Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Catching Up Again

The year is winding down and so are my pre Christmas projects. I finally conceded the fact that I wasn't going to do all the things that I thought I would get to. But that's fine because when I do get to them after the start of the new year, I will have a renewed enthusiasm. I am looking forward to that. I have started a new list of things to do in the coming year.
I made lots of holiday things for consignment and returned some things that didn't find homes last year. And to my surprise, some of the "leftovers" were the first to sell. It just takes the right customer to find it and love it and call it theirs.
I did indeed finish the batik baby quilt and it turned out just the way I pictured it would. And I am pleased with the finished quilt. I would almost ... emphasis on almost, be tempted to make one for my own bed but I don't think that will happen! LOL
I have continued to visit the library regularly and have read 104 books so far this year. And the count continues. Along the way I have discovered some authors that I had not previously read: Lee Childs, Elin Hilderbrand, Kristen Hannah, Alex Kava, Stuart Woods, and Mariah Stuart to name a few. So my reading list continues to grow.
On the agenda for the new year are Christmas stockings for the newest grandbabes, finish hooking the current rug so that I can move onto the next one that I am anxious to start, continue learning to spin. I bought a drop spindle a few months ago so will teach myself how to use it. I know there's more but can't think of them at the moment.
With the coming of the winter months, I hope to be more consistent with my blogging. We'll see!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Hot Off the Work Table!

I'm in the swing of crafting new things for the Halloween/Fall season. These are some of the items I just finished. They will be going to the shop. I'm hoping that they will find new homes. I don't usually make things for Halloween per se, mostly because I don't decorate for it. But I think it is becoming a very popular occasion for decorating so will give it a shot.
The witch's boots and the crow make do are from a pattern by Hazelruthe. The cat, pumpkin, and crone make dos are all in one pattern envelope by Blue Moon Beginnings. All items are stuffed and painted muslin with some hand stitching. Simple to make.
For friends from the P&R forum, thanks for viewing. Any comments are welcome!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Catching Up!

Has it really been that long since I last posted? Guess so! So let's see, what's been going on? Mostly the everyday stuff. It all takes time.
I had a large project going for my daughter, making 17 bears for some friends and family as a remembrance of her dad. That certainly make the grey cells work overtime. Each was different fabric, theme, color,etc. There was no time limit which was a good thing because some of these bears were puzzlers. They all had to be made from t-shirts sent to me. They had sport's logos on them such as racing, college teams, you get the picture. I can safely say though that they came out just fine without looking tacky. No small feat!
My garden has gone into overdrive producing grass and weeds. And the volunteer flowers are all over the place, namely places I don't want them. Needless to say, it's a constant battle to keep it looking nice. But right now I am not winning. But to be out in the garden is pure enjoyment.
I am working on a baby quilt, just got started actually. Had the plans for it in my head, drew it out on graph paper to make sure it would look as I wanted it to. Last week, went to the annual quilt show here and found exactly the fabrics i wanted. So not I have started the blocks and I think it will be a nice quilt.
I'm way behind in making items to go to the consignment shop so have projects completed and others in the works to take over in the next week or so.
Finally, I have been doing lots of reading. Have 72 read so far this year. Have caught up with some of my favorite authors and their book series. And at the same time, I have added new authors to my list on recommendation from one of my sisters. Visiting my local library is just about a weekly outing.
A couple of pictures of projects. The black scarf with beads was completed ages ago but have a better picture that should show more detail. And the other 3 are of the new quilt fabrics.
Till next time, later!

Friday, May 7, 2010

1344 French Knots!

Last fall I went antiquing with dh and I came across a box of linens to be embroidered. Most had never been started and some had just the beginnings of work done to them. I bought the box for $20 with 14 pieces to do.
My favorite piece is the one I did first and just recently finished it. It is a table runner or dresser scarf of 100% pure linen. I chose rather primitive holiday colors for it in hopes that it will sell in the shop where I do consignment.
The design is rather simple but kind of elegant, I think. I chose a deep cranberry for the French knots, did I say 1344 of them! Gold for the daisy chain accent stitches, a soft brown for the vine that I stitched in a back stitch, and a forest green for the "leaves", done in a fishbone stitch. They rather remind me of pine trees.
I hemmed it with a double turn 1/4" hem, hand stitched and finished with a back stitch in the same forest green.
My original thought was to find some vintage crocheted or tatted lace to sew onto the edge all around. But reconsidering, I didn't think I would find enough of one kind to do that and if so, it would be rather expensive. And that would add to the selling price. So I opted to just keep it simple and I am glad I did. The finished piece looks just right. Lastly, I hand soaked it in some warm water with a bit of Ivory dish soap. Let me just say that the linen was filthy. Don't know how old the piece was and how long it had been sitting in someone's house or attic or drawer. but after soaking and rinsing, I rolled it in a beach towel to get the excess water out before laying it flat to dry. Final step was to iron it from the back side and voila', done.

It Was a Good Idea at the Time!

I recently bought some beautiful yarns while on a road trip with my friend Peggy. I had some colors in mind because I wanted to crochet some simple scarves for next winter. One of the colors was black and I found a a small skein of a cotton, soft black tweed. It has little slubs of colors like red, blue, green, gold, and a little pink. Loved it.
When I was ready to start the project I remembered I had a tube of black seed beads. I thought that it would look nice to crochet the beads into the scarf, one bead/stitch at a time. The beads would give just a hint of shine now and then but not be glittery. Great idea, ah-yeeh!
First I needed to string that 30gm tube of beads onto some black thread so dug out a new spool and proceeded to string. Done at 15 feet of beads.
I started to crochet and soon found that this is going to be a very slow process! As i use up the thread along with the yarn, I have to let out some more thread way at the spool which means very carefully laying out the beads so as not to get tangled. Then unwind plenty of thread, slide the length of beads down the thread to bring up the bare thread close to the crochet hook. Whoo! As i crochet each single crochet stitch, I move 1 bead onto the thread where I am working and finish the crochet stitch. And so it goes, very slowly. I'm doing 20 stitches across which is about 5"-6" across and however long the ball of yarn will get me.
It's a good thing that I have started early because this will take a while. I exaggerate just a bit... it is slow going but I work on it in the evening once dh goes to work. The house is quiet but for some good music.
The project is turning out as I saw it in my mind's eye. There were a couple of times when I wondered if I was going to change my mind but I thought what the heck. I'm up for the challenge.
Here are pictures of getting started: stringing those beads, remember 15 ft. of them, the yarn etc. And then what I have gotten crocheted so far. I find keeping the beads in the metal lid on the floor while I work, helps to move the thread and beads along without getting tangled.

Friday, April 16, 2010


Remember my Drastic Measures post? Well, it worked! At least it's working on the smaller of the 2 Ficus trees. This picture is a couple of weeks old but it does show that new growth is coming on. At this time, the new branches are getting longer, the leaves are getting bigger and it's starting to look just a wee bit normal!
Now if the taller of the two would just get busy! Actually I am surprised that the smaller of the two is the one to recover first. Just goes to show ya, mother nature has the last word!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Could This Be Spring?

At last we are seeing the sun. After so many days of rain and grey skies, it's a joy to see the sun. Clear skies and no snow. Feels like Spring! We've hit above the 50 degree mark today and looks like we might enjoy the same thing tomorrow. I can take it!
I don't think I'm jinxing anything by talking out loud about our great weather. It's early March and things can change, but I'll wallow in the warmth while I can.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Drastic Measures!

Do you recognize these? No? They are Ficus trees! Yep, sorry looking as they are. They seem to drop their leaves just by looking at them. So I started to investigate them and discovered that they had scale. Weird to look at, little flat, brown splotches that were most prevalent on the newest, greenest growth. And there were little sticky spots on the leaves too. At the same time that the damage was being done, the trees were starting to put out new leaves.
I thought that by cutting everything back I would get rid of the pests. By brushing some insecticidal soap over all of the remaining branches, the new growth will be unaffected. And it's still early enough that the trees should put out new leaves and new branches as spring approaches.
That's the plan anyway. Hope this works, otherwise I now have 2 new modern sculptures in the bedroom!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

And more!

More Winter Blooms

Still getting the hang of this blogging stuff and discovered I should write and post a pic and put it up instead of trying to add more that one picture at a time. The words then, don't match the picture! so with that in mind, here are some more blooms.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Winter Blooms

Winter is so long and I miss being able to work out in the garden. But I don't have to miss out on the beauty of flowers blooming. I have orchids that bloom throughout the year and enjoy them regardless of the outside temperatures.
The Cymbidium in this first picture bloomed for almost 3 months. I got it in a swap when the flower spike was only 3" tall. I watched it grow to 24" and open to the palest pink color with a dark mahogany color on the lip. The flowers, all 11 of them, were about 3-4" in size. The fragrance reminded me or tulips.

I never used to pay that much attention to orchids. I'd see them occasionally in the market, just plain white or lavender and think that they were rather ho hum. But visiting a local independent nursery, I noticed that there were all kinds of flowers in the greenhouse that I had never seen before. Once I learned they were orchids I was surprised to realize that there were so many unusual shapes and colors to choose from.
I bought a good all purpose book on orchids and devoured it in no time. I then went back to the nursery and chose one that appealed to me and at the same time was of no great expense. I figured the price was worth the learning experience if it should die. Eventually it did die. but I also learned that I just couldn't grow that type. I even tried another of the same kind a couple of years later with the same sad results!
since that time i have become more involved with orchids and can now appreciate those so called ho hum orchids in the store.
These pictures are all of the orchid Phalenopsis. Not a boring one in the bunch. They are all beautiful in their own way. The colors speak for themselves. The shapes are essentially the same but the size and color variations make each unique.
All these are adding to the winter color in my home.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Has It Really Been This Long?

I never did get started with this blogging when I thought I would. After some conversations about blogging, with friends, I thought about my neglected start. Here I am again, going to give it another try. So bear with me during these beginnings. I'm sure I'll get the hang of it eventually.
I have been spending lots of time reading and can say that I read 88 books during 2009. I am making a great start this year with a baker's dozen read so far. Most of what I have been reading though hasn't been by any authors on my list. Mysteries and who dunnit's have always been my favorites ...starting with Nancy Drew in grade school!
Visiting our small town memorial library is a weekly event that I look forward to. While the library is small, we have the advantage of inter library loan so I am able to get just about anything on my reading list. I work up a list and give it to my librarian so that she can submit the requests. It may take a few weeks to get some of the books but that's alright. They come from all over the state and I'm not the only one who wants to read them.
I have always liked going to the library. I remember when I was young and the library was just a few blocks away from our house. With my youngest sister in the stroller, mom and the rest of us would walk down to the library in the afternoons. At that time, to a child's mind, the walk seemed to be so very long and take forever. But once at the library, it was well worth the distance! The stacks and stacks of books, the tables, lamps, and the smell of old paper.
Years later the library moved farther away and it was no longer in walking distance. By then we had grown some. On saturday mornings, we along with our friends would pile into the car and daddy would drive us there. I don't remember how long we would spend at the library. Daddy would wait patiently for us in the car, smoking his pipe and enjoying the sun and quiet. Once finished and our ams loaded, we'd all pile back into the car for the ride home, showing each other what we had checked out.
Those are pleasant memories. And I am still in love with books. When was the last time you ventured into your nearest library?