Friday, May 26, 2017

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {5/16/17}


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.





Wednesday, May 24, 2017

{Guest Post} The Great Es-Tape by Joanna Campbell Slan

Today I'm happy to have Joanna Campbell Slan guest posting with some helpful advice and a giveaway. 

Of the crafting tools I own and use, tape is probably one of my all-time favorites. It’s so incredibly versatile. Tape lends itself to “out of the box” thinking for a variety of crafts and stuff around the house. Just looking around, I found these weird ways I’ve used it recently:


1. Binding the edge of needlework. Yeah, I know. Good needlework artists would never stoop to putting tape on a raw edge. They would whipstitch a hem around their fabric. I’m not that girl. I grabbed my blue painter’s tape. After all, when the piece is finished, I plan to treat the raw edge with Fray-Check, trim it shorter, turn it under, and use iron-on seam binding to complete my work.


2. Keeping my power cord plugged in. This Dell computer of mine is nearly brand-new. I got it in January. But the battery isn’t recharging, and if the cord pops out, the computer goes….roadkill. After two hours on the phone, Dell and I have determined this little puppy needs to return to the factory. But I can’t live without my laptop! So that’ll have to wait until I’m back in Florida where I can use my desktop computer.


3. Holding that stupid flap up. These Brita water jugs are great for filtering water, but the person who engineers their design should be taken to an abandoned country road and shot. Honest to Pete. This SLF (stupid little flip) has a habit of falling closed and sticking, which causes water to run all over the place. I got tired of the hassle. Two inches of masking tape and the problem was solved.


4. Laminating on the fly. All of us have special talents. Mine happens to be finding four-leaf clovers. I used to dry them in books, but then I’d forget about them. Now I “laminate” them by using packing tape and sticking them to index cards. It’s not as sturdy as the REAL lamination, but it’s fast, cheap, and easy.


5. Tagging cords. Because I move back and forth between Florida and Washington, DC, tracking power cords is a hassle. Using a piece of bright green tape, I tagged this iPhone cord. Now it’s easy to find, and best of all, when I pack it up, I know I haven’t stolen my husband’s cord.

Okay, here’s a story I’ve never told anyone. Twenty years ago I was invited up to 3-M, the makers of Scotch tape, to talk about how they could do better in the scrapbook market. I suggested they product tape with designs on it.

“Designs? Like, patterns?” the product expert asked. (She was trying NOT to roll her eyes.)

“Right. Like cute little patterns, geometric patterns, colors.”

“How would scrapbookers use that?” The product expert looked dubious.

I could think of a million ways.

So the next time you use a patterned adhesive tape, wear a little smirk in my honor, OK?

Tell me what you use tape for and I’ll give one lucky person a digital copy of my newest book, Happy Homicides 5: The Purr-fect Crime.  I’ll choose a winner one week from today.

**
About the author:
Joanna Campbell Slan is full of crazy ideas that sometimes see fruition. When not taping stuff up, she’s writing. You can buy a copy of Happy Homicides 5: The Purr-fect Crime for only 99 cents by going to bit.ly/2HH5Purr – but hurry, because the price will go up later this month.






Express Lane -- A Second Try

Remember last week when I told you that I was debating between two different sock patterns? I wound up starting both. 

Here's my second stab at Express Lane:


The yarn is Drops Delight and the pattern is showing up so much better than it did on my last Express Lane pair. (Those have gone to live with a friend who likes them more than I did.)

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Remember These?

What a difference hanging something on a painted wall makes! 


When I first laid eyes on these framed prints, they were hanging on an enclosed porch at the auction where I bought the cuckoo clock. It was love at first sight, even though they were in poor condition and I had no earthly clue what I'd ever do with them.


Adult Daughter saw them stacked on the floor in the back bedroom and laid claim to them. I couldn't figure out how to arrange the three small and one large diamonds, but she divided them over two walls and they look great.


The paint is peeling off of the frames. The glass on one is cracked.  They need a lot of TLC, but I'm afraid they might be beyond fixing.


Whatever does happen to them down the road, they're a lot more fun than home decor from a big box store. And they were a lot less expensive!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Late Afternoon Sewing

Once the sun slips behind the trees the shadows start to dance across my cutting table. I'm working on more churn dash blocks for the project I started  last week.  


Cutting up someone else's fabric makes me nervous, even though I know a mistake won't be the end of the world. They toss scraps. I'm determined to use every possible inch. When I first started work on these blocks, I was cutting 4 1/2" strips and 2 1/2" strips.

It wasn't until I started sewing the blocks together that I realized the 4 1/2" strips were all I needed. Four triangles of each color with the Easy Angle, four 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangles of each color, and a 4 1/2" square of whichever I was using for the background of that block. I don't think it works evenly with width-of-fabric strips, but most of the fabrics I'm working with won't give me predictable lengths anyway so it doesn't matter.



This post is linked to Quilter's Monday, Main Crush Monday, Monday Making,  Moving it Forward, Small Quilts and Doll Quilts 

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Putting New Skills to Practical Use

Last Christmas, we bought Teenage Son an accessory kit to use with his GoPro. (Ours came from Costco, but I found the same thing on Amazon.)  

The set comes with a drawstring nylon bag. I wanted him to have something more durable and easier to get the parts in and out of. An ill-fitting pair of jeans, one of those heavy-duty zippers I thought I'd never use, and fifteen minutes later... 


WHY did I resist zippers for so long? The other options can be fun, but it sure makes life easier if you can sew one when the occasion calls for it.


Makes me wonder what skill I'll be excited about a few years down the road. Buttonholes?

Friday, May 19, 2017

Let's Make Baby Quilts {5/19/17}


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, May 18, 2017

{I've Been Reading} Uniformly Dead



Uniformly Dead by Greta McKennan is filled with interesting bits of historical detail and well-developed characters I'd love to read more about. Seamstress Daria Dembrowski is expanding her business and sewing uniforms for some local Civil War re-enactors. When one of her clients is found impaled on a bayonet in his tent,  another client's fiance is accused of the murder. The only other suspect is Daria's own brother.  Because Daria has such a detailed backstory, I thought that there might be previous books in the series, but it looks like Uniformly Dead is the first. I'll definitely be watching for the second!



Woman No. 17 by Edan Lepucki starts out with an interesting premise. Lady hires S to be nanny to her three year old son. S is immersed in an art project, trying to live the way her own mother would have, copying her clothes and what she would have done and said. (I never did figure out how that translated into art.) The characters were interesting, but from the book's description, I expected something much more awful to happen.

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

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Cath Socks

Look at the texture!

Toe Up Cath Socks in Paton's Kroy
Pattern: Cath Socks
Yarn: Patrons Kroy 

As soon as I saw a pair of these on a knitting group, I fell in love with the texture. It's all knits and purls, and a little more complicated than standard basket weave. The horizontal lines curve. I made mine toe up instead of cuff down, so my curve isn't as pretty as everyone else's, but it's still there. If I'd thought things through in advance, I could've flipped the chart. 

My favorite thing to see in patterns when it comes to heels and toes is "as you prefer." I'm going to do it my own way no matter what, but it does feel nice to have the designer's blessing! 

This post is linked to Crazy Mom Quilts , Wrap up Friday iknead2knit, and  Frontier Dreams  

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

My 70 Year Old Muffin Tin and Brand New Cupcake Liners

I'm curious. For those of you who are into vintage goodies, is it a habit you developed as an adult or something you grew up with? I've been surrounded with so much vintage for so long that I don't even notice it sometimes.

This started out as an excuse to use my Dollar Tree cupcake papers. Or to make some muffins for my kids...but I really think I was more excited about the pretty butterflies. 

Vintage Muffinaire Cupcake Tin

I pulled out the muffin tin from the cupboard and got intrigued by the "muffinaire" imprint, so I googled. Until I saw the Etsy listings, I hadn't noticed that mine was made by United Aircraft Products. If the internet is to believed, this dates from the 1940s.

Vintage Muffinaire Cupcake Tin

I don't know if this belonged to one or the other of my grandmas, or if I picked up up at an estate sale for a quarter. I don't know how long it's been in my kitchen cupboard, but it's been long enough that I don't remember when it came into my life. If I did get it from one of the grandmas or at an estate sale, I obviously wasn't reading the logos.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Big Pink Churn Dash Blocks


For someone who doesn't like large blocks, I'm absolutely loving these 12" churn dashes that I cut and sewed at the quilting group on Saturday. If I was making the quilt to keep, the blocks would be itty-bitty, but I don't get to keep it.

This post is linked to Quilter's Monday, Main Crush Monday, Monday Making,  Moving it Forward, Small Quilts and Doll Quilts 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Not My Stash


I did bring home fabric yesterday, but it's not mine and won't be staying with me for long so I won't be adding it to my totals. The quilting group I've been sewing with provides pre-cut kits, or you can go through the bins in the fabric room and do your own thing.

You know me -- I'm doing my own thing. Here, I was going through the blues in an attempt to find one that would work with the piece draped over the side of the bin. I found one piece that I absolutely loved, but when I unfolded it to see if there was a big enough piece it turned out to be a dress someone had cut out and never sewn together. So I'm using pinks instead. That'll work just as well.

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:  0  yards
Yarn used year to Date: 3550 yards
Yarn added this Week: 0 yards
Yarn added Year to Date: 9350 yards
Net added for 2017: 5800 yards

This post is linked to Patchwork Times.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Looking Back


Five Years Ago this Month...

I made a lot of progress towards cleaning out the sewing room.


We got new bees and found out the hard way that the bee place gave us the wrong type of bees. I learned way too much that week about how Carnelian bees are more aggressive than Italian bees and bee stings to the scalp and how the fluid will drain down into your face and make you look like you've got prosthetic alien makeup on.

And I bought my Sizzix die cutter.

Ten Years Ago This Month...

Locomoco and Sponge Bob (neither named by me) were living in the space in front of my sewing room door. So I got to spend time petting my fabric and yarn while the kids admired their new baby geese.


I was knitting a lot of little sweaters, including this one for my daughter and Heath's Weasley Sweater.


The geese and the mean bees are no longer with us, but I'm still knitting and trying to get the sewing room under control. Not much has changed around here.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Let's Make Baby Quilts {5/12/17}


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, May 11, 2017

For the Washi Tape and Post It Notes

I wanted a little bag that would keep my sticky notes and a couple of rolls of washi tape contained. This should do the trick --


My finishing skills are getting better with each bag. There's usually something I tell myself I'll do better on the next one. This time it's the black zipper stop. That should have probably been white. And I should have left the zipper a half an inch longer.


An invisible zipper probably isn't the traditional choice, but I had a white one in my stash and figured it'd be better to use it up on this little experiment. It zips and it'll hold stuff in.

This post is linked to Crazy Mom Quilts

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

{Yarn and Books} Brand New Stripes

I'm enjoying this self striping yarn while contemplating what my next "requires some counting and thought" project should be. So far I'm leaning towards Cath Socks, which are just knit and purl but have fantastic texture, or Express Lane with some more cooperative (less purple and pooly) yarn.

Yarn: Drops Fabel Candy 

Disclosure -- This post is linked to Patchwork Times,  iknead2knit, and  Frontier Dreams  

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Grandma Wasn't on Pinterest, but...

Sometimes I wonder. Then I remind myself that her house was Pinterest perfect decades before Pinterest was even a thing.


It's time to put her house on the market and I've brought home boxes of Pyrex and the stand mixers, and old towels because in our house there are never ever enough towels no matter how many I buy... I can't tell you how lucky I feel to have a husband who told me after she died two years ago to bring home whatever I wanted to have and not worry about it. Seriously, Mom and I were trying to figure out who had room for her sewing machine and he told me we'd find a place. After making sure that it was the machine she used and not just something she'd found at the thrift shop.

When I found this hanging in the garden from a birdhouse there was no way I was leaving it  for whoever buys the house to enjoy. I don't know if Grandma put it together herself or bought it with the plants already in place. I don't know if the pine cone was part of her plan or if it fell out of a tree and just landed there.

And it's driving me nuts!


I can't decide where in my own yard to hang it. If it gets stolen, I'll be crushed. If I kill the plants, I'll be even more crushed. I've been watching youtube videos about caring for succulents and getting ridiculously overwhelmed. (Are those little wispy bits weeds or part of the plant? They've thickened since I moved it from my kitchen to the tree and I don't know if I should do something with them or leave them as is.)

In case anyone was wondering, I did check Pinterest and there are lots and lots of hens and chicks in ladles. And sinks and toasters and typewriters and a million other gorgeous possibilities.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

A Good Day to Buy by Sherry Harris


Sarah Winston finds herself in a tough spot this time, keeping secret the fact that her brother is in town and hoping he's not involved in the murder of her client. The mystery is complex and kept me interested until the end. It also ties in incredibly well with the premise of the series, although I don't think I can explain how without venturing into spoiler-territory.

Synopsis

HER BROTHER IS NO BARGAIN
When Sarah Winston’s estranged brother Luke shows up on her doorstep, asking her not to tell anyone he’s in town—especially her ex, the chief of police—the timing is strange, to say the least. Hours earlier, Sarah’s latest garage sale was taped off as a crime scene following the discovery of a murdered Vietnam vet and his gravely injured wife—her clients, the Spencers.
BUT IS HE A KILLER?
All Luke will tell Sarah is that he’s undercover, investigating a story. Before she can learn more, he vanishes as suddenly as he appeared. Rummaging through his things for a clue to his whereabouts, Sarah comes upon a list of veterans and realizes that to find her brother, she’ll have to figure out who killed Mr. Spencer. And all without telling her ex . . .


About The Author

Agatha award nominated author, Sherry Harris, started bargain hunting in second grade at her best friend’s yard sale. She honed her bartering skills as she moved around the country while her husband served in the Air Force. Sherry uses her love of garage sales, her life as a military spouse, and her time living in Massachusetts as inspiration for the Sarah Winston Garage Sale series.
Author Links – 
Purchase Links
Amazon  


a Rafflecopter giveaway

I Hoard Zippers

Zippers at estate sales can be almost insanely cheap. Zippers at Walmart or the craft store are expensive.  And for some reason I can't quite understand, the zippers at the actual quilt shop fall in between those two extremes....

Estate Sale Zippers

The prices you can see in that picture aren't what I paid. I watch for the sales where a whole box is going for a couple of bucks. If I had to buy a new zipper for every cute little project bag, I wouldn't be making more than one or two of them. I also wouldn't be trying new techniques that might not turn out well.

If I dig through my stash, I can probably find a zipper that's close enough to the color and style I need. The teapot project bag I made last week has a green zipper that's the same shade as some of the teapots. I figure I'm more likely to use the blue zippers in future projects than that particular shade of green.  Once I find the right color, it's easy enough to shorten the zipper to the size I need.  

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:  300  yards
Yarn used year to Date: 3550 yards
Yarn added this Week: 0 yards
Yarn added Year to Date: 9350 yards
Net added for 2017: 5800 yards

This post is linked to Patchwork Times.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Walking Instead of Cutting Fabric



The plan for last night was to cut the fabric on the left into triangles to make more of the units on the right. Instead of doing that, I walked a couple of miles with the boys.

So do I feel guilty about not sewing...or proud of myself for walking? We've been taking a different route this week. It's not as steep and there aren't as many houses so there aren't so many dogs to bark at us. And the scenery isn't the exact same stuff we've been looking at for the past eleven years.


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

Friday, May 05, 2017

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {5/5/17}


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, May 04, 2017

Tea Pot Project Bag

I  can't stand the taste or aroma of actual tea, but that doesn't mean that I can't enjoy the cute little teapots on this novelty print. 


It would have been a shame to cut it into little pieces and lose all of the details, so I made a quickie project bag that's just the right size for a pair of socks.

Now that I've used most of the fabric for something useful, I won't feel at all guilty about incorporating the rest into a scrap quilt. I think some of the pots would show up in a sixteen-patch or flying geese unit.


Wednesday, May 03, 2017

{Yarn and Books} Please Trust Me...It's There!


(Edited to add -- I figured out what angle to hold the camera at, so I replaced the picture.)

These socks have the most amazing basket weave texture. In real life, you can see it from a couple of feet away. In the pictures, though, the knits and purls get lost in the subtle stripes of the yarn.  Maybe by the time I finish the pair, I'll figure out how to capture it with my camera.



The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women by Kate Moore

I'd heard about the dial painters years ago in high school science class, and seen their story on  those history shows my sons are always watching, but I never realized how truly awful the industry was. The way it was explained to us in school, the victims were silly girls who didn't know any better. But lip, dip, paint was how they were taught to do their job and were continued to be taught even after the dangers of radium were known. What happened to those young women, and the lengths their bosses went to to cover up the facts and keep their factories open, is horrifying. The book is well-written and will haunt me for years to come. Once the author gets to the drawn out court battles, the pace starts to drag a bit, but it's worth reading through to the end.



All the Best People by Sonja Yoerg

There was one scene in All the Best People that I  absolutely loved. Other than that, I had a hard time getting through the book. It explores some fascinating ideas, but the plot builds slowly and shifts between characters and didn't hold my interest.

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

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

{Estate Sale Temptations} An Amazing and Joyful House

You know how sometimes it seems like every estate sale has a room full of Christmas stuff? At this one, the Christmas room also had a baby grand piano, a chandelier, and woodwork that made me swoon. There was also an Easter room, but it wasn't nearly as fancy. 


I wish I'd taken more pictures, but I was completely overwhelmed by how amazing the house was and I was trying to find which of the five or six bedrooms the dollhouses might be in.

I found them and had to work very, very hard to leave the 1950s metal one behind. (I was looking for furniture for the houses I already own, but it was all sold before I got there.)


The wooden one was easy to resist, but I've been wanting a dollhouse like this since I was a kid and my younger sister got a pretty lithographed one from the thrift shop and I was "stuck" with the one Grandpa and Grandma had built me. Now, I see the error of my childhood ways, but back then hers was prettier than mine and had more furniture.


This is the best picture I  could get of the interior.


What overwhelmed me about this sale, beyond how wonderful the house was, was how happy the place felt. Whoever lived there had amazing taste in furniture, more clothing than I would've thought possible, and it just seemed like she must've enjoyed herself an awful lot.

So many of the estate sales around here have a dismal vibe. That place with the black walls and hospital bed comes immediately to mind. They're time capsule houses, but not in a good way. This sale was their complete opposite.

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