Saturday, September 30

Another day of sidetracked crafting...

I decided I would allow myself to make the doily. However, the rule was I had to start it right then, at 6am. That way I would be cutting into my sleep time rather than my crafting time. That was the plan, anyway.

The problem was that this 11 row pattern was full of mistakes around row 7. I was far enough along to know that I was really liking the way a doily made from dishcloth cotton yarn was looking. It had a homespun sort of charm about it.

I found myself too sleepy to deal with the pattern's errors. So I took a nap. When I woke up I did some housework before getting back to work on the doily. It took me all day to figure out how the pattern should have been written. I just finished it about an hour ago.

And then, can you believe that when I took the steam iron to it (to get it to lie flat), the brown gunk that has been stuck to the iron for years decided to finally come off...onto the doily. At least I was not ironing it with the best side up.

Tomorrow will be a new day...

This isn't good

It's 5:45am...much to early for such things. I awoke with an undeniably strong urge to crochet a doily using kitchen cotton yarn instead of the thin thread doilies are supposed to be made from.

Why? I don't know. I just want to see what would happen.

Where would I use it? Again, I don't know. I suppose it would depend on how it turned out...size, thickness, etc.

What prompted this urge? I don't know. Perhaps a wild hair. ;-) But the fact that I just printed out this pattern may make the urge more difficult to resist. It's only 11 rounds. It can't take that long, right?

Friday, September 29

I got a bit sidetracked today

I had intended to work on stitching horses today but I got a bit distracted by this lovely wool yarn in this gorgeous autumn color.

I was putting away the yarn I had scattered around the house and this yarn wouldn't stop speaking to me. It wasn't my fault, the yarn made me do it!! So in the end I have one half-sewn horse and a little crocheted autumn doll (click the pictures to make them bigger) to show for the day. Maybe I'll manage to get some more horse sewing done tomorrow.

Edited to add that I've just finished listing her for sale. She can be found in the "Nature Table Display Dolls" category.

Thursday, September 28

Yay! My new camera arrived!!

Well, it's new to me, at least. :) I'm so thrilled to finally have a camera with a macro setting. And since it's no longer a royal pain in the patootie to take pictures of jewelry, I'm finally photographing and listing all I have on hand in my Etsy Shop It's going to take a while to get everything listed. At the moment I'm about 1/4 way through. I'm sneaking a little break ;-)

And then tonight I'll be sewing horse bodies. I have about 10 cut out and awaiting stitching. I'm starting to work in a sort of assembly line fashion as the holiday season is just around the corner!

Tuesday, September 26

We took a road trip to Silver Dollar City over the weekend. It was a busy whirlwind of a weekend. Lots of walking, a vacation from dieting, and two very smiley, very tired children. (and a very tired me too!)

During the long drives (4-ish hours each way) I worked on making these little things: a knitted hat, crocheted booties, and a wee gnome doll. They're for the same baby I sent the longies too last Friday. They're sort of an apology for my slowness/thank you for your patience gift. I mailed them off today. I hope they're enjoyed! :)

I received a brand spankin' new (as in just released) crafty book today: Toys to Sew. (Ack! I'm not supposed to even have this yet...Amazon says it's being released Oct 17!) I've really been looking forward to it's release since it's right up my alley. I'm sad to say I'm disappointed in it. Many of the toys featured in this book are....ummm, what's the right word...juvenile. And I mean juvenile as in they look sloppily if made by a child. They lack refinement.

I hate to be so negative. I hope it doesn't come across as cattiness because it really isn't meant that way at all. I have many, many crafty books and my doll and toy making books are among my favorites. But this book just doesn't have much to offer. The dolls pictured on the cover are by far the best project in the book.

As for toymaking, Sewing Tiny Toys is still my favorite. I've learned so much about creating patterns from this book. My daughter has used it's patterns with impressive results.

On another note, I'm now pretty much caught up with all my orders and trades. I have one pending trade but I have some time to complete it. So I've begun plotting out what I'll be creating for my site for the holidays! I cut out unicorn and pegasus bodies today. And I have plans to cut out some horses and dragons tomorrow. Let the stitching begin!!

Friday, September 22

Doin' the happy dance!

I've finished the longie/soaker I've been knitting! Yay!!

I'm so glad to be finished with it for two reasons. One (the main one) is that it took me way too long to finish it. I've made it's owner wait too long. It really isn't like me to be pokey about such things. I don't know what got into me.

And the other reason is related to the huge mess up. When I was knitting the second leg I forgot to increase during the last row of the ankle ribbing. I didn't notice it until it was time to decrease during the row before the waist ribbing. So I pretty much had to rip out the whole leg. At that point I sort of wanted to chuck the whole thing into the trash. Being finished with them kind of erases the frustration I was feeling when I realized my error.

And, in case you're wondering, they're made using two strands of Paton's Merino, held together, and a pattern from this book.

Tuesday, September 19

Another corner of my home

I don't have anything interesting to show project-wise. I'm just re-knitting that leg of a soaker/longie that I had to rip out (when I was *so close* to being finished...still anguishing!)

Here is one of my peaceful, cozy spots: my nightstand. I'm bored with the wall color in there (and I've bought a super pale blush pink to replace it). Even so, this spot brings on a contented sigh.

I do a lot of handwork while sitting on my bed. It's a comfy spot and I have plenty of space to spread out my supplies. My nightstand almost always shows evidence of crafty pursuits. :-)

I also have some of my favorite things on the walls surrounding my nightstand. Framed is my daughter's first embroidery project. She made it completely on her own and surprised me with it. It says, "A momma's love". I apologize for the horrid picture. I have a new camera on its way to me so hopefully I won't need to apologize for my pictures for long!

I have a few pieces of wire art created by my dear online friend, Sherrie, hung near my side of the bed. I absolutely love her work and I feel blessed to have so many of her creations. (again, sorry about the picture quality) This teensy vase hangs just to the left of Isabelle's embroidery and the ring bearer's pillow. I keep a bit of dried larkspur in it when I'm lacking tiny fresh flowers.

I also wanted to mention how thrilled I am that the potpourri orders I mailed off have been so well received!! And while it isn't something I have stocked and on hand, I will be offering different blends in the future. I hadn't planned to go into the potpourri business but here I am. :-)

It all started with tea. My tea habit has gotten to the point that it's more practical for me to buy in bulk from a wholesaler of herbs, spices, and botanicals. To meet the minimum order requirements I also allowed myself to indulge my potpourri habit. Since it's been such a hit I'll plan to create a new blend or two each time I replenish my tea stash. It won't be too terribly long before that happens. It appears I've understimated my rooibos needs.

Monday, September 18

I'm in heaven!

This entire week will have the weather of my dreams! The highs will be mostly in the mid 60's...cloudy with some drizzly (chilly even!) nights. I love waking up to a house that is on the chilly side because the windows were left a bit open all night. Because, of course, the remedy for that is muffins and a pot of tea.

I also love how darkness is arriving earlier in the evening. I've never been a big fan of daylight saving's time staving off darkness until 9pm or later. I've missed getting snug on the sofa with some yarn or a stitching project while enjoying the cozy dimness of lamplight and flickering candles...even better if I'm wearing pajamas and softie socks!

And my husband is liking the fact that I'm starting to wear my hair down again. I get too hot to wear it down in the summer. However, I've come to find that wearing my hair down does have its risks. Last night I was in the same spot I'm at now, in the kitchen seated at the computer. And my son (5) stood behind me and began playing with my hair. His plan was to make my hair a big tangle, but my hair doesn't tangle easily. I guess he got frustrated that his evil plan wasn't working because he moved on to Plan B. While I was happily typing he grabbed a pair of scissors and snipped off a chunk of my hair. My initial reaction was shock and disbelief. Before I could get to feeling anger he came around from behind me, held the lock of hair up to my face, and smugly proclaimed a triumphant, "ha ha!". Then he turned and ran away. I had to ask my husband to go talk to him because I couldn't stop laughing.

Friday, September 15

The yummy scent of autumn!

The past few days I've been marinating autumn potpourri in a delicious mix of fragrance oils. Every time I pass the giant bowl I give it a good stir.

I made a good bit extra so I have made it available in my Etsy Shop

Thursday, September 14

Introducing Colette

I finished the doll that *was* going to be an angel and *was* going to be for the front door. I still might make her some (removable) angel wings for the holidays when I make her a new collar for the holidays. But my husband expressed concern that she might get stolen if I put her out front. And I can't risk that because Colette is one of those dolls who is real.

Yes, there is still a part of me that wonders if dolls come to life when we're not looking. Not all dolls, mind you. But some dolls just seem to be thinking. Or they sometimes seem to have an expression on their face. And sometimes, while I'm working on a doll, information about them just comes to me. Colette is one of those dolls.

When I showed my husband her finished collar he asked why I spelled autumn, "automne". I explained that it was because she is French. He wanted to know how I knew she is French. Of course, it is because she has a French accent. Perhaps not everyone can hear her speak though. Isabelle knew she is French, too, though. So, really, I'm not crazy. :-)

Although realizing I made a huge mistake on the knitting project I'm working on for a trade made me feel very crazy. I was about to start the waistband ribbing on a pair of pants and realized I forgot to increase on the last row of ankle ribbing. So I had to rip out the entire thing back to the end of the ankle ribbing. Waaah!

Monday, September 11

Fall fever and a WIP

Fall fever: I've got it bad! I was planning to force myself to wait until it's officially autumn but I gave up. I just couldn't do it. I'm hoping my potpourri ingredients arrive today so I can make it smell like fall as well.

And onto the WIP (work in progress)... Last night I was overcome with an undeniable urge to make a doll. If she turns out as planned she'll be a big autumn angel to hang on the front door.

So I drew up a pattern, stitched up some parts, and stuffed them. Then I took them to the kitchen to dye and distress them with walnut ink. Here they are just after applying the walnut ink. They look so awesome now that they've dried. But you're just going to have to wait to see. :-)

Sunday, September 10

Sew an A-line skirt without a pattern

I was in the mood for a new skirt this morning so I thought I'd create a tutorial for my favorite (easy!) A-line skirt. Please let me know if anything is unclear.

Sorry for such a cruddy picture of me modelling the finished skirt. My daughter took a bazillion pictures before one finally came out un-blurry. And I'm not a big fan of having my picture taken anyway.

Saturday, September 9

Martha would be proud.

Martha Stewart, that is. Did you see my post the other day about the wonderful way of organizing fabric that Simmy happened upon? Well, I began organizing it today. I worked on it for a few hours. Then my back started hurting and I decided it might be wise to break up the organizing into several small sessions. No need to kill myself trying to get it all done in one fell swoop.

But seriously, how beautiful is that box? Pretty, darn beautiful, I think.

I'm using boxes bought from an office supply store. They're the type meant for holding files. And each little bolt of fabric is wrapped around 2 manila file folders (with the tabs cut off, one inside the other).

I was planning to cover the boxes with fabric but the boxes didn't pop together the way I thought they would. Because of how they're made it would have been a huge task. So, I skipped it. I do have a closet in my future studio so I'll just keep them in there, behind a door, on shelves. Ya know, since they're not all cute and decorative.

And in my spare time over the past few days (basically when my hands are tired of knitting but are still feeling fidgetty) I've made these wee babies with little knitted cotton hats. I saw some like this that PraireMouse made (click on her Flickr box to see her lovely creations!). Her little babes were so stinkin' adorable I had to make some.

And I would have shown you a picture of that cake, but it's gone. *oink*

Take the quiz: What kind of yarn are you?

What kind of yarn are you?

You are Merino Wool.You are very easygoing and sweet. People like to keep you close because you are so softhearted. You love to be comfortable and warm from your head to your toes.

Take this quiz!

This is my result...What's yours?

Friday, September 8

First of all I'd like to say Thank You! for all the lovely comments about my breadbox. Even my husband complimented it. That says a lot because he's pretty used to me making things after 20 years together.

Well there's nothing yet to show for today. But I am just about ready to bake a cake. Perhaps I'll be able to snap a picture before it's all gone. Sweets don't last very long around here though.

Here's the recipe I'll be using:

2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. baking soda
2 c. crushed pineapple (juice and all)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. walnuts or pecans (I skip them...bleck!)
1/4 tsp. salt
Mix all ingredients together, pour into a greased and floured 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. (Cake will turn from white cake-colored batter to a light chocolate cake color during baking, this is normal.)

2 1/2 c. confectioner's sugar
1 stick margarine, softened
1 8oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
Cream all ingredients together until smooth. Ice cake in pan while still warm.

I'm thinking about sprinkling some coconut on top. Overkill? Or good? hmmm...

On the agenda for this weekend is knitting and organizing the old fabric stash. This post from Simmy has me all inspired. I bought my supplies today. And I have some movies to watch while I organize. My husband will be off fishing all day tomorrow so I'll have all sorts of time to play with my fabric.

Wednesday, September 6

Well, the breadbox is finished. The top lifts up and there's a small compartment. I have no idea what it's supposed to hold. It isn't big enough for bread. I think I might store my bills in there. Give them an official spot to live. Maybe they'll get their due attention that way.

thrifting loot!

We went thrifting again last night and I feel like I totally scored. I've been wanting a breadbox for a while now but haven't wanted to spend $40-50 on one. I was giddy when I found this one at the thrift store. It has some scratches on the top and a few marks on the white paint but it's solid wood. It's problems are nothing that I can't solve with a sander. So I'll consider this picture a "before" shot.

And, of course, I found another basket I needed. I plan to perform a handlectomy on this one. The reason I'm on the prowl for good sturdy baskets is that we're in the process of finishing our basement. A good portion of the basement will be my studio space. And my preferred method of organization is baskets on shelves. And handles don't do well on shelves.

The book section is another section of the thrift store that always gets our attention. We almost always find books that we need. Not pictured is a '80s Christmas crafting book. It has the neatest quilted nativity dolls in it. If I owned a scanner I'd share.

In addition to knitting I also whipped this ring/pincushion/cake up yesterday.

Monday, September 4

Oh, and while I'm at it...

I think I'm now *officially* a collector of embroidery floss. I have a good amount right now. But I seem to always be needing a certain color. I buy floss just about every time I go into a store that sells it.

Well, today I won an ebay auction for a lot of over 450 skeins of DMC floss. I've been trying to win a big lot of floss for a while now. Even though I always snipe (E-Snipe is my friend) I'm cheap. But finally I found a lot of floss offered by a seller who doesn't take paypal. I love those auctions! So for $30 I will have enough floss to roll in nakie, should I so choose.

May I have a drumroll, please?!

I've finally finished the big order. Care to happy dance with me? Or a snoopy dance maybe? I just need to package a few things and pack the box. Whew!

Next on the agenda is to finish knitting a long overdue longie soaker. So I expect to be in a haze of yarn and clicking needles until it's finished.

On another note, I tend to collect things unintentionally. And just today I realized I have a collection of scissors. I didn't do it on purpose. And really, I have no idea why except that I'm always in search of the Holy Grail of scissors...and cheap would be good, too. I wonder what a psychiatrist would say about this particularly quirk of mine.

Saturday, September 2

A corner of my home & There be pirates, matey!

I love the glimpe into another's life when they share a "corner". So I thought I'd share one of mine. (click the picture for a bigger version)

My house is puny small quaintly-sized so there aren't all that many corners to see. But I futzed around with things in the dining room today so I'll start with it.

The quilt-covered table is holding a cake stand filled with stacks of still-warm peanut butter cookies. And the teapot is filled with some yummy peach rooibos and licorice root tea to wash them down. I'm on my second cup. The spaghetti sqaush sisters on the table are destined for dinner (with pesto and shrimp, I think). And Isabelle and I played a round of Chinese checkers a little while ago. I expect a rematch after dinner.

Here's close-up of the framed vintage embroidered piece that hangs under the shelf. It never shows up in photos. The wrinkles aren't really that pronounced. They're just showing up because I had to play with the photo to get the coloring right. If they were that bad I would have dismantled the whole thing...vintage or not! :-) I just love it. (again, click the picture for a better view)

Ok, I'm a dork. I just realized you already saw this particular "corner" the other day when I posted a picture of the kids having breakfast. Sorry for the redundancy!

And here is my pirate with her treasure chest, and her booty, and her map. Isabelle came up with the cutest idea today. She boxed up the treasure (lollipops, empty spools, a small bag of change, and a di) in a recycled box. Then she dug a hole in the backyard and buried it. She made a map and put it where Mason would find it. What 5 year old boy would be thrilled to find a pirate map?!

Well it took him all of 3 minutes to dig up the box. He brought it inside and tore into it. When he saw the booty he stomped his foot and said, "That's it?!?" I heard him mumble, "Dumb pirates" as he made his way back down the hall.

Friday, September 1

Things are beginning to return to normal around here (well, normal for us anyway lol). I've been busy stitchin' the past couple days. Here's what got finished. I'm reaching the end of the big order finally. I just have 12 more bendies (which are wrapped and have skirts), a saddle for the pictured unicorn, and a small horse. Then I have a knitting project to finish (a longie soaker for a trade) and I'm caught up. Phew! I should get quite a bit accomplished this weekend as I have 2 movies to watch (Nanny McPhee and Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel). And my husband is going fishing tomorrow so I don't feel badly if I do nothing but crafting.

Once I'm caught up the first thing I'm going to do is make something autumn for the front door. I also want to make a big sheep for the front porch...with stick legs...and a penny rug draped over its back...with leaves and acorns appliqued onto it.

I'm getting so excited for fall!! I'm planning a major potpourri overhaul. Don't laugh...well, ok, you can laugh a little as long as it's with me and not at me.

The first of the supplies arrived today. :-D And how lucky is this? My husband was outside cutting the grass when the UPS truck came by. He just happened to be by the back of the house and he missed the whole delivery. Who me...sneaky? Maybe just a little.

Anyhow, I got some yummy autumn fragrance oils. 16oz. of Autumn Spice and 16 oz. of Woodland Orange Spice (my favorite of the two).

But now I have to wait because today I ordered putka pods, birch cones, and 1" cinnamon sticks. And then there's those orange peel maple leaves:

I just can't wait!!!! I also got a pound of cinnamon (ground powder) for making cinnamon dough.

Oh...and speaking of autumn... Does anyone need a copy of the current (Sept '06) Country Sampler magazine. It appears I bought two. I'd be happy to pass the extra copy along to someone who'd enjoy it. And if you read this far you deserve it! :-D