Friday, December 16, 2011

I promise i'll shut up about this soon

I just wanted to show this adorable little kitty that I just did on the new machine.  I just wanted to try something and it was one of the preloaded patterns.  Maybe i'll make a dress for one of the dolls out of this piece.

It's not easy to see that there are 4 colors in the design (light's pretty crappy at 9:30pm) - the background is all filled in with white, that's not just the fabric, then there's beige, grey and black.  It worked like a real charm!  I've already emailed a picture to my mom! (even though she won't see it till she gets to work on Monday!)

Apparently the Amazon warehouse is like a mile from my house

I don't know how else my sewing machine was able to get to my house this afternoon!  What?  I'm not complaining, mind you.  

She's amazing!  First I just sat down with the big honkin' manual, then i wound a bobbin and threaded the machine and did a little test sewing.  Love. it.  ok, for those of you with electronic machines, i'm sure all of this is like "duh Chris, that's what sewing machines do" but i've been using a Kenmore machine that I bought back in high school or college - it's been so long i don't even remember.  It was fine, but this is amazing.  it can be programmed to automatically back stitch at the beginning and ends of seams.  It will cut the thread for you.  whaaaa?  yep, it pulls both threads to the back of the work and then neatly cuts them before you even touch the piece to take it away from the needle (which will automatically stop in an up or down position - which ever you like.)  All these years I've been using little scissors like an idiot.  and then doing that thing where you pull the bottom thread to get a little loop of the top thread on the back side, then pulling it through with the tip of a pin, and if I feel like doing what my grandma taught me, tying the two threads together.  unbelievable.  It all seems so inefficient now.  I haven't done any embroidery yet - i had to leave it to make dinner and do a little holiday candy making, but I'm making a quilted pillow for my mom this weekend so it'll be getting some use in terms of sewing.  the preprogrammed embroidery patterns are pretty gawd awful - i might put a scrolly "C" on a cardigan or something though!  The pair of parrots, and cross stitched boy with wheelbarrow that come programmed on the machine... those will never be used.  seriously?  I did find this site though with all kinds of cool machine embroidery patterns for download, so I see some cutie apron pockets or kitchen towels in my future!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My parents rock!

I'm getting something for my birthday that i'm wildly excited about even though i've never really wanted it before:  This Brother sewing machine with embroidery capability!!

I'm pretty sure I've consciously thought that I didn't want an embroidery machine because all I could picture was middle aged women with embroidered Disney character sweatshirts, and whatnot.  However, I was talking to my mom about the western shirt I made for Billy and I'm not even sure who brought up the embroidery machines, but I told her there was no way because they were thousands of dollars.  As we talked I googled "embroidery machine" and saw one for just over $300 so I thought maybe they'd come down a lot in price since I'd last looked.  The more we talked, the cooler it sounded, and she told me I should look into it and that they could get it for me for my birthday!  This was pretty shocking - the last I remember, my birthday price range was about $50.  I did some research that night and found out that this Brother SE400, combination computerized sewing machine/embroidery machine was the only one on the market in the $350 price range and I read a bunch of reviews from owners who said it was a good beginner embroidery machine (only a 4x4 size capability) and intermediate sewing machine.  For the price, it seems like a cool way to see if I have fun with the embroidery, and also get a snazzy new machine with bells and whistles that I haven't had since that unfortunate event with the electronic Singer I ended up sending back.  Since then I've fallen really hard for my old 1930's Singer (whom I call Alice) which is pretty much the opposite of everything I'm saying about this new machine.  However, the idea of a new machine is really floating my boat right now - probably because it's being offered as a gift!  So anyway, I got back with my mom the next day and told her about this machine and where I could get it, etc. and she said "ok.  we can definitely get you that for your birthday!  go ahead and order it!"  I'm kind of flabbergasted!  I even asked to make sure she wasn't delirious from her recent cold!  My parents have always been very frugal and don't wildly throw around gifts, and maybe $350 doesn't sound like much, but for a birthday gift it's definitely outside the realm of what I'm used to!  My mom is just SO supportive with any crafty thing I do, which I just love her for.  I ordered it today - it ought to be here before Christmas even!!  Whee!!  i'll keep you updated!

Saturday, December 10, 2011


I took a vacation day on Friday so that I'd have a three day weekend to get some work done on Christmas projects.  Because everyone on my team at work has to travel for the holidays, I knew I'd be stuck working right up to Christmas so I decided I needed a couple 3 day weekends to get on track.  I sewed up a storm on Friday and today and I made some great progress!  I made this denim western shirt for Billy and I'm pretty damn proud of it, if I do say so myself!  It's much more involved than the usual instant-gratification projects that I tend to make for myself.  However, it was pretty straight forward when I sat down to put it together.  I think, sort of like with knitting, the hard part is getting enough experience so that the terms and jargon are familiar - after that it's just doing what the instructions say to do.  I did a bunch of measuring against his existing shirts and I think this should fit well (fingers crossed) - just hope he likes it!

Because the denim is dark, its hard to see the details, like the yoke and the pearlized snaps - but you can see them a little in this shot.  I think it's pretty snazzy!

Then, for my niece, who's big into Japanese stuff, I made this kimono-ish robe.  I figure she can wear it as an actual robe, or as dress up.  That tie around the neck is just the belt.  It's got a few imperfections because slippery fabric is harder to work with, and because I just didn't feel like doing a bunch of ripping and resewing for something that might get worn during water balloon fights or trampoline-ing.  I think she'll still like it!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Cyber Monday got me

It's this time of year when I start not wanting to go to any stores for anything - like sometimes I wonder if I should just get a box of dried milk and hunker down so I don't even have to venture to the grocery store.  It's all the crazy Christmas shoppers.  Other times though, it's kind of exciting to be in the hubbub.  Right after Thanksgiving though I was not thinking it'd be exciting and when I realized I didn't have enough interfacing to make the shirt that I was working on, and JoAnn's was offering free shipping for $35 orders, I just ordered it online, which seems pretty silly considering how close the JoAnn's stores are, but still...  Interfacing, of course, doesn't cost $35 so I bulked up my order with a bunch of paint for Billy's stocking and for some reason I got this sparkly yarn because sparkles just seem appropriate for this time of year and I was envisioning a sparkly woven scarf.  

Then, on Cyber Monday, I broke my yarn diet because Knitpicks was having a sale and I noticed so many colors of Telemark listed as "last chance" that I started fearing they were going to discontinue the line.  I have no idea if that's true, but I bought up 2 skeins each of a bunch of colors and then also got some Merino Style and 3 skeins of Chromoa because I pictured that too as a woven scarf (I love to weave self striping yarn because it makes a cool plaid and I thought the slow color changes would look super cool!  do i need another plaid scarf?  that's beside the point.)  When I took these two big bags out of the box, i was like "whoa!" It was a bit more than I expected.  Jeepers.  

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Brace yourself for the cute

Even though my mom suggested that both of my youngest nieces might like monkey pillows, I went ahead and made this bug as #3 and I think he may be the cutest of them all!

I already bought the fleece and i kind of wanted to use the stripey stuff. I must have been thinking of some different color combination when I bought the stuff though because I had quite a bit of orange and I remember trying to add up yardage at the cutting table because something else was allocated part of this orange (i don't know what though!) and I think I originally envisioned orange and blue for this guy, but whatever - it all worked out and there's no harm in some leftover fleece!

So Isabelle will get the monkey, Genevive will get the lamb (thanks Emily and Catherine for clearing up that mystery - I totally agree now that you said it!), and Jude will get the bug.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

and then there was a monkey

Each weekend the menagerie of pillows grows - this monkey is for Isabelle.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Let the Christmas makin' begin!

I'm trying to avoid planning knitted Christmas gifts this year because I'm anticipating my mom's ponchette taking a lot of time (although I'm ahead of where I thought I'd be on it by now!) Instead I'm thinking of things I can sew - it's just quicker. For my 3 youngest nieces and nephews, I'm making these funny fleece pillows:

This pattern caught my eye because one of the designs is a monkey and my niece Isabelle is big into monkeys. I'm not sure what this one is supposed to be (other than just cute!)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Yeah - a fridge!

I've only been talking about wanting a new refrigerator for like a year now. This will sound hard to believe, but I really think my main hangup was the fear of irritating the delivery guys. I want them to take my kitchen fridge to the basement, and take away the fridge that's in the basement now. I know that's their job, but it just felt like a lot to ask.

Anyway, I took a couple vacation days to make a 4 day weekend and I decided that I just might get crazy and go look at refrigerators today. I did - and I bought one! whee! Apparently I'm hopelessly out of it though because I really want a refrigerator without all that water/ice jazz in the door (i feel like I sound just like my mom now!) but you can't get them that way anymore. Also, I wasn't super keen on the bottom freezer because it reminded me of having to dig down to the bottom of my chest freezer and that's not fun. I realize it's much better designed than that, but they only kinda sorta started to grow on my after 3 stores. i also wasn't really into the idea of paying $1600 for a fridge.

I ended up going with an old school top freezer, but it's a stainless steel one which I didn't even consider because they're always more expensive and I was just aiming for a shiny black or something - this one was stainless and cost less at HHgregg than the same size, same brand, but different model white one at Lowe's that I also liked. Plus the folks at HHgregg were really nice and helpful. Yipee - it's being delivered tomorrow! so now i just have to do all the annoying cleaning out of 2 fridges! (and doing stupid things like taking the stack of books off the dining room table so the delivery guys don't see it! i have no idea why, at my age, i worry so much about not making delivery guys think ill of my housekeeping skills!)

Anyway, now my obsession lies with this stove that I saw there while I was waiting for the guys to figure out some kind of computer codes:
(it looks cooler in real life - it's stainless and the gas burner covers look cool - but the kicker is that griddle piece over the 5th burner in the middle - how cool is that?)

Monday, September 19, 2011

how many gingham buttons is too many gingham buttons?

It's a question that cannot be answered by me. Apparently my gauge of the number of buttons one person should own is somewhat skewed.

For some reason I decided to look at an etsy shop -Buttons and Such - that I'd gotten a bunch of adorable trims and buttons from about a year ago. I knew it'd be a problem. Once I saw the gingham buttons, things went a little nutty. There were so many colors! and they were so inexpensive! Can you see the gold threads in the brown and red ones on the right? (i feel the need to point out differences to justify the number of buttons there!)

Additionally, I got this super cute Japanese tape measure trim!

Unfortunately there's a message on her Etsy shop page that she's closing in a month (I have no idea when that was posted, so it could have been three weeks ago - you better get shoppin'!)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Paul why won't you come in?

Yesterday I went out to get the paper off the porch and this guy was there.

And he was all like "hello! I love you!" I went in and told Billy that there was a boy version of Margo on the porch so he went out and met him - we call him Paul. He's got to be someone's pet because he's super friendly and not at all skittish and he'll just let you pet him for as long as you want. We gave him some food and he wolfed it down. Every time we went out, he was there and we just fell in love with him. I sent an email to our neighborhood group to see if anyone recognized him. This morning I went out to see him and he wasn't there, but then a few minutes later my neighbor came over with Paul in his arms, thinking maybe he was ours - he'd been hanging out on their porch. After a little bit of a discussion, where neither one of us really said it was a good idea to take in another cat, we sort of decided maybe one more wouldn't hurt - because he's so friendly. I went to the store and bought a flea comb and also a flea collar, just in case. He didn't mind being brushed at all - even though he now smells like oil of olay dish soap! Then I brought him in. He was super curious, and not terribly crazy about the other cats - not that I thought he'd immediately get along with everyone. Then he kept going to the door and climbing up to look out the window to the porch. we knew that we couldn't force him to stay if he didn't want to, but I don't know how to tell ol' Paul that it'll just take some time to feel comfortable. I opened the door and he went right out, but stayed on the porch and meowed as I closed the door - but when I opened it again, he wouldn't come in. I stayed inside for 30 minutes or so, and went back out - he was sitting on the porch bench, as usual. I tried bringing him in again and carried him around to show him the place. Then when i put him down he went back to the door again and went right out as soon as I opened it. Then just turned around and looked at me like "ok, come out here!"

Oh Paul - this is all exhausting me! You're sweet as the day is long (he'll lick your lips and tuck his head into the crook of your arm to fall asleep) but you don't want to come in and live with me! why?

Saturday, September 3, 2011


I hate to laugh, but this is a pretty silly look for poor ol' Stella! However, she had knots and wasn't very keen on letting me cut them out so I decided to take her to the pros.

Friday, August 26, 2011

nothing can be easy with her!

My mom is the best knitting recipient because she always loves what I make her. I'm pretty sure I've said that before. This year I decided that I'd ask her if she had any request for Christmas - usually I just make what I want to make for her, and I think she's only asked for something specific once. I started wondering if maybe she was thinking "I'd sure like a green cardigan with 3/4 sleeves, but she just keeps making me mittens!" So I asked - and also sent along some pictures of sweaters and other things I'd seen and thought would look good on her because I figured it might be hard to just come up with something out of the blue like that. I'd seen this pattern for Cobble a couple weeks ago and I really liked the fact that it was a non-lace shawl - and it looked like something my mom would like. Turns out I was right.

However, in a fashion typical for my mother, it'd be great as long as it was something different. It's similar to how she can't buy anything off the rack without saying "this would be great but it needs different buttons" or "i wish they didn't put this stupid tag thing here on the sleeve" and worse, when she thought that the dining room chairs would be better with oak seats instead of the upholstered ones they came with. some things are easy to change, like buttons, and some things, like carved oak seats, are not so much, but she kind of acts like they're all the same! So she told me that she loves the stitch pattern and the weight and length of this shawl, but would like it better as a short poncho. So i said "for you, I'll find a way to do it!" I bought the pattern and my plan is to just use the main stitch pattern to make two rectangles and connect them - that's the way I made her last poncho (the one thing she requested!) then I'll pick up stitches all around the edge and do some math to figure out what needs to be fudged so that it works out. I'll knit the edging from the top of the chart down and I'll use the corner/peak part of the edging in two places - on each point of the poncho. God willing it'll all work! Ooh - and the other cool thing is that I sent her a bunch of pictures of MadelineTosh yarn (Tosh Merino Light) for her to pick from (because the way she dyes will be fantastic on this, I think) and she chose Ginger. So at least I get to knit with lovely yarn. I bought 3 skeins because I just don't know what this is going to take and I don't want to run out - so maybe I'll have some left over and I can eek out a little beret or something for me!

Monday, August 15, 2011

all's well that ends well!

Thanks to all the solutions to my unfortunate mitten situation, i pulled it together finally and everything turned out great! I found a Raveler who still had a skein of each color left over from her Christmas stocking kit and was willing to send them to me. She asked if I had any dark colored sock yarn to trade because she's working on a mitered square blanket! i had some in my stash that i didn't feel very likely to use, so I mailed it off to her - you were right Emily, it was only like $1.30 so it was a great deal! perfect! it came on Friday though - and thankfully I had taken a vacation day so i was at home as soon as the mail came. The birthday dinner was on Saturday so I knit until my finger had a divot in it, but I finished just before 1am. I tossed it in some water to soak then blocked it - of course stranded mitten take forever and a day to dry, so they were still wet in the morning (despite the power of the ShamWow!) and I had to stick the blow dryer in the open end and stand there for 30 minutes - even that didn't do it! my mom love them (but my niece said "why are they wet?") and i guess that's what matters! now i just have to get myself to do mitten #4 so we can have our mother daughter mitten set!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

oh geez!

I made a hell of a mistake on my mother's birthday mittens and now I'm in a whole new pickle.
I don't know if I haven't had enough coffee today, or what, but I'm just not able to make a decision on what to do! Ok, here are the finished mittens:

I love them! But here's the problem:

Yep. Two right mittens. yes, I'm serious. I can't believe I did that. what a numbskull. So I decided last nigh, when I realized what I'd done, that I'd just knit two left gloves and then I'd have a pair too. I made these out of Knitpicks Telemark and they're always fast with shipping, soI figured I'd just get another ball of each color and all would be well. Unfortunately, I find out this morning, Knitpicks doesn't sell that shade of blue anymore. There are two people on Ravelry with the shade in their "for sale/trade" stashes, so I could try to buy one off of them but for some reason it seems like a lot of work for a $2 ball of yarn (it retails for $1.99) - I feel like I should buy something else from their stash to make the shipping worth it. Ugh - I don't know why, but it's just more than I can make a decision on this morning! I'm pretty confident that I have enough yarn to make a 3rd mitten, which I just need to start doing now I suppose. but I've got the Knitpicks website up and I just don't know whether I should put in an order with an extra ball of white (and enough other stuff to get to $50, because I always do spend extra money unnecessarily to avoid shipping, as silly as it is) or not. wait - I'm going to see if that person with the blue on Ravelry also has the white - hers came from their stocking kit, just like mine did, so chances are good! whew - maybe that's the solution! Bah - please, someone just tell me what to do!

Saturday, July 30, 2011


I had a meeting in Seattle last week and I just got home last night. For being work-related travel, I actually had a ton of fun! It was just a smallgroup of us, and thankfully, they're all work hard-play hard kind of people so we buckled down, but ended at a reasonable time and went out to some cool restaurants afterwards and whatnot. I intentionally took an early flight in so i'd have time to explore before work started on Tuesday though. I walked down to Pike Market and saw the fish being thrown - I decided that satisfied the tourist-y requirement when in Seattle! I also ate some Beecher's cheese, which is made right there on site (you can watch them making it while you eat in the little cafe that's attached by a giant window!)

On Thursday night I met up with Hannah (iknityouknot on Ravelry) who lives in Seattle!! I've been Ravelry friends with her for years and test knit for her, so it just seemed right to actually meet her while I was in the city where she lived. She was super nice and we had a great time! Because I was terrified of driving in the city (it was CRAZY - i got a rental car and made it to the hotel, but refused to remove it from the parking garage the whole time I was there!) she took the bus down to where I was staying and we met at Top Pot Donuts (delicious! and the barista had a neat old-timey waxed mustach) then we rode the bus together back up north a bit to the Fiber Gallery where she works. The problem was that I was stressed out about driving to the Fiber Gallery (which was my original plan) and I also did not know how to take a bus (yeah, I'm aware that sounds ridiculous, but I've just never done it!) so her offer to come to me, then take the bus WITH me was perfect! she also dealt very well with the fact that I was kind of acting like a 7-year old on the bus because it was so novel and fun for me. First we stood and held onto those loops that hang from the ceiling, which I thought was very cool and big city-like, but then we got a seat, and then I noticed that we were on one of those long buses that bends in the middle and there were seats right on that bendy part that rotated all around when the bus turned so I was like "oooh - that's the seat to be on!!" and she was quite good natured about moving again. She's a nanny so I'm sure she's used to dealing with childish whims which worked out well for me and my first bus ride! So anyway, I shopped while she worked and came away with some spurge-y yarns, including some Hazel Knits which is dyed in Seattle (so i had to get that!)

I also got some Road to China, because I've read about it, but never seen it in person. It's super soft (merino, cashmere, camel, and silk) and this picture totally doesn't do the color variation justice.

I got a skein of Madeline Tosh light because I've always wanted some, but have never been able see the colors in person. This is a little earthy for my usual tastes, but I picked it up so many times, I decided that something in me was saying I needed to have it!

I also got a couple skeins of Rowan Purelife Renew (which I must have deleted the picture of?) They had a sample knit of Cyclamen - a short sweater that I fell in love with until I realized that it called for 11 balls of the stuff. I wouldn't expect to get a Rowan sweater for less than $100, so I don't know what I was thinking, but i just wasn't up for that kind of splurge. A pair of Rowan mittens or a hat is more my speed, so I got 2 skeins. Fiber Gallery was a really nice shop and they had tons of great stuff - I shopped for almost 2 hours and definitely felt like I could have looked longer! I highly recommend it if you're ever in Seattle. After that we went to a cool bar down the street called Oliver's Twist, with Erin, who also works at the shop, and knit and drank and ate amazing tomato soup and cheese sandwiches and talked about horror movies, zombies, and how men are just universally goofballs! it was a great way to end my trip!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Liberty scarf achieved!

I decided that I was NOT going to let my Liberty fabric sit around, like I do with much of the other fabric (and yarn) I get! It's sometimes more fun (or easier?) to dream about what you'll make, than buckling down and doing it. But, I did buckle down to make the scarf and I'm glad I did! it can be worn several ways:

Whee! I love it! I don't feel like any of the pictures really show the fabric well though. bah, me and my photographic skills.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

the long awaited big splurge

I'll blame Purl Soho and their blog Purl Bee for my longtime lust for Liberty of London fabrics. I mean it's really Liberty of London's fault for making such awesome prints, but Purl's to blame for showing them to me. Purl could seriously sell piles of poop, I'm sure, because they'd all be laid out on sheets of amazingly colored hand dyed linen or something - really, check out their website and you'll understand! they understand marketing, that's for sure! So anyway, I've never gotten any Liberty fabric because it's $35 /yard. gaa! But then I decided to splurge with my big $40 check that I got for my jury duty stint - I rationalized it by saying that it's like they're giving it to me for free! On their blog they had a project that called for a half yard of two different Liberty tana lawn fabrics - that's a thinner and somewhat shinier version of their quilting weight cotton, and it has a nice drape, but it's still crisp. I made a version with some stash polka dotted fabric I already had (although it's not as long, because liberty fabrics are 54" wide instead of a normal 45") and liked it. So that's what I'm going to make with these two fabrics! I haven't decided what color of Kona cotton to use for the edging - I want something that really pops and contrasts - maybe a yellow or citron or red-orange, because i'm really liking red-orange with greens lately.)

Then I also decided to get some Anna Maria Horner voile yardage because it was on sale, and I've always loved this print.

I got a yard of each and I'm going to see if I can get a sleeveless top out of one - not sure what I'll do with the other! I hate to say it, but this stuff is usually something like $15/yard and I got it for around $9, and I kind of like the feel of it just as much as the tana lawn! It really is amazing how nice high end fabric feels compared to the lower priced stuff you can get at JoAnn's - I mean there's a place for everything and I'm not poo-pooing JoAnn's fabric - I still shop there all the time!! but a little splurge is nice now and then.

Friday, June 24, 2011

surprise in Indiana

I just got back from a week in Indiana for work. On the way home I stopped at Unwind Yarn Shop in Richmond, which a friend of mine told me about - it was pretty much right on the way home, and it's only about 25 minutes from where she lives so it's her LYS even though it's pretty far away for me normally. It was a really cute shop with lots of yarn brands that I typically don't see at my LYS's. Then, in an even bigger surprise, here comes Helen - the friend who told me about the shop!! I hadn't seen her in months because we used to work together until she retired a little while back. I can't believe we were there at the same time! it was so nice to see her! I splurged a bit:

But I've been soooo good lately about buying yarn, the I let myself do it - plus they were things I haven't seen in person. For example, I've been wanting some of the Misti Alpaca handpaint sock yarn since I saw a pair of socks on flickr made from them - and it was there! I also couldn't leave without some Berroco so I got two skeins of Vintage. Then I saw some Cascade Eco in one of my favorite cascade colorways - lake chelan, and decided that i would be good for a cozy winter cardigan. I also picked up some square needles - she had a pair there that you could knit a few rows with, so I got to try them first. I also found, in the clearance closet(!), a Berroco booklet that I'd been wanting to get but felt guilty buying it essentially for one pattern (it's the scarf on the front that I love!) - since it was on clearance, I grabbed it! i also had to get Norah Gaughn vol 7. Yeah!! After that, I said "I have to get out of here!!!" and gave Helen one more hug!

Monday, June 13, 2011

I'm a modern Miss Marple!

It seems like everyone around me is always getting called for jury duty and moaning about it. My response is always "why don't they call MEEEE???!!!" because I'd die to have jury duty! I don't know why, I just find it all terribly exciting. Well, I finally got the call, and went today - and guess what? i'm ON the jury!!! i couldn't believe it! of course, i can't talk about it because that'd be a breach of my civic duty, but let me tell you some of the awesome things so far:

1. I don't' have to be there until 8:30! i'm used to getting to work at 7:00 and not usually walking out until 5:00 or 5:30 lately. Today they let us out at 4:00 - whaaat? that's amazing!
2. The courthouse is super close to my house.
3. Hour long lunch break! another thing i never have the luxury of at work - i normally nuke whatever I brought and sit at my desk working while i eat.
4. I get to knit during the day! during breaks, lunch, and whenever we get sent to sit in our jury "holding tank". I've been a little disappointed that none of my fellow jurors have mentioned that I'm like a modern day Miss Marple as I'm knitting and untangling this mystery of a case, but I'm probably expecting too much.
5. I get to wear cute clothes for 3 days!! no hard hats and jeans! today i wore my new red wedges and a pair of vintage rhinestone earrings that I recently picked up - sweet!
6. Work has sucked real bad lately - just super busy, so it was nice to just assign everything to other people and walk away from it!

Aside from all that, it really interesting to see how the court proceedings work and I've learned a ton today already! They explain so much about how you need to come to your conclusions and what to consider and not consider when making decisions. I love it!! i came home today and announced that I'd like to become a professional juror! i imagine earning $20/day wouldn't work out for long though!

In other exciting news, my prickly pear cactus is blooming for the first time! I think this is the 3rd summer I've had it - a coworker brought me a piece of his, and it's been doing well, but he always shows me pictures of his blooming and I just sigh and tell him that mine isn't flowering at all. But this year it is!!! there are probably like 8 buds there now.

Here's a closeup because it's so beautiful!!

And, some evidence that i finally killed my nemesis, the honeysuckle vine (which I suspect is coming through the fence from my neighbor's yard - which might just be karma for MY weeds that are spreading into my other neighbor's yard!) Anyway, I found some spray that's designed just for tough vines like these, and it worked!! there are a few other things there that I didn't quite spray enough, so i'll shoot 'em again, but the honeysuckle is d-e-a-d!! yippee!

And my hollyhocks are blooming - they're pale yellow, but the sun was so bright it's hard to tell in this picture! I love them even though my neighbor calls them "alley weeds". She's got a very neat and orderly kind of gardening style, while mine is much more of a semi overgrown (and weedy) cottage garden style - and unfortunately our yards are divided by a chain link fence! So I'm sure she gets irritates when my stuff creeps into her meticulously mulched side! oh well.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

flower pot success

The flower pots on my porch sometimes just don't work out - it's not their fault - it's because they have to count on me to water them. I start out with enthusiasm but then it gets tough to think about it when I get home from work and already feel spent. However, this year they're looking great, so I figured I'd better document it! I got all of the plants in the upper pots from The Metroparks Mayfair sale - tall white marigolds in the back, then some shorter yellow flowers (I forget what they are - maybe a single marigold, or something?), some dahlias, and some purple sweet potato vines - and a couple coleus that I grew from seed. The lower pots are filled with zinnias that I started from see too. pretty pretty!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Naming achieved!

We decided upon Boris Blackwell for the new fella! we took a trip to the vet today to get him checked and poked and prodded. He hated nearly every minute of it - but all the folks there fawned over him, so he had to like that a little! plus he got a clean bill of health (ugh, but a big bill at the desk! sheesh!) so all it well. he's downstairs napping on his daddy's shoulder right now!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The new squirt

Isn't he just the cutest? We're killing ourselves trying to think of the perfect name! He hasn't even been with us for 24 hours, so I guess we just need time to get his personality.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Now I know for sure

For some reason I always wondered if my dad really wore the socks I knit for him - I thought maybe he was just being nice and saying he liked them. I'd even ask my mom who will always give me an honest answer and she swore that he really did, but for some reason I still had this doubt in the back of my mind and feared that I'd find a drawer full of unworn socks in their bedroom 30 years from now after he died! BUT - when i was visiting for mother's day he showed me proof - a pair of socks that he blew the heels out of! Yeah! that means he really did wear them. So I'm making him a replacement pair for Father's Day. I'm using the same pattern, Manly Socks, with a slipped stitch rib pattern that I really like the first time I did it. Last time I used some Rowan wool that claimed to be fingering weight, but seemed a little heavier to me. This time I'm using Knitpicks stroll in a heathered green, because I had it and it seemed like a manly color! I'm also doing a longer ribbed cuff than I did last time because I realized that my favorite pair of socks has a long cuff - not just an inch and a half or something like what most patterns call for, but more like 2.5 inches, I'd say.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Soho thrifty

Do you ever look at the Purl Bee blog? it's the blog for the Purl Soho shop - aka, the place I could totally drop a grand in like 30 minutes. Someday i WILL go there. It's amazing. Anyway, they always have projects on the blog that I drool over - lots of them involving Liberty of London fabrics. that's some pretty fab stuff. and expensive - like $30/yard. There was a project recently for a scarf with a torn Kona cotton edge and two different Liberty of London prints - it's one of those projects where I think "oooh, you only need two 1/2 yard pieces - that's not much!" and I suppose it isn't relative to, say, a dress, but it's still $30 worth of fabric. I decidedto make one with stuff I already had and see how I liked it. I like it!

I didn't use two different fabrics. duh. I actually forgot that part of the project until I just typed it above, but I do love these polka dots and the red with the turquois Kona is fab!

I'm still not sure I can justify $3o for Liberty of London fabrics to make another, but I'll probably make another out of something!

I made this runner/wall hanging for my mom for Mother's day. I took a bunch of pictures before wrapping it, but didn't realize how crappy and blurry the vast majority of them were! This one is the best, but it still doesn't show much of the stitching or beading or trims or neato textury fabrics. and the flash blew the color all weird. Oh well. She loved it!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

makin' stuff

Sheesh, it's been a long time since I've done a blog post! I really have been making stuff, I guess I just haven't been making time for blogging!

I finally finished my citron. I used Divine Lace, which is pretty fantastic stuff! The citron however, I don't find quite as fantastic. I find the half circle shape harder to wear than a triangular shawl. I don't like how it won't really scrunch up around my neck. It feels fantastic on, but I'm actually thinking of frogging it and using the yarn for something I like better. It seems silly since I spent weeks knitting it, but it seems even sillier to not wear the thing I made with yarn that I love and frankly was kind of a splurge.

My friend Catherine sent me a link for a purse pattern online and we both thought it'd be a great little spring bag. Last weekend I had 4 days off and I decided to make one! I used some fabric that I picked up at an antique mall (it's not antique fabric, just "vintage"). Because it's drapery weight, I thought it'd be perfect. The only problem is that it's pretty small compared to my Namaste bag that I've been carrying, so its sort of a big leap for me. However, I think it'll be perfect for trips to antique malls or flea markets or places like that where I'm walking for hours and a big bag starts feeling like a sack of potatoes on my shoulder after a while. And it's super cute - I love it!

Over my 4 day weekend, I also warped up my loom and made this rug for the bathroom! I'm not finished with it - I'm going to bind the short edges this weekend. I bought a bunch of cones of bulky weight cotton when the Peaches and Cream place was advertising that they're going out of business. I warped with worsted weight cotton then held three strands of different shades of blues together for the weft. It's still not as thick as I thought it'd be, but I think it'll be ok. I know this picture just makes it look like a placemat, but it's about 24" wide and 36" or so long.

Then a couple weekends back, after seeing this post on tall grass prairie studio, I decided to try my hand at recreating the chevron she did. Because I'm just kind of starting the piecing thing, sometimes I see what people have made and I have to stare at it and figure out how they did it. Then I have to try. I decided to just turn this into a hot pad so it's usable and not sitting alone in my sewing room! it's not exactly like hers, but I think I get the idea and it was a pretty fun way to use scraps!

Huge sale this weekend at JoAnn's!! I'll be heading over soon! I'm going to get some DK weight yarn to make this baby for my niece, and I'd like to recover the benches in my sewing room with some nifty vinyl since Stella, my cat who won't stop peeing on stuff, is living there full time now (and she doesn't pee on anything in there!) Having to take the lint brush to my bench everytime I want to sit down is kind of a drag, so a change needs to be made!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

I love parcels!

I don't just love parcels because cool things come in them, it's the box itself that makes me happy - and this one was the best EVER! why? because it had a string tied around it!! It really takes so little to make me happy, but seriously, who does that anymore? I couldn't stop myself from sounding like an idiot in the post office when she brought it out and I said "ooh! it has a string on it! isn't that just how packages ought to be?"

And as per usual for me lately, this box is from Thailand - because I can't stop ordering those little knock off Blythe dolls! This one is blond -although it's nearly apricot in a way. I like it and I'm going to see if I can't do some trimming and washing to make it nicer.

She's a Blybe, but has a CCE style body, which is thinner than any of my others and doesn't turn at the waist. Her hip joints are a little loose and there are some stains on her body, which aren't very noticeable and pretty much what I'd expect for $23!

Oh, other oddities that seem par for the course with these knock off is that sometimes the eyes are a little whacky! for example - the side glancing eyes above are very downward, but the ones below, aren't - I just consider that some extra personality! Again, I didn't pay $150 for a real Blythe, so you take what you get!

Oh, also, you can't tell it from these pictures but her eyelids are blue - not just painted blue, but blue plastic - I can see that her whole eyesocket mech is made of blue plastic. So when I redo her face I'll either work with the blue or paint over it maybe!

And I couldn't resist buying this little outfit for her! I usually make my own clothes, but it was so cute! Ok, next time you see her she'll be all new and beautiful after her mods!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

My new old addition

I can't turn down a sewing machine. My favorite uncle told me that he had an old singer in a neat 30's or 40's cabinet that belonged to my grandma and he wondered if I wanted it. I kinda don't have the space, but I know that he needs the space that it was taking up in his house even more, so I said ok and cleared out a spot in my sewing room. Isn't it beautiful?

so simple, so heavy duty - just forward and backward and I think there's a stitch length adjustment. plus, there were neat things in all the drawers

(see how cool and curved the drawers are?) like a button box and a couple incredibly complicated button hole attachments. Unfortunately, it probably hasn't been used in 20 years or more and it needs some tuning up. It was going real slow at first and we oiled up all the spots that looked like oil ports (it actually has spots with little felt wicks where it'll hold oil and dispense it as needed!) and my uncle is super good at working on stuff like that so he knew some stuff to look at and as a result, I now know what a worm gear does! For a while it was working pretty well, but then it started going downhilll again. I think I'm going to take it to someone because I'm betting that all the oil that was there is pretty gunked up after 20 years of sitting idle and our addition of new oil may not be enough to get it going. Fortunately the motor itself works great (we disengaged the clutch and let it run full out - so it's obviously just the moving gears that are bogging it down.) And there are no belts or electronics, of course, so it's just mechanical parts that need to be cleaned up. the cord could also use to be rewired, which I'm sure I could do, but because that's not the only thing involved, I think I'll have to find a hospital for her! I did a search online and found a few around here and some up in Columbus - anybody around here have a recommendation? I'm kind of afraid I won't be able to find someone who knows how to work on these things - just folks who are used to changing out motherboards and electronic cards on new machines!