Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Gridding Fabric and Sorting Floss is Not the Fun Part

I didn't want to start a new cross stitch project until I finished the lighthouse. One abandoned project is better than two or three abandoned projects, right?

Then I had the lighthouse finished and nothing else ready to work on and spent three or four days avoiding the task of sorting floss and gridding the fabric. Nowt that the boring part is done, I'm enjoying myself.

The fabric is 18-count, which is harder on my eyes. But the needle is thinner and that's making the stitching easier, once I figure out where to jab through the fabric. My stitches are getting neater, too.

This is one of those little Dimensions Gold kits. I have absolutely no memory of buying it, but it was up in the sewing room and has clearance stickers from Craft Warehouse. And it's definitely something I'd pick out if I was shopping today. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

The Second Panel

I got the second panel for my project bag done last night. 

The corners don't match. In some spots, they're wildly off...but I'm willing to live with that since I'm making it for myself and after the events of the past couple of weeks I'll be much happier to have it finished and ready to use than to have it sitting in a drawer forever waiting for me to get it right.

Although I do wish my machine was cooperating and I could free motion a really dense stipple pattern that would hide the mistakes...

This post is linked to Design Wall Monday

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Someone Else's Stash of Notions

Remember that box of buttons that I posted about yesterday? I kept wondering about it, especially after I took a closer look at the labels in the picture. The box itself is probably worth something, and I need curved safety pins and bobbins. 

We had to run up to Salem again on Friday and were even on the right end of town, so I stopped by the thrift store even though craft stuff always gets scooped up fast.

Look what was sitting there waiting for me --  

It leaked buttons and needle threaders all over the car on the drive home. I think I've got someone's entire notions stash here and the folks at the thrift shop just wrapped some clear plastic around it to hold the drawers shut and slapped a price tag on it. That's not their usual pricing strategy.

There are at least ten packs of unopened machine needles that will fit my machine, along with some others I'm not sure about. I think the others might work on the Featherweight, but I'll do some research first. None are my preferred size, but there are leather needles and denim needles and ball point needles...all of the stuff that I need once in a blue moon but refuse to make a special trip to town and spend money on.  I'll use those. Or my daughter will.

There are twenty full packages of hand sewing needles -- tapestry needles, darning needles, applique needles, and those wicked curved ones for fixing upholstery. I never ever have enough needles, so these are a welcome addition to my stash.

I've now got all of the sew in snaps and hook and eye closures I could ever need...

I don't know if a needle threader will help with my stitching, but now that I've got a few I'll give it a shot.

Don't forget about the buttons. I counted 190 complete cards of them and didn't even try to figure out how many loose buttons there were. Our mystery stitcher also apparently kept every one of those little envelopes with extra buttons for repairing your garment. They're not old enough to be interesting, but buttons are buttons.

The very specific labels on the drawers intrigued me. No bobbins in the bobbin drawer or curved safety pins, but there were eighteen iron safe nylon snaps in the drawer that claimed to hold them. The machine brush and seam ripper were there as promised.

It would be smart of me to clear out the drawers and fill them with my own notions. I'd feel a bit bad about removing the labels that are already there, but I don't have enough nylon snaps to keep a specific drawer for them.

How do you organize your little notions?

Saturday, October 14, 2017

{Thrift Shop Temptations} The Doll in the Box

Lots of pictures this week, even though the boys and I only visited two shops. We didn't find what we were looking for but we had an absolute blast. 

I keep hearing that raising girls and raising boys are completely different endeavors. This week's thrift shop find might settle that argument once and for all -- 

A little girl would probably see a pretty doll... My sons (and me too, I've got to admit) are sure there's a sinister reason she's sealed in that box. It's a custom wooden shelf with plastic wrapped around the front and hadware to hang it in a corner.... Someone made that. There's got to be a story behind it. If it had been 50% off day, we would've brought her home and named her.

My sons don't want dolls. Possibly cursed dolls in creepy enclosures are different, though...

If I had a bigger house, I'd have room for more furniture, and I'd probably get myself in trouble when I saw pretty things like this...

I'd also have more wall space. Our house is full of arches and windows and things that get in the way of landscapes like this one.

Pre-Pinterest string art!

This is the thing I left behind that's starting to haunt me a bit...

The drawers were stuffed with buttons and notions. The more I think about it, the more I think it would have been fun to dig through...especially now that I see the drawers marked "curved safety pins" and "sewing needles."  Who has enough needle threaders to designate a drawer for them?

If you did ceramics in the 80s, I bet you made one of these cats. Mom had one and I think both grandmas had them. I come across them on a fairly regular basis, but never like this one....

That's little individual triangles of fabric glued to its surface.  And the cat was solid plaster so it weighed an absolute ton.

I was telling my sons what we were looking for when I rounded  the  corner and this beauty took all of the words away. It's soooo pretty. And soooo overpriced. And missing whatever bottom piece enabled it  to stand upright. (But still worth sixty-five bucks according to whoever determines the prices.)

We've all got our personal list of things we absolutely won't buy at the thrift shop. Smoke detectors, even new and sealed in the box, never made my list because who would even think of that as an option?  I just looked and these are being sold as "collectible" on ebay. Now I'm even more confused.

How about you -- find anything great this week? We came home empty-handed, but had fun looking.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {10/13/17}

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, October 12, 2017

Safe Passage

Look what I finished! 

I've stitched projects that were a lot larger and had four times the colors, but that was years ago. I'm kind of proud of what I managed to do with a fifty-cent estate sale find. It's not my best work. What it is, is permission to get into those other cross-stitch kits I recently dug out of my sewing room or picked up dirt cheap at the thrift shop.

A couple of the large projects are calling to me, but I think I'll do another small one first. I'm still refining half-forgotten techniques and learning new tricks. And the little kit I've got in mind is really cute.

I did leave off a lot of back stitching and some French knots because I decided that the trees were find as-is and the rocks in the foreground didn't need flowers.

This post is linked to Crazy Mom Quilts

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

{Books and Yarn} A Little Sock Progress and a Free Book

Last week was a crazy one. Lots of behind the scenes stuff that messed with my knitting and stitching time and it's not nearly over yet. Why can't life be calm and predictable?

I made a little more progress on the latest Drops Fabel socks. And read a few more books. 

A few months ago, I recommended Love, Die, Neighbor, the prequel in the Kiki Lowenstein series by Joanna Campbell Slan. Right now, you can get the book for free through bookfunnel. It's being offered by the author and the whole thing is completely legal and legitimate. All you do is enter your name and email address and you'll be able to send the book to your Kindle.

16 Millimeters by Larissa Reinhart

As much as I loved the first Maizie Albright mystery, I loved this one even more. A former child star -- and then reality star -- Maizie is determined to get her training as a private investigator. She's trying hard to stay out of trouble and avoid the drama of her old life, but it keeps following her. The mystery is fun and complex and kept me guessing until the very end and the chemistry between Maizie and her reluctant mentor is absolutely amazing. It's rare that I finish a book and immediately want to read it a second time, but I hated to see this one end. I'll be counting the days until book three comes out.

Disclosure -- The author provided me with a review copy of 16 Millimeters. I would have bought it myself if she didn't and I completely and totally recommend this book. 

Monday, October 09, 2017

Design Wall Monday

I've decided to go with the version of the plan that calls for seventy little tiny blocks. That means I get to do this section all over again.

I can do that! Just probably not today.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

The Siren Call of the Stitching...

You know that stage in a project where you're so close to the end that you want to drop everything else and keep going until it's done? I've been there for about a week now, but dropping everything wasn't an option...and for a couple of days, stitching at all wasn't an option. 

An hour or so last night and a couple of hours this morning and all that's left is removing the grid and some backstitching. There should be some French knots, but I always skip those unless there's a compelling reason to figure them out. My fingers don't do little decorative knots.

I've been hemming and hawing about which project to start next. Both of these are from that box that was buried in the sewing room. I think I'll sort threads and grid the fabric for both because, even though I'm trying to stick with one cross-stitch project at a time, it would make sense to have both a challenging project and one that's easy on the eyes.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

{I've Been Reading} Talking Skeletons and Historic Lead Mining

A bunch of my favorite series have new books coming out this week, so I'm splitting it into this post and the regular one on Wednesday.

The Skeleton Paints a Picture by Leigh Perry

It's hard to pick a favorite with so many great cozy mystery series out there to choose from, but Leigh Perry's books about Sid the Skeleton are always at the top of my list. This time around Georgia is staying in an isolated bungalow while she teaches at Falstone Art and Design University. She's feeling a bit lonely -- at least until Sid mails himself to her. (If you haven't had the fun of reading this series yet, Sid may not know who he was when he was alive, but he's a very resourceful skeleton.) The mystery was complicated and satisfying and Sid and Georgia are always a lot of fun to read about. I highly recommend this one.

Mining for Justice by Kathleen Ernst

I absolutely love the Chloe Ellefson mysteries. The main portion of the series is set in the 1980s and watching Chloe and Roelke investigate without benefit of cell phones or the internet or all of the other perks we've come to rely on is a lot of fun. Both the 1980s mystery and the one set in the past are fascinating and I was genuinely terrified for the historical characters. Lead mining in Wisconsin is something I'd never read about before and Kathleen Ernst is absolutely amazing at bringing her characters and their surroundings to life and she's thoroughly convinced me that I want to plan a trip to Wisconsin to visit the historic sites where Chloe spends her days.

Murder on the Toy Town Express by Barbara Early

This one is so fun and fast paced that I read straight through from start to finish. A fatal accident at the annual Train and Toy show plunges Liz McCall and her father int into a murder investigation involving trains and rare comic books. There's a lot going on here, but it all ties together very well and I didn't guess the murderer's identity until it was revealed. 

.Fixing to Die by Miranda James

This is the first book I've picked up from the Southern Ladies mystery series and it's the coziest cozy I've ever read, in the best possible way. If you want something that reminds you of old school Nancy Drew, with an old house that might or might not have real ghosts, and a psychic who might or might not be a fraud, you'll want to pick this one up. It was entertaining and a lot of fun. 

Disclosure -- The publishers provided me with advance review copies. All opinions are my own. 

Friday, October 06, 2017

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {10/6/17}

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, October 05, 2017

Mesa Socks

I worked on this pair in the Costco tire department, and at the pumpkin patch, and at the library... They're not interesting, but they got a lot of knitting in public time. 

This is Knitpicks Sock Landscape, in the Mesa colorway. It's some of the oldest sock yarn in my stash and I'll be sad to see my last two skeins go. It's soft and squishy and very nice to knit with. I was afraid the colors would pool and they sort of did, but not as badly as it's been with other pairs. It's more obvious in the photograph than in real life. 

This post is linked to Crazy Mom Quilts

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

{Books and Yarn} New Projects

Since last week's post, I've cast on another pair for mindless knitting and started Tales From the Crypt, another pair for Super Sock Scarefest.  Which means I'm still avoiding that heel....

Dear Fahrenheit 451 by Annie Spence

A librarian's love letters to the books she works with? That sounded interesting. And the first half of the book was, even if it was sometimes jarring to lurch from a note to Stephen King's Misery to the author's drunken encounter with a bookshelf at a party she wasn't invited to. This book is at its most entertaining when it's dealing with childhood classics or a popcorn cookbook or Fun and Games with Your Pocket Calculator. But the letters are only half of the book and what follows them -- lengthy recommended  reading lists and tips on how to turn your lover into a reader -- isn't nearly as much fun. I don't think I love books enough to fall into this book's target audience...  or maybe I just don't love the right books.

Blame by Jeff Abbott

Jane Norton has no memory of the car crash that killed her friend David, or of writing the suicide note that was found after the accident. Years of her life are just gone and she's kind of staggering through the present, trying to make sense of it all. Once the plot gets moving (which is more than halfway through the book) things get interesting, but the beginning really dragged for me.

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

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

I Should Stop Until Tomorrow

Yesterday I got up extra early and spent almost four hours stitching. I was having too much fun to stop, but my eyes were definitely feeling the strain by the time I forced myself to put it down.  It didn't help that two of the symbols on the chart were very similar and both were for shades of dark green. 

Look at how close I'm getting -- 

The water has been giving me trouble because the fabric won't be completely covered by stitches. That means checking and re-checking to make sure that I've stitched in all of the right spots and what's left bare is supposed to be that way.

I'm starting to realize just how little this project is. My favorite projects were always completely stitched and huge....but in the years since I packed away my supplies, things have apparently gotten a lot huger. Like this kit from China (the link goes to a YouTube unboxing video.) A decade ago, I would have been trying to get my hands on one of those, but I seem to be getting more practical.

My son, who was watching over my shoulder, asked how long it would take to stitch one of those -- like thirty hours? Maybe I should encourage that kind of thinking instead of pointing out exactly how long it will take me to work through my existing stash...

Monday, October 02, 2017

Yellow and White

One of these days, I'm going to learn to press these itty bitty blocks without singing my fingers.

To do what I'm picturing in my head, I'll need seventy of them. Or I can modify the plan to use thirty-five... I'm still deciding.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

{Thrift Shop Temptations} New Challenges

I was playing around with videos this week and forgot to take any still pictures in the thrift shop. Sorry about that! You'll either have to watch the video to see what I was tempted by, or be satisfied with the new projects that followed me home. 

Barbie patterns! 

Vintage Butterrick Barbie Patterns

The sticky note on the front says that it's A, B, and C only and that there are no instructions. So I was forewarned...but I at least thought that the patterns would have some markings on them!

The old air mail envelopes the pieces are sorted into almost make up for that, though. How neat! And for a quarter, I'm not too sad. I might just use the outer packaging for a project.

This was the same shop where I found the fantastic haul of cross-stitch kits a few weeks back. Would you believe that they had more this  time?! There were probably a dozen kits, along with all of the aida a stitcher could want. Every last one of the kits I left behind last time was gone...which makes me wonder what's come and gone since then.

This one was so tightly bagged and stapled that there was no way to see what the image was. Why do they do things like that?

Grandma would've opened that bag right up, but I think you've got to be a certain age to get away with that. The designer name and the colors of the floss had me intrigued, so I poked a hole in the plastic just big enough to get a peek at the chart.

This has to be from the same mystery stitcher. It's completely and totally our style. I was thrilled until I got it home and took a look at the chart.


Either I'll figure out how to handle a chart like this, or I won't. I'm not going to worry or regret my three dollar purchase. There were fifty-five brand new skeins of DMC and if I don't use them for this, they'll work in another project.

If you want a peek into three of my favorite thrift shops and to see what didn't come home with me, watch the video. Next time, I'll try to get both pictures and videos.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

There's a Spider in My Kitchen

There are probably other spiders in the kitchen of my ninety-seven-year-old farm house, but this is the special one who has a name. 

Meet Charlotte -- 

She lives over the kitchen sink and in the month since I took this picture she's spun and respun her web on what seems to be a daily basis, caught and dramatically devoured lots more flies, spent the better part of a day shedding her skin, and grown absolutely huge. (She hides behind the curtain during the day, so I can't get an updated picture right now.)

Can you see why I've kept her around? She's fascinating! And she's also not the kind of spider that bites people while they're sleeping. Those get squished.

From what I've read, orb weavers lay their eggs in late summer or early fall and then die. I probably should have moved her outside already to give her babies the best chance at happy spider lives. But she's hard to part with.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Let's Make Baby Quilts! {9/29/17}

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, September 28, 2017

Just a Little More Sky

Not much progress this week...

In case you couldn't guess, even low level migraines and cross-stitching aren't a good mix.

Once I did start feeling better, I made some happy progress on the sky before I realized that there was no way I had enough lavender floss to finish the sky, possibly because I accidentally used some of it for another part of the scene. Oops.

It took trips to two different craft stores yesterday to find a skein of DMC #340...and now I've got my fingers crossed that the next stretch of potential stitching time that comes my way finds me with a clear head.


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