up for it.  I think that's pretty common really.

Anyways! Just a little explanation of where I've been for awhile.  I did get some knitting done.  Not as much as I thought I would really.  I started this pair of socks on Christmas Eve to join along with Dani (Little Bobbins) Christmas Eve Cast On.  I decided to try out a new heel on this pair, a pattern by Nathan Taylor called Sockmatician's Toe Ups which you can find on Ravelry. I've also linked the pattern.  

I just have to say that I did not at all get what I was doing in this pattern!!!  I really only followed the heel part of the pattern so that's all I can speak to.  This was my first sort of traditional heel flap gusset type heel and it did not make any sense to me!  I think if I had done one previously it would make more sense because now that I have done these it makes sense.  The first sock luckily I put in a life line, I ripped that heel back probably 3 times. 

At some point it finally clicked for me what I should be doing.  I did knit these concurrently to try out that method, not sure that is really my bag.  I don't get second sock syndrome, in fact, I think the finishing of the first one is so exciting it spurs me to finish the second quicker.  But, I am very, very happy with the outcome on these.  They fit so well!  I will definitely try the heel again, they fit so well and look great.

This next project I actually started while I was at the coast for Scott's 4th Angelversary.  I find it comforting to be on the beach on that day.  It's just a hard day no matter what but going to the beach that we loved makes it easier.  Listening to the ocean is healing.

I had Rocky with me again this year, by now he's familiar with the routine.  He pretty much napped the whole day while I looked for agates, journaled and knit.  I bought this yarn last year at the little shop in Crescent City. It reminds me of the redwood trees all along Highway 101 in Northern California.  I'm calling this shawl my Humboldt 101 Shawl.  The pattern is Whispering Pines by Molly of A Homespun House, I've linked the pattern.  It's been really nice to work on something with a bit bigger needles that is growing pretty quickly.  After the slow mo socks it's perfect!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

My Georgie girl

This little turkey cat just has to be in the middle of everything!  So this my sweet kitty girl George.  Last weekend I had cut out 6 project bags and was sewing them production line style and she was putting a kink in the works at every turn!  Here you can see her laying right on top of my fabric.

As if that were not intrusive enough, as I was sewing she would put her little face through my sewing machine!  Inspector George!  I would gently push her back which I assume she interpreted as affection because then she really came through the machine seeking attention :) Silly girl

So today is much of the same except today she keeps getting into my chair when I get up to iron something!  Gotta love her πŸ’—πŸ’—

Sunday, January 29, 2017

sewing update

Okay, fair warning: there are lots of photos in this post! Sorry about it.  I've taken too long of a break and now need a bit of a catch up.  

First, a word about the break. I discovered that my blog was being spammed, which did no harm really.  But it did discourage me.  I thought real people were reading my blog but it was just computer spam and grody porn links.  I guess seeing the number of "readers" go up made me feel like I was connecting with other crafty people. When I found out that wasn't the case it made me feel sour to blogging.

But! I'm not going to let it keep me down.  I know my Mom sometimes reads and maybe a handful of real I'm going to get back to it.

So even though I haven't been blogging I have been very busy crafting!  Yes, yes.  I am not going to share every little thing but here are some favorites.  I have a knitty friend in my bible study who I noticed did not have a proper project bag.  I sewed one up, realized it was too small, and made another bigger. I kept the smaller one as it is perfect for socks!  
Mom: if you can tell in this picture below - the bottom bit of this bag is the fabric I was telling you about.  You can click directly on the picture to make it bigger. It's like a thicker cotton and natural.  I really love the contrast.

I have a window box above my sink in the kitchen that George likes to jump up into.  I made a little kitty mat for her to make it a bit more cozy.  I used some of my very favorite hoarded fabrics. Grin 😊There's little piggies and all fun whimsy.

And there she is in the window box, Miss George herself.

This is my latest zipper pouch make.  The natural/off white is cotton duck so it's really sturdy and nice. Then I just did a strip of a favorite print and crochet cotton trim.  This has gone into my storage box to sell at a later date.

This next project was one of those ones you don't really see coming. But it had to be made!  After I took down all the Christmas decorations the house was a bit bare (not really). Right now is like limbo time for holiday decorating.  There is still snow on the ground so Spring doesn't feel right yet but I'm over Winter..... So!  I'm just putting up colorful stuff that makes me happy.  

Last year I made a similar pattern for a pillow and really love it.  I figured out some larger measurements and voila!

Here it is up on the mantel.  Sorry the lighting is pretty much crap as the sun has gone down.  I know it's hard to see but the main fabric is the most delicate pink and I bound the quilt with black and white stripes. Oh yeah, you can see the pillow on the chair on the right that inspired this quilt.  I have to say it's super easy but the effect is striking (to me).

Welp, I think that's pretty much it for now. Next time I think I'll share more knitted items because I have been up to that as well.  Have a great week!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

giving rusty chairs new life

I've started a project that is kind of exciting and out of my regular wheelhouse. Kind of.  It involves rusty chairs and spray paint.

It all started really by buying this house.  That has a dining room.  And space. And I have friends. That I like. That may want to come over sometime.  It's kind of around that time when you invite peeps over that you realize you need chairs for said peeps to sit on.  While I do have a good amount of chairs (6), what if friends bring friends?  What then?!  You need more chairs, temporary chairs.

So, I found some old rusty fold up chairs that are actually really sturdy.  I thought maybe I can give them new life?  Pretty paint, perhaps.  Yes!
Here we are at the beginning after a bath, drying in the sun that lasted a couple hours this morning.  One is very, very rusty and the other is on it's way to very, very rusty.
I sprayed the chairs with a rust primer by Rustoleum.  One can covered both chairs!  They already look so much better!
After the primer dried I sprayed two coats of color.  I picked two really bright, fun colors that I like.  That way if I find more grody chairs I can just pick a bright color and they will match without having to be exactly the same.  Now I'm waiting for the paint to dry and catching up on podcasts.  I figured I'd cover the top with the most paint then flip them and spray the bottom a bit.
Here are the dry chairs:
So, now that I have them inside the house with good lighting I can tell that I missed spots on the pink chair.  Does it bother me enough to buy another can of spray paint??? Not sure yet. I also need to find rubber feet for the ends of the chair legs as a few legs are missing them.  But!  Don't these look better than the rusty grody chairs at the beginning?  I would actually feel comfortable sitting on one of these, which was the point.

What I learned: 
* When the can says don't spray on a windy day, it means it.
* Good lighting is key to full coverage
* pick colors that are fun!
* Patience, patience, patience. Waiting for the paint to dry is key before touching!
* Don't give up on grody rusty chairs, paint can do wonders