Friday, February 24, 2017

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {2/24/17}



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.





Monday, February 20, 2017

{Thrift Store Temptations} Not Even Tempted This Time

This week's stop at the thrift store was to search for a couple of cute pillowcases. I found them, and I was also briefly puzzled when I got out of the car and spotted this-- 


Just...what? It's identity is much clearer from the opposite side.

Maytag Wringer Washer

If  the rollers don't give it away, the Maytag logo definitely does.


This one, just a couple of feet further down the walkway, was easier to identify and maybe in better shape. At least it's in one piece, if that counts. It was also a hundred and ninety-nine dollars.

I have no idea what the going rate for old wringer washers is. What I know is that I'm not tempted by these because there's a prettier one in my barn right now that I'm told, by the friend who sold it to me for seventy-five bucks because she was moving and no longer had the space for it,  is in working condition. Someday, I'll wrestle it out and take pretty pictures but on the day it came home (along with an industrial Singer sewing machine that my friend also needed gone right that second) I was just lucky that Hubby was willing to haul them and store them safely away.

Anything tempting (or not) you this week?

Sunday, February 19, 2017

{Weekly Stash Report} Sock Needles


While I waited for the Sock Madness warm up pattern to become available, I went through my knitting stuff and freed as many sets of dpns as I could find from half finished socks. I also looked at my leftover yarn with fresh eyes, trying to figure out what I can combine for more leftover socks when the madness loses its hold on me.

As of Saturday night, when I'm writing this, I've only had one evening's worth of time to spend on the warm up round, which is voluntary. I  don't know if I'll try to finish or if I'll give up and just wait for the qualifying round.

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: 0
Net used for 2017: 2 yards

Yarn used this Week:  0  yards
Yarn used year to Date: 1400 yards
Yarn added this Week: 0 yards
Yarn added Year to Date: 0 yards
Net used for 2017: 1400 yards

Saturday, February 18, 2017

What Are You Getting Better At?


The more I knit and quilt, the more I find myself getting better at things I couldn't do before. Lately, it's been pressing tiny half square triangles without singing my fingertips. This batch was completely "ouch" free.

What have you gotten better at without consciously trying? (I'd given up on pain free ironing years ago, when I still used the iron on clothing.)

Friday, February 17, 2017

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {2/17/17}


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, February 16, 2017

{Sock Madness} The First Night


My favorite thing about Sock Madness last year was that it forced me to learn some new techniques. This year it looks like the first one is going to be colorwork.

Seriously, why didn't anyone ever tell me that instead of holding both yarns I could do the round with one color first (slipping the stitches of the opposite color) and then go around again with the second color? I could've made the We Call Them Pirates hat years ago!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

{Yarn Along} Two Brand New Pairs

Remember the Laburnum stitch socks I showed you last week? There was a mishap and I wound up pulling one needle loose from the stitches. I was already wishing I'd seen the pattern for Longing for Spring before casting on with the Laburnum stitch...so now I'm making Longing for Spring and rethinking my choices yet again. 


The stitch pattern shows up  better in real life than it photographs. And, except for a mishap when I didn't realize that there was a separate chart for the leg and instep, it's been fun to knit. This far in, I'm realizing that the yarn would've made nice stockinette socks after all but I'm not planning to start over a third time.

And because I can't read charts while watching television with Hubby, I cast on these --


I'm having a lot of fun with my yarn while waiting for Sock Madness to start.




Playmates by Eva Hanagan

For their entire lives, Lucy has been the one to take care of Biddy. The two elderly sisters live alone and get along just fine, until Lucy falls ill and dies in her bed. Biddy understands just enough about their finances and situation to realize that she won't be able to stay in their home if anyone realizes that her older sister is gone, so she keeps up the pretense that Lucy is feeling poorly and doesn't want visitors. The book was originally published in 1978 and it definitely reads like something that was written almost forty years ago. With more than one unreliable narrator, I've still got some questions about what actually happened. That that didn't keep me from enjoying the story, at least not until the very end.



Every Part of the Animal by Duncan Ralston

An off-the-grid hunter and her young son cross paths with an anti-hunting activist. The description promised lots of conflict and I'd already enjoyed Salvage, another book by the same author. But when it came down to it, I didn't really care for either of the two women to win. It's a fast paced thriller and well-written, but I didn't sympathize with the characters.  According to the author's Facebook page, you can get a free copy of this one by signing up for his email list.

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

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

{Thrift Shop Temptations} Stuff I do Not Have a Place For

I hadn't found anything neat at the thrift shop last week and couldn't think of anything around the house that I was ready to post about, so I thought this would be a week without a fun vintage post. 

Then we drove to the grocery store and I caught a glimpse of this. 

Wheeled Laundry Cart

It was in the parking lot of the place that used to be Stuff and Mayonnaise, but is now a different thrift store. I am absolutely in love, but I also admit that I don't have a place to put something like it, not unless I'm willing to sacrifice the grocery cart. Which I'm not. I kept myself out of trouble by not even looking at the price. And now I'm thinking of all of the places in my house that this would fit, because it's smaller than a full size grocery cart.

Servo Snack Set - Four Plates and Four Cups, Still in Original Box

This nifty set has me longing to eat my snacks on a pretty glass plate. But I'm sure I can find one at an estate sale that isn't in its original packaging.




This was probably the most tempting thing of the day. I've wanted one for years and never realized until I Googled to figure out what its proper name is, that they sell them new at Walmart. Vintage is more fun and romantic, but in a house with kids a new one would be more practical. Maybe sturdier and safer, too.

What's tempting you lately?

Monday, February 13, 2017

The More Pieces, the Better... Even Half Square Triangles

Anything beyond a single block with a dozen pieces used to intimidate me. I've gotten over that.


My patience has increased and my resistance to peer pressure has decreased. So when Jo says that 880 half square triangles are worth it -- and I see the quilt -- I start cutting. I think I've got half of them done, but they're not all pressed and trimmed.

This has actually been the perfect project over the past couple of weeks, when my heart hasn't been into being creative but I've been determined to get some quilting done. I'm making progress which I know will pay off, but there aren't any big decisions involved at this point. Just one really short seam at a time. And I'm sewing all of the neutrals to the same solid, so there's not even color placement to fuss over.

This is calming. And it has all of the relaxing effects of fancier piecing.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Another Reason to Go Back to the Dollar Tree

Last week, I could think of at least half a dozen reasons to stop at the Dollar Tree (the endless quest for washi tape, pipe cleaners, windmill cookies...) but I talked myself out of them all. And as soon as I got home, I saw a post about these makeup bags.



I don't wear makeup. Ever. And these are mostly all about the makeup...but they're also evidence bags and cute as heck and I'm sure I can keep knitting and quilting stuff in them. Also, it takes a lot less work to justify Dollar Tree purchases. But it does take more than that to justify the fifteen mile drive into town.

This time, just after getting home, I saw the self-inflating balloons. I'm pretty sure the boys need those.

Weekly Stash Report

Despite a serious attempt to buy fabric, and a half-hearted attempt to buy some yarn, I didn't add anything to my stash this week. The store didn't have what I was after and the sale price wasn't great enough for me to be tempted by anything else.

Fabric used this week: 1 1/2 yards
Fabric used year to date: 2 yards
Fabric added this week:  0 yards
Fabric added year  to date: 0
Net used for 2017: 2 yards

Yarn used this Week:  300  yards
Yarn used year to Date: 1400 yards
Yarn added this Week: 0 yards
Yarn added Year to Date: 0 yards
Net used for 2017: 1400 yards

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Winter Leftovers

I'm almost giddy about this pair. It's the leftover yarn from the Winter Night socks and the blue and white Opal socks


The cuffs aren't as long as I'd usually knit them, but I used almost all of the Winter Night leftovers. Not at all bad for figuring it out as I went along!


Now I want to pull out the leftover yarns from Summer Night and Fall Night and see what I can pair them up with. This is the perfect mindless knitting.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {2/10/17}


I've got a finish of my own this week -- meet Walter



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, February 09, 2017

Meet Walter!

This is what giving up looks like...

Scrappy Baby Quilt - Quiltville Lozenges

I've tried on two separate occasions to free motion quilt this little baby quilt and both times, I ran into trouble. Whenever I try to curve the stitching, the tip of my needle catches in the fabric. Even though I'm using the same machine, and foot, and thread, and batting, and bobbins, I've used successfully a hundred or more other times, it won't work.

The quilt top has already been sitting since January of 2016 and I don't have any idea when I'll be able to free motion quilt again. (At this point I'm violently resisting the idea of taking my machine to the dealer since it hasn't been long at all since its last cleaning/checkup and on previous occasions its come home unable to do free motion quilting. Too much time and money risked for something that's not guaranteed to work.)

So I pulled out my walking foot and now the quilt is done. I'd rather that the quilting was a pretty meander, but it's not going to stay at my house and quilting with the walking foot is a completely acceptable way to finish it. So is machine stitching the binding.

I'm hoping now that this one is done I can tackle the free motion quilting drama with fresh eyes. Whatever happens with that, it feels good to have my first baby quilt finish in almost a year.

Scrappy Baby Quilt - Quiltville Lozenges

I love the top and backing. It's Bonnie Hunter's Lozenges, in the size that she intended for them to be. For the lozenge quilt I'm keeping, I'm making them much smaller. This one was fun to put together, but I think I'll be happier long term with the smaller pieces.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

{Guest Post} Author Deirdre Verne, Author of the Sketch in Crime Mysteries

I would love to sit down and have a discussion with the heroine of the Sketch in Crime mystery series. I just don't understand how her freegan mind works...but I love reading about CeCe and her friends. In the third book of the series, The Drawing Game, she's investigating a murder in the newly built neighborhood next to her mother's property. The houses are solar powered and eco-friendly, but things at Green Acres aren't as perfect as the developer advertises them to be. I wish the author had gone more into the issues of freegan parenting that she raised. I know that babies don't need nearly as much physical stuff as most parents buy, but I have lots of unanswered questions. This is a fun series that makes me wonder about the characters and their lifestyles almost as much as I wonder about the mystery itself. 

Today I'm lucky to have the author sharing some more information about her characters. For a list of the other stops on her blog tour, visit Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours.  And make sure to enter their giveaway -- the Rafflecoptor widget is at the bottom of this post! 




Is there anything worse than having your ex-boyfriend accused of murder while your current boyfriend is the town’s detective? CeCe Prentice, artist and environmentalist, is thrown for a loop when her still hot and deliciously charming ex-boyfriend, Charlie Knudsen, becomes the main suspect in the murder of a leading Green-living expert.

Ah, the love triangle. There’s nothing I adore more than keeping the tension going through an entire series. I often get asked about the men in my books so I’m going to come clean about Charlie Knudsen, CeCe’s ex-boyfriend. Twenty years ago, I was visiting a friend and her brother-in-law stopped by. I nearly fell off my chair, the brother-in-law was that good-looking. Charlie (his real name), I later discovered had modeled as the Marlboro man. Anyway, I vowed to put that name to good use, hence CeCe’s ex-boyfriend, Charlie Knudsen.

It has taken me two full books to get Charlie Knudsen and Frank DeRosa, the men in CeCe’s life, on speaking terms. I waited until the third book to pit them against each other because frankly, I’ve been wondering who CeCe really likes. So, with one behind bars and the other combing the town for clues to keep him there, I’ve put poor CeCe in an awkward position.

I’ve had a lot of fun forcing CeCe’s emotions to flip-flop between the two men and I hope you enjoy the tension too!

Author Links


a Rafflecopter giveaway




{Yarn Along} Laburnum Stitch



The color changes in this yarn are subtle enough that I decided to add some kind of pretty stitch. This is Laburnum from Sensational Knitted Socks. I was hating the whole knit three together thing, but I've got that worked out. Now I'm iffy about knitting into the front and back of a yarn-over. And I've seen the Longing For Spring pattern, which has me tempted to rip the whole thing out and start over because that is so much prettier than what I'm doing! (Just to clarify -- my sock is pretty, but Longing for Spring is gorgeous. And this is not the only pink yarn in my stash so I can definitely have both if that's what I decide I want.)




I absolutely love the Auction Block mystery series by Loretta Ross. The chemistry between Death and Wren is just so perfect it makes me swoon a bit. And the mysteries are always interesting. In Death and the Gravedigger's Angel, there are two. An unidentified body has been discovered wearing an authentic civil war uniform that's stained with "dead guy juice," and Death has been hired to help a former army medic accused of murdering the leader of a local hate group. I can't tell you my favorite part of the plot without including spoilers, but it's a whole lot of fun. This series keeps getting better and better.



"When we're done, even your skeletons will have a place." Unfortunately, Tobi's ad slogan is far too accurate and the closet system  designed by her client are perfect for hiding a dead body.
After reading the first couples of pages, I really liked Tobi Tobias, the heroine of Death in Advertising by Laura Bradford. How could I not like a character who quotes The Amazing Mumford? Halfway through the book, I was liking her a lot less. She borrows cars from her friends and returns them later than promised. She complains about her wardrobe of thrift store clothing and has some definite sour grapes when it come to the widow of the deceased. I think Mitzi's poor taste would have come across just fine without Tobi's opinions.  The writing is good, though, and I didn't even come close to figuring out who the murderer was, even after Tobi started to put it together. I'll definitely be looking for the second book in the series and hoping that Tobi is a little less pouty about her financial condition.



Rush of Blood by Mark Billingham sounded like it would be right up my alley. Three British couples become friendly at a resort in Florida and continue to get together after the vacation ends. The vacation was wonderful, except for the incident with the fourteen-year-old girl who went missing on the last day of their trip and was later found dead. After a second girl is murdered much closer to home, the couples begin to wonder what their new friends are hiding. The book shifts back and forth between "what happened then" and "what's happening now" with occasional first person sections written by the killer. I wasn't worried about what would happen to any of the characters and I barely cared who the murderer was. The whole reason I'm drawn to thrillers is that I want to see what's going to happen to the people involved, but this book just didn't pull me in. And there was way too much complaining about portion sizes.

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

Monday, February 06, 2017

It Was Almost Done, So I Changed My Plan

I'm going to move some furniture. As it is now, the quilt is only eight blocks short of my original plan. 

Scrappy 16-Patch Quilt

I'm having fun making the blocks. I've still got bins and bins of scraps to pull from. So why not make it big enough to fit either the queen size bed in our room or the one in the trailer?

I can totally change my mind at any point between 100 blocks and 240 blocks, right?


Sunday, February 05, 2017

The Second DIY Sock Yarn Sampler

In mid-November, I  picked out some of the stash yarn that I was most excited about. You can see the before picture in this post if you're interested.

Not quite three months later, here's the after, not including a pair I made with yarn that wasn't in the box and the pair I was working on when I started...



My little experiment was more successful than I expected. Even though I can cheat all I want, I was motivated to cast on with all of the pretty the yarn before it disappeared back into my stash. 

Last week, I put away the three skeins that were left and pulled out different colors that I'm excited about, this time thinking about Valentine's Day and spring. In another three months, I'll do it again. (How weird is it that I've already got a few of the summer yarns picked?)


Sock Madness starts in March and I'll dig through my stash for whatever yarn suits the patterns. I've also been drooling over some patterns that aren't socks or written for sock yarn. But I think I'll keep rotating my stash for the rest of the year and see what happens. Three of the four fall pairs were knit from yarn that had been buried for years.

Weekly Stash Report

Fabric used this week: 1/4 yard
Fabric used year to date: 1/2 yard
Fabric added this week:  0 yards
Fabric added year  to date: 0
Net used for 2017: 1/2 yard

Yarn used this Week:  0  yards
Yarn used year to Date: 1100 yards
Yarn added this Week: 0 yards
Yarn added Year to Date: 0 yards
Net used for 2017: 1100 yards

Saturday, February 04, 2017

The Pho Cookbook



Pho is one of the things my husband discovered and introduced me to. We've had it at four or five different restaurants and made our own from scratch. After the experience of making it -- not to mention how quickly the family ate up our hours of hard work and how there were absolutely no leftovers -- I'd pretty much decided that it was easier to just go out to eat.

The Pho Cookbook by Andrea Nguyen has me rethinking that. This book is filled with so much detail that it's a bit overwhelming, but if I take it one recipe at a time I can probably pull at least some of this off. The author includes recipes for a wide range of techniques -- everything from a quick pho that uses store bought broth, to speeding things up with a pressure cooker, to more traditional methods of making pho. She suggests different brands of the ingredients tells you where to look for them, and gives some options for substitutions if you don't have access to specialty stores.

I'm excited about this book! It doesn't hurt that when she recommended using muslin to strain the broth she said to use the kind that's "suitable for lining quilts." I'm taking that as a good sign.

Disclosure - The publisher sent me an advance review copy. 

Friday, February 03, 2017

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {2/3/17}


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, February 01, 2017

{Yarn Along} Blue and White Mystery Socks

I didn't know what this skein of sock yarn was supposed to do, but I'm happy with the way it turned out. They're pretty, and different than the dozens of other pairs of socks I've knit over the past few years. 

Socks from an Unidentified Skein of Blue and White Opal Sock Yarn

There are a bunch of great new cozy mysteries out this week --



Larissa Reinhart has a new series out and I'm loving the heroine, Maizie Albright. (She's even more fun than Cherry Tucker!) A former child star who wants to become a private investigator just like the one she played as a teenager, Maizie is determined to get her life in order. It doesn't help when her former manager shows up with the cast and crew of her reality show, insisting on another season even though participating would violate Maizie's probation. And it really doesn't help when  the woman Maizie is supposed to be following vanishes without a trace. I can't wait for the next book in the series. Maizie and her new friends are entertaining, the chemistry between her and her reluctant boss is fantastic, and her father made his money by inventing deer pee-scented hunting gear. What's not to love?  



Storage auction? Carousel horse? Those two elements were more than enough to inspire me to pick up Murder Go Round by Carol J. Perry. Thinking it will be fun, Lee Barrett and her aunt go to a storage auction and buy an abandoned locker that turns out to be filled with some terrific antiques. Beyond their historical interest, something about the items makes them desirable to kill for. I didn't realize that it was the fourth book in the series, but it was easy enough to figure out who the characters were and what was going on in their lives.  The mystery is complex and entertaining. I'll definitely be going back to read the rest of the series!




Unlike the first two books in the series, A Palette for Murder by Sybil Johnson doesn't motivate me to take up tole painting. It did keep me guessing about Rory's homeless friend Kit and what had happened to him. The mystery wasn't what I expected from this series, but it kept me turning pages and guessing until the end.

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

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