Friday, April 28, 2017

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {4/28/17}


Let's Make Baby Quilts Linky Party Rules: 
Link directly to your post or specific Flickr photo. Your post can be about a baby quilt that's finished, or in progress, or you can be writing about what you have planned,  as long as it's about baby quilts. You're welcome to link to baby quilt posts that aren't brand new, but please don't submit the same post or picture more than once. I'd love it if you linked back to my site, either with a text link or the Let's Make Baby Quilts! button.





Thursday, April 27, 2017

{Throwback Thursday} Simple Pleasures

This week's Tuesday Archives over at Val's Quilting Studio is about twin size quilts. I've made a few over the years, but it turns out that I never took good pictures of this one.


Simple Pleasures - Quilt

The pattern name is Simple Pleasures and I know it came from a magazine, but it was back in the days before I even pretended to take good notes. It was finished in 2009 and has been on my oldest son's bed for the past couple of years.

To give you an idea how much time has passed since I quilted this one on the longarm:

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

{Books and Yarn} Lace Rib Socks

Just look at my new socks! It's too bad that you can't feel for yourself how wonderfully dense and squishy the Elann Esprit is. 

Pattern: Lace Rib from Sensational Knitted Socks
Yarn: Elann Esprit  

My original plan for this yarn was Laburnum from the same page of the same book, but the stretchy cotton is a bit of a challenge and I knew my needle tips weren't sharp enough to knit three stitches together that many times. So I went with the easier option and I'm glad I did.

The stitch pattern is simple enough that I didn't have to look at the pattern or keep track of my rows, beyond looking at the last lace row to see which decrease I'd done on that one. I think I've used it before and I know I'll use it again.






The Girl Who Was Taken by Charlie Donlea

Two girls were kidnapped. Megan McDonald escaped the bunker in the woods, became famous, and authored a bestselling book about her experience. Nicole Cutty has still not been found. The focus of The Girl Who Was Taken is less on their kidnapping than on Nicole's older sister, Livia. Livia is training in forensic pathology and waiting for her younger sister's remains to be discovered so that she can finally have answers. It's all a lot more complicated than just two kidnappings and the book, which jumps back and forth from the weeks before the kidnapping to the present and between characters, gets more interesting as it progresses. The autopsies that Livia performs as part of her training are described in extreme detail. I'm not sure I wanted to know so much about decay.



Antiques Frame by Barbara Allen

I love reading about Brandy and her mother and in this book Vivian gets more chapters than usual, which makes it even more fun. Because, in addition to their own reality show, these two are responsible for writing the books about their exploits and talk directly to the reader, letting you know which book to read to catch up on whatever past events they're describing. I started reading this series with the tenth book and I'm still not caught up, but I know which ones I need to read first to get to the bits of back story that intrigue me most. If you like funny cozies that (I hope) could never happen in real life, I highly recommend this one!



No Charm Intended by Mollie Cox Brian

If you're looking for a cozy mystery that will provide you with some vicarious crafting, I highly recommend this one. Cora Chevalier's craft retreats sound absolutely wonderful and include lots of opportunities I'd have never thought of, like digging clay from a nearby riverbank. The mystery is completely separate from the crafting.  I wish that the author would have given more details about the disappearance and the circumstances surrounding it (trying to avoid spoilers here), but the rest of the book was enough to make up for that. I'll be watching for the third book in the series.



A Killer Keepsake by Ellery Adams and Parker Riggs

This has all of the elements I love about cozy mysteries, including an an intriguing series of events and the ability to vicariously enjoy someone else's hobby. And did I mention that there's a haunted doll and a truly chilling backstory that unfolds over the course of the book, explaining her history? I bought the first book in this series a while back, but haven't read it yet. After reading A Killer Keepsake (because of course I'm going to read the one with the haunted doll first) I'm moving that one closer to the top of my to-read-soon pile.

Disclosure -- I was provided with an advance review copies by the publishers. All opinions are my own. This post is linked to Patchwork Times, Crazy Mom Quilts , Wrap up Friday iknead2knit, and  Frontier Dreams  

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

{Thrift Shop Temptations} I Could Start a Collection of These Things...

I could start a collection of bicentennial stuff, but I don't think there's much danger of that actually happening, no matter how much of the stuff I stumble across. This week it was bicentennial tablecloths, two of them in unopened packages. They could go on a table under the lamp...

Bicentennial Lace Tablecloth


Permanent Press for Carefree Elegance

Another exemplification of the outstanding talent of QUAKER's designers and the craftsmanship of their production departments... QUAKER's "1776" cloth - an exciting commemoration of this bicentennial jubilee, depicting the triumph of '76 with many of the proud emblems and symbols of our American independence and heritage. Every family should buy two "1776" cloths - one to use and enjoy throughout our two year celebration of this glorious occasion, and one to save as a cherished keepsake for your children and grandchildren. 

That might explain why there were two of them. But apparently the children and grandchildren didn't see them as a cherished keepsake. From what I could see through the plastic, I can understand why!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Design Wall Monday

There's a moment that comes when I look at a project that's finally finished after many hours of work and can't remember what else there is to be working on. 

And then I remember that I've got this. And some other projects. There's no need to feel lost -- I've got triangles to press, and more to sew, and two inch strips to cut...



Sunday, April 23, 2017

Weekly Stash Report

I need to stop being jealous of everyone else's cute project bags. It's not like I don't have pretty fabric and zippers and the know-how to put them together...


All of these fabrics were in my stash already. I've had the one with the shoes for about four years. The others are considerably newer.

Weekly Stash Report

Fabric used this week: 0 yards
Fabric used year to date: 2 yards
Fabric added this week:  0 yards
Fabric added year  to date: 5 yards
Net added for 2017: 3 yards

Yarn used this Week:  400  yards
Yarn used year to Date: 3250 yards
Yarn added this Week: 0 yards
Yarn added Year to Date: 9350 yards
Net added for 2017: 6100 yards

This post is linked to Patchwork Times.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Have You Seen the Chrome Library Extension?

I'm trying to make it through the year with as few library fines as possible. No fines at all would be ideal, but there are those weeks where something goes unexpectedly wrong. It doesn't make sense knocking myself out to drive 100 miles round trip to avoid a couple of dollars in fines. It does, however, make sense to keep track of the date and renew things on time and give myself a bit of an extra cushion so that I don't have ten books that absolutely have to go back today. 

Our schedule has changed and I'm not always up in town on the same day every week. But guys, I'm making this work! So far in 2017 I haven't had a single fine. 

And I've discovered the neatest Chrome extension ever -- Library Extension. Look what I see when I look up a book on Amazon: 




There, in the upper right hand corner, it tells me whether my local library system has the book. I'm usually good enough to check before buying, but this makes it even easier.

The system isn't perfect. I've had no end of trouble with the new online card catalog, so I'm pretty sure it's to blame...or willing to blame it anyway if it's not. Sometimes it'll give me a different book with the same title. Or tell me a book isn't available if if actually is. But it's also helped me find a lot of books that I wouldn't have thought to check the library for.

I still buy plenty of books, but this helps stretch the budget.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {4/21/17}

April finally had her baby and I missed the actual event after two months of occasional checking in and I'm perfectly okay with that. Watching and trying to interpret her posture was fun. Watching her adorable baby is even more fun.

For those of us who still have giraffes on the brain, I found some cute projects to make.

Ticker Tape Giraffe Quilt
Giraffes, Oh My! Quilt 
Soft Toy Giraffe 
Little Giraffe Hat (knit)



Let's Make Baby Quilts Linky Party Rules: 
Link directly to your post or specific Flickr photo. Your post can be about a baby quilt that's finished, or in progress, or you can be writing about what you have planned,  as long as it's about baby quilts. You're welcome to link to baby quilt posts that aren't brand new, but please don't submit the same post or picture more than once. I'd love it if you linked back to my site, either with a text link or the Let's Make Baby Quilts! button.





Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Mixer Decision


This might be an easier decision to make if I knew which mixer was the one that Grandma actually used. This one is obviously newer, and has an extra set of beaters. Anyone want to tell me what they're for? I'm guessing they're dough hooks.

For this test I made another poke cake, this time with lime Jello because Quinn had a box and wanted me to use it. It was even less photogenic than the first cake, and didn't taste nearly as good...but the mixer was an improvement. The motor sounds smoother and it doesn't have that old appliance smell.

Now Hubby is involved in the decision making process, so I don't know for sure which one we'll wind up with. If Adult Daughter didn't want one, it would be easy.  I'd just keep both!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

{Yarn and Books} Guacamole Socks

 Yarn: Drops Fabel, Guacamole

I was absolutely loving this pair until I picked up a stray sock in my sewing room and realized that the colors are almost identical to the Green Envy socks I made a couple of years back. After that, my enthusiasm faded a bit.

The yarns aren't identical, but they're sure close. Close enough to have me wondering for a brief moment if I'd somehow finished the first sock of the pair and then forgotten it. But that wasn't it -- I had a second skein waiting for me to cast on. It took a search of my own blog to figure out what pair the extra green sock was from.


Yarn: Drops Fabel, Candy 

I know for a fact that I don't have any socks that look like this pair is going to. Purple and green and pink and blue socks are a new thing for me!



I had a hard time getting into Lie to Me by Jess Ryder, and an even harder time sticking with it. I made it the whole way through the book, but it took a few days of off and on reading. Buried in a box of old baby clothes in her father's attic, Meredith finds a VHS tape labeled with what she believes is her mother's handwriting, dated shortly before her mother's disappearance. She asks her father if he knows what's on it and he becomes agitated and tries to throw it into the pile of leaves he was burning. Meredith pushes him to the ground to save the tape, even though she's worried about his medical condition, then has it transferred to DVD so she can watch it. And that's about where the author lost me. The contents of the tape are disturbing, I guess, but it was recorded by Meredith's mother shortly before the woman was institutionalized. Knowing  that her mother was mentally ill, I don't understand why Meredith took the message on the tape as seriously as she did. The story shifts back and forth in time, between Meredith and two other characters who were involved in a crime thirty years earlier. I knew it was building up towards a horrible crime, but I just couldn't work up enough enthusiasm to worry about the characters.

Disclosure -- I was provided with an advance review copy by the publisher. All opinions are my own. This post is linked to Patchwork Times, Crazy Mom Quilts , Wrap up Friday iknead2knit, and  Frontier Dreams  

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

This Stand Mixer, or the Other One?


Somehow, I'd manged to live my entire life without ever using a stand mixer (or an electric hand mixer, for that matter.)  Something about them is intimidating, so I stick to the wooden spoon and the whisk and if I'm really feeling motivated I might pull out Hubby's fancy Bosch.  Please don't ask me to explain why the Bosch is okay and a stand mixer isn't. I have no idea.

I've gotten along just fine, but now I've got two vintage Sunbeam mixers in my kitchen and I've got to give one of them up to my daughter, just as soon as I decide which one I like best.

That means using them. Both of them.

This looks like the older of the two and, given the choice, I'll usually pick the older one just because it's older.

I wound up using this one to make Strawberry Jello Poke Cake, mostly because it was the first thing I found on my Pinterest board that called for a mixer. I had to figure out the hard way which beater went on which side and what that lever on the back of the base is for, but I made a cake!  It wasn't photogenic, but the boys scarfed it down.

This post is linked to Share Your Cup



Monday, April 17, 2017

I Could Like This Quilt


This quilt isn't for me, so I don't have to love it, but it's much better than the original plan would have turned out and that makes me happy. I'm not a huge fan of sashing, but the ladies in the quilt group seem to like it and it's their fabric (except for the solid blue I added to make the sashing happen) and I aim to please.

I have faith that quilting will make it look even better, but I'm not sure how to manage that with my current free-motion woes. I've got a couple of different ideas for the walking foot, but neither of them makes me happy.

I should probably add a solid outer border, shouldn't I? I like borders even less than I like sashing, but even I'm thinking it would be a good idea for this one.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Which Are Your Indispensable Sewing Machine Feet?


I keep reading tutorials that praise specialty sewing machine feet. Maybe I would love a Teflon foot to sew vinyl with...and then I look at the price and wonder if I'd actually use it enough to justify  the money. I've wondered the same thing about a bias binding foot.

My Janome has the feet I need: a quarter-inch foot, zig-zag foot, darning foot, and zipper foot. Oh, and the walking foot. There's a buttonhole foot somewhere, but I don't like buttonholes and you can't make me stitch one.

If I'm going to put her out to pasture and use one of my vintage machines, they've only got the foot that came home from the thrift shop with them. Do I buy extra feet for a machine I don't know if I'll love?

I might have solved the problem with an estate sale find. I think/hope that these will work on the blue machine. I don't know what most of them are even for, but I needed a zipper foot and I figure that's worth the three bucks I spent.

Which feet do you actually use for your projects?

Weekly Stash Report

Fabric used this week: 0 yards
Fabric used year to date: 2 yards
Fabric added this week:  0 yards
Fabric added year  to date: 5 yards
Net used for 2017: 3 yards

Yarn used this Week:  0  yards
Yarn used year to Date: 2850 yards
Yarn added this Week: 0 yards
Yarn added Year to Date: 9350 yards
Net used for 2017: 6500 yards

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Blood Clots and Uterine Ablation...An Update

It's been a little over six months since I did something drastic. In a nutshell, I had the inside of my uterus burned out to stop my periods. It was a terrifying decision, but it turned out to be the best one I've made in this whole string of bad ones.

There are pictures. I'm not posting them because no one, including me, wants to see that.

I'm putting a break here so that anyone who isn't interested can scroll past to the yarn and fabric. And, just for the record, this is in no way a sponsored post. I'm excited about the ablation procedure I had and the new medication I'm taking because they've drastically improved my quality of life. I'm sharing it here in case it can help any of you.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {4/14/17}


Let's Make Baby Quilts Linky Party Rules: 
Link directly to your post or specific Flickr photo. Your post can be about a baby quilt that's finished, or in progress, or you can be writing about what you have planned,  as long as it's about baby quilts. You're welcome to link to baby quilt posts that aren't brand new, but please don't submit the same post or picture more than once. I'd love it if you linked back to my site, either with a text link or the Let's Make Baby Quilts! button.





Thursday, April 13, 2017

That Looks So Much Better!

This started out as a stack of four-inch squares, with instructions to sew them together and make a quilt. Lots of reds and purples...batiks...cute novelty prints.... I couldn't picture those big squares making anything but a mess.

But I could picture little bitty squares so that the crazy combination of prints got crazier. 

1 1/2" postage stamp quilt

I'm so glad that this is working! Did I mention that I had no idea how many squares were in the stack, or that they weren't accurately cut to begin with? My corners don't quite match and I'm going to have to do some creative quilting to make this lie flat, but it's going to look just fine once it's done. WAY cutter than those four inch squares would have been. (And just for the record, I had permission to use them however I wanted.)

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

{Yarn and Books} Pretty New Socks for Spring


I'm racing myself, trying to see how much yarn from my DIY yarn sampler I can use up before I put together the next one on May 1. It won't be as much as I expected, not since I got distracted by Socks on a Plane and Invitation to the Dance. And Winter Leftovers...but I've been digging through my stash and using it up and that's the whole goal anyway.



Partly because I thought the boys might like it, and partly because I was so intrigued by the idea of feral children and their unsuspecting young governess, I picked up The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood. It's the first in The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place. Think A Series of Unfortunate Events combined with a traditional Gothic, without the romance. My sons weren't interested, but I've already finished the second book and have the third and fourth sitting in my knitting corner.



I might not have picked up Confessions of an Accidental Zoo Curator by Annette Libeskind Berkovits if I wasn't so fascinated by the ongoing saga of April the giraffe. As I'm typing this, we're still watching and waiting to see if she ever gives birth. Some of the stories, especially one about a giraffe, were interesting. I do wish the author had given more information, either to explain what happened and why, or to let the reader know how a bad situation ended. I was less interested in reading about her son's hermit crabs or the squirrels in her attic.

Disclosure -- I was provided with an advance review copies by the publishers. All opinions are my own. This post is linked to Patchwork Times, iknead2knit, and  Frontier Dreams  

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

{Estate Sale Temptations} Unsafe Baby Furniture

If I had more space, I think I'd collect rickety old baby furniture. 

Vintage Pink Crib With Elephant Decals

And dolls. Don't you just want to scoop her up? She was surprisingly affordable, but I think the most appealing thing about her was the little wool jacket and that was absolutely filthy.

Vintage High Chair With Baby Doll

These ghostly ships would look great in the imaginary room I'm designing around Grandma's tiki painting.

Ghost Ship Painting

And here's another set of the chairs that have been haunting me. We had a set on the boat when I was growing up. I'd completely and totally forgotten them until I came upon an identical pair at an estate sale and suddenly needed them back in my life. They weren't priced and I was broke that day and ever sine I've been telling myself that I should have at least found out how much they wanted for them.

This pair wasn't priced, but they were in such awful condition that I don't regret leaving them behind. (I also can't decide if these started out like the blue ones from my childhood and faded, or if they were always green.)


What I didn't resist was this quilt top for five bucks.


Big bright log cabin blocks pieced from double knit polyester... I had to buy this one because I'm loving the polyester quilt Grandma made me. Pretty cotton quilts are best, obviously, but sometimes you just need to be really super warm. I'm hoping to finish this one and keep it in the trailer.


Monday, April 10, 2017

Be My Neighbor - Where Was I?


I fully intend to finish Be My Neighbor, so I decided to figure out which blocks I'd already finished and make sure that I had the instructions for the other eight blocks printed out. I don't know when I'll get motivated enough to piece them, but I know I'd be heartbroken if I couldn't find the patterns when I needed them.

It'll also help to have a current photo so I know which fabrics I've already used.

This post is linked to Patchwork Times, Main Crush Monday, Monday Making,  Moving it Forward

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Weekly Stash Report

As far as outages go, it wasn't nearly as bad as I expected  it to be after we woke up early Friday morning with no power and I saw how hard the wind was whipping through the trees. Twelve or so hours, all of them daylight. Quinn provided entertainment by reading his favorite chapters from What If? Serious Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions.  I did some knitting and some reading and it was two dollar Filet-O-Fish day, so we ran down to McDonald's for lunch.

Friday was the day I'd planned on catching up on blog stuff and when the power came back on, the phone service (which had been working while the power was out) and DSL didn't. Now I'm scrambling a bit to catch up.

One of the things I wanted most to do over the weekend was start a new cross-stitch project. It was going to be the winter landscape that I picked up at the thrift shop on Black Friday, then I stopped at the thrift shop last week and found these...


I'm pretty sure I have at least one or two of them in my stash, but I don't have the slightest idea which box of cross-stitch stuff they'd be in, or if I actually do have them or not. I've got some Paula Vaughan, but I definitely want to make the one with the dollhouse. They were only twenty cents a piece, so I'm not going to worry about whether they're duplicates.

And I didn't buy any fabric or yarn.

Weekly Stash Report

Fabric used this week: 0 yards
Fabric used year to date: 2 yards
Fabric added this week:  0 yards
Fabric added year  to date: 5 yards
Net used for 2017: 3 yards

Yarn used this Week:  0  yards
Yarn used year to Date: 2850 yards
Yarn added this Week: 0 yards
Yarn added Year to Date: 9350 yards
Net used for 2017: 6500 yards

This post is linked to Patchwork Times.

Saturday, April 08, 2017

{I've Been Reading} The Haven's Kitchen Cooking School


The cover copy of The Haven'ts Kitchen Cooking School  by Alison Cayne made it sound like exactly the book I need in my kitchen. It does provide the sort of information I was hoping for, but there's also a strong emphasis on buying food that's organic and locally sourced and humanely raised. The photography is fantastic, with both mouthwatering shots of the prepared recipes and practical step by step. photos of the different techniques.  This may not be the perfect book to fit my needs,  but I learned a lot from it.

Disclosure -- I was provided with an advance review copy by the publishers. All opinions are my own.  

Friday, April 07, 2017

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {4/7/17}


Let's Make Baby Quilts Linky Party Rules: 
Link directly to your post or specific Flickr photo. Your post can be about a baby quilt that's finished, or in progress, or you can be writing about what you have planned,  as long as it's about baby quilts. You're welcome to link to baby quilt posts that aren't brand new, but please don't submit the same post or picture more than once. I'd love it if you linked back to my site, either with a text link or the Let's Make Baby Quilts! button.





Thursday, April 06, 2017

Embroidered Faces

Look what my mommy stitched for me when I was a baby...


If my mother hadn't made this, I'd be a little less restrained when I asked WHAT IS UP WITH THOSE EYES?!  That has got to be the poster child for creepy embroidered babies.


I'm not good with faces myself. 




Sublime Stitching has a tutorial on how to stitch small facial features with lots of tips on which stitches and how many threads to use. It's the only one I've found that's for flat embroidery and not dolls.  Now I'm thinking I should just trace some faces and play around with the details instead of letting them make or break an entire block. 

Do you have trouble with faces? Or some good tips for me?

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